Robin Hood: A Rant on Catholics in Media

June 23, 2019

Happy Sunday!

Or is it?

Because I’ve got a major bone to pick with publishers and directors alike.

Get ready, this is going to be one rant-filled post. There’s no holding back here.

*cracks knuckles*

Robin Hood. A movie about a man coming back from war to see tyranny in his hometown, and he decides to strike back.

Strange the Dreamer. A book about a boy who wishes to find a land deemed “fictitious.”

The Orphan King. A book about a boy seeking to reclaim his rightful place on the throne.

What do these stories have in common besides the fact that two of them are set in medieval worlds?

Let me tell you.

All of them, in one way, shape, or form, demean and insult Christianity. More specifically,  Catholicism. 

For instance.

Strange the Dreamer’s main character, Lazlo, is taken in by monks who go out of their way to make his life miserable. We know they’re Catholic monks because they recite the Angelus.

The Orphan King’s main character has the same problem. In addition, his monk caretakers are sorcerers, gluttons, and liars.

Robin Hood. *dark laughter* Oh, boy, don’t even get me started.

How about the fact that every single religious figure is shown to be evil, selfish, and manipulative? How the only “good” figure, the friar, is released from monkhood and later describes it as “freeing”? How a cardinal, the leading bad guy, says this quote: “We created hell”?

Wow, that last one really gets me.

Oh, and let’s not forget the CLEAR symbolism shown in that movie, where a cross falls upside-down and is stepped on.

Definitely not trying to tell us something.

Now, in your head, list every single GOOD Catholic priest or layman you can think of in secular books and movies.

. . . .

I’m waiting.

. . . .

. . . . How many did you think of? I didn’t really think of any. (Except if you count that one brief cameo of a nice priest in In 27 Days. That was refreshing.)

I think we’ve known this for a while, but still, it’s rather shocking to see how the media keeps putting down Catholics and tries to convince others that we’re evil. 

And it even goes farther than that.

You know how we keep hearing about those bishop sex abuse scandals in the news?

About a week ago, I heard some sort of passing reference to a similar scandal in another Christian denominations. I was kind of surprised. I shouldn’t have been. The Catholic Church can’t be the only church dealing with this.

But why haven’t we heard about this? It’s still a sex scandal. It’s still wrong.

Yet Catholics are getting all the media coverage. I’M a Catholic, and I didn’t even think that any other churches HAD sex abuse scandals. It’s sad that I thought we were the only ones.

This makes me angry just writing about it.

Why does the media want to pick on us?

We keep hearing that books and movies need good representation - whether it be races, gender, whatever. But why is it not for religion? The minute religion - Christianity specifically - is referenced in a book or movie, it can either:

  1. Be immediately shot down, or put down in some other way by an evil priest or something.
  2. It’s a Christian movie, and it’s shown in a very cheesy manner. Usually in these types of movies, atheists are shown to be the evilest people alive, too. But . . . just because they’re atheist doesn’t mean they’re jerks. (I’m not supporting atheism here - I believe that it is wrong - I’m just saying that this doesn’t help matters.)

I guess, in some twisted way, this sort of media actually supports Christianity and Catholicism. Because if our religion is correct, I guess the devil will just try to shoot it down harder.

Oh, wait. There is no devil. “We created hell,” remember?

*rolling eyes emoji*

Sorry, usually I don’t come off this cynical. But it needs to be said.

If you’re going to show a Catholic in your story, please, show them correctly. Especially priests.

I’m not saying that all priests are perfect. I’ve known a priest who has done some really bad things. And priest sex abuse is a thing. It’s sad, but true.

But the majority of priests and monks aren’t this way. They aren’t out to get us. They aren’t out to manipulate us. They just want to help us get to heaven. I have an uncle who’s a priest, and he’s not anything like these priests shown on TV.

And even if you aren’t Christian, please at least treat us with respect. Yeah, there are some bad eggs. But most, if not all, Catholics I know aren’t bigots out to hurt everyone. 

I’m not sure where I’m going with this. I’m writing this late at night because I couldn’t sleep.

Hey, I finally know what righteous anger feels like, guys. Yay.

I guess the things to get out of this post are:

-Not all Catholics are evil.
-We want fair representation like everyone else.
-Don’t watch Robin Hood (the 2018 version) - unless you feel like chucking something across a room.

I promise, next week’s post won’t be this ranty. I just had to say this.

*drops mic*


Any books or TV media I should avoid for poor representation? How do you feel about this topic? Let’s talk! Please tell me I’m not the only one . . .

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  1. Fair representation in entertainment for religion always seems to be overlooked! I mean, maybe i prefer people to just avoid religion in books than to make it a main theme and misrepresent it, but if authors care about equal rep for the LGBTQA+ community, why can’t they care about correct religious rep too? But honestly it’s amazing how. misinformed. people. are. I’m not Catholic, but I can think of so many Catholic character that are mis-portrayed now that you’ve mentioned it. And not just that, but characters from other Christian religions too. I often get squeamish when a book mentions a character that lives my own Christian denomination because we have a history of being brutally attacked in literature and the stereotypes are just WILD now (it’s upsetting when handled incorrectly). But it doesn’t stop there either—people of ANY religion are being attacked and misrepresented in literature on purpose, including Muslims, Jews, etc.
    Thanks for this post, Nicole! The entertainment world really needs to hear people speak out for correct rep of religion. :|

    1. Great points, Nicole! I've definitely thought about the LGBTQ+ rep vs. religious rep as well - people seem to care more about the former these days. . . .
      Aw, and I'm sorry to hear that! (You're Church of Latter-Day Saints, right?)
      Thank YOU for reading! And I agree - correct rep is definitely needed in entertainment these days!

  2. Oh, this post!!! I agree, it's really sad that this is happening!! Why??!! Really good points, Nicole.

    Oh, you were talking about the 2018 Robin Hood, that makes sense. I claim to be sort of an expert (more like just someone who is a little obsessed) on the legend of Robin Hood because I've seen or read 11 different versions. I agree, the 2018 one bugged me (But I was in the theater and didn't have anything to throw). The aesthetic and cinematography was kind of cool, but the whole idea and moral of Robin Hood went downhill. Definitely not my favorite, but sad to say, not my least favorite either. In the books especially, Robin Hood does everything in the names of Our Lord, and Our Lady. He brings Friar Tuck into the merry men so that he will help them to pray and be good men. Other books/movies that I can think of with priests: Les Miserables (He is a key element, though not in it for very long), and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. With Robin Hood and THoND there are members of the clergy not shown in a good light. At first I struggled with this, but then I realized that they represent the Pharisees. They show that greed, pride, and other types of sin are in all of us, but there are good members of the clergy to counteract them. Robin Hood never steals from people who love and honor God with all of their hearts.

    You know what is really sad about this? Like everything, I have to go back to classics to find these things. It would be awesome if newer books would show us Catholics in a fair way. Sorry for the monster comment!

    1. I knowwwww! It's really sad. . . .

      I definitely agree - the technical side of the movie was good, but the messages just weren't good at all. I didn't realize that the original Robin Hood had religious messages, though!

      Ooo, that's very, very true. I just think we need to show the GOOD priests and clergy in those types of media as well, to show that they're not all bad.

      I know - modern-day books are just not up to par with their Catholic characters! (And monster comments are really awesome - don't ever apologize!)

  3. I'm not Catholic and I don't know much about it, but I feel like Catholicism is really misunderstood even by other Christians. Like, everybody focuses on Mary and ignores the fact that Catholics love Jesus! I've known several Catholic bloggers, you being one of them of course, and they're always talking about how much Jesus means to them. Again, that's just my very limited perception of the matter... but I feel like Catholics are viewed pretty unfairly.

    Religion and Christianity DEFINITELY needs some better representation in media. It's like it's either portrayed in a way that shows us way more lenient than we should be, or totally stiffnecked and boring. *joins you with an eyeroll emoji*

    1. I definitely agree with all of that! (I could write a whole post about the Mary point, honestly, but for now, I'll just say that although we do respect and honor Mary, at the end of the day, Jesus is God.)

      YES to all that! I can almost never relate to any Christian characters - none of them are realistic at all.

      Thanks for reading, Emily! :)

  4. I NOTICED that in Strange the Dreamer. Although, in fairness to the book, I'm not sure if it would have bothered me a ton if not for the fact that EVERY OTHER YA BOOK DOES THIS. Orphanages could be pretty miserable places...But why are monks always evil in YA?

    And it really gets to me when someone takes a medieval legend, when the original writers were obviously coming from a medieval Christian worldview, and then proceeds to portray all the religious people as evil. And I think the original Robin Hood legends (if I'm remembering correctly, I barely remember the story) DO deal with church corruption, because the story dealt with societal corruption in general, but from what you're describing, that movie sounds like they handled it awfully.

    And it is so hard to find books that deal with religions other than Christianity. I can probably count all the books that have done that on one hand, and I've read lot of books. Anyway, religion in YA is something I've been thinking about for a while! Great post!

    1. Ooo, you read it too? I'm glad to hear I wasn't the only one who noticed! (And YES! I don't think orphanages are always the greatest places . . . but the people who run it aren't always evil!)

      AMEN to all of that! It's really irritating! (I haven't read the original Robin Hood tales, but I do agree with you - I don't think the legends showed the entire CHURCH as evil, which is what this movie did.)

      Hm, I honestly can't even think of any books that I've read that HAVE religions from real life. XD Yikes. Thanks for reading, Becky! :)

  5. Ahhhh I'm totally going to get you to be one of my sensitivity readers when I get to writing my his-fic book so I can make sure I get the Catholic rep okay <3 I'm not Catholic myself, but I understand your pain here. For sure. (I do really love the Catholic priest in Scorpio Races! He's a very good and empathetic character, even if his role is kinda small, if I'm remembering correctly).

    I will say that the Southern Baptist sex scandals have been a major deal, and so have a lot of individual Protestant pastors whose scandals have gotten out? I've heard a lot about the Catholic stuff, but also plenty about Protestants, so it might depend on where you're seeing your news *shrugs*

    This was an excellent post! You never need to feel bad about ranty posts xD <3

    1. Ooo, you're planning on writing a his-fic book? That's really cool! <3 (Is the Catholic character a priest, or . . .?) (And SCORPIO RACES HAS A CATHOLIC PRIEST DONE WELL?? Must. Read. Now!)

      That's true. When I do watch news, it's from more mainstream sites like CBS and FOX News. I'm never the most up-to-date on world events, though . . .

      Thanks, Faith! :)

  6. Very well-written rant, Nicole! It's sad that the media is portraying Catholics in this way. Christianity and anything related to it seems to be getting a bad rap. :/ I'm disappointed, but I'm also not surprised - this is how God said in His Word that the world would be and become. He's coming soon. 💛 And thank God that, as Clare pointed out above, there ARE gems out there with really good representation! :D

    Great post!!!

    1. Thanks, Lila! And very good points! Christianity does seem to get a bad rap many times. . . .


    Ugh, yes. I agree with EV-ER-Y-THING you said in this post, Nicole. #CatholicBloggerBuddy :D I (fortunately) have not seen any of the shows you mentioned, and that turned out to be a good thing when I read this post. I am so SICK of the movies and media feeding us stuff like "Oh yes, diversity is SOOOOOOOO needed. Include everyone! *rainbows* Make everyone feel like they belong! *confetti* And hey. No bashing anyone else. *sparkles* Everyone have a cupcake--BUT ALL THE CATHOLICS ARE EVIL AND ARE GOING TO HELL--AND NOT EVEN IN A HANDBASKET. RAWR *flames and darkness*"


    Either they're stupid, or they REALLY don't realize what a turn-off it is to see one's religion bashed like that. That really ruins a movie/book for us being misrepresented, even if it's only a small portion of said movie/book.

    So maybe this was a ranty/over-reactive comment, but heck. Ya know? Venting is good in moderation.


    1. AMEN!!!

      #CatholicBloggerBuddies for the win! And I agree! (Also, that mini rant is both hysterical and infuriating - I agree with all of it!)

      Hey, yeah, sometimes we just need to rant! :) XD

  8. other denominations definitely have their scandals *nods* but I don't even follow news so I can't say how much they cover haha!! I only hear all this stuff from the Relevant website. I'm so sorry that we've done a poor job representing Catholics in fiction. one Catholic friend really liked The Scorpio Races, though - I cannot remember what the rep was, but the mc was Catholic and my friend thought it was great :)) especially cos it was secular ya. to make you feel better, even tho I'm not Catholic I love Christian nonfiction by Catholics <3 been trying to read more of it - so hit me with recs, if you have any!!

    1. Haha, yeah, I feel you. News is hard to keep up on. . . . Faith mentioned The Scorpio Races above too, so I'll definitely have to read it!

      Oh, goodness. I don't really read nonfiction. XD The Screwtape Letters is good (although it's not written by a Catholic). If you're interested in a saint's biography, Bernadette Speaks is a really good option. And Father Brown is fiction, but that and anything written by G.K. Chesterton is good as well!

  9. 1. Don't apologize for ranting if it's intelligent and good ;)

    I'm not catholic, but I agree with you. Except I've actually been reading some books that portray Catholics in a more realistic, mostly positive way. Ender books by Orson Scott Card. And the original Robin Hood of legend was a DEVOTED Catholic. But I don't like the new version of Robin Hood at all ;/

    As for scandals, Christians actually get them a lot. And there was a huge one among the writing (christian) industry recently that made me pretty sad ;/

    1. Haha, thanks!

      Ooo, I'll have to check those books out - I've heard good things about the Ender books! Ugh, and yes, the new Robin Hood is really bad. . .

      Aw, it's really sad to hear these types of things happen. :(

  10. Weeeelllll heeyyyyy I really know next to nothing about the Catholic faith but what you just said, it makes a whole lotta sense. I get angry every time I hear something like this, misrepresenting a certain group or minority or nationality or whatever just because... why? It doesn't make any sense. Why would you do that? It's ridiculous and petty and stereotypical and lame and cruel. For a world of people who claim to want shared representation and equal rights for everyone, they sure have an interesting definition of the term "everyone."

    Yeah, it's totally not cool. I've experienced this type of righteous anger before (for different reasons, of course), and bigotry is not cool.

    I also don't know anything about the new Robin Hood movie, so yeah. xD I do love the original legends of Robin Hood, in which, as Keturah pointed out above, Hood IS a devout Catholic! And Friar Tuck is real cool! Now everything you've been saying about all this is starting to tick me off too-- yeesh. Some people. I mean, there are bad Catholics out there, just like there are bad people of any other Christian denomination or religion or whatever, but there are good people out of all that too! You know... ^^

    Yeah... mini-ranting here. Sorry.

    Speaking of Catholicism, I'm curious about it and would love to know more about the Catholic faith. I don't think I know anyone else who's Catholic... so may I ask you some questions about it, Nicole? :)

    1. YES! AMEN! I couldn't put it better than that!

      Aw, sorry to hear about that. :( Righteous anger isn't something one wishes to have, especially over things like this. . . .

      Yes, exactly! Not all Catholics are out to abuse the system or whatever. And I find it interesting that the new movie conveniently left out Robin Hood's religious origins ... hm.

      Hey, it's fine!

      Sure! I don't know everything about the Catholic faith, honestly, but I can try to answer what questions you have! (Also, Catherine @ is a Catholic, if you want to ask her some things!) :)

  11. I hate when books and media do that. It makes everyone look bad.

  12. Wow, fabulous post, Nicole! I so agree with you--I've met so many non-Catholics who have mistaken beliefs about the faith, just because they've been exposed to media that clouds or warps the truth! I'm hoping that we'll be able to achieve fair literary representation for all religions and cultures, Christian or otherwise.

    Have you seen the new Tolkien movie? I have not, but I do hear that it glosses over the fact that Tolkien was raised by a Catholic priest--although I'm not going to say anything more until I see the movie myself. :)

    1. Thank you, Kathryn! (Iguess I must have missed your comment originally - sorry about that!) I agree 100% with everything - the media can really distort people's views of the Faith.

      I have not, but I’ve heard similar things about it - that it really glosses over the religious aspects of his life. It’s a little disappointing to hear, but, then again, I haven’t seen it. Have you watched it?

  13. It's so hard to find good catholic books!
    The friars in Shakespeare's plays tend to be good and helpful! (Though they also usually use "Well have you tried faking your death?" as a solution to least in the two plays I've read with friars...)

    I watched Pan awhile ago and the nuns were AWFUL. I hated it and ended up getting up and walking away. Every nun I've met was just the sweetest person ever!
    Bad priests and nuns should be the abnormal character, not the most common ones.
    I wish people would just write catholics as normal characters and put them in contemporary novels. LET THEM BE NICE, NORMAL PEOPLE!

    1. Ugh, yes, I agree!
      That’s true - in Romeo and Juliet the friar was pretty good (except for that horrible advice. XD)

      I will definitely avoid Pan now - thanks for the heads up!
      And YES to ALL OF THAT!! I couldn’t put it better!

  14. I'm a little late to this post but oh my gosh, I 100% agree!! Thank you for this! The only Catholic I can think of that has been portrayed correctly (let me add, in most of the adaptions) is Nightcrawler from the X-Men. I've always appreciated that in all the shows and movies they never took his faith from him. It may not be 100% accurate all the time, but I always appreciate that they do make it clear he is Catholic. In one of the movies he's even seen and heard praying to God and no one tries to take that from him. But other than that, yeah, most movies and TV shows show Christianity in a very bad light and it's sad. :( Like you said we're either portrayed poorly or in cheesy, overly done Christian movies.

    1. Ooo, I’ll have to watch more X-Men then! I don’t think I’ve seen him in any of the movies I’ve watched, which is a pity - he sounds awesome! But yeah, Christians aren’t done very well in media at all. :(

  15. I agree. While I'm not Catholic (I am a Christian and was raised in a pretty liberal Protestant household) it's always frustrating to see people stereotyped. The parents of the MC in my book are Catholics, and totally cruel but they're just bad PEOPLE. Her siblings, the priest and her first boyfriend are all Catholic and wonderful and kind people. But, yes, I noticed that (in YA especially. It's not in Middle-Grade as much, I don't think....).
    But great post.
    fAiR RePrEsEnTaTiOn PlEaSe.

    1. Yes, stereotyping is so annoying!
      I think it's really interesting that you're showing both good and bad Catholics - that's something I think the publishing industry really needs more of!
      Yeah, MG doesn't really focus on religion as much in general, I don't think. (if it does, I guess I'm reading the wrong MG books XD)
      yEs PlEaSe

  16. Yes!
    Thanks, Nicole. I think that people can be good and bad regardless of religion or political standing. And the publishing industry should show more of.
    Some MG books do but they tend to explore less controversial or intense topics. Although, honestly, how would religion be too intense???

    1. EXACTLY!!!
      Yeah, I’ve noticed that too. (*shrugs* I guess MG publishers might think that by putting religion in books, they might be influencing their readers one way or another??? I don’t know. I think there have been more books with religious characters entering the MG field, although I honestly haven’t read any of them.)


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