I’ve been thinking a lot about movies lately, and this morning a friend pointed me to an article about Sister Rose of the Daughters of St. Paul, a movie critic and blogger. In the New York Times story, “Acting as a Mediator at the Crossroads of Faith and Film,” writer Samuel G. Freedman notes,
Sister Rose was serving not as a sentry protecting religious belief from cinematic product, but rather as a mediator helping to explain one to the other. As such, she embodies a departure both from the religious temptation to police popular culture, in the manner of the Roman Catholic Church’s now-defunct Legion of Decency, and the effort in fundamentalist circles to create a parallel universe of theologically safe movies, television and music.
“To paraphrase a Gospel passage, Christ came into the world to redeem the culture, not to condemn it,” Sister Rose, 61, said in an interview here. “It’s a negotiation. You don’t give everything a free pass. Something has to come out of your convictions and values. But what matters isn’t what the movie contains, but what it means.”
The world is such a messy place, and the road to Wisdom is a long one. Like Peter in Joppa, it can be so difficult to know what to eat, how to respond to what appears before us. (I always hear him asking God, “Is this a trick question?”) How can we learn to truly prefer and choose what is good? Sister Rose is one of the people engaging that question. Another example of the “sorting” John Milton talks about in Aeropagitica when he says, “what wisdom can there be to choose, what continence to forbear without the knowledge of evil?”