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'Silence': A Challenging Story of Christian Persecution in Old Japan

'Silence': A Challenging Story of Christian Persecution in Old Japan

The new Martin Scorsese film Silence, which had a limited debut on Dec. 23 and fully releases on Friday, turns all of this on its head. Instead of exaltation, it climaxes with a priest committing apostasy — trampling on an image of Christ, allegedly because Jesus told him to do so.

Though the film certainly has important redeeming qualities, and is largely being praised by the Christian community, it also is deeply disturbing — and potentially hazardous to one's spiritual health.

The movie, based on the historical novel by Shusaku Endo, tells the story of two 17th-Century Portugese priests, who willingly enter Japan during a time of intense persecution of the church. Their goal is to find their mentor, Father Cristovao Ferreira (based on the historical figure by the same name) who's gone missing, and reportedly has renounced his faith.

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