PBS shows on Mary in classical art and another on Martin Luther

I wonder if anyone else has seen broadcast on their local PBS stations a couple of shows with what I woudl consider a significant Catholic impact. I usually roll my eyes at the relative “Godlessness” that PBS exhibits on oru tax dollar.

Anyonway, the one was on Our Lady as depicted in classicl art. The show was wonderful and I was sorry to have missed part of it. I am going to try to find out when it will play again and see it in full. It certainly seems that classical artists really “Got it” when it came to Mary, he relationship to Christ, role in the plan of redemption, relationship to us etc. One of my favorites was a painting (i forget the artist) in which Our Lady is depicted with her mother St. Ann and Christ as a toddler. It depicts Mary holding Christ’s hands as though she is teaching him to walk. Under her bare foot is a serpent and Christ’s bare foot is on top of Mary’s. Hit me like a ton of bricks.

The other work of art that struck me was Micehlangelo’s Pieta (a statue of Mary holding the body of Christ.) While most Pieta show Mary wracked with sorrow, Michelangelo’s shows her sorrowFUL but really more resolved and quite calm. As though she somehow knew the role his death would play in salvation.

The show on Martin Luther was also good and narrated by Liam Neeson who I enjoy as an actor. This one was a touch anti-Catholic in my view, but not rabid. It subvertly affirmed the notion that the Catholic church wielded to much power, political and otherwise during this time and that the Papacy had become overly extravagant, indulgent and corrupt. But it also pointed out that he probably did not intend to cause a firestorm at all. Pinning topics for scholarly discussion was apparently common in the day. What’s more, it 95 Theses were written in Latin, in technical wording, and not for the masses per se. I also found it interesting that while he reduced the sacrmaments to 2 (communion and non-infant baptism), he did keep these two. I am not sure from the show if he believed in the True Presence in the Eucharist. It also did not detail whether he felt that any partiuclalry grace was imparted by the physical aspects of these two. Most astounding, but possibly not accurate, the dramamtization always depcited him with his Rosary in his hand even on to his death bed. I am dying to fin out if this is accurate! The show did take the last 10 or 15 minutes to describe his lack of charity. He clearly did not feel that the spiritual freedom that he believed in should be interpeted to imply social freedom in that he really encouraged the nobility of Germany to slaughter the social uprising of the peasants.

Sorry for rambling. But was curious if anyone else saw these.


I watched the Luther one. I even made a copy for my soon-to-be-mother-in-law who is a Lutheran. On the surface, it seemed like the documentary made the Church and the papacy look pretty bad. But, while watching it, I noticed that the dogma of the Church was never challenged. Only the actions of the Church leaders.

It did a nice job showing that it was the people in the Church, not the teaching of the Church, who were wrong. It also didn’t really present any evidence that Luther’s theological conclusions were correct. It showed that the Reformation was more political than religious.

I also would love to find out if he really died with a rosary in hand.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.