More On Batman

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)

About Joe Paprocki 2746 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at

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