Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Calvary: We Should Probably Call Them In



     I saw a movie the other night, that though billed a black comedy, left me disturbed. I've read critics that see it as a "serious inquiry into faith", and some view it as a condemnation of where the world is headed. I see it a bit as both. 

     Brendan Gleeson, one of the greatest actors I've had the blessing to watch, plays a priest in a small Irish community that tries to be the voice of reason and hope for all involved.  Sadly, he is treated with disdain by all of them, atheistic or disenfranchised,  to the point of borderline abuse.  Gleeson's character is far from a Seminary honk, he's human and weathered, was married and a widower before joining the priesthood, so he understands the negativity he has directed toward him to some degree  as he attempts to fight it.  He even faces a death threat directed toward him in the films first scene.

     This community became, in my eyes anyway, a microcosm of the modern world.  There's no doubt that the scientific advances the modern world experiences are amazing and welcome.  No one should question the advancements in equal rights and diversity we've made in the past 25 years.  We have ground to cover, but we've come a long way.  But as we experience the changes that we are, we seem to be leaving behind the qualities of the church. I am no religious person at all, but you'd have to be a fool not to acknowledge that the base virtues of the core of most churches are humanity, love, acceptance, charity, and most of all forgiveness. 

     As our global society grows and changes, all sides seem to be nurturing a hatred for the persons of the opposing viewpoint that grows uglier by the day.  Those core values of the church are dwindling, fading.  Painfully in many cases.  These positive values would provide checks and balances for the concrete pains being felt, scientifically and socially, that evolving creates.

In the interest of fairness, the controversies surrounding Catholicism are addressed, and in the right way, as all cannot be blamed for the sins of a few.  We need to learn this.  Society does this blaming daily.

    Gleeson's priest faces the ugly spewing of the community he tries to provide fellowship for on a daily basis, and crawls through it's ugliness, not naively, but like a fighter would. At the same time, he clings to the faith that made him join the priesthood, and becomes a martyr-figure.  His priest is the only good person in this village, I'm convinced, and I looked fucking hard.  The film closes cynically, but does goes black with a faint glimmer of possible hope. 

     I fear this is becoming the world.  As we learn, as we evolve, we are leaving behind the nature of humanity.  We desert the ability to accept.  To understand.  To love and to learn about the invisible nature of the soul as much as what is seen and written about for the naked eye.   

     Gleeson says at one point, "I think there's too much talk about sins and not enough about virtues."  I think I can agree with that.   If we are going to move forward as a race, we have to move forward together, and we have to make being humans as much an art, as it is becoming a science.