The Conflict

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The Conflict (1973)  Martin Sheen.  The conflict is old vs. new.  Traditional vs. Contemporary.  More specifically, in the Roman Catholic church — should the mass be said in Latin?  Great dialogue, terrific acting. Definately worth seeing, but it is slow and methodical.  It allows time to contemplate the issue and come some conclusions on your own as you go along, so be prepared to think.  Thanks to Hed for the recommendation.

Of course, the movie’s impact is much larger than this particular issue.  However, this is a real issue in the Roman Church these days, and Pope Benedict XVI has recently begun allowing the Mass to be said in Latin again.

How do you measure the value of traditional symbols for the sake of connection with history?  Mass began in Latin for the purpose of connecting with the contemporary people with God. . . but now it’s value is in connecting us with others we have never met.  This is not unlike the KJV Bible (or NIV, perhaps?) in Protestant circles.  Connection with history is vitally important, and symbols are a great way to do that. 

At what point does tradition become traditionalism?


2 responses to “The Conflict

  1. There was never a more appropriate title for a film. However, like so many other conflicts, the central one is seldom the actuall one. Here in this film the issue of Mass, is clouded by the conflict within the two main characters. Martin Sheen’s conflict is the Gospel itself, he seems more motivated by social reform than heart reform. The Abott’s conflict is faith. Both of these gt in the way of the issue. Maybe the lesson here is how we can get in the way of what God is doing.

  2. Good thoughts, Matt. Thanks for letting me borrowt this DVD from you.

    Lots of conflict in the movie, but no “action.”

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