Date: Sun, 26 Apr 1998 17:32:52 -0500
From: "mrwarmth"

Hello, Sea Padre -

I am responding to your comments on "The Apostle". I was raised a Catholic until my parents became involved in fundamentalism, so I know both sides of that coin. The movie's virtue lies in juxtaposing the reality of these types of ministry, with the ideal they supposedly want to live up to. Its real accomplishment is that it does both very well.

You're right : Hollywood and TV tend to portray ministers as ineffectual, unless they are serving some largely political cause. However, nine times out of ten when Hollywood presents a minister, it is a Catholic priest, so we can't be too upset. The Protestants hardly exist for Hollywood.

Even more so, when Christianity is portrayed in a positive light, it is almost always Catholicism. I think this is because Catholicism is so rich in powerful images and rituals, that it is a natural in the overwhelmingly visual medium of movies.

The only Protestant film artist I can think of whose religious experience has had a an equally strong impression on his later life is Paul Schrader, whose movies like "American Giggolo" and "Light Sleeper" are very "Catholic" in their themes and images. Otherwise you have to look to Catholics in Hollywood (i.e. Catholics by upbringing, if not current conviction) for convincing portrayals of Christianity. Martin Scorsese comes to mind (Mean Streets, etc.), as well as the guy who directed "Bad Lieutenant" (his name escapes me) which is actually a very religious movie.

Protestantism is already too much like the world Hollywood knows anyway, which leaves Catholicism as its Christian touchstone. This is both a blessing and a curse, as I'm sure you would agree.

By the way, I really like your pages. Keep up the good work.