Friday, February 01, 2013

Les Miserables and October Baby

I'll be brief.

I watched the new movie Les Miserables the other day. I've been listening to a concert performance of this musical since I was in High School. I was prepared for everything except one thing. I couldn't believe how well the church is portrayed. From the kindness of the bishop who changes Jean Valjean's whole concept of forgiveness to the convent that unintentionally provides protection from Inspector Javert all the way to the end (no spoilers) the church is portrayed doing the good works that it does most of the time instead of just the exceptional scandals that are usually the only thing we heard about.

Tonight I watched October Baby. Again, I was prepared for pretty much everything except for one thing. God plays, at best, a minor role in the whole movie until the end when a kindly priest offers the best advice of all. The main character even admits that she's baptist but the church was signficant in her life so she went there to pray. But the priest didn't sexually abuse her. He didn't turn into a demon and possess her. He just listened to her and gave her great advice.

The sad thing is that I am so accustomed to priests as sexual abusers, nuns as physically abusive, and bishops as power mongers that I just start to expect to see it in every movie. These two movies deserve to be praised for showing the heart of most priests, nuns, and bishops.

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