Saturday, January 20, 2007

Anger doth burn the liver

The Man with the Black Hat, David Alexander, has posted his own insightful review of the Hand of God Frontline documentary. The money quote:
It is completely arbitrary to assign blame to a system of belief that, in its essential nature, is being ignored in a given situation by its own agents.
The film's maker, Joe Cultrera, apparently has been combing the blogosphere for reactions and blasted angrily away at Mr. Alexander's considered comments.

Cultrera was especially pissed about Alexander's observation that the film painted the Cultrera parents as ignorant. I did not note it in my post below, but I was also disappointed that the only reason the film gave for his parents' persistence in the Catholic faith was that it was what they were used to. How is it possible for people to remain Catholic in the light of priestly abuse and scandal? Well, it's the only thing they knew; we younger, more liberated kids have more options and know better. That does indeed condescendingly present Mr. and Mrs. Cultrera as ignorant Catholics who believe merely out of habit and "brainwashing" to use Paul Cultrera's word. Joe may not have intended it to be condescending, but it was. Nowhere in the film was there an acknowledgement that Catholicism might possibly be bigger than priests and bishops. Not only was Catholicism reduced to clergy, but to particularly malformed clergy. You can't eat your clericalism and have it too; you can't stab it and then wish it were more alive.

I've seen the kind of faith that the senior Cultreras demonstrated in other elder Catholics -- a deep-seated gut sense and wisdom that the world is filled with evil and that the Faith binds us to the truth that the evil cannot and must not consume or blind us if we are in Christ. The goodness of priests cannot hold a candle to our eucharistic communion in Christ, so that the evil of priests can never snuff it out.

Sorry, Joe, Mr. Alexander was right. You ruined your otherwise fine film as your vitriol boiled over and sought to scorch everything else true, good, and beautiful in the Catholic faith. Injustice does not grant its victims a license to throw reason out the window.