So last Sunday, Luke and I watched “On the Waterfront.” Great, great movie.

My favorite scene features Father Barry — apparently based on an actual Jesuit priest  — making good on his promise to “go all the way” with a man who had just been killed by union leaders for planning to testify against their corruption.  This guy had been afraid to speak out until his priest promised to fight along with him — in this case, even after the man’s death. Anyway, I was struck in this scene by a) its portrayal of the Church, through the words of arguably one of the most heroic priest characters in American film — “this is my Church,” he says angrily, gesturing to the body of his friend lying on a crate-laden dock — and b) how much it’s infused with Catholic social teaching. I seriously doubt this was the screenwriter’s intent (who actually died the week before we watched it…) — it seems most people miss the Church’s pull on the main character’s conscience and focus on the love story instead — but it’s there.

“You want to know what’s wrong with our waterfront? It’s the love of a lousy buck. It’s making love of a buck, the cushy job more important than the love of man. It’s forgetting that every fellow down here is your brother in Christ.”

Is that just cliche? Am I only struck because I’ve been immersed in Caritas in Veritate for the past few weeks?

Oh, but for kicks, here’s what I found in the NY Times this morning:


One thought on “

  1. One of my favorite movies! It is good to see an actual masculine priest in Karl Malden’s portrayal of Father Barry. That’s pretty rare in most cinema.

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