So CBN has a documentary/dramatic reenactment thing coming out in theaters for St. Patrick’s Day. Yeah.
I don’t want to rain on anybody’s patristics parade. Protestants are allowed to talk about early Christian saints. There are Irish Protestants, too. Of course he is part of their heritage, too.
But… based on the promotional material, Patrick had to oppose the Church (the whole entire Catholic Church, from Gaul to Constantinople, no doubt) in order to get back to Ireland to do missionary work. Never mind the whole “Go to a really good theology school, train to be a missionary, and then be made a bishop and be sent back to Ireland when you are ready.”
Because Patrick had to obey God rather than man! He was totally a rebel! Who spent his whole apologia and confessio explaining that he did so dot all his i’s!
Of course, I am sure we will get a totally unbiased take on how Patrick’s main trouble was his buddy deciding to mouth off to everyone, about something personal and sinful in his past (probably some kind of teenage pagan rebellious phase) that he had revealed to him, in an attempt to get him taken off the bishop list. (Because Patrick’s friend had to serve God rather than man!)
Apparently this documentary is arguing that Patrick got ordered back to Gaul (or Britain, in this version which is Brit-centric) to answer allegations, and that he defied their orders — on orders from God!
Which is silly. He was a bishop, in the West. He did not have to answer to anybody (except maybe the Pope, who wasn’t pushing this). He was a local primate, and only had to obey himself. People could send him letters, sure, and he could just send letters back. The only real concern would be getting misunderstood. So he sent a letter explaining stuff. Hardly the stuff of defiant! drama!!!
I also expect a lot of blah-blah trying to prove that Celtic Christianity was somehow not Roman Catholic, or trying to make nice with the Eastern churches at the expense of the West, or the rest of the usual silliness.
Of course, it is also possible that CBN will do a straight up scholarly take. CBN has been known to be surprisingly Catholic-friendly at times, and they aired reruns of Ven. Fulton Sheen’s Life Is Worth Living for decades. There is plenty of interesting stuff to explore.
But in that case, they need to work on the promo material.