Pixar’s ‘Soul’ imagines life after death (and before birth). What does Catholic teaching say?

By Molly Cahill, 1 May 2021
A still from the Disney animated film Soul. Image: (C) 2020 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved


The title of Disney+’s “Soul” is, at first glance, a tribute to the New York City music scene that the main character, Joe Gardner (voiced by Jamie Foxx), loves so much. As the film’s plot unfolds, though, a deeper meaning emerges. A near-death experience provides Joe a peek at the afterlife, and he meets 22 (voiced by Tina Fey), a soul lost in a kind of pre-life limbo because she has not yet found a purpose or passion to guide her through life on earth.

The afterlife presented in “Soul” is a vibrant one, and the influence of many different cultures and traditions is clear.

When we Catholics profess that we believe in life everlasting, what is it that we visualize? What greater meaning does this belief bring to our lives? What is going to happen after I die, in a very concrete sense? I, for one, spent my time watching “Soul” wondering just how much I really understood about this tenet of faith that I often claim to hold but rarely take time to interrogate.

Dawn Eden Goldstein, the author of My Peace I Give You, has a doctorate in sacred theology and has taught in seminaries. Thankfully, Dr. Goldstein was willing to provide her expertise on what we as Catholics really know about life after death.

To continue reading this article, click here.

Molly Cahill is a 2020-2021 O’Hare Fellow at America and a recent graduate of Boston College.

With thanks to America Magazine and Molly Cahill, where this article originally appeared.


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