Skip to comments.'The Nativity Story' Movie Problematic for Catholics, "Unsuitable" for Young Children
Posted on 12/04/2006 7:52:47 PM PST by Pyro7480
'The Nativity Story' Movie Problematic for Catholics, "Unsuitable" for Young Children
By John-Henry Westen
NEW YORK, December 4, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A review of New Line Cinema's The Nativity story by Fr. Angelo Mary Geiger of the Franciscans of the Immaculate in the United States, points out that the film, which opened December 1, misinterprets scripture from a Catholic perspective.
While Fr. Geiger admits that he found the film is "in general, to be a pious and reverential presentation of the Christmas mystery." He adds however, that "not only does the movie get the Virgin Birth wrong, it thoroughly Protestantizes its portrayal of Our Lady."
In Isaiah 7:14 the Bible predicts the coming of the Messiah saying: "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel." Fr. Geiger, in an video blog post, explains that the Catholic Church has taught for over 2000 years that the referenced Scripture showed that Mary would not only conceive the child miraculously, but would give birth to the child miraculously - keeping her physical virginity intact during the birth.
The film, he suggests, in portraying a natural, painful birth of Christ, thus denies the truth of the virginal and miraculous birth of Christ, which, he notes, the Fathers of the Church compared to light passing through glass without breaking it. Fr. Geiger quoted the fourth century St. Augustine on the matter saying. "That same power which brought the body of the young man through closed doors, brought the body of the infant forth from the inviolate womb of the mother."
Fr. Geiger contrasts The Nativity Story with The Passion of the Christ, noting that with the latter, Catholics and Protestants could agree to support it. He suggests, however, that the latter is "a virtual coup against Catholic Mariology".
The characterization of Mary further debases her as Fr. Geiger relates in his review. "Mary in The Nativity lacks depth and stature, and becomes the subject of a treatment on teenage psychology."
Beyond the non-miraculous birth, the biggest let-down for Catholics comes from Director Catherine Hardwicke's own words. Hardwicke explains her rationale in an interview: "We wanted her [Mary] to feel accessible to a young teenager, so she wouldn't seem so far away from their life that it had no meaning for them. I wanted them to see Mary as a girl, as a teenager at first, not perfectly pious from the very first moment. So you see Mary going through stuff with her parents where they say, 'You're going to marry this guy, and these are the rules you have to follow.' Her father is telling her that she's not to have sex with Joseph for a year-and Joseph is standing right there."
Comments Fr. Geiger, "it is rather disconcerting to see Our Blessed Mother portrayed with 'attitude;' asserting herself in a rather anachronistic rebellion against an arranged marriage, choosing her words carefully with her parents, and posing meaningful silences toward those who do not understand her."
Fr. Geiger adds that the film also contains "an overly graphic scene of St. Elizabeth giving birth," which is "just not suitable, in my opinion, for young children to view."
Despite its flaws Fr. Geiger, after viewing the film, also has some good things to say about it. "Today, one must commend any sincere attempt to put Christ back into Christmas, and this film is certainly one of them," he says. "The Nativity Story in no way compares to the masterpiece which is The Passion of the Christ, but it is at least sincere, untainted by cynicism, and a worthy effort by Hollywood to end the prejudice against Christianity in the public square."
And, in addition to a good portrait of St. Joseph, the film offers "at least one cinematic and spiritual triumph" in portraying the Visitation of Mary to St. Elizabeth. "Although the Magnificat is relegated to a kind of epilogue at the movie's end, the meeting between Mary and Elizabeth is otherwise faithful to the scriptures and quite poignant. In a separate scene, the two women experience the concurrent movement of their children in utero and share deeply in each other's joy. I can't think of another piece of celluloid that illustrates the dignity of the unborn child better than this."
See Fr. Geiger's full review here:
An easy definition for Theosis is: "Union with God". St Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 3:18 "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord"
....Rev. Dr. Stanley Harakas relates to Theosis and becoming a saint with "a term in Orthodox Christian teaching which describes that believer who has deeply bonded his life with God, who worships and communes with God, and who feels, wills and acts in harmony with Gods life and will" ...
What would you add or take away from that?
Give it a try! Kolo is older than Athens and even he learned Greek! :)
Dr. E, I had a feeling you'd reply in this manner. Must I remind you that the issue was whether God demanded a sacrifice, not whether He sacrificed (did a wholy thing) Himself for us, out of love, a gift indeed, not ab obligation.
The Church never believd God demanded sacrifice. The Church always believed God willingly did it. Not because He was obliged, but because He so desired.
Suggesting that God demanded sacrifice is contrary to God's mercy, a blasphemy, as I said. It is a distorted idea of God's justice, based on human concept of justice that requires retribution for wounded pride. It is western Christianity at its worst.
When folks start doubting Paul's clear statements, I think it's time to . . . go . . .
bob for apples . . . anything.
Sounds about as doctrinally astute as Jimmuh Cartuh thinking he knows more about Christian doctrine than St Paul.
Boggles the mind.
Not much. One thing comes to mind" dying unto the world and especially oneself. It is a process, a life-long journey of purification, characterized by humility, and selflessness, ever more in harmony with God's will, ever-more Christ-like.
In fact, Orthodoxy defines being "saved" not by proclaiming Christ our Lord and Savior, but how Christ-like we have become following Him at the end of our journey.
"Give it a try! Kolo is older than Athens and even he learned Greek! :)"
Hey, you're older than me! :)
But D, you should learn. Its very easy. In Greece there are children 2 years old who get by pretty well in it. By the time they're 3 they are quite fluent!
2) I misread the doctrine of Atonement, and
3) the Atonement is a mystery to Catholics.
I suppose I can be forgiven for my confusion as to what Catholics truly believe about the Atonement, since Catholics don't seem to know and official websites are erroneous or unclear. One has to wonder how Catholics could develop traditions when so much is in error and confusing.
Since I don't seem to know what I'm talking about after providing multiple Catholic sources on the topic, then I would suggest you provide a reference to a short doctrinal statement as to what Catholics believe on the Atonement.
There is also salvation from this evil age and from the flesh.
We would refer to that as sanctification, and it, too, is ours only by grace. It is the "loving God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength."
Wmfights is right to make the connection with theosis. "Christ in us the hope of glory."
Actually I believe I referenced St Clements somewhere back. I have several others but, I must warn you, they're western church fathers.
The hole is getting deeper.
"No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father." -- John 10:18
I see. So why wouldn't saying "Thank you" suffice?
"This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." -- 1 John 4:10
Then why do you disagree with the term "works-based" salvation? I know you give some credit to God for playing a part, but as you said, He is done. Therefore, again as you said, whether one goes to Heaven is "BASED ON" if he does enough works. That is works-based salvation.
You're playing word games, Kosta. Whether God demanded or desired is not the issue. It is a false dichotomy for there is no distinction since God did both the demanding and the fulfilling of the demand (showing his desire to do so). No, it wasn't an obligation to do what he did but saying he demanded a sacrifice in no way obligates God to BE that sacrifice. The demand was that the price be paid. We could have paid the price ourselves, but that would mean eternity in Hell and no reconcilation with God. This was not what God desired. God desired a reconciliation with us but His justice demanded that the price for our sins be paid. God's justice was satisfied by the penal substitutionary atonement of His Son as well as His desire to be reconciled to man.
"I see. So why wouldn't saying "Thank you" suffice?"
Well, then we would call it "Eucharistoume", "We thank you". Eucharistia means "Thanksgiving", Blogger.:)
So Eucharist is no more than a thank you. It doesn't have any efficacy in the economy of salvation?
Amen. All as ordained by God from before the foundation of the world in order to bring glory to His name.
Q. 1. What is the chief end of man? A. Mans chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.
Westerminter Shorter Catechism:
Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Mans chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.
"For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen." -- Romans 11:36
Because the TITLE of the article was about Spirituality. Gracious merciful heavenly DAYS here! It wasn't about the atonement wrought in and by Christ, but about our spiritual lives, our askesis, our living into the gifts we have gotten from God in Christ. It was NOT about what Christ did so that we would have something to try to live into.
To the best of my knowledge, which in this case ain't much, and in accordance with what I just heard a few weeks ago at an "enquirer's class", AND what I read in my (protestant) seminary, we don't prescribe a particular one of the 4 or 5 different explanations of the atonement, though we tend to lean towards "sacrifice" as opposed to "satisfaction".
It SEEMS you are trying to say, "The RC Church teaches this and denies that," But I can read the same article and see it pointing out the different aspects of this great thing and some of the related questions.
Lots of people describe us RC's as walking in lockstep with a complete theological manual which tells us exactly what we must think about everything. And here we have a topic where the church does NOT do that. There isn't even an index entry for Atonement in the Catechism (at least, not in mine) Not because we don't it's important but because, evidently, while we think Christ's sacrifice on the Cross wrought the reconciliation of Man and God, we're not ready to say just exactly how one ought to think and what one ought to b elieve about it.
And about mystery in general: it's not that a mystery is totally opaque. It's that one can't go very far into it, we think. With the Trinity and the hypostatic union, there are a few things one can say with confidence and a few generally accepted images and analogies, but after that you just have to go, "it's kinda like this, it's kinda like that." With the Atonement there are several well developed conjectures, and we know enough to say that, for example (heh heh) the exemplary doctrine is thorougly inadequate. But we still haven't found one that we can say, "Oh Yeah. THAT's it. We've found a winner. Stop calling in."
YOu can't get a hold of what we teach becasue WE can't get a hold of it.
You, on the flipahdeedoodah side, seem to have gone with "blood atonement", and I'd like to hear more. I'm assuming it's like Anselm?
Anabaptists do NOT belong in that listing of religious groups as they were not a heterodox group (however, as pointed out, neither were they wholly homogenous. There was a lot of variety to the groups called 'Anabaptist')
Another group frequently labeled heretical are the Waldenses. Here are two Waldensian Statement of Faiths for your reading interest... It soon becomes clear that Heretic means anyone we don't like and who dares to disavow some of our non-biblical doctrines.
Waldensian Confessions of Faith
(Reproduced from Jone's Church History)
Waldenses Confession of 1120
1. We believe and firmly maintain all that is contained in the twelve articles of the symbol, commonly called the apostles' creed, and we regard as heretical whatever is inconsistent with the said twelve articles.
2. We believe that there is one God - the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
3. We acknowledge for sacred canonical scriptures the books of the Holy Bible. (Here follows the title of each, exactly conformable to our received canon, but which it is deemed, on that account, quite unnecessary to particularize.)
4. The books above-mentioned teach us: That there is one GOD, almighty, unbounded in wisdom, and infinite in goodness, and who, in His goodness, has made all things. For He created Adam after His own image and likeness. But through the enmity of the Devil, and his own disobedience, Adam fell, sin entered into the world, and we became transgressors in and by Adam.
5. That Christ had been promised to the fathers who received the law, to the end that, knowing their sin by the law, and their unrighteousness and insufficiency, they might desire the coming of Christ to make satisfaction for their sins, and to accomplish the law by Himself.
6. That at the time appointed of the Father, Christ was born - a time when iniquity everywhere abounded, to make it manifest that it was not for the sake of any good in ourselves, for all were sinners, but that He, who is true, might display His grace and mercy towards us.
7. That Christ is our life, and truth, and peace, and righteousness - our shepherd and advocate, our sacrifice and priest, who died for the salvation of all who should believe, and rose again for their justification.
8. And we also firmly believe, that there is no other mediator, or advocate with God the Father, but Jesus Christ. And as to the Virgin Mary, she was holy, humble, and full of grace; and this we also believe concerning all other saints, namely, that they are waiting in heaven for the resurrection of their bodies at the day of judgment.
9. We also believe, that, after this life, there are but two places - one for those that are saved, the other for the damned, which [two] we call paradise and hell, wholly denying that imaginary purgatory of Antichrist, invented in opposition to the truth.
10. Moreover, we have ever regarded all the inventions of men [in the affairs of religion] as an unspeakable abomination before God; such as the festival days and vigils of saints, and what is called holy-water, the abstaining from flesh on certain days, and such like things, but above all, the masses.
11. We hold in abhorrence all human inventions, as proceeding from Antichrist, which produce distress (Alluding probably to the voluntary penances and mortification imposed by the Catholics on themselves), and are prejudicial to the liberty of the mind.
12 We consider the Sacraments as signs of holy things, or as the visible emblems of invisible blessings. We regard it as proper and even necessary that believers use these symbols or visible forms when it can be done. Notwithstanding which, we maintain that believers may be saved without these signs, when they have neither place nor opportunity of observing them.
13. We acknowledge no sacraments [as of divine appointment] but baptism and the Lord's supper.
14. We honour the secular powers, with subjection, obedience, promptitude, and payment.
Waldenses Confession of 1544
1. We believe that there is but one God, who is a Spirit - the Creator of all things - the Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in us all; who is to be worshipped in spirit and in truth - upon whom we are continually dependent, and to whom we ascribe praise for our life, food, raiment, health, sickness, prosperity, and adversity. We love him as the source of all goodness; and reverence him as that sublime being, who searches the reins and trieth the hearts of the children of men.
2. We believe that Jesus Christ is the Son and image of the Father - that in Him all the fullness of the Godhead dwells, and that by Him alone we know the Father. He is our Mediator and advocate; nor is there any other name given under heaven by which we can be saved. In His name alone we call upon the Father, using no other prayers than those contained in the Holy Scriptures, or such as are in substance agreeable thereunto.
3. We believe in the Holy Spirit as the Comforter, proceeding from the Father, and from the Son; by whose inspiration we are taught to pray; being by Him renewed in the spirit of our minds; who creates us anew unto good works, and from whom we receive the knowledge of the truth.
4. We believe that there is one holy church, comprising the whole assembly of the elect and faithful, that have existed from the beginning of the world, or that shall be to the end thereof. Of this church the Lord Jesus Christ is the head - it is governed by His word and guided by the Holy Spirit. In the church it behooves all Christians to have fellowship. For her He [Christ] prays incessantly, and His prayer for it is most acceptable to God, without which indeed their could be no salvation.
5. We hold that the ministers of the church ought to be unblameable both in life and doctrine; and if found otherwise, that they ought to be deposed from their office, and others substituted in their stead; and that no person ought to presume to take that honour unto himself but he who is called of God as was Aaron - that the duties of such are to feed the flock of God, not for filthy lucre's sake, or as having dominion over God's heritage, but as being examples to the flock, in word, in conversation, in charity, in faith, and in chastity.
6. We acknowledge, that kings, princes, and governors, are the appointed and established ministers of God, whom we are bound to obey [in all lawful and civil concerns]. For they bear the sword for the defence of the innocent, and the punishment of evil doers; for which reason we are bound to honour and pay them tribute. From this power and authority, no man can exempt himself as is manifest from the example of the Lord Jesus Christ, who voluntarily paid tribute, not taking upon himself any jurisdiction of temporal power.
7. We believe that in the ordinance of baptism the water is the visible and external sign, which represents to as that which, by virtue of God's invisible operation, is within us - namely, the renovation of our minds, and the mortification of our members through [the faith of] Jesus Christ. And by this ordinance we are received into the holy congregation of God's people, previously professing and declaring our faith and change of life.
8. We hold that the Lord's supper is a commemoration of, and thanksgiving for, the benefits which we have received by His sufferings and death - and that it is to be received in faith and love - examining ourselves, that so we may eat of that bread and drink of that cup, as it is written in the Holy Scriptures.
9. We maintain that marriage was instituted of God. That it is holy and honourable, and ought to be forbidded to none, provided there be no obstacle from the divine word.
10. We contend, that all those in whom the fear of God dwells, will thereby be led to please him, and to abound in the good works [of the gospel] which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them - which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, sobriety, and the other good works enforced in the Holy Scriptures.
11. On the other hand, we confess that we consider it to be our duty to beware of false teachers, whose object is to divert the minds of men from the true worship of God, and to lead them to place their confidence in the creature, as well as to depart from the good works of the gospel, and to regard the inventions of men.
12. We take the Old and the New Testament for the rule of our life, and we agree with the general confession of faith contained in [what is usually termed] the apostles' creed. t the organized church
The Eucharist is the central point of The Church on earth. Its celebration defines The Church. And we know that theosis is advanced within The Church, Blogger. Its the most important event of our lives.
You ought to read the Eucharistic theology of The Church as expressed by +Ignatius of Antioch.
Mad Dawg, I just wanted to let you know how grateful I am that you are involved in this thread and seem to have the time to respond as much as you can. You are doing a fabulous job and I hope to jump back in at some point. I have lots of good excuses for why I'm not helping but I will spare you! :o)
I don't recall a meaningful post on that subject from you, and I have seen a dosen posts from you to me by now. Try again, or at least point to it so I can give it a second look. Also, you will get my attention faster if you keep your post to the point and avoid innecessary capitalization, sarcasm and general silliness. If Dr. Eckelburg gives me her response on this, I will try to remember pinging you are well as I talk to her.
I don't know what these are.
Kolo. I read a lot of things. What I can't seem to get on this forum is a straight answer to a lot of questions asked. You've been kind enough to answer questions. But, the original topic was concerning the sacrifice of Christ. The statement was made that God does not desire sacrifice. I then asked what is the Eucharist. The response was "Thanksgiving."
The EWTN website says "The Holy Eucharist is a sacrament and a sacrifice." On the OCA's website it says" The Orthodox Church denies the doctrine that the Body and the Blood of the eucharist are merely intellectual or psychological symbols of Christ's Body and Blood. If this doctrine were true, when the liturgy is celebrated and holy communion is given, the people would be called merely to think about Jesus and to commune with him "in their hearts." In this way, the eucharist would be reduced to a simple memorial meal of the Lord's last supper, and the union with God through its reception would come only on the level of thought or psychological recollection...the Orthodox tradition does use the term "symbols" for the eucharistic gifts. It calls, the service a "mystery" and the sacrifice of the liturgy a "spiritual and bloodless sacrifice."
So, if God does not demand or desire sacrifice, why is one offered up to Him on a regular basis? Such was the question.
Feel free to point out why.
Which question? I am trying to have a conversation with you. Please cooperate.
Necessity of Baptism:
3 ... Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith to him: How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter a second time into his mother's womb, and be born again? 5 Jesus answered: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born [again (*)] of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
37 ... What shall we do, men and brethren? 38 But Peter said to them: Do penance, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins: and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Necessity of Eucharist
54 ... Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. 55 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day.
Maybe 1 John is not the one John who wrote the Gospels. I don't know. But he and Matthew are not saying the same thing.
From the Old Testament we know that God neither condoned sacrificing one's own, nor that anyone can atone for someone else's sins.
"So, if God does not demand or desire sacrifice, why is one offered up to Him on a regular basis? Such was the question."
Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. 55 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day.
It is 1 Corinthians 11. You are correct, the main distinction is between those who treat the eucharist as a happy meal and the proper way. But he also, in v. 29 speaks of the body of the Lord present in the Eucharist. My remarl was to a poster who advised me to approach the Lord "boldly". I posted from Cor 11 where that boldness is explained not be confused with lack of reverence, or else it becomes onto condemnation.
You are not saved until you are judged. If you believe, chances are that you will become suffciently merciful and pure in heart by the time you face the judgment that you will be saved when God judges you after death. If you don't believe, chances are that you won't.
God knows who believes as lip service and who believes in ernest and tries honestly to follow Chirst even if one honestly fails.
Well, YEAH! That and Yankees fans.
I stand corrected. I meant the "indwelling of the Holy Spirit" to be problematic, but the grammar I mangled indeed mistakenly referred to the Holy Spirit Himself.
It doesn't say that God demanded sacrifice.
The issue was the theology of atonement of St. Anselm. When I see you taking the scriptural critique of the protestant falsehoods seriously, I will begin taking your reverence toward the scripture seriously.
We disagree on the interpretation of that text; however that aside, Post 5581 started the conversation (with Annalex). It then went on to me questioning what Eucharist is, if not a sacrifice. To this, I received the definition of the word "Eucharist" rather than an explanation of what it is. It is obvious that the Orthodox and Catholics believe it is a sacrifice. But now, this begs the question, what is this sacrifice for? You all seem (correct me if I am wrong) to believe that this is a continuance of the sacrifice Christ made on Calvary. Yet, somehow it appears that many do not believe that Christ's sacrifice was for the purpose of paying the penalty for our sins as our substitute. So, what is it for? A distinction is being made between God's desire and His demand which I believe is a false distinction (for reasons aforestated). We believe that God's justice demanded that the penalty for sin be paid for and that He willingly substituted the payment of His perfect Son's life to pay that price (death). Do you all believe something differently?
Saying "because we want to" isn't exactly taking things seriously yourself. And so far, I have not seen "Protestant falsehoods" illustrated on any essential matters.
I actually like the Yankees best in the American League on religious grounds.
It was one of the world series between the Yankees and the Braves. They showed both locker rooms and the Brave's were G-d d&(ming this and G-d d@#)($*ng that (something I absolutely can not STAND. I'll take the F word a million times over GD or JC used as a curse). Anyway, shortly thereafter, I don't remember who it was, but one of the Yankees was thanking His Lord Jesus Christ. I've liked them ever since.
The Eucharist they don't need, as they are not capable of sinning. As a Catholic I take the Holy Scripture literally, and literally it teaches that baptism is necessary for salvation. There is an extrascriptural speculation that the innocent babies slaughtered in the Holocaust of abortion are saved by the extraordinary mercy of Christ, together with the Holy Innocents. There is another that they receive baptism of blood similar to the Good Thief. At any rate, they do not experience any pain of Hell due tot their innocence. St, Augistine taught that they are in a region of hell where they have all possible natural happiness, but deprived of the supernatural happiness of heaven. This is, best that I know, the range of Catholic thought on the subject. Also see Limbo.
"You all seem (correct me if I am wrong) to believe that this is a continuance of the sacrifice Christ made on Calvary. Yet, somehow it appears that many do not believe that Christ's sacrifice was for the purpose of paying the penalty for our sins as our substitute. So, what is it for?"
Its late and I'll answer in more detail, probably patristic detail, tomorrow, but quickly, it has to do with The Evil One and bondage to death wrought by sin.
I think languages are easier for kids. And Greeks use those funny letters alpha, beta... phe, phi, phoe, phum..
Kolo, did you take classes or Berlitz or use tapes?
The question is, did God demand the sacrifice of the Cross, not whether it was given.
such a term could very well lead to a wrong impression
It could, but our aim here is precision. Since the council of Ephesus and till the Reformation no one seemed to misunderstand it.
Well, let's see them! I can tell you that Hebrews 10 is anything but what the Church practices.
take for example
"For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified." [v.14]
[and I though they were perfected from before all ages according to +Paul]
Now, where does Chris say this in the Gospels? IOW, where is +Paul getting all this from?
I am not ready to discuss St. Anselm intelligently. Maybe next week I will. My gut feeling is that the transactional semantics of atonement: Christ buying salvation from God, is a gross to the point of heresy approximation of what St. Anselm taught.
I'm confused by your post. Are you saying that Christ sanctified us once for all on the cross based upon Hebrews? Are you saying that Paul made it up and that the gospels are the only rule? Not sure what you are saying. Would you clarify?
Put in the context of Romans 5, I agree, but then boast means boast in the ability to confess sin. We also should not forget that the body of Christ is present at the Altar in a unique way.
God, the Holy Spirit.