Tag Archives: Catholic

Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

Wow. I’m speechless after watching this trailer! I can’t believe a film about Gospel nonviolence will actually be on the big screen! This is what the world needs right now.

The extraordinary true story of conscientious objector Desmond Doss who, in Okinawa during the bloodiest battle of WWII, saved 75 men without firing a gun. Believing that the War was just but killing was nevertheless wrong, he was the only American soldier in WWII to fight on the front lines without a weapon. As an army medic Doss single-handedly evacuated the wounded near enemy lines, braved fire while tending to soldiers and was wounded by a grenade and hit by snipers. He was the first conscientious objector to ever win the Congressional Medal of Honor.



Oh, and as long as I’m on the topic of Mel Gibson, I simply must recommend a short story (well, it’s written like a screenplay but meant to be read as a story) called Surfing With Mel, written by the insanely talented Matthew Lickona. Do you have complicated feelings about Mel Gibson? Read this. It has so much heart and so much compassion at once, without fawning, promoting, or excusing.



On April 11, 2012, TheWrap.com published a private letter from screenwriter Joe Eszterhas to director Mel Gibson. The letter chronicled, in alarming detail, their disastrous attempt to collaborate on a film version of the Biblical Book of Maccabees. The media flare-up that followed focused on Eszterhas’ characterization of Gibson as an angry, Jew-hating sociopath, but largely ignored the spiritual crisis at the story’s heart. Using the letter as a map, Surfing with Mel sets out to find some meaning within the madness, and winds up outlining a darkly satirical and deeply profane portrait of two men at war with each other, with their pasts, and with God.

About the Korrektiv Press series Lives of Famous Catholics: Writing in his journal about the celebrities of his day, the author John Cheever observed that “we have a hierarchy of demigods and heroes; they are a vital part of our lives and they should be a vital part of our literature.” We agree, which is why the Lives of Famous Catholics series seeks to explore the life of faith by the light of the famous.

Is Katniss Christlike?

This “Catholic meme” perfectly encapsulates pervasive misunderstandings about the Hunger Games on the part of the Christian community, which I wrote about at length hereBelow is a photograph of St. Maximillian Kolbe, who volunteered to die in place of a stranger in the Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz. He is being compared to Katniss in the Hunger Games. This is obviously a reference to the scene where Katniss volunteers to go to the “games” in place of her sister. Many Christians call Katniss a Christ-like figure because this was an act of self-sacrifice.

"Catholic meme" with St. Maximillian Kolbe

“Catholic meme” with St. Maximillian Kolbe

There is one very important difference between Katniss and St. Maximillian Kolbe: St. Maximillian Kolbe was a nonviolent individual who never, as far as I know, killed anyone. Katniss is a killer, no matter which way you slice it. Many people would surely say that the difference between them is so obvious it does not even need to be pointed out, but to borrow a line from Neko Case, the difference between these two tributes/martyrs/heroes is “so clear it is almost invisible.” And there are those who wish to make that difference invisible, so as to be better able to propagate untruths and half truths, so as to serve their own dark ends.

There is a difference between offering to suffer in place of another and offering to kill in place of another. There is also a difference between person A being willing to sacrifice his own life so that person B can live, and person A being willing to kill person C (and maybe persons D, E and F) so that person B can live, even if person A is risking his own life in the process. In a certain light, both can be seen as acts of self-sacrifice, but only the first one is Christ-like. The second is not.