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Film Studies Professor Releases Catholic Cultural Figures Book

An Oklahoma City University cultural studies professor edited a newly released book titled “Unruly Catholics from Dante to Madonna.”

Marc DiPaolo, an assistant professor in both the English and Moving Image Arts departments at OCU, decided to focus on some of the most famous counter-culture figures in Catholicism for his latest book.

“Roman Catholicism has produced some of the nicest people who ever lived, like St. Francis of Assisi, and some of the meanest, like the Borgias,” DiPaolo said. “Of course, the religion cannot take all of the credit for the nice figures it produced or all of the blame for the mean ones. Still, there is this interesting polarizing element to the religion that had the potential to foster — on the one hand — extreme violence, prejudice, narrow-minded thinking, and ideological lunacy, while — on the other hand — inspiring wonderful works of art and literature, a love of learning and nature, and a general feeling of empathy and awareness of the oneness of humanity.”

Other than the names in the title, the book includes scholarly analysis of “unruly Catholics” Oscar Wilde, Michael Moore, Stephen Colbert and several others who follow or formerly followed the Catholic faith. The essays were drafted by scholars of literature, film, religion, history and sociology from across the country. The essays explore how the controversial artists and entertainers practice their religion and how they deal with disparities between their personal beliefs and the official church teachings.

The book also addresses some of the recent scandals and the possibilities of reformation from within.

“Unruly Catholics from Dante to Madonna” was released on Scarecrow Press. It is available for purchase from the Rowman & Littlefield publisher’s website at