Is There a Movie Called "Corpus Christi" Depicting Jesus as Gay?

Protesters express opposition to Corpus Christi

Jonathan Elderfield / Getty Images

A decades-old viral petition and chain email aimed to block the release of a movie called "Corpus Christi," allegedly depicting Jesus Christ and his disciples as gay. The viral petition began circulating in the mid-1980s, but a movie by that name—a documentary depicting a controversial play about a gay Jesus—was not released until 2012. 

The Play

In 2012, a documentary film was released chronicling a touring production of Terrence McNally's stage play "Corpus Christi." The play does, in fact, depict Jesus Christ as a gay man. The documentary is titled "Corpus Christi: Playing with Redemption." IMDb, the internet movie database, describes the movie as follows:

"Inspired by Terrence McNally's Passion Play told through the lens of a young gay Jesus, Corpus Christi: Playing with Redemption follows a group of actors who began production on the play seven years ago in a small church. Within months they suddenly found themselves thrust in the world spotlight touring to international acclaim."

A Different "Corpus Christi"

Another movie, also titled "Corpus Christi," was released in 2017. But, it was not about a gay Jesus. Indeed, though the movie has religious connotations, its protagonist is not Jesus and its plot focuses on a completely different topic. According to Cineurpoa, Polish director Jan Komasa's film:

"...revolves around 20-year-old Daniel, who, while serving his sentence in a youth detention center, has been thinking about becoming a priest. However, just before he is paroled, he learns from the chaplain that because of his crime, no seminary will accept him. Upon his release, he puts on a clerical collar he stole previously and presents himself in the town as a priest on his holidays. He stands in for the local parish priest – a burnt-out secret alcoholic. His lack of experience, moral doubts and fear of being exposed are offset by his oratorical talent and charisma that flows from true faith. However, not everyone finds his unique pastoral methods appealing: the mayor and the sexton look upon him with suspicion..."​

Variety noted in a June 23, 2017, article that this version of "Corpus Christi" was a highlight at the Paris Coproduction Village, a European festival for film producers, sales agents, distributors, financiers, and fund representatives. As of fall 2017, there has been no mention of any upcoming film titled "Corpus Christi" depicting a gay Jesus, but the 2012 documentary is available on streaming services such as Amazon Prime.