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February 23, 2014

Catholic Controversy over "Son of God" movie

It is seldom that I disagree with Michael Voris from Church Militant TV, but today I do.  It seems some of the more traditional leaning Catholic crowd (of which I consider myself) have taken issue with the new “Son of God” movie because it appears to be “too protestant”. 

According to Voris, the main reason it is “too protestant” is because the film fails to point out the real meaning of the Last Supper – the institution of the Eucharist.  Voris admits to not yet seeing the film, but he’s come to his conclusion from watching the movie trailers.

Voris states: "This movie appears to have been shot alongside The Bible series with an eye to a larger release. Smart business move – economies of scale, following up on one success immediately with another, etc.But here’s the issue – again. America is a protestant nation.So practically any large scale effort is gonna be tailored to a protestant audience and when you get something as important as the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity as a topic up on a movie screen – there’s gonna be issues; spiritual issues.We’ve attached a link to the movie’s promotional page. On that page you will find various video commentaries by mostly protestant religious leaders talking about various scenes in the movie.The Last Supper is one such scene. It is a hyper-dramatized scene with emphasis on Jesus saying goodbye to His Apostles, Him washing their feet, the betrayal of Judas, Peter’s pledge to die with him if needs be.Nowhere, beyond the absolute basic mention is there any real suggestion of what the Last Supper was actually about – which was the institutionalizing of the Holy Eucharist.That aspect (The Most Important One) of the Last Supper is so drastically downplayed and given short shrift, that if someone who watched the movie and knew little or nothing of Our Lord beforehand, they would leave still knowing little of Him.  The movie (at least the clips they have made available for viewing so far) is all about emotion – evoking an emotional response in the viewer – appealing to the emotions directly – to the near exclusion or bypassing of the intellect.But, that’s what should be expected in a presentation essentially produced with a Protestant approach for Protestants.We haven’t seen the whole movie – but it would be surprising if the scene in John Chapter is treated with any seriousness – if at all."

Voris goes on to say that Catholics should not support the movie or any “biblical” movie if it isn’t done properly from a Catholic point of view.

“Any movie that tries to present to us the Son of God, and yet skips over one of His most essential teachings, is definitely not worth support from Catholics.”


Voris is not alone– or he has inspired some of his fans to poo-poo the movie too after a recent episode of his “The Vortex” show…



Last week EWTN’s Director of Communications Michelle Johnson sent me TWO EWTN Press Releases promoting the movie, HERE and HERE.

To which I received the following comment on my blog

Lucia Bartoli comments: In the name of orthodoxy please re-review the film. I tend to agree with those whose doctrine is intact insofar as emotion is not synonymous with salvation. This film, although "pretty," panders to mainstream (Protestant) Christianity. Where do Burnett and Downey insist on the emphasis of the "body and blood?" I was disappointed enough when I learned that Bishops Wuerl and Gomez found a lot of inspiration in this drek. If I want emotion and drama to feel all warm 'n fuzzy, then I choose Downton Abbey. Burnett and Downey earned their Malibu digs on the coattails of Gibson's Passion of the Christ. Hmmm, they even live in Malibu, as well. Ah, EWTN where hast thou gone? Now you insist on feeling us this pablum of unCatholic "stuff." God help us all! Now I understand precisely why our Church is like a vacillating grand dame who will not dig in her heels and call it like it is.


I am guessing from that comment that Bartoli just watched Voris' "The Vortex" before coming to my blog to read the EWTN press releases.

About my own view...I am VERY biased when it comes to actress Roma Downey. I don’t watch ANYTHING that has the fake "devout Catholic" *yeah right* Roma Downey  in it or works on (Downey is divorced twice and remarried to Mark Burnett who is also divorced and remarried at least twice - their 'wedding' was performed by actress DELLA REESE at their Malibu home- hardly "Catholic" but rather ADULTEROUS).  

Downey may wish to fool her fans with her "I'm a devout Catholic" bit but this Catholic hasn't fallen for it. And to be honest, I have NO IDEA WHY EWTN WOULD PROMOTE THIS WOMAN AS A DEVOUT CATHOLIC. My personal opinion is, you would NEVER see Downey or Burnett being interviewed by Mother Angelica if she were still doing her show.  Mother might comment on the movie, but then she would shake her finger at Downey through the camera and give it to her straight between the eyes, as is Mother's style. :)

I flat out refused to watch “The Bible” because Downey played Mary - which in my movie viewing opinion was unforgivable and laughable.  Personally, I clearly have NO liking for this false "Catholic" actress and avoid her work, so I will not be watching “Son of God”.

That said, I have to disagree with both Michael Voris and the comment left on my blog.  While I agree it would be WONDERFUL if EVERY Bible movie/television show ever made was from an official Catholic view point there can be some good found in any decently depicted Bible story shown.  For example, it gets people TALKING about Jesus!  That’s a good thing!  It takes the place on the movie screen or television screen of something secular and replaces it with a Bible story!  That’s a good thing! It can show a real THIRST for God – look at how many people tuned in to watch “The Bible” last year- people THIRST for God and are eager to hear about Jesus Christ and His life.  That is a good thing.

This controversy over watching and supporting the “Son of God” movie because it’s not strongly Catholic reminds me of the complaining disciples and Jesus’ words to them…

Mark 938 “John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” 39 But Jesus said, “Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. 40 Whoever is not against us is for us. 41 For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward.”New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)
Footnotes:

So while the presumed Protestant leaning view of the Bible in the “Son of God” movie may not be perfect because it doesn’t strongly enough show the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper, it’s not all bad.

“Whoever is not against us is for us.”

While I don’t particularly like Downey or the fact that this movie isn’t done in a perfect Catholic view point, I can see that it may have merit in other areas.  The Word of God NEVER goes out without producing fruits.  

Michael Voris is a “cradle Catholic” and I am a convert.  I know NOW that my old Protestant Bibles were lacking and did not contain the FULLNESS of the Catholic faith because books, chapters and verses were missing from those Protestant Bibles, yet I still found God among those pages and those Bibles –missing parts as they were- they still helped lead me to the Catholic Faith.

If assorted Protestant Bibles missing entire books, chapters and verses can feed people and lead them to the Truth found in His Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, then a mere movie depicting a few moments in our Lord’s life can too.

In Christ,

Julie @ Connecticut Catholic Corner

Link: http://www.churchmilitant.tv/scripts/vort-2014-02-19.pdf

11 comments:

Angie said...


I haven't seen the movie, only trailers, I did see Voris commentary, I see his point. My complaint is the way Jesus is portrayed a little to Hallmark Card. don't care for the Actor Playing Christ just my personal taste its too Frosty Disney World Born Again. Follow the Money, Mel Gibson had a very hard time in Hollywood due to The Passion Of The Christ which had depth, and the screenplay was written by a Jesuit Scholar. Jim Caviezel's portrayal of Christ was deep profound & authentic..Zeffirelli's Jesus Of Nazareth had to be made for TV. due to objections from Hollywood. beautiful film serious, many converted due to Zeffirelli's Film. Its not fair to compare a Great Artist like Zeffirellis to Downey who is not even in the same league. Evangelicals have strong political power in this country and its no secret they are ANTI CATHOLIC. Money is the main culprit here. Satan is smarter then we are, He hates The Eucharist, Confession,The Blessed Virgin and Of Course THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, THE BRIDE OF CHRIST. and will do anything to get people away. You cannot mix truth with error. I understand the enthusiasm, But Money & Politics do play a large part. The Evangelical leaders with tons of cash are papering the house. Its a money maker. Our Country has fallen into Sin and you can see the Devil in the details. America a Christian Country?? no its not. We need to promote Catholicism not Heresy. The Dumbing Down Of Jesus is scary. Pope Benedict stated there could be no unity without Truth. A better Film to See which reflects Americanized Christianity would be ELMER GANTRY Based on Sinclair Lewis Novel The first time a film was better then the book. Burt Lancaster was a great actor who really brought to life the fake money making preachers. I say watch ELMER GANTRY!!

Connecticut Catholic Corner said...

Hello Angie!

I totally agree with you about "The Passion of the Christ" - love that depiction of Christ and in all honesty I do compare other Bible movies to that one.

And I don't disagree about the strong evangelical power in the United States - that is because of the DOZENS of televangelists all over TV 24/7 - too bad the Catholic faithful haven't gotten on that bandwagon more with the exception of Mother Angelica.

In my opinion we need Catholic shows on channels where evangelical shows are currently. Let the public see the TRUTH of the Catholic faith, not the anti-catholic trash pushed by so many televangelists on TV.

Haven't seen Elmer Gantry-yet. Thanks for the tip. :)

In Christ,

Julie @ Connecticut Catholic Corner

Warren Gravois said...

I love this blog and I am glad to hear that some have seen what I saw while watching The Bible series. There are so many errors! I just sat there and criticized every scene. I appreciate your input. It makes me sad to see how people are deceived by the Hollywood Devils. I am an EWTN supporter and I was very disappointed by their hugh endorsement of the movie and how much they made over Downey and Burnett. I could spot her a mile away. Hopefully, the movie will help make people think about Jesus...for a little while.

Warren Gravois

Connecticut Catholic Corner said...

Well thank you Warren, its wonderful to have you stop by and share your thoughts.

God bless!

Julie @ Connecticut Catholic Corner

Gerry Nickerson said...

Mel Gibson... deceived, drunkard and divorced! He needs Christ!
Movie... RC biased focusing too much on Mary.
Satan is smarter then we are, He loves The Eucharist, Confession,The Blessed Virgin and Of Course THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, THE WHORE OF BABYLON. and will do anything to get people "Home to Rome" instead of home to Heaven. You cannot mix truth with error.... Amen and Amen. Speak the Truth... Thy Word is Truth!
Ye must be born again!

Joe Catholic said...

Some movie productions that purport to showcase the message of Christianity do more harm than good. The world talks Christianity and salvation but downplays the role of the devil in the downfall and by extension the reality of hell and one wonders then what were we saved from. Another of the dangers with these feel-good emotional pieces of drama is the confusion about who is Christ and the extent of His Passion and thus re-creates Him and His demeanour to your average humanitarian (who went about doing good). The devil is in the subtle details as the sayings goes and literally in this movie watering down the Holy Faith is in the details. This comes through in this "Son of God" piece of art for example where the Jesus character is asked "Are you a son of God?" not that "Are you THE Son of God?" a question to which only He could answer "I AM".

We need to remember Biblical teaching about the creation of Lucifer (Ezekiel 28:11-19) and was the bearer of pure light (Isaiah 14:12-14). This fallen angel is millions of times far more intelligent and cunning than humanity combined and that is why Jesus said "Apart from me you can do nothing (John 15:5)". He knows the Bible cover to cover and can concoct the most appealing and emotional lies. The best lie is always mixed with the truth that the listener knows, and is given in small doses after making the listener emotional. This movie bases itself on the truth of Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ, but goes further to so dilute the truth and mix lies with half-truths that it becomes a danger to the casual viewer. The fall of Jerusalem told to a kid, the selfish miracle of silencing the person asking if He was to save the Jews from the Romans etc etc - in the end if you have done even a casual reading of the Bible you can list a syllabus of errors that are a danger in understanding "just who this Jesus is".

The utter neglect of the most beautiful gift this side of Heaven, The Real Presence in the Eucharist and introducing Mary Magdalene as one of the twelve in the upper room. These things give this movie an all too familiar role in teaching the new modernised Christianity where everything goes because the teddy-bear type Jesus will not mind. We have been warned by Our Blessed Mother in the four major apparitions, this is the time to re-visit her words.

WannabeSaint said...

I saw the movie - it isn't just Protestant because of ommission / de-emphasis of certain scenes (as in no John 6, etc.) - it is heretical in many other elements, like:

- Putting Mary Magdelene at the garden of gethsemane with james, peter and john (and also at the Last Supper as they are exiting - which even protestants should know better given the DaVinci Code nonsense)

- Jesus tells Nicodemus the protestant version of John 3 - "born again of the spirit" by believing in him, not "born of water and spirit" as in the Scriptures (a clear reference to baptism)

- St Peter's name is not changed (he is "peter" from the first time jesus meets him) - he is not given the keys, etc.

Like this there are several instances - so much so that i stopped watching.





Angie said...

Julie @ Connecticut Catholic Corner
Thank you, I enjoyed your article very Fair. I do however recommend Highly Elmer Gantry with Burt Lancaster Jean Simmons, It happened to be on TV this week, I thought of Romney and Burnett. Not That Burnett is Burt Lancaster. Sinclair Lewis's Story will shed light why this type of Movie would be promoted. Just Follow The Money Warren Gravois you are right. EWTN is jumping on the Band wagon. Its the CASH that's it. Of course you are disappointing but The World Over Promotes The Evangelical Republican Party that wants to rebuild The Solomon Temple a Catholic Heresy. A Masonic teaching. Raymond Arroyo is so obviously its laughable. So Political Pandering is their Religion. Both Dems and Reps are Masons and controlled by the same special interest groups. Americanism is not Catholicism.

Pat said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts as a Catholic on your blog about this movie. I have been scouring the internet to find comments about the movie from a solid Catholic source after seeing RD & MB on Sean Hannity's show with Fr. Jonathan Morris. I had researched RD & MB's background after watching the first episode of The Bible miniseries last year and having many questions about the way the gospels were presented in that series. I struggle with the "devout Catholic" comments from Ms. Downey in light of her multiple marriages and "New Age" degree, her comment "My husband says I'm so self-realized I'm practically levitating," and her enjoyment of Eckhart Tolle cd's while driving. Not judging, but I do not want to be getting my education from a production produced by someone whose beliefs do not seem to support the Catholic truths I was taught. I am at a loss to understand EWTN and Fr. Morris appearing to support the "Son of God" movie for Catholics.

proudmomoffive said...

I haven't seen the movie either, yet. My oldest son saw it with a friend and could not tolerate it. They walked out before the end. I have severai issues with it: they went "politically correct" by erasing the scenes of the devil because he looked like the other devil, I mean Barack Obama. Mary is nowhere to be seen or mentioned, Jesus os not omniscient, which is a heresy, etc.I really have trouble with the fact that the producers are big supporters of Barack Obama and have contributed to his campaign. I don't care if they've made a movie to "prove it", How can they support Obama and still say that they are christians? IT DOES NOT MAKE SENSE.

LIORA FORLIFE said...

I am traditional and without giving away the film the end of the movie confirmed what traditional Catholics would see as the true experience of the Holy Eucharist liturgy of those days. Remember, in those days the Passover was celebrated as a meal and the altar was a communion table Catholics expanded the design to include more area to share the body and blood and after the Word was written gave more to share. The ending made the whole movie catholic for me. I think Catholics would get that ending better than non-Catholics.