I first started following Deacon Steven Greydanus about a decade ago, and since then he’s been someone I’ve looked up to. He is one of the very few Catholic public figures on Facebook who I have been able to wholeheartedly recommend to others. He’s modeled what constructive and charitable conversations can look like on social media. And, as a never-Trump prolifer who cares deeply about Catholic Social Teaching, his posts through the 2016 and 2020 elections helped make me feel like I still had a place in the Church.
But the reason I followed Deacon Greydanus in the first place was because he’s a movie critic, the first Catholic movie critic I found who helped me think deeper about movies instead of being moralistic about content.
I was homeschooled from 1st through 12th grade in the 90s and early 2000s, and the particular Catholic homeschool culture I grew up in included a fear of secular culture and media (I joke that I experienced the La Croix version of Shiny Happy People). Christian bookstores, music, and movies were safe spaces. But secular movies were viewed with a kind of suspicion. They were analyzed for bad content, particularly any sexual content, which would determine if the movie was good or bad (and implicitly, if the people seeing such a movie were good or bad).
What attracted me to Deacon Greydanus was his ability to engage with movies critically, with Catholic values and a Catholic worldview, but without fear or moralism.
I’ve chatted with him a few times on Messenger over the years, but I was really happy and honored to have this conversation with him. I hope you enjoy it!
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This week, Paul talks with the Catholic film critic, Deacon Steven Greydanus. Steven explains how movies can change people for the good and help make the world a better place. They also discuss how to critically engage with movies without falling into fear or moralism, and how to pass those values onto our children. Finally, Steven shares what he thinks are the best movies of the past year.
Deacon Steven D. Greydanus has been writing about film since 2000, when he created Decent Films. Since then, he’s written regularly for a number of outlets including the National Catholic Register, Catholic Digest, Crux, Christianity Today, and Catholic World Report. Other bylines include RogerEbert.com, Slate, Bright Wall/Dark Room, and Our Sunday Visitor.
For over 18 years he wrote regularly for the National Catholic Register and was their film critic for nearly 11 years. His work at the Register was recognized several times by the Catholic Media Association Awards.
Steven is a member of the New York Film Critics Circle and a deacon in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark. He studied at the School of Visual Arts, Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, and Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University. Steven and his wife Suzanne have seven children.
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Paul Fahey lives in Michigan with his wife and four kids. For the past eight years, he has worked as a professional catechist. He has an undergraduate degree in Theology and is currently working toward a Masters Degree in Pastoral Counseling. He is a retreat leader, catechist formator, writer, and a co-founder of Where Peter Is. He is also the founder and co-host of the Pope Francis Generation podcast. His long-term goal is to provide pastoral counseling for Catholics who have been spiritually abused, counseling for Catholic ministers, and counseling education so that ministers are more equipped to help others in their ministry.