It comes as no surprise that the Vatican is apparently not happy about the message of the new movie "Avatar" by James Cameron. As a matter of fact, they're slamming it. The Vatican feels that the idea of the worship of nature replacing organized religion is preposterous and is a notion that the pope has warned against.
"L'Osservatore said the film "gets bogged down by a spiritualism linked to the worship of nature." Similarly, Vatican Radio said it "cleverly winks at all those pseudo-doctrines that turn ecology into the religion of the millennium."
"Nature is no longer a creation to defend, but a divinity to worship," the radio said.
Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said that while the movie reviews are just that — film criticism, not theological pronouncements — they do reflect Pope Benedict XVI's views on the dangers of turning nature into a "new divinity."
Benedict has often spoken about the need to protect the environment, earning the nickname of "green pope." But he also has balanced that call with a warning against turning environmentalism into neo-paganism.
In a recent World Day of Peace message, the pontiff warned against any notions that equate human beings with other living things in the name of a "supposedly egalitarian vision." He said such notions "open the way to a new pantheism tinged with neo-paganism, which would see the source of man's salvation in nature alone, understood in purely naturalistic terms."
The pope explained in the message that while many experience tranquillity and peace when coming into contact with nature, a correct relationship between man and the environment should not lead to "absolutizing nature" or "considering it more important than the human person." ~ Vatican Says 'Avatar' is No Masterpiece, Associated Press
Surprised?It's no secret that the Vatican is suffering these days and apparently, the notion of spirituality taking a majority hold is a threat to them. It's possible that they're going to have bigger problems in the very near future, than nods to spirituality in the movies. Let's face it, we are living in times when science and organized religious teachings are going to begin clashing. I'm sure that the Vatican would agree that their future would look rosier if science would just cease it's searching. Everytime a new discovery is made, it changes the way people think, the way they approach their personal lives, and their personal beliefs. Science has always been a threat to religion and many have tried to protect the organization from it throughout the years. An example would be that of Galileo, regarding his scientific studies which began to contradict religious teachings.
For those of you who may not know, Galileo Galilei was tried in 1633 as a heretic and forced to recant his theory that the Earth revolves around the sun because teachings at that time placed the Earth at the center of our universe. In 1633 Galileo was interrogated for 18 days later when Galileo offers to refute. Regardless, the Pope decides that Galileo should be imprisoned indefinitely. With a threat of torture, Galileo is examined by the Inquisition and sentenced to prison and religious penances. The sentence is signed by 6 of the 10 inquisitors and in a formal ceremony at a the church of Santa Maria Sofia Minerva, Galileo abjures his errors. Galileo is then put under house arrest in Sienna where he remained, despite many medical problems and a deteriorating state of health, until his death in 1642.
The Vatican may have secretly hoped to completely block out their most egregious offenses perpetrated against scientific freedom. After all, they were wrong. However, people did not forget and in 1992 Pope John Paul corrected this error in judgment when he declared that the ruling against Galileo was an error resulting from a "tragic mutual incomprehension."
There's No Doubt That Were Going to See More Disapproval From the Vatican in the Very Near FutureThe Vatican is surely going to have it's hands full in the coming decade and it's possible that the leaps in the realm of quantum physics are going to be the ones that really become a threat. These are going to be the leaps that may truly contradict their teachings through scientific findings. But is there not a space where both can meet as one? Regardless of what the future holds, it is my belief that you should be communicating with your God each and every day - and living a life that is full of compassion, kindness and assistance towards your fellow man.
As for the Hollywood movies that are currently ruffling the feathers of the Vatican, they may just be the tip of a giant-iceburg-of-a-problem for them that is soon to reveal itself. Besides, I doubt people are going to burn their bibles and start worshipping trees simply because of a movie . . . .
UPDATE: This really shows my age, but I was going through some music files the other day and this seemed appropriate to the discussion taking place here below. For those of you "in the know," this is a message from the Church of Suicidal. The metal band, Suicidal Tendencies: