The Pope, the Seminary and the Seminarians

09/26/2015 Comment

U.S. and Vatican flags fly at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary outside of Philadelphia.


Two days ago, at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York, I witnessed screaming nuns and even priests standing on pews with their phones in the air, as Pope Francis came down the aisle, looking not unlike teenagers at the arrival of some performing artist. 

The nearly 150 seminarians at my alma mater, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pa., who met Pope Francis on the steps of the theology building after the Pope's Mass at Philadelphia's Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, couldn't match the volume of the capacity crowd of nearly 25,000 at St. Pat's — but they more than matched their enthusiasm. 

For one thing, the seminarians weren't just cheering for the Vicar of Christ:...READ MORE

Filed under papal visit to the u.s., pope francis, st. charles seminary, steven greydanus

Vespers at St. Pat's: What Did Pope Francis Really Talk About?

09/24/2015 Comment
On Thursday evening a capacity crowd of nearly 25,000 people filled the newly restored interior of Saint Patrick's Cathedral in New York, not for a holy day Mass or even for an ordinary daily Mass, but for a prayer that — as cathedral rector Msgr. Robert Ritchie emphasized in his introductory remarks — countless clergy, religious and even laity pray in small groups or alone several times a day every day of the year: the Liturgy of the Hours, specifically Evening Prayer, or Vespers. 
It was, of course, Pope Francis, coming straight from Washington, DC via JFK Airport for his first-ever appearance in New York, that brought the crowds there. The trappings were far from ordinary: long...READ MORE

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Jesus is not your sock puppet

Would Jesus approve of gay “marriage,” as Jimmy Carter says? How Christians of every kind of persuasion threaten to turn Jesus into a sock puppet.

07/10/2015 Comments (42)

One of my favorite lines in Robert Bolt’s stage play A Man for All Seasons which was not carried over into the 1965 film comes during an exchange between Sir Thomas More and the Spanish ambassador Signor Chapuys (a character omitted in the film).

Chapuys, who is politically opposed to King Henry’s wish to divorce his wife Catherine of Aragon, takes More for an ally — but More’s position is nuanced, and Chapuys is startled by the Lord Chancellor’s insistence on his loyalty to his king. Remonstrating with More, Chapuys “glibly” quotes, “Render under Caesar the things which are Caesar’s” — and then, raising a “reproving finger,” adds, “But unto God—”

“Stop!” More cries agitatedly, and must...READ MORE

Filed under gay marriage, jesus of nazareth, jimmy carter

Redefining Marriage, Part 1: Who’s to Blame?

06/26/2015 Comments (267)

Editor's note: In light of the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark opinion legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide, it seems fitting to repost this article written in June 2011 by Steven Greydanus.


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10


Don’t blame the gays.

Same-sex marriage was not foisted on New Yorkers by less than 5 percent of the population. I mean, you can blame them a little. But same-sex marriage isn’t the real problem—it’s only a symptom of the problem.

Don’t blame the Evil Party or the Stupid Party. They were instruments of evil, not the root cause. I’m not saying don’t hold responsible the politicians who pushed through...READ MORE

Filed under marriage, same-sex marriage

Inside Out, Jurassic World, Spy, San Andreas: in 60 seconds!

06/19/2015 Comments (2)

As you know if you saw my new review, I’m super-excited about this weekend’s release of Pixar’s Inside Out — and looking forward to discussing it tonight on hour 1 of “Catholic Answers Live” at 6:00 PM Eastern (listen live).

Of course we’ll be talking about lots of other things too, including Jurassic World and themes linking Pixar’s Wall-E with Pope Francis’ new eco-encyclical Laudatum Si’.

You can also watch David and me review Inside Out and Love and Mercy on “Reel Faith” tonight at 8:00 PM (when and where to catch “Reel Faith”), followed by an encore of last week’s episode, when we reviewed Jurassic World, San Andreas and Spy.

And you can also see my 60-second reviews for those last...READ MORE

Filed under pixar, reel faith, sdg reviews, video reviews

IKEA Church and “The Godfather”

How different styles of worship spaces form our imaginations and aesthetic sensibilities — for good or ill

06/08/2015 Comments (34)

Not IKEA Church: The reredos and partial view of the sanctuary and apse at Saint John’s in Orange, NJ.

My family belongs to a beautiful old parish in a poor neighborhood in the Archdiocese of Newark — a church notable enough to have its own Wikipedia page. It boasts an elaborate carved wooden reredos, gorgeous stained glass, a historic pipe organ and lovely paintings over the altar and sanctuary depicting events from the Annunciation to the Coronation of the Blessed Virgin.

Like many parishes in poor neighborhoods, it is always in need of repairs. We’ve replaced the leaky roof, but not yet repaired the water damage to the ceiling.

At some point in the past, the original confessionals were ripped out and the altar rail taken down (it’s since been put back). For the most part, though, the...READ MORE

Filed under church architecture, church art, hymns, liturgical music, liturgy, movies

New 60s: Little Boy! Mad Max! Poltergeist! Aloha! More!

06/04/2015 Comments (2)

The summer season of “Reel Faith” is now well underway, with episode 3 debuting this Friday at 8:00 PM Eastern, followed by a repeat of episode 2. (When and where to watch “Reel Faith”)

While David and I seldom disagree on films, this Friday is a rare chance to see us split twice — mildly on Pitch Perfect 2 (episode 2) and strongly on Aloha (episode 3). Yes, one of us liked one of those films and disliked the other, and the other felt the opposite. (But which is which? Tune in and find out!)

I have to say it feels energizing to disagree, and I’m sure it makes for more interesting viewing. I wish we disagreed more often! I don’t know why, but week after week, on film after film, it seems...READ MORE

Filed under reel faith, video reviews

UPDATE: New 60s! Age of Ultron! Tomorrowland! Ex Machina! Reel Faith is back!

“Reel Faith” is now in its sixth summer season … with a new feather in our caps.

05/22/2015 Comments (4)

We’d like to thank the Academy.

UPDATE: See new 60 second reviews below!

Exciting news!

“Reel Faith” returns to NET TV tonight — with a new feather in our caps: We are now the proud winners of a 2015 Gabriel Award, bestowed by the Catholic Academy of Communication Professionals, the U.S. affiliate of SIGNIS, the World Catholic Association for Communication.

The Gabriel Awards, which date to 1965, are intended to honor excellence in broadcasting. They are not limited to religious programming; in the words of the Academy:

The single most important criterion of a Gabriel winning program is its ability to uplift and nourish the human spirit. Gabriel-worthy programs affirm the dignity of human beings, and recognize and...READ MORE

Filed under reel faith

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About SDG

Steven D. Greydanus
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Deacon Steven D. Greydanus is film critic for the National Catholic Register, creator of Decent Films, and a permanent deacon in the Archdiocese of Newark. With David DiCerto, he co-hosts the Gabriel Award–winning cable TV show “Reel Faith” for New Evangelization Television. Steven has degrees in media arts and religious studies, and has contributed several entries to the New Catholic Encyclopedia, including “The Church and Film” and a number of filmmaker biographies. He has also written about film for the Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought, Social Science, and Social Policy. He has a BFA in Media Arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York, and an MA in Religious Studies from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook, PA. Steven and his wife Suzanne have seven children.