Monday, December 31, 2007

Who Are We?

Here's a little bit about the folks that make this site possible:


Website: A Catholic View

Bio: Christine is a cradle Catholic. She grew up in New York,and now lives in North Carolina with her family. She is very orthodox in her faith. She is loyal to the Pope and the Magesterium of the Church. She considers her blog A Catholic View to be her little contribution to spreading the Catholic faith. She is delighted to be involved with Catholic Media Review. In an increasingly secular world, it is increasingly important to avoid attachment to wordly things and to focus on Christ. There were a few years that strayed and she did not live her faith. Here is the story of how she made her way back:

Contact Christine


Website: Catholic Fire; email

Bio: As a Baby-Boomer, growing up in the 50’s, Jean had been watching TV since it was first invented and movies for over 50 years; her favorites are the classics from the 40’s. As an avid reader, her tastes are eclectic, but she particularly enjoys the following genres: Catholicism / Christianity, history, the arts, biographies, autobiographies, romance, comedy, drama, science fiction/fantasy, health, and psychology/self-help. As a freelance writer, she enjoys writing about: the saints, spirituality, culture of life, and Catholicism. Her work has been published in: Canticle, St. Anthony Messenger, America, Family Resources Center News, and Catholic Exchange. She is a member of Catholic Writers Guild and Catholic Writers Online. Currently, she writes for three web blogs: Catholic Media Review, Catholic Fire, and One Came Back. She is a Catholic wife and mother, and a retired educator and psychologist.

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Jeff Miller

Website: The Curt Jester

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Jeff Vehige

Thursday Night Gumbo

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Jessica (Catholic Mom)

Website: A Catholic Mom's Guide to Books

Bio: While raising four children, (boy, girl, girl, boy) ages 12 to 5, I have come to accept that I have not sufficiently "grown up" enough to enjoy mainstream adult fiction. This realization, coupled with the fact that I preview everything my children see or read, led to the creation of Catholic Book Review. I grew up in St. Louis, met my husband at the University of Dallas, and moved to the western suburbs of Chicago, where we currently reside, in a state of constant motion with much driving.

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Website: Happy Catholic

Bio: Julie Davis works with her husband in their graphic design business. They have two teenage daughters and live in Dallas, Texas.

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Website: Causa Nostrae Laetitiae

Bio: Mother to three daughters and a Literature instructor at a Catholic school, Leticia has always loved writing, good literature, and classic films. She became a blogger in 2006, and began to include film reviews on her blogs, Causa Nostrae Laetitiae, and Cause of Our Joy Suddenly Leticia was thrust into the world of film criticism when Eric Sheske of the National Catholic Register mentioned her blog as a source for Catholic film reviews. The next day, an invitation arrived to attend a film premiere in Hollywood, which she accepted, and a film critic was born.

Leticia began Catholic Media Review to guide parents in their decisions on whether to let their children see a particular film. She also promotes independent family films like “Bella”, and “Fireproof” so that they can reach a larger audience.

Her goal is nothing less than a transformation of the culture to what Pope John Paul II called a “Culture of Life”. She realizes that the pivotal role the media has to play in this transformation, and is determined that those who would defame Christ’s message do not have the last word.

She writes film and book reviews for the following publications: MercatorNet, Catholic Exchange, Catholic Online, and “National Catholic Register”. Her reviews have been posted at the websites of Reuters, IMDb, USA Today, Chicago Sun-Times, and various TV news stations.

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March Hare

Website: Mad Tea Party

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Patrice Fagnant-McArthur

Website: Spiritual Woman Thoughts

Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur has a Master of Arts in Applied Theology from Elms College. A columnist for Catholic Mom and Catholic Exchange, she has been reviewing books for over five years and is one of the select "Vine" reviewers on She is a homeschooling mom of two sons and writes from Western Massachusetts where she is also actively involved in volunteering for her parish. She blogs at Spiritual Woman Thoughts and Catholic Blog Fiction.

Scott Nehring

Website:Good News Film Reviews

Bio: Scott has been an independent movie reviewer since 2004 and has reviewed thousands of films. His reviews have been published on a number of websites from the United States, Australia and India. His reviews have also been published on, USA and a variety of local news stations across America. A former screenwriter, Scott has is balancing his love of story structure and cinema along with his Christian faith. He teaches film classes to Christians, teaching them how to "read" films and how to deal with the sometimes thorny subject of engaging modern culture. Scott lives in the Twin Cities with his wife and three children.

Contact Scott

National Treasure: Book of Secrets - PG

USA Network just showed the original National Treasure' from 2004, which worked out well for me, since I had not seen the original. I really enjoyed this movie. I was afraid it might be just an imitation of 'Indiana Jones', but it was very entertaining. In this adventure, one of Ben Gates' (Cage's character) ancestors is named as one of the Lincoln conspirators, and he sets out to clear his name. There was plenty of action, and a few comedic moments. It also proves they can make movies without using the F word every 5 minutes. Excellent movie...I highly won't be disappointed.

Radio and Podcast Reviews



Book Reviews



Complete Blog Commenting Guidelines

These guidelines, commissioned by Dawn Eden from twin bloggers Alex and Brett, are much needed and a good reminder for us all. I am going to take them up on their offer and reproduce them in whole here as I think they are so good. Thanks for such a great blogging resource guys!

You Read It Right: Complete Blog Commenting Guidelines

Commissioned by the lovely Dawn Eden of 'The Dawn Patrol' to write comment guidelines for the purpose of facilitating logical and respectful discussion and argumentation for commenting bloggers, we (Alex and I) are pleased to present:

Commenting for "Newbies"
(A "Reminder" for the Rest of Us)
About the Authors: Alex & Brett Harris have competed for four years in high school speech & debate, including policy and value debate, persuasive platform speaking, limited preparation categories, and even interpretative events. Over the past two years they have combined for 5 national titles, making it into final rounds over 18 times. They have been contributing authors to several debate sourcebooks and have coached high school speech and debate clubs in Oregon, Washington, and Maryland. They currently author the blogs ‘Conscientious Contemplation’ (Alex) and 'The Rebelution’ (Brett).
You Have Entered “The Comment Zone”
It is crucial to a vibrant and healthy comment section for participants to understand the purpose of discussion, and to possess a proper respect for their fellow contributors. Whether you maintain your own blog, comment on other blogger’s posts, or both, you have most likely been frustrated by the lack of proper argumentation and the seeming epidemic of disrespect, primarily among your opponents (Insight #1: They feel the same way towards you).

The truth is that we all can use a helpful reminder every so often as to how we should conduct ourselves in the high-intensity role of “the commentator’s commenter.”

For that reason we present, “Commenting For ‘Newbies’ (A ‘Reminder’ For The Rest of Us),” as an invaluable resource for bloggers and their readers; an aide-mémoire, if you will. Yes, logic, evidence, and respect still exist and can be realized—even in your comment section.

The Purpose of Argumentation
Critical to proper argumentation is an understanding of why we argue; we argue in hopes of persuading dissenting opinions to conform to our own. If we disagree, it is because we think we are right and others are wrong. We take the time to discuss our disagreements in hopes of proving the validity of our views. It is frustrating, therefore, when we find ourselves perpetually clashing with our opponents, while making seemingly no headway towards our goal of changing their minds.

In fact, at times it can feel as if, were we to publicly claim that rabbits exist, our opponents would deny it; even if one hopped up, said, “What’s up, Doc?” and starting burrowing into their heads. How do we get past these confounding doldrums and arrive at a place from which the discussion can progress in an intelligent manner?

Here are three steps to improve your skills of argumentation:
Step One: Remember that your opponents have come to their conclusions using more or less the same rational process you have. The difference is not necessarily their intellect, but rather the information they had at their disposal and the values they hold.

Step Two: Understand that this means your opponent feels just as confident about the accuracy of his or her position as you do about yours, and will only be persuaded otherwise if you prove that their information or values are out of line.

Step Three: Realize that successful argumentation will only take place when you make it your goal to inform and persuade, by supplying additional bits (or chunks) of information and by addressing the values behind your opponent’s conclusions.

8 Principles For Logical & Respectful Discussion

The key to respectful, profitable argumentation is to respect others and to be respected. You respect others by acting civilly and arguing reasonably. You cause others to respect you by not acting like a fool in your manner or in your argumentation. Here are eight principles that allow you to do both:

NUMBER ONE: Understand the ‘classical’ view of tolerance.
The classical view of tolerance lends itself much more readily to intelligent argumentation than does the modern view. It teaches that, while we may strongly disagree with dissenting opinions, we still treat the person behind those opinions with respect.
    DO feel free to disagree, even strongly, with other people, and say so!
    DO feel free to permanently demolish opposing viewpoints. (Good luck!)
    DO NOT attempt to demolish opposing “people.”
NUMBER TWO: “No ‘ad hominen’ attacks, you moron!”
Nothing more quickly degenerates a discussion than when people start attacking those making the arguments rather than refuting the arguments themselves. Remember that the character, circumstances, or political ideology of the person has nothing to do with the truth or falsity of the proposition being defended.
    DO NOT stoop to name-calling (moron, idiot, etc.)
    DO NOT imply negative monikers onto people simply because they disagree. (i.e. “Anyone who’s even slightly intelligent will believe that cows are people too.”)
NUMBER THREE: Eschew Obscenity & Prohibit Profanity
The use of inappropriate language and shocking statements is a sure sign that the author lacks the ability to communicate their position in a calm and reasonable manner. It shows tremendous disdain for others and will not be allowed on respectable blogs.
    DO NOT be upset when your comment is deleted for inappropriate language.
    DO NOT be upset when you IP address is banned for multiple offenses.
NUMBER FOUR: He who asserts must prove.
This is one of the most critical aspects of proper argumentation and requires that you carefully guard yourself from making groundless statements. Every proposition should be supported by either logic or evidence.

Logic includes everything from complex syllogisms to plain ol’ cause-and-effect. Evidence can take the form of examples, statistics, and/or quotations from authorities in the field. Supported arguments stand until refuted. Unsupported arguments do not deserve a response and might as well not exist.
    DO feel free to confirm other people’s points without provided additional support.
    DO NOT make additional arguments or publicize your disagreement with someone else’s position without providing adequate support.
NUMBER FIVE: Respond to the argument, not to the spelling.
There is no surer sign of inadequacy on the part of a debater than when they take issue with some small “error” on the part of their opponent, while ignoring the main point/s their adversary is trying to make.

If you are unable to refute your opponent’s position, don’t insult his or her spelling, grammar, or insignificant deviations from fact. Your opponent is most likely correct, and their small errors have nothing to do with the overall truth or falsity of the proposition they defend. Don’t make a fool of yourself by being a sore loser.
    DO feel free to point out significant errors that impact the validity of a claim.
    DO NOT point out errors solely for the purpose of embarrassing your opponent.
NUMBER SIX: Debating When Less Is More.
A common tactic adopted by inexperienced debaters is to ask a long series of questions that place an enormous burden on their opposition, without actually making any particular point. Such an approach is not only unfair to your opponent, but it really isn’t argumentation at all. These kinds of “question avalanches” can hardly be responded to in the confines of a comment section, but will often foster animosity.

The same is true of those with too much time on their hands (or a gift for speed writing) who present far too many arguments at one time in hopes of “burying” their opponent under the supposed “empirical” weight. Both of these abuses inhibit true argumentation and inevitably degrade the quality of a discussion. Respect yourself and your opponents at all times by using moderation in your argumentation and questioning.
    DO feel free to ask pertinent and probing questions about your opponent’s position.
    DO NOT expect answers for loaded questions.
    DO NOT ask loaded questions.
    DO feel free to make powerful and relevant arguments against your opponent’s position.
    DO NOT expect answers to your 5 page tome.
    DO NOT write 5 page tomes.
NUMBER SEVEN: Do your own research.
Remember that your opponents are busy people who are taking time out of their day to discuss relevant issues with you. Do not place an excessive burden on them by requiring them to go “off-site” to read lengthy articles or study ancient philosophers, scientists, etc. If Aristotle makes “your” point then “you” should be able to make the argument. Your opponent certainly will not (and shouldn’t have to) make it for you.
    DO feel free to provide links to outside sources for your opponent’s consideration.
    DO NOT expect your opponent to read them unless you make them want to. (i.e. “If you go read Maxwell’s five-foot bookshelf, then you’d agree with me!” never works)
    DO feel free to support your arguments with outside resources. Just make sure you summarize what the resource says. Otherwise your opponents will consider your argument unsupported until they go read/see the support. Which they most likely never will.
NUMBER EIGHT: The fallacy of the majority.
When the majority of participants in a discussion hold your position, it is common to start acting as if the last seven principles no longer apply to you. You feel you can destroy the dissenter, along with their position, since you have so many like-minded chums. However, the majority has no more right to silence the opinion of a minority through disrespectful, improper argumentation, than the minority would have, if it were able, to silence the opinion of the majority using the same methods. Victory by means of respectful, logical argumentation is true victory. Victory by any other means is no victory at all.
    DO feel free to destroy dissenting opinions using respectful, logical argumentation.
    DO NOT silence dissenting opinions by majority “piranha attacks.”

Movie Reviews