EVERY SEVENTH CHILD (1967) examines Catholic parochial schools during the reign of Pope John, when the 2d encyclical caused great change in the church. The film raises the issue of tax subsidies for parochial schools at a time when many Catholic parents were questioning the value of their children’s increasingly expensive education. To counter the film, a national write-in campaign against the film was organized by Citizens for Educational Freedom, (CEF) a national Catholic lobbying organization. In conjunction with CEF, the New York arch diocese sought to censor the film and got the producer, NET, to withdraw it from secondary distribution for schools, churches, community groups etc. After a screening in the Social Cinema Series of the New York film Festival, Jack Willis debated Father John McLaughlin on the merits of the film vs. censorship.
(See Film Comment, vol. 4, number 4, summer 1968 for a transcript of the debate between Willis and Father McLaughlin over the film.)
“The program brought a sharp reportorial eye to a problem that is vexing Catholic communities throughout the country,” George Gent, The New York Times