2012: A Different View

Fr. Barron has a thoughtful piece on 2012 --although he completely disagrees with my absolution of the charge "anti-Catholic."

He notes that anyone who prays gets wiped out; that certain instances of symbolism seem to suggest that prayer gets you nowhere (notably the dome of St. Peter's falling and crushing all the people praying there --a scene he says will go down in the annals as one of the most shameless moments of cinematic anti-Catholicism); and that the day after the disaster is dated, a la the French Revolution, the day one. Plus, director Roland Emmerich is notably weird (he has a life-size statue of John Paul II laughing at his own obituary in a closet).

The facts do bear his interpretation, but I stand by my contention that this is over-reading.

Does St. Peter's fall to wipe out Catholics, or because it's an enormous recognizable landmark? Does Emmerich show the destruction of Los Angeles & Las Vegas because he means the world would be better off without the entertainment industry? Does an enormous volcano wipe out Yosemite National Park because in the perfect world there would be no park rangers? Do massive waves engulf the Himalayas because he's anti-sherpa? Or is he simply showing what would happen if the entire world were engulfed by disaster with only about 1000 people saved?

I won't rehearse the things I said here, but I am not certain it's true that no one who prays survives. The President's daughter, who defends her father's praying, survives. The big villain of the piece mocks prayer and is shown to be a jerk for it; the pray-ers are the ones who make the escape of anyone possible. And as there are just some shorthand scenes showing the salvation of the great works of culture, there's no reason to assume that sacred arts and priests of various religions aren't also saved. It's not like there's a scene where they're excluded.

Plus, as Fr. Barron notes, the only continent that survives is Africa. No one knows what Emmerich intended by that, if anything, but if Africa is untouched, Christianity survives the apocalypse. And a Buddhist priest survives. Fr. Barron takes that as a vote that Buddhism is the one acceptable religion. I don't know. We see the Buddhist monastery wiped out just as the Vatican was. I think the guy's a stand-in for all religion --a remnant survives, presumably to carry on.

(Don't forget the big honkin' waves.)

Curtsy: CMR