Shawshank Redemption critical of Reformation?

I was watching a video by Fr. Robert Barron on YouTube in which he was reviewing “The Shawshank Redemption” and mentioned many of the religious themes in the movie. He said how Andy Dufresne was a Christ-like figure. Of course the chief villain in the movie is Warden Norton, whom Father Barron describes as a superficial Fundamentalist Bible-believing Christian. I was thinking about this as I was watching the movie recently. At the end of the last scene in which Andy Dufresne(A.D.?) and Warden Norton are together, the Warden turns his back on Andy and walks away while whistling “Eine feste Burg is unser Gott” or in English “A mighty fortress is our God”. This is the most well known hymn by Martin Luther. The director said he didn’t intentionally place any religious symbolism in the movie but there seems to be many. Or do I just have too much time on my hands?

I’ve watched SR at least six times over the years. I have never noticed anything about the religion in the movie except the Warden is a hypocrite when it comes to his religion. :eek:

Right. I don’t think it’s attacking the Reformation specifically. Stephen King grew up Methodist and hates “organized religion” in general while believing in God. Frank Darabont, the director of the movie, is of Hungarian origin and probably Catholic by heritage, but I don’t know if he practices Catholicism. It’s a general point about hypocrisy that happens to involve a Protestant in this instance.


How did he see Andy as a Christ-like figure?
I don’t see that at all.

LOVE that movie.
Get busy living, or get busy dying.


He is an innocent man being punished along with the guilty, who brings hope and redemption to his fellow prisoners. He escapes the prison and invites others (well, one other) to share in his new life.


Any deeply insightful movie that deals with ethics and morals would necessarily have some religious themes. It is natural to do so, since religion is part of our culture. It would take a conscious effort to filter out such allusions.

The uncompromising attitude of the Catholic Church towards capital punishment will necessarily color any movie which sympathetically deals with the subject of people in prison.

I agree. The warden is a hypocrite when it comes to living out his faith. I didn’t read anything more into it than that. It is one of my favorite movies, right up there with *Dancing with Wolves *, The Sound of Music, The Fugitive, and The Wizard of Oz, Les Miserables, and a few others.

The uncompromising attitude of the CC towards capital punishment?

I think she is quite compromising on it–“it’s wrong, but if you have to do it to protect society, then you can.”

That’s pretty compromising, don’t you think?

Innocent?! He killed his wife and her lover.

I expected that response. Yes, there is that loophole, some countries don’t have the resources for the warehousing of the worst. Mexico is one such primarily Catholic country, yet they have abolished the death penalty.

That loophole is impractical. Such countries also have problems with things like the death penalty for apostasy from Islam. In the US, the issue is the death penalty in itself.

All human beings, no matter how flawed, have the right to be treated as fully human. Shawshank Redemption shows that.

By definition, loophole = compromising.


This, below, is very Catholic. :thumbsup:

All human beings, no matter how flawed, have the right to be treated as fully human. Shawshank Redemption shows that.

Maybe I was not explicit enough. Yes, loophole = compromise.

So perhaps you want to retract your statement that the CC’s position on capital punishment is “uncompromising”?

My, you are sure persistent. Both posts were retractions.

Perhaps the CCC needs to be more specific on the conditions involved.

Perhaps the US needs to free up space in its prisons by releasing the least dangerous, abolish the death penalty, and rent prison space to other countries.


Perhaps you should have been more specific that you were actually offering a retraction…but it’s nice to know you are indeed retracting now. :thumbsup:

Perhaps the CCC needs to be more specific on the conditions involved.

I don’t think she needs to be. That’s why we have bishops and archbishops. :shrug:

:cool: Of course. But the church cannot dictate to government, only make recommendations. And empower the people to vote their conscience. Of course, in the US, It is impossible to vote one’s conscience, given the polarity of the two party system.

Sorry for misrepresenting the CCC I needed to re-read it myself.

2267 Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor. (2306)
If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity with the dignity of the human person.
Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm—without definitively taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself—the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity “are very rare, if not practically non-existent.”68


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