JJ 1 | Chicago Reader

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Re: “In Calvary, an Irish Catholic priest is marked for death

I'm ambivalent about this film-- although many characters and plot lines did seemed contrived, I praise it very highly for exploring a real major theme, as in not the priest abuse scandal, but rather the spiritual void it left behind. But the main thing that irritated me was that although the film made sure to carefully portray the priest as flawed and struggling, it also portrayed him as seeing himself as always one step higher than the other sinners, and I didn't like the way it manipulated sympathy for his sins by casting him as such a victim of backlash. Martyrdom is cherished in Catholic culture, but it doesn't automatically connote nobility. The naivte, hubris, and futility that the priest showed during the climax is symbolic of the whole flawed premise of big centralized religion and the priesthood.

There was a line toward the end where the priest said something to his daughter to the effect that we should all be discussing virtue more than sin. I totally agree, and, Pope Francis Bergoglio notwithstanding, in general churches no longer seem to be the best place to be doing that. There's a reason centralized religions are dying and young people are seeking answers elsewhere. If religions stop their most egregious sins, yet continue with their arrogant insistence on being viewed as shepherds, mystics, divining rods, and arbiters of sin, rather than the earthly consultants and therapists that they really are, or should aim to be, then perhaps those religions deserve to die bleeding on the beach after all. Maybe that's what the writer and director were trying to say after all, in which case I would say, job well done!

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by JJ 1 on 01/01/2016 at 1:05 AM

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