Idol Chatter

Idol Chatter

The Nativity Story: Pregnant Actor Too Much?

“The Nativity Story,” director Catherine Hardwicke’s film version of the Gospel stories of Jesus’ birth, had its world premiere on Sunday at the Vatican. (It opens in the U.S. this week.) Some 7,000 people, including Hardwicke and several high-ranking cardinals, attended the showing–but not Pope Benedict XVI or Keisha Castle-Hughes, the 16-year-old Australian actress who plays Jesus’ mother, Mary.

As it turns out, Keisha, like Mary in the Gospels, is pregnant out of wedlock. But unlike Jesus, who was conceived by divine power while Mary remained a virgin, Keisha’s unborn baby has an all-too-human father, her 19-year-old boyfriend, Bradley Hull. So the reports started flying that the spectacle of a high-school-age, obviously non-virgin Mary had proved too much for the pope.


The U.K. Guardian reported that a disapproving Benedict had boycotted the Vatican premiere. The Detroit Free Press reported rumors that Keisha had been dropped from the invitation list by offended Vatican officials. There were even suggestions that scandalized Catholics and evangelical Christians planned to stay home from the movie after the news of Keisha’s pregnancy broke in October.

At this point, Bill Donohue, the never-word-mincing president of the Catholic League for Religious, jumped into the fray, accusing the media of cooking up the stories that Benedict had refused to see the movie and Keisha had been shunned. “Despite what some think, Christians do not turn their backs on unwed mothers: They provide services for them,” an inflamed Donohue wrote in a press release.


Donohue was undoubtedly right about the pope’s reasons for his no-show. The Nov. 26 premier of “The Nativity Story” took place less than 48 hours before Benedict’s highly publicized trip to Turkey, which was fraught with uncertainty until the last minute because of security concerns. As for whether Keisha Castle-Hughes was dropped from the Vatican’s invitation list on account of her pregnancy (or told it would be a good idea not to appear), we’ll probably never know what really happened.

The New York Times, however, reported a statement by Keisha’s publicist that she was busy working on another movie–and who doesn’t trust the New York Times? Furthermore, both the Catholic and the evangelical media remain positive about the movie, as does the secular press. Consider this Nov. 29 headline in Australia’s Herald Sun: “Pregnant Actor ‘Great Virgin.”

— Charlotte Allen

  • http://HASH(0xfbd6a04) JonAtFaithUCC

    Maybe Keisha should’ve had an abortion…

  • http://HASH(0xfbd6860) Steve

    Why say such a thing? Maybe people should be more open-minded.

  • JonAtFaithUCC

    My point was that she could’ve done something much worse from a Catholic POV and had an abortion, but she didn’t. I think people don’t understand that Keisha isn’t Mary. She is just playing Mary.>

  • http://HASH(0xfbd4998) D

    Give yourself the gift of a meaningful Christmas. I went to see this last night, opening night. As a recently baptized Christian, I will tell you that this was a most welcomed, meaningful and revolutionary movie for me. It centers around the mother of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.A superbly crafted and thoughtfully directed movie, it deserves a high rating. It is an unprecedented tribute to a woman who has been relegated to backdrop scenes. Finally, Mary gets to have a movie about her spiritual journey. In my own life, Mary was in the far distant background, giving her fleeting thought if I came across a Nativity scene at Christmas or if I heard the Beatles song, “Let It Be”:”When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be. And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be.”It was made for a certain niche — the ~200 million or so Americans who consider themselves Christians. Two years ago, I was not in this niche, being “spiritual, but not religious.” Long story, short, it was Mary who pointed me to her Son, lead me on my own spiritual journey and caused a revolution in my heart, mind and soul.Those who take the time to learn about her and her role do not, as I was mislead to believe, worship her. They simply respect and venerate her. Leading folks to her Son, as I learned, is her job. In this movie, her character is doing exactly that again for me and viewers who are called to see it.Ever since she lead me home, Christmas has taken on such meaning as I never imagined. This year, I’ve started the season — called the Advent season — with a faith-based movie that allowed me to slide right into it in a beautiful, gentle and do I dare say, beatific way.This movie experience is an exquisite gift for the heart and soul. Moreover, it is a feast for the eyes. I went past the inanimate objects of Nativity displays to a visually rich and “fleshed” out Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, shepherds, Magi and stable animals. The director of the movie, Catherine Hardwick, referred to a line in the script: “…the greatest of kings born in the most humble of places.””Power,” she says, “is not a physical power. It’s not riches, it’s not money, it’s not control of governments and nations. It’s a deeper power, spirituality.”At the end of the movie, the audience burst out in spontaneous applause. For each of us, Christmas is not at all about holiday parties, frenzied shopping and the trappings and physical accouterments. Now, THAT’S revolutionary.When this comes out in DVD, it will be a part of our yearly Christmas tradition, reminding us what it is all about.”Merry Christ-mas!” I hope you will make it meaningfully merrier by giving yourself this movie experience of the life of Mary.

  • http://HASH(0xfbd3c1c) jude crox

    To me, the Blessed Virgin Mary is so very important, and I love her with all my heart and soul! When praying, I pray to Jesus through His mother, Mary. Many of my prayer’s, are answered, by praying this way. Anyone out there that dosen’t know much about Mary, should search the internet, and learn as much about her as you can. Peace, Jude

  • http://HASH(0xfbd2cec) Vince Yeoh

    Mary mother of Jesus is indeed a figure to be revered, but i hasten to stress that she is not the one to pray to. You can and should pray directly to the Son of God. Mary we love and cherish and appreciate, but she is not God, and not the way to God.

  • http://HASH(0xfbd29d4) molly

    I have not seen the movie but, I hope to see it. I believe we need to forgive as jesus forgave us. Who among us is without sin? Noone. She is playing a part as an actor. We do not have the right to judge her. I am thankful for the actors and all who made this film. We need more family oriented films. Especially those about jesus christ. GOD BLESS ALL. THANK YOU. PEACE TO ALL.

  • http://HASH(0xfbd0d2c) Rebecca Cox

    I say bless her heart;sorry,but she is playing Mary so honestly her pregnacy should be a plus.Now as far as the pope shunnning her;His word says judge not so shame on him.Now as far as the fact she wants to play Jesus’ mother;Halleluyah,at least she wants to stay involved with Christ!!!

  • http://HASH(0xfbd8814) debbie Nevsimal

    The Pope did not attend because he was getting ready for his trip to Turkey. The Vatican gave it a thumbs up. here is a link. the media never has any “good” to say about religion… they always seem to put their own spin on things… and they are usually wrong. sad.

  • http://HASH(0xfbd197c) foxylady

    I saw the movie this past week, and I thought it was very good. I know that Mary was the mother of Jesus, but she is not to be worshipped as is her son. She was impregnated by the Holy Spirit because she found favor in Gods eyes. According to the scriptures, she was chosen long before she was born. She was from the house of David, as was her husband, Joseph. I believe every Christian should made an effort to see this movie. How else can we show Hollywood that we abhor the sex and violence and use of words that no decent person would allow to come from their mouth than to support such a movie.

  • Chinese Pregnancy Calendar

    I have not seen the movie but, I hope to see it. I believe we need to forgive as jesus forgave us. Who among us is without sin? Noone. She is playing a part as an actor. We do not have the right to judge her. I am thankful for the actors and all who made this film. We need more family oriented films. Especially those about jesus christ. GOD BLESS ALL. THANK YOU.

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