Mr. Rogers and Two Film Reviews [Opinion]
It ought not to be necessary to defend the proposition that Fred Rogers was a wonderful human being, a fine Christian witness, and exactly the antidote for our dehumanizing age. This should [not] be a claim that requires defense, but a claim that invites celebration. His life and witness ought to be, especially in Christian circles, nothing but an occasion of rejoicing over one of the greatest success stories, both in sanctity and in global evangelization, of our time.
Steven Greydanus, being normal, gets this and so when he reviewed Won’t You Be My Neighbor? a year ago, he offered a morally sane assessment of the man:
Likewise, in his review of the new biopic Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Deacon Greydanus expresses perceptions of Mr. Rogers that emanate from most people would call ordinary human decency:Ultimately, this is not because of the style or substance of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, but something unquantifiable and unreproducible: Rogers’ manifest goodness. His hopes for a more united country may have been dashed, but in one respect he undoubtedly succeeded: He wanted to make goodness attractive, and he did.
That, and sentiments like it, should be all any normal Catholic has to say on this extraordinary, and yet ordinary, decent, good, and holy man.“At the root of all learning and relationships,” Mr. Rogers once said, is “love — or the lack of it.” There is so much lack in the world. Humanity is like a gaping wound of lack of love.
But in the increasingly diseased world of American Christian conservatism, which is now light years from healthy Catholic orthodoxy, Ed Feser (already a Folk Hero for the Most Wrong Subculture in the Church for his championship of war on the Church’s teaching concerning the death penalty) delivers this demented broadside:
[…]Against candy-ass Christianity
The Mr. Rogers biopic, with Tom Hanks in the starring role, comes out this week and has been getting a lot of positive attention — in some cases, embarrassingly rapturous attention. This might seem surprising coming from Hollywood types and secular liberals, given that Rogers was a Presbyterian minister. But of course, Rogers’ adherence to Christian teaching has nothing to do with it. Commenting on the movie, Angelus magazine reports that “Hanks mentions that Rogers was indeed an ordained minister but seems to take comfort that Rogers ‘never mentioned God in his show.’” In the movie’s trailer, a man says to Mr. Rogers “You love broken people, like me,” to which Rogers replies “I don’t think you are broken” — never mind the doctrine of original sin.