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.

Article 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

Stephen Colbert to succeed David Letterman as host of 'The Late Show' Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Longtime "Late Show" TV host David Letterman had announced that he would retire sometime in 2015. CBS wasted little time in announcing his replacement: Comedian Stephen Colbert has signed a five-year contract to host the late night variety show. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


'Wheel of Fortune' winner 'most amazing solve in my 30 [plus] years on the show' Pat Sajak declares Watch

Image of Vanna White, the studio audience and viewers at home were stunned.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

TV game show favorite "Wheel of Fortune" is very much like a showbiz version of "Hangman," where contestants must fill in phrases by correctly guessing letters. The letters. Contestant Emil De Leon correctly guess the phrase - "new baby buggy" with only TWO ... continue reading


Flight 370 story provides boon for cable TV news networks Watch

Image of Lack of new and relevant information about the missing Malaysian flight has drained much relevancy out of current TV reporting, some say.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The missing Malaysian jet flight, or Flight 370 continues to perplex and fascinate the world. However, without any recent developments and a lot of theories being proffered, some are arguing that there is no news to be found in this line of news, and ... continue reading


Cable television subscriptions take a major tumble Watch

Image of With all due respect, there may be another factor behind pay-TV's decline. Read the final paragraph.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

I recent statistics hold true, the era of the U.S. pay-television market is past its prime. The number of Americans who pay for TV through cable, satellite or fiber services fell by more than a quarter of a million in 2013. If this trend continues, 2012 may ... continue reading


'Comedian' Bill Maher blasphemes AGAIN: God in 'Noah' is a 'psychotic mass murderer' who 'drowns babies' Watch

Image of Bill Maher has been highly critical of religion and views it as highly destructive. However, he has been known to reject the

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While he rejects the label of "atheist," "comedian" Bill Maher is upfront with his disdain for all forms of religion. He managed to offend Christian, Jewish and Muslims with his line about God as depicted in the new movie, "Noah."  He told his HBO "Real ... continue reading


Sarah Palin takes to the airwaves again with 'Rogue TV' Watch

Image of In regards to Sarah Palin's forthcoming TV show one source says

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Former vice presidential candidate, Fox News contributor and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin will be launching her own digital video channel called "Rogue TV." Palin is no stranger to the airwaves, as Palin and her family starred in the 2010 TLC reality ... continue reading


First Lady Michelle Obama to appear on TV sitcom 'Parks and Recreation' Watch

Image of It won't be the first time Ms. Obama and Poehler have met. Both appeared at Mrs. Obama's campaign last month when she appeared at a Let's Move event in Miami.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Full of grace, poise and charm, U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama is scheduled to appear on cult television comedy "Parks and Recreation." The White House has confirmed Mrs. Obama will guest star in the NBC show's season six finale. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


With ratings in free-fall, Piers Morgan to quit show Watch

Image of Piers Morgan will be quitting his show after falling in ratings.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

British journalist, Piers Morgan is ending his prime-time talk show on CNN. The date of the final broadcast has not been set. The decision came after Morgan and CNN president Jeffery Zucker failed to reach a decision on the future of the show. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Russell Johnson, who played professor on TV's 'Gilligan's Island' dies at 89 Watch

Image of As actor Russell Johnson would say frequently in later interviews, although the Professor on

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The TV series was an unmitigated flop - except with the TV-watching public, who eagerly watched the series in syndication. Seven extremely diverse people wash up on a desert island and have the expected personality clashes and pratfalls. Russell Johnson, who ... continue reading


Sexy Santa on TV's 'Glee' draws outrage from moms Watch

Image of A bisexual

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Santa Claus is supposed to determine who's been naughty or nice over the past year at Christmas time. For many mothers, the TV show "Glee" has been especially naughty. A recent episode featured a shirtless Santa Claus with a ripped physique - and mothers have ... 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, Genesis 1:1--2:2
1 In the beginning God created heaven and ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 16:5, 8, 9-10, 11
5 My birthright, my cup is Yahweh; you, you alone, ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 28:1-10
1 After the Sabbath, and towards dawn on the first ... Read More

Reading 2, Genesis 22:1-18
1 It happened some time later that God put Abraham to ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 19th, 2014 Image

St. Alphege
April 19: Archbishop and "the First Martyr of Canterbury." He was born in ... 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