ChildCare Action Project: Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP)


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
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The Third Miracle (1999), (PG-13)
CAP Score: 42
CAP Influence Density: 1.05
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*The Third Miracle* (PG-13)

In the first few minutes of *The Third Miracle*, those who have suffered *Stigmata* will notice some parallelism: a statue of Mary bleeding from the eyes and a troubled Catholic priest investigating a miracle. But the parallelism seems to end there. While *Stigmata* was a wild action venture into reshaping people's understanding of evil using the Catholic church as the vehicle, *The Third Miracle* was a more "conservative" and harnessed presentation of the writers' opinion about faith and the (what else) Catholic church. Seems to me that movies are "picking on" our sister church just a little too much nowadays.

Secular reviews of *The Third Miracle* unfairly use words such as "real people" and "reality" to describe the cinematography of this flick. I seem to feel I need to remind folks that reality is not the movies. Just because actors and actresses can perform deeds onscreen does not mean it is reality. For much too long, movies have been given so much credit for "showing real life" that real life has become like the movies; that movies mirror society when more and more evidence surfaces that society mirrors movies.

As Father Frank Morris (Ed Harris) sulks in self-perceived failure and being labeled "killer of faith" the Catholic church enlists his expertise to investigate some miracles. In the movie, if a human experiences three miracles, they are worthy of sainthood. Evidence of two of the three required miracles had been observed in the life of departed Helen O'Regan. Father Morris was trying to find the third miracle so O'Regan could be dubbed a saint. During his treks, Father Morris was tempted with many temptations including sex of course, without visible intercourse but the degree of immoral activity shown leaves no doubt And years after the encounter the woman turns up with a toddler son. Not to say the boy was the priest's son, but implication is a powerful tool of influence.

One of the high ranking Catholic officials was potty-mouthed (for the benefit of the PG-13 rating I'll bet). Maybe there are priests and other clergy who that talk that way, but that does not excuse such behavior nor does a priest (or anyone else) cussing and, in doing so, acting irreverently make the sin of such behavior go away. [Exod 20:7; Deut 5:11; Matt 12:36-37; Mark 7:15, 7:20; Eph 5:4; and many others, noting Eph. 5:6 "Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience."] Let not the incredible saturation of foul language and the plethora of other corrupting influences in everyday life *especially* the movies deceive you into thinking "Since everybody talks/acts that way and nothing bad seems to happen to them, it must be okay", or into talking/acting badly out of rebellion or for-show arrogance.

Additional ignominy in this PG-13 movie included many uses of the most foul of the foul words and God's name in vain with the four letter expletive, sexual suggestions, smoking, brief nudity, booze and drinking and drunkenness, and giving a sinister air about the miracles of Jesus. Additional examples of programming you will might find unacceptable for your kids include racial insults by a priest, arguing for sexual freedom by a priest, the seeming lowering of priests to "business men", and a priest speaking God's name in vain *with* the four letter expletive. One particularly perplexing issue I cannot argue was the movie saying a saint being able to act as intermediary for your prayers: that a saint will "represent" you to God and try to convince Him to answer your prayers to the saint. About the issue of prayer ... Jesus wants you to have a personal relationship with Him, one without benefit of any intermediaries and to pray directly to Him as He did to the Father; a relationship without any insulating elements. And before the antagonist readers start tons of hate mail, know that Jesus IS God [John 1:1]. So if we pray to Jesus, we are praying to God and vice versa. For those who wish to know more about how God and Jesus are the same, please visit our "The Cross of Jesus is a Bridge Over the Canyon of Sin" at . While this article is written for very young adolescents, it's Truth is the same for all ages.

Of the most perplexing scenes of *The Third Miracle* were those in which credit for healing was given to a person, NOT to Jesus; in which an actress said "Doesn't sound like He kept His [part of the bargain]"; in which a girl said "I never saw God" as justification for not believing in Him; in which the actress said "So, God won." [in "stealing" her priest lover away from her]. How far from God have we withdrawn to call this kind of entertainment "reality?"

So many of our visitors seem to be relying only on this Summary/Commentary for a full assessment of this movie. This is not possible. For the best representation of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie, visit the Findings/Scoring section below.

FINDINGS / SCORING: The Third Miracle (1999) CAP Thermometers

NOTE: Multiple occurrences of each item described below may be likely.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • warfare bombings with injuries, including a child
  • a child covered in blood
  • submersing a comatose man under water (implying the water as healing water)
  • bleeding statue
  • manhandling of a teen girl
  • theft from the donation box
  • graphic murder victim
  • graphic facial injury
  • intentionally burning a child with a cigarette

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • 7 uses of the most foul of the foul words, some by the clergy
  • 7 uses of the three/four letter word, some by the clergy
  • racial insults (by a priest)
  • apparent cheapening of the clergy - lowering of them to "business" men.
  • mother calling her daughter a whore
  • "I prayed I would die."
  • releasing a criminal based on friendship with a priest

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • masturbation under the sheets
  • vulgar anatomical reference
  • brief nudity
  • prostitutes
  • offer of sex for money
  • admission of immoral sex
  • inappropriate touch
  • immoral physical interaction leading to implied intercourse
  • arguing for sexual freedom (by a priest)

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • booze
  • drinking
  • drunkenness
  • smoking

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • giving a sinister air about the miracles of Jesus
  • satanic drawings
  • words of giving to Satan; of the powers of darkness
  • saints = prayer intermediaries between man and God who try to convince Him to answer the prayers
  • "If you ask me, God wasted a miracle." (by a mother about her daughter)
  • "She cured you."
  • "I never saw God." (as justification for not believing in Him)
  • "Doesn't sound like He kept His (part of the bargain)."
  • "So, God won." (in "stealing" her priest lover away from her)

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • "Kevorkian" murder

  • (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

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    Thomas A. Carder
    ChildCare Action Project: Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP)

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