COLUMN: An ex-Catholic’s review of Midnight Mass

Elise Keane, Columnist

When I was a kid, religion was important to my family, more specifically being Catholic. One of the facets of being a child in Catholicism was a weekly class called REP, or religious education program.  

We would sit and listen to Sister Donna talk about how important it was to be holy and free from sin. This was also the way that you learned about the seven sacraments of Catholicism. One of the most important being First Communion. This is the first time you are allowed to participate in the taking of the Eucharist, or the body and blood of Christ.  

I left the church as I grew up, but all of this still stuck with me. So, when I was scrolling through Netflix and saw a show called “Midnight Mass,” I was intrigued. The previews looked interesting enough, so I figured I’d give it a watch just to see. What I wasn’t expecting was the show perfectly articulating the reasons why I felt I couldn’t be Catholic anymore.  

The show follows a small island that has one church that had their previous priest mysteriously replaced with a young charismatic new priest. Here is your warning for spoilers ahead.  

As the show progresses you find that this priest was killed and then brought back to life by a creature bleeding into the priest’s mouth. This act was like the drinking of the blood of Christ during communion, which lead the priest to believe that the creature is an angel on Earth. The priest was so enamored by the so-called gift that this creature had given him that he packed the creature into a suitcase and brought him back to the island.  

The priest starts to deliver the same “gift” to the rest of the island by adding the creature’s blood into the communion wine. Slowly, the community that takes communion starts to see their physical ailments fade away. For example, a girl who was told she could never walk again mysteriously can again.  

There is a catch. Consuming this creature’s blood causes you to resurrect when you come back, but you have a serious hunger for blood.  

On Easter night, they have a Jim Jones type sacrifice to be resurrected. This eventually turns into an all-out massacre inside of the church. The priest then realizes that he made a big mistake, and this is not an act of God. Eventually the whole town is burned down except for the church.  

For me, this was all too strong of a metaphor. The one place that was supposed to be the haven turned into the place of destruction and fear. That is what the church turned into with me when I was lectured at for even thinking that I might be gay. Every time I took communion all I thought about was my mortal sin of being different. This show did such a beautiful job of being delicate with Catholicism while addressing its hypocrisies.  

Elise Keane is a sophomore neuroscience major. They can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].