God Likes This Movie
It seems beyond silly now, but having been indoctrinated as I was, it was the first thought that occurred to me when I read about the Vatican hosting the world premiere of the new film "The Nativity Story":
They will almost certainly remain strange bedfellows, Hollywood and the Holy See, but the two had a rare encounter on Sunday when the Vatican was the host of the world premiere of the New Line Cinema film "The Nativity Story," giving an unprecedented stamp of approval to an American studio production. And though Pope Benedict XVI was conspicuously absent from the event, a clutch of high-ranking cardinals joined the more than 7,000 people who attended.Yes, the Pope's trying to soothe relations with Europe's Muslims by visiting Turkey at the moment, so he couldn't give the film's producers their ultimate endorsement, well, not in a photo op anyway, but it's crystal clear that the tangential consequences of seeing this film is not something the flock has to worry its collective head over. High-ranking cardinals wouldn't steer you wrong.
Now perhaps I protest too much. Since the Counter Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church has very actively paid attention to art and art makers, offering its thumbs up or thumbs down on the works being produced, often commissioning the best artists of each generation to deliver the Good Word in the most politically expedient fashion. And to be fair, I haven't seen this film...it might be brilliant. But there does seem something incongruous about a socially conservative organization cozying up to the godless likes of Hollywood.
Moreover, there's something very unsavory about the opportunistic choices by the studios, looking to cash in on the exceptions the faithful are willing to make in their morally motivated boycotts of Tinsel Town's usual output.
Personally, I don't think God objects to R rated movies, so long as they're honest and well made. It's not like He/She can't see something more immoral than appears on any given screen just by turning elsewhere and looking at real life, often within Churches themselves.
But ultimately, regardless of medium, we are talking here about controlling the message, and so as long as the new wave of religious stories coming out walk the line, I'm sure we'll see more such endorsements, even knowing that they risking aiding the studios with their plans to use their profits to make the sequel to "The Last Temptation of Christ."