It wasn’t too long that I was informed that Matt Murdock would be returning to the Catholic church. I was thrilled that such a logical move would happen to the Marvel character after years in creative purgatory, but at the same time I couldn’t help wonder what catch the company had in mind. We now know with the introduction of Father Jordan.

Brace yourself, Catholic Daredevil fans. Once again Marvel (like Hollywood) has shown that it cannot simply show a man who honestly lives his Christian faith. There must always be some sort of weird warped take on the faith — or the man must have some underlying fetish or perversion.

Check out my latest YouTube review for the full details. As always, I’m looking forward to your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

22 comments

    1. “Maybe Soule is just ignorant of Catholic Doctrine? An unintentional slight?”

      The most generous reading I can give Mr. Soule is that he was trying to write some of this stuff based on memory and his memory was very, very off.

  1. Soule says this in his interview on CBR (http://www.cbr.com/interview-daredevil-charles-soule-marvel-comics/): “As far as putting Matt back into the church – I’ve always thought it was a hugely important part of Murdock’s background, a rich vein to mine. I was raised Catholic myself, so I know the traditions and tenets pretty well. As far as I’m concerned, Matt Murdock is three things: attorney, vigilante hero and man of faith. Each pushes and pulls on the other and complicates him as a character. I understand completely why earlier writers pulled him away from the church, and we got some great stories out of it, but I thought it would be great to bring him back – I just wanted it to feel organic, and I hope it does.”

    I’m truly sorry this issue didn’t work for you, Douglas. I thought it was great, and I had no problem with Father Jordan. Given that Matt was genuinely considering letting Bullseye kill him at this point, he wasn’t in a frame of mind to question if Father Jordan wasn’t on the level. And if Father Jordan is an evil vampire, Matt will figure it out and deal with it appropriately, and that’s the positive representation of Catholicism as shown through our protagonist. At the end of the day, Daredevil is Matt’s story, and if he finds his way back to the Church to root out some false pretender within it, isn’t that a good thing? I totally understand wanting a positive, accurate, and realistic portrayal of a Catholic priest, but we already have that in the Nexflix show in Father Lantom. If Soule just duplicated him in the comic, it would be seen as a retread, so he’s trying something different instead. We’ll see how well it works.

    1. “Soule says this in his interview on CBR (http://www.cbr.com/interview-daredevil-charles-soule-marvel-comics/): ‘As far as putting Matt back into the church – I’ve always thought it was a hugely important part of Murdock’s background, a rich vein to mine. I was raised Catholic myself, so I know the traditions and tenets pretty well.'”

      If that is the case, then why on earth did Mr. Soule make a Catholic priest say God created an imperfect world so that men would “fight” to achieve a kind of heaven on earth? That makes zero. It’s harder to get much further from the truth. It’s basically saying that man can be his own god if he just fights hard enough to make it happen. That’s a Satan-esque mentality. I’m not joking.

      “[Soule continued], ‘As far as I’m concerned, Matt Murdock is three things: attorney, vigilante hero and man of faith. Each pushes and pulls on the other and complicates him as a character. I understand completely why earlier writers pulled him away from the church, and we got some great stories out of it, but I thought it would be great to bring him back – I just wanted it to feel organic, and I hope it does.'”

      Bravo! If Mr. Soule wants Matt Murdock back into the church, then I’m happy that he’s willing to go there and that he understands the importance of it to the character. But that doesn’t change the fact that Father Jordan’s introduction is incredibly problematic on a theological level.

      “I’m truly sorry this issue didn’t work for you, Douglas. I thought it was great, and I had no problem with Father Jordan.

      If you are a practicing Catholic, then you should have a very big problem with the message this priest is peddling. I’d be happy to expound on this issue with anyone at any time.

      “I totally understand wanting a positive, accurate, and realistic portrayal of a Catholic priest, but we already have that in the Nexflix show in Father Lantom. If Soule just duplicated him in the comic, it would be seen as a retread…”

      I’m not sure I buy that. If the character was written well, then I don’t think anyone would care about his appearance in the Netflix series. But yes, the Netflix series does a pretty good job touching on Murdock’s faith.

      Anyway, thanks for commenting. I really do appreciate it. I’ll be reviewing future issues, so I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

    2. “It’s basically saying that man can be his own god if he just fights hard enough to make it happen. That’s a Satan-esque mentality. I’m not joking.”

      And if Father Jordan is really an evil vampire or something, wouldn’t that make much more sense?

      “If you are a practicing Catholic, then you should have a very big problem with the message this priest is peddling. I’d be happy to expound on this issue with anyone at any time.”

      Actually, I agree with you. I’m sorry, what I should have typed was I have no problem with Father Jordan as an intriguing supporting character and foil to Matt. As a representation of what an ideal Catholic priest should be, not so much. I started laughing out loud when Father Jordan was beating those guys up. He’s absurd…which makes me think there’s more than meets the eye here, like he purposely took Matt on the walk knowing something like this would happen in order to gain Matt’s confidence quickly so Matt would reach out to him for support from now on. It’s a little convenient that Matt now trusts him and has shared his secret identity with him after such a short amount of time. To be the man guiding Daredevil is a very powerful position for Father Jordan to be in.

      If by the end of Soule’s run, Father Jordan is not revealed to have any other agenda than spiritually supporting Matt, and we’re supposed to take his good priest of an ancient Catholic order completely as is, then, yes, it’s problematic. I suppose at that point the no-prize answer would be in the superpowered world of Earth-616 where people come back from the dead at the drop of a hat, the planet blows up every other week, and serious important issues are solved through elaborate fight scenes, then Father Jordan snapped some time before he met Matt and this is his flawed interpretation of salvation through might makes right. We shall see.

      “I’m not sure I buy that. If the character was written well, then I don’t think anyone would care about his appearance in the Netflix series. But yes, the Netflix series does a pretty good job touching on Murdock’s faith.”

      I agree that us readers wouldn’t care if Father Lantom was used in the comic as well, but I think Marvel would because the corporate synergy they are going for means providing new stories in both mediums while maintaining the same tone. They want us to watch the movies/Netflix shows and read the books, so they need to be similar enough without being the exact same.

      “Anyway, thanks for commenting. I really do appreciate it. I’ll be reviewing future issues, so I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts.”

      You’re welcome, and thank you very much for your blog! I really enjoy reading it.

    3. And if Father Jordan is really an evil vampire or something, wouldn’t that make much more sense?

      It would, but my whole point is that Marvel can’t just write a normal Christian character who legitimately lives his faith. There’s always some sort of weird catch as far as the comics are concerned. If this character is operating some sort of weird hit squads on “sinners” outside the rule of law (or something equally as ridiculous), it will just be another slap in the face to anyone who takes their faith seriously.

    4. “It would, but my whole point is that Marvel can’t just write a normal Christian character who legitimately lives his faith.”

      That’s Matt. The fact that Soule purposely brought Matt back to the Church because he genuinely believes that his faith is one of the three pillars that make up his character, well, that’s a pretty big deal. He didn’t have to do this. Waid’s run didn’t touch on religion at all, and Soule could have just left things as is. I’m pleasantly surprised Soule thinks it’s so important.

      “There’s always some sort of weird catch as far as the comics are concerned. If this character is operating some sort of weird hit squads on “sinners” outside the rule of law (or something equally as ridiculous), it will just be another slap in the face to anyone who takes their faith seriously.”

      I totally understand what you’re saying and the sentiment of wanting a normal priest in the story, but given how Soule sees Matt, IMHO Father Jordan is more of a byproduct of how to keep a 22 page monthly superhero comic moving. There’s no drama without conflict, so the supporting characters need to provide it or they are wasting valuable panel space. It’s the same for the rest of them (Foggy can’t just be Matt’s best friend, he has to be estranged from him to move the secret identity return plot, Elektra can’t just be Matt’s ex-girlfriend, she has to think that he stole their daughter for her two issue arc, etc.)

  2. I can’t imagine a Catholic priest being a vampire, unless he wants a terminal case of psoriasis.

    Is Matt Murdock supposed to know his own Catholicism well enough to recognize theological oddities? And aren’t there a lot of liberal and moderate American priests? Father Jordan might not be intended to be a conservative traditionalist.

    I like the observant Catholic/vigilante/lawyer tryptich. It makes the character unique.

    1. “Is Matt Murdock supposed to know his own Catholicism well enough to recognize theological oddities?”

      It strains credulity to think a character with his past and intelligence would know that Father Jordan’s claims about God creating an “imperfect world” is a stance that is completely divorced from Biblical teaching.

      “And aren’t there a lot of liberal and moderate American priests? Father Jordan might not be intended to be a conservative traditionalist.”

      A “liberal” priest might say some weird political things, but he would never say God created an “imperfect world” so that humans can “fight” to create heaven on earth. Besides, he could not say anything that contradicted the official stance of the Church. That is why the Catholic Church does not have the same problems that many other denominations encounter — there is no question where the buck stops when it comes to Catholic Doctrine.

  3. I have long made peace with the fact Marvel-comics can’t do a normal catholic priest even if you put a gun to their head.

    It wasnt Chuck Austen’s story of holy war, where a sect tried to install Nightcrawler as the next pope with the use of toxic holy wafers. (Chuck Austen needs to tell us his suplier of warp dust, because that seemed to be some good stuf)

    It wasn’t the introduction of Weapon XVI “AKA Allgod” a “living religion” that attacks the faith reserves.
    Only atheists, such as Fantomex or Noh-Varr were immune to Allgod’s influence, and boy do you need to see the page where both caracters get high from their own smugness because and I quote “The Kree have a mathematical equation that proves the non-existence of any deities. They learn this as children, at the same time they learn not to soil themselves with excrement”

    I realised this when watching Helsing Ultimate and seeing that the Japanese make better christian characters that most Marvel Writers, even when you have writers who are clearly out of their minds and/or very very japanese.

    So Mr soule keep trying you crazy diamond, but when it comes to being subversive:

    Please try a bit more Kouta Hirano and a bit less smug East Coast.

    Also: can you have your battlepriest yell: REPENT, MOTHERFUCKERS in your next comic.

    Sincerly,

    A marvel Fan

    1. “So Mr soule keep trying you crazy diamond, but when it comes to being subversive: Please try a bit more Kouta Hirano and a bit less smug East Coast. Also: can you have your battlepriest yell: REPENT, MOTHERFUCKERS in your next comic. Sincerly, A marvel Fan.”

      Zing!

      I haven’t read anything X-Men related in a long time, but when I heard that faith was stripped from Nightcrawler I just shook my head. Marvel might as well start doing weird stuff like saying Uncle Ben was never really Peter Parker’s uncle… Where does this ridiculousness stop?

  4. Excellent analysis. As a Catholic who has heard a few priests tell some whoppers, I might quibble with your comment about Father Jordan being “kicked to the curb.” I, too, find Father Jordan’s answer to the problem of evil infuriating.

    1. “Excellent analysis. As a Catholic who has heard a few priests tell some whoppers, I might quibble with your comment about Father Jordan being “kicked to the curb.” I, too, find Father Jordan’s answer to the problem of evil infuriating.”

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, Armond. I appreciate. Yeah, my guess is that at first Father Jordan would get some serious remedial training and then they’d watch him like a hawk for a few years.

      Side note: I’ll probably have a review of Thomas Merton’s “The Seven Storey Mountain” up within the next couple of weeks. I’d like to hear your feedback on the review if you catch it.

    2. “Sure thing. I’ll be happy to read it. And while we’re at it, you might be interested in my blog on comics and politics.”

      Bravo! I may have to reference your blog in a future video. Great stuff.

    3. Thanks! That would be great!

      It’s been an interesting evening. I wrote a post on the current Captain America run by Nick Spencer for the . . . And Philosophy blog. (That’s the blog associated with the And Philosophy books; I’m going to be contributing a chapter to their upcoming book on Doctor Strange). Anyway, Nick Spencer read it and shared it on Twitter.

    4. “I stumbled onto your blog this morning. It’s nice to find some like-minded folks who love comics.”

      The funny thing is, every time I meet someone like you online I think of certain comic book creators who try and make it sound like we don’t exist. Haha. There are many of us … who would be willing to buy more comics if they took our worldview seriously.

      Mr. Soule has been incredibly professional online, but I have no idea how he can say he is familiar with the tenets of the Catholic Church and then put those words into Father Jordan’s mouth. Soule said that he grew up Catholic. Given that, I don’t know how I can do anything but conclude that he was setting this character up to be knocked down…

      Like you said in your post, there is almost 2,000 years of serious (readily accessible) thought on this subject, and the best DD #16 can give us is that God wanted people to duke it out to try and create their own heaven on earth? Huh?! Unreal.

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