Varying reviews of “The Nativity”

Varying reviews of “The Nativity”

There have been several very positive reviews of the new movie “The Nativity,” including an “A-” from my favorite reviewer Stephen Greydanus at the Decent Films Guide.

while Stephen acknowledges that the driving religious sensibility behind the film is Protestant not Catholic, he says that’s not a problem:

If Mary’s perpetual virginity and Immaculate Conception aren’t affirmed, they aren’t contradicted either, and nothing here need be a serious obstacle for Catholic viewers. (Another venerable tradition, that Mary did not experience pains in childbirth, is also not followed, but this too is not Church teaching.)

However, those departures from Catholic tradition are more problematic for Fr. Angelo Mary Geiger, whose opinions on the movie were published at LifeSiteNews. He says that the depiction of a painful childbirth and the loss of perpetual virginity is a “virtual coup against Catholic Mariology.”

Mary as anachronistic rebellious teen

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
6 comments
  • “We wanted her [Mary] to feel accessible to a young teenager, so she wouldn’t seem so far away from their life that it had no meaning for them. I wanted them to see Mary as a girl, as a teenager at first, not perfectly pious from the very first moment.

    If that’s the case, doesn’t that contradict the Immaculate Conception? Or at least suggest that she wasn’t conceived without the stain of Original Sin?

  • Whoa, folks, hold on….the movie doesn’t depict Mary as rebelling against Joachim and Anne in the matter of her betrothal to Joseph; it rather shows her questioning, pondering, wrestling with it.

    I imagine the Blessed Mother as truly human in all things but sin, and questioning, pondering, wrestling with one’s vocation is not sin.

    As far as the movie goes, I was a bit put off by the scene of her apparently painful birthing of Jesus, but I was far more edified by the rest of the movie.  I heartily recommend it—for an accurate retelling of the story we all know, without having to suffer the admixture of subplots and teen angst.

  • You are right, Kevin. 

    There WERE ecumenical councils held at the Lateran palace, but the one in the year 649 was NOT ecumenical.  [See http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09016a.htm for confirmation.]

    The “anathema” was/is not binding on the whole Church for all time, and it was not part of a solemn definition of a dogma. 

    Nevertheless, let us assume, for the sake of argument, that the words of the local Latern council of 649 are binding on us.  Do those words necessarily rule out labor pains being suffered by Our Lady?  NO!!! 

    Just as Jesus was able to suffer pain (despite being immaculately conceived and sinless), so Mary was able to suffer pain.  The mere presence of labor pains in Our Lady does not imply the destruction of her moral or physical virginity! 

    Why don’t some people think of that simple fact before they argue against the possibility of labor pains being suffered by Mary?  These people wrongly claim that labor pains are one of the penalties for the Original Sin of our first parents. 

    In reality, Genesis 3:16 (RSV) says, “To the woman [God] said, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing …”.  See what I mean?  The penalty was an INCREASE in “pain in childbearing,” not the replacement of painlessness with pain.  Thus, our immaculately conceived Mother Mary COULD experience “pain in childbearing.”

  • Whoa, folks, hold on….the movie doesn’t depict Mary as rebelling against Joachim and Anne in the matter of her betrothal to Joseph; it rather shows her questioning, pondering, wrestling with it.

    Okay with me. Father Fox saw the movie and I didn’t. My point was directed to the director, who stated she wanted the audience to see Mary “not perfectly pious.” That desire, even if it wasn’t reflected in the movie, contradicts the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception.

    But then, far too many people confuse the dogma of the Immaculate Conception with that of the Virgin Birth. If you like, why not ask any Catholic to define the Immmaculate Conception. (No fair doing it this week, of course…although even then…) You’ll be surprised at the answers you’ll get.

    Fr. Jim, I wholeheartedly agree. I think we can dispense with the theological inaccuracies and getting our undies in a bundle over them.

    While I don’t foresee my undergarments bundled up, I do not think that “theological inaccuracies” are to be “dispensed with.”

    That said, is seems like a nice movie. I look forward to it coming out in DVD.

  • Look, Jen, nobody’s trying to tell you not to enjoy a movie. And of course I’m glad that somebody finally made a Christmas movie about…Christmas.

    But if it was made at the expense of denying the very doctrine we celebrate tomorrow—I’m not saying it did, but it’s obvious from the director’s comments that it intended to, whether on purpose or not—then, yes, that doctrine should and must be defended. Period. I’m sorry if you disagree but this is one point I’m not going to argue about.

  • Folks, I have to apologize. I don’t know what happened to the other comments that were in this thread. The only thing I can think of is that I accidentally deleted them while deleting spam comments or something. I’m very sorry.  confused

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