In honor of today’s glorious and ancient feast of the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, celebrated on the Third Wednesday after Easter, I want to dedicate this post to defending Our Lord’s most precious and Holy Name. May the Good Saint Joseph help me achieve that today!
A good friend of mine below (a name I will keep concealed out of respect for their privacy) said this in regard to Father Stu:
“My Easter joy has been tainted with some disappointment and sadness at some friend’s responses over the vulgarity and blasphemy in the Fr. Stu movie. I sent them a review of the movie from a priest I know who encouraged people not to see it. But not only did some say that they would still see it, they said they liked it and even defended the vulgarity and blasphemy! It has deeply wounded my heart! I really thought these friends (who attend the The Latin Mass) were far beyond chasing Hollywood names and such sin so it’s been heart wrenching for me to realize that I was wrong. I’ve been offering up reparation and praying for their deeper conversion.”
I have been meaning to do a blog post on this since the film came out, and Our Lady and the Holy Paraclete reminded me yesterday when this email came in our inbox. As you all know, even in the limbo I do NOT go to the movie theatres; I was merely excited when I first heard the news of this particular storyline hitting the cinemas because Mel Gibson, Mark Wahlberg, whom I considered to be traditional Catholics at this point (more so with Mel), to make a movie about a boxer leaving it all to become a Catholic priest sounded too good to be true; it was.
For parents who are afraid of showing their children films because they do not know what language to expect, there is a very helpful site called Common Sense. All you have to do is type in the movie and it will tell you the content; anywhere from: violence, language and impure scenes. So, you will know whether or not to view or avoid a film. The first red flag was when I saw that Father Stu was Rated R; we as Catholics should only give the exception to seeing R films with those such as The Passion of the Christ and Unplanned, because in order to show the death of Our Lord and the brutality of abortion it was necessary to include the graphic violence, which, with the former led people to convert and with the latter, educated the public.
Other than that, when a movie is Rated R (especially coming out of Hollywood) we usually know why. Today’s New Age priests and “New Church” try to tell you it is all about “purity of intention” rather than morals; and if something you watch doesn’t lead you specifically into temptation the way it does someone else, then it is okay to watch it. Whereas, no, Our Lord in His Catholic Church, has given us rules and commandments to follow- it is not “purity of intention”, He gives us Laws.
Commandments are so much more than just “a bunch of rules”; they are truly there to perfect as well as protect us, because if we have any sort of scruple about something all we have to do is see what is written in the Law and we can breathe a sigh of relief that the commandments tell us exactly what we can’t do. One saint, who’s name I am forgetting, once said: “have as much fun as you want but DON’T sin”. In the booklet An Examination of Conscience for Adults, the Bishop of Leribe Paul Khoarai said we can break the 6th and 9th commandment by simply watching “suggestive movies” and TV programs. This alone is enough, and we have not even discussed bad language and blasphemy of God’s name in vain yet.
Gibson and Wahlberg set a horrific example with Father Stu because not only did they themselves sin, but they led members of the flock to sin, as well as non-Catholics who perhaps knew nothing about our beloved Church and this was their first impression. Am I being dramatic or exaggerating? I mean, “sin” is a pretty big accusation, right? Right. The answer is no, I am not being dramatic. Our Lord’s Name was dragged through the mud in Father Stu. When I saw the R rating, this led me to take my search to the Common Sense page where I was appalled at what I saw. (See Photo below)
The sixteen or more cuss words are already sickening, because why is that even necessary, right? Stop trying to lower the standards to appeal to the sinful culture. Even the more protestant type films who produced God is Not Dead and eye roll Shack where the Holy Ghost was portrayed a woman (my word) movie did not profane Our Lord’s Name. Who is setting a better example now to the world? Protestants or Catholics? This is grievous. What would make viewing Father Stu sinful? A few different ways:
1.) Going to attend the film not knowing God’s Name would be blasphemed (this is not the sin), but as soon as His Name is taken, to stay in your chair and continue watching it, even if you paid. The price of sin is higher! By leaving you are not only showing your God that you love Him and don’t approve of the abuse toward Him, but you are setting an example for others around you.
Back when I worked at Ace Hardware, I had a dear, dear friend who was like a brother to me who was one of my Co-Workers and he participated in local theatre, and he was playing Judas Iscariot in a play. While I was not thrilled that he was cast as the antagonist of Our Lord, I honestly thought it would be a holy play because when he showed me the cast it had Saint Monica and some other saints.
Looking back now I realized that he did try to gently tell me the play might not be for me, but I did not know exactly what he meant by that. Some other close Co-Worker friends and I went as a group; what I witnessed the first few minutes of the play were so blasphemous (it is not an exaggeration when I say it was terrible and I would not repeat it on this blog) that I made a very loud and dramatic exit (not on purpose) and ran out in tears.
I walked to the nearest bus stop and took one home. What were the reactions of my Co-Workers? Did they shun me, laugh or stop being my friend? The exact opposite. Not only did they respect me, but I had countless missed calls on my phone from them to see if I made it home safely. Our friendships (including my friend who played Judas) were strengthened from that point on. I am not saying this will always be the case; Our Lord warned of persecutions for those who love and follow Him, but a lot of the time He rewards our faithfulness to His commandments. And sometimes those who are less courageous are waiting for someone to take a stand so they can follow suit. For example, one of those friends later confided that she was uncomfortable as well but did not know what to do.
2.) Reading the Common Sense content or being cautioned by another about the content, but choosing to view it anyway. This is where a sin can turn deadly, because we go into it with our eyes wide open KNOWING.
Our Lord expects even more from His flock and a sin committed by His own is far worse. Speaking of Our Lord’s Name, what grieved me the most was the different ways I saw God the Father and God the Son’s Names taken in vain in Father Stu– and as someone relayed to me, mostly by Gibson himself. This very much cut to the core because I am a big fan of Mel; he was recently defending “cancelled priests” and my former Director (who I KNOW would not approve of the blasphemy) interviewed Gibson on his blog prior to the release of the film. Gibson had the Latin Mass on-set of The Passion of the Christ every day. So, me being shocked over this is an understatement! At this point, like my friend relayed in the beginning, let us pray for a “deeper conversion” for Mel Gibson and Mark Wahlberg as well as for those who have viewed the film with “no problem”.
My 100% French Canadian Great Grandma was about five foot tall, and she always set her example and bar very high for movies. While she was often the lone wolf in the family with voicing her opinion of vulgar and blasphemous films, little did she know that while many were rolling their eyes at her, I was observing her in silence secretly admiring her courage. May YOU be that example for another! Pagan or sheep. Because you never know who is observing you in silence.