In Honor of Sister Rose Pacatte

Today, The New York Times is telling the world about my fellow Patheos blogger Sister Rose Pacatte!

This just makes my day.

I’ve always enjoyed the company of Sister Rose in the community of those who love to discuss the inseparable natures of art and faith. So many who are identified as “Christian film critics” seem to spend the majority of their time complaining about the unethical behaviors they see in the movies, whether those behaviors are merely depicted or actually condoned. But Sister Rose actually seems to love the movies. And she seems to approach all kinds of films with an eagerness to embrace what is good about them, and to note what troubles her without any self-righteous ranting.

She goes about her work with a spirit of curiosity, fearlessness, discernment, and humility. She never gives the impression that she is above other critics. She doesn’t write with a sanctimonious, presumptuous, or condescending tone. She does not put down others who disagree with her. She writes and speaks, rather, as a friend on the journey, sharing insights and impressions without any heavy-handed piety, without ranting.

Here’s an excerpt from the article that highlights her style:

“To paraphrase a Gospel passage, Christ came into the world to redeem the culture, not to condemn it,” Sister Rose, 61, said in an interview here. “It’s a negotiation. You don’t give everything a free pass. Something has to come out of your convictions and values. But what matters isn’t what the movie contains, but what it means.”

In other words, Sister Rose does not praise films merely for not having sex, violence or profane language. In a recent online review, for example, she lauded “Silver Linings Playbook” as “a perfect blend of humor, pathos, heart and hope for flawed and broken humanity,” despite the fact that, as she later noted in a conversation, “it’s full of f-bombs.”

In her reviewing, Sister Rose has eschewed the reductive style of awarding letter grades or stars, preferring to ruminate on “how a film sheds light on the human experience, rather than ‘Is it good or bad.’”

So, you can see why I’m a fan.

I was delighted to meet her at the City of the Angels Film Festival a while back, and I’m thrilled to see her honored with this kind of attention.

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet has two passions: writing fiction, and celebrating art — music, cinema, photography, literature — through writing and teaching. He is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” — Through a Screen Darkly. And his four-novel fantasy series, The Auralia Thread, which begins with Auralia's Colors, was published by Random House. He speaks at universities and conferences around the world about understanding art through eyes of faith. He is earning his MFA in Creative Writing at Seattle Pacific University, where he has worked for 11 years as an editor, writer, and communications project manager. His work has been recognized in The New Yorker, TIME, The Seattle Times, IMAGE, Ravi Zacharias International — and Christianity Today, where he served as a film journalist for more than a decade. He recently began a weekly column called "Listening Closer" for Christ and Pop Culture.

  • Emilie Bressler

    Great article!

  • sisterrose

    Jeffrey, I just saw your very kind comments. Thank you for your generosity. And right back at you! Blessings always