Category: Arts, Leisure & Culture

Movie Review: <em>Full of Grace</em>
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Movie Review: Full of Grace

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Full of Grace is an art-house, indie film about the last days of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Bahia Haifi) on earth. The story is interwoven with the plight of Peter (Noam Jenkins) who–although the Church is growing–is faced with heresy upon heresy, distortions of the Faith in thought and practice (“they are picking apart the […]

Modest but Meaningful Protection from Human Embryo Genetic Manipulation
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Modest but Meaningful Protection from Human Embryo Genetic Manipulation

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Genetically-manufactured babies, gene-manipulated human embryos, human-animal chimeras, human clones—all science fiction, right? No, these various types of laboratory-manufactured human embryos are already reality. Last spring, Chinese scientists announced they had experimented with genetic manipulation of human embryos, and scientists in the U.S. want to join in the experiments, also recently approved in law in the […]

Movie Review: <em>The Letters</em>
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Movie Review: The Letters

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The Letters is another film about the life of Mother Teresa of Calcutta (acted with aplomb by Juliet Stevenson) — specifically that part of her life where, posthumously, personal letters that revealed her prolonged dark night of the soul surfaced. The stunning revelation is chronicled in the book Come Be My Light–The Private Writings of […]

Learning from the Moms
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Learning from the Moms

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I’m a new priest and I have a lot to learn. Of course, working in a parish affords me many opportunities to work with different and diverse groups of people. A group of mothers approached me a few months ago and asked if I would be willing to lead a book discussion for them. I […]

Did Neanderthals Have a Soul?
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Did Neanderthals Have a Soul?

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“The magisterium of the Church takes a direct interest in the question of evolution, because it touches on the conception of man, whom Revelation tells us is created in the image and likeness of God…. “Pius XII underlined the essential point: if the origin of the human body comes through living matter which existed previously, the […]

Movie Review -- <em>The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2</em>
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Movie Review — The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2

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If you already know how the Hunger Games saga ends, you may want to skip this third installment — unless you are fond of tedium. The beginning gets off the ground well enough with lots of dialogue and ominous music that is just setting the stage for future action scenes. However, said action scenes drag […]

Book Review: <em>Our Lady, Undoer of Knots: A Living Novena</em>
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Book Review: Our Lady, Undoer of Knots: A Living Novena

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On October 12, 2013, “Pope Francis revealed to the world his special devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title Our Lady, Undoer of Knots. . . He spoke of Mary as the ‘new Eve’ who unties the knot of Eve’s disobedience.” In May 2014, Marge Fenelon traveled to the Holy Land with the […]

How to Discern Whether Adoption is Right for You
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How to Discern Whether Adoption is Right for You

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In honor of National Adoption Month, here’s my review of Jaymie Stuart Wolfe’s excellent discernment guide, Adoption: Room for One More?, from Pauline Books & Media. A few years ago, between babies #3 and #4 (or #4 and #5), my husband and I contemplated adopting a baby girl from China. We were moved by stories […]

Movie Review: <em>Spotlight</em>
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Movie Review: Spotlight

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Spotlight is the recounting of the Spotlight team of intrepid investigative reporters at the Boston Globe who broke the Catholic Church’s clergy sex abuse story in January 2002–mainly concerning the Archdiocese of Boston. For starters, this is not a Church-bashing film, even though it easily and rightfully could have been. It’s an accurate, stark, almost […]

Book Review: <em>Waiting for Eli</em>
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Book Review: Waiting for Eli

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This book is a must read. It is the beautiful story of what could be considered a miracle birth, and as such it can help couples who may find the going very difficult when confronted with a very challenging pregnancy. Waiting for Eli chronicles this spiritual journey from fear of one’s personal limitations to self-abandonment […]

Book Review: <em>Intimate Graces</em>
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Book Review: Intimate Graces

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The Jubilee Year of Mercy is right around the corner. Why not take advantage of that year to work on your marriage? In Intimate Graces (Ave Maria Press, 2015), Catholic media maven Teresa Tomeo (Pastore) and her husband Deacon Dominick Pastore examine how practicing the works of mercy can bring out the best in marriage. […]

God’s Gift to Man: The Transforming Power of Music
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God’s Gift to Man: The Transforming Power of Music

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This article is a reflection on how music has shaped my devotion to the Church. There will be links to my favorite music: liturgical, hymns and other. I’d be grateful if readers would note in comments their favorite music. I won’t say much about the psychology of music or how music affects the brain. A […]

Movie Review: <em>Jem and the Holograms</em>
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Movie Review: Jem and the Holograms

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Jem and the Holograms is a live-action tween movie based on the animated TV series of the same name that aired from 1985-1988. Although I have been informed by some fans of the TV series that the film is not cleaving exactly to the TV version, it is nonetheless a delightful, “family-oriented” film that is […]

<em>THE 33</em> Spotlights Faith, Hope of Trapped Chilean Miners
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THE 33 Spotlights Faith, Hope of Trapped Chilean Miners

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From Alcon Entertainment and Warner Bros. comes this exciting and moving film based on the real-life event when a gold and copper mine collapses, trapping 33 miners underground for 69 days. Antonio Banderas and Lou Diamond Phillips star. In theaters Nov. 13.

Talkin’ Marriage Online: The Trouble with TMI
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Talkin’ Marriage Online: The Trouble with TMI

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It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as […]

Movie Review: <em>Hyena Road</em>
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Movie Review: Hyena Road

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Hyena Road is the latest film about the war-with-no-end-in-sight: Afghanistan. Canadian writer-director-actor, Paul Gross, delivers what is now a standard, sand-infiltrated, camo-dappled screen adventure in the nouveau tradition of Jarhead, Hurt Locker and American Sniper. Hyena Road looks and feels pretty much the same as these movies, except that this tale is exclusively about Canadian […]

St. John Paul II’s Rapprochement with Science: A Quest for Common Understanding
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St. John Paul II’s Rapprochement with Science: A Quest for Common Understanding

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Among the many posts and articles on the canonization of St. John Paul II last year, there were few comments about his efforts to effect a rapprochement between the Church and science (notice the upper case and lack thereof).  The term “rapprochement” has been chosen with care: “an establishment or resumption of harmonious relations” (Oxford English […]

<em>Word by Word: Slowing Down with the Hail Mary</em>
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Word by Word: Slowing Down with the Hail Mary

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The Hail Mary is such a beautiful prayer in honor of our Blessed Mother, one every Catholic knows. Sarah Reinhard, a convert to the faith, describes the Hail Mary as her “blankie prayer . . . Just as my children cling to their worn-soft, faded blankies, so I cling to my Blessed Mother’s skirt through […]

Transhumanism: Taking the Place of Our Creator
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Transhumanism: Taking the Place of Our Creator

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There is a dangerous philosophy emerging in our fast-paced, technology-driven world of which most people are totally unaware. And yet, when Francis Fukuyama, economist at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, was asked what idea posed the “greatest threat to the welfare of humanity,” his answer was this philosophy. And yet I am […]

<em>Woodlawn</em>, A Message for Today
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Woodlawn, A Message for Today

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Christianity and football came together on Nov. 8, 1974 in Birmingham, Alabama. The two-time defending state champion Banks high school Jets played against their rivals, the Woodlawn Colonels before a record-breaking crowd of 42,000. It is fitting that the game that broke attendance records also became a symbol of the power of Jesus Christ. It […]

The Cause of High College Tuition
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The Cause of High College Tuition

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Ah, the autumn is upon us. College campuses are buzzing with activity — as college kids and their parents rack up massive debt to cover the cost of high tuition. The origin of such debt is interesting to trace. In 1987, reports Slate, President Reagan’s secretary of Education, Bill Bennett, published a New York Times […]

Movie Review: <em>Pawn Sacrifice</em>
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Movie Review: Pawn Sacrifice

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I’m declaring the riveting and flawless Pawn Sacrifice (the story of chess prodigy Bobby Fischer, played with acting genius by Tobey Maguire) the best film of 2015. This film has it all: high drama, low drama, human drama, international intrigue, unbeatable odds, fierce competition, poignancy, USA vs. Russia, an alternately elegant and rockin’ soundtrack, issues […]

Lessons From the Art Museum
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Lessons From the Art Museum

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It wasn’t until November 2012 that I visited my first art museum. Once before, as a college senior and tourist to Chicago, I attempted to visit the Chicago Art Institute, but the price of admission deterred me as a struggling college student. I have visited several art museums since that initial visit and each has […]

Does Quantum Mechanics Provide an Analogy for the Trinity?
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Does Quantum Mechanics Provide an Analogy for the Trinity?

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A stumbling block in my conversion process was dealing with the concept of the Holy Trinity–as a Jew, a cornerstone of my minimal religious faith was the Sh’ma Yisrael, that God was One: Sh’ma Yisra’el YHWH Eloheinu YHWH E?ad” Hear O Israel, the LORD is our God, the LORD is one. Deut. 6:4-9 The priest who was […]

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