No knives out after the death of Benedict

Last night, our family watched the 2019 movie “Knives Out.” It’s the second time I’ve seen this excellent, entertaining film, which I heartily recommend (I have not yet seen the sequel). This time, I watched it right after our beloved Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI died, and I guess that’s why, even as I laughed and enjoyed the clever, inventive plot twists and dialogue, I was hit hard by the melancholy of it all. It’s a movie about many things, but partly about a man, and a family, that has failed.

Nearing the end of his life, the fabulously wealthy and successful murder mystery author Harlan Thrombey realizes that privilege has ruined his family, and he wants to set things right before it’s too late. The chaos and tumult that follow are all a result of his efforts to correct his mistakes, which have multiplied and compounded over the years.

I know it’s weird, but when we saw Thrombey sprawled in his cluttered study, his life blood pooling on the floor, the panic and dysfunction and lies and machinations swirling out around his choices, I couldn’t help thinking of the other old man, old Benedict, so clean and so still, in such repose in his chapel, waiting quietly for the grave. Benedict was so fragile when he died, his bone so close to the surface of his skin, as if even every inch of his flesh, as well as his energy, has been used up in the 95 years of service of the work he loved.

This isn’t just a silly, random contrast between a real man and a movie character. I really have been thinking about death, and how we live in preparation for it, and how that preparation affects everyone around us. I have been marveling with gratitude at how easy on the Church Benedict made his death, and how many years in the making this ease has been. I’m old enough to remember a tiny bit of the tumult when John Paul II was elected, and also when he died, and also when Pope Francis was elected. Benedict XVI’s unexpected renunciation of the papacy did throw the Church into confusion for a time, but then he lived exactly has he promised to do — quietly, in complete docility, showing nothing but support, love and respect for Pope Francis, until all but the most pop-eyed fanatics had to grudgingly believe he meant exactly what he said: that he was no longer pope, and Francis was, and the Holy Spirit was in charge, amen, the end, live with it.

And so, having made these preparations and having lived them out, he now seems to be passing into the waters of eternity with the smallest of ripples, having already accomplished most of the work of transition, like a kindly grandfather who has prepaid for a funeral, cleaned his house and carefully labeled his belongings for his heirs.

And what about those heirs? … Read the rest of my latest for OSV

Image: Pope Benedict XVI (2010) . By Mazur / /Catholic Church England and Wales. CC BY NC ND 2.0

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8 thoughts on “No knives out after the death of Benedict”

  1. It was a well-done movie except for the anti-white moral and fetishizing of illegals that Hollywood always barfs up.

    1. Oh, I disagree whole heartedly with that. It was way better than barf.

      I’m fairly conservative politically (as in we’ve flown a Trump flag on our gate and we consider a family trip to the gun store good clean fun) and I live two hours from the border and have had people here illegally break into my house to try and escape the police.

      I LOVED Knives Out. LOVED it. It’s a fantastic, wonderful illustration of hypocrisy and virtue signaling, and the lies the elite (and maybe the woman in the mirror) tell themselves about how wonderful they are and how all that vanishes the instant they have to sacrifice something.

      And I thought making the protagonist an immigrant was totally appropriate too. That IS a vulnerable population (which is why we need to actually FIX our immigration system rather than kick the can down the road, but I digress…) that makes an excellent foil to the privilege and comfortable (and mostly performative) morality of the other characters.

      And if were anti-white, I don’t think Daniel Craig would have been cast as the detective.

      1. Honestly it is an example of the lie they tell themselves, that white people are bad, except for a few, and they are all those few “and just look at this movie we made that proves it.” The bad white people are working class white men who are entitled pricks like Captain America. Illegal immigrants are humble and pure like the heroine. You never see the guy who killed Kate Steinle represented in Hollywood movies. Maybe in Breaking Bad.

  2. This was so beautiful and consoling to read, thank you. It’s also the push I needed to watch Knives Out. 🙂

  3. Knives Out reminds me of my extended family, both sides.

    My oldest sister just ran off with a billionaire, after 36 years of marriage, six kids, and the DS boy in a wheelchair who is the saint we need to intercede for us all.

    I’ll admit, I cheered when she did it. Her ex assured her that her Catholic a** was going straight to Hell.

    I still don’t trust her, nor my brother who shamed her and then partied with them at the polo club where Prince Andrew plays. She is in the society pages now.

    The plot thickens.

    God bless Pope Benedict. He is a grand human being.

    Pope Benedict, please pray for my crazy family. XOXO

    1. No one in our family is good looking enough to run off with a billionaire. I’m jealous of your genes!

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