Catholic media criticizes “Eat Pray Love” movie & appears to belittle Hinduism

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Catholic media has been largely critical of Oscar winner Julia Roberts starrer “Eat Pray Love” movie and in the process appeared to belittle Hinduism concepts and symbols.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that we were all looking for the truth. Instead of condescending dismissal and highlighting flaws of others, we should learn from each other through dialogue in our shared quest for truth, and thus come nearer to the truth.

“America” Magazine from New York, which calls itself “The National Catholic Weekly”, wrote about “Eat Pray Love” movie:  “It is potentially dangerous. It will exploit the common desire among women for the diligent joy which Gilbert so beautifully names with products that falsely promise such contentment”.

Catholic News Service headquartered in Washington DC, apparently talking about Rome portion of the movie, said: “Though she seemingly hits every restaurant in town, she gives the churches a pass, the implication being that she knows better than to look to Catholicism for insight”. Its description of the India ashram (hermitage), which Liz Gilbert (played by Julia Roberts) visits, includes, “The unhealthy atmosphere of semi-idolatrous worship…”. It blames Emmy nominated director Ryan Murphy’s movie for “…negating, or at least ignoring, the spiritual resources of Christianity…”. It gives the movie a classification of “L”, which includes “films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling”.

“National Catholic Register” from North Haven (Connecticut) argues: “Her strange incuriosity regarding Italy’s spiritual heritage is all the odder in light of her spiritual aspirations during her time in India”. It adds: “Even Eastern religion is all very well up to a point…”

Office for Film and Broadcasting of United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in New York, which reviews current movies, has not reviewed it yet.

Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, further said that more broader and inclusive understanding of the religion was needed in the world today. Despite our seriously different traditions, we should learn to live together in mutual trust and peace, Zed added.

Roberts, who grew up with a Catholic mother and Baptist father, announced sometime back that she was a practicing Hindu.

Shot is USA, Italy, India, and Indonesia, and released in USA and Canada on August 13, “Eat Pray Love” will reportedly be released in India on August 27.



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