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:
Beautiful and encouraging.
I am reminded of Moses who didn't have confidence in his speech, David who was tiny compared to Goliath, Abraham who passed his wife off as his sister - and so on.
Of all of them, Paul was the least likely (from a human's viewpoint) to become an apostle having persecuted the believers relentlessly.
And yet God used them all - and He uses every one of us, too.
p.s. This is another case of the observer problem. We mortals look at the back of a wristwatch and see everything working against itself. God looks at the front, where it is keeping perfect time.
Exactly.. Same with the RCC sect and the Protestant sects.. and even the psuedo christian and jewish sects, and even stranger sects and cults.... We are where we all are supposed to be.. Sheep Pens(John ch 10) there are also Goat pens as I see it.. following that metaphor..
One Church, Body of Christ, and Bride of Christ, multiple sheep and goat pens.. Everything is just as it should be.. Jesus opened the door to the sheep pen we can leave or not.. Obviously some like to be penned up.. God bless them anyway..
What a plan..
Is God(Father, Son, Holy Spirit) COOL or WHAT?..
Jesus Himself seems to set great store by the dude. FWIW, I don't think He would have done that, in the case of "a spiritual doofus," a "Barney Fife...."
We are all of us Barney Fifes, spiritual doofuses...just like Peter...and every single one of us has the power to loose and to bind upon the earth, according to the Word and Spirit, the Power of God in and through Christ Jesus our Lord and Head, to us via the Holy Spirit, amen!
But we have this treasure in jars of clay
to show that this all-surpassing power is from God
and not from us.
~2 Corinthians 4:7
For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.
Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised thingsand the things that are notto nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.
~1 Corinthians 1:25-29
When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong.
LOL, see my post just above (which I did not ping you to, just as you did not ping me to this one)! Totally LOL.
I love that whole post and testimony! That line above in particular reads to me as being straight from your writings in Timothy.
BTW - John Piper Is Bad!
But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: - John 10:26-27
We could be reading more into this than there is. The verse is applicable to any leader and any following. Republicans don't hear and follow Democrats and vice versa. Mostly because they don't want to.
Often used in homilies. But it suggests randomness (it doesn't say sower put some seed on fertile ground, some in stony places, etc.). Are we just 'seed' strewn all over the place, with some destined randomly to be devoured by (those 'bad' biblical) fowls, while some just happen to 'land' on fertile ground?
But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth [it]; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Matt 13:18-23
And what control do we have over who receives and who doesn't if we are 'seed' sown at random? Randomness completely negates and defeats a loving God concept (or even God, for that matter, since 'randomness' is in control!).
How would we know light if we had never seen darkness? Good if we had never seen evil? Sickness v. health, courage v. fear, right v. wrong and so on
So, then God had to "create" Evil in order for us to know what is "Good?" I don't think so! By that reasoning, we should all get raped just to know what's it's like not to be raped.
All of us on this Forum seek the ultimate question "What's this all about?" The answer is really not ours to know. We can hope that we shall find out, one day, but none of us knows. I think we should live a life of 'do no harm,' and trust that whatever happens to us will be merciful and just (even if we don't think so), live a life of mercy, pure intentions, love towards one another and begin and end each day with a "Thank you" and "Thy will be done."
So what do you do with 1 Cor 12:4-30? I take it to mean not that all the gifts are given to each member but that each member has some gift, and member A may have a gift which member B does not have while member B may have one (or more) which member A does not have.
You've given a thoughful commentary which deserves a thoughful response. I'm off to the Liturgy so I'll post later today.
Phooey.. you outted me.. evidently one of my Barney Fifelike gambits got exposed..
She was quoteing another poster that posted to her..
Wow Quix, that was a really good post! Kudos!
Blush, am humbled and blessed by your kind words.
The truth can tweak all of us at times.
The Word of God is spoken openly for all to hear, like seeds being scattered. The quality of the ground is the spiritual understanding of the hearer, not everyone can hear (ears to hear) or hears equally as well. (Matt 13:18-23)
It was a sign (language) to Adam standing there. Adam could see the fruits of good and of evil but he was not to make those fruits part of himself by feeding on it under pain of death death. (Gen 2)
To use a modern metaphor, it is as if Adam was being shown a stage play so that he could understand the difference between good and evil to comprehend that God is good and not evil. But instead of watching the show to absorb this revelation of God, he jumped onstage and became a part of it. He couldnt step off the stage without bringing the corruption with him and thus he was banned to mortality, doomed to be an actor in the play he was intended to watch (Genesis 4.) He did it to himself. The only way Adam can get off that stage is to be born anew as a spectator, that is what Christ accomplished in the Resurrection.
Below are prophesies to which Christ reveals Himself as the fulfillment in John 10. By the way, all of these passages go to my remarks that it is a perilous thing to be standing between Jesus and His sheep (requires extraordinary humility) that the sheep feed on the Living Word of God and the importance of the parting instruction given three times to Peter by Jesus, feed my sheep:
Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man [that is] my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones. And it shall come to pass, [that] in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off [and] die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It [is] my people: and they shall say, The LORD [is] my God. Zech 13:7-9
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:6
And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe [be] to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?...
Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I [am] against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them. For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, [even] I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep [that are] scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and [in] a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up [that which was] broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment .
And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, [even] my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken [it].
And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods. And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing .
And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more. Thus shall they know that I the LORD their God [am] with them, and [that] they, [even] the house of Israel, [are] my people, saith the Lord GOD. And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, [are] men, [and] I [am] your God, saith the Lord GOD. Ezekiel 34 (selected)
And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. John 12:20-24
Praise God! Maranatha, Jesus!
Thank you for your beautiful testimony and the selection of Scriptures!
Yeah, sorry for the delay on that, but it wasn't something I could answer accurately and completely off the top of my head, and since my Sabbath is spent with the youth group of our congregation, I wasn't going to have time until today to dig into it.
Before I begin, let's make sure that we're defining our positions accurately. As I've said, I am not arguing for the perfection of the Masoretic text, nor am I arguing that the Apostles did not frequently make use of the LXX as the default translation cited for their predominantly Greek-speaking audience. The Masoretic clearly has some issues--though these are few and far between--but there are other Hebrew textual traditions, including those in the DSS, as well as other non-Greek sources like the Samaritan Penteteuch which serve as a corrective along with the LXX in doing our textual criticism. Nor is it surprising that the NT authors used the LXX frequently, any more than it's surprising that so many Catholics have used the Duoay-Rheims as their default English translation or so many Protestants and Evangelicals default to the KJV.
So the issue is not the LXX vs. the Masoretic, but the Greek vs. the Hebrew--that is, can a translation be divinely inspired so as to replace the original Scriptures (as the KJV-Onlyists claim)? While I may quote the KJV as a useful "common ground" translation with an English audience, that doesn't mean that I won't prefer the original languages of the Scriptures or even refer back to them if I think the KJV has mistranslated something.
How is that important to us? Simply so: The instant one corrects a translation in any regard by referring back to the original languages of the Scriptures, one a priori throws out the idea that the translation is "God-breathed" and inerrant.
"But," you may argue, "the Aposltes also corrected the Masoretic!"
This is true, but again, I'm not defending the Masoretic--I'm defending the Hebrew. The doctrine of inerrancy in the Scriptures has always been that the original autographs were without flaw or error, but acknowledges that scribal errors have since entered into many texts. That is why even Biblical inerrantists must rely on textual criticism to reconstruct the original state of the text--and why God has provided that no doctrine is given in but a single passage, let alone a disputed one.
In the course of my research, I came across this page which you'll doubtless find interesting, especially since the author takes your position on LXX primacy. The most useful part of his data is where he charts the agreement between the NT and the LXX and/or MT (about halfway down the page). And here we notice something very interesting: In the great majority of cases, there is no substantial disagreement between the LXX and MT for the NT to choose between!
If there's no substantial disagreement, then it hardly follows that the NT authors were favoring the LXX simply because they quoted it, anymore than I'm favoring the KJV over the Greek NT when I find them to be in agreement and quote the KJV!
Below that, we find the author, though he in his conclusion clearly favors the LXX, admitting six instances where the NT favors the MT, and eleven instances where they favored neither but instead did their own translation. Frankly, seventeen instances of correcting the LXX versus thirty instances of favoring it does not indicate that the NT authors considered the LXX to be vastly superior to the Hebrew texts at their disposal.
Moreover, many of the cases in which this author cites the LXX over the MT (near the top of the page) are not actually instances of superior transmission, but of the NT authors making use of the LXX's clarifying statements. For example:
- He cites Mat. 1:23 as an instance of favoring the LXX over the MT. However, the fact is that the Hebrew word almah does mean a virgin girl of marriageable age in every instance in which it is used in the Tanakh, so this is more an instance of arguing over the translation of a Hebrew word than it is the MT getting it wrong.If you take out those types of differences, you're left with a handful of true descrepancies, like Heb. 1:6 vs. the MT of Deu. 32:43--but at that point, there's not much distinction left between the number of times the NT favors the LXX over the MT and the number of times it disputes the LXX (not always in favor of the MT)!
- Likewise, in Mat. 12:21, Matthew is simply making use of the LXX's clarification of "coastlands" to refer to the Gentiles--an interpretation which Isaiah's readers understood. I use the Message and the Complete Jewish Bible in the same way, without considering either to be superior to the Greek NT or Hebrew Tanakh.
Therefore, I maintain to you that while the NT authors used the LXX as their default Greek translation, the fact that they corrected it as often as they corrected the Masoretic (and we don't know which versions of the Hebrew Scriptures they had at their disposal, so it's not even certain that the LXX was the reason they favored certain readings) proves that they did not regard the LXX as divinely correct or inerrant.
What a person does often makes him reliable or unreliable in general.
True, but a person's failings in one area do not automatically make him unreliable in unrelated errors. So again I ask you: What specific evidence do you have that Josephus was unreliable, or had any reason to be, in transmitting the canon of the Tanakh which was broadly accepted in his day?
If you have none, then you're reduced to making a fallacious "poisoning the well" argument.
What was the reason for him to spell out the Jewish canon?
For a quick background on the work, look here.
Exactly! And not only into Josephus' writings but into the Bible itself! As a result, there is no way of knowing which came first, what was added, what was deleted, what was not there to begin with.
I think you're a little too quick to despair. In most instances, it's not that hard to figure it out. For example, in the case of the Josephus witness to Yeshua, we have copies of his work in Arabic which contain the passage, but without the Christian interpolations--which weren't exactly characteristic of Josephus' style anyway.
In the case of the Bible, the multiplicity of early manuscripts in agreement with each other help us to weed out "creative editing" from later centuries, as do the voluminous quotes from the rabbis and early Church fathers in their works. If we lost every copy of the NT, we could reconstruct it sans only a handful of verses from their quotes alone.
Nearly all disputes that are still up in the air involve minor spelling discrepancies, most of which do not affect the reading of the text enough to present a problem. The other major dispute is over the Majority Text vs. the slightly earlier but probably redacted Alexandrian manuscripts. In that case, the ECF strongly favor the Majority Text.
No, in response to your claim that the Hebrew version has been "perfectly" persevered. Even a 'handful' makes it not perfect.
The same applies to the LXX.
I don't think anyone in the EOC would claim that any one version is absolutely faultless.
Hence the need for textual criticism. :)
Until such time that we discover Aramaic versions, Greek will be the original language of the NT.
Oh, we have Aramaic versions; there's just some dispute over whether they were preserved in Aramaic from the beginning or translated back into Aramaic from the Greek. We also have some Hebrew manuscripts, but again we face the same problem. But I agree that one must work with the Greek which we know has been preserved for the most part--though we've found that translating Yeshua's words back into Aramaic and Hebrew has yielded some surprising clarity on some of His "hard sayings." It's even revealed an underlying poetic meter to His teachings.
KJV was created for political purposes and is based on a "Greek" text retro-translated into Greek from a Latin translation from Greek.
Yep. It also contains some anti-semetic and anti-Torah mistranslations that can only be called deliberate. Hence why even when I quote it or the NKJV, I correct it against other sources. I personally do my study from an interlinear Bible which uses a woodenly literal translation, using the CJB, NASB, and a few other translations for clarity.
Of course, translations that rely on the Vulgate run into the same problem. Which isn't your problem, I realize. I'll have to read the Eastern Orthodox English translation for comparison purposes someday.
Anyone who uses any single source as the Bible is guilty of self-deception.
Exactly! And I think since we agree on that, the most important point, everything else comes down to discussing the original state and meaning of certain passages. Which we can do if you'd like, but I'm also fine on ending on a point of agreement.