5 Must-See Catholic Movies

With many of us stuck at home, we’re all watching more television and movies than we’re used to. If you’re like most of the country, you’ve stuck with things that are familiar and comfortable, and that might have been great at first. But now, what about something a bit more substantial? What about a few movies about faith?

In this video, I recommend five movies that all Catholics must see. They are extraordinary movies that have affected my faith along the way.

But there are obviously plenty of other great movies, even if they don’t fit into the category of “must see.” Here are a few honorable mentions:

Silence The number one movie left in the comments as something I forgot. Folks, I didn’t “forget it.” I simply recognized that it is not a movie for everyone. Based on the true story of the Jesuit missionaries who were tortured in Japan, the movie is profound, well-crafted, and entirely too much for many to handle. It is long and violent, and while I think the book is an incredible work of art, I can’t exactly recommend the movie to everyone. If you can handle an extremely heavy movie, have at it. It’s one of the best.

St. Vincent Melissa McCarthy and Bill Murray aren’t exactly the dynamic duo I would pick for a Catholic film, but this isn’t exactly a normal Catholic film either. A story about finding saints among the sinners, Murray’s character is rough around the edges but has a heart that changes a young boy’s life (who in turn, changes his). While not entirely family friendly, it is a heartwarming story about second chances and the goodness in people we least expect.

Beyond the Gates (Shooting Dogs) Ready for a gut-wrenching film that will haunt you? Probably not. This movie is based on the true story of a Catholic school’s effort to protect its people in the midst of the Rwandan genocide. It is a story of solidarity, sacrifice, and the precious nature of all life.

Romero I’ve heard that this is not the most accurate of movies, but really, what “based on a true story” movie is? A biopic of the now St. Oscar Romero, the film captures the late cardinal’s involvement in the Salvadorian civil war, calling for peace and ultimately giving his life. One of my favorite saints.

The Two Popes Like Romero, it is hardly a work of pure non-fiction. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t great. Br. Tito and I discussed this a few months ago on our podcast, so I decided to leave it off the list.

Entertaining Angels And finally, an ode to one of my favorite non-saints, Dorothy Day. By no means the work of a major production company, it’s not going to win any prominent awards, but it tells the story of someone everyone should know about. Although I’m not a huge fan of Moira Kelly, it stars Martin Sheen and is written by John Wells, so for those who love The West Wing, it’s a great preview of what’s to come.

Bible Overview: What is it all about?

As most people know, the Bible is less of a book than it is a library. Consisting of dozens of books from different authors written at different times for different purposes, it is hardly a cohesive work. Add this to the fact that the final editors decided to group the books together thematically rather than chronologically, and there is no way to keep everything straight.

Which is why, a) reading from Genesis through Revelation is such a difficult task and many people give up along the way, and more importantly, b) most people have no idea how the stories all fit together. Especially for Catholics, who tend to get most of their Scripture from the Lectionary of Mass (and do little reading at home…) there is a disjointed nature to it all. We have all of the stories, yes, but we have no chronology. No narrative. No overarching story holding everything in place.

In this Catholicism In Focus, I hope to demystify the Bible and make it more approachable. When you have the general structure and know where it’s going (think, reading the Cliffnotes), all of the details become easier to understand. The Bible may not be a cohesive work, but the story of salvation is definitely clear.

Jesus is with you, waiting for you to see

Today’s video is my homily for the 3rd Sunday in Easter. The readings can be found here.

Also, I’m not sure how I missed it, but I apparently never posted the other two videos from this week. If you haven’t seen them already, looks like you have quite a full Sunday ahead of you!

YouTube: An inspiring, weird world

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Network television and major production companies can create awe-inspiring works of art, but they are often limited by industry standards, engrained expectations, and bottom lines. Not YouTube. On this platform, creators are in charge, meaning the world gets an incredible mix of informative, inspirational, and weird.

This week on Everyday Liminality, Br. Tito and I discuss the wonders of YouTube and a few of our favorite channels.

Greed, Inequality, and a Pandemic

“All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one’s need.” Is this from the Communist Manifesto? Did Mao Tse-Tung write this? No. But those are good guesses. In actuality, this quote is from the Acts of the Apostles, a line taken from our readings today. It describes how the early Christians lived, how they shared amongst themselves so that no one went without.

And it makes me wonder: how well do we live up to this idyllic image of Christian living? What the current coronavirus is revealing is that we as a society fall pretty far short.