X-Files & Catholicism

One of the reasons I was so disappointed in the 2008 X-Files movie (which had obvious anti-Catholic themes) was because the TV show itself had often portrayed Catholicism (or Catholic themes) favorably. I'm watching the entire series again from start to finish. I am just into season 3 right now. I'm starting this thread to catalog some of the "Catholic" moments in the series. Episode titles follow with a brief description. This thread may contain SPOILERS, meaning some of the descriptions may give away parts of the show, but I will try to avoid giving away anything significant.

Conduit - Mulder, in anguish over his sister, prays in what looks to me like a Catholic church. Here's a screenshot of that one:

http://forums.catholic.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=7549&d=1269755811

*Miracle Man * - Scully reveals she was raised Catholic and that she knows in Scripture the devil never steals the show.

Sleepless - The character "Preacher" crosses himself before killing a doctor, although he is depicted as a self-authoritative interpreter of the Bible throughout the rest of the episode.

3 - Referring to the message of John 52:54 written on the wall of crime scene by vampire killers, Mulder says, "they have the same feeble literal grasp of the Bible as all those big-haired preachers do."

Die Hand Die Verletzt - Girl escaping the satanic ritual runs away in fear, praying the Hail Mary. She successfully escapes. (smart girl :o)

Colony - Mulder receives emails of obituaries of 3 abortion doctors suspected of being killed in arson fires by "militant right-to-lifers" who are later absolved.

Fearful Symmetry - A night janitor crosses himself in the teaser scene when an invisible force destroys the surroundings, and a trucker moments later yells "Mother of God" when he sees an elephant about to hit his truck.

Dod Kalm - The captain, after sending his deceased first mate to sea, crosses himself. He later turns out to be not so good of a character.

The Calusari - Scully believes the miracle of the loaves and fishes is "a parable." The hint in the episode is she's wrong, however. Later they perform what resembles an exorcism, but it is some other kind of ritual done by Romanian men that do not appear to exhibit Christianity in the ritual.

Soft Light - Scully is shown paying respects at what appears to be the very end of an outdoor Catholic burial for Agent Ryan. A collared priest presided.

Our Town - Mulder tells Scully to consider that cannibalism could prolong human life by citing historical beliefs such as "from vampirism to Catholicism, the reward for eating human flesh is eternal life." [paraphrasing]

If you know of a scene I missed or want to share comments, all are welcome. This thread to be continued as I watch more.... :o

I’ve only watched Seasons 8 and 9. I found the show dull until David Duchovny left and Robert Patrick came on and energized things.

I’ve watched most episodes of Season 8 and 9 dozens of times, so I’m pretty familiar with them. (The ones I skip watching are the “Mulder” episodes that feature minimal Doggett, e.g., the Finale.)

Do you want me to wait to post Catholic highlights from Season 8 and 9 so that this thread will be in order? Or should I post them now out of order?

There are a lot of good Catholic moments in S 8 and 9, and there is one entire episode that deals with a Catholic serial killer.

[quote="Cat, post:2, topic:192365"]
I've only watched Seasons 8 and 9. I found the show dull until David Duchovny left and Robert Patrick came on and energized things.

I've watched most episodes of Season 8 and 9 dozens of times, so I'm pretty familiar with them. (The ones I skip watching are the "Mulder" episodes that feature minimal Doggett, e.g., the Finale.)

Do you want me to wait to post Catholic highlights from Season 8 and 9 so that this thread will be in order? Or should I post them now out of order?

There are a lot of good Catholic moments in S 8 and 9, and there is one entire episode that deals with a Catholic serial killer.

[/quote]

You can post whatever you want! :) Although I think you are among 1% of X-Files fans that "don't" like Mulder!! His character the whole show to me. :o

[quote="MarcoPolo, post:3, topic:192365"]
You can post whatever you want! :) Although I think you are among 1% of X-Files fans that "don't" like Mulder!! His character the whole show to me. :o

[/quote]

I've "met" a number of people who started watching the show because of Robert Patrick. I liked Robert Patrick but I liked Mulder's quirkiness. But the show had become hit and miss by season six and tired by season seven. There were some good stories in season 8 which were ruined by the whole "who's the father" story. Season nine suffered from poorly written stories for most part.

There are a lot of episodes that feature Scully's Catholicism. But like many television programs, Catholicism is selectively portrayed.

The interesting thing about this for me is this: I was a freshman in college when I saw the original Pilot episode as it originally aired. I saw scattered season 1 episodes, and I eventually got into it more in the 2nd-3rd seasons, and saw it more sporadically a couple seasons after that. I really don’t know what happened much if at all in like season 6-7 or beyond. I think I saw only part of 1 episode ever that had Doggett (wasn’t there one where a guy could only be harmed by glass?). So going through the DVDs is going to be an interesting take from my view. All I do know is that last movie stunk. :o

The whole show was centered on Mulder. Robert Patrick suck the life out of it when Mulder left. Doesn't suprised me they ended it.

I agree. I had high hopes for the movie, but it really wasn't a good storyline, not to mention the anti-Catholic pedophile priest thing was a bit too cliché. Perhaps if it they used it in the series it wouldn't have hurt the ratings so much, but when you do a movie, espeically with hopes to leave the door open for other ideas for the show, you really don't want to tick off a good chunk of the audience. In other words, it would have been better to do something more inert to peoples ethnic beliefs. Other than that, it just didn't have the X-files theme to it. Like they strayed away from original roots of the show. IMO, the movie had a lot of potential to get the series back on the air, but they blew it.

I am an x-files junkie myself!!!

I agree, the show was quite friendly in presenting the Catholic faith for a fiction series. Scully would from time to time fall back on her Catholic faith as a secure thing, and I think she even wore a cross around her neck in most of the shows.

The movie in 2008, well, aside from being a bit mocking towards the Church just plain wasn't a good movie. I was really hoping something that would give the viewer a big pay off in terms of cameos and inside stories but it disappointed in that respect. If there is a 3rd movie I really hope it goes back to the shows conspiracy roots and digs up some great characters from the early seasons. I was put off by the movie revolving around a pedophile priest and not even being smartly done - but it wasn't totally offensive.

Btw I have noticed a lot of shows and movies will use the Catholic as the fall back faith for any character who is a Christian even though the US isn't a Catholic country...might just be an issue of visibility and there being so many smaller groups. Also, when there are wedding or funerals it usually happens in a Catholic setting. Not always. Just thinking of an episode of Heroes I was watching from season 3 (I’m catching up) and the funeral for one of the characters was in a Catholic Church and I think I saw a bishop in the scene (the character was a prominent member of society). Anyways, I notice that a lot, though there are exceptions – sometimes wedding will have a minister in a suit.

I have watched Season 8 and 9 several times, but as I mentioned before, I tend to skip the ones that don’t feature Doggett front and center, so I apologize that I can’t reference the “Catholicism” in those episodes. But I’ll do my best with the episodes that I am familiar with. I think that for the most part, Catholicism is well-treated in X Files. I’m sure that I am missing many little references in all the episode in Season 8 and 9, because I remember being very impressed with the Catholicism.

Patience–(Scully and Doggett go after the bat creature). The man who is hiding on an island mentions that his wife stuck by him on the island for many years, and her only request is that she be buried in consecrated ground. This is a “Catholic” concept–Protestants have no concept of consecrated ground.

The Gift–(the man/creature that consumes sickness and makes people well). This episode is one my personal favorites. The concept of “eating” to be cleansed of sin is very Catholic. This episode demonstrates graphically how someone else can “eat” our illness and make us whole again, and even restore us to life by taking our “death.” Very, very Christian and Catholic.

Daemonicus–(mental patient and Satanic murders). I think this episode does a fairly good job of showing what horrible things can happen when someone gives themselves over to Satan. Christians know about these things, but often the rest of the world thinks that Satan is all fairy tales. Nice use of Latin.

4-D–(parallel universe, Doggett is paralyzed, Monica faced with decision of euthanasia) Even though she eventually makes the decision to obey parallet universe Doggett and pull his plug, this episode is none-the-less life affirming.

Audrey Pauley–My all-time favorite X-Files episode and IMO, one of the best stories shown on any television show. This episode is so incredibly, beautifully life-affirming–Life Is Sacred–is one of the main teachings of the Catholic Church. Doggett stands by Monica’s supposedly brain-dead body and refuses to allow the docs to pull her plug and take her organs. He listens to and trusts a mentally-disabled woman who is a ward of the hospital, and as a result, uncovers an evil doctor who is euthanizing patients for their organs. Very very touching. Robert Patrick is a great crier.

Underneath–the Rosary killer episode. This episode is all about Catholicism gone wrong, or more accurately, about a Catholic gone wrong. A serial killer cannot accept that he is a sinner and experience contrition, so he becomes another person, a vicious killer who actually does all the sins while he remains innocent. The man fights his evil twin and tries to make him be good, but he can’t overcome him. A graphic portrayal of Romans 7 and St. Paul’s classic dilemma “I do the things I know are wrong.” Scully mentions that her Rosary is a great comfort to her. Excellent episode, but grisly and bloody.

That sounds like a nice moment. :o

A little off topic. I’m really enjoying V at the moment. I’ve up to about episode 3 at the moment. And I’m rather impressed by the priest on the show. Although. I’m sort of waiting for him to turn bad.Not so bad as in he becomes infavour of the aliens. But a coward or something like that. Or (puke) an atheist.

*The List *- Mulder, arguing for the possibility of reincarnation, says every major religion believes in some kind of transmigration of the soul, an afterlife. Scully says, "I'm sorry, Mulder, that's not what I learned in the catechism."

Revelations - The story revolves around a stigmatic boy. The details around his stigmata are not precisely historical, such as how the boy misbehaves in school---not your prototype young saint. Anyway, another guy who is a Christian of some kind (perhaps Catholic?) does not believe true sacrifice is going to Mass on Sunday or fish on Friday, he tells Scully as he sees her necklace. He later lays down his life (presumably he meant that taking time to go to mass or eating only fish was not as good as dying for neighbor). Later, while examining this guy's dead body, she smells a faint floral odor and explains to Mulder that she learned in catechism of "incorruptibles" whose bodies don't decay and have floral fragrance. She cites St. Cecilia and St. Francis. (incidentally, Mulder, the expert on all things paranormal, somehow has never heard of this) Scully, the skeptic, admits she believes that God's hand can be witnessed and miracles can happen, even if science cannot explain. Scully and Mulder swap roles as skeptic and believer in this episode. The boy also bi-locates which Scully says St. Ignatius did in the Bible (which I don't know of an Ignatius in the Bible, and Mulder thinks it's a parable anyway!) The episode actually ends with Scully in the confessional! And she gets good priestly advice! :o

Ahh I remember The List. Was the very first X-files show I watched. Scared me quite a bit, but it's what go me into watching the series.

The List isn't even one of my favorites. They had like 4 mediocre episodes (at least by X-Files standards) in a row there. But I can see how it could hook you. It still has that that mood, the acting, the interaction between Mulder and Scully, and the mystery. :o

Here's are 2 screenshots of Scully in the confessional at the end of Revelations---her first visit in "6 years"... :o

http://forums.catholic.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=7575&d=1270215259

This is a FUN thread! And if I were not just beginning RCIA ... what I mean is, if I actually knew a whole lot more about Catholicism ... I might look at the X-Files and try to discuss stuff.

I love good writing and I think many of the X-Files episodes were brilliantly written, particularly in the way you think you get something then it gets retracted down the road sort of. You watch to see if what you think you know is true or not (in the fictional storyline, of course). And that's what it is. Fiction. Very well-written fiction. I've watched all nine seasons, from start to finish. What a ride!!

Would be interesting to know if any one of the writers was Catholic - but then, since the entire world of the X-Files was fictional, maybe they felt fine taking liberties even with the religious content.

For those who have only seen particular seasons, I recommend you go back to the beginning and watch the episodes in sequence. The series builds upon itself. There are a few funny relief episodes. "Bad Blood" just makes me laugh myself silly - (from Season 5).

My favorite episode is from Season 6 (I think) called "TRIANGLE"
"Triangle" is best enjoyed in sequence because you know the characters - past and present, so to speak - it's the best!!

Hope

[quote="T_Hope, post:15, topic:192365"]

Would be interesting to know if any one of the writers was Catholic - but then, since the entire world of the X-Files was fictional, maybe they felt fine taking liberties even with the religious content.

[/quote]

I'm pretty sure sure John Shiban is Catholic.

Enjoying the new discussion.

Also, there haven’t been too many references in the last couple seasons. Here’s what I have so far, and I’m mid-way or so through season 4.

Jose Chung’s “From Outer Space” - A soldier says the Germans used to project an image of the Virgin Mary over French trenches in WWI to deter them from firing upon a holy miracle.

El Mundo Gira - There is a crucifix on the wall of a young hispanic woman’s house, although there is no strong mention of Catholicism other than the background prop. Along with her peers, she believes God cursed her two cousins by turning them into Chupacabras.

Leonard Betts - Betts refers to himself over an EMT communication as “Allegheny Catholic, 2-0-8” in reference to the hospital and unit # he worked for.

[quote="MarcoPolo, post:1, topic:192365"]
One of the reasons I was so disappointed in the 2008 X-Files movie (which had obvious anti-Catholic themes) was because the TV show itself had often portrayed Catholicism (or Catholic themes) favorably. I'm watching the entire series again from start to finish. I am just into season 3 right now. I'm starting this thread to catalog some of the "Catholic" moments in the series. Episode titles follow with a brief description. This thread may contain SPOILERS, meaning some of the descriptions may give away parts of the show, but I will try to avoid giving away anything significant.

Conduit - Mulder, in anguish over his sister, prays in what looks to me like a Catholic church. Here's a screenshot of that one:

http://forums.catholic.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=7549&d=1269755811

*Miracle Man * - Scully reveals she was raised Catholic and that she knows in Scripture the devil never steals the show.

Sleepless - The character "Preacher" crosses himself before killing a doctor, although he is depicted as a self-authoritative interpreter of the Bible throughout the rest of the episode.

3 - Referring to the message of John 52:54 written on the wall of crime scene by vampire killers, Mulder says, "they have the same feeble literal grasp of the Bible as all those big-haired preachers do."

Die Hand Die Verletzt - Girl escaping the satanic ritual runs away in fear, praying the Hail Mary. She successfully escapes. (smart girl :o)

Colony - Mulder receives emails of obituaries of 3 abortion doctors suspected of being killed in arson fires by "militant right-to-lifers" who are later absolved.

Fearful Symmetry - A night janitor crosses himself in the teaser scene when an invisible force destroys the surroundings, and a trucker moments later yells "Mother of God" when he sees an elephant about to hit his truck.

Dod Kalm - The captain, after sending his deceased first mate to sea, crosses himself. He later turns out to be not so good of a character.

The Calusari - Scully believes the miracle of the loaves and fishes is "a parable." The hint in the episode is she's wrong, however. Later they perform what resembles an exorcism, but it is some other kind of ritual done by Romanian men that do not appear to exhibit Christianity in the ritual.

Soft Light - Scully is shown paying respects at what appears to be the very end of an outdoor Catholic burial for Agent Ryan. A collared priest presided.

Our Town - Mulder tells Scully to consider that cannibalism could prolong human life by citing historical beliefs such as "from vampirism to Catholicism, the reward for eating human flesh is eternal life." [paraphrasing]

If you know of a scene I missed or want to share comments, all are welcome. This thread to be continued as I watch more.... :o

[/quote]

Wow - what a cool thread! I haven't seen the movie yet, but I am a big fan of the series (especially the character of "Spooky" Mulder because he reminds me so much of myself - a very good heart but kind of a fool who finds himself in bizarre situations and has no idea how to react).

I'm sorry the movie has anti-Catholic themes. One of the things that impressed me about the series was that Catholicism was an integral part of the character of Scully. I know she went to Confession in some episodes (if I manage to find which episodes those are I will post the titles). I believe she also wears a necklace with a cross, but I'm not sure about that. It might be worth looking to see if she is wearing one when we watch the episodes. I thought the series was very respectful of Catholicism, as Scully is a character who clearly has her feet planted firmly on the ground - well, at least at the beginning of her interactions with Mulder. ;)

I'm collecting the series but I only have a few seasons. It's only been recently that I re-became (? - that's a Mulder word for sure) a fan. I just received my Area 51 Warning Poster and want to order a good copy of the "I Want to Believe" poster. I know this is off-topic, but does anyone know where I can find this poster? On Amazon there are several, but they all look the same to me. And I've read some horrid reviews about some of the posters Amazon offers. I would like to get one as close as possible to the one hanging behind Mulder's desk.

Thank you for starting this thread. I know you've gone to a lot of work to post the OP and it is very appreciated. I could talk about the X-Files all day! :)

I agree. Whoever came up with the idea of Mulder succeeded in developing a multi-faceted character, yet with consistent detail, that is extremely appealing to me (and I have to admit I do find him attractive :slight_smile: ). The lines his character is given are often absolutely hilarious, e.g. when he says the words to that old TV show *Shaft *after eating tainted pizza. Who else would say those words in a situation like that?

Or look at the scene in the episode where he switches bodies with another government agent and suddenly finds himself in the body of a husband who doesn’t appreciate his wife, and a father who named his son Terry. He is confused; he doesn’t know what to do but he always tries and this usually leads him into more trouble. After insulting Terry by theorizing he is a girl, and after Terry’s insistence that he be called “Terrence” because “Terry” is way too sissy, what is Mulder’s response? He mutters “yeah, like Terrence isn’t sissy” or something like that. I may have this all mixed up.

But I do remember that he blows it completely at the breakfast table by insulting the daughter (who wants to get her nose pierced) by saying she’s too young for a nose-job. Mulder can’t get it right.

Finally he says “Well, my work here is done. Have a nice day.” (I’m paraphrasing here.) I actually had that as my signature here at CAF for awhile until I realized that others might not understand and take it as a sarcastic implication of my belief that I had mopped the floor with the poster with whom I was disagreeing (I don’t mean to say I disagreed with every poster). I saw it as a little comforting thought which reminded me that no matter how much I failed at expressing myself, I could be like Mulder, say the lines and then leave.

I think that when Mulder left the series the introduction of his replacement was a good move. It didn’t damage the series so much that it just flopped. But to be honest, I was very disappointed. To me, Mulder made the series.

Does anyone know if the show *Millennium * has any references to Catholicism? I don’t know if it’s an offshoot of The X-Files, but the two series were intertwined in at least one episode where characters from both series appeared (I think it might have been the final episode of Millennium, but I’m not sure. I’ve only seen it once.

I just want to throw this in for what it's worth (before I forget it).

There is more than the series and the movie. There are also books and tapes based on the series. My limited experience with these has led me to conclude that they really aren't very good. But then when I'm on a long car trip and can't watch the series (or the movie) it's very nice to at least be able to "hear" something that has at least some resemblance to the episodes while I'm driving.

I believe some of these tapes are based on actual episodes. The few tapes I have are not.

It's a poor substitute, but hey, it's way better than nothing at all. :)

However, to get back on topic, I don't remember any references to Catholicism in the tapes or the couple of books I have.

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