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Journey to Bethlehem:
A Profane Trip to Fantasy Land

Film review of A Journey to Bethlehem, directed by Adam Anders, 2023

Christina Herath
Journey to Bethlehem

Since its release in theatres on the 10th of November 2023, many naïve and uneducated Catholics are already applauding Journey to Bethlehem, advertised as a “live-action musical adventure for the entire family.”

It is shocking, since this new production is completely opposed to Catholic dogma and teachings, being nothing more than another blasphemous protestant and secular fiction.

A feminist Mary, of course...

Yes, this film falls prey to the newest fad of the times, to remake every story with a feminist twist. Here, this error becomes blasphemy. For the Mary of this movie is a defiant feminist, disdaining the cultural and traditional rules she must follow.

In Journey to Bethlehem, she is the middle of three sisters, which contradicts Catholic tradition that states St. Anne was barren and had no children until in her old age she conceived the Immaculate Virgin and gave her up to God’s service in the Temple when she was but a small child.

Further, this Mary is not special; she is not a Temple Virgin nor the fruit of God’s Mercy; she is, in fact, the most revolted of the three supposed sisters. Not once is she referred to as the Mother of God in this film.


Mary, center, with her two supposed ‘sisters,’ all of them feminist

When we first see her, she enters her house upset, since she is being forced to marry someone whom she does not know. In feminist fashion, she wants to have a career and be a teacher like her father. Joachim chides her, saying that she is lucky anyone would marry her with her crazy ideas. Insulted by this remark, she yells back at him that her crazy ideas are his fault since he made her study the Scriptures day after day. Everything about this movie is modern and messed up.

Later, her sisters try to convince her to marry, singing a cringe-worthy song about how “Marriage is good for you,” in which Mary recites verses like this: “Scary, ‘cause maybe marry means I’m kissing my dreams goodbye...” How can Catholics view such malicious false portrayals of Our Lady with neither indignation nor protest?

Betrothal ceremony


The village joins in wild dance & song to convince the revolted Mary to marry...

On the day of the betrothal ceremony, Mary is still unhappy; at one point she discloses that she wishes she had her mother’s faith. This uncertain girl is how the most perfect human creature God made, the Woman “filled with grace,” is portrayed.

Joachim is the officiating priest at the ceremony, which Mary actually audaciously walks away from when she realizes her betrothed is Joseph. Joseph goes after her, and the two argue, Mary complaining she wants to marry someone she loves, not now but later, after her career.

They reconcile after a ridiculous song, in which Mary actually says, “It’s hard to have faith,” and Joseph responds, “It’s hard to believe.” Again, we are far outside of reality.

The Annunciation & Visitation

Clearly this movie is flawed historically. The Annunciation takes place while the betrothed Mary is asleep. A strange alien-type of Gabriel lands in the room, where we watch him rehearsing what he is going to say in a comical manner.

strange angel gabriel

A strange & comical Archangel Gabriel

The Annunciation dialogue has been changed drastically: nowhere does the biblical phrase “full of grace” appear, nor does Mary even pronounce the Fiat. As the angel leaves, she entreats him to wait, complaining that she still has many questions to ask. What a blasphemy! Afterwards she looks around in confusion in the dark room.

This is how the heretics portray the glorious Mystery of the Incarnation.

We know that, after the Annunciation, Our Lady in her great humility revealed nothing of the great miracle to anyone, not even Joseph. But in this plot, she immediately discloses everything to her parents, who disbelieve her claim, calling it a blasphemy. Then our blabbermouth Mary tells Joseph, who is shocked and complains that she is lying to avoid their marriage. His parents are also indignant when they hear that she is with child before the marriage and order her to leave the house.

There is one distortion after another. “I don’t understand the words You’ve [God] spoken…” Mary sings, “Nothing in my blood of royalty...” Falsehoods. She was filled with grace and understood perfectly what the Archangel had asked. In The Mystical City of God, Ven. Maria of Agreda wrote: “From her first instant in the womb of her mother, She was wiser, more prudent, more enlightened, and more capable of comprehending God and all His works than all the creatures have been or ever will be in eternity, excepting of course her most holy Son.”

Further, she was from the royal line of the House of David.

glamorous mary

A vain & worldly Mary proposes to Joseph

Then we come to the scene of the Visitation, where, in the Scriptures, Mary is called blessed above all women, St. John exalts the Lord in the womb of St. Elizabeth, and the Magnificat is intoned. Here, however, all this is excluded. Nothing of the sort takes place.

What happens is pure fiction. Antipater and his guards come looking for Mary at Elizabeth’s house. It is not hard for them to find her since, in this false plot, they need only search for the unmarried young woman with child. Then Joseph arrives out of nowhere and hides her.

It seems that the only reason the Visitation exists in this film is for Mary and Joseph to find each other and marry. When Joseph suggests that they go to Nazareth and make the arrangements, Mary demands that they marry right there, on that very day.

And so the revolutionary Mary asks Joseph to marry her and he says yes. The mute Zachariah becomes the officiating priest in this mess of a movie. After the wedding, in which only Elizabeth was present, the couple can be seen dancing and singing in the woods surrounded by fireflies. In this sentimental bliss, Mary ends their song, singing to Joseph, “Maybe someday I can learn to love you too.”

Birth of Christ in Bethlehem

As we would expect from this blasphemous production, Mary suffers the discomforts and pains of pregnancy and childbirth, just like all other women. When the bedraggled couple finally find the stable, the afflicted Mary, her face dirty from the travel, is afflicted with pain. As she excruciatingly gives birth, we are shown angels singing and the shepherds in wonder.


Antipather is sent to find the Christ child

Joseph awakens and discovers Antipater, Herod’s son, looming at the entrance of their dwelling. Nothing like this every happened in the real Nativity story. It is Mary who assures Antipater that her newborn son is no threat since he came “to save the lost.” Antipater asks if he is lost and Mary responds that they all have gone astray, like sheep. Eventually, being touched by Mary’s words, he orders his guards to give them safe passage, and they, baffled, comply.

In the morning, as Mary and Joseph are riding away, it seems that the revolutionary Mary has finally “fallen in love” with Joseph. Like high school sweethearts, Mary kisses Joseph unbecomingly and then cheekily says, “You’re welcome.”


With every new scene and sentence in this movie, there was a new blasphemy or insult to endure in a plot that blatantly ignores Scriptures. I had a very difficult time watching it to make this review. In short, I believe there is nothing more disgraceful to watch during this Christmas season – or any time, for that matter – than this movie.

Therefore, I plead with readers to make your friends aware of the offensiveness of Journey to Bethlehem. One should certainly not watch it, but rather, make reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for it. Sadly, there will be many eager viewers of such a sinful production, and this will offend Our Lord and Our Lady this Nativity season.


Joseph & Mary kiss, at Mary’s instigation


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Posted December 8, 2023
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