June 28, 2011


...if you think education is simply for data input....

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For Catholics who worry about whether or not to use new media:

Cyberpriests already complaining that mobile version of new Vatican news site is needed. :]

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June 21, 2011


40% OFF 100 select titles, including some Daughters of St. Paul Choir CDs!

and order from Pauline Books & Media--Chicago! 312-346-4228

or stop in:

Pauline Books & Media
172 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60601

for hours, map and directions:

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“Super 8,” written and directed by the prolific TV/movie guru, J.J. Abrams (“Alias,” “Lost,” “Star Trek ” prequel, “Cloverfield”), is a collaboration with his hero, Steven Spielberg (who similarly started very young shooting “movies”). Actually, Abrams has known Spielberg since he was 15, but that’s another story.

“Super 8” is a semi-autobiographical story—set in 1979--about a bunch of middle-school friends who set out to shoot a zombie movie when they witness (and get on their Super 8 camera) a train crash involving the paranormal.

Charles (Riley Griffiths) is the demanding and overbearing natural-born director who uses big words and proper film terminology (and who also uses an unnecessary amount of profanity and blasphemy: “God,” and “Jesus” are every other word). I know that’s supposed to be his schtick, but it’s ugly, especially out of the mouth of such a young dude. “God” is bad enough, but I cringe every time I hear “the only name by which we may be saved” taken in vain. The Holy Name Society encourages us to whisper (or shout if you like) “…may He always be praised,” whenever we hear His name slandered. Hey, it’s giving us the opportunity to praise!

Joe (Joel Courtney) is the main character, and he’s, well, luminous. Kind of looks like and reminds me of the kid in “Almost Famous.” He has a crush on the female lead, Alice.

Cary (Ryan Lee) is the natural-born camera/SPFX guy (or maybe just a pyro) who looks like a little Tom Petty and provides comic relief and fireworks on call.

Martin (Gabriel Basso) is the male lead and a big chicken.

Alice (Elle Fanning) is the scrumptious female lead and natural-born actress. There are two wonderful scenes where she dazzles and enchants the guys with her ability to emote. Her character is sweet, sensitive, strong, reserved, and, at times, uncertain. Quite the age-appropriate.

“Super 8” is extremely reminiscent of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” the wind, the night skies, the shining lights, the alien presence, the supernatural abductions, take-over of cars/electricity/energy sources, the pregnant silences followed by sudden jolts. It actually feels more Spielbergian than Abramsian! However the “monster” is pure Abrams, extremely reminiscent of “Cloverfield,” especially the slow reveals and the noises IT makes.

The middle-schoolers are truly middle-schoolers with a certain innocence to them. Middle-schoolers should LOVE this film of which they are the stars as well as the stars of the film-within-the-film (make sure to stay for the credits to watch the kids’ finished zombie film). “Super 8” is especially pertinent today with virtually every young person shooting video from their childhood on, on inexpensive, high-quality video phones and other handheld devices. The child actors are pros, and the story is truly told from a tween POV by filmmakers who are still in touch with their own youth.

THEOLOGY OF THE BODY: Joe and Alice have both lost their mothers and have rocky relationships with their Dads. The lack of the feminine/motherliness in both their lives (and that of their fathers) leaves a gaping hole. This is portrayed in a true-to-life way, and I believe that Spielberg and Abrams (both good, wholesome family men), really believe in this ying-yang, but I have to say that it does feel like our emotional buttons are being very deliberately pushed here. (Which I never mind, but other movie-goers may. I’m a big fan of emotions.) The MOST Theology of the Body scenes for me are Alice’s acting and the guys’ reactions, and another lovely scene where Joe watches a home movie of his deceased mother with himself as a baby and says: She always looked at me like I mattered, like I existed.

The 1970’s era is captured well with lots of great artifacts: macramé owl wall-hanging, TAB, Soviet scare, “Keep on Truckin’,” CBs, dial-phones (OMGosh how did we STAND that?!), Pillsbury foodsticks.

The plot is very familiar, but enjoyable. I left the theater smiling. Broadly.


--A small, select, solid choice of 1979 songs.

--The unknown actors (except for Kyle Chandler as Joe’s Dad) really works well—gets us focusing on the story.

--We didn’t say “awesome” or “dork” in the 70’s. We didn’t.

--Those red Twizzlers again.

--Lots of “historical” guffaws: “There is no overnight developing of film.” The first cassette Walkman: “a slippery slope.”

--Spielberg loves TV! He always has TVs going in the background in people’s homes and we can always catch what they’re saying….

--Lots of great, continuous realistic dialogue and chatter.

--Good “drugs are bad” lesson. Older teen misses all the fun and is useless because he’s stoned.

--“Super 8” was edited by two women.

--No super-long chases. They’re very short-spurt-chases. Sr. Helena likes this better than long, boring chases. But she does like long, exciting chases (like in “The Island” on a SoCal freeway).

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St. Paul has his own feastday on June 30....without that other guy.

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June 19, 2011


2011 is the “Year of the God Film”: “Soul Surfer,” “Tree of Life,” and now “Courageous.”

“Courageous” is the much-anticipated movie on fatherhood by the same people who gave us “Fireproof.” (“Fireproof” is the story of a fireman whose marriage is on the rocks, in part due to his internet porn use, and what happens from there. It was the #1 independent film of 2008. With its tie-in printed resource components like “The Love Dare Book,” the film impacted thousands of real-life marriages.) “Courageous” was well worth the wait, and will doubtless do the same to strengthen fathers in their oh-so-vital vocation.

“Sherwood Pictures” (a ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia) is behind these two great films. They are THE most “Theology of the Body” films out there, and I’m sure Blessed John Paul II the Great is smiling on them from glory.

“Courageous” is about four policemen, their families, and what being a father means. “Honor begins at home” is the film’s short, sweet and apt tagline. Cops are about serving, protecting, honoring, right? Guys are about serving, protecting, honoring, right? And there’s lots of wonderful and needed ways they do that outside the home, often for the sake of home, but there’s no place like home to do it. So many things pull men away from home: work, demanding work, overtime work, wars, travel, hobbies, volunteer/charitable work, even church work. So many men are tempted to measure their worth and success by the external benchmarks, accolades, promotions and achievements outside the home, but, really? A man’s home is his castle. Everyone’s first vocation is to love their families. Our greatest bragging rights should always be about our particular vocation to love, our particular way of loving (married, single, priesthood, religious life). When people ask us what we “do,” we should talk about our vocations, our families first, the people in our lives, what we “are,” before what we “do.”

The stories, struggles, tragedies and joys in “Courageous” ring true, and the acting is superb. Sherwood Pictures also has a way with tense action scenes. There’s just enough about and for women in “Courageous” as well. Young single men leaving screenings of “Courageous” have written on their surveys that they never really thought seriously about fatherhood before, but now they are looking forward to being good fathers! Sherwood Pictures doesn’t call their films “message” films (a Hollywood no-no) but “take action” films. Hear, hear!

“Courageous” asks the question: “How DO we do fatherhood? Who are our role models for it?” Here’s another possible tagline for “Courageous”: “Think fathers are important? So does ‘Courageous.’”


--There’s a slow-mo scene where a beautiful little girl is saved from harm’s way by the cops (the word “princess” comes to mind), and it seems like a random thing, but the more you gaze, the more you wordlessly realize: it’s all about us women, it’s all for us women, it’s all for the bride.
I’m not a fan of constant close-ups, but it seems to be the trend in movies these days. There’s a lot of close-ups, especially in the beginning.

--I think the hard thing for men AND women is not to lead a double life. As I watched the lives of these fictitious characters trying to be righteous, I thought: Yes—most of us want to be good, want to be good people, live good lives…BUT we also dissemble. We also want “something on the side.” I had a teenage boy in a youth group (where I was teaching 'em Theology of the Body) tell me only half-jokingly that he wanted to get married, but have “something on the side,” too. I asked him if he wanted to be a hero or a tool all his life. And there’s the rub. Our sins of whatever kind are ALWAYS a double-life, and sometimes we have a very developed double life. It’s so hard not to lead a double life. And then I got to hang out with "Courageous" actor, Ken Bevel—(I don’t mean to namedrop here)—who, I’ll bet, really walks the talk, and really is the strong, peace-filled, humble, Spirit-filled man of God he seems to be.

--The Latino couple who were introduced as sort-of main characters a bit later in the film detracted from the film for me. As soon as I “met” them, I didn’t buy anything about their lives. (And these were professional actors, as opposed to the many non-actors in the film! Their home set-up is very hokey: a cinematic light shines on a cross on the wall. A little blackboard in the kitchen says: “Jesus Loves You.” Nothing feels authentic. Even their accents sounded fake.) I know they were primarily supposed to be the comic relief, but it was rather corny (except for a few truly hilarious scenes where Javier, the husband, is interacting with his cop friends). There is one whole utterly-predictable sequence with the Latino couple toward the end of the film that really needed to be cut right out since he was really a minor character. Almost the exact same plot point was repeated back-to-back with it, involving one of the four policemen we are really invested in. Removing this scene would have really shored up the movie.

--One of the most important scenes in the film is when the policeman/father played by Ken Bevel (my new best Hollywood-South friend) takes his teen daughter out to a swanky restaurant almost as a passage into womanhood. Ken told me that he felt so much spiritual warfare during this scene and he kept on messing up his lines. What he tells her is what every daughter, every young woman needs to hear from her father.

--LADIES! Listen up! “Courageous” is NOT a date movie. Do NOT bring your husband/boyfriend and tell them: “This is what you’re supposed to be!” Uh-uh. Men need to go to this together. They’ll know what to do.

--The gang-actors are fabulous. The point is: gang-father fills in when there’s no father. Gang=family.

--GREAT LINES: Dad to teen daughter: “Any time a boy asks you to go anywhere , it’s a date.”

--“Courageous” is WELL-LIT. Sr. Helena LIKES WELL-LIT SETS. They are hard to find these days.

--Best relationship portrayal: Cop-father and his teenage son. (This is when I cried.)

--Best actor: Ken Bevel. I know him.

--MORE GREAT LINES: “I have to learn to do the hard things [in fathering].” “There is so much in Scripture about being a father.”

--DAUGHTERS NEED DADS, TOO! Thank you, “Courageous”!!!!

--I remember when I was growing up in the 19___’s, and my friend’s mother (a very intelligent woman) shocked me by saying emphatically—as she was watching some soap opera awards on her kitchen TV—“These actors show us how to solve our problems!” So why CAN’T we have some positive Christian films that show us how it’s done? If families aren’t staying together and working things out, why not use art and entertainment to show us how to do it? And millions of people DO live the way portrayed in "Courageous." “Courageous” is no less real than all the hopeless family stories we see constantly. But there is a huge segment of the “tragically hip” youth population who simply will not give films like “Courageous” a chance. It has to be younger, cooler, edgier, harder, or they will not even give it a look-see. Perhaps there is some deep dark truth to their cynicism. Perhaps we don’t know how much they have already suffered in their families in their young lives. Even though there is plenty of familial suffering in “Courageous,” it may not be of their harsher garden variety. And so it will be up to a younger generation of filmmakers to make “their” films. It’s kind of sad, though, to only be open to what one already knows.

WHEN MY FRIENDS AND ME WERE YOUNG (Yessss! I have finally reached old fartdom!) we were open to absolutely everything—old, boring, fresh, shabbily-presented, historical, new, whatever: we didn’t want to feel like we were missing out on ANYTHING, we wanted to know something about everything, we wanted to know everything our parents knew and then some. We prided ourselves on the breadth and depth of our interests. But perhaps there was much, much, much less to process—certainly less pop culture/media artifacts (good grief—3 TV channels, no internet), and perhaps we had more hope or a different kind of hope. It’s time for another generation to find their way. But “Courageous” could help. It really could.

--Yeah, it’s a little slow and Southern like “Fireproof.” So what?

--“As the family goes, so goes society.” –BJP2G

--“If you really want to understand all of reality, understand the rejection of the Fatherhood of God in the Garden of Eden.” –BJP2G

--The “Resolution” ritual: “Every girl crazy ‘bout a sharp-dressed man.”

--These words blew my mind in the father's "Resolution" ritual: “I will lay down my life, as Jesus did for me.” Usually, in TOB, we say, the husband lays down his life as Jesus laid down His life for His Bride, the Church. But it really starts with and includes what Jesus did for the husband (who is also the Bride, the Church), doesn’t it?

--Since “Courageous” is not Catholic, I did feel the lack of the Mass, sacraments and Catholic prayer-forms to keep the men strong in their “Resolution.” But hey, adapt it to yo’self if you is Catholic!

--“Prisons are full of men and women who were fatherless children. Single mothers are doing a great job, but they were never intended to carry the weight alone.”

--“Courageous” is not a tearjerker, but you WILL cry unless you’re a stone. That goes for you, too, guys—think “Toy Story 3.” We know you cried.

--Men leave “Courageous” convicted.

--Courageous was screened at NASCAR races.

--Ken (Bevel, that is) and I came to great agreement that MOVIEMAKING is one of the most important ministries in the Church today. It’s a VISUAL STORYTELLING WORLD.

--“Courageous”: Something to say and sayin’ it well.

For a "review" of my screening experience (when I met actor, Ken Bevel):

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Amazing storytelling! These are baseball stars who are also men of tremendous faith!


--I loved that they talked about and SHOWED their failures
--some INCREDIBLE stories/highlights: (Mike Sweeney fight, Sweeney's Dad giving up his baseball career for his family, "the chicken runs at midnight," St. Therese, Piazza & Clemmons, Piazza meeting the pope, etc.)
--real NICE short cuts
--wasn't much about the families/wives, but that's not what this documentary is about--it's about the individual man's struggle to achieve dreams and how that's best done with GOD
--great how these guys could really ARTICULATE not just a simple faith, but a total spiritual strategy for their lives, how it effects everything they do
--how WINNING is not everything in the end, it's being humble and grateful for all the good things that come your way
--ECKSTEIN not even seeing his injury as a bad thing
--"If you put God first in your life, He'll put you first."
--I loved the Latino guys: Ozzie (White Sox!), and Ivan and how religion is just like breathing to them, you just would never think of leaving God out of your life
--great shots of the guys at Mass, praying, etc.
--the father of "the chicken runs at midnite" girl talking about negative peer pressure....
--these guys expressed, in very unique ways, what faith means to them, nothing cliche(!), that I've never heard before, gave me a lot to think about
--Blessed James Alberione said: "God speaks to the soul after Communion" (Sweeney says sometimes he feels an intense burning in his heart after Communion)--I've never experienced this, so maybe it's a guy thing! ha ha
--tears! (real men cry!)
--SPORTSMANSHIP, forgiving on and off the field, setting a good example
--showing kids playing baseball a lot and how they aspire to be great someday, too
--I'm NOT a baseball lover at all, but it really made me feel the excitement of the game
--loved those CRACKS of the bat one right after the other at the end

Awesome job, great juxtaposition of visuals.


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June 15, 2011



"James Alberione--a Marvel of Our Times" by Fr. Stephen Lamera, SSP


MORE BOOKS ON ROME WEBSITE (click "English" at top)http://operaomnia.alberione.org/


(he writes in 3rd person: "he"):



(A Month with St. Paul, prayers to St. Paul, etc.)


ALBERIONE'S THOUGHT ON MEDIA:(also: formation for Catholics in media, includes film, radio, etc.)




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It's called "The Publishing Apostolate," but it includes lots of other media. He wrote it in the 40's and 50's as a formation manual for Catholics in media!

Look for other "ENG" books by Alberione at http://www.alberione.org/operaomnia

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June 13, 2011


In case you haven't seen this film--released in April 2010, do. It's coming from a very unique (and good) place: a bunch of young guys from New York City with tough family backgrounds set out to make a film on the meaning of life as they travel around the world. Or rather, they set out to find the meaning of life. (The finished product is interspersed with interview-wisdom from pundits.) There are also well-spaced quotes from the likes of Viktor Frankl and Martin Luther King, Jr. If young people aren't reading as much these days, this is a great, visual way to pass on these legacies!

Everyone they meet along their gets their say in the film, too.

Don't be fooled by the quick-review-of-every-disaster-known-to-modern-man* at beginning of the trailer (and film)--my least favorite part of the film--because this film is deeply personal.

It takes on a sweeping breadth, but eventually achieves pinpoint focus.

In some ways, this is "Tree of Life" before "Tree of Life": The micro-macro beautiful shots of nature, the supremacy of family--particularly the father, the "cancer spores" and cosmos shots, opera soundtrack to ordinary life. How to explain this? When I was in film school, we asked our professors how Hollywood does it: a film comes out first and then the event actually happens in real life. The answer came back that artists are tapped into the zeitgeist (perhaps the Holy Spirit: zeitGeist), and are just prescient and pick up on these things! Terrence Malick's "Tree of Life" was thirteen years in the making, so it certainly predates "Human Experience." So maybe Malick and Grassroots Films were on the same wavelength, and it's also not impossible that Malick saw "The Human Experience," perhaps as it toured film festivals.

"Human Experience" gets off to a slowish start but not for long.

It's a very self-conscious film. But it's meant to be. And don't forget that this is the generation who has been filmed at birth, and then every minute following. They are very comfortable on camera. Too comfortable? If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to film it, did it really fall? The camera is their confessional and sometimes they seem like the real incidents and episodes of their lives--large and small--are there specifically for them to act in, and create a living memory of. On film. And they do it well. Very well.

I happened to know that these guys are religious. Catholic. But the film takes a phenomenological approach and starts with/sticks with "the human." I honestly can't remember if and when the "God parts" are because there's a seamlessness to it all. We are examining "the spirit" of man, as well as our existence in the physical world, but the film has a distinctly "spiritual" feel. But integrated: physical and spiritual. Am I making any sense?

The film eventually answers its own question: What does it mean to be human? What is the meaning of life? One interviewee says: "The more mature person is the one who doesn't have all the answers, but enters more deeply into the mystery."


INSIDE SCOOP: Just spoke with Joe Campo, producer of "Human Experience." He said that the guys thought THEY were making the movie, but he told them the movie was really going to be about THEM and their reactions to what they were filming, more of a behind-the-scenes story. They had to agree to being on film at all times, and they did. Sometimes the young men said: "No, no, turn the camera off!" But Joe reminded them of their deal and kept the cameras running. So, for me, it's good to know that even the camera-happy twentysomethings of today have moments that they just want to be off camera.

*(This tactic, used in other films, can feel like a ravaging of these experiences, a cheapening and desensitizing to these experiences. For me: it's too much. Go ahead and show wars and unrest to get your point across, but not the iconic, "branded" shots of 9/11, Tieneman Square, etc.)

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June 11, 2011



JUNE 11, 2011
[indispensable comments by Sr. Helena in brackets]

(going back a little): P. 138—Lust wants to take over a person to use them. Love wants to create happiness and the other person’s good. “Happiness” isn’t like what we normally think of as happiness. It isn’t that one person is making the other person happy in the moment so that that person’s happiness relies on the other person. It’s willing/working toward the ultimate good of the other. And it has to be “reciprocal”—BJP2G’s concept of “reciprocity.” We have to will GOD for the other person because only God can truly fulfill us. “Only people of faith can state quite clearly that the ultimate good is God.” –BJP2G

Couples need to will getting to heaven for each other!

It’s the awareness of a person’s total value—not just their sexual value. Love is the highest of values, but one needs to know how to transfer that to everyday life. It’s called “the education to love.” Love is a task, it’s not just a given. Love never “is,” it’s always a becoming and depends on the depth of the commitment of the persons involved.

Emotion, sensual desire, attraction is not wrong! It’s the raw material! You MUST have it! We should be attracted, aroused, inspired by the opposite sex, but not just by the visible, but the whole body-person! The invisible as well as the visible dimension of the person. This is very important because there’s a lot of misunderstanding about TOB here. [Like some Muslims think it’s wrong to have any reaction at all to a woman, so she needs to put a bag over her head.] There’s an error being made here. The desire is not wrong in itself. It is good. [It’s what you do with it.] The WILL must take that raw material and develop it into love of the whole person in an integrated way. The task! [The raw material is a starting point!] I choose to love ALL of you and will the good for all of you. Most of our culture just stops at he /sensual and leaves it there. This can fool a couple into thinking they actually LOVE each other. That’s why the relationship sours. There is so much MISSING in the relationship. [Society probably helped the love-task-process by making sexual relations outside of marriage taboo, so they HAD to get to know each other first before any physical relationship, and then, in marriage.] Premature physical relationships confuse, cloud and blind the person as to where the relationship should or should not go. They are no longer free or free to truly choose and choose well. CHASTITY is good for practical reasons because it helps us to perceive, see clearly and be truly free.

Movie “SPANGLISH”—is a good illustration because the couple goes to the brink, but they knew it wasn’t right, right for them (it would have been adulterous), and don’t go any further.

CHAPTER 3—p. 143
“Chastity” is resented because of weakness of will. It demands a higher resolution of will. The Catholic Church, by saying “no” to the wrong and “yes” to the good, becomes the conscience of the world. We all absolutely RESENT saying “no” to ourselves. The Catholic Church is one of the singular voices in the world that knows and sticks to the truth.

When Clinton got into sexual trouble, it was like permission for the rest of us. Someone in this lofty position came down, so that means we don’t have to “go up.” Chastity/virginity is even seen as an evil! Do NOT discount “sloth”! M. Scott Peck’s take on original sin was that it was “sloth,” Adam and Eve didn’t make the effort, they took a shortcut. [All 7 capital sins are connected, superimposed on each other!] Aquinas defines sloth (acedia) as a sadness that the good is so difficult!

Emotions can conceal the lack of true love or egoism even.

[We need to tell people: JUST KEEP GOING in their relationships! Affirm their feelings! But tell them they can have SO MUCH MORE! It can be SO MUCH BETTER! Isn’t that what we all want?]

Father wants a billboard to help people: “To hell with your feelings!” (Our feelings can be leading us to hell, too!) Feelings are like indicators on our dashboard. The greater reality is WHAT they’re indicating. “I feel angry!” Why? Because of thought processes and convictions you have.
In the sexual revolution, people actually thought they WERE being HONEST by FOLLOWING THEIR FEELINGS outside of chastity, outside of marriage, leading them out of religious life/priesthood. [Blessed James Alberione’s JESUS TRUTH, WAY, LIFE spirituality is about developing MIND, WILL, HEART equally. Wow. I never thought of applying his spirituality to TOB!]

We need to tell same-sex attracted people: We’re not denying what you FEEL [it’s real], but what are you going to do with it?

Egoism precludes LOVE and any shared/common good. Concupiscence is the habit of seeing people only sexually. It’s the constant temptation of humans to INVERT the order of values! [It doesn’t mean the spiritual is higher than the physical, it means that because we don’t SEE RIGHTLY, we keep separating out values that belong together: e.g., sexual pleasure and a person’s character. What we should be seeing, the real value, the highest value is the TOTAL INTEGRATED BODY-PERSON.

Neither sensuality or carnal desire is a sin. It’s just the raw material for sin or grace! Wojtyla is careful to base all this stuff on Aquinas, “Captain Catholic” himself! It BECOMES sin when YOU IN YOUR MIND [it’s not the other person’s body out there that’s at fault/to blame!!] DISINTEGRATE the body-person. It starts inside. [And that’s why Jesus said you can commit adultery in your heart.]

P. 162
I see something…

I have a non-sinful reaction…

and then I either feel shame (but don’t need to!) OR I give in to lust (by willing the arousal to be an end itself—and usually it will be outside the context of a loving marriage!)…

and because I want to be justified/refuse to admit I’m not perfect/I’m proud, not humble…
I wallow in shame/guilt OR I blame the person/image/thing outside of me…


become discouraged/despair OR give up trying OR live in denial/double-life OR affirm sin as good
(see p. 170!—results: hypocrisy, unchastity!)

[We have to realize that our interior life is sooo important. Everything starts there. We need purity of heart. We need to will what God wills. Love what God wills. Monica Ashour, TOB evangelizer, puts it this way: We need to work on our purity of heart and then figure out how we will express that through our bodies.]

p. 162—Even if we strongly will not to lust, we CAN’T will not to feel!! And the body will RESIST your attempts to quell/channel arousal!

Being ASEXUAL is NOT purity of heart! We ARE sexual beings, and it’s good and it’s the way we’re made and what God wants for us. It’s how we “are,” how we “be.”

Women tend to put the emotional feelings first. But feelings CAN even be INIMICAL to truth in behavior. “What is pleasant must always be good” is not true! Is your will intent on unconditional pleasure? What’s your goal?
[So what should we be pursuing? Truth, Goodness, Beauty: JESUS TRUTH, WAY, LIFE.]

p. 170--“To be chaste means having a transparent attitude toward the person of the other sex.” “Chastity is often understood as blind inhibition of sex….so we push sex drive down into the subconscious where it’s going to EXPLODE.” –BJP2G (BJP2G uses the word "explode" and "explosion" TWICE.)

“This is when we see chastity as primarily negative! But it’s primarily a positive YES of which some ‘no’s’ are a consequence.” “Sex alone is allowed to reign supreme as the highest value.”

“Chastity is a long term integration of, not denial, of body-sex.”

Chastity=integration of body and soul.
Purity=seeing the glory of God in the human body.

In Eastern Church, they pray over and over during the marriage ceremony for “a chaste marriage.” What this means is: see each other as persons always!!!

[70-year-old woman in class: “But our lives our wasted now! I’m so jealous of these younger people! I can’t create a beautiful marriage!” Everyone encouraged her that she always has her interior life, is heading to the heavenly marriage, can pray for younger people, help them with TOB now.]

Men can get very frustrated by provocatively-dressed women. They are being “sexually assaulted” visually. It can be a form of “reverse rape.” Men are trying to respect women or they wouldn’t be angry about provocatively-dressed women. Women sometimes want that power over men to make them lust, make them fall, even though they deny it. Why make it harder for men to respect you? Why put men “in the occasions of sin”? Many women are also just clueless or in denial about the effect that the sight of women’s bodies have on men.

Comedian David Chappelle said: When women dress provocatively but pretend they don’t want men to look at them or say anything to them or approach them, it’s like dressing up like a cop and then telling people when they come to you for help: “Oh, but I’m not a cop.”

Q: Does virtue get easier?
A: There should be less effort of the will, but there’s always new levels and challenges, and we can’t let our guard down. But it all starts with understanding what’s happening (TRUTH) and willing (WAY) our goal (LIFE)!

The New Evangelization is telling people who they are, what God wants to give them, what He is giving them, what they can have, what God wants them to have AND HOW TO GET THERE.


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June 10, 2011


Mary, Queen of Apostles is the Madonna of the Pauline Family.

Basilica of Queen of Apostles in Rome, built by Blessed James Alberione

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Game 5 of Stanley Cup--Vancouver Canucks' goalie ALWAYS sits on the puck (what is he doing, incubating it?) STOPPING PLAY.

I mean, the rules allow for Luongo's infantileness, but it puts the Bruins at a super-huge disadvantage when they are in front of the net ready to score on the rebound. Luongo even stops play when it's a long shot and there are no Bruins in front of the net. I am disgusted. This is NOT hockey. The rules need to change.

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June 6, 2011


"Field of Vision" is the 6th in the Family Movie Night films initiative, sponsored by P & G and Walmart.

Lucy, a young book-o-phile, is given a magical "old" videocamera that shows her the future (and makes ME feel old. Another scene to make me feel ancient: a dusty "old" 1992 high school yearbook). Lucy's brother, Tyler, is a star quarterback at the local high school, and also a righteous dude who sticks up for Corey, a newcomer, book-o-phile, football player and foster system teen. (We don't see this too often: the experience of the foster teen!)

Bullying is the theme of "Field." Tyler's teammates won't leave Corey alone, and Tyler must choose whether or not to rectify the situation at a crucial time in football season. Faith Ford plays Lucy and Tyler's Mom, and she also happens to be the high school principal.

"Field" plays out like a Hallmark special, and follows a similar pattern as "Truth Be Told," http://hellburns.blogspot.com/2011/04/tv-truth-be-told.html another Family Movie from P & G/Walmart.

Families are loving and reasonable, the dialogue sometimes obvious and pedestrian, the pace: very slow. If the cuts had been quicker, the banter sharper, and the humor multiplied, "Field" could have been more of a touchdown!

I'm not sure teens would buy some of the words/actions of the teens in "Field," but younger kids would learn lessons of how to be/not be a teen!

The bonding and fraternizing of Lucy and Corey over their love of books is a bit of a stretch as well. But all in all, it's good to have wholesome stories the whole family can watch together without trepidation.

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June 4, 2011


“Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer,” based on the “Judy Moody” books is a light and frolicking way to spend a not bummer summer afternoon in an air-conditioned cinema. Boys as well as girls will enjoy the fun because Judy (Jordana Beatty) is a tomboy, and her little brother, “Stink,” (Parris Mosteller) has a leading role. (“Stink” is a scene-stealing, spike-haired, tow-headed, wholeheartedly enthusiastic dude with a “w” speech impediment. “Do you want me to read this wetter to you?”)

Tween Judy is determined not to have a boring bummer summer as usual, but two of her best friends are going away for the summer where they are guaranteed to have not bummer summers: one goes to circus camp and the other to Borneo. Judy decides to have a contest with them and her friend, Frank (Preston Bailey), who remains at home: who can get the most “thrill” points by doing daring and thrilling things. But she’s not succeeding, mainly because Frank, a bit of a scaredy cat, keeps messing things up. Things come to a head when Judy gets angry with Frank and Frank tells her that her “points” are taking the fun out of everything.

Some added excitement involves a favorite teacher at school, Mr. Todd (Jaleel White, the former Steve Urkel from “Family Matters”), who promises a prize to whomever of his students can find him during the summer, his only clue being that he’s some place “cold.” Aunt Opal (Heather Graham)--the kooky, artsy, never-grew-up Aunt that every kid should have--comes to mind Judy and Stink. And Stink has his own project going as he follows reports of Big Foot sightings in the neighborhood.

The “mood” of “Judy” is manic and hyperactive, but at a realistic pitch when it comes to this age group! (Think Ramona and Pippi.) And everything is either a secret, a mystery, a hunt, or a club. I remember starting an “Atomic Witchiepoo” club at this age. I had an unhealthy obsession with witches because of all the “witch books” I read: “Wednesday Witch,” “The Witch of Blackbird Pond,” Jennifer, Hecate and Macbeth,” etc.

Judy’s imagination runs wild at all moments and her fantasies become animated vignettes. Every scene is bursting with color, motion, nice little touches (like a burping Venus flytrap), and graphic design special effects. The script feels like someone my age writing in lots of pop culture references and expressions from my own growing up years, so it isn’t quite up-to-the-moment, but somehow it works.

The adults are kind, fun, loving and parental, but parents everywhere will cringe at the constant messes and destruction of property—indoors and outdoors.

What will kids learn? I absolutely loved the way Judy was so honest about not gaining her thrill points. She never tried to cheat or embellish, and always gave her more successful friends their due. Kids can also learn that fun can be in little things: a mood ring, arts and crafts (OK, Aunt Opal was a little excessive in this department), a toad peeing (oh, and there’s lots of poop jokes, too). Judy is one ambitious and enterprising gal, but she also has to learn never to give up, and that games can be taken too far. Friendship comes first.


My favorite line: “It can take years to catch a monster.”

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June 3, 2011


From Catholic News Service:"'The Tree of Life' is lovely, but misses metaphysical truth http://t.co/AGK4zim "

This review is a truly tragic misrepresentation of this most amazing film. What's even sadder is that this is an "official" review on the U. S. Bishops website! www.usccb.org/movies

This review reflects a kind of "witch hunt" mentality of some Catholics when they view movies (scrounging for all the ways a film might possibly NOT synch with the Catholic Faith, and instead of stretching towards benefit of the doubt and how it COULD possibly synch with the Catholic Faith, they choose to set up an opposition). This review feels like a facile, surface take on one of the most potentially faith-inducing, faith-retrieving movies I have ever seen in my life.

The author of this review had the same misgivings I did at first about a possible antagonism between "nature and grace," but as you can see in my review http://hellburns.blogspot.com/2011/05/movies-tree-of-life.html that's not how the movie plays out.

To facilely call this movie "New Age," as the author of this review does, is just wrong. "New Age" seems to be the favorite Post-it Note that is swiftly slapped on anything that emphasizes God's Creation! THAT'S creating a true dichotomy between nature and grace!!! And THAT is very, very dangerous business. One name for it is "Cartesianism" and we have been dealing with its horrible fragmenting repercussions for the past 500 years. Blessed John Paul II's antidote? "Theology of the Body" which he calls "the long-awaited answer to rationalism [a form of Cartesianism]." BJP2G roots his theology firmly in God's visible, tangible, concrete Creation as the starting point for all philosophy and theology. And this is nothing new. The Church has always said that "Nature is God's first book of Revelation." Terrence Malick--writer/director of "Tree of Life"--is definitely not a New-Ager: for all the many nature scenes it sports, the movie is most definitely about the human--the interior, moral life of the human being and the dominance of family life in human relationships. (If you watch his other films, you'll see how much he uses nature in them.)

There seems to be an inordinate fear among many religious people, especially Christians, that if nature is lovingly gazed upon or its beauty appreciated and accented, it will become the object of worship. So "just in case," we must condemn any Creation-affirming vehicles. I think it's part of a larger "let's always err on the side of negativity, seeing things in the worst possible light, the worst case scenario of the possible intentions of the artist." I have heard on Catholic radio the condemnation of being "green" and almost repudiating any kind of attention paid or attempts at conserving the environment, even saying that Pope Benedict was going too far in installing solar panels at the Vatican and speaking up about global warming. St. Ignatius--in his "Spiritual Exercises"--prescribes a very different attitude. Basically he states that charity (without being naive or pollyanna or gullible) requires us to construe intentions in the best possible light, to find the points of assent to truth in what our neighbor has to say.

To miss the aesthetical ethics of a masterpiece such as "Tree of Life" might only serve to confirm the belief of many artists and art-lovers that Catholics are rigid, blind, self-righteous, small-souled, sin-obsessed philistines.

To call "Tree of Life" "spiritual but not religious" is just inaccurate!!! The film starts with a A QUOTE FROM THE BIBLE--Job, to be specific. The family goes to a Catholic church--more than once!!! We see Brad Pitt make the Sign of the Cross and genuflect toward the Tabernacle!!! There's a stained glass window of Jesus while the voice over talks about His suffering!!! There's an awesome homily preached by a Catholic priest!!! The family prays grace at meals!!! The mother teaches the little boy that God lives in the sky!!! The soundtrack doesn't just "sound like" sacred music--there's an "Agnus Dei" in there! The little boy talks to GOD!!! (Oh, and it's very pro-life.) If "Tree of Life," can't "please the Church," I fear there is no "pleasing the Church!"

The reviewer makes mention of Malick's "agnosticism." I don't know what faith/non-faith Malick has, but I will tell you that Malick's "agnosticism" makes a lot of believer's faith PALE BY COMPARISON. True, an artist's own beliefs always influence their work, but Malick could have fooled me that he was an agnostic, and if anything, he's siding with FAITH here.

"Tree of Life" is a movie event that comes along once in blue moon. It must be seen in the theater to be fully appreciated and it would be a shame if this negative review keeps Catholic movie-goers away. And I would call it a "blessed" event because of how it is going to touch people at their core and give them permission to celebrate the faith they have, polish it off and take it out of the closet and bring it into the magnificent light of God's glory, or at least give them every reason to "seek Him," and God willing, "find Him."

"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." --Jeremiah 29:13 NIV

"And they will praise his holy name to proclaim the grandeur of his works." --Sirach 17:10 RSV

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