A cathedral has defended its decision to hold screenings of three films that between them show graphic sex scenes, paganism and a satirical depiction of a “naughty boy” who keeps being mistaken for Jesus Christ.
Derby Cathedral will show 1970s film classics The Wicker Man, Don’t Look Now and Monty Python’s Life of Brian on an inflatable big screen – despite opposition from some church wardens.
The Dean of the city, the Very Reverend Dr Stephen Hance, said the decision to host the city’s QUAD cinema Fright Club in the nave would not compromise the cathedral’s holiness.
Dr Hance told the BBC’s East Midlands Today: “I don’t think that we are going to be showing God anything that he hasn’t seen before.
“And the stories are actually really powerful stories about faith and doubt, about some of the things that people wrestle with.”
Critics of the plans have claimed 1970s classics The Wicker Man and Don’t Look Now are inappropriate for a place-of-worship because of a graphic nude sex scene and themes of paganism.
Other films on the list for Derby Cathedral include Sister Act and The Greatest Showman.
But the cathedral is looking to go ahead with the plans, despite admitting some of them will not be “to everyone’s taste” and will “provoke comment and engagement”.
Dr Hance said: “We are looking forward to welcoming all those who want to enjoy these diverse special screenings and my hope is that it will encourage the people of Derby and Derbyshire to discover their cathedral.
“Not all the films will be to everyone’s taste and some of them will provoke comment and engagement with serious issues, which is to be encouraged.
“For example, as well being a great film and example of superb story-telling, The Wicker Man is the story of a Christian martyr.”
Dr Hance added: “Every culture tells stories to help it think about what it believes, and one of the primary ways our culture does this is through film.
“I believe people will be helped to think in relation to some powerful and sometimes disturbing movies, and the screenings will help to release other much-needed resources for the mission and ministry of the Cathedral in the city.”