Home | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising | El Centinela
Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Thursday, February 11, 2016
CYO Football 2015 2015 Priest Reassignments, Archdiocese of Portland Cardinal Francis George dies Mothering with faith Sisters of the Holy Names, 2015 Live Nativity at St. John the Baptist 2014 Fall CYO results Catholic Charities Donor Lunch 2014 Year of Consecrated Life opening Mass Holy Spirit Sisters Jubilee 2014 Seaside youth conference Mount Angel 125th Northwest Hub Furlow at papal Mass 2014 Rosary Bowl NW Brother André 2014 Fall 40 Days for Life 2014 Inauguration of Fr. Mark Poorman Coffee shop at abbey First day of school, 2014 Regis High School 50th anniversary 2014 Crooked Finger Pilgrimage Mass with migrant farm workers Maronite Ordination Consecration to "Immaculate Heart of Our Lady of Fatima" CYO track Southern Oregon Evangelization 2014 Priest Ordination Christ the King youth 2014 priest reassignments Our Lady of Lavang Confirmation, 2014 Memorial Day 2014 2014 Transitional deacon ordination Padre Foster Granados visits Albany Bishop Smith ordination Canonization of Pope John Paul II, Pope John XXIII Bishop Peter Smith 2014 Easter Vigil 2014 Walk of Cross 2014 Chrism Mass CYO basketball 2014 St. Patrick of the Forest 150th Catholic Charities Celebration of Hope, 2014 Boys2Men Archbishop visits Oregon State Penitentiary 40 Day Vigil for Life, 2014 Pope Francis creates new cardinals St. Henry shelter 2014 CYO swimming Funeral of Fr. George Wolf Travel on a budget Lunar New Year, 2014 Tech in Catholic schools 2014 Right to Life Rally Archbishop visits Santiam Prison First Mass in Oregon Milwaukie Posada St. Francis, Sherwood, Toy Drive Central Catholic football Typhoon Haiyan Deacon Ordination/ Kresbach, Schmitt A Catholic fisherman St. Cecilia Centennial Southern Oregon Welcome Mass Shepherd of the Valley, Central Point, dedication Grotto Anniversary 2013 Champions of Faith Dinner Gardenripe farms Coleman hop farm Corvallis Year of Faith Archbishop Howard at St. Rose Hitchhiking priests Franciscan Spiritual Center Sacred Heart, Medford Migrant Mass Tanzanians' jubilee World Youth Day 2013 2013 Blessing of the Animals 2013 Freedom Mass Albany school closure Fabric art Megan graduates from Catholic school St. Vincent de Paul Hillsboro 2013 Deacon ordination Sister Theresa Lamkin St. Helen Mission, Brownsville Marist Brainiacs St. Mary, Eugene St. Francis eighth graders Ascension confirmation 2013 Pastoral Ministry Conference St. Joseph Salem — Year of Faith Archbishop Sample's Installation Mass 2013 Archbishop Sample Chrism Mass 2013 2013 Young Catholics Pope Francis inauguration Celebration of Hope Vlazny Farewell Mass Archbishop Vlazny Farewell St. Paul Church in St. Paul Valley Catholic Green Building Rite of Election 2013 Water summit 2013 Lunar New Year Alveda King in Eugene New Monsignors, 2013 2013 Right to Life Rally MLK Mass, 2013 St. Henry, Gresham, Centennial Jesuit High drama School uniforms Friar in the mall Holy Trinity food ministry January Book Covers St. Andre Bessette food Year of Faith Mass Nestucca Sanctuary Hillsboro Choirs Father Betschart installation Salem Religious Freedom Rally Year of Faith Vespers, Awards Roy's Catholic School Adelante Mujeres 10th anniversary New Blanchet House Missionaries of Holy Spirit Priest, religious photos Providence Nursing Schools Pioneros Fortnight for Freedom Mark Bentz Deacon Ordination OLL School Walk Through Gaga over science St. Philip Neri Centennial Ordination of Bishop Cary SVDP, Grants Pass Holy Cross School centennial Confirmation - Mount Angel Holy Land Pilgrimage Blanchet Watershed Chrism Mass, 2012 Bishop-designate Cary Pope in Cuba, 2012 SSMO 125th Jubilee Mass Pope Benedict in Mexico 2012 Catholic Charities Celebration 2012 Madeleine Mardi Gras Centennial Rally for Life, 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Mass 2012 Day Laborers-Guadalupe Guadalupe 2011 Christ the King, Milwaukie, 50th Sesame Doughnuts Central Catholic Volleyball St. Peter Centennial Deacon Ordination, October 2011 St. Agatha Centennial Rosary Bowl 2011 St. Wenceslaus, Scappoose, Centennial Filipino celebration Polish Festival 2011 Holy War Football 2011 World Youth Day 2011 Sun Gold Farm Our Lady of Victory's New Church Freedom Mass 2011 St. Mary Church Steeple Removal Priest reassignments, 2011 Old Catholic Buildings Paige Rice, St. Mary's runner Graduation 2011 Easter vigils 2011 Pastoral Ministry Conference Basketball Holy War 2011 Search for Peace 2011

SJB Ravioli Dinner 2016

Home : News : Nation and World
Santorum: Christmas film, message of faith fill gap left by Hollywood
Catholic News Service photo
Rick Santorum
Catholic News Service photo
Rick Santorum
Catholic News Service

NEW YORK — Rick Santorum has turned his sights from the Beltway to the big screen.

Santorum, the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania and 2012 presidential candidate, recently described the current state of movies  as "a very, very dark world." But instead of simply complaining, he wants to do something about it and shed some light into that darkness.

This past June, Santorum became CEO of the Dallas faith-based film production company EchoLight Studios. Among the studio's current projects is, "The Christmas Candle," expected to open in 400 to 500 theaters across the country Nov. 22.

The Victorian era-set movie, based on the novel by best-selling Christian author Max Lucado, tells the family-friendly story of a small English town, where, legend holds, an angel visits every 25 years and touches a single candle that grants whoever lights it a miracle on Christmas Eve.

Hoping to give faith audiences an early Christmas present, EchoLight secured a name-brand cast that includes Hans Matheson ("Clash of the Titans"); Samantha Barks ("Les Miserables"); and, making her acting debut, "America's Got Talent" sensation Susan Boyle, whose song for the film also will be featured on her upcoming Christmas album.

While that may be music to believers' ears, Santorum feels the period drama has broad appeal.

"It's a beautiful movie," Santorum told Catholic News Service. "It's the ultimate Christmas message, that is: God is with us."

In another interview, he called it "a beautiful story" about "faith in a season when that is what the focus is." This is "the first time in a long time that there was a film that brings together Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans and the evangelical tradition as the body of Christ together at Christmas," he told CatholicPhilly.com, the news website of the Philadelphia Archdiocese.

The film's "ultimate message" is one he feels has long been ignored by  Hollywood's secularizing trend of editing Christ out of Christmas.

This desacralizing of the holiday on screen is just one example of what  he perceives as a wider assault on Christian sensibilities in popular culture.

Given motion pictures' popularity as entertainment, Santorum considers movies a critical front in the ongoing culture war -- a major reason why he got involved with making them. As Catholic novelist Flannery O'Connor wrote, "Push back against the age, as hard as it pushes against you."

Santorum, who cites "It's a Wonderful Life" and "Field of Dreams" among his favorite films, also understands movies' more subtle influence as, to borrow a phrase from Blessed John Paul II, communicators of culture and values.

This undeniable effect of the multiplex on Main Street America made the opportunity to join EchoLight impossible to pass up for Santorum, himself a Catholic, who sees it as a chance to make a positive difference in elevating the cinema landscape.

"I recognize that popular culture has an impact on the direction of the country," he told CNS.

"The storytellers or song writers of society have much more impact than politicians," Santorum continued. "Movies are the things that stick with us."

Politicians have talking points and pretty charts, but Santorum believes if you really want to sell your message effectively, wrap a story around it, pointing to the Gospels as a prime example. "Jesus communicated through stories."

He thinks, however, that the Catholic Church has to do a better job at telling stories.

"For 1,900 years most of the great art, most of the popular culture was influenced by and for the church ... but since the technological age ... we've been sort of absent from the scene," he said.

It's what he wants to help remedy, by promoting "the true, the good and the beautiful" through movies that will inspire "the moral imagination" of viewers.

"I really believe it is an important and vital role for us as believers," he said, hoping movies like "Christmas Candle" enkindle a flame among the faith filmmaking community.

His long-term vision is to help foster a robust "Christian cinema," pointing to the success of the Christian music industry, which up until a decade ago had been a niche market, but now has mass cross-over appeal.

The challenge is to consistently create content that faith audiences will respond to, and that means keeping standards high. Santorum understands that when it comes to watching movies, Christians are just as discerning as the next guy.

"They watch the same movies that everyone else does," he said. To that point, he is confident that EchoLight Studios is up to the challenge. "The quality will be there," he assured, along with spiritually uplifting messages.

"(Faith) is such an integral part of human nature and our human story  that's, generally speaking, not dealt with effectively by contemporary  artists."

When asked about perceived "anti-Christian" bias on the part of Hollywood filmmakers, Santorum said, "All I can do is look at what they produce." He added, "They don't do faith well."

He also said, the values promoted in mainstream cinema are "not reflective of the values that I hold, and that I think a lot of Americans hold."

"Rather than cursing the darkness, we need to get out there and start shining some light," Santorum said.

Catholics of a certain age will hear in that sentiment echoes of the old  Christophers' motto: "It's better to light one candle, than curse the darkness."

For starters, Santorum hopes a "Christmas Candle" will do the trick.

Related Links:
• "Christmas Candle" movie website

Article Comment Submissions
Submit your comments, please. 
Comments are reviewed before being posted to the site. Comments must use respectful language and address the story. Comments are not posted immediately to the site. The site editor may edit content for appropriateness. There may be a delay of 24-48 hours. Comments may also be considered to appear as letters in our print edition, unless the writer specifices no.
Note: All information on this form is required. Your telephone number is for our use only, and will not be attached to your comment.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

Mary Jo Tully ~ The Path to Resurrection

News | Viewpoints | Faith & Spirituality | Parish and School Life | Entertainment | Obituaries | Find Churches and Schools | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising
E-Newsletter | RSS Feeds

© 2016 Catholic Sentinel, a service of Oregon Catholic Press

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved