What Fr. Z is watching and reading

There is a movie to avoid Amen, which is – on the surface – about the Nazi Reich’s extermination of the Jews and of “unproductive” people.  A military scientist (based on a real person) who realizes what is going on – the Final Solution -and then, having a conscience, tries to stop it with the help of a young (fictional) Jesuit.

Under the surface, the movie is anti-Catholic disinformation. Actually, a lot of the anti-Catholic stuff is on the surface.

It is really creepy in some of its “good” elements.  There have to be good and truthful elements in order to lack the lies slither into your brain and start replacing facts and common sense:

  • A girl is doing math word problems.  She is asked to figure out how many middle class homes could be built for the cost of on insane asylum.   This comes right after a scene in which patients in a hospital are euthanized.
  • Archbp. von Galen, the “Lion of Münster”, marches into a government building and threatens the officials that he will expose what they are doing.  Later, he is denouncing from the pulpit what is being done to “unproductive” people.
  • There is an elaborate scene in which the principal tries to find a way to listen to Pius XII’s 1942 Christmas radio address (but it gets the text wrong).

These are intended to distract you.

Be warned: There is strong undercurrent of propaganda in it against Pius XII and the Catholic Church.  This film is based on the vile 1963 play by Rolf Hochhuth, The Deputy, a Christian Tragedy, which was a project of the KGB to attack Pius XII and the Catholic Church through “disinformation”.

The production values are fairly high, for there was clearly a lot of money behind it.  Happily, the film at a certain point becomes incoherent, ridiculously preachy in all the wrong ways.

After watching this slithery dreck I cleansed by mind and heart by watching a John Wayne movie.  Refreshing.

There are other antidotes to the disinformation dreck.

Be sure to check out Gary Krupp’s Pope Pius XII and World War II: The Documented Truth: A Compilation of International Evidence Revealing the Wartime Acts of the Vatican   There is, I believe, an early and a more recent edition of this book, which I wrote once about HERE.   The great thing about this book is it provides photographic images of primary evidence.

An important book, not only for what was purposely done to Pius XII (such as The Deputy), but also what is happening today in many circles in these USA, is by Prof. Ron Rychlak, called Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategies for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism co-authored with, principally, Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa.  Pacepa was the head of intelligence in Romania who fled to the West when he was asked to start killing people. He is an expert on the Soviet technique of framing, disinformation, creating false narratives and history. The book exposes the Communist background of seemingly-benign organizations and explains the treatment received by Cardinals Stepinak, Mindszenty and Wysznski and, of course, as I mentioned above, Pius XII.  More HERE.

You also want to read, for sure, Rychlak’s Hitler, The War, And The Pope.   Rychlak is a professor at Ol’ Miss who teaches in the Law School about evidence.

I also just finished reading the new book by Dick Morris called Power Grab.  This is about the efforts of the Obama Administration to create a one party nation (guess which one).  The descriptions of the way Obamacare was implemented, how the EPA works, what is being done by executive order.  It is well documented.

Finally, I am well into The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building ofthe Brooklyn Bridge by David McCullough. This is a ripping good yarn about an amazing feat during an interesting transitional period of American history.  David McCullough is superb.  If you haven’t read his biography of John Adams, you have a treat in store.

I have a whole bunch of ancient Roman historical fiction novels in the queue and some more nautical, Royal Navy items as well.  I am grateful to readers who have sent Kindle books.

In any event, get Kindle, keep reading, keep learning, keep expanding yourselves.

Do you need a Kindle?  I read more now than ever.  Click HERE  UK click HERE

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Might I recommend rabbi David G. Dalin’s “The Myth of Hitler’s Pope”, which is an excellent and scholarly refutation of John Cornwell’s tissue of lies.

  2. LarryW2LJ says:

    Heartily agree with your opinion of McCullough’s biography of John Adams. I think I’ve read all of President Adams’ biographies that are out there. McCullough’s is indeed, the best.

  3. DisturbedMary says:

    Regarding “Amen”: We should saddle up, we’re burning daylight.

  4. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    May I also recommend Ralph McInerny’s book called (I think) The Defamation of Pius XII.

    Thanks for the movie review, Father.

  5. pberginjr says:

    I haven’t read McCullough, but rather enjoyed Party of One by James Grant

  6. mburduck says:

    I, too, must endorse Rychlak’s fine book. Full disclosure: I have a Ph.D. from Ole Miss (a.k.a. The University of Mississippi).


  7. Elizabeth D says:

    I hope you put a review of “Amen” on Amazon also.

    There is another movie that I want to see, “The Ninth Day” that is about the Dachau priest block, Stephen Greydanus thinks very highly of it: http://decentfilms.com/reviews/ninthday
    and besides that, the recent movie “Life for Life: Maximilian Kolbe”

    There are also a number of movies that I believe are positive to the Church that involve rescuing Jews, including
    The Scarlet and the Black
    The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler
    Hidden in Silence
    Pius XII: Under the Roman Sky
    God’s Mighty Servant: Sister Pascalina Lehnert Secretary of Pius XII

  8. Elizabeth D says:

    another movie about Catholics sheltering Jewish people:
    Miracle at Moreaux

    (I’m sure there are more… this seems to be a common theme)

  9. Sconnius says:

    Father, should you happen to have Netflix, “McLintock” “Hatari” “True Grit” “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” and “The Sons of Katie Elder” are all on there.

    The Quiet Man is an excellent choice, though.

  10. SaintJude6 says:

    Oh my gosh! The Quiet Man. Yes! We own this movie, and my family watches it all the time. My children will come running into my room when I yell out, “He’s walking her back!” My ten year old frequently says, “When I drink water, I drink water. And when I drink whiskey, I drink whiskey.” Did you low that Maureen O’Hara has two of her brothers in the movie? One plays Fr. Paul. And they actor who plays Flynn was the real-life brother of the actor who plays Rev. Playfair. Also, John Wayne’s children have a brief part during the race.
    I’m wondering if anyone has seen the John Wayne movie where he plays a coach at a Catholic college? I am considering buying it. Any good?

  11. pj_houston says:

    I cannot recommend enough the movie “Calvary”. This is easily the most powerful Catholic film made since “The Passion of the Christ”. Be forewarned though, the subject matter is very adult-themed, and the USCCB has rated it L – limited adult audience.

  12. pj_houston says: the movie “Calvary”

    I cannot say that this new film Calvary is for everyone. Yes, there are many positive elements. I watched it with about a dozen seminarians.

    My impression is that is main value is to convey to us something of the pure rage that roils away in Irish Catholicism.

    The movie is filled with rage. I’ve not seen anything quite like it.

  13. CrimsonCatholic says:

    Father, can you give a more detailed review of “Calvary”. I have heard a variety about it, including someone claiming it to be one of the most Catholic and Christian movies they have ever saw.

  14. pj_houston says:

    Fr. Z,
    As a priest, I can certainly understand your reservations about Calvary. But I thought it was a movie not so much about the emotional turmoil within its characters, but about a priest doing his best to imitate Christ in a world that seems to be falling apart. And in doing so, overcome this pure rage you mentioned. Ultimately, it’s a story about sacrifice, forgiveness and redemption. [It was that. But the tone of rage throughout, the Irish rage, is striking. And it explains a lot, to me at least.]

    The problem with reviewing this movie, is that it will spoil it to some degree to those who haven’t seen it yet. But if you want, this review (or “meditation” as the author describes it) is excellent, but it does contain SPOILERS:


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