Decent Films Mail > Mailbag #13

Re: Sophie Scholl – The Final Days (2005)

I just watched the Sophie Scholl film that you reviewed and recommended. After first learning about Scholl siblings in a German class long ago, I was anxious to watch this film. Anyway, I thought you would like to see this article about how Sophie was influenced by the writings of Cardinal Newman. I thought it was particularly interesting to note that Sophie and her brother asked to be received into the Catholic Church an hour before their deaths!

Cardinal Newman’s writings on conscience as an echo of the voice of God in the heart of man — an echo that rings with absolute authority but which can guide man better or worse as it is well or poorly formed — has been profoundly influential in Western Christian thought.

While I hadn’t heard before that Sophie Scholl had been exposed to Newman, her defense of conscience as seen in the film is entirely in keeping with his writings, and in that sense I’m not surprised to learn from the article you cite that she was influenced by him — though knowing that will certainly add a new layer of meaning to those exchanges the next time I watch the film!

Knowing that Sophie and Hans asked to be received into the Catholic Church — and that their pastor dissuaded them — also adds new layers to the scene with the pastor praying over Sophie.

Possibly the Scholls’s Catholic-friendliness was influenced by their Catholic fellow conspirator Christoph Probst, the family man whom the Scholls sought unsuccessfully to protect for the sake of his children.

Thanks for writing, and for sharing the article.

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