Just thought I would briefly post about the movie we saw this past Saturday. The Rite is a movie about a young (deacon?) who goes to Rome to be trained as an exorcist. I must admit that I am always hesitant to see any exorcism movies ever since my regrettable viewing of the original exorcist movie back in my college days (it was an old movie even then - but still yucky even by today's standards.)
However, it seems that someone in hollywood is interested in a semblance of accuracy. I won't give much away for those of you who are interested in seeing it, but just to let you know, it is surprisingly faith-affirming. It also makes you extremely thankful to be a Catholic.
The movie is supposedly loosely based (emphasis on the "loosely") upon the recently released book, The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist by Matt Baglio. It is an interesting book about the life of Fr. Gary Thomas who was recently trained to be an exorcist under the tutelage of a more experienced one. My thought as I was reading the book was that the author could have benefitted from a less secular view of the Church. He attempted to be "fair" by presenting "both sides" of what amounted to some inaccurate understandings of Church teachings. This was my first impression throughout the first half of the book.
However, as the book went on, an interesting shift seemed to occur. His language when speaking about the Church became more protective. I wondered if the act of writing and researching the book was beginning to affect his perspective. Lo and behold...at the end of the book, the author writes, "The writing of this book became a journey of sorts for me as well. It helped me to reconnect with my faith in a way that I never expected when I began researching exorcism." Phenomenal.
I would have to recommend both with just a few reservations. The movie is not for the faint of heart. There are some disturbing images that have to do with demonic possession and there are some hollywood moments that any well-formed Catholic could recognize, but overall the movie is so good at promoting the faith that it almost seems like an advertisement for the Catholic Church. The book, also, is a good read that does, at times, present a slightly secularized view of the Church that seems to be remedied with the author's own gradual transformation towards the end.