‘The Blues Brothers’ Is An Official ‘Catholic Classic’ According to the Vatican
Jake and Elwood Blues were on a mission from God — and so is everyone who watches The Blues Brothers, so says the Pope.
In July 2010, on the 30-year anniversary of the John Landis classic about a pair of Chicago orphans who raise money to save their Roman Catholic orphanage through the power of music (and Christ), the Vatican’s official newspaper, L'Osservatore Roman, officially endorsed the film as a “Catholic Classic.” The Church declared The Blues Brothers to be recommended viewing for all their followers as the John Belushi/Dan Aykroyd Saturday Night Live sketch-turned-film earned a certified fresh rating from the Catholic seat of power alongside more explicitly God-fearing fare — Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments, Franco Zeffirelli’s Jesus of Nazareth and Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ all earned endorsements simultaneously, though the lattermost director’s drunk-driving arrest video is still conspicuously absent from the Catholic Criterion Collection.
Despite the protagonists’ “mission,” The Blues Brothers is probably the least-Christlike film to ever earn the Seventh Seal of Approval from the Papacy. There aren’t many references at all to Jake and Elwood’s Christianity outside of the scene where they’re given the divine task, and there’s certainly nothing in the film that’s explicitly Catholic — we don’t remember Jake explaining transubstantiation to those filthy Illinois Protestants.
There’s also nothing explicitly Catholic (or even Christian) about the message of The Blues Brothers, if there even is one. In fact, despite their noble pursuit, Jake and Elwood spend most of the film lying, cheating and stealing from everyone they encounter as The Blues Brothers loosely moves between Chicago set pieces and extended blues music videos. However, despite their many sins, the Blues Brothers do achieve a timelessly Catholic goal in the end — they give a bunch of money to the Catholic Church.