(about 40 minutes after finishing the film, still pretty weepy, spoilers aplenty)
Review: On The General Theme
Silence is a film every Christian should see and every Catholic especially. You will discover your pride and find yourself a soft, pathetic, coddled follower of Christ in need of an ocean of grace. I can barely wake up Sunday mornings to go pray at a nursing home. That is if I wake up.
Would I die for my faith? Would I withstand torture? Would I apostatize? Over and over again I asked myself these questions as I watched the pure devotion of Japanese Christians being hung, drowned, set on fire. I was humiliated and full of shame.
This story takes things to a greater extreme. To the breaking point of a fervent, young priest who is asked to forsake his faith or a group of people will die. Painfully. Slowly. And then perhaps more will be murdered until he stomps on the image of the person he adores most. The person that moves him, gives him purpose and whom he loves with his entire being.
It seems to me that the moment he steps on the image of Christ is to him more painful than a brutal death. A moment of martyrdom. For that was what it truly was. He could not watch the sacrifice of others (who themselves had “apostatized”) for his faith. His life was his to give up. But the lives of others? And the screams. Will they never stop?
If you look in the Catechism of the Catholic Church you will read that a person is fully culpable for a sin if it is done in full knowledge and in complete consent. For it to be a mortal sin it must also, in conjunction with the other two requisites be grave. Nothing to me about the entire situation of the Japanese Christians or Padre Rodrigues is free of either physical or psychological torture. I can’t imagine being put in any situation as twisted, disgusting and demonic as what Padre Rodrigues was put through. The coercion is so great the sin if any is small. At least it was the conclusion I came to.
What set this film apart from other works depicting the martyrdom of Christians was actually the epilogue. Subtly we are brought into the true martyrdom and purgatory of the Padre. He received, ever so cruelly, a long life forced to deny his identity every moment, every second, each step a small death or… heads would roll. To me his was a heroic life.
And judgment? That is left up to Jesus.
And I? I wish I had a granule of his faith.