Here is an email from a DRE in the northern suburbs of Chicago, writing about how he uses Batman Begins to teach Catholic Social Teaching!
I appreciated your post on the Dark Knight (although I did not read it in detail, since I have not yet seen the movie, and I’m trying to avoid spoilers!)
I use the previous movie (Batman Begins) as a way of pointing out themes in Catholic social teaching. For example, in its opening scenes, the movie shows a young Bruce Wayne on the train with his parents. In their conversation, Bruce’s dad explains that:
-“the depression” hit other people harder than the Wayne family, and that it is important to look past one’s own needs to the needs of those most in need (option for the poor)
-that in having money, the Waynes have a responsibility to look to the needs of others (rights and responsibilities), and have chosen to use it to help the whole community, including by building this train (call to community/participation)
-that this train (I think he uses the term “clean train”) will help people get to their jobs, who may have no other form of transportation (rights of workers.and perhaps also care for the environment)
-and finally, the Waynes themselves are taking the train (instead of a car or limo), putting themselves in solidarity with others who must use the train (solidarity)
It is interesting that, later in the movie, the same train is shown in a state of disrepair, and an older Bruce Wayne/Batman is charged with using the same principles to rebuild his community and city – and to look beyond his desire for revenge to the underlying poverty that has created the violence in his city and upon his family.
My method is teach the principles, then show selected parts of the movie – pausing at different places to ask the youth to point out themes of Catholic social teaching they might see (and, of course, that I see)
Thanks for your great post.
Justin Huyck, (Northbrook, IL)
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