Sunday, October 12, 2008

Forum Christi

We had a good turn out tonight for the first meeting of our Young Adults Group this term. We had drinks together after the evening Mass and then watched the film Bella, which I've posted on before. I was glad to have this film as part of the Culture of Life, partocularly since some of my parishioners have been telling me about the new "Brideshead" film.

If you haven't read Brideshead Revisited you really must. It is the story of grace and salvation in spite of human waywardness and it is a magnificent novel. When it was turned into a series in the early 1980's I was an undergraduate in Oxford, where a large part was filmed. I remember how the streets of Oxford would be devoid of students on a Wednesday night when it was on television. The response of the secular media at the time was fascinating. A reviewer in the Telegraph described Lord Marchmain's deathbed confession as "sickening" (presumably he preferred him to go to hell!).

Sadly the new film is the story as it would be re-told by such reviewers. It has become a shabby anti-Catholic rant. What a pity! But what do we expect if we don't encourage young Catholics to get into the mainstream and create a culture of life? Thank God for Bella and the work of Metanoia Productions!


Auricularius said...

In the original (1945) edition of the novel, Charles’ attitude to religion is described in the following words:

“I had no religion. I was taken to church weekly as a child, and at school attended chapel daily, but, as though in compensation, from the time I went to my public school I was excused church in the holidays. The view implicit in my education was that the basic narrative of Christianity had long been exposed as a myth, and that opinion was now divided as to whether its ethical teaching was of present value, a division in which the main weight went against it: religion was a hobby which some people professed and others did not; at the best it was slightly ornamental, at the worst it was the providence of ‘complexes’ and ‘inhibitions’ - catch words of the decade - and of the intolerance, hypocrisy, and sheer stupidity attributed to it for centuries. No one had ever suggested to me that these quaint observances expressed a coherent philosophic system and intransigent historical claims; nor, had they done so, would I have been much interested”.

The 1960 edition replaces this with something much more lush and romantic, which I think is a pity since it more or less exactly describes the militantly secularist standpoint of the producers of the film.

Jackie Parkes said...

We studied the book for our Catholic women's Book Club...excellent though the new film looks awful.

Fr Stephen said...

Thanks for that Auricularius. I wonder what made him change it. It's some years since I last read the novel and I can't remember whether that passage - which looks familiar - was in it.
Jackie, I'm sure the film is awful and I wouldn't pay to watch it. Visually it is probably very beautiful. Let's hope the Catholic chaplaincy in Oxford can bring good out of it by promoting the novel and organising a few talks. Even the Da Vinci Code won some converts!