Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Why Catholic-Bashing Should Concern All Christians

In the recent DVD release, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, the historical conflict between Catholics and Protestants takes center stage. The Protestant Queen Elizabeth I is threatened and undermined by the Catholic King Phillip II of Spain. The Catholics in the film are nearly all blind zealots looking to undo the more rational Queen. The Queen herself is presented not as a figure of any notable Protestant belief, but more as a stalwart secularist protecting her homeland from its mystic foes. The film is not a balanced view of this important time in European history, but rather a half-baked diatribe against religion in general.

Filmmakers casually giving the Catholic Church a swift kick in the shorts isn’t a new phenomena. There have been a few films that take swipes at the church like: Stigmata, The Da Vinci Code, The Order, Priest, Constantine, Jeffrey, Hudson Hawk, Dogma, Saving Silverman, The Golden Compass, The Name of the Rose, Primal Fear, The Pope Must Die, Hail Mary, The Devils, The Magdalene Sisters, Chocolat, The Agnes of God, The Boys of St. Vincent, Mystic River, Casanova…It goes on from there. Add your titles to the list.

Why is the Catholic Church so often the focus of attention rather than other Christians? First because the Church has a broad, international reach, and it has a deep influence on every culture it touches. The impact of the church as a worldwide organization is undeniable. This wide reach didn’t happen overnight. The Church has a long history that goes back to Biblical times. You cannot tell the story of mankind without talking a great deal about the workings of the Church. It is the backbone of the Christian faith.

Another reason Catholicism is so readily used as the entertainment industry’s personal diaper is because Catholics are so dang easy to spot. Priests, nuns, cardinals and Popes all wear easily identifiable uniforms. No one has ever said, "Hey, I was down at Chuck E. Cheese and thought I saw the Pope, it turned out it was Jerry." Even if Jerry likes to wander around with a large bejeweled hat, the Pope is the Pope. Think of it, if you’re a filmmaker and have a point to make about Christianity, what do you do? How do you readily show a Baptist preacher? You'd have to show a guy with big hair and a bad sweater. Even if you do this, you'll still have to point out he’s a Christian and not just some poorly dressed guy with a lot of opinions. For the sake of economy, it would be easier to just slap a collar on the guy and give him an Irish last name.

When filmmakers take shots at Christians in general it always causes an uproar. When the target of the insult is Catholic, the cries of foul often are quieter. Sure, with groups like The Catholic League and the well organized online bloggers few insults go unanswered. For non-Catholics the attacks are usually treated as someone else's problem. If a Christian sees a cheap shot at a priest or a story centering on the Church's misdeeds (both imagined and real) and that Christian isn't troubled, there's a problem. The truth be told, all Christians should react strongly when any of our brothers and sisters - even those we disagree with - are maligned. The fact is that when filmmakers attack the Catholic faith more times than not their real intent is to attack ALL Christians from Catholic, to Lutheran and Baptist to everyone in between. Religion in general is the target, not just one branch of it. If you look at films that specifically focus on the Catholic faith such as Elizabeth: The Golden Age, or The Golden Compass study what they are really saying. They're usually not just attacking the Catholic religion, they're attacking all religion. The following of Christ is the issue. If one can injure Christians and dismantle our collective faith, the vacuum that is created can be filled with a secular belief system. When actor Ian McKellen stated on the Today show “I've often thought the Bible should have a disclaimer in the front saying this is fiction.” he speaks for a large number of people in the entertainment industry. Should it come as any surprise that McKellen, a proud hater of the Christian faith, has had ample opportunity to star in a number of films that are openly hostile to God (The Da Vinci Code, The Golden Compass, For the Love of God)? Those who loathe Christ and his teachings have a voice and they use it freely with the support of the film industry. Do not fool yourself, those willing to tear the Catholic Church down do not usually trouble themselves with the distinction in theology between the Pope and Billy Graham. When they throw these cinematic eggs at the Vatican they are meant to splatter on us all.

11 comments:

Joe said...

http://www.bloodline-themovie.com/

it’s an intense documentary on the mysteries of Jesus’ Bloodline. Those of you who are into ‘The Da Vinci code’ or ‘holy blood holy grail’ will be amazed by this real-life adventure with actual holy relics found!

Meg said...

Unfortunately, Scott, our dear Mother Church has a bad habit of offending other Christians. Some we don't consider Christian. Some we refuse to recognize their baptisms. Some we refuse to give the designation "church". We refuse to "allow" them communion at our Masses.

I'm not saying that they are right, but it's not surprising that they feel no kinship to Catholicism.

A second point, is it really fair to classify films that criticize the Church as anti-catholic? The Boys of St. Vincent, if I recall correctly, was about the molesting of children by the brothers at a Catholic boys' school -- based on the true events at Newfoundland's Mount Cashel orphanage. It is not anti-catholic to air the Church's dirty laundry, it is GOOD to expose the hypocrisy and sin to make sure it doesn't happen again.

LEt's not forget -- one of the reasons that priests continued to abuse people is that people felt that attacking a priest was the same as attacking the Church or catholicism. There is a distinct difference.

Scott Nehring said...

Meg,

It is of course fair game to discuss the sexual abuse scandals - I thought that went without saying so I left it out of the post. In the case of The Boys of St Vincent, its not the handling of the topic - actually, the abuse scenes were done with as much respect as they could be handled - but how the faith itself is presented.

The fact that the exclusive beliefs of the Catholic Church offends other Christians is exactly why I felt the need to remind them that we are all a part of the body of Christ. I'm not a Catholic, I'm the token Protestant on this site. I certainly don't agree with every teaching of the Catholic faith (otherwise I'd still be Catholic), some of my disagreements are actually rather strong. This said, every Catholic whether they feel I am hell bound or not is my brother or sister in Christ and I will stand with them. We shouldn't require another's approval or agreement to do what's right.

Thanks for stopping in. Good comment.

James H said...

Great post. By the way the stuff that the is put on by National Geographic I think on th Discovery Channel? is even more horrid. They have been doing some religious stuff that have been on thankfully late at nite that is just plain horrid

Anonymous said...

as a catholic, i am offended by the catholic league...they are just trying to make money at the gullible catholic's expense. they intentionally generated hype on the davinci code to make money for themselves. The davinci code is a work of fiction...if anyone reading it actually believed a work of fiction is the truth...they are an idiot. I didn’t read the book…I went to the movie to see what all the hullaballo was about and after I saw it I had nothing but contempt for the catholics who were yelling and screaming about it. can you say: overreaction…big time. Grow up!

as far as the reporter who made a ding against christians goes...with his remark that the whole bible is a work of fiction...i would ask him if he is jewish...ask him if all his Hollywood jew buddies agree with that or not…

you might want to look into the jewish controlled media...they run the media and hollywood. its kind of suspicious if you ask me. also not enough women are running cameras in hollywood...its mostly men. they have a perverted view of women. unfortunately, women also have a perverted view of women...because of their jealousy...you know the wicked witch in snow white mentality. can't stand hot women...hot women are whores mentality. its really offensive.

its also troublesome to me that catholic answers is harassing true catholics. and is behind the prevatican 2 trash. to me, pre vatican 2'ers are anti catholic. Which gets back to my huge objection against catholic league..its mostly a bunch of prevatican 2 troublemakers looking for another way to make a buck while they stir up trouble.

Scott Nehring said...

Well, ain't we cranky?

So, you're against male cameramen or directors? Who is it who has the perverted view of women? If its the cameramen then you're confused since I've met plenty of camerawomen in my day - sure, the field of camera work is dominated by men but most jobs are.

If you pick up books and actually read them you'll discover the "the wicked witch in snow white mentality" goes back across time - across cultures and across gender lines. It is replicated on the opposite side of the gender line by the hero/old man archetypes.

The other stuff you're talking about...well...there it is, we'll just let that all speak for itself.

BTW it was an actor who made the comment not a reporter.

Anonymous said...

Scott ,
I have a feeling that "anonymous" with the jewish tirade is not really Catholic. I have seen tactics like this before.

Bruce

Anonymous said...

i'm sorry
i didn't mean to come across as if i hate all male cameramen...

what i am trying to say is that there is a problem with how men view women and it shows on camera when a weirdo is the one doing the filming...i think there are too many weirdos doing film in hollywood. that is what i am trying to say.


on the jewish thing...i am right. i am not saying that they are all out to tear catholics apart...but the industry is dominated by jews so they are not necessarily looking out for christian values and beliefs. it is however, something that needs to be taken into consideration as a whole...they make up a bigger chunk of that whole. and i don't mean to come across as anti jew...becuase i happen to like some of their beliefs...me being catholic and all. :) however, the jewish influence on media cannot be ignored or overlooked. i think there might be some favoritism when it comes to jewish issues.

Anonymous said...

let me put it this way...they have some undue influence because of their hold on the media.

Anonymous said...

i'll clarify the male cameraman problem...they are having an undue influence on the perception of women in society.

Scott Nehring said...

There's plenty of different kinds of people working in the industry and there isn't a Jewish cabal lording over the products that are released. Its not like there's producers out there giving notes to make things more "Jewish".

Your male cameraman argument is nonsensical. If by cameramen you mean directors then you're confused. You're also exposing your ignorance of the basic facts of the industry and show you don't know what you're talking about.

I appreciate your wanting to comment and thank you for stopping in but you have to make more sense.

BTW, use your name. Remaining anonymous is cheesy.