Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By John Mulderig

12/3/2007 (6 years ago)

Catholic News Service (www.catholicnews.com)

NEW YORK (CNS) -- Justin Fatica, an intensely devout 28-year-old Catholic lay minister, combines the zeal of an apostle with the methods of a Marine drill instructor in his work with young people.

Highlights

By John Mulderig

Catholic News Service (www.catholicnews.com)

12/3/2007 (6 years ago)

Published in TV


A documentary look at Fatica's passionate and controversial approach to teen ministry, "Hard as Nails," takes its title from the name of the outreach group Fatica helped to found in 2002. This absorbing profile of a thoroughly original figure, directed by David Holbrooke, premieres Monday, Dec. 17, 8-9:30 p.m. EST on the HBO pay-cable channel.

As his organization's logo -- a cross adorned with two red boxing gloves -- clearly indicates, Fatica's version of Christianity is not for the fainthearted. His preaching style is loud, dynamic and confrontational.

In his talks, Fatica emphasizes the sufferings of Christ as the ultimate expression of God's self-emptying love for us and as the only antidote for the many ills his young listeners are themselves enduring. Since these problems include drug addiction, self-mutilation, incestuous abuse and suicidal thoughts, the response Fatica elicits is often deeply emotional, with many in the audience reduced to tears.

Fatica, whose own conversion came about as the result of having fathered a child out of wedlock -- a child whose fate is unknown to him -- is unusually frank in his discussions of sexual matters. In keeping with Catholic teaching, he portrays human sexuality as a gift from God, one which must be cherished rather than misused.

Along with his straightforward talk and his willingness to preach to anyone, anywhere (he is shown engaging passersby on the streets of New York City, at least one of whom replies with a volley of obscene abuse), Fatica also demonstrates a flair for the dramatic. One of his routine exercises, for instance, involves being repeatedly struck in the back with a metal chair while he talks about Christ's sacrificial love.

Training sessions for those who want to join the movement are similarly tough. Each new member is blindfolded and must carry a life-size wooden cross while being insulted and mocked, as Jesus was.

Radical procedures such as these have stirred controversy, and the film indicates that Hard as Nails has been "banned" by the Diocese of Burlington, Vt., following a school presentation there for which there was insufficient preparation. (A spokesman for the diocese, readily acknowledging the good aspects of the group's work, characterized the situation more as an informal cooling-off period.) Fatica remains undaunted, and his ministry is shown making its first international presentation on the island of Barbados.

As the portrait of a young, daring and deeply committed spiritual leader, "Hard as Nails" should appeal even to non-Catholic viewers with an interest in matters of faith. Given the above-referenced obscenities and unvarnished sexual talk, as well as the use of some crude terms, however, parents will need to weigh the positive effect of Fatica's message, in this primarily adult film, against these more worrisome elements.

---

Copyright (c) 2007 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops



Comments


More TV

HBO announces Standalone Streaming Media SHOCKER! Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With countless Internet Web sites offering streaming services, of virtually all movies and TV content ever created, many are heralding the "death of cable TV." That proclamation came a little bit truer with longtime cable TV stalwart HBO announcing the ... continue reading


Cable TV records broken with 'Walking Dead' season opener Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The fifth series opener the horror series "The Walking Dead" has been watched by 17.3 million people, breaking all previous cable viewing records. The opener marked the biggest cable audience for a non-sports program in U.S. history, according to television ... continue reading


Fox News triumphant in hectic summer where news was always breaking Watch

Image of Fox heavy hitters, such as Greta Van Susteren at 7 p.m. ratcheted up viewers.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

This past summer certainly did lack for breaking news. From the tragic deaths of such pop cultural icons as Robin Williams and Joan rivers, to the onset of hostilities in Ferguson, Missouri to the outbreak of was led by Islamic State, the world had to stay on ... continue reading


World's smallest woman lands role on TV's 'American Horror Story' Watch

Image of At two feet, half-an-inch tall, Jyoti Amge of India is the world's smallest woman.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

At two feet, half-an-inch tall, Jyoti Amge of India is the world's smallest woman. It hasn't been much of a handicap for Amge, as she's just landed a plum role on the U.S. TV series "American Horror Story." Previously been seen on documentary "Body Shock: Two ... continue reading


Maybe you'll find a million! Watch

Image of A photo of the 19th-century Boston Red Stockings team.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Wall Street Journal reports that a haul of rare, 19th-century baseball memorabilia was discovered at a recent New York City taping of the PBS program, Antiques Road Show. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Appraiser Leila Dunbar came across a collection of ... continue reading


Popular soap opera villain Charles Keating dies at 72 Watch

Image of Soap opera actor Charles Keating is survived by his wife of over 50 years, his two sons and six grandchildren.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

His classical, Shakespearean training brought a certain gravitas to the world of American TV soap operas. British-born actor and favorite TV daytime serial villain Charles Keating has lost his battle with cancer. He was 72. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


UNIVISION IS UNO: Univision is in first place for second consecutive July sweep Watch

Image of Univision had the most programs within the top 20 on all of television during the July sweep among Adults 18-34 compared to ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Spanish language networks have proven to be strong contenders in the U.S. TV market. As evidence of this growing popularity, Univision stations in Los Angeles, New York, Houston, Dallas, Chicago, San Francisco, Phoenix and Sacramento ranked number one among ... continue reading


We don't believe it: Confidence in TV news at an all-time low, according to Gallup Watch

Image of Conducted earlier this month, only 10 percent said they had

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The talking heads keep talking on news programs, but very few Americans are giving credence to the news media. According to the latest Gallup Poll, confidence in TV news is at an all-time low. Only 18 percent of the Americans surveyed expressed either a "great ... continue reading


Wow! 'It Takes a Church' provides refreshing take on matchmaking!

Image of

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Game Show Network (GSN) is airing a remarkable new show hosted by Grammy-nominated singer, Natalie Grant called, "It Takes a Church." It's a matchmaking show where each church pairs an eligible bachelor and bachelorette after vetting them through prayer, discussion ... continue reading


'Duck Dynasty' pastor exhorts clergy 'to realize we're a part of the body of Christ that's worldwide' Watch

Image of Alan Robertson admitted that was as the sole Robertson male without a beard, he is somewhat of a misfit in the family. He said his family is grateful to have the cable show as a platform to share

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Alan Robertson, best known as the beardless son of reality TV show "Duck Dynasty" patriarch Phil Robertson, is a pastor who officiated his parents' re-commitment ceremony. In his latest appearance he is exhorting that other pastors should promote Christian ... continue reading


All TV News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Revelation 11:4-12
4 These are the two olive trees and the two lamps in ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 144:1, 2, 9-10
1 [Of David] Blessed be Yahweh, my rock, who trains ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 20:27-40
27 Some Sadducees -- those who argue that there is no ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 22nd, 2014 Image

St. Cecilia
November 22: In the fourth century appeared a Greek religious romance on the ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter