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'It does exist': Famed director, Martin Scorsese stands up for faith and warns against 'tossing away' spirituality

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Scorsese describes his latest film, 'Silence,' has played a major role in his faith.

Martin Scorsese was raised a Roman Catholic in Italy. He was a former altar boy and seriously considered a vocation in the Church - until he made the fateful decision to become a Hollywood director instead.

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Martin Scorsese warns against 'tossing away' spirituality.

Martin Scorsese warns against "tossing away" spirituality.


Catholic Online (
1/13/2017 (6 years ago)

Published in Celebrity

Keywords: Martin Scorsese, religion, director, Silence

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Scorsese is known for his faith-based films which include controversial themes.

In the book "Do You Believe? Conversations on God and Religion," Scorsese was asked what made him move toward religion with his film, to which he replied: "Apart from the iconography, which is so powerful and evocative, the dramaturgical aspect of Mass and the religious services.

"But obviously I felt something more profound, beginning with the idea of suffering and redemption, which obsessed me, and which I saw in both the intimacy and the externality of Catholicism."

This is evident in his latest film "Silence," about two Jesuit priests traveling through anti-Christian Japan in search of their mentor.

On Thursday, Scorsese told reporters "Silence" is concerned with the martyrdom of hidden Catholics and Jesuit missionaries braving 17th Century Japan.

"I was constantly discouraged from making it by Hollywood," he admitted, adding the human need for spirituality can no longer be ignored.

It was an uphill battle every step of the way. Scorsese said he struggled to make the film into a reality for twenty years, adding most of the difficulty was the requirement to meditate on the spiritual reflex.

"It does exist," Scorsese shared. "So how do we nurture it? Not necessarily through religion but in the spiritual meaning of being a human being."

God works in mysterious ways.

God works in mysterious ways.

He admitted "there are horrific events going on in the world" with direct ties to religion but those events are not a reason to "toss away spirituality."

In an interview earlier this year, Scorsese shared: "The subject matter [of "Silence"] is very close to my heart. I've been working on it since I first read the book in 1989.

"It goes back to growing up in New York, living in an area that was pretty tough, and also the church at the same time. It's similar to 'Mean Streets,' in a way. It deals with spiritual matters in a concrete, physical world; a world where invariably the worst of human nature is revealed."

Perhaps these harsh truths are what make the film difficult to watch, as he admitted, "The film demands of the audience a certain concentration."

Regardless of its in-depth religious theme, which Hollywood strongly recoils from, Scorsese remains unapologetic.

"This is who I am. There is nothing really to hide. That is who I am. I can't be what's fashionable. I'm 74, this is it, and it has value."

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In the past, Scorsese admitted he does not follow the faith as he once did or perhaps should but after the making of "Silence," it would appear he remains dedicated to keeping some form of spirituality present in both Hollywood and his personal life.

"I believe in the tenets of Catholicism. I'm not a doctor of the church. I'm not a theologian who could argue the Trinity. I'm certainly not interested in the politics of the institution," he explained. "But the idea of the Resurrection, the idea of the Incarnation, the powerful message of compassion and love - that's the key. The sacraments, if you are allowed to take them, to experience them, help you stay close to God."


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