December 11, 2013
November 30, 2013
Suicide / abortion / hypocrisy / bullying / Theology of the Body / meaning of life / problem of suffering
NO trite Christian blather. Lots of realistic situations.
What "choice" do men have when it comes to abortion?
This is going in my "Theology of the Body Films for Men" list.
A boy grows up and becomes a man by the end of high school. What a concept.
November 26, 2013
November 22, 2013
Good is good and evil is evil in “Catching Fire.” The good guys are really good and the bad guys are really bad. There is a moral clarity here. But there is not much backstory for any of the characters to tell us why they are the way they are. People seem born good or bad and locked into that categorization. There have been no real transformations or conversions throughout these first two films.
*So, I thought to myself, I thought: "Here we are in a temple of entertainment (and trust me, the Cineplex at Silvercity, Yorkdale Mall, Toronto, is a TEMPLE) being entertained by a story about people who are being manipulated by, um, entertainment."
--Wanna see this movie review in chill Web 3.0 rather than lame 1.0 graphics?http://lifeteen.com/catholic-movie-review/hunger-games-catching-fire/
--We missed you, Jena! You, too, Amanda Plummer (Christopher Plummer's daughter)!
--The wedding dress.
--Suzanne Collins (author of "The Hunger Games") dishes on her favorite young adult lit growing up (OMGosh, more than half were MY favs!) http://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/our-friends-favorites-suzanne-collins-shares-the-books-she-loved-as-a-teen
--There just never was a more "us and them" movie. The game-maker, Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) even uses this very language.
--Lots of obvious overtones of decadent, ancient Rome this time, right down to the chariots. Can you say "bread and circus"?
--Culture of surveillance.
--I love how Katniss, even when totally gussied up, still looks, talks and acts like a tough backwoods gal.
--Most adorbs little baby and toddler with Mom and Dad in front of me in cinema. Toddler very well behaved, baby having a ball screaming and interacting with the ginormo screen. Was I bothered? Nope. The KIDS is what it's all about. We have forgotten this. It's all about THEM.
--Effie (Elizabeth Banks) has a soul. She is a fragile, pathetic, pitiful creature--that's why Katniss and Co. don't hate her. I wouldn't be surprised if she joins the other side....
--Excellent balance of SILENCE in story telling and dialogue.
--Dystopian young adult literature is "so over"? Really? Maybe 'cuz NOW 55% of readers are over 18. (No longer cool when Mom is reading it. Ha ha.)Dystopian literature is so over. What will be the next big genre in young adult fiction? http://ow.ly/qP351
November 20, 2013
November 18, 2013
Why keep up with "Catholic news" from (trusted, authentic) Catholic sources? Why also get "secular" news from a (trusted, authentic) Catholic perspective? (If you're reading a Catholic blog, I'm probably LITERALLY preaching to the choir, but here goes.)
1. There's a lot going on in the Church and in the world today, good and bad. We just can't afford not to know. Ignorance is not bliss, it's blindness. It's not knowing where we're going or why. Lack of knowledge leaves us open to be easily manipulated, misled, disillusioned.
2. There's a lot going on in the intersection of the Church and the world today, good and bad.
3. If we don't keep up, we'll drift from our Faith and suddenly be surprised by developments and not comprehend them. Because we weren't keeping up. If we love something, we want to know it always better and keep pace with it. If we love Jesus' Church, we'll do the same.
4. We need knowledge first and then wisdom to understand the times we're living in and the challenges and opportunities for the Faith.
"The sons of Issachar, who were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do...." 1 Chronicles 12:32
5. Jesus admonished those who couldn't "read the signs of the times."
What are some top sources for Catholic news? Here are my picks in order of my preference. (I checked with two mainstream Catholic news radio personalities, a Catholic newspaper editor and young adult Catholic journalist to get their input as well.)
These are not just websites, but can be followed/subscribed to on both Twitter and Facebook (you can usually just go to the site and sign up from there, as well as follow by email: they'll send updates into your email inbox).
www.Twitter.com is my #1 source of breaking Catholic news. Wanna get started on Twitter? It's pathetically simple to sign up. Then just "follow" me: @SrHelenaBurns and click on "Tweets" and then "Lists" at the top of my Twitter page. I only have one list: "news-secular-and-Catholic." Click on it and voila! You are instantly following 150 top Catholic (and secular news sites), as well as some very informed individual Catholics (including bloggers) who will keep YOU informed. I don't agree with ALL the sources/folks on that list, just so you know. I personally read "everything."
However, the following sources ARE vetted, and I recommend 'em:
www.WordOnFire.org Fr. Robert Barron instantly comments on current issues with solid Catholic guidance via short YouTubes (see also his YouTube channel). Fr. Barron's YouTubes are easily shareable and very popular among young adults. It seems even young atheists will watch his stuff because "at least this guy makes sense." Or as Brandon Vogt says: "Fr. Barron is on a mission to show that Catholicism is smart, and has one of the world's most brilliant intellectual traditions." (Although the format is simple and TOTAL talking head--his fair, reasoned, non-earnest, non-judgmental, non-demagogue-ish, laid-back approach and pop culture references make him very non-Catholic friendly.)
www.CatholicWorldReport.com (from Ignatius Press--thoughtful in-depth articles about stuff I promise you you didn't know and need to. They JUST discontinued their fine, fine print magazine which was my all-time favorite Catholic periodical.) (can subscribe via email) See also: www.IgnatiusInsight.com
www.RelevantRadio.com (Listen online!) Hi-quality 24hr Catholic radio station mostly in Chicago & Midwest. Get their app for iPhone & Android: www.relevantradio.com/app. Constant secular and Catholic news updates as well as in-depth instruction, talk shows and news analysis from Emmy-winning journalist, Sheila Liaugminas (show: "A Closer Look"). Shows are also instantly archived and easy to find on their website.
Support Catholic radio in your area (and online)! Radio apps for mobile technology means you can take it wherever you go, too.
From U.S. Bishops regarding religious liberty (free): text "FREEDOM" to 377377 (for Spanish: "LIBERTAD")
Wanna keep up with Theology of the Body? www.Text4RealSex.org (free, weekly texts)
OTHER WAYS TO KEEP UP WITH THEOLOGY OF THE BODY:
--www.TOBinstitute.org (get on their e-newsletter list)
--simply put "Theology of the Body" in Google alerts!
www.EWTN.com Global Catholic TV and radio network. Multimedia, tons of resources, streaming online. Also in Spanish. (Full disclosure: I'm on their Sonrise Morning Show once a month--radio.)
www.NCRegister.com National Catholic Register (can subscribe via email) print edition also available. Simply the finest, most balanced, faithful-yet-super-contemporary take on Church and world news. Bravo.
www.Zenit.org (daily headlines from Vatican--unofficial, but quick & easy way to get Vatican news)
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/BadCatholic THE voice of faithful millennial Catholics. But are you hip enough to read it?
www.MarysAggies.blogspot.com The Catholic news blog of Texas A & M's amazing Catholic campus ministry, St. Mary's (a model for the nation). Young adult friendly.
www.News.VA/en The new, revamped Vatican media site!!! Includes the official Vatican Newspaper (L'Osservatore Romano), Vatican Information Service, Fides New Agency, Vatican Radio, etc.
|Blessed James Alberione reading his favorite newspaper:|
L'Osservatore Romano (with Bro. Silvio de Blasio, SSP)
www.CatholicNewWorld.com This is Chicago's Archdiocesan newspaper. Subscribe to your own diocese's! You'll get international, national and local Catholic news. (Full disclosure: I was the movie reviewer for Catholic New World for 6 years.)
www.ChicagoTribune.com Say what?! Yes. Accurate and fair (and laudatory when deserved) religion reporting at the intersection of the secular and the sacred! Why? One reason is that they have an actual religion editor (very rare today), Manya Brachear (follow her on Twitter @TribSeeker), since 2003. Manya is committed to getting the story straight (even complex Catholic stuff). Religion is NOT synonymous with bigotry and scandal for the Trib.
www.CatholicRegister.org CANADIAN ALERT! Voted BEST North American diocesan newspaper (weekly). From Archdiocese of Toronto, but goes all over Canada. Canadians are just so classy and literary and in-depth on the issues and such. Especially read Fr. Raymond J. de Souza column: it's incisive like a Ninja.
www.AmericaMagazine.org Weekly. Global Church and other news. Lots of social justice topics. Definite Jesuit flavor. After some shaky years, "America" is on solid Catholic footing with new editor Fr. Matt Malone, SJ (baby priest! Ordained 2012). Not many pages, but always hits the bulls-eye of relevancy each week. Book and movie reviews, too.
www.OriginsOnline.com Weekly news from the U.S. Bishops (important statements from Bishops individually and as a whole). Pricey, but worth it. Print or online.
www.CatholicNews.com This is the user-friendly "CNS" news service of the U.S. Bishops. This website compiles a lot of news resources, including movie reviews (which are short, dry and focus mostly on what is appropriate for children or family viewing, don't look for an appreciation of artistry). It includes links to top news stories from Origins and international Church news. See at bottom of website: www.InterMirifica.net --int'l Catholic multimedia directory!
www.LifeSiteNews.com A lot of my trusted Catholic sources think this site is a little radical, sensational and inaccurate (I disagree), but boy does LifeSiteNews crank out pro-life news in a constant, exciting fashion! They are not mean-spirited or confrontational, and they REALLY know how to use new media and graphic arts. I often hear about important life issues news from them first.
www.CatholicNewsAgency.com (top stories) (can subscribe via email--it's at bottom R of website) But BEWARE! They do not like Christopher West (or Theology of the Body itself). Whaaa???? Same goes for the otherwise fine and informative (print only): www.InsideTheVatican.com
www.MarsHillAudio.org This is a monthly NPR-style audio magazine (CD or mp3-download subscription, well worth the shekels, about $40 a year) that keeps you up on the latest books (often by Christians) examining our culture under many different aspects. Lots of interviews with authors and professors. MHA is not Catholic, but very Catholic friendly.
www.EnvoyMagazine.com Wicked fun, non-highbrow apologetics. Gorgeous graphic design. Patrick Madrid.
www.MercatorNet.com Weird title, good info. Dedicated to any issue dealing with human dignity. In-depth and thoughtful digest.
www.LumenChristi.org Like philosophy? Me, too!!! Watch world-class Catholic (and other) philosophers on video. This amazing Institute (set up by Cardinal George at the University of Chicago, his alma mater) is revitalizing Catholic philosophy. Kind of a think tank. If you live in Chicago you can go to these talks in person. FREE.
www.RelevantMagazine.com My hipster Catholic young adult friends swear by this Evangelical mag. Even the ones who never read. Please note the amazing layout/graphics.
www.BooksandCulture.com Just like it says. It's a Christian review from www.IntervarsityPress.com. Not high-brow, but definitely meant for ministry and often examining intersection of pop culture and faith. You can get their e-newsletter or print edition. Or both.
www.OSV.com (Our Sunday Visitor) Weekly online and print. Looking for a FUN, positive, family-oriented, EASY-READ-but-still-informative Catholic news source? Look no further. Best of its kind.
www.GetReligion.org One of my consultants swears by this site. It's where religion journalists and editors go to vent. And analyze religious stories in the news.
www.CatholicCulture.org (top stories) (I've never used it, by all 4 of my "consultants" do)
www.CatholicTV.com (out of Boston) 24 hr, streaming online.
www.NETTV.net (out of Brooklyn) 24 hr, streaming online.
www.CatholicExchange.com Jam-packed with Catholic stuff. (Full disclosure: they post my movie reviews.)
November 17, 2013
Sr. Anne (migraines), Sr. Paul (migraines), Debbie S. (back injury), Angela (seizures)
Allen (seriously injured in industrial accident)
Let him be for all of us a light, guide and support in the work of our sanctification
|Pope John Paul II at Fr. Alberione's tomb|
November 11, 2013
November 10, 2013
|The sullen teenage Mary from "The Nativity Story"|
--a snake approaches Mary under a tree before the Annunciation
--Mary clambering up the hillside to the Cross
--Annoying: If Mary had nothing to do before her pregnancy, you should see her after. Her hand is just constantly holding her belly and the camera keeps zooming in on that.
|Olivia Hussey ("Jesus of Nazareth")|
--Mary quotes prophesies from Isaiah about HERSELF. Oy vey! Oy vey!
*By “lovers,” I am in no way suggesting even a hint of Oedipal-complex type love. The heavenly Bridegroom/Bride love is of a nature that we can’t fully grasp yet: “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard…” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
October 31, 2013
THE SPIRITUALITY/RELIGION? Nice touch. More than a touch. There’s a St. Christopher icon in the Russian space station and a Buddha in the Chinese space station. Dr. Stone wants someone to pray for her, wants to pray for herself, but “no one ever taught her” how. This seems to be the line many people are coming out of the theater with. (I kind of liked “thank You” the best.) Obviously, the Latino filmmaker(s) are trying to tell us something (Alfonso Cuaron: “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” “The Children of Men”).
The director of the new movie 'Gravity' clearly wants his audience to reflect on spirituality. But what kind? http://t.co/vOMAkwtbhu____________________________________________________________________________
— The Gospel Coalition (@TGC) October 29, 2013
Cate Blanchett (“Blue Jasmine”) for Best Actress as of this moment.
--Wanna check the accuracy of the space logistics? Astronauts "weigh" in: http://insidemovies.ew.com/2013/10/08/gravity-questions-science-experts/
*I suppose Space never became unhip, what with all the celebs and billionaires vying for seats on shuttles to Uranus.
October 16, 2013
When I first heard about the subject matter of “Don Jon,” a new film written by, directed by, and starring child-star-turned-very-successful-adult-star, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, I was thrilled. Gordon-Levitt was taking on porn addiction! Astoundingly, the very existence of porn addiction is often considered “controversial,” and is questioned as a true malady. Then I saw that “Don Jon,” was a comedy. Hmmm. Downplaying the gravity of porn? Probably not. In interviews, Gordon-Levitt seemed pretty intent on examining the damage done by unrealistic media images of the human body, sex and relationships. But he knew that no one is going to see a film upbraiding porn users. He’s going to entertain, or as Oscar Wilde said: “If you’re going to tell someone the truth, make them laugh. Otherwise they’ll kill you.” So far so good. I started thinking I might even be able to watch this film.
2. Reclaim human relationships. “We must find a new way of relating to each other as persons.” –Pope Benedict XVI
4. “Heal wounds.” –Pope Francis www.ReclaimSexualHealth.com