More quotes from El Maestro on his religious themes:
From The Evening Class blog, December 14, 2006:
"When I was researching the movie The Devil's Backbone, I found the absolutely horrifying—not only complicity—but participation of the Church in the entire fascist movement in Spain. The words that the priest speaks at the table in Pan's Labyrinth are taken verbatim from a speech a priest used to give to the Republican prisoners in a fascist concentration camp. He would come to give them communion and he would say before he left, "Remember, my sons, you should confess what you know because God doesn't care what happens to your bodies; he already saved your souls." This is taken verbatim from that speech. The Pale Man represents the Church for me, y'know? [He] represents fascism and the Church eating the children when they have a perversely abundant banquet in front of them. There is almost a hunger to eat innocence. A hunger to eat purity. I didn't want to avoid it, but I did not seek Catholic imagery. Nevertheless, I understand that redemption by blood and the rebirth by sacrifice is a Catholic conceit. So I accept it without any problems because I think that sexuality and religion come from your imprint in an early age. Whatever arouses your spirit or arouses your body at an early age, that's what is going to arouse it the rest of your life. Everything will be subordinate to that. It's a personal choice and it's a personal experience. I don't shame myself about being a lapsed Catholic and so if that cosmology appears in my movies, I'm fine with it."
From The Mark of Toro, and interview by James Mottram, March 2, 2008:
"At a very young age I discovered many, many things," he says. "Amongst them, death and masturbation. Very anti-Catholic. There were things that happened when I was a child that just made me believe there was no God. It's such an ancient anguished feeling: if God exists, why do these things happen? I'm not totally lapsed. Once you're a Catholic, you are always a Catholic. I saw some pretty horrible things as a child in Guadalajara: violence and evil. Children inflict violence on other children that is terrible."
From BFI Interview, December 2006
"One of the most important movies in my life, emotionally," he says, "is William Peter Blatty's Twinkle, Twinkle Killer Kane [aka The Ninth Configuration ]. It's a movie about redemption through sacrifice and the giving of your blood to save others that speaks to the soul of somebody who believes in a messiah. It deals with the fragility of faith, which is essential to Blatty's work - how faith is almost intangible and yet incredibly strong. And I think it affected me because, although I am no longer a Catholic, I share the belief that there is a state of grace that can be reached not through moral purity but through almost ethical purity - by being yourself and being immune to the world. It's a little ascetic, but it's essentially the thesis of Cronos . In that film the girl who does not mind dying is the truly immortal character. And the character played by Federico Luppi becomes immortal at the moment he decides to die, the moment he says: 'Fuck it, I don't want to kill my granddaughter.' Immortality doesn't mean you live longer; it means you are immune to death. I think that's the same thing that occupies Blatty: faith, the state of grace, immortality, redemption. And these are things that are important for me too."