In 2013, moviegoers were introduced to the DC Extended Universe’s Superman in Man of Steel. Soon, Batman (among others) will make his DCEU debut.
Created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger (Yes, Finger was a co-creator of Batman), Batman made his debut in Detective Comics #27 in May of 1939, and for over 75 years, kids of all ages have enjoyed the adventures of the Caped Crusader.
The attention Gotham’s Dark Knight has gotten over the years has risen and fallen. But, as Ben Affleck steps into the cape and cowl, Batman is sure to be thrust back in the spotlight. This time around, Batman will be going up against his toughest opponent yet, Metropolis’ golden boy, Superman.
This will spark anew the ever-popular debate among superhero fans: Who would win in a fight between Batman and Superman? However, another debate has been gathering interest on the internet since just before Christopher Nolan’s 2005 masterpiece Batman Begins was released: What are Batman’s religious beliefs?
Atheists, of course, proudly claim him as their own. Some answer that he is an Episcopalian. A good majority (some influential people among them), though, say Batman is Catholic. My Batman Encyclopedia lists no information on his religious beliefs.
Here are some reasons I believe Batman is Catholic:
Why does Batman fight crime? Is it just revenge for his parents’ murder? If that was that case, he would have stopped after dealing with Joe Chill. No, his mission stems from a desire to see those who bring terror to Gotham City apprehended. His mission, therefore, is the cardinal virtue of justice.
Batman’s alter ego Bruce Wayne is a very charitable man. Not only does this man take in orphans Dick Grayson and Jason Todd, but the money his corporation, Wayne Enterprises, makes is often donated to fund numerous charitable organizations.
Batman has inspired many to take up charitable actions. For example, Leonard B. Robinson spent the last 14 years of his life visiting children in hospitals dressed as Batman. Tragically, Robinson was killed in August of 2015 when he was struck by a car after pulling over his replica of the 1960s Batmobile.
Batman does not kill. He could very easily take out the villains of Gotham City, but he chooses to let them live despite the atrocities they have caused (or will cause). He shows them mercy because he knows that it is not his place to wield the power of judgement. This attitude is clearly explained in this exchange between Batman and Jason Todd in the 2010 animated film Batman: Under the Red Hood:
Batman: …All I’ve ever wanted to do is kill him. A day doesn’t go by I don’t think about subjecting him to every horrendous torture he’s dealt out to others, and then end him.
Joker: Awwww, so you do think about me.
Batman: But if I do that, if I allow myself to go down into that place, I’ll never come back.
Batman makes tremendous sacrifices to protect Gotham. He has dedicated his entire life to this pursuit. Nightly, he puts his life on the line to protect a city that sometimes does not want his help. In order to keep his identity a secret, Batman must make Bruce Wayne appear to be a millionaire playboy and push everyone away from getting close to him. He even sacrifices a dating life. Batman cannot enter into a dating relationship because of his crime fighting identity. Due to his crime fighting, Batman is unable to pursue romantic relationships with Wonder Woman, Rachel Dawes, and Catwoman.
Batman’s Faults Don’t Make Him Not Catholic
Some may point to the violent measures Batman takes or the cruelty he sometimes inflicts on criminals as reasons why he cannot be a God-fearing man. He is called too violent, too cruel, too rude to be a Christian. However, if we took a persons flaws and the mistakes they have made and used that to define whether or not someone is Christian, then St. Augustine and many others would be disqualified from being so.
He is the Keeper of the Holy Grail
In 1999, DC Comics released Batman: The Chalice, a canonical graphic novel written by Chuck Dixon in which it is revealed that Batman/Bruce Wayne is a descendent of a medieval knight named geVain who was the protector of the Holy Grail, the chalice used by Jesus at the Last Supper. This sacred mission has been passed on from generation to generation and now has landed in the hands of Bruce Wayne. Soon, Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Assassins learn that the Grail is in Gotham, and soon Batman must fight them off. Meanwhile, Penguin learns Bruce Wayne has the Holy Grail, and Catwoman offers her services to pilfer it for him.
He Has Often Been Portrayed Praying
Batman prays as a child above, and in this particular comic, he makes his vow to protect Gotham from criminals directly to God. There are also numerous scenes in the comics of Batman praying at his parents graves.
A Priest Once Called Him “Saint Batman”
Fr. Raymond J. de Souza wrote an editorial piece for the National Post titled “Saint Batman.” Speaking ex cathedra? No. A bit much? Probably. A good read? Definitely.
In the Elseworlds (a DC comic outside of canon) graphic novel Batman: Holy Terror, Bruce Wayne is ordained as a priest….and then later becomes Batman. Yes, that’s right, a cowl with a Roman collar.
Keaton’s and Conroy’s Catholic Upbringings
Adam West, Michael Keaton, and Kevin Conroy are all Batman. No one else can say that but those three men. When they say “I am Batman“, it is not just another line. When they say that line, they speak the truth.
When Executive Producer Michael Uslan and Director Tim Burton sought to bring a more serious Batman to movie screens and rescue the character from the campy feel the 1960s TV series and movie had created, they could have chosen any number of actors, yet they chose Michael Keaton. Born Michael John Douglas, Michael Keaton was raised by his Catholic family in Pennsylvania where he attended Catholic school. This was the man they chose to resurrect the Batman.
Influential Writers Say He is Catholic
Writers of Batman comics Frank Miller and Chuck Dixon have said that Batman is Catholic. These two are giants in the Batman comics, having written some of the most popular Batman stories of all-time. Their opinion holds more weight than the likes of Elliot Maggin or Joe Kelly. These two short-lived Batman writers have not had the influence on the character Miller and Dixon have had. Their suggestions that Batman is an Episcopalian (Maggin) or an atheist (Kelly) are not to be taken as seriously as that of Miller and Dixon.
The Vatican Newspaper Said He Is Catholic
For an in depth take on this topic, check out: