This week our authors answer the question, “Do you have entertainment or leisure favorites that encourage or support our Catholic faith? What are your top 3?” Brendan Gotta starts us off today with Netflix. Come back tomorrow to see Fr. Searby’s answer.
By: Brendan Gotta, Guest Contributor
The Dutch priest and writer Henri Nouwen once said: “When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us… That is a friend who cares.”
Netflix, you are a friend who cares.
Often times, after a long day at work, I come home and human interaction is not what I’m looking for. Instead, I’d rather spend some time with my always-faithful friend Netflix (also known as cable television on steroids). And honestly, when Netflix is offering me thousands of hours of dramatized goodness at my fingertips, it’s hard not to like him. With that being said, there is still a choice to make – when I’m feeling a bit introverted, do I binge on television’s endless supply of popular comedies or dramatizations, or do I instead watch a movie that is going to make me really think? It’s a tough choice, and I often go with Option A, but sometimes I choose the alternative, and more times than not, am glad I did.
To help you avoid the pitfall that is today’s television landscape, I will offer you three brief summaries of movies that I think inspire and encourage us to live out our faith.
I Confess (1953) by Alfred Hitchcock
A Hitchcock masterpiece, I Confess tells the story of Fr. Michael Logan (Montgomery Clift), a Catholic priest who finds himself as the prime suspect in a murder investigation. Though Fr. Logan is innocent and knows who the murderer is, he is unable to come forward and reveal his identity, due to the fact the murderer told him under the seal of confession. The movie continues to build up until the climax where Fr. Logan’s fate is to be decided by the jury. Instead of breaking the seal of confession, Fr. Logan remains silent, and eventually is found not guilty. A movie that provides many things to ponder, none seem more prevalent than the importance of trusting the Lord and following his commandments. Fr. Logan trusted the Lord would take care of him, and by the movie’s end, he is vindicated.
Hotel Rwanda (2004) by Terry George
A movie that sheds light on the Rwanda Genocide that took place in 1994, Hotel Rwanda is a beautiful, yet heart-breaking movie that focuses on Hotelier Paul Rusesabagina’s (Don Cheadle) battle to save his family and more than a thousand other refugees from the ethnic and political battles going on in his home country. Though the movie is truly a mixed bag of emotions, there is joy to be found in the end, as Paul is able to help more than a thousand refugees find safety. Many things can be taken from this film, but none as great as the Gospel message found in John 15:13: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
There Be Dragons (2011) by Roland Joffé
A movie that is centered on the life of a 20th-century Saint, There Be Dragons sets out to show the impact our choices can have. Journalist Roberto Torres (Dougray Scott) is in the midst of writing a book on the life of St. Josemaría Escrivá when he finds out his father, Manolo (Wes Bentley), not only grew up with him, but also spent time in seminary with him. Unlike Josemaría, Manolo’s life choices were not ones that were to be written on the back of holy cards, as his internal struggles abound. In the end though, reconciliation is to be found, with the story’s main message being that of forgiveness, and a realization that: “Every saint has a past, and every sinner a future” (Oscar Wilde).
While all three movies are wonderfully entertaining, they hit on the importance of our Christian faith, and give us some real food for thought. Next time you plan to sit down and watch one of your favorite shows, ask yourself: “Does this show challenge me to think and live boldly?” If not, maybe it’s time to change the channel, and put on something else.
Brendan Gotta serves the Diocese as the Young Adult Coordinator in the Office for Family Life.