Monday, August 31, 2009

Bill Donohue: Secular Sabotage

cross-posted from A Catholic View

Brent Bozell's review:

"Secular Sabotage" is serious business. Donohue insists the United States should be considered unequivocally a Christian country. Eight out of ten Americans consider themselves as such. Indeed – and I didn’t realize this – the United States is the most Christian country, in quantitative terms, in the world. "In fact," states the author, "the U.S. is more Christian than Israel is Jewish." And yet if this is so, why can’t we celebrate Christmas? Why can’t our children pray in school? How did we just elect a president who insisted the United States ought not to be considered a Christian nation?

The popular culture’s hesitation to acknowledge the truth of this country’s Christian identity is a direct measure of the success a tiny minority of Americans has enjoyed in thoroughly intimidating the majority. While Donohue discusses secular sabotage, he is clear that these ought not to be considered simple secularists existing alongside the faithful. They are nihilists out to expel Christianity not just from the public square but from the public conversation entirely. And they are powerful enough to be succeeding.

Full Review Here

Mother Teresa's Secret Fire

My review of "Mother Teresa's Secret Fire" is in this weeks National Catholic Register. If you want to set your prayer life aflame, this is the book you have been waiting for!
You can read it online at

Friday, August 28, 2009

Saturday night at the movies; family style

Good news! EWTN is now enabling your family to sit together to watch a film together!
We may have grown up watching TV together without a care, but as the mom of three young women, I can tell you that it takes advance work to get a film we can all enjoy together.
Now, just tune into EWTN (live on the computer if you don't have cable) relax, and enjoy!

EWTN Cinema: Get out the popcorn and gather the kids around the television set for a series of classic and inspiring Catholic films such as “The Road to Lourdes,” “A Time to Remember,” “Karol: the Pope, the Man,” “The Passion of Bernadette,” “The Great Mr. Handel,” and many others.
These films feature such beloved stars as Loretta Young, Donald O’Connor, former Menudo member Ruben Gomez, Piotr Adamczyk, Sydney Penny and many others. (Saturdays, 8 p.m. ET)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Opus Dei on the Screen: Film on Saint Jose Maria Escriva

cross-posted from A Catholic View

"The film director Roland Joffé, who has yet to regain the acclaim he won a generation ago for “The Killing Fields” and “The Mission,” is shooting a movie in Argentina focused on the founder of Opus Dei, an elite and powerful organization within the Roman Catholic Church.

"The film, “There Be Dragons,” set during the Spanish Civil War, weaves fictional characters created by Mr. Joffé with the story of St. Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, the Spaniard who founded Opus Dei and was canonized by the church.

"The project was initiated by a member of Opus Dei, is partly produced and financed by the group’s members and has enlisted an Opus Dei priest to consult on the set. News of the project has set off criticism among some former Opus Dei members that the movie will be little more than propaganda for the organization.

"But Mr. Joffé, in the first interview he has given about the film, said that he had been given complete creative control and that Opus Dei never had any influence on the project.

story here

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Infamous Hollywood Screenwriter to Pen Film on Our Lady of Guadalupe

cross-posted from A Catholic View

I've posted about
Joe's conversion before.

Infamous Hollywood screenwriter Joe Eszterhas, 64, known for such sordid films as Basic Instinct and Showgirls, has undergone a conversion and now will be writing a new film on Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Eszterhas has been one of Hollywood's most influential screenwriters, writing lucrative blockbuster films, such as Flashdance, Jagged Edge, and Basic Instinct, and raking in million-dollar paychecks. Known for living the full 'Hollywood lifestyle', Eszterhas gave it up to move home to Ohio with his wife and children in the late 1990s.

In 2001, faced with throat cancer resulting from his smoking and alcohol addictions, which threatened to kill him, Eszterhas turned to God in desperation.

story here

Pro-Life Convictions Worth Risking Career For: Jim Caviezel

cross-posted from A Catholic View

Jim Caviezel, the actor who took the film world by surprise with his moving depiction of Christ in 2004, said this week that abortion has nothing to do with helping women and that he is willing to risk his career to say so.

Caviezel gave an interview with the US magazine Catholic Digest, in which he spoke about the challenge he received from a colleague to adopt a disabled child as a demonstration of his well-publicized pro-life stand. Earlier this year Caviezel adopted his second child - a five-year-old girl with a brain tumour from the Guangzhou region of China.

Reflecting on the 51.5 million surgical abortions to date in the US since Roe v. Wade, Caviezel began by saying, "I was listening to Johnny Mathis the other day and I said, 'What an amazing voice'. I have yet to hear another person sound like Johnny Mathis.

"Look, I am for helping women. I just don't see abortion as helping women. And I don't love my career that much to say, 'I'm going to remain silent on this'. I'm defending every single baby who has never been born. And every voice that would have been unique like Johnny Mathis's. How do we know that we didn't kill the very child who could have created a particular type of medicine that saves other lives?"

story here

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mickey Rourke thanks God and Catholic faith for 'second chance'

cross-posted from A Catholic View

Famed Hollywood actor Mickey Rourke, who was at the Sarajevo Film Festival last week, told a Bosnian newspaper that he thanks God and his Catholic faith for giving him a “second chance” in life to overcome his addictions, which almost led him to commit suicide.

Speaking to the Bosnian daily “Avaz,” Rourke said, “God gave me a second chance in life and I thank Him.”

Rourke achieved fame in the 80s with action films and erotic thrillers. At the beginning of the 90s he left film for boxing and fell into heavy drug and alcohol addiction.

story here

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Movie Review: The Time Traveler's Wife - PG13

cross-posted from A Catholic View

Warning: Potential spoilers

In a way, Clare has known, and loved, Henry her whole life. The main theme, of course, is their love story. The other prevalent themes are acceptance (she accepts the fact that he disappears at any time, without warning, and he accepts his condition as well) and trust; there is definitely trust between them, and they later have to cope with 2 miscarriages. I was disappointed that he got a vasectomy when he thought his genetics might have caused them, but hint: it IS a movie about time travel :) The story is very well-done, told in an entertaining and plausible fashion.

Content warning: Every time Henry time travels, he does so without clothes; he leaves without them, and shows up wherever he is going naked. However, there is no nudity shown.

A very good movie. See it. You'll be glad you did!

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Fifty Best Catholic Movies of All Time

cross-posted from A Catholic View

The best religious films, and therefore the best Catholic films, convey the great truths of Christianity implicitly rather than explicitly, not unlike the mystery of incarnation itself, in which the Word became flesh in the person of an obscure carpenter from a hick town in a minor province. In addition, this list consists primarily of films that deal with Catholic characters, Catholic society, and the Bible in ways that are not hostile to the Church. Most of them were made by Catholic directors.

It is interesting to note that the three best directors who ever worked in Hollywood, Frank Capra, John Ford, and Alfred Hitchcock, were all practicing Catholics. So much for the detrimental effects in these times of the Church upon art.

Full List Here

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Movie Review: District 9 - R

cross-posted from A Catholic View

As the previews indicate, aliens landed on earth almost 30 years ago and they are still segregated in an area called District 9, in Johannesburg, South Africa (their disabled mothership hovers above). They have become known as scavengers, and their area is like a slum, or a ghetto, and they are treated very badly by the humans; in fact, the humans don't want them near anymore, so they are being located 200 kilometers away.

Wikus van der Merwe, with Multi-National United (MNU), is put in charge of serving eviction notices and beginning the relocation process. The story really revolves around Wikus.
He comes in contact with a chemical virus and slowly begins to transform into an alien. This is significant, because alien DNA is necessary to operate the alien weaponry. He becomes a fugitive, and is accused of having sexual relations with an alien. He teams with an alien: the alien shelters him, and he he helps the alien retrieve what he needs to get his ship working. I found the theme of trust to be quite prevalent; both in trusting people you shouldn't, and in learning to trust people you didn't.

Overall, a good picture, but there is a dark tone to it which may not appeal to everyone. The ending makes it likely that there will be a sequel.

Content Warnings: There are some gruesome parts such as blood, and brief body part scenes, and the F word was used quite a bit, even by the aliens too.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Catholic playwright works to impact culture by showcasing heroic sanctity

A Catholic California playwright says that theatre is “the grassroots of entertainment” that can have a “profound impact” on young people. He points to his own plays and productions as examples of efforts to bring portrayals of heroism and sanctity to the secular culture.

Cathal Gallagher, author of more than ten plays, was born in County Donegal, Ireland in 1938. He served in the U.S. Air Force and lived in Denver, Colorado before moving to San Jose, California in 1963.

In a Tuesday e-mail interview he told CNA that he had been writing comedies for the stage when he read about Cardinal Josef Mindszenty, a Hungarian prelate who suffered under Communist persecution. Gallagher said he was so moved by the cardinal’s heroism that he decided to write a play about him.

Though Gallagher had thought he could submit the play to a Catholic theatre company, he could not find one. This led him and some fellow playwrights and directors to found Quo Vadis Theatre Company.

story here

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Book Review: Your Personal Apostolate

Your Personal Apostolate: Accepting and Sharing the Love of God
by Michele Elena Bondi
Rochester, MI: Joseph Karl Publishing, 2009

“Your Personal Apostolate: Accepting and Sharing the Love of God” is a small book that packs a big punch. Walking in the footsteps of St. Therese of Lisieux and Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Michele Elena Bondi explores what it means to “accept, return, and share God’s Love.”

Bondi is a mother, writer, and clinical psychologist. Her words are full of insight and wisdom. She combines words from scripture and the saints as well as reflections on her own personal (and sometimes painful) experience to offer testimony to the great Love of God. She acknowledges that all three aspects: accepting God’s love, returning God’s love, and sharing God’s love can be very challenging at times. At the conclusion of each chapter, she offers questions that can be used for personal reflection or in a group setting. This book would be a wonderful resource for a Bible Study or prayer group. I heartily recommend it.

Here are some powerful quotes from “Your Personal Apostolate” to offer some food for thought and personal reflection:

“How crucial it is to remember not to discard our faith when we need God the most! We must persevere and not abandon Him during trials, for He remains with us and He has important plans for us. . . We must remember that God knows and sees things that we do not.”

“The members of the Holy Family were obedient, though doing what God asked did not always make sense to them. They were obedient when the outcomes of their efforts were not guaranteed in advance.”

“Handing one’s life over to God completely is not always easy or comfortable. In fact, it can be downright frightening. However, it is crucial to our relationship with Him, to our sanctification, and to our life’s work.”

“God wants us to ask for healing and also embrace repentance and forgiveness so we can share in His great ministry of love. God is always ready and available to heal us, so ask God to mend the wounds you have acquired during your life.”

“Ordinary work is made extraordinary with the power of God’s love.”

For more information, please visit

Reviewed by Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur

Monday, August 10, 2009

New documentary recounts lives of ‘courageous’ women religious under communism

A new documentary tells the stories of Greek and Roman Catholic women religious who lived their faith under communist harassment and persecution in Eastern and Central Europe.

The one-hour documentary, “Interrupted Lives: Catholic Sisters Under European Communism,” will be distributed to ABC television stations and affiliates on September 13. It will be scheduled at the discretion of local stations.

Between World War II and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, many women religious endured imprisonment, exile to Siberia, forced farm and factory labor, deportation, seizure of their schools and hospitals and even expulsion from their convents.

story here

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Papal recording 'Alma Mater' to be released in late November

Geffen UK/Universal Records has announced that a new recording of Marian hymns and prayers by Pope Benedict XVI entitled, “Alma Mater,” will be released at the end of November, with proceeds going towards music education programs in poor countries.

The CD will include hymns in Latin, Portuguese, Italian and German, and will be released on November 30. It will also contain litanies and prayers. The Pope’s voice will be accompanied by the Choir of the Philharmonic Academy of Rome, directed by Pablo Colino.

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of Britain will also record music for the CD at London’s Abbey Road studios. Vatican Radio will provide recordings of the Pope’s voice.

story here

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Movie Review: Aliens in the Attic - PG

cross-posted from A Catholic View

The Pearson family takes a vacation and rents a house. It doesn't take long for the kids, led by Tom Pearson, to find aliens in the attic. It turns out that they are just an advance team for a larger invasion. One of their weapons is a dart that, when shot at, and stuck in someone, allows them to control the person; but it only works on adults. This becomes a key element in the story. Video gamers will appreciate it even more. One thing that adds to the humor is that the adults are clueless as to what is happening.

The casting is very good good. SNL fans will appreciate seeing Kevin Nealon and Tim Meadows (as the Sheriff). Andy Richter is good as Uncle Nate, and Doris Roberts is funny as 'Nana'. The most entertaining character is Ricky Dillman, who is the boyfriend of Tom's sister Bethany. He is a liar, and is older than he admitted. That fact turns out to be very useful when he is stuck with a dart :)

A very good movie. Lots of action, and very funny.

No content warnings. I took my nephews, ages 9 - 14 to see this, and there was nothing objectionable.