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The Theology of “Boondock Saints”

A movie I watched quite a few times in high school and college was The Boondock Saints, a movie about two Irish Catholic brothers living in Boston. In the movie, they take it upon themselves to murder members of the Russian and Italian mobs, believing that they are on a mission from God to cleanse society.

I think it goes without saying that this movie is not an accurate depiction of what goes on in the Catholic Church.  Sure, it brings up a good point by looking a lot like the Conquest in the Book of Joshua, but we’ll save that can of worms for later.  In one scene of Boondock Saints, the FBI agent chasing these mysterious murderers goes into a Catholic confessional while drunk. He has figured out that the brothers are behind the murders, but he admits that he wished he could do what they were doing. He knows that these mobsters deserve to die, and yet his job dictates that he arrest the brothers.

At this point, the priest in the confessional delivers one of my favorite lines from the movie. He tells the FBI agent “the laws of God are higher than the laws of man.” NOTE: I am absolutely not encouraging vigilantism or taking God’s judgement into our own hands. Condemnation of sinners is something reserved for God alone.  However, I want to draw attention to that quote.

“The laws of God are higher than the laws of man.” That is exactly what is being tested by the current presidential administration. By forcing all employers to provide for contraceptive services (including sterilization and abortifacients), our government is asserting that the laws of man are higher than God’s law. In fact, not only are they saying this, but they are trying to force every single person in America to acknowledge that fact. And by refusing to stand up against this attack against religious liberty, we agree with President Obama. To make a stand against this attack, go here. To find out more about the HHS mandate, go the USCCB’s (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) website, usccb.org.

So eventually, we all could be faced with the choice of following our consciences (i.e. God’s law) or the law of the United States. This decision will first come to the American Bishops, almost all of whom have denounced the current mandate (along with many non-Catholic religious groups, here’s a short list). They will be faced with the decision of following Obama’s mandate or facing extreme financial and legal consequences of following the Church’s teachings. Please join me in beginning to pray now that they have the courage to do so.

This civil disobedience will not cause change overnight. Only through dedication and perseverance (and God’s grace) can we hope to win this battle. And when we do, it will not be the last fight. I promise that this current attack on religious liberty is only the beginning. It will take courage to disobey our country, but then again, the laws of God or higher than the highs of man. For strength in times like these, I often look to the intercession of St. Michael the Archangel. In the late 1800s, Pope Leo XIII had a vision of great evil approaching in the 20th century. After awakening from his vision, he composed the prayer below. I urge you all to pray it daily, and whenever you feel temptation of sin.

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

St. Michael, oro pro nobis.

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