Netflix is having a Catholic moment. Here’s your guide on what to watch.

In September it was announced—to a flurry of heart emojis on America’s Facebook page—that Netflix will be producing “The Pope,” an original feature film starring Pope Francis’ doppelganger Jonathan Pryce (“Game of Thrones,” “Pirates of the Caribbean”), with potentially Anthony Hopkins as Pope Benedict.

Although the announcement caused a stir, this is not the first time Netflix has jumped on the Catholic bandwagon—it is not even the first Pope Francis biopic the streaming service has made available to its audience. “Call Me Francis,” first released in Italy in 2015, follows the life of Jorge Bergoglio in his younger years.

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And it’s not just “the Francis effect”; Netflix has a goldmine of content featuring Catholic characters and subjects. In 2017 Netflix released “The Keepers,” an original true-crime documentary that explores the mysterious and tragic murder of a religious sister in Baltimore nearly five decades ago; “Juana Inés,” about the 17th-century Mexican nun Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (the so-called “first feminist of the new world”); and “Father Brown,” a mystery series based on G. K. Chesterton’s short stories.

America has compiled a list to help you find all the Catholic entertainment you’ve been looking for but didn’t know was there. (Disclaimer: Not all the content listed here takes its Catholic themes as seriously as others.)

Biopics

The Letters” ponders St. Mother Teresa’s letters to her spiritual adviser, in which she describes her struggles with her faith.

Liberating a Continent: John Paul II and the fall of Communism,” is a biographical documentary about St. John Paul II and the role he played in resisting Communism in Poland and later as pope.

Juana Inés,” reviewed by America, is about Catholic sister Juana Inés de la Cruz and her contributions to literature.

Call Me Francis,” reviewed by America, tells the story of Pope Francis’ life before he was pope.

Father Joseph” explores the work of a priest working against great resistance to help people in poverty in Haiti.

Shows about Priests (or Priests-in-training)

Father Brown” is a British television series about a crime-solving priest. G. K. Chesterton’s stories served as inspiration for the show.

The Church Men” is an award-winning French series that takes place in a Capuchin seminary, following the trials and tribulations of five different students.

Horror Movies

The Craft” is a 1990s film set at a Catholic school, where the new girl falls in a with a coven of witches.

The Rite,” starring Anthony Hopkins, is a thriller about a priest attending exorcism training at the Vatican.

Hostage to the Devil” follows a priest who illicitly performs exorcisms.

Catholic Comedies

"One Day At a Time," is a Netflix reboot that has explored the central family’s Catholicism with humor and sensitivity.

Jim Gaffigan: Cinco” and “Jim Gaffigan: Obsessed” are one-hour specials by one of the country’s favorite Catholic comedians, in which he talks about raising five kids, exercise and weddings.

Kathleen Madigan: Bothering Jesus” and “Kathleen Madigan: Madigan Again,” are one-hour specials by Kathleen Madigan on her Irish-Catholic family, growing up in Missouri and more.

Documentaries

The Keepers,” reviewed by America, is a true-crime documentary investigating the unsolved murder of Sister Kathy, a beloved teacher in 1960s Baltimore.

Secrets of the Shroud” investigates the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin.

Tierra de Maria” is a Spanish-language documentary about an antagonistic attorney who interviews women about their relationships with the Virgin Mary.

Marias: Faith in Womanhood” is explores what the Virgin Mary means to women in Latin America.

Biblical Revisits

Full of Grace” imagines what Mary of Nazareth had to say to the disciples after Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Peter: the Redemption” follows Peter’s early evangelization.

The Bible” is a cinematic portrayal of the Bible.

Son of God” is the sequel to “The Bible,” following the life of Jesus.

On the Sex Abuse Crisis

Spotlight,” reviewed by America, is an Oscar-winning drama that tracks a team of investigative journalists as they uncover the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church in the 1990s. America also interviewed the film’s director, Tom McCarthy.

El Bosque de Karadima” is a drama based on real life, following the victims of a priest convicted of sex abuse crimes in Chile.

Historical Dramas

Borgia” is a Netflix original series about the Borgia family’s entanglements in the Vatican and beyond during the Renaissance.

The Borgias” provides yet another take on the Catholic dynasty, and Jeremy Irons stars.

Coming of Age Catholic films

Stations of the Cross” tells the tale of Maria, who desperately wants to be a saint—and inflicts the suffering she thinks sainthood entails upon herself.

The Apostate” is about a young man determined to renounce his Catholicism.

Amar, Akbar and Tony” is a comedic tale of friendship between a Sikh, a Muslim and a Catholic.

Little Sister,” reviewed by America, tells the story of a woman in training to become a Catholic nun. She has her faith tested when she returns home to visit her brother, a veteran traumatized by the Iraq war.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Bill Collier
1 year ago

Thanks for this list of Catholic-centered television programming, and for the disclaimer that not all of the programming takes its "Catholic themes as seriously as others." Separating the wheat from the chaff may be a worthwhile effort ;)

Lisa Keuhlen
1 year ago

Henry Poole is Here would also be a good Catholic film to watch.

victoria hoang
1 year ago

Jane the Virgin is missing from this list. I find the idea of a modern Virgin Mary very smart and refreshing!

C W
12 months ago

Are any of these shows any good? I've watched Amar, Akbar and Tony, a season of The Churchmen, and most of the one season of One Day at a Time. At the beginning I had hope but as I watched all of them I was mostly disappointed because they tended to make fun of Catholicism, ignore it, or portray it as something overly bureaucratic. Where is the beauty, goodness, and truth?

Matthew Ogilvie
12 months ago

I'd respectfully suggest that "Daredevil," featuring the very Catholic Matthew Murdock would be a worthy inclusion in this list.

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