Sunday, 4 November 2007

Heroism Inspired by Faith

We teachers need resources that are concise, orthodox, and online (so we can edit). I've got a couple of links to share (below).

In the Catholic sector, you expect to be constantly coming up against the idea that as Catholics we should always be beating our breasts and apologizing for our shameful history. We all know that Holocaust Memorial Day is a 'double of the First Class', and the obligatory information 'pack' tells us all about how anti-semitism goes back to the Gospels and especially to certain Fathers of the Church (who happen to be saints).

Anyway, here is a good article on the just recently beatified Franz J├Ągerst├Ątterm, layman and martyr. Be prepared to explain why despite his refusal to fight in the army he wasn't a pacifist and why Catholics shouldn't be.

And here's a really excellent article on Mother Teresa which I think is useful.

Of course there are good films to show school children too. And they don't come much better than The Scarlet and the Black, which tells the story of Msgr. Hugh O'Flaherty—"the pimpernel of the Vatican"— and Molokai, the film of the leper-priest, Blessed Fr Damien of Molokai. Both are in colour which, let's face it, is important.

It's always a great incentive for the pupils to work hard if you promise them 'ten minutes of the leper priest if you're very good'.

I wonder whether anyone has any other ideas or links? I'm only in my third year of teaching so I've not yet become too touchy and defensive when people have got something to offer!


Mac McLernon said...

I have a fabulous couple of DVDs about the life of St Bernadette - the first one covers the apparitions and the second her time in Nevers. They were shot in Lourdes, with Pyrennean actors. The director is Jean Delannoy, and the lead is played by Sydney Penny, who is brilliant.

I used to show it to my classes when I taught RE in a Catholic school, and then followed it up with details of the miracles from the Lourdes Pilgrim Magazine, and a postcard I'd laminated of St Bernadette's incorrupt body...

I believe that the film Therese is pretty good, but I haven't had a chance to see it yet...

Anonymous said...

I have just watched the life of Don Bosco on EWTN, it was inspiring. Check out their catalogue to see if it is available.


Anonymous said...

I much prefer this non-sentimental depictio0n of the relation of the church ( or at least some sections of it) to the nazis.


fr francis said...

I recommend "Shooting Dogs" (2006)for 6th formers. It stars John Hurt as Fr Christopher an English priest who is headmaster of a secondary school in Rwanda during the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. (It was filmed on location in Rwanda - with local people as extras. It has a 15 certificate & contains strong language and violence.Fr Christopher is partly based on a priest from Croatia.) Also "The Mission" and "Romero". All three films show Catholic priests in a heroic light -in contrast to the dreadful scandals that have recently occurred. Lots of bloodshed - so much more likely (I think) to appeal to young male adolescents rather than young ladies. "Shooting Dogs" encapsulates the essence of a priestly vocation.
When faced with death, Fr Christopher stays with his people and celebrates Mass for them to prepare himself and them for death.

The Holy Office said...

Thanks to mac mclernon, the first anon, and to fr francis - I'll be taking up your recommendations.

To the second anon, I followed your link and I was grateful; they certainly seem to show a failure on the part of Catholics to maintain the moral ascendency proper to members of the Church of Christ.

But you miss the point when you say 'I much prefer this non-sentimental depiction of the relation of the church ( or at least some sections of it) to the nazis.'

No-one suggests that everyone in the Church behaved well during the Holocaust. Those who flattered Hitlerism were not inspired by the faith; they failed.

But there were some who were inspired by faith to acts of heroism.

The Catholic Church is not a Church 'of the pure'. It contains both wheat and chaff, sheep and goats.

The distinction is an important one, and we rightly celebrate those heroes of God who acted in a Christian way, even as many capitulated and conformed.

The Holy Office said...

I would also emphasize that one Jewish scholar has estimated that up to 860,000 Jewish lives were saved by the Catholic Church, many times more than Schindler, who was a member of the Nazi party and made many salutes as well.