So a couple of years ago, Deacon Steven Greydanus did one of his Reel Faith 60 second reviews of the many many films he reviews each year. The film was Call Me By Your Name.
I happen to know by experience that in order to say something in the space of a minute that does not sound like an ad on Hulu warning at lightning speed that Tremfaya maycauseheartattack,insanity,male pregnancy,diabetes,blindness,nausea,vomiting,globalwar,economiccollapse,paralysis,Crohn’sdisease,stutteringandextremeflatulenceaskyourdoctorifTremfayaisrightforyou then you basically have 88 words to work with. That’s it. 88 words. Doing that is an art and doing it while expecting theological perfection in a film review is something only crazy people demand. Doing it while consistently turning out thoughtful reviews of films is more than normal people should hope for, but Deacon Steven Greydanus has done it for years–including, I daresay, with Call Me By Your Name.
Well. The ultra-hyper-super-righteous freaked out. He did not take 88 words to denounce gay people but to try to treat a piece of art like a piece of art. Canon212, which specializes in outrage porn headlines for aging MAGA Catholics who like to use the faith as viagra for their hatred of pretty much everybody and everything, declared that he had given CMBYN a “glowing” review (which was a lie) and ginned up a pogrom against him. If it had been me, I would have told the Pharisees to drop dead, because de gustibus.
But being the decent sort of man he is, Deacon Steven tried to give an intelligent answer to the mob of goons with pitchforks baying for his blood. He pointed to his full review. He wrote a lengthy Q&A trying to respond reasonably to the combox inquisitors.
All of this was to no avail for these vengeful and unforgiving people. Nearly two years later, when he wrote his year end round-up of the best films of 2019, a merciless Right Wing Culture War priest still cherishes unforgiveness for this non-sin and urges the mob to do likewise:
Because as MAGA Jesus clearly said, “I tell you, do not refuse to forgive seven times but seven times seventy times. Forgive your Culture War Enemies nothing. Ever. Hold grudges over trivial aesthetic differences till the stars burn cold no matter how many times your scapegoat tried to be reasonable and reconcile with you. Hate until the end of time.”
There are priests (the vast majority in my experience) who use their office to be the grace of God to the world through the sacraments and through genuine pastoral care for their flocks. Then there are bullies like this guy. What really bugs me the most about these bullying culture war priests is that they model for the Greatest Catholics of All Time a merciless and unforgiving image of Christ and make the smallest aesthetic disagreement into an unforgivable sin. They are a disgrace to the priesthood. They feed off this ridiculous Panic du Jour mentality and turn people into targets of everlasting 15 Minute Hates in order to keep people in their Cult of Personality worked up over scapegoats. It is the furthest thing on earth from acting like Christ.
Deacon Steven Greydanus is a good and honorable man doing the work of Jesus both as a deacon and as a thoughtful film reviewer. It is one of the many follies of the Most Wrong Demographic in the Church that he, of all people, is singled out for bullying, slander, and everlasting unforgiveness by people who are far more in need of mercy than he.