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

Partly True: 2012 Documentary Depicts a Controversial Play by That Name

Protesters express opposition to Corpus Christi
Jonathan Elderfield/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

A decades-old viral petition — some might call it a 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 released in 2012. Read on to learn about the complaints expressed via emails as well as the facts of the matter.

Example Email

This is an example email raising concerns about the movie that appeared on June 20, 2009:

Subject: Corpus Christi

The movie Corpus Christi is due to be released this June to August. This disgusting film set to appear in America later this year and it depicts Jesus and his disciples as homosexuals! As a play, this has already been in theatres for a while. It's called Corpus Christi ' which means 'The Christ Body.' It's a revolting mockery of our Lord. But, we can make a difference. That's why I am sending this e-mail to you. If you do send this around, we may be able to prevent this film from showing in America and South Africa. Apparently, some regions in Europe have already banned the film. We need a lot of prayers and a lot of e-mails. As a Christian I want to take a stand in what I believe in and stop the mockery of Jesus Christ our Savior. At the risk of a bit of inconvenience, I'm forwarding this to all I think would appreciate it. Please help us prevent such offenses against our Lord. It will take you less than 2 minutes to pass it on.

If you are not interested, or do not have the 2 Minutes it will take to do this, please don't complain when God does not have time for you, because He is far busier than we are.

Remember, Jesus said 'Deny Me on earth and I'll deny you before my Father'

The Play's the Thing

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.