I’ve often mused that if you want to be misinformed about theology or the Catholic Church, watch any Hollywood film. Generally, nuns and priests are depicted negatively. They are caricatures, or stereotypes, that rightly turn off viewers from the theology and Church they supposedly represent. Two exceptions would be “The Mission” and “Romero.” Well worth seeing (both emotionally moving). At the site below is a review of “The Two Popes”–a film currently out that keeps your attention in presenting fictional interactions between Popes Francis and Benedict. It’s available on one of the cables.
On occasion, films DO portray individuals positively–as with the Julie Andrews character in The Sound of Music. Unfortunately, as attractive as she was in that film, Maria VonTrapp apparently bore no resemblance to the film’s character.
The same film positively depicted the Mother Superior. She, too, was fictitious. Accompanied by an unseen choir, orchestra, and dubbed-in singing voice, she counseled Maria via the lyrics of “Climb Every Mountain.” In the film, that song was enough to propel the young novice out of the convent and into the arms of Baron VonTrapp. As luck would have it, that song helped propel me into the Jesuit Order. Speaking of which, here is a primer on Catholic Church topics. Maybe you already know this, but here goes.
There are 4 “Religious Orders” in the Church–Jesuits, Dominicans, Franciscans, and Benedictines. Other men’s and women’s groups belong to “Congregations.” Also, there are Dominican, Franciscan, and Benedictine nuns, but there are no Jesuit nuns (although many women’s Congregations base their spirituality on that of the Jesuits).
The word “religious” can be used as a noun or adjective. When used as a noun, it refers to nuns, brothers, and priests who take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.