/// For my reactions after seeing the movie Tuesday night 4/12/2022, scroll to end of the post. ///
For theaters and show times just google – father stu theater near me – . For me, there’s a theater not far away on Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week. Chrism Mass Tuesday. So, maybe Wednesday or I’ll have to wait for the DVD. This might be the sixth movie in my life I’ve seen on the big silver screen.
Caveat: I haven’t seen this, yet. I’m not at all strict about language and violence if it fits the story and character development and isn’t simply gratuitous, and all of that is apparently fitting here, but I am super strict about any sexual content as it’s a sin to stare at that and it’s a sin to produce it. Jesus and Mary and the angels would not be pleased.
Therefore, I got hold of a friend who is super-involved in the film to see what he said about the R rating:
- Father George: “I got promo stuff for Father Stu. It kept repeating it’s R rated. Whatever with cuss words or violence, just tell me there’s no erotic scenes.”
- The Guy: “There’s a kiss thing but it doesn’t go further. You get the idea that they are going to get it on but don’t see it & then he goes to confession where he says he sinned but all he could think about was disappointing God. It’s implied that they had sex but not seen.”
There’s David and Bathsheba in the Scriptures. And there are so many other passages. Later, we hear about young Augustine from Saint Augustine, et cetera et alii…
Here are the accompanying letters to the poster. I’m guessing that every pastor in America got these.
(1) From the Bishop of the Diocese of Helena, Montana, where the real Father Stu (RIP) was beloved by all.
(2) Then from Mark Wahlberg, who’s the actor who plays Father Stu:
(3) Then from Lisa Wheeler, President of Carmel Communications:
It would be good to see something that treats the priesthood with respect. It would be good to see something that portrays priests who are real men.
I, for one, am sick and tired of gender confused deniers of doctrine, deniers of morality, wreckers of the spiritual life, destroyers of the Liturgy, those who, in Holy Orders, act in Persona Christi at the consecrations at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass even while insulting Jesus with their sins.
I’d like to see something that honors the man’s Man, Christ Jesus, by honoring the priesthood of Jesus Christ even in Jesus’ priests. There are good priests. I hope this does well. The liberal main stream media narrative has to be abandoned so that there’s a change in the hearts and souls of the faithful. Let’s repeat that: the narrative of the liberal bishops has to change.
I’m hoping those to the far right will chill just a little so as to rejoice in the character development of young Stuart to Father Stu, that is, toward Christ Jesus. There’s a promotion of the Sacrament of Confession. I love that. I love that a lot. It’s refreshing that Jesus is the One. You gotta admit that Jesus is otherwise not much mentioned much in the “American Church.” This is a move in the right direction. I’m hoping that those bishops especially on far left will have fear put into them by the presentation of a priest who knows his identity in Christ Jesus. That’s the last priest they would ever want around. And – Hey! – you never know. Maybe some will rediscover their vocation, also go to confession, and put their ordination graces into action by bringing souls to the Divine Son of the Living God. That would be good, would it not?
Also, just to say, this movie also stars Mel Gibson. Mel cares very much about the priesthood and is concerned about the present state of the priesthood. He saw something in this that he knows has to enter into mainstream of Americana. He’s right. The priesthood is about Christ Jesus. Father Stu gets it.
So, that would be a Yes.
Recommended by Father George.
His own testimony before he died:
Tuesday of Holy Week was the Chrism Mass in the Cathedral in Charlotte, well over a 400 mile round trip. More on that later, but it was an appropriate day to see “Father Stu”. On my way home I caught the evening screening down in Georgia at a tiny back-mountain-ridge in the middle-of-nowhere family theater.
First reaction: Totally credible. I recognized, could relate to, have seen before a thousand times everything in “Father Stu” for the reason that I’ve been on the teaching and formation faculties of major seminaries right around the world. Our Lord calls fallen human beings. Hint: we are all fallen. I’ve seen to my great frustration stunningly out-of-touch with reality, out-of-touch with the faith priests and religious and laity who were on the teaching and formation faculties of seminaries just as presented in the movie. Totally accurate. Did they try to vote down such as “Father Stu”? Absolutely. Did I see some make it through to be ordained anyway? Absolutely. The ones who got ordained against all odds had to be fighters, had to learn to trust entirely in the Lord.
Confession: There’s great catechesis, blatant, not hidden, super-clear about kinds of contrition and going to confession and having a firm purpose of amendment. Repeated. Really excellent. This is a movie which encourages going to confession. Great confession scenes of someone learning to go to confession later in life. Ha! I was shocked to see all this on the big silver screen. Wonderful. Anyone hesitating to go to confession that you know? Bring them to see the movie Father Stu. Ha! Have a good priest for them to go to confession to. That’s important.
About 100% of viewers will be thinking that they wish their priests were more like Father Stu.
There isn’t much subtlety in any of the film. The character development is rather extreme, leaving no room not to get the point.
- Father Stu becomes a fighter in a different way, and is always a better fighter, a fighter for the Lord by the Lord’s strength, always down to earth, but developing in his friendship with the Lord for sure.
- The nerdy seminarian, I forget his name, is, perhaps, the most important character in the film. He’s a caricature of all that is wrong, but has his own narrative changed by Stu as the film goes on. There quite a bit of psychodrama going on with him, all interwoven with the whole film. Fine. The prison scene portrays the state of affairs, the nerdy guy who doesn’t get “the plot” and the guy who does “get it.” There are plenty of these guys in the seminary who don’t get the plot, perhaps ever, and because of that, do untold damage. The film presents one reason for a seminarian not “getting it.” There are many. That amount of space given to the nerdy guy is geared to changing the narrative that such guys can entrench in. Maybe in seeing this film they will recognize themselves and allow themselves to get found by Christ Jesus.
- The girl friend… I better let any of the women out there comment on her character development… I do think that Father Stu understood her much better than she understood herself.
The reaction in the theater: The family theater was just a stone’s throw from a parish church. I’m guessing most everyone in the theater (a good crowd by the way) were Catholic. They laughed out loud, a lot, I’m thinking because the whole film reflected reality quite accurately.
About the R-rating: Yes, plenty of bad language, mostly F-bombs, a bit jarring out of the mouth of Stu’s mother. But then you gotta know that she comes around and does get baptized along with Stu’s equally foul-mouthed dad. There’s not much violence. The “adult content” is basically not existent, just like described at the top of this post, basically nothing. The “R” rating is engineered, that is, just to get the R rating so as to get more to get tickets. Really. If it was PG not one person would see it. Get it?
After describing the film to Father Gordon, he said something I had said would make a great blog-post title:
- “Self-absorbed policies of liberal-assed bishops” [Hahaha]