Skip to main content

Long Live the White Rose!

I watched Sophie Scholl: The Last Days last night. Yet another movie about the Nazis, though this one was somewhat different than many in that it relayed a short episode (about a week) of a small group of student resisters to National Socialism (no, it isn't that wretched film Swing Kids). Sophie Scholl and her brother were caught after distributing leaflets critical of the Nazi prosecution of the war. Of course, in a totalitarian society, political critiques are not welcome, in fact, they were labeled high treason. Sophie and the group are motivated not only by political opposition but a grounding in a principle that is higher than the state; though it is presented a bit fuzzy, Christianity seems to be the principle. The interrogaters have made a god of the state, and so are a bit befuddled to see an intelligent, non-violent, and principled stand against such idolatry.
Another point appreciated in this film was that the Nazis (and their minions) were presented as humans. Police interrogater Mohr pleads with Sophie to recant; he is impressed with her intelligence and spirit; during the trial, one gets the sense that the only one 100% committed to the State is the raving president of the court. Rather than seeing only monsters, the viewer is given a glimpse of the "principalities and powers" referred to in the letter to the Ephesian church by St. Paul. Jacques Ellul (here and here) discussed this at length in his Anarchy and Christianity. Institutions become repositories of all kinds of evil. I'm not suggesting that the Nazis were benevolent in the beginning and later turned bad, rather that not all of German society was inhabited by demons. Perhaps near the end of the war it was, but in 1943 (when the film takes place) Germans were still ignorant (perhaps willfully) of the depravity committed in their name.
All in all, a very moving picture. Best of all, though not for Sophie and her compatriots, no Steven Spielbergian Far and Away ending.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Dirty Hands Can Save You from Hell

"Eternal life will be a shared experience of awe, in which each creature, resplendently transfigured, will take its rightful place." --Pope Francis, Laudato Si
     Wonder and awe abound in the natural world for those with eyes to see and ears to hear.

     Perhaps we are caught short by a vibrant purple emanating from the petals of a wild lupine. We might stare wide-eyed at the lazy circles of a turkey vulture soaring on thermal air currents. Even the most agoraphobic city-dweller can find something beautiful about a landscape even if it's simply the warm and varied red, yellow, and orange of a sunset glowing on a building.

     "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof" asserts the Psalmist. If that verse is true, why don't we live like it? Why are we flabbergasted trying to come up with the names of the many plants and animals we pass by everyday?

     All people respond to beauty in some way or another--even those who have willingly or unwi…

Worth Quoting

"...[K]eep in mind that a human being is not made for the processing of data, but for wisdom; not for the utilitarian satisfaction of appetite, but for love; not for the domination of nature, but for participation in it; not for the autonomy of an isolated self, but for communion." --Anthony Esolen,  Foreword to Beauty in the Word by Stratford Caldecott.


PESD? Post-Election Stress Disorder

As I write this, the presidential election is still undecided. Which is fine. The Republicans have campaigned for 17 months now...there ought to be a law against that!
When I wake up tomorrow morning, we will have a new President-elect, and frankly I don't care who it is because both the major party candidates nauseated me.
I voted for a small third-party that I was actually excited about, that I believe(d) in, and may try to get involved at the local level at some point. That was important to me--voting for something, rather than against.

If tomorrow morning you wake up in agony at the thought of our new president, ignore it. Better yet, put that energy into your community. Fill blessing bags for the homeless to carry in your car. Go to a parks commission meeting. Tutor a struggling student. Learn the names of the trees in your neighborhood. Know your watershed. Help a neighbor rake leaves. Learn your neighbor's names! Join a civic group. Buy some coffee for the teachers in …