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:
The facts are: sola scriptura results easily in massive misinterpretation of scripture.
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From my perspective, I think 1600 years of rubber Bible political wind changes within the Roman system evidenced
quite MASSIVE MISINTERPRETATION of Scripture--far more than a lot of Protestants would be very comfortable with!
Without going in detail, Kosta, my opinion is that there is nothing in St. Paul's writing that in any way separates him from the other Apostles's writing.
Two groups try to separate him. One is a certain marginal nondenominational movement that looks for "authentic" or "historical" Jesus, and they sometime see in Paul somewhat of an impostor, someone who created organized or judaized religion out of a simple non-dogmatic ethical teaching, best described in the book of Matthew. The less we say of them the better.
The other is some currents of thought in serious Evengelical Christianity. They correctly see in St. Paul a different, more systematic and more theological kind of writer, someone who is convenient for their prooftexting. I have seen, for example, the view expressed (not by any of the posters here, although Blue Duncan seems to come close at times) that the parables of the gospels are something that was not addressed to us, and that the Epistles of St. Paul alone are sufficient to understand Christianity. If you look at St. Paul through such Protestant prism you will begin to separate St. Paul from the rest of the scripture. This is what your post reminds me of.
But I refuse the prism. St. Paul is different because his background is different. However, he teaches the same Orthodox Christianity as anyone else in the Church. In particuler, the notion that he somehow teaches the gospel of faith alone in contradiction to St. James is a myth. I once had a dispute with someone who was doing the familar couple-dosen quotes for Romans to prooftext for me that salvation is by faith alone. All I had to do was ask to read the same letter to Romans to the end. The myth was demolished by St. Paul himself.
And then when the shirts are very worn . . . one is doubly holy.
And Protestants actually believe they will find Him and not some mystical, amorphous imponderable.
The majority of the authentic books were recognized by the various churches in the late first century, almost 300 years before Constantine declared Rome to be the seat, thus consolidating his political and religious power.
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THIS ONE HISTORICAL FACT
undermines a long list of hogwash.
It's like we are to bow and scrape before tradition and history
EXCEPT where it contradicts the theological/political winds of the ruling moss encrusted edifice.
I think holiness is exuded when Hawaiian shirts have been starched and pressed.
A wrinkled Hawaiian shirt could be a sign of sloth, whereas a clean and pressed Hawaiian shirt could be seen as a sign of pride.
Oh, what to wear?
Then don't tell me anything in terms of theological absolutes. Stick to "I think that the scripture without the oral tradition or the institution of the Church is sufficient for understanding Christ"; "I think that faith alone is necessary for salvation", "I don't think praying to saints is a good idea", etc.
You become popes when you interpret the scripture personally but claim it to be the universally correct interpretation.
Of course, Diamond. I think it was clarified later. The objection is to the Father demanding the sacrifice, not to the fact that that is what it is.
I know what Kosta is saying and worse implying..
My personal experience with (good, my word) Roman Catholics is they trust in and even have faith in the Roman Catholic Church, rather than Christ himself.. Not all of them, be advised, but almost all of them.. Bad(my word) Roman Catholics don't even go that far..
AND when they say "church" they do not mean "A" CHURCH but "THE" Church.. Leaving me out in the cold.. To me transubstantiation is silly and could be heresy.. or worse blasphemy.. I have learned to stick with "silly".. I am not their judge..
The apostles chose Mattias to replace Judas, but God chose Saul/Paul personally, unless parts of Acts is a lie.... His letter to the Ephesians is probably the deepest thoughts ever penned by man, any man, in the annals of mankind's history.. excepting The Revelation of Jesus Christ (Rev ch1;1) scribbled down by John..
But when, as I mentioned earlier, the 16th century Anglicans and their successors say that Councils can err, what the Protestants are left with, and this is not to sneer or disparage, is simply throwing themselves on the Lord and His mercy. No reliable doctrine is between them and Him, and right belief can never be absolutely known or relied on, since if those pious people, met in the Name of the Lord and calling on His spirit, can err, how much more can we err? And how much more can those err who do not trust the Lord to keep them from error?
I think it comes down to an entirely different epistemology and approach to the tenets of the Faith.
Ecclesiology, considering the vaguely gnostic idea of the invisible Church, becomes fundamental in one's approach, if not to Jesus Himself, certainly to thinking about him.
We look to the promise of soundness in the Apostolic fellowship, and trust them to give us the trail markers and guide. If we question it's more, "Do I understand this?" They are asking, "Is this person right on this matter or not?"
Or so I guess.
True enough. My only comment is that we approach God on several levels. The Act of Contrition that we say in penance goes, in part, "I detest my sin because it offends you, Lord". My mental picture is that it is Christ being offended by my sin at His passion. However, it is innatural at this point to separate the Son from the Father, and so the penitent begins to think that he offended the Father. This view is perhaps theologically flawed but it nevertheless has a merit of allowing to concentrate on the penance and not on the workings of the Trinity.
I wonder if saying something like "The Father was offended through the Person of the Son" is incorrect.
I will study St. Anselm as soon as this thread dies down a bit.
Ah, I see my question raised by Mad Dawg, and answered.
Indeed, but considering the alternatives, which were the horror of every description of sin, where is the harm? Is it better for a child slain by Joshua to be with God or to grow up idolater?
Yes, but the requests are not such that only Christ can give. Most certainly your friend Steve can give you strength, and protect you, and if he does, you will experience it. The point remains that nothing the saints do for us comes from their putative divinity.
Frankly I'd opine that potestantism is an extension of anything Rome started.
Tsk tsk. Scripture, please. The generator broke?
A doctor exhorts us to "breath deeply," but does that mean we breath because we choose to breath or that we could hold our breath and still live?
We can choose to breath deeply or shallowly, hence the doctor exhorts us. We cannot choose not to breath, hence the doctor does not exhort people to simply breath. Now, the Gospel exhorts us to do good works, and links it to our judgement, because, just like that patient, we have a choice in the matter and the choice affects the judgement.
True, but not the point. The point is, the faithful received it from Christ through Peter in this instance.
When I show up on a Protestant thread telling them what their posture means and what is wrong with their faith, remind me.
Huh? Body of Christ is sometimes more pure, sometimes less, and sometimes of Satan? Scripture, please.
I question it because it is not in the scrupture anywhere. I am like the Bereans, checking...