I saw something tonight that was simply fabulous.

A stark contrast to the disturbing movie I say today.

An excerpt:


NB: buckles.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Irenaeus says:

    Don’t leave us hanging!

  2. Geoffrey says:

    What a cliff hanger!

  3. Eric says:

    You saw the northern lights on the way home from “the Dark Knight”

  4. Steve K. says:

    I saw two disturbing movies recently, though both were good – the Dark Knight, and No Country for Old Men. The second was the most disturbing.

  5. Fr. Z – sorry to drop in, but wanted to let people know that Bp Schneider will have the Mass this morning on EWTN. People can catch it on streaming video. I see it at 8:00am EST and it typically rebroadcasts at Noon and Midnight.

    I believe there will be more and I’m putting info out as I get it. I don’t think His Excellency travelled all that way just for Mass.

  6. Coletta says:

    Thank you,Diane for the info Bp Schneider on EWTN this morning. God bless you.

  7. Dave says:

    Wow, I tuned into EWTN just in time to hear the Roman Canon in Latin. How beautiful!

  8. Dave – tune in again later to hear that magnificent homily on Mary Magdalene. The whole thing was deep. He spoke on the need for everyone to pursue the vocation of sainthood to which each of us is called. If Mary Magdalene, who had 7 demons cast out could repent, then there is no sinner that is beyond conversion.

    I especially liked toward’s the end, where – in classic fashion for him, he gently prodded us to consider how Mary Magdalene received Jesus, falling to her knees before Him.

    Awesome. His style reminds me Pope Benedicts, rising above harsh or critical tones, using language that is humbling and inviting the soul to be open to reason.

    Sorry again to go off topic Fr. Z. I didn’t get word until quite late and emailed you, but knew you might not see it in time but wanted to give others the opportunity.

    Watch it at Noon or Midnight. Definitely catch the audio which should be available within 24 hours. I’ll try to find it and post it on my blog when it comes out.

  9. Garrett says:


    If you mean to say The Dark Knight was disturbing in a *bad* way, then you and I are simply two totally different people!

    I mean, The Dark Knight is disturbing, but Fox News isn’t? Come on, now.

  10. Carlos says:

    Let me guess, you actually went to see “MAMA MIA” and know you can’t get all that Abba music out of your head.

  11. Yes, the movie I saw yesterday was the new Batman film, Dark Knight.

    It was pretty disturbing, actually.

    However, yesterday evening I watched a Don Camillo film I had not seen before (I have them all, I think, on DVD).

    I saw Don Camillo – Monsignore ma non troppo (1961)!

  12. KOM says:

    I was actually more offended by the loose morality portrayed in Iron Man than the realistic portrayal of evil in Batman (though I was sorry I took my ten year old to see it–frankly, I think it deserved an R rating.)

  13. Pleased as Punch says:

    Dear Fr. Z,

    What did you find disturbing about The Dark Knight?

    [NOTE: No spoilers here.]

    I don’t deny that it was disturbing in some ways (something about the ending was puzzling and unsatisfying). I thought, however, that the Joker’s role was the most remarkably accurate and stimulating portrayal of the demonic I’d ever seen in film. He’s a person of incredible intelligence and unalloyed malevolence. He has no apparent ties to anyone, anywhere (he’s utterly unidentifiable to the police). He explicitly eschews all the ordinary motivations for evil: money, sex, power. He even says, “It’s not about money, it’s about sending a message.” And the message is a clear one: chaos and despair. In one key conversation he speaks of order and disorder (compare Tolkien’s allegory of the creation in the Silmarillion: Illuvatar is the master composer, the master orderer; Melkor is the father of disorder). As Ebert notes in his review, one of the Joker’s great methods is forcing morally wrenching choices on people, which is nothing more than a very explicit form of temptation to sin (by which I mean that although Satan is more subtle in that he hides the evil that will result from our choice, he does essentially the same thing). If there is any motivation for what the Joker does, it is simply the desire to oppose good, to do the opposite of good, and by fear or compulsion or despair to drive as many people as possible to do the same.

    This is profound stuff, and I think watching the film with Christian eyes can serve as a powerful reminder of the existence of the demonic and of the necessity of fighting it.

  14. Liz F. says:

    Father, HOW was it disturbing? My nearly 14 y.o. and 15 year old saw it with their father. My husband didn’t think it was dark, but just he found it so unbelievable and unrealistic that it was a let down. Now you have me bothered that I let my kids see it.

  15. Bruce says:

    Yes….the buckles…

  16. Hey, where are the subtitles for this YouTube clip???

  17. David: There aren’t any, of course.

    However, the Don Camillo films are themselves a good reason to learn Italian.

  18. larsterkhan says:

    Ok… maybe some indirect spoilers.

    All in all I think the Dark Knight isn’t quiet as dark as many think. The real question between the Joker and Batman is essentially is Gotham worth saving? The Dark Knight is almost a modern retelling of Pandora’s Box. But maybe that’s just me. I thought Harlan Ellison’s “I Have No Mouth and Must Scream” was an uplifting story.

  19. Joe Horan says:

    Perhaps Father finds the Dark Knight disturbing because it is fundamentally Utilitarian and Consequentialist in its underlying theory of ethics. The ending, mostly, is where we find the disturbing aspects I think. Its easy to get caught up in the sensationalism of such a movie without giving thought to what exactly is driving it. What is the moral of the story? Is there a moral to the story? Is that moral scewed? Is it a good message?

    “Sometimes people deserve to be rewarded for their faith.”

  20. Maureen says:

    What one person finds profoundly disturbing may simply be thought-provoking for someone else. Octavia Butler, for instance, gave me nightmares for nights upon nights on end, such that I refuse to read anything else by her solely for health reasons. But other people find her books very edifying.

  21. Dove says:

    Hi Fr. Z,
    You are fortunate to have the Don Camillo DVDs (or downloads). They are hard to find in Italian, oddly enough, and some of the ones on Amazon are not the NTSC format that we need here in the US. Do you have a source for them?
    I loved the clip!

  22. KJCM says:


    Please write a review of The Dark Knight. I also thought the film was disturbing — but I thought maybe I wasn’t used to seeing so much violence….

  23. Diane: Thank you for alerting us to Bishop Schneider’s Latin Novus Ordo Mass on EWTN yesterday.

    I watched it twice, and was deeply impressed by his projection of the “ars celebranda” that Pope Benedict has mentioned, but may be hard to define precisely.

    Any priest, who doesn’t know what “ars celebranda” means, should be forced to watch Bp. Schneider’s Mass yesterday repeatedly until he’s got it.

  24. I agree that there were some disturbing things in the Dark Knight. I really think it should have been rated “R” given the violence and the body count (and I am a shoot ’em up action movie fan). The violence isn’t gory, but it’s the situations that can make you uneasy. It’s a bit more psychologically disturbing.

    However, it does have a lot of philisophical topics that it throws at you. Given that the Joker plays off the fact that man is a fallen creature (he more often sets up the “temptation” but it’s the other characters who “pull the trigger” so to speak), it can seem pretty disturbing and dark, but part of the beauty of the film is that in spite of that, people can choose and do the right thing, but it will always involve sacrificing yourself in some way.

    I do plan on seeing it again. It is one of the best movies to come out of Hollywood in quite a while. Just don’t take the kids.

  25. Canonne says:

    Sorry, but don camillo is in french. The main character is Fernandel a famous actor in France. All his movie are excellent and “moral”. I apologize for my english. Thank you father for you blog.

  26. Canonne: You really can’t get more Italian than the don Camillo movies, regardless of some French involvement.

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