Peter and Paul at the Movies


It’s an amusing thought for the June 29th Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul — the two of them sitting in a darkened theater, eating popcorn, watching a movie.

Which movie? God knows.

But Simon called Peter — who became the rock upon which the Church is built, the first pope — and Saul called Paul — Zealot persecutor of Christians turned evangelist to the Gentiles — have often appeared themselves on the screen.

It would take a lot more than a short blog post to list all the times they’ve been depicted on film, and those appearances are as varied as the artists who created them.

Here’s a sampling:

In this clip from the 1977 TV miniseries, “Jesus of Nazareth,” Jesus (Robert Powell) tells the Parable of the Prodigal Son, in the home of Matthew the tax collector (Keith Washington), to teach Peter (James Farentino) how not to be the resentful older son:

From the 2014 movie “Son of God” — adapted from the 2013 TV miniseries “The Bible” — Jesus (Diogo Morgado) meets fisherman Simon (Darwin Shaw) at the Sea of Galilee:

From the 1973 film adaptation of the Broadway rock opera “Jesus Christ Superstar,” Peter (Paul Thomas) denies Christ, and is reminded by Mary Magdalene (Yvonne Elliman) that this was foretold:

The famous conversion of Saul on the road to Damascus has been frequently depicted. I’m not sure which movie this foreign-language clip is from, but it’s impressive:

More recently, here’s the same scene, from “A.D.: The Bible Continues,” the 2015 sequel to “The Bible,” with Emmett J. Scanlan as Saul/Paul, and Juan Pablo Di Pace as Christ:

A 1981 TV movie called “Peter and Paul” starred Anthony Hopkins as Paul, here seen preaching to the Athenians:

“Imperium: Saint Peter,” a 2005 Italian film, stars Egyptian actor Omar Sharif — who said he “heard voices” during production — in the title role, with Johannes Brandrup as Jesus:

Most recently, here’s Prince Royce as Peter, and Jencarlos Canela as Jesus, in live Fox musical presentation “The Passion,” which aired on Palm Sunday:

One thing all movies and TV productions about Christ and the Apostles have in common is that none of them is the last time these stories will be put on screen … and amen to that!

Image: Courtesy Lightworkers Media

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5 Movies Beloved by Bishop Barron

Bishop-Robert-BarronBy email, I asked for a list of five favorite movies from Los Angeles’ Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron, one of the Church’s premiere media evangelists. Here they are:

A Man For All Seasons

The Mission

The Song of Bernadette

It’s a Wonderful Life

Cinderella (Kenneth Branagh’s version)

Why? Let Bishop Barron tell you in his own words.

“A Man for All Seasons”: Released in 1966, it’s a magnificent adaptation of Robert Bolt’s play (he also wrote the screenplay) about Saint Thomas More (Paul Scofield), martyred for the Faith by King Henry VIII (Robert Shaw). Apparently, it’s top on Bishop Barron’s list for a reason:

Here’s a peek (and a link to rent the whole movie, starting at $2.99):

“The Mission”: Again written by Robert Bolt (who also wrote “Doctor Zhivago” and “Lawrence of Arabia”), and directed by Roland Joffe, this 1986 film stars Jeremy Irons as a Spanish Jesuit missionary in South America in the 1750s. Bishop Barron wrote about it in a May 10 article he did on Jesuit priest and peace activist Father Daniel Berrigan for The National Catholic Register:

I had the opportunity to meet and speak with Fr. Berrigan when he came to Mundelein Seminary in the mid 1990’s. By that time, he was in his seventies, and much of the fire-brand quality that so marked him in his prime had evanesced. I found him very quiet and ruminative. I asked him about the film The Mission, in which he played a small role. As you might recall, that great movie ends ambiguously. When the peaceful and religiously vibrant mission was being forcibly closed by corrupt powers, Robert De Niro’s character, a Jesuit priest, resisted violently, while Jeremy Irons’s character, also a Jesuit priest, resisted non-violently, holding up the Blessed Sacrament in the midst of his people. Since both men were killed, and the mission destroyed, the film doesn’t really decide which of them was “correct;” rather it shows two paths, and invites the viewers to make up their own minds. Well, I asked Daniel Berrigan what he thought of the ending, and he said, with a bit of a weary smile, that it reflected the director’s views not his own. I took him to mean that he didn’t fully approve of the unresolved tension between the two paths of resistance to evil, preferring a clear endorsement of non-violence.

“The Song of Bernadette”: Jennifer Jones plays the eventual Saint Bernadette Soubirous, born in Lourdes, France, in 1844, whose visions of a beautiful lady (Linda Darnell) holding a pearl rosary eventually lead to the discovery of the healing waters of Lourdes. In a piece about St. Bernadette for the Website of his media ministry, Word on Fire, Bishop Barron wrote:

Bernadette is a perennial favorite when young ladies chose their confirmation names. And girls certainly do love watching the film version of “The Song of Bernadette”. (Winner of the very first Golden Globe award for best motion picture, by the way!) I wouldn’t say that watching this movie was the thing that led to my conversion…but it sure didn’t hurt!

Our Lady did not appear at Lourdes just to touch the hearts of tween girls throughout the ages. There is, indeed, much that speaks to the heart of the young girl. But anyone, of any age or gender can find in the story of St. Bernadette a story that will resonate truth within their hearts.

The appearance of Our Lady at Lourdes was not just for Bernadette – it could be heard by all; a sign for all pointing to Our Lady’s son, Jesus Christ.

And here’s the whole movie, courtesy of YouTube:

“It’s a Wonderful Life”: Frank Capra’s 1946 film, which begins and ends on a snowy night at Christmastime, is one of the holiday season’s most-watched films (largely due to it going into the public domain for many years and being run endlessly in syndication), but it’s also one of the darker Christmas tales.

Jimmy Stewart stars as small-town savings-and-loan operator George Bailey, who, despite a loving wife and children, is frustrated at not achieving his globetrotting dreams. A reversal engineered by a rival puts him on the brink of suicide, and only an angelic intervention can save him.

I can’t find where Bishop Barron has written about “It’s a Wonderful Life,” but here’s an excerpt from a piece called “The Catholic Vision of Frank Capra”:

It’s a Wonderful Life is a work of summation, whose undercurrent of angst can be interpreted in different ways. At the heart of the film lies the conflict between the desires of the heart and the needs of the common good. The hero of the story, George Bailey (played by Stewart), struggles throughout the picture with this irreconcilable conflict within himself. Even though his nemesis, Mr. Potter (Lionel Barrymore), typifies the classic Capra villain, he’s really more an external manifestation of one side of George’s divided spirit than an autonomous character.

Surprisingly enough, this embrace of life was a box-office disappointment. Capra called It’s a Wonderful Life the greatest film he had ever made: “A film to tell the wary, the disheartened, and the disillusioned; the wino, the junkie, the prostitute; those behind prison walls and those behind Iron Curtains, that no man is a failure! To show those born slow of foot or slow of mind, those oldest sisters condemned to spinsterhood, and those oldest sons condemned to unschooled toil, that each man’s life touches so many other lives. And that if he isn’t around it would leave an awful hole.

Here’s George Bailey and his eventual bride, decked out in Marian blue:

“Cinderella”: Bishop Barron is referring to Kenneth Branagh’s 2015 version of the classic fairytale, starring Lily James, Cate Blanchette and Richard Madden, which he feels exposes the Christian roots of the character.

In an interview with the U.K. Telegraph, the Irish Branagh said:

The tale has been in various cultures for the last two and a half  thousand years and is very flexible and has had very many adaptations,” he agrees. “It was important for us to reinvent Cinderella and make her a more pro-active, more 21st Century character.

Bishop Barron also wrote about this film in a piece called “Kenneth Branagh’s Very Christian Cinderella”(after all, she’s saved by her fairy GODmother, and she’s also wearing Marian blue):

Kenneth Branagh’s “Cinderella” is the most surprising Hollywood movie of the year so far. I say this because the director manages to tells the familiar fairy tale without irony, hyper-feminist sub-plots, Marxist insinuations, deconstructionist cynicism, or arch condescension. In so doing, he actually allows the spiritual, indeed specifically Christian, character of the tale to emerge. I realize that it probably strikes a contemporary audience as odd that Cinderella might be a Christian allegory, but keep in mind that most of the fairy stories and children’s tales compiled by the Brothers Grimm and later adapted by Walt Disney found their roots in the decidedly Christian culture of late medieval and early modern Europe.

And now you have your very own Bishop Barron Film Fest!

Image: CNS Photo/Jeffrey Bruno

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Tim Tebow, Everyday Heroes and the Power of Prayer

Tim-TebowIn our last blog post, we talked to former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow about his summer gig as co-host of Fox’s “Home Free,” in which people compete to win homes for the heroes in their lives (and some money for themselves).

In the interview, Tebow said:

There are a lot of heroes walking around amongst us, and so many times they don’t get thanked. They don’t get supported, and what they do goes unnoticed.

Well, everyday heroes on a plane flight got some attention yesterday, via this Facebook post from passenger Richard V. Gotti. It reveals how how people came together on a Delta Airlines flight helped an ailing passenger — and Tebow was there to offer prayers and support.

I have to share this story! I was traveling on Delta Airlines Flight Number 1772 from Atlanta, Georgia to Phoenix, Arizona when there was a medical emergency on board. An older gentleman began having what appeared to be heart problems, and he went unconscious. I watched strangers from all over the world and every ethnicity come to the help of this man for over an hour! Whether it was chest compressions, starting an IV, helping breathe life into this man, or praying everyone helped! I listened to shock after shock from the AED machine and still no pulse. No one gave up. I observed people praying and lifting this man up to the Lord in a way that I’ve never seen before. The crew of Delta Airlines were amazing. They acted in a fast and professional manner! Then all of a sudden, I observed a guy walking down the aisle. That guy was Tim Tebow. He met with the family as they cried on his shoulder! I watched Tim pray with the entire section of the plane for this man. He made a stand for God in a difficult situation. The plane landed in Phoenix and that was the first time they got a pulse back! Please share this with your friends! Pray for this man and his family, and also thank God that we still have people of faith who in times of difficulty look to the Lord!



We never know when we’ll have an opportunity to use the power of prayer. Not only do the prayers themselves do good, but giving a public witness to faith can have unexpected benefits. Tebow has been teased a lot in the media for his overt faith, but it hasn’t stopped him from doing what comes naturally to a strong Christian.

Whether it’s saying grace in a restaurant or at a picnic, doing the Sign of the Cross to honor the Lord in the tabernacle while passing a Catholic church, or being seen praying a rosary or chaplet — you never know who’s watching, or how it may touch his or her heart.

Pray on, Tim Tebow, pray on …

Image: Courtesy Richard V. Gotti, via Facebook

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Tim Tebow Offers Help and Hope on Fox’s ‘Home Free’

Tim-Tebow-Home-FreeEven though former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow is the co-host of the reality-competition show “Home Free,” airing Thursdays on Fox (9 p.m. ET/PT) — and appeared previously on “Lip Sync Battle” — that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s has given up on football.

Speaking on a conference call, he said:

I don’t know if you can draw any conclusions.  I think you can just say that I’ve found a couple things that I really liked, and that’s what I’ve tried to do.  I really enjoyed the Lip Sync Battle because it’s super fun, it’s outside my comfort zone.  Then I wanted to do Home Free because I felt like it’s something that families in America can watch together.  They can watch it, they can be entertained, but hopefully at the same time be inspired, and it’s something good that is uplifting for people to watch.  I think that’s pretty cool.

Asked if the door is closed on football, Tebow said:

I think for me it’s just, you just wait.  If God opens the right door, then you walk down it.  If he doesn’t, then you just continue to find the right path that he has for you.

On “Home Free,” Tebow and contractor Mike Holmes (“Make It Right”) are guiding eleven contestants through the task of building an entire neighborhood, with the hopes of winning a dream home for their personal heroes — and $100,000 for themselves. Each time someone is eliminated, they get to give the home they built to their hero, but the longer they stay in the game, the bigger and better the homes get.

At the same time, the have to compete in “Drill Down Challenges” that test their skills and teamwork abilities.

As the son of the missionaries, and through his own Tim Tebow Foundation, the publicly Christian athlete has long been involved in charity work, and he sees “Home Free” as an extension of that.

This show promotes to young people, and even not-so-young people, is that it is such a blessing to be able to help other people, and sacrifice for other people.  Whether it’s your money, your time, your energy, your effort, whatever it is, it’s worth it, and it’s not just worth it when they return—they give you a home in return, but it’s worth it because of the lives that you’re able to change.

I think that’s something that I’ve really learned through a lot of the work that we do at the Tim Tebow Foundation, and the work that I’ve done in Third World countries.  I think it’s also just as important to be able to do it here, in our own communities, and our own homes, because people need help, and they need hope.  Sometimes that’s as little as a hug, and sometimes it can be as much as giving away a home, but I just think it’s so important.  I think to be able to tell that story and have people see that, I think it’s good, especially in a day and age when it can be so much about me, me, me, and how can I get mine, where this show is totally about helping other people and that’s really cool.

Tebow also enjoys reminding people that there are good folks, even heroes, everywhere, not just in superhero comics and movies.

There are a lot of heroes walking around amongst us, and so many times they don’t get thanked.  They don’t get supported, and what they do goes unnoticed.  I think that this show really tries to thank them, and say, we appreciate what you’ve done, and the sacrifice.  That might be someone just helping cancer patients get out of bed every day and go for a walk, and encourage them, or it could be our military saving people on the battlefield.  There’s such a wide spectrum, but I think we have heroes every single day and it’s important to say thank you.  This show does that.

Amen to that.

Take a peek:

Image: Courtesy Fox

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Finding Francis: The Story of a Miracle Baby Who Just Kept Swimming


We relate to each other through stories. They mean more than all the facts and figures and statistics in the wold. Even the best pictures affect us because they tell a story.

Here’s the story of tiny Francis William, born very premature, and what he has in common with a little animated fish and a Hollywood executive.

Just Keep Swimming from Charles Francis Kinnane on Vimeo.

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From ‘Finding Dory’ to ‘The BFG’ to ‘Ghostbusters': Preparing Your Kids for the Summer Blockbusters

The-BFGIt’s risky to bring your kids to the movie theaters, especially the younger ones. One temper tantrum and that’s $10 down the drain. So here is one media-savvy mom’s proactive way to get the kids excited and emotionally invested in the film beforehand, so you get your money’s worth!

If you do a little research, a lot of these of the big family blockbusters have a prequel to it, or a book that it’s based on. It’s worth it to read or watch these with your kids. That way, they will know the characters and their world when they go into the movie. (Or if they aren’t interested, you’ve saved yourself the hassle of taking them in the first place.)

“Finding Dory”: Opens on Friday June 17th.  For those of you planning to see “Finding Dory,” its beautiful predecessor, “Finding Nemo” is a must-see.  It’s the story of Marlin a widowed clownfish whose only surviving son gets lost, and he ends up finding Nemo with the help of the sweet but forgetful blue tang fish, Dory. Along the way, it provides a beautiful lesson for parents who want to learn where to draw the line on overprotectiveness. In this upcoming sequel, Marlin and Nemo try to help Dory find her family, which she had already lost before she met Nemo and Marlin in the first movie, due to her deplorable short-term memory.

Click here to read our previous post on “Finding Dory,” which includes links to reviews, including a Catholic one.

The BFG”: The beloved children’s book by Roald Dahl comes out as a movie on Friday, July 1. I remember having that book read to me in my first-grade class in the early 1980s, so I am particularly excited to read this to my kids. Especially exciting is that the payoff for them will be to get to see a hit Stephen Spielberg film starring Oscar-award-winning Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies”) turned into a giant with the latest technology. (Interestingly enough, that was a role that was being primed for the late Robin Williams, which would have altered the tone of the movie significantly).

It’s the story of a caring, compassionate, non-cannibalistic Giant able to give children pleasant dreams, who snatches orphan girl Sophie. A friendship forms between them, whilst the BFG’s fellow giants become a threat to Sophie. In order to end Cannibalism once and for all, Sophie and the BFG must convince Queen Victoria to get rid of Giants once and for all. This movie is rated PG, but contains cannibalistic giants that might scare the younger kids, but you can test it out on your kids with the book.

Then there’s Ghostbusters, the third of its kind. This time it’s a version featuring Kate McKinnon, a female member of the “Saturday Night Live” cast. Interestingly enough, its 1984 and 1989 male predecessors consisted of Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd, also “SNL” cast members of their time. Also starring are former “Mike & Molly” star Melissa McCarthy and Chris Hemsworth, along with “Ghostbusters” original cast members Murray, Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Annie Potts and Ernie Hudson.

The last two films were about three eccentric scientists and former university professors who set up Ghostbusters, a business specializing in the service of trapping pesky ghosts, spirits, haunts, and poltergeists. The new Ghostbusters has a very similar premise, but this time these are females that are shunned out of academia and forced to save New York City from a poltergeist uprising. The ghosts could scare the little ones. I remember being seven years old and scared myself.  But again, rent out the original and see for yourself – some kids are braver than you – or they – think.

Two more remakes to look into are “Pete’s Dragon” – another Disney, whose original was made in 1977 – and “Ice Age: Collision Course,” a franchise which has been known to contain some adult innuendos, but double meaning will often pass undetected by our innocent little ones.

Too many books, films, and comics to count have come before “The Legend of Tarzan.” (This is the 19th film of its kind, according to Wikipedia). In cases such as these, I like to go to the original book. This time, it’s a novel called “Tarzan of the Apes” by Edgar Rice Burroughs. For the little ones, the 1999 animated Disney version, voiced by Tony Goldwyn might be more age-appropriate (though little ones always love being read to).  However, speaking of age-appropriateness, this film version is PG-13, and probably isn’t for the little ones. But take your teens out for a treat with this one.

Prepping your kids before hitting the theater can be a good method to use the media as a way to teach our kids that some of the most lucrative pop-culture is grounded in a tradition of great literature. Imparting the knowledge of the origins behind these blockbusters will then make this expensive trip to the movies a great occasion for educational and cultural enrichment.

But, all pretenses aside, the kids will be more focused on the movie, giving us parents something that we all long for … a much-deserved break!

Here are some trailers:

Image: Courtesy Walt Disney Company

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