Children and The Passion
More often than not those railing the most against the violence in 'The Passion of The Christ' are the ones who were comfortable with 'Pulp Fiction','Texas Chainsaw Massacre', and 'Kill Bill, Part One'. And we're supposed to listen to them? The bottom line is that if a psychologist is brought up or brought in, run the other way because most likely the direction you'll be running is back to God!
"We all recall that Christ told us to let the children come to Him. He also told us that one cannot enter The Kingdom of Heaven unless one is like a child. We recall that Our Blessed Mother showed the children of Fatima horrible, terrible things during their visions of Her. Pray tell, would our Divine Lord, our Savior, our Loving God have us take our children to His movie, His message, His story knowing that they would be harmed? Would our Blessed Mother show these terrible things to the Fatima children to hurt them or to instruct them? Are we hypocrites claiming trust and faith in God yet not trusting and having faith that, if it is His will, our children will see this film? If a relatively mature 10 year old prays to see this film and desires greatly to see it and if there is ample evidence of that child's emotional maturity in religious matters, then I would be very content to let the Will of God guide my path."
There has been much debate about the wisdom of taking children to see 'The Passion of The Christ'. We have heard lines of psychologists and psychiatrists describe the eternal and terrible damage that seeing this movie will have on our children. Despite these claims, we have also seen children as young as nine being taken to see the film. Given these contrasting images, what should we do?
Prayer and Insight
We all know that a child's chronological age and his or her emotional maturity are not automatically consistent. Some children aged 14 are emotionally 9 and some 9-year olds are emotionally 14. Now by this I do not mean innocence. A child may be relatively innocent, as he or she should be, about such matters as sexuality and other adult matters, yet still be "in tune" with things beyond videos and CDs. Some children are particularly mature when it comes to religious and spiritual matters, providing evidence of a real yet innocent faith and trust in God.
I am certainly no psychologist or psychiatrist, although many of these feel that kids should be taught that homosexuality is ok and also instructed in sex education, which I think is detestable. In short, I am not so sure how much weight should be given to most psychologists and psychiatrists on religious or spiritual matters. In fact, I would venture to say none whatsoever considering this is who the bishops trusted in. Look what has happened to our children under their care! No, as God intended, the best psychologists for children are their parents if society would just leave the parents alone and let them parent. Think about the good old days when a psychologist was virtually unheard of except at the local sanitarium. Today it's a multi-billion industry that has contributed so greatly to the dumbing down and drugging of our kids, of several generations.
No, psychologists and psychiatrists are not healthy for spirituality. Please recall that it was just these kinds of people who held that Bernadette or the Fatima children were crazy. Few will consider being an expert on Freud as being evidence of being close to God!
I believe that parents should ask God for insight and guidance in this matter, and that Our Lord will certainly provide that help if we eliminate the trash of this world and only focus on our children, their unique and special personalities, and what God would want.
True, many kids might not be able to handle this film, but others may well be able to handle it and gain much from it. Only the parents can decide this and, in the end, God will show us what to do.
What Can a Kid Get From Seeing Christ Suffer?
I was recently asked this question by, humorously enough, someone without children of her own. To ask such a question is to shortchange children ages 10 and up. It is to assume that kids cannot be touched by a powerful message of love. It is to contradict what this secular and materialistic world has already shown. Children of such ages can pick up much more than we think they can. Of course they should be guided by loving and caring adults, but they are not the simple-minded airheads that many adults believe them to be!
Much deeper to the above question, I believe, is that the adult asking the question probably can barely get much from seeing Christ suffer, and therefore figures that if he or she cannot get much, then how could a child get anything from this? My answer to this is to say that we cannot project our issues unto children, for each person has their own issues to deal with. News to headquarters! A child might get more out of this movie than the foolish adult asking the above foolish question. How? Because that child might actually possess a more honest, simple, true, faith and belief undefiled by the superficiality, the materialism, the political and social agendas of this world! Yes, if I think that traveling and gambling and meeting famous people are more important than going to church, then I might not see how anyone, much less a child, can come out of this film with anything worth the blood and pain! If I spend most of my time thinking of myself and ignoring others I might not see how a child can gain anything from this film!
If I think that we all have an inner knowledge of right and wrong given at Confirmation or that we can confess in the forest, or that not attending a morally wrong wedding is a "stupidity", then, yes, I grant you, such a "moral adult" may not be able to see how a child could gain from seeing this movie! I mean, only the profound and deep moral conviction and depth of spirituality exhibited by most adults can handle this cookie, right?
Let us please stop listening to people who are morally clueless or who play with violent video games and then say that this movie is the most violent thing they have seen!
I know of an adult who plays video games where heads roll and blood pours who tells others that this movie is "too graphic"! Is this for real? I bow to these great judges of morality, of violence, of what message can be obtained from seeing Christ suffer!
I will tell you what, a mature child of ten can get more out of this movie than a clueless adult confessing in the forest and skipping Mass to go gambling!
Let The Children Come To Me
We all recall that Christ told us to let the children come to Him. He also told us that one cannot enter The Kingdom of Heaven unless one is like a child. We recall that Our Blessed Mother showed the children of Fatima horrible, terrible things during their visions of Her. Pray tell, would our Divine Lord, our Savior, our Loving God have us take our children to His movie, His message, His story knowing that they would be harmed? Would our Blessed Mother show these terrible things to the Fatima children to hurt them or to instruct them? Are we hypocrites claiming trust and faith in God yet not trusting and having faith that, if it is His will, our children will see this film? If a relatively mature 10 year old prays to see this film and desires greatly to see it and if there is ample evidence of that child's emotional maturity in religious matters, then I would be very content to let the Will of God guide my path.
It is up to each parent to decide what is right for his or her child, and I believe that God Almighty will provide us with ample evidence to guide us in the right choice for each of our children if we are open to Him. Christ did not say, "Bring the children to me when everything is roses and sweetness". It is up to us to trust that God knows what He is doing in these matters. As parents we must pray, discuss, prepare, and decide for our children. Psychobabble only confuses and entraps. That is because there is a vital ingredient they constantly leave out of the equation. We must also invite God into any parental discussion! What a refreshing concept!
Editor's Note: We are pleased to announce Gabriel Garnica will be contributing many articles in 2004. Heaven is once again under attack by those who would seek to ignore and overthrow God's majesty and authority. Gabriel Garnica, educator and attorney, will submit regular insights and commentaries to remind and help guide readers toward a deeper and more assertive faith. Touching on topics and issues ranging from personal faith, doctrine, education, scripture, the media, family life, morality, and values, Gabriel's notes will be music to traditional ears but unpleasant tones to those who have bought into the misguided notions so prevalent and spreading in today's Catholic world.