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:
These passages are not problems for those who embrace the Bible as God's message to man.
It is clear who Paul is referring to in this passage- and he is NOT denying the deity of Christ in so doing.
John's noting what the disciples saw doesn't negate sola fide either. The disciples had faith that Christ was who He said he was and who Scripture testified He was. They were eyewitnesses, for sure. They were blessed. But it doesn't mean that they didn't have true faith. Remember, they had just buried their friend. You can hardly fault them for losing focus on who Christ was - particularly since they didn't seem to realize all of the full import of what He said until after it was all over. Yet, they did believe. Not just that he was alive. They could see that. But that He was the Christ, the Son of the Living God. God in the flesh. Their Savior.
Kosta,you know that God is everpresent and watching everything you do. Do you ever betray him? Ever sin against him? Well, you know who He is. You know He's watching. Don't you find it strange that you sin against Him knowing you are in full view of Him? I don't. Peter had a "human" moment. If Scripture were a man-made man-inspired set of documents, Peter probably would have had a cape and rescued Jesus from the Cross. Instead, we see him as quite fallible and quite forgetful. I mean good grief - he fed 5000 and the next scene they are fearing for their lives in his midst. People forget very quickly. Peter was no exception.
As to the bond-slaves of death comment that is an interpretation. The Old Testament Saints were saved the same way we are - by faith. They had a different spot in history. They looked forward to the promised Messiah, and we look back at him. Still, it is said that Abraham's faith was counted for righteousness (and yes, James says his works justified him - but again, with a protestant understanding of James this is no problem).
Not in those verses.
Which is why the whole of Sola Scriptura is important. You don't cherry pick. You take the whole.
God does not just "pour out blessings" God is also a God of anger and wrath. He is a judge.
And again - you are the one who doesn't get it. You missed a word I said several times. "IF" If God wanted to reconcile man to himself THEN he would have to do so in a way that did not violate His nature.
Scripture says that the Holy Spirit is grieved by our sin. Christ Himself took our punishment by suffocating on a cross with spikes driven through his body. And God isn't hurt by our sin?
Our unjustness isn't the matter. It is God's justice. God will always be true to His nature. He can not violate who He is.
Oh, that last part - if one is saved one is not bound. The OT Saints were living at Paradise or Abraham's bosom. The Bible is not explicit about what that was. Yet it was evidentally not a place of torment at all and was a place where it was at least possible for human beings who had died to return from that "dimension" or place (as we see with Moses, Elijah, and Samuel - though Elijah never died. He was translated).
Moreover, He has promised "Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:" (Luke 6:37)
- so it is the "not judging" and "not condemning" and "forgiving" that I'll be concentrating on.
Human moment? Or disbelief? Could it be that +Peter's faith failed, as ours does? But, unlike us, +Peter has seen Him, ate with Him, and witnessed all His miracles. I think that's a bit different than our experience.
Human moment. Peter's faith didnt' fail because it wasn't His own. It was revealed to Him (Matthew 16:17). After the resurrection, the Angel says go tell the disciples and Peter... as a way of saying to Peter, even though you failed, You are still mine. Nothing has changed in that regard. Now get up and lets go forward. That's grace. The world would have said "Peter, you blew it." God said "Peter, yes you failed, but I overcame your failure and You belong to me."
I trust Him to be merciful and just. That doesn't say anything about our fate.
You must believe you don't need to be judged (correct me if I am wrong). Your book then must be clean.
Only you and God know. I am not judging. But I have never met a saint, have you?
What do you think a "ransom" is? What necessitates a "ransom?"
Anthropomorphism. God is unchanging. So, either He always send love or wrath, not both. Our perceptions change depending on our spiritual state.
Scripture says that the Holy Spirit is grieved by our sin
Anthropomorphism. The Holy Spirit is not subject to passions.
Christ Himself took our punishment by suffocating on a cross with spikes driven through his body
In His human nature.
And God isn't hurt by our sin?
No, He is not. We are.
Thanks, Dahlseide. Calvin comes through again. 8~)
I don't think what it is, I know what ransom is.
What necessitates a "ransom?"
An what is a saint in your book?
Amen. Because it comes from God. "For I know whom I have believed."
Why does having a personality with attributes imply that he is changing?
Kosta, you are astounding me tonight with your rejection of the abundantly clear record of Scripture. The things you reject are explicitly stated in Scripture. Your argument is with God, not with us.
Lastly, wasn't it you who accused me of Nestorianism because somehow you construed that I said a nature was crucified not a person? It seems that it was. Perhaps not. But if not, your orthodox brethren might beg to differ with some of your commentary tonight.
I don't mean to be sarcastic or malicious here, Kosta, but you have posted so many things I never would have imagined a Christian would believe. Just recently when asked if God is grieved by our sins, you said "no." You deny our sin necessitated redress by Christ and you appear skeptical of the "ransom" Christ has paid for us. And those are remarks just made within the past few minutes.
I think you might benefit by spending some time with my Scripture generator.
Even the random one.
Excellent for a first installment of the discussion..
You went right to the "point"..
GOD(Father, Son, Holy Spirit) seems to be not one Spirit at all but three personalitys/entitys..
Could be that "GOD" could be even more Spirits we just don't know about them all..
Whatever is; Is.. If theres only three thats cool too.. A spiritual Universe or a Universe of spirits is inconcieveable to most people I know.. Or a Universe where physical bodys are an after thought and not really needed..
Mankind anthropomorphizing God seem to tend to do it with the human body as some kind of model.. But then most people I know think they themselves are a human body.. NOT a spirit inhabiting a human body.. Theres quite a difference in that identification.. In that case they anthropomorphize themselves.. LoL..
If nobody dies, only human body's do (as scripture indicates).. Not only is God(plural) a Spirit(s), we are too.. Anthropomorphizing things is what fleshly man does.. Evolution is pretty much a yarn of an anthropomorphizing nature..
Yes, I'm willing to persue this subject more..
However we may be alone because it(the subject) gets way too close to exposing many peoples lack of faith..
Of course you know my agenda.. LoL.. That this subject highlights that mans body is merely transportation (3rd dimensional), a Donkey(metaphor), that houses the spirit..
A verse of scripture comes to mind.. for some reason..
We know that all creation has been groaning with the pains of childbirth up to the present time. Rom 8;22
Goodnight St. Alamo-Girl and St. Doc.
I think I still prefer the title "Pope Blogger" :)
Yes, it's been a long day. Good night to you both, Saint Blogger and Saint Alamo-Girl, "being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:6).
LoL... mee too...
Very interesting, thought-provoking post. And one that provides a different perspective on many things, the decalogue for example.
I looked in Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith under "The properties of the divine nature."
Uncreated, without beginning, immortal, infinite, eternal, immaterial, good, creative, just, enlightening, immutable, passionless, uncircumscribed, immeasurable, unlimited, undefined, unseen, unthinkable, wanting in nothing, being His own rule and authority, all-ruling, life-giving, omnipotent, of infinite power, con-raining and maintaining the universe and making provision for all: all these and such like attributes the Deity possesses by nature, not having received them from elsewhere, but Himself imparting all good to His own creations according to the capacity of each.
In your view, what is the reason?
Simply God's sovereign pleasure (if God wanted all to be saved, then all would be saved, etc.). I don't think it was because of my "luck" that my non-Christian parents chose to have me baptized anyway, as an infant, in a Christian church. And, I don't think it was because I was smarter than the next guy for choosing God. The point in time of my belief (when I think the Spirit indwelled) was simply the "when". There was never any question of "if". That was decided at the "beginning".
I have no earthly clue why God would choose this lowly sinner over the next poor loser for salvation. All I know is that I deserve ZERO credit for it. :) The Scriptures do not reveal to us why God some and not others. I assume that He did HAVE reasons because He has no other history in scripture of acting TRULY capricious as far as I can tell. But, what those reasons were, I cannot even guess. The Bible just tells us some of the things they were NOT based on.
The difference is that the Church (the pope or her bishops) speak, that is because of the laying of the hands of the apostles that allowed them. "How can they preach unless they are sent?" When Blogger speaks that is his opinion only.
Apparently under your view, SOMEONE must be the pope. If a person does not acknowledge your pope as his pope, then he MUST have some other pope. This could take the form of some other ivory tower earthly authority, or in most cases, simply the person himself, as many Catholics have told me on FR. This Catholic assertion is simply wrong. Our side does not need or want a pope. We do not need a single human being to instruct us as to what our opinions and beliefs are. That is for you because you want to believe it. That is fine with me, but it is incorrect for you to project your requirement of such a human leader on us. It is interesting that for many other good Christians you give a TOTAL pass on the requirement, but somehow, every Protestant MUST have a pope, and of course it is always that Protestant himself. Is that really fair?
Just wanted to bump that. (:
It doesn't have to be a "complete" record in order to be complete scriptures. Jesus went to the bathroom, maybe there is a good reason that the Holy Spirit didn't write about it. Just maybe it isn't important to the edification of the Church.
It doesn't have to be a "complete" record in order to be complete scriptures. Jesus went to the bathroom, maybe there is a good reason that the Holy Spirit didn't write about it. Just maybe it isn't important to the edification of the Church.
The reason I am Orthodox is because, no matter what I speculate, I believe 100% that what the Eastern Orthodox Church teaches, and has taught everywhere and always, is right. One cannot say "I am Catholic, a little bit." When you say you are Calvinist, I must assume you believe 100% of his teaching. But you deny that.
HA!, I say with a smile. :) Your system is simply different, but its structure does not make it automatically superior, IMO. (You appear to only be arguing structure here.)
You would agree with everything the EOC teaches, but they don't even come CLOSE to teaching all there is to teach, do they? What is the EOC teaching on young earth/old earth, or whether Jericho actually fell as told in scripture, or better yet, the end times? I just want to make sure that you agree with your brethren. :)
You can point to a list of core beliefs that you must adhere to, in order to consider yourself Orthodox. That's great. We cannot to such an exacting degree because we don't have the centralized authority that you do (to your degree). So what? Compared with the more senior Calvinist posters on these threads I am still a newbie, and yet it is relatively easy for me to spot a fellow Calvinist from just a few posts. I know 'em when I see 'em. Isn't it the same with you and new Orthodox posters? What does it matter to have only one handbook, in one edition, to be considered of like faith? (I'd even bet that in Orthodoxy it isn't even that cut and dried.)
Good Orthodox can disagree on anything that's not in the handbook, I presume. (The "handbook" is everything the consensus patrum, and/or a Council, has ruled upon.) I say no shame on Orthodoxy. Good Calvinists don't have a single book of interpretation, but nonetheless agree on much more than I think many others are willing to give us credit for. We do not follow the one man Calvin or the one man Luther, and everything they said. Our faith is not in them. Our faith is in God in Heaven, and scripture on earth, and we are attracted to how these men (and many others, later) explained and brought ideas together that are clearly found in scripture, as the Spirit has revealed it to us. That's all, no veneration.
So, I am asking you again, are you a Calvinist? Or do you simply accept some of his teachings, in which case you could say "I am 10% Calvinist" or "somewhat of a Calvinist" or "so-so Calvinist," etc.? If you say that you are a Calvinist then your theology is, by necessity, 100% Calvinist. I believe you would disagree.
It appears that you are trying to say, in comparison, that anyone who calls himself a "Reagan Conservative" would be required to have fully believed in every policy he ever set forth. Is that correct? I would say that I am the definition of a Reagan Conservative, and yet I disagreed with him on his amnesty for illegal aliens. Am I no longer a Reagan Conservative? :)
Now, OTOH, if I told you that my main political goals have always been to raise taxes whenever possible, and weaken our national defense because it might hurt the feelings of our enemies, then you would be correct in stripping me of my claim to being a Reagan Conservative. There is a huge difference.
Should be: "Good Calvinists don't have a single non-Biblical book giving one, infallible interpretation, ..."
And yet God can never be a "datum" of sense experience about which propositions may be advanced! To reduce God to human categories of reasoning is to lose God. E.g., the scientific method is a tool for measuring "things." Things are physical entities in four-dimensional spacetime. God utterly transcends four-dimensional spacetime, thus he is not a "thing."
Man cannot be the measure of God: reason and logic are wholly inadequate, not up to the job. What we know about God is what the holy scriptures reveal to us, what the creation reveals to us, and what the Spirit reveals to us.
My two cents worth anyway. FWIW Thank you so much for the glorious essay-post, dearest Alamo-Girl!
So if People like the JW's use what they think is Sola Scriptura to reach their conclusons, they're not really sola scriptura-ists and it's not the SS's fault. But if Catholics go bad, it's Catholicism's fault.
People on this thread have said the Holy Spirit is in the Bible. Thats okay? It wouldn't be pushing people to Bibliolatry? But when we push people to venerate, and some go too far and worship, that's our fault, not theirs?
We have a closed loop disclaiming responsibility for perversions of our teaching, and that's wrong. Sole Scriptura-ists have a closed loop disclaiming perversions of their teaching and that's right.
How much do we know of the bosom of Abraham - serious question
Because you love him. Because you WANT to obey Him (not because you HAVE to). Because it is what we were saved for (Ephesians 2:10). Not in order to attain salvation.
Yeah. That's why we do penance. At least it's why I do penance.
While I admit the Bible doesn't say Mary was sinless, since I do not find the word usually translated "full of grace", the kind of proof which would stand up to an adversarial proceeding, my point was that strictly speaking that even what look like mathematically rigorous generlaizations, e.g.:"There is NONE that is righteous", cannot be taken so. And once that's established, hermeneutics and interpretation get exciting, with WAY more wiggle room than might first appear.
About Co-redemptorix. If no formal doctrine has been declared, my objection stands, and you overstated the situation. We DON'T Teach it. Yeah I kow what JPII said. That's his opinion and I take it seriously.
My saying that I occasionally engaged in advocacy, intercessory, and mediatory behavior was to say that Calling Mary a mediator and Advocate is not trespassing on Jesus' role. For the sake of THAT argument, the issue of praying to those who live in heaven is not relevant, as far as I can see.
The whole church was at the Council in Acts? Every Baptized Christian was there? The whole Church ratified the decision? What are you saying here? (And what do you have against pointy hats? We share polyester, yours in suits, ours in vestments. Can we not agree on that? Of course, you guys do the pouffy hair thing more than we do.)
The CLEAR witness of Scripture (I'm pretending here, I don't find most things easy or clear except the Love of God, and that's a unique kind of easy and clear) is that Church leaders made a decision about a contested question of Chruch praxis and teaching concerning the Gentiles. There is no witness that ALL the Baptized came to make the decision. So that point, I think, is not only un-Scriptural but runs contrary to Scripture. Neener neener. There is a doctrine-forming Council in Acts, there have been doctrine-forming councils since.
And while the center shifts to Rome, there is in Paul and Acts a primacy at Jerusalem.
And Papal primacy, such as it is, is expressed these days much as it was in that argument. There is argument, consideration, and even some action on both sides, and finally the matter seems to cry out for decision and disposition. So with the Marian Doctrines, so with "eating with the Gentiles".
I have to go do stuff, darn it. But here are some parting thoughts:
I think that modern Protestants, generally, think of the RC Church as a bureaucracy. It is HIGHLY bureacratic, how else are you going to work an orgnization with a billion or more members. But in attitude and in practice, depsite the scretray for this and the office for that and the confraternity of the other, it's like a large chaotic family. People think that the Pope can say "Jump" and the entire bazillion membership will respond,"How high?" BUt actually what happens is theat one guy says,"Did he say 'jump'?" Anotehr say, "Well, it was either jump or maybe lump. I'm not sure, let's go ask Jim. Hey Jim, when the Pope said Dump or Mump or whatever it was, what did that mean, and do we have to?" And so forth. Then finally the sub-secretary in charge of taking out the trash wriltes a snippy leter saying,"The Pope insists that you stop shilly-shallying around and check your sump pumps now!" And the letter is filed and forgotten.
I was chatting with my Dominican buddies about Mediatrix or Co-redemptrix or whatever. And there was not this kind of waiting around for the guidance of the HOly Father attitude. It was a much livelier kind of discussion. ONe guy saying it would be a terrible idea and just make for more charges that we worship Mary, another was thinking that Co-redemptorix doesn't phase him but Co-mediatrix does -- and that led down a substantial rabbit hole. And I bet The Vatican mail box is filling up with letters with diverrse and srongly exprfessed opinions and arguments all across the issue. My impression is there hasn't been a lot of conversation about it Since JPII died.
Apparently under your view, SOMEONE must be the pope.
Back when it mattered, the Epsicopal Church's "Articles of Religion" said that "Councils can err."
This question as hyou raise it is extremely provocative. It aska bout what God's promise to lead us into truth means and a whole host of things. And it is a REAL hinge point of ecclesiology and revelation and "The four marks of the church, One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic" and of the psychology of decision making when it comes to Ultimate Questions.
Personally, I was hoping Frank Zappa would be elected Pope, but nobody ever listens to me.
I hope your comment gets the attenion I think it deserves. IT's incredibly important.
"Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world."
John the Baptist
What do you think the Lamb of God IS, if not a sacrifice?
I haven't read this whole thread, but has anybody quoted Hebrews yet? Or how about Revelation:
11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders.
12 In a loud voice they sang:
"Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!"
I think one would have to throw out huge sections of the Bible if the Lord Jesus Christ's death were not a sacrifice.
I know but I wouldn't say that too loud.
God calls all His children/followers saints.
I think spiritual pride comes from you, not AG or myself. To know something is not to be prideful and we both know who we are in Christ and who HE is in us. I feel sorry for you. Works are judged, yes, but works are not how you get into heaven. Salvation by works is a false claim. One only gets to heaven through faith in Jesus Christ. When you have that, you WILL have works and deeds, ones that HE has fitted for you. I think you have things mixed up.
Wow if that ain't the pot calling the kettle black..
Unbelievers will certainly be judged in those days, but Christians, who are covered under the blood of Jeus and have been obedient and who are HIS BRIDE, will not be judged unless they have backslidden into their former condition.
"God is good, dispassionate, and immutable. Now someone who thinks it reasonable and true to affirm that God does not change, may well ask how, in that case, it is possible to speak of God as rejoicing over those who are good and showing mercy to those who honor Him, and as turning away from the wicked and being angry with sinners. To this it must be answered that God neither rejoices nor grows angry, for to rejoice and to be offended are passions; nor is He won over by the gifts of those who honor Him, for that would mean He is swayed by pleasure. It is not right that the Divinity feel pleasure or displeasure from human conditions.
He is good, and He only bestows blessings and never does harm, remaining always the same. We men, on the other hand, if we remain good through resembling God, are united to Him, but if we become evil through not resembling God, we are separated from Him. By living in holiness we cleave to God; but by becoming wicked we make Him our enemy. It is not that He grows angry with us in an arbitrary way, but it is our own sins that prevent God from shining within us and expose us to demons who torture us. And if through prayer and acts of compassion we gain release from our sins, this does not mean that we have won God over and made Him to change, but that through our actions and our turning to the Divinity, we have cured our wickedness and so once more have enjoyment of God's goodness. Thus to say that God turns away from the wicked is like saying that the sun hides itself from the blind." +Anthony the Great (251-356 AD)
Such a God hardly fits the Protestant notion of a bloodthirsty, Dagonesque monster demanding the personal satisifaction of the death on the Cross of His Son because He is offended by our sins.
RC Piety includes an apology for sort of offering personal insult to God in the act of contrition. And I would maintain, as I said earlier, that God is "at least personal" (which requires a re-assmenet of what "personal" means and that both the OT and the Incarnation gice permission, as kind of a hermeneutic, to talk about and to God in a personal way. SO, I'm wanting to pick my way carefully through this. I don't see how anyone can disagree with +Anthony, and when I tried to articulate the "Satisfactory" doctrine I talked about justice rather than insult -- bearing in mind that for a long time, it seems, all matters of justice were "personal" in the sense that a misdeed offended some individual and/or the king (or "king equivalent"). The idea of a quasi-hypotstasized "justice" is pretty sophisticated, I'd suspect.