Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Out in the Silence

MPAA (Not Rated) Fr. Dennis (3 1/2 stars)

IMDb listing
Official Website

Out in the Silence (directed by Dean Hammer and Joe Wilson) played recently at the 9th Annual Chicago Human Rights Watch Film Festival at Facet’s Multimedia in Chicago.  It is about documentary film-maker Joe Wilson coming back to his hometown of Oil City, Pennsylvania to document the case of a teenager C.J. Mills who had been so harassed at his high school for coming out as gay that he was forced to leave it in favor of being schooled at home.  Joe Wilson, who had grown up quietly gay in the town before leaving it as soon as he left for college, had come to hear of C.J.’s case from C.J.’s mother who wrote him after Joe Wilson had put an announcement in Oil City’s local paper following his recent (gay) marriage to Dean Hammer with whom he lived happily for years in Washington D.C. 

C.J.’s story presented in a very gentle way in this film will nonetheless certainly cause a veritable spectrum of immediate reactions in a whole host of people hearing/reading about the film.  I would note here simply that while the Catholic Church, obviously, does not support gay marriage and considers homosexuality to be an intrinsically disordered condition, it nevertheless opposes mistreatment and _most_ discrimination against homosexuals.  Whether or not this position is ultimately tenable is definitely not for me or anyone else to necessarily argue here.  However, my point is that the Catholic Church, while honestly having doctrinal issues over morality of gay sex (or any sex that isn’t open to the possibility to creating life) and therefore opposes gay marriage and finally gay adoption (yes, one position links to the next and down this three rung chain), it nevertheless _also_ recoils (I believe) with _sincere_ revulsion at the thought of violence perpetrated against gays.  Ah, if the writers of the Book of Leviticus only knew of penguins...

Having personally dealt with pastoral situations in which practicing Catholic families had to deal with children coming out as gay – and I am truly happy and I do believe even the whole Catholic Church similarly rejoices that the VAST MAJORITY of Catholic parents (and ALL of them, 100%, that I’ve _ever known_ or worked with in this situation) come to ACCEPT THEIR GAY CHILDREN -- I don’t think it is a bad thing for Catholics to see a movie like this, because this movie deals with real life.

All of us believe what we do (and largely as a result of our origins and upbringing) and the vast majority of us wish to be as good as we can be.  But I think ALL of us are also sickened at the thought of a 16 year old being beaten-up for ANY reason, be they that he/she was black, Jewish, Arab, or gay.  All of us instinctively understand (and again THE CATHOLIC CHURCH UNDERSTANDS) that there’s something deeply wrong with that.

As such, no matter what one may think/believe regarding homosexuality in a doctrinal/theoretical sense, this movie's worth seeing because most of us probably want our kids / young people to be happy and certainly no one wants to see 16 year olds being terrorized or beaten-up.

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