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Paul and the Persecuted: Paul, Apostle of Christ Actor Talks about Christian Suffering Today

James Faulkner (right) and Jim Caviezel in Paul, Apostle of Christ (Columbia Pictures)

A few weeks ago, actor James Faulkner, who plays St. Paul in the new movie Paul, Apostle of Christ, travelled across the pond for a preview of the movie at The Sheen Center in New York City.

The film focuses on the last days of St. Paul, when he was imprisoned, tortured, and ultimately killed. “This is still going on,” Faulkner emphasized repeatedly during a Q&A after a viewing of a still-rough cut of the film. In the film, during his solitude, Paul is faced with his sins of the past, the persecution he inflicted on Christians before becoming one himself.

Faulkner reflected on the limited time he had to prepare for the role. While he was familiar with the life of Paul from Sunday school and a Christian boarding school as a boy, he wasn’t as familiar with Paul’s final days. “I was unaware of what his sufferings might have been in prison.” In the script, Paul’s confrontation in his solitude with those whom he’s persecuted “is one of the most important aspects of the film.”

Faulkner continued: “What he did to people. What is done to people. . . All around us people are still persecuted for their faith. It’s happening now. It’s happening increasingly in the last few years.”

Reflecting on grace and the life of St. Paul Faulkner said, “Love of our fellow man is the most important thing in the world. Even those who are not able to advance love, even they — even they — deserve redemption in the end. I grasped the significance of the film the moment I read the script. A wonderful script and a wonderful role for an actor to play.

“I am deeply affected. . . by what has been happening,” he said. “I feel this is an important film. I feel it is very important to reaffirm the Christian faith at this time, to re-engender the respect for it. I’m tired of the church being denounced and other faiths being preferred and their supremacy echoed. That’s why I did the film.”

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