Stories that invite us to be cultural mystics

After more than six decades of life, I am still startled by the profound empathy for humanity often revealed in stories told through sight and sound. Cinema, and increasingly episodic stories on television and the Internet, brings the human face of my brother or sister up close and personal so that I experience the joy and pain of all human living and make a difference in the world.The fact is cinema has a sacramental quality, outward signs of inner realities, that Sr. Nancy Usselmann,* a … [Read more...]

Pope Francis invites us to reflect mercy in our speech and in Tweets for World Communications Day 2016

 One of the best-kept secrets of the Catholic Church is that we have a beautiful tradition of teaching about communication and media that goes back to the 1930s and continues through today. This teaching covers speaking with one another in the family, parish and community, to evangelization, to all the means of communication including radio, television, movies, social media and the culture they create.Back in 1963 one of the Second Vatican Council documents issued by Pope Paul … [Read more...]

“Rabin in His Own Words” is a testament to peace

At the Venice Film Festival last September, the SIGNIS (Catholic) Jury placed filmmaker Amos Gitai’s “Rabin: The Last Day” on our short list for the SIGNIS Prize as soon as we saw it. The film is a captivating docudrama form of a political essay that explores the last day in the life of the famed peace-seeking Israeli Prime Minister and Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin (1922 – 1995) who was assassinated during a peace rally on November 4, 1995. Integrating actual footage of the shooting by a 25-yea … [Read more...]

“Noble” is now on DVD

In the early 1950s, Christina Noble (Gloria Cramer Curtis), a young girl from a poor part of Dublin, Ireland, aspires to be a singer when she grows up. She prays and lights candles to Our Lady to care for her sick mother. When she dies, her father, Thomas (Liam Cunningham), an alcoholic, loses custody of the children, and the courts send them to separate institutions.At 17, Christina finishes school, but more hardships follow when she is raped. Friends bring her to the nuns for care. But … [Read more...]

Statement from Daughters of St. Paul: “Condemned” series on TCM hosted by Sr. Rose Pacatte

Statement from the Daughters of St. PaulBeginning on Thursday, March 3, Sr. Rose Pacatte, the founding Director of the Pauline Center for Media Studies in Culver City, CA, will be providing introductions and commentary on a series of films for Turner Classic Movies (TCM) entitled “Condemned.” While the title is provocative, the subject consists in twenty-seven films that were condemned by the Catholic Legion of Decency between the years 1933 – 1965, and then some in the following years … [Read more...]

High-octane ‘San Andreas’ tells audiences to be prepared

Ray (Dwayne Johnson) is a Los Angeles firefighter who heads a team of helicopter rescuers. Not long after saving a girl whose car is resting on a canyon cliff, the world seems about to end: San Andreas, Calif.'s main north-south earthquake fault line is triggered by a series of quakes around Hoover Dam in Nevada.But Ray's world is already fragile because of a pending divorce from his wife, Emma (Carla Gugino), and the earlier death of one of his two daughters. Emma introduces him to her new … [Read more...]

The perfect book for Lent (and pictures from the book signing!)

 Here's a short video I just made about how "Martin Sheen: Pilgrim on the Way" is a perfect book for Lent! Now for news and pictures about the book signing on Feb 7th!Saturday, February 7, the day of the book signing forwas a lovely day - even with that little bit of rain. I think about 80 people or so came and it was a very joyous event! A good number of my family came, too, and that added to the fun!One friend brought a pair of boots (one of the pairs) … [Read more...]

‘American Sniper’ – a question of heroes

* This essay/review contains spoilersIn Clint Eastwood's Iraqi Western, we see the evolution of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle's (Bradley Cooper) skills as a shooter as well as his motivation for enlisting in the military and going to war: God, country, family.As Chris (played as a child by Cole Konis) grows up in Texas, his dad, Wayne (Ben Reed), teaches him to hunt and how to handle a rifle. Wayne infuses in the boy ideals of heroism and says aggression is a gift to save others. One Sunday at … [Read more...]

“Martin Sheen: Pilgrim on the Way” is in the house! Launch Feb 7th, 2015

 CLICK HERE for early editorial reviews. The back cover: Martin Sheen, best known for his role as a Catholic president in the prestigious television series The West Wing, returned to the practice of his Catholic faith at the age of forty after decades away. After years of battling alcohol addiction, a near-fatal heart attack, and a nervous breakdown, the stage, film, and television actor renewed his dedication to his family and activated his faith with energy, grace, and joy. Through … [Read more...]

‘Klansville USA’ on PBS outlines the 1954 rise of the KKK

 “Klansville U.S.A.” is a relatively short film that documents a portion of U.S. history that few may be aware of: the rise of the Ku Klux Klan in North Carolina after the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision in 1954 that effectively began the dismantling of institutionalized segregation. There is an especially poignant and tragic connection between this documentary and the new major film release “Selma,” now in theaters: voting rights activist Viola Liuzzo, who was kille … [Read more...]


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