Father Patrick McCafferty, parish priest for Corpus Christi Parish in west Belfast, has expressed anger over the fact that organisers of the 2017 Belfast Film Festival have chosen to to screen The Exorcist and The Omen in the disused Holy Rosary Church.
Describing it as a “cheap stunt”, the priest asked:
What is their motivation for showing those types of films in what was once a sacred building that will have such special memories of spiritual occasions for lots of people?
I think the organisers should reconsider their decision to show the films there.
Should they not be sensitive to the fact that many people in that area have fond associations and is sacred to the memories of many people that were baptised or married or buried there? They should look for somewhere more appropriate to screen it.
The fact that all tickets have been sold for The Exorcist and The Omen indicates that McCafferty, above, is well out of step with the public.
Belfast councillor Jim Rodgers called for the festival to cancel the horror film screenings, scheduled for August, and move to another venue.
A spokesman for the festival defended their decision.
It’s really disappointing the film festival have chosen an old Catholic church to screen two films about the devil. Holy Rosary is a beautiful, beautiful church that I’ve been in, and there’s no reason for it to be used for this event.
Belfast Film Festival is well known for its site-specific special events. The locations chosen add an extra dimension to the screening, and we think the stone cold surroundings of an abandoned church will make for a suitably chilling viewing experience for The Exorcist.
After laying empty for almost 40 years, the Catholic Holy Rosary Church on the Ormeau Road in south Belfast, above, was finally sold in February this year, and there are plans to turn it into a restaurant.
Back in 2014 parishioners expressed horror when they learned that a raunchy music video was filmed in their Belfast church.
The video for London DJ Wilkinson’s song Half Light depicts a young couple – played by Irish actors Joanna Nixon and Diarmuid Noyes – simulating a sex scene on the altar of Good Shepherd Catholic Church on south Belfast’s Ormeau Road.