Burning Times

One of the better known branches of the National Film Board (NFB) is its feminist
film making branch, Studio D.    •

This time taxpayers’ dol­lars have gone into the mak­ing of Burning Times, a documentary on the purported evolution of witchcraft.

Originally, the film explains, witches were the wise women in villages across Europe. They were the inheritors of an ancient cult of an earth goddess who is said to respect women’s power. The precursors of witches were the healers, the counsellors, the enlightened ones.

Alas, there appears on the scene the male patriarchal cult of Christianity.

Fearing women’s power, these evil men suppressed goddess worship and altered the meaning of witch to mean a consort of the devil.

Then, just for good measure, the Catholics burn nine million women at the stake.

Who cares about facts?

Studio D is never too concerned about facts in any of its ‘documentaries’.

Their sole purpose is to influence people and change minds in support of the feminist cause. The greatest obstacle to this cause is Christianity, above all the international, hierarchical, Roman Catholic Church.

Instead of blaming the evil of burning ‘witches’ on runaway superstition, on the chaos of the times, on the Machiavellian politics of ambitious individuals, including clergy, Christianity itself must be blamed, exposed and destroyed.

So Joan of Arc, burnt at the stake in1416, is depicted rejecting the authority of the Catholic Church during her trial.

In reality, she rejected the power of the bishops acting as counsellors to the French party at war with England. These bishops finally resorted to the lowest strategy they could think of by accusing her of witchcraft and heresy.

Joan continually pleaded to be allowed to put her case to the Holy Father in Rome, a request denied her. Not only did the Church exonerate Joan, she made her a saint! But none of that in this movie.


Did the Catholics do all the killing? As a matter of fact, the majority of burnings were in areas of Europe newly conquered by Protestant rulers during the one hundred years of bitter religious war­fare which ripped Europe to shreds.

What about the figure of nine million? During the 200 years from 1400 to 1600 Europe would never have had a population large enough to support this fabricated figure. Scholars who have tried to study the phenomenon of burning witches have suggested 50 to 60,000 and they are not certain whether the number is that high.

Is this number not shocking? Of course it is! But try to keep some perspective. Think of the million and a half unborn babies murdered in Canada between the years 1969 and 1990.

A feminist future

The sham facts of Burning Times go on and on.

To name only one other falsehood, devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary is presented as a secret substitute for the worship of the goddess, made necessary after Christianity had ruthlessly quashed this noble tradition.

However, Studio D believes there is hope for the future. Burning Times juxtaposes the images of witches as old hags scaring children with modern scenes of women engaged in rituals like outdoor meditations, dancing in circles, jumping over fires, and singing in an attempt to make contact with the spirits-of the earth.

The founder of Creation-spirituality, the eccentric Do­minican priest, Father Matthew Fox, and his resident, self-proclaimed witch, Starhawk, are duly interviewed.
(One European theologian characterizes the ‘mysticism’ of Matthew Fox as half  ‘mist’ and half ‘schism’).

In brief, Studio D has again accomplished what it set out to do in Behind the Veil: Nuns and in other productions: al­ter historical fact and attack Christianity in the service of a new, radical feminism based on the worship, not of God, but of nature.


Burning Times is the sec­ond of three feminist propaganda films. The first was Goddess Remembered (1989), an imaginary reconstruction of prehistoric goddess worship.

The third film, Full Circle, slated for release in 1991, completes the cycle with the exaltation of contemporary feminist cults. All three films are directed by Donna Read, who serves also as co-editor and researcher.

Studio D exemplifies the close connection between contraception, abortion, feminism and anti-Christianity/Catholicism.

In 1984 Studio D produced the propaganda ‘documentary’, Abortion: Stories from North and South (director and writer Gail Singer) and Democracy on trial: The Morgentaler Affair (Jefferson Lewis and Adam Symansky, co-producers; director Paul Cowan).

Both were highly praised and promoted by feminist columnists and commenta­tors across the country. North and South blamed the Catholic Church for the world’s troubles.

Earlier, the Studio had produced two ‘hate America’ films: (Nicaragua: Dream of a Free Country and If you Love this Planet).

Terri Nash attempted to cure porn-addiction by ex­posing viewers to pornography and prostitution (Not a Love story, produced by Bonnie Sherr Klein).

Originally from the U.S., Ms. Klein came to Canada with her husband to escape, the Vietnam draft. Terri Nash got her Ph.D (in film) in the same year that she finished her movie. She is a lapsed Catholic who ‘dropped’ the Church in protest against the fact that God does not intend women to serve as priests.

Donna Quinn

Feminist and anti-Church views do not just originate with lapsed Catholics. Behind the Veil: Nuns highlights a pro-abortion nun, Chicago sister Donna Quinn, who re­cently disclaimed her 1986 recantation for signing a pro-abortion ad in the New York Times during the 1984 presi­dential elections. She now says that she never ‘recanted’ in the first place. So much for dissimulation.

“The Church is in a sinful state as long as it is sexist,” says Sister Quinn’ in Behind the Veil but she adds, she stays in the Church because “it’s worth changing. We have to work to change it. It’s redeemable.”

Taxpayers money

Over the last two years Studio D has also churned out 16 films under the collec­tive title, “Five Feminist Minutes”. The selected 16 film makers – chosen from some 240 applicants – were each given $10,000 of taxpayers’ money plus five rolls of film. Most of their productions are vulgar, with lesbianism and prostitution the leading themes.

Studio D was founded in 1974 with Kathleen Shannon as executive producer (1974-1986). Her successor is Rina Fraticelli. Shannon was given an honourary doctorate by Queen’s University in Kingston in 1984.

In 1987, Studio D operated on a budget of $1,800,000. At that time, it had 70 productions to its name.

Handimand’s Tale

In March1990, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale premiered in Toronto.

It was accompanied with all the fanfare of which the Toronto literary establishment is capable. All of Toronto’s ‘Greats’ attended the first showing of the pro-abor­tion and anti-Christian Hollywood North production: writer June Callwood; CBC broadcaster Adrienne Clarkson; author Pierre Berton; Nobel prize winner John Polyani; Arts patron Bluma Appel; Toronto Star, editor John Honderich; lawyer Clayton Ruby; author Margaret Atwood herself and many others.

Six weeks later, despite a hard-driving advertising campaign, the movie had vanished form North American screens, judged by audiences and critics alike to be a boring flop.


Explained Christianity Today, the studio had been counting on religious protests to boost attendance. They didn’t materialize. Asimilar fate befell the Canadian-made movie, Bethune: The making of a Hero. At $18 million, it was Canada’s most expensive production ever. At least $11.5 million of that came out of the taxpayers’ pocket.

Total receipts were just $305,000 from its first two weeks on 28 screens across the country, an usually large number for a Canadian movie according to Sid Adelman of the Toronto Star (Nov 4). In its third week Bethune was showing on just 18 screens. Thereafter it dropped from sight despite overwhelmingly favourable reviews for star, Donald Sutherland who por­trays the career of Canadian-born medical doctor Norman Bethune.

Bethune had an anti-au­thority complex which led him to serve the Stalinists during the Civil War in Spain (1936-1939); and afterward the Maoists in China in their ruth­less campaigns to reduce their nations to atheist collectives.

Anti-Catholic bigotry

The weekly episode of NEC’s television ‘docu-drama’, Law and Order, January 8, promoted hatred against pro-life, and against Catholics. The program was so virulent that both Right to Life and Roman Catholics ought to sue NBC under the hate law recently upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada.

The program, originating from New York, was produced by Dick Wolf and story editor Stuart Nathan, with the cooperation of public-supported communication units of the city of New York,

It was designed to incite hatred and loathing.

B.C.-based Canadian Christians Concerned about Media lodged complaints January 12 about the program with the CRTC and the Human Rights Commission.

“The fictional program using a realistic documentary style portrayed a young pro-fife Catholic woman, (termed “twofaced” by T. V. Week) who blows up an abortion clinic while awaiting her own secret abortion.”

“.. .the production which portrayed pro-life Christians to be fanatical, self-centred, unintelligent, – hypocritical and criminally murderous [is] a hateful, insultingly tokenistic, grossly inaccurate attempt to manipulate public sympathies for abortion while inflaming attitudes against pro-lifers in general, Christians in particular, and specifically Catholics. This production certainly displays anti-Catholic bigotry.”