Stigmata, the Movie

Has anyone seen that movie STIGMATA starring Patricia Arquette? What did you think of it? The plot involved a young female atheist who experiences the stigmata of Jesus. According to the movie, that has never happened in recorded Church history.

The plot grew from a ‘gospel of Thomas’ that was discovered near the Dead Sea scrolls and declared heresy.

I thought it was an interesting movie with a fantasy plot. There didn’t seem to be any point to the atheist exhibiting the stigmata. No conversions followed; no one’s faith was strengthened. It finally seemed that she was being possessed by a Catholic who had been translating the heretic Thomas gospel but the only excerpts that were given were already part of the other four gospels. We hear it in sermons all the time: that we are the living stones of the Church. There seemed no strong reason why the dead translator would have wanted to possess an atheist.

I think of it as a fantasy plot though it does have reference points of reality. Especially it seemed so at the end where the girl was walking around a garden wrapped in a sheet that was draped to resemble the garden’s white stone religious statuary.

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Sounds offensive to me.

I saw it a long time ago before I was catholic…or even christian for that matter. It intrigued me, but left a very bad taste in my mouth for catholics, and strengthened my anti-catholic attitude when I became a christian.

Even today I am put off by “stigmata” in the church because of that movie. It really was an attack, and really inappropriate.

No It isn’t a good movie. It was deemed offensive by the bishops.

usccb.org/movies/s/stigmata1999.shtml

Yes and it was very poorly thought out. The Gospel of Thomas is a Gnostic text and Gnostics didn’t believe that Christ died on the cross so why would the main character undergo a stigmata? It would make as much sense as having her scribble a passage fromt the Bhagavad Gita. See Roger Ebert’s review where he states: “Instead of freaking out in nightclubs and getting blood all over her bathroom, she should be in some sort of religious ecstasy, like Lili Taylor in “Household Saints.” It is not a dark and fearsome thing to be bathed in the blood of the lamb.” See here: rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19990101/REVIEWS/901010302/1023

Offensive, and is another of those popular productions about ridiculous conspirations regarding the gnostic texts

God Bless You !!!
:):):slight_smile:

I’m fairly sure there was - I’d have to see it again.

No conversions followed; no one’s faith was strengthened.

Why must there be ? It’s story, not a sermon. (Thank goodness !)

It finally seemed that she was being possessed by a Catholic who had been translating the heretic Thomas gospel but the only excerpts that were given were already part of the other four gospels.

The last excerpt wasn’t.

We hear it in sermons all the time: that we are the living stones of the Church. There seemed no strong reason why the dead translator would have wanted to possess an atheist.

Why do ghosts or vampires or werewolves or zombies do their stuff ? Because that is what they do.

I think of it as a fantasy plot though it does have reference points of reality. Especially it seemed so at the end where the girl was walking around a garden wrapped in a sheet that was draped to resemble the garden’s white stone religious statuary.

I think that is a good summary. I don’t think it had a message.

Quote:
No conversions followed; no one’s faith was strengthened.

Why must there be ? It’s story, not a sermon. (Thank goodness !)

Because with a real stigmata, faith would be strengthened in believers and conversions of vast numbers of nonbelievers would ensue. I know it was a story. There should maybe be a new category; like science fiction, maybe there should also be religious fiction or Catholic fiction fairy tale?

The movie wasn’t realistic on many counts, the more I think about it. I didn’t like the girl hitting on the priest and I didn’t like that she succeeded in stealing her kiss at the end of the movie.

Was she dead at the end of the movie? The priest carrying her wrapped in a sheet to a garden, was that symbolic of him transitioning her to heaven? Because I assumed it was Central Park though why he would let her wander off didn’t make any sense. Was that supposed to be a winding sheet, a burial cloth?

I thought it was so outlandish that everyone would know it was largely fabrication. I didn’t think people would take it seriously. But maybe there are some who would.

I liked the way the investigating priest closed his book and stopped his questions when he found out the girl was not nor ever had been Catholic or religious. It was very scientific that therefore the Catholics would not be continuing the investigation.

Can you imagine that? Priests who actually know how to use a fax machine?

I’ve seen the movie a few times, because I enjoy Gabriel Byrne. :slight_smile: What I got out of the movie was that the secret gospel was to show we didn’t need priests or a church to “be with Jesus” and the church suppressed it because, well, they wanted to be needed. It’s a fantastical take on an old grudge against the church. :shrug: So yeah, it was probably an attack on the Catholic church. I watched it long before I even thought of becoming Catholic, and I have to say it had no effect on my view of Catholicism. To me, it was just a movie.

I’ve seen it and thought it was sort of good, sort of bad. If you do not know much about the catholic church it might influence you negatively.

The “secrets” from the Secret Gospels of Thomas are really nothing more than a recounting of Paul’s discussion at the “Altar of the unknown god” Where Paul tells people that ornate temples are not required for God to live in, as was the manner of both the Romans and the Jews.

Of course, being a big fan of Gabriel Byrne I enjoyed his role.

The major part of the movie is yet another “The Vatican has the secrets that are the keys to (pick one) World Peace, World Conquest, Total Peace, Total War, Bringing up Satan, Banishing Satan, The Seeds of it’s own destruction, or the way to get good tea on board a Vogon Warcruiser”

As with other movies from the same time (Dogma comes to mind) even a passing knowledge of Church teachings then the whole plot falls apart.

In Dogma it was simple knowledge of what an indulgence is, Here it is a knowledge of both Romans and the Rosary (no, God does not need a building in which to live and no the Rosary do not act as phylacteries for angry souls)

While I did somewhat enjoy it, I would also vote that it really is morally offensive or at least closer to it than to L (I think L is the new rating for limited viewing by adults)

I did not know that much about the gospels of Thomas. That’s not so secret, is it.

Oy vey… Thanks be to God you’re with us now!

The attempted point of the movie is that the Catholic Church will not allow people to read the books found in the Nag Hammadi. The reasons are valid and too numerous to discuss in this thread.

My biggest problem with the movie is the fact that it portrays a cardinal as having nearly unlimited power to run his own agenda which is quite ludicrous

I did a quick search on this Gospel of St. Thomas on these forums and on the Catholic Encyclopedia. There’s no mention of it being suppressed by the Church in modern times, just that it is a work of fiction and that it was suppressed in the early Church.

I get the impression that no one’s given it a lick of thought until Hollywood decided to make it look like there was a conspiracy.

To my knowledge the Church does not suppress it, but simply denies that it is Canon. Considering that such a high percentage of the words are missing and have to be guessed at, this is a very logical thing to do.

I just finished watching it yesterday. And while there were a lot of liberties taken with Catholic beliefs and the inner workings of Vatican politics, I still enjoyed it.

It’s not something I would take seriously as far as the Church is concerned. And yes, Father Kiernan almost gave in to Frankie’s advances (hey, we are all human and we all have tempations) but thankfully he resisted.

And as for a “conversion” I think that in the end Frankie may not have fully converted, but I sensed that she did begin to have some doubts about her atheism; a step in the right direction anyway.

It is no more realistic than The Da Vinci Code, but overall, I liked it and it did not shake my faith, nor did it make me angry.

My :twocents:

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