Such is the case of Martin Scorsese’s latest film “Silence.” It is a tale about this second category of non-martyrs—of whom Our Lord said: “But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 10:33)
Curiously, early reviews of “Silence,” have been negative—even by liberal media hostile to the Church. The consensus is that Scorsese’s attempt to propose for general admiration one who outwardly denied the Faith has fallen flat.
Perhaps it is because human nature finds such denials distasteful. Even the director’s talents, Hollywood special effects and media publicity cannot overcome it. Scorsese’s tortuous attempt to justify his tormented protagonist proves tedious and unconvincing.
“Silence” is based on a 1966 novel of the same name by the Japanese author Shusaku Endo . The plot revolves around the fictional character of a Portuguese Jesuit priest in seventeenth century Japan at the time of a violent anti-Catholic persecution. The film represents a “struggle of faith” in which the priest must choose between the lives of his flock and his Faith.
In the face of his trials, he finds God is silent to his entreaties, hence the film’s title. Finally, Christ Himself supposedly breaks the silence by interiorly telling the priest that he might outwardly deny the Faith by trampling upon His image to save his flock. Such a shallow story so contrary to all Church teaching would usually pose no threat to Catholics who are firm in their Faith. However, Hollywood has tragically assumed the role of a teaching authority to countless American Catholics. Thus, the principal lesson taught by the film—that outwardly denying the Faith can sometimes be justified and even desired by God—does pose a danger to the many uncatechized that might mistake Hollywood script for Scriptures. Any silence about “Silence” might be misconstrued as consent. READ REVIEW HERE
REMNANT COMMENT: True to form, "Silence" was met with the enthusiastic approval of Pope Francis. The film premiered at the Vatican back in December, in fact, and Catholic-bashing Martin Scorsese personally hosted a private screening of the film for Pope Francis.
Perhaps the Holy Father is merely attempting to be consistent. After all, the Roman Pontiff who wants married Catholics in difficult situations to have an escape hatch where the indissolubility of marriage is concerned, would logically favor Catholic missionaries in tough spots being granted a similar escape hatch from martyrdom, where the Church's teaching on apostasy is concerned.
Down here in the real world, however, every Catholic who ever received the Sacrament of Confirmation over the past thousand years or so would know exactly why his sensus Catholicus is violated by “Silence”. As part of our catechetical training (not all that long ago), we were all expected by "rigid" nuns to commit the matter to memory, so that we’d never forget our duty as soldiers of Christ, even in times of persecution:
QUESTION: What is meant by anointing the forehead with holy chrism?
ANSWER: By anointing the forehead with chrism in the form of a cross is meant that the Christian who is confirmed must openly profess and practice his faith, never be ashamed of it; and rather die than deny it.
“Rather die than deny it,” remember? This is presumably a wee bit too “rigid”, rules-oriented and even pharisaical for the Pope, who had the insufferable Martin Scorsese over to the Vatican to endorse his new movie about the apostasy of a Jesuit. On the other hand, Pope Francis knows something about all that, so perhaps this isn't so surprising.
Here's the Holy Father warmly greeting the director of arguably the most Chirstophobic film in Hollywood history, The Last Temptation of Christ, which included the blasphemous dream sequence in which Our Lord is depicted having sexual relations with Mary Magdalene:
Readers admonish us every day to pray for Pope Francis, rather than criticize him. But there’s little cause for us or anyone else to actually criticize Francis. The myriad problems with our pope are made abundantly manifest every time he opens his mouth to speak. So let's not confuse mere reporting on the Pope's own words and actions with "criticism". There's a rather substantial difference.
In the meantime, we do pray for Pope Francis, every day in fact—that he will return fully to the Catholic Faith, that God will forgive this obstinate old man before he dies, and that Our Merciful Lord will call the Holy Father to his eternal reward before he destroys what's left of the human element of the Catholic Church.
Indeed, pray for the Holy Father today like there's no tomorrow....for, indeed, if this keeps up, there may not be.