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'The Nativity Story' Movie Problematic for Catholics, "Unsuitable" for Young Children ^ | 12/4/2006 | John-Henry Westen

Posted on 12/04/2006 7:52:47 PM PST by Pyro7480

'The Nativity Story' Movie Problematic for Catholics, "Unsuitable" for Young Children

By John-Henry Westen

NEW YORK, December 4, 2006 ( - A review of New Line Cinema's The Nativity story by Fr. Angelo Mary Geiger of the Franciscans of the Immaculate in the United States, points out that the film, which opened December 1, misinterprets scripture from a Catholic perspective.

While Fr. Geiger admits that he found the film is "in general, to be a pious and reverential presentation of the Christmas mystery." He adds however, that "not only does the movie get the Virgin Birth wrong, it thoroughly Protestantizes its portrayal of Our Lady."

In Isaiah 7:14 the Bible predicts the coming of the Messiah saying: "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel." Fr. Geiger, in an video blog post, explains that the Catholic Church has taught for over 2000 years that the referenced Scripture showed that Mary would not only conceive the child miraculously, but would give birth to the child miraculously - keeping her physical virginity intact during the birth.

The film, he suggests, in portraying a natural, painful birth of Christ, thus denies the truth of the virginal and miraculous birth of Christ, which, he notes, the Fathers of the Church compared to light passing through glass without breaking it. Fr. Geiger quoted the fourth century St. Augustine on the matter saying. "That same power which brought the body of the young man through closed doors, brought the body of the infant forth from the inviolate womb of the mother."

Fr. Geiger contrasts The Nativity Story with The Passion of the Christ, noting that with the latter, Catholics and Protestants could agree to support it. He suggests, however, that the latter is "a virtual coup against Catholic Mariology".

The characterization of Mary further debases her as Fr. Geiger relates in his review. "Mary in The Nativity lacks depth and stature, and becomes the subject of a treatment on teenage psychology."

Beyond the non-miraculous birth, the biggest let-down for Catholics comes from Director Catherine Hardwicke's own words. Hardwicke explains her rationale in an interview: "We wanted her [Mary] to feel accessible to a young teenager, so she wouldn't seem so far away from their life that it had no meaning for them. I wanted them to see Mary as a girl, as a teenager at first, not perfectly pious from the very first moment. So you see Mary going through stuff with her parents where they say, 'You're going to marry this guy, and these are the rules you have to follow.' Her father is telling her that she's not to have sex with Joseph for a year-and Joseph is standing right there."

Comments Fr. Geiger, "it is rather disconcerting to see Our Blessed Mother portrayed with 'attitude;' asserting herself in a rather anachronistic rebellion against an arranged marriage, choosing her words carefully with her parents, and posing meaningful silences toward those who do not understand her."

Fr. Geiger adds that the film also contains "an overly graphic scene of St. Elizabeth giving birth," which is "just not suitable, in my opinion, for young children to view."

Despite its flaws Fr. Geiger, after viewing the film, also has some good things to say about it. "Today, one must commend any sincere attempt to put Christ back into Christmas, and this film is certainly one of them," he says. "The Nativity Story in no way compares to the masterpiece which is The Passion of the Christ, but it is at least sincere, untainted by cynicism, and a worthy effort by Hollywood to end the prejudice against Christianity in the public square."

And, in addition to a good portrait of St. Joseph, the film offers "at least one cinematic and spiritual triumph" in portraying the Visitation of Mary to St. Elizabeth. "Although the Magnificat is relegated to a kind of epilogue at the movie's end, the meeting between Mary and Elizabeth is otherwise faithful to the scriptures and quite poignant. In a separate scene, the two women experience the concurrent movement of their children in utero and share deeply in each other's joy. I can't think of another piece of celluloid that illustrates the dignity of the unborn child better than this."

See Fr. Geiger's full review here:

TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events; Religion & Culture; Theology
KEYWORDS: catholic; catholics; christmas; mary; movie; nativity; nativitystory; thenativitystory
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Comment #7,201 Removed by Moderator

To: Kolokotronis; betty boop; Alamo-Girl; .30Carbine; Quix
[ It is absurd to profess Christ Jesus, and to Judaize. ]

It would be absurd FOR US TO JUDAIZE... but NOT for the first christians.. Read Galatians.. even after many years it was not absurd..

Even now many christians don't follow the concepts of what is specified in the New Testament so well.. And thats with all mannar of seminaries to decrypt(or spin) both convenants..

The Talmud would confuse a mastermind..

The Apostles (except for Paul) were mostly UNeducated teenagers.. I laugh at people of our age totally ignorant of the conditions of New testament bible times.. Yet judge those folks by standards like they went to High School in the United States and went to Sunday school..

Most of the Apostles were clueless about most of Jesus' metaphors(parables).. In my experience MOST pastors are just as clueless.. Example: the parable of the talents.. is not about talent.. And the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is not a real tree but a metaphor.. As was the Snake and the Tree of Life..

7,202 posted on 01/21/2007 7:41:23 PM PST by hosepipe (CAUTION: This propaganda is laced with hyperbole....)
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To: Quix; All; .30Carbine; Alamo-Girl; DarthVader; FormerLib; Buggman; hosepipe
Trying again . . . this time with feeling . . .

a one and a two

errrr would you believe with html for tables?

Associate Co-worker Friend Aunt Cousin Step-Mom Mother
Joe Schmo Joe Schmo Joe Schmo Joe Schmo Joe Schmo Joe Schmo Joe Schmo
Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler
Shrillery Shrillery Shrillery Shrillery Shrillery Shrillery Shrillery
Abe Lincoln Abe Lincoln Abe Lincoln Abe Lincoln Abe Lincoln Abe Lincoln Abe Lincoln
Jeff Dahlmer Jeff Dahlmer Jeff Dahlmer Jeff Dahlmer Jeff Dahlmer Jeff Dahlmer Jeff Dahlmer
P Bush P Bush P Bush P Bush P Bush P Bush P Bush
Jesus Jesus Jesus Jesus Jesus Jesus Jesus
McChurian McChurian McChurian McChurian McChurian McChurian McChurian

What feelings, associations, implications, pictures, ideas, attitudes are triggered in each case?

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To: Quix
Thank you so very much for your encouragements!
7,204 posted on 01/21/2007 8:41:18 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: hosepipe
I laugh at people of our age totally ignorant of the conditions of New testament bible times.. Yet judge those folks by standards like they went to High School in the United States and went to Sunday school..

LOLOL! Sad, but true. Thank you for your insights!

7,205 posted on 01/21/2007 8:51:21 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: Quix
A very interesting chart there, Quix! Thank you!
7,206 posted on 01/21/2007 8:53:12 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: Buggman; annalex; Kolokotronis; Agrarian; Alamo-Girl; hosepipe; .30Carbine; Quix
Before I begin, let's make sure that we're defining our positions accurately.

I merely stated (#6845), regarding why the Eastern Orthodox Church uses the Septuagint: "If it's good enough for the Apostles, it's good enough for the Apostolic Church"

That defined the issue. I stand by my statement.

The New Testament quotes from the Septuagint in 93% (other sources claim 95%) of the time. I would say that defines my answer, and corroborates my emphatic statement that what was good enough for the Apostles is good enough for the Apostolic Church.

Of all the instances where Old Testament quotes in the New Testament favor the Hebrew version is exactly six!.

The impressive comparison of NT agreement with the Septuagint when it comes to OT quotes, and an equally impressive departure from it based on the Hebrew text (used by the Jews and the Protestants) should make every Protestant wonder if they are reading what the Apostles wanted us to read.

The source you site indicates the following Apostolic NT authors' OT quotes agreeing with LXX, according to books, expressed as percentage:

Matthew 83.3
Mark 88.9
Luke 92.3
John 92.9
Acts 100
Romans 94.3
1 Cor 88.2
2 Cor 100
Galatians 100
Ephesians 100
1 Timothy 100
2 Timothy 100
Hebrews 97.3
James 100
1 Peter 91.7
2 Peter 100
Total 93.0

I would call that A+/A in most cases.

By comaprison, the Hebrew rendition of the OT agrees significantly less with the Apostolic inspired choice of LXX:

Matthew 70.4
Mark 85.2
Luke 80.1
John 71.4
Acts 75.0
Romans 58.2
1 Cor 70.6
2 Cor 80.0
Galatians 60.0
Ephesians 100
1 Timothy 100
2 Timothy 0
Hebrews 54.1
James 75.0
1 Peter 41.7
2 Peter 100
Total 68.3

I would call that pretty poor, C/C+ on average, and a clear F in some cases!

Surprisingly, the author does not list Isa 9:6 as significant differences between LXX/MT.

In the KJV version: v.6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

(This you shall find in the Alexandrian version of the LXX as well, which in this instance agrees with the Hebrew version).

But the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus versions have this:

v.6 For a Child is born to us, and a Son is given to us, whose government is upon His shoulder; and His name is called The Messenger of Great Counsel; for I will bring peace upon the princes, and health to Him

Quite different in tense (underlined), message and content (bolded).

likeswise, v.8 in KJV says "The Lord sent a word into Jacob, and it hath lighted upon Israel."

In the older versions of the LXX it says "The Lord has sent death upon Jacob, and it has come upon Israel."

The choice of words is amazing! Now, how did these discrepancies 'sneak' in if not by (1) copying errors, (2) different sources, (3) translational errors, (4) missing accents, (5) deliberate alteration of what the scribe believed should be... etc?

Of course the errors of one side will be multiplied by other sources using the same or similar language (i.e. DSS and MT), so the 'corroboration' of the DSS with the Hebrew text, since DSS are also in Hebrew, is not surprising, but rather expected.

Thus, the uncertainty. The only thing we can be certain of, when reading the Scriptures, is that we are not certain if we are reading the the correct version (whichever that may be).

As for the agreement between the LXX/Greek and MT/Hebrew, here is a chart (using your own source from #7180)

The Apostles, in their wisdom, based on their choice to overwhelmingly use LXX, are clearly telling us that the Truth, as was known to them, is contained in the LXX to a much greater extent than the MT. (Somebody please tell this to Luther!)

But, as far as the Apostolic Church is concerned, the message is loud and clear: the Apostles wanted the world to know what LXX says when it comes to those passages of the Old Testament the Lord and they deemed appropriate for Christian mindset. In 93-95% of the cases.

7,207 posted on 01/21/2007 9:10:45 PM PST by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: kosta50

Interesting. Thanks.

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To: Kolokotronis; annalex; kosta50; Agrarian; Alamo-Girl; hosepipe; .30Carbine; P-Marlowe; Quix
Let's assume that what you say is correct. What changed by the late 1st century . . . ?

70 AD. After their failed rebellion against Rome, the Jews of the Empire were, shall we say, persona non grata, and under heavy persecution. Things only got worse by the time of the Bar Kochba revolt in 135 AD. The Gentile Christians were under enough persecution for refusing to burn incense to idols of Caesar; while they were willing to suffer persecution for the Jewish Messiah, they were not willing to do so for the Jews who had rejected them. Since the Romans identified Jews not by genealogy but by the Sabbath, the Feastdays, etc., the Christians had every reason to read Sha'ul as saying that such things were now not only not required for salvation, but outright verboten.

But while the ECF whose writings have been preserved for us were anti-Torah, we have evidence in their writings that a Torah-observant yet Messiah-believing Jewish remnant still remained, from the perplexed tolerance of Justin Martyr in the second century to the anti-Semitic screed of John Crysostom in the fourth. Indeed, the mere fact that so many of the Fathers found it necessary to write missives condemning keeping the Torah as "Judaizing" tells us that it was a persistent phenomenon through the ante-Nicean church. In the end, it was state-sanctioned persecution, not reasoning from the Scriptures, which drove the Nazarines--the original Messianic Jews--underground and out of the history books.

7,209 posted on 01/21/2007 9:42:07 PM PST by Buggman (
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To: Buggman

Great analysis as usual. Thanks.

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To: Kolokotronis; Buggman; annalex; Agrarian; Alamo-Girl; hosepipe; .30Carbine; Quix
"It is absurd to profess Christ Jesus, and to Judaize." [+Ignatius]

Isn't it rather strange that in mere 70 years after Christ, the Christians (see Didache) were establishing a new religion from what was taught and practised as enlighted Judaism, beginning with Christ himself?

Did Lord Jesus Christ ever say He intended to create a new religion? I think the idea that Christianity is not Judaism comes not from Christ but from +Paul.

7,211 posted on 01/21/2007 9:53:00 PM PST by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: hosepipe; Alamo-Girl
She was quoteing [sic] another poster that posted to her..DYSLEXIC?.. (you)...

She was? The words How would we know light if we had never seen darkness? Good if we had never seen evil? Sickness v. health, courage v. fear, right v. wrong – and so on were not in quotes. I am not sure what your problem is.

7,212 posted on 01/21/2007 10:24:07 PM PST by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: HarleyD; Cvengr; wmfights; Kolokotronis; annalex
I don't know of any Protestants who would assert that Christians do not sin

No, you asserted that those who deliberately live in sin are not Christians.

Which goes back to my question: what makes them sin, their own choice, or God? If it's their choice, HD, they they deliberately, knowingly and willingly commit sin every day, every hour...constantly, repetitively over and over again.

I would call constant sinning the same as "living in sin" without trying to split hairs. The only question is if the Protestants who you say sin do so by their own will or by God's.

If it's by their own will, then they deliberately live in sin. The only other alternative is God and that seems not a very good alternative in this case.

7,213 posted on 01/21/2007 10:34:13 PM PST by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: kosta50
I stand by my statement.

And I stand by mine: If the Apostles were, however occasionally, finding it necessary to correct the LXX, it meant that they were checking it against the Hebrew texts available to them, which may or may not have been Masoretic. And if they were double-checking the LXX, it wasn't "good enough" for them in the sense that you feel it is good enough for you--they used it only where it was in agreement with the Hebrew text (not necessarily from the tradition that gave us the Masoretic) or clarified the Hebrew text for their Greek audience.

But did they consider it God-breathed? If they had, they would have never corrected it--one does not correct the words of God.

The New Testament quotes from the Septuagint in 93% (other sources claim 95%) of the time.

Misleading statement, since you fail to take into account the number of times there is no significant deviation between the LXX and MT for the authors to actually choose between. The author of the site I used for a resource fails to make this distinction as well, though we can derive somewhat from his numbers.

He claims that the NT quotes from the LXX 93% of the time and is in agreement with the MT 63% of the time. That means that even by his count, that 56% of the time there is no difference for the NT authors to choose between--and hence no indication of preference. That means that in passages in which there is any difference between the two readings, the LXX is being chosen 37% of the time and either the MT or the author's own translation of the Hebrew 7% of the time by his count, a ratio of about 5 to 1. Certainly that favors the LXX to a large degree, but not by the 93% to 7% that he implies!

Moreover, I think his counts are flawed. Unfortunately, he does not show all of the passages in which he finds deviations in favor of the LXX, and the 30 he presents only amount to about 10% of the NT quotes (which number from 280-300 depending on who is doing the counting--one source says 287 direct quotes, and since I'm not going to go through and count them, I'll use that figure for our discussion), or about a third of those he claims deviate. Let's assume for the moment that this is a representative sample.

Now, let's first strip out those quotes in which there is no actual disagreement in the MT, just a debate about the translation:

Isa. 7:14 - As mentioned, almah does in fact mean virgin (or the closest Hebrew word to it), so this is not actually a descrepancy.

Psa. 8:2 - The phrase erroneously translated in the author's example "founded a bulwark" is yisadta oz. Yisadta means "establish" (just as it is rendered in the LXX), while oz, while meaning "strength," can be used in the sense of "splendor," "majesty," or "praise," as it is in Psa. 29:1 (see the Thayer's Lexicon entry here). So again, there's no true disagreement; only a question of a translation choice.

Amos 5:25-27 - The phrase "Sakkuth your king" (Sakkuth melek'khem) can also be translated, with a different set of vowels (which were not added until well after Yeshua's time) "the tent of your Molech." So there's no real difference there; just a translation choice.

For Kiyun, this was the Assyrian name for the deity we commonly know as Saturn, who was in Coptic called Remphan. Since the LXX was rendered in Alexandria, it's hardly surprising that they decided to "update" the name to one the Egyptian Greeks would have actually heard of. In any case, there's no contradiction here, just another translation choice.

Isa. 53:7-8 - The website's author actually botches this one, since the quote is actually all from v. 8, which in an extremely woodenly literal translation of the MT Hebrew, reads, "From prison and from justice He was taken; and of His generation who will consider? For He was cut off from the land of the living."

The word translated "from prison" is mae'otzer, with otzer meaning "oppression," and that of a sort to bring about humiliation, as a barren womb brought to a woman (cf. Pro. 30:16)--hence the decision of the LXX translators to render it tapeinusei, a lowly estate or condition. Likewise, in this context, being taken "from judgment/justice" means the same thing as the literal translation of the LXX krisis antou erthe, "from His justice He was lifted away." Again, no distinction if one is actually referring to the LXX itself and not to a bad translation that makes a mountain out of less than a molehill.

I'm going to stop there for the time being, since it's late and I'm weary of looking up the original words in the original languages to compare meanings. Suffice to say that in many of the author's examples, there's no actual difference between the quotes--unless one is merely comparing two English translations. In other cases, which I've not even started into yet, the difference in translation amounts to a dynamic-equivalent translation choice that doesn't affect the meaning of the passage but might clarify it to a Greek audience (e.g., Isa. 8:17 or 29:13). In other cases, like Deu. 32:43, while the quote is not found in the MT, it is found in the DSS.

By the time you remove these passages, the number of times the NT agrees with both the LXX and the Hebrew text closes the gap substantially. The LXX probably does still "win," but the fact that the Apostles did correct it indicates that they were continually checking it against the Hebrew original and deciding on a case-by-case basis whether to use the default Greek translation of their day or render their own translation.

'Nuff said for now. I'm off to bed. Goodnight (or good morning by the time you read this, probably), and God bless.

7,214 posted on 01/21/2007 11:39:02 PM PST by Buggman (
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To: kosta50; Kolokotronis; annalex; Agrarian; Alamo-Girl; hosepipe; .30Carbine; Quix
I think the idea that Christianity is not Judaism comes not from Christ but from +Paul.

It doesn't come from Paul either, if one interprets his letters by his life. It comes from people misreading Paul because they haven't done their homework in the Tanakh and the Gospel accounts first.

7,215 posted on 01/21/2007 11:52:06 PM PST by Buggman (
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To: Kolokotronis; kosta50; D-fendr
But D, you should learn [Greek]. Its very easy. In Greece there are children 2 years old who get by pretty well in it. By the time they're 3 they are quite fluent!

Well, wouldn't there be a very great difference between taking Greek as a new language today, and being able to understand the Greek of the scripture? I don't know. I was just thinking that if I took a class in Middle English or something that it would be like learning a foreign language(s). And the Greek would be much older.

7,216 posted on 01/21/2007 11:53:49 PM PST by Forest Keeper
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To: Forest Keeper; Kolokotronis; xzins; annalex; blue-duncan; kosta50; Blogger; bornacatholic; ...

It is not Forest Keeper who is redefining words.

The "Mother of God" says exactly what its words mean.

The "Mother of the Incarnate 2d Person of the Trinity" means exactly what it says.

The 2d is an effort to communicate precisely. The first is an effort to speak in code, to intentionally be confusing, or to be misunderstanding of the Trinity. Mary was not the mother of the Father. The Father is just as likely to be called God in our Trinitarian system as is the Son.

Do you think Mary is the Mother of the Father?

7,217 posted on 01/22/2007 12:23:04 AM PST by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and proud of it! Supporting our troops means praying for them to WIN!)
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To: Blogger; Mad Dawg
I actually like the Yankees best in the American League on religious grounds. It was one of the world series between the Yankees and the Braves. They showed both locker rooms and the Brave's were G-d d&(ming this and G-d d@#)($*ng that (something I absolutely can not STAND. I'll take the F word a million times over GD or JC used as a curse). Anyway, shortly thereafter, I don't remember who it was, but one of the Yankees was thanking His Lord Jesus Christ. I've liked them ever since.

Ah, finally one use for me being this far behind. :) I'm right with you in this thinking Blogger. Did anyone see the AFC Championship game last night? I was actually rooting for the Patriots, but during the trophy presentation ceremony, the owner of the Colts made very clear to everyone that he was giving thanks to God. He said it more than once. Then Head Coach Tony Dungy did the same thing, all on national television. I was thoroughly impressed. :) For the time being, I'm a new Colts fan!

7,218 posted on 01/22/2007 2:30:45 AM PST by Forest Keeper
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To: stfassisi
If you need to know what the Church teaches here it is...

Thanks for you reference. I have book marked this and will use it in future references.

7,219 posted on 01/22/2007 4:18:37 AM PST by HarleyD ("...even the one whom He will choose, He will bring near Himself." Num 16:5)
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To: annalex; Blogger; Dr. Eckleburg; blue-duncan; Kolokotronis; kosta50
"Works-based salvation" would imply that we earn our salvation independently of Christ through overall acts of righteousness.

In any context such as this, the word "based" does not at all imply exclusivity. It implies a main part or a foundation. Since you said the work of Christ was done (I agree here), and that salvation is not yet had by the believer, then the sine qua non of salvation can only remain in the works of men. Do you agree? Therefore, from the man's POV, his salvation, as he experiences it, is based on his works.

I see the Catholic view being that Christ's work made all this possible. IOW, in Catholicism, Christ didn't actually accomplish salvation for any person in particular for all time. Instead, He, by His sacrifice, made it POSSIBLE for men to choose to do their works, and THEN be saved for all time. I still think that with an explanation, that is a fair description of a "works-based" salvation.

Please note that I am not calling you a Nestorian or an Arian or anything like that. Sometimes, things just "sound" bad and need an explanation. LOL! :)

7,220 posted on 01/22/2007 5:15:24 AM PST by Forest Keeper
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