Catholic SeniorsCatholic Seniors
Forgot password?
Mon, Feb 17, 2014
By Father Thomas Berg If true wisdom is anything, it is the ability to judge current situations within an historical context: “to know the age in which one lives.” Such historical contextualization is often crucial to the moral assessment of one’s “life and times.” For example, we would be at a loss to assess adequately the disordered state of contemporary sexual mores without discovering their roots in the cultural and sexual revolution of the late 1960s.Consequently, it is always a valid question for Christians to ask themselves: What age or moment of the Church are we living in? There was, of course, the apostolic age, followed by the patristic age with the duty incumbent upon it to solidify our creed, and plumb the depths of our understanding of the Trinity as the Three in One, and of Jesus as at once fully human and fully divine. There were subsequently the ages of Christendom, and New World evangelization. Throughout her history, the Church was at all times accompanied by holy men and women especially designated by God to call the Church to holiness and reform: Gregory IX, Francis of Assisi, Catherine o f Siena, Teresa of Avila, John of the [...]
Source: With Good Reason
Thu, Dec 05, 2013
By Father Thomas Berg In his hand written notes that formed the basis of his presentation during the General Congregations prior to the Conclave, then Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio penned the following:“When the Church does not go out of herself to evangelize, she becomes self-referential; she grows ill (like the stooped woman in the Gospel). The evils which appear throughout history in Church institutions are rooted in this self-referentiality – a kind of theological narcissism.” This theme – the dangers of self-referentiality – has often been the subtext of much of Francis’ teaching to date. It has flavored his preaching and contributed greatly to the public perception of Papa Bergoglio as “the new management” at the Vatican, the one who has come to “shake things up.”Hence, Evangelii Gaudium can very rightly be interpreted – for all else that it is – as Francis’ antidote to Catholic self-absorption. And if we are hearing Francis, it would seem that this message is especially directed to priests and bishops, far too many who minister in the Church as joyless managers who fail to communicate Jesus Christ. I cannot help but think especially of careerist clerics turned bureaucrats who sustain a Kafkaesque labyrinth of inefficiency, [...]
Source: With Good Reason
Mon, Nov 25, 2013
By Hillary Mast As we grow closer to the season of Advent, thoughts naturally tend toward the nativity scene. What Christmas would be complete without the figures of Mary and Joseph gathered around the Christ Child in a manger?In a similar manner, ‘Mary of Nazareth’ provides viewers with a glimpse into the lives of all those who make up the scene around the manger.With striking scenery and gorgeous costumes, the film depicts a perhaps more colorful portrayal of Mary's life while at the same time remaining true to the overall message of the Gospel.Like a child getting to hear the story of how his parents met, ‘Mary of Nazareth’ paints viewers a beautiful image of the sacrificial love between Mary and Joseph that built a foundation for the loving home in which our Savior was raised.One of the most refreshing aspects of the film is the treatment of Mary and Joseph’s courtship. The film shows a young couple very much in love with one another and with the Lord. Rather than painting Joseph as an elderly man to indicate his guardianship of Mary’s purity, he is portrayed as a handsome young man giving the idea that Mary was just as much [...]
Source: Movie Reviews
Thu, Oct 10, 2013
By Father Thomas Berg My friends know that I appreciate candor, and that I can be frank to a fault. I don’t tolerate it well when everyone in the room is desperately trying to ignore the proverbial eight-hundred pound gorilla sitting in the corner. Author Sherry Weddell does not tolerate this well either.And she would like us – “active” and presumably committed Catholics, lay, religious, consecrated and clergy – to focus on one rather large gorilla sitting in the corner of our contemporary Church: the reality that a disturbingly large proportion of Church-going Catholics fail to live as disciples of Jesus – as intentional disciples.That message is at the heart of a sorely needed reality check she provides in her new book, Forming Intentional Disciples: the Path to Knowing and Following Jesus.She begins by sharing some disturbing statistics she has extrapolated from her own analysis of a 2008 study by the Pew Research Center. Among them:• Only 30 percent of Americans raised Catholic are still “practicing” (which in the survey meant “attending Mass at least once a month”).• Another 38 percent hang on to the Catholic label – cultural Catholics – but seldom or never attend Mass.• The other 32 percent [...]
Source: With Good Reason
Fri, Sep 20, 2013
By Father Thomas Berg Yesterday's publication of an exclusive interview with Pope Francis by Antonio Spadaro, SJ, editor in chief of La Civiltà Cattolica, the Italian Jesuit journal, is creating quite a buzz in the media. I offer here three reflections on what I believe Pope Francis meant in the context of some key—and easily misinterpreted—responses to the questions posed to him.1. The Primacy of Mercy in the Thought of FrancisWhen Spadaro asked the Holy Father what kind of church he dreams of, Francis’ magnificent response was: a field hospital. “The thing the church needs most today,” affirmed the Pope, “is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity. I see the church as a field hospital after battle.”And in that field hospital, the first order of duty is a tender and mercy-laden accompanying of the spiritually wounded: what Francis calls “proximity.” Bishops, priests, consecrated persons, and all committed disciples of Christ are to tend to, and “accompany” those who have been wounded by life, and often in their own experience of the Church. In fact, it was about this point in the interview that the Pope used slightly [...]
Source: With Good Reason
Tue, Sep 10, 2013
By Father Thomas Berg As our attention seems to coalesce on next April 27, 2014—Divine Mercy Sunday—as the likely date Pope Francis has in mind for the canonization of Blessed Pope John Paul II (and likely along with him, Blessed Pope John XXIII), it’s worth recalling that this September 14—feast of the Holy Cross—marks the 15th anniversary of the promulgation of John Paul’s wonderful encyclical Fides et Ratio (FR), on the relationship between faith and reason.This encyclical reminds us just how deeply John Paul was, every ounce, the philosopher pope, how he delighted in the pursuit of truth, how he was so often seemingly a lone voice—in the intellectual barrenness of post-modernity—insisting that truth exists.We can benefit richly from a re-reading of Fides et Ratio, especially we who inhabit an age in which, on the secular view of things, Christian faith grows more and more quaint with every passing day, and the “big questions” (the very possibilities of human reason) are eclipsed by extremes of digitally-driven sensuality and immediacy of gratification never before seen in human history.John Paul wrote Fides et Ratio as a response to “today’s most widespread symptoms of the lack of confidence in truth” (5). When canonized next year, John Paul the Great’s legacy will include—by his teaching, and by his own lived example—his passion to direct humanity back [...]
Source: With Good Reason
Fri, Aug 16, 2013
By Elise Harris Inspired by the true story of Eugene Allen, one of the first black men to serve in the White House, Lee Daniels' “The Butler” details the life of Cecil Gaines, who served as a butler for eight consecutive presidential administrations from 1952 to 1986.Opening with a young Cecil and his father working in the fields of a cotton plantation, the film begins with the rape of Gaines' mother by the plantation owner and the murder of his father who tries to intercede. The story unfolds from there as the boy is taken to work in the house by the owner's elderly mother, who teaches Gaines how to serve. He eventually leaves the plantation in order to find a better life, and more opportunities. He eventually moves to Washington D.C. and works his way up to serving at the most prestigious hotel there. After some years, Gaines is spotted by a White House employee, who is impressed with his ability to serve as well as his cadence and neutrality when speaking with politicians of all different party affiliations. All this happening withing the first 15 or 20 minutes of an over 2-hour long movie, the rest of the film focuses on Cecil's struggle to find his place within a rapidly changing culture, as the fight for racial [...]
Source: Movie Reviews
Mon, Dec 24, 2012
By Michelle BaumanWhen it opens in theaters on Christmas Day, Les Misérables will evoke laughter, tears and applause from audiences while presenting a message of forgiveness and love that is desperately needed in our world. Over two-and-a-half hours in length, the film is a faithful adaptation of the musical based on Victor Hugo’s acclaimed 19th century novel. It stars Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, a French man who spends 19 years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister’s starving child. When he is finally released, he has become a hardened, bitter man, swearing he will never forgive those who have harmed him. Driven out of society because of his criminal status, he is ridiculed and unable to find work. Valjean steals the silver of a benevolent bishop who is kind enough to offer him food and shelter. But when he is caught and threatened with a return to prison, the bishop defends him, saying that the silver was a gift freely given, while later telling Valjean that he must use it to “become an honest man.” This undeserved mercy shown by the bishop transforms Valjean. In a powerful conversion scene, he kneels before an altar, wrestling with his hatred [...]
Source: Movie Reviews
Mon, Jun 04, 2012
By Peter ZelaskoForget the comic book characters because this summer’s must-see movie is “For Greater Glory.” A timeless and timely film, "For Greater Glory" is an artistic reminder of the true sacrifice of a martyr and the danger of taking religious freedom for granted. The epic film delves into a history of Mexico and Catholicism that is not very well known, but is entirely capable of inspiring, educating and ennobling. The film delves right into the story of the often brutal battle between the Catholic citizens of Mexico and the oppressive secularist regime of President Plutarco Elias Calles during the Cristero War.The struggle began with the passage of anti-clerical laws in the Mexican constitution of 1917, but it wasn’t until Calles took office that the laws were enforced, often with deadly force. Beginning in 1927, government troops were used to arrest priests and forcibly close all churches. Priests not born in Mexico were forced out of the country, and those who refused to abandon their flocks were often brutally martyred. Calles sought to extremely restrict – if not completely wipe out – Catholicism from Mexico. The Cristeros, who earned their name because of their motto and war cry “Viva Cristo Rey!” [...]
Source: Movie Reviews
Wed, Mar 21, 2012
By Peter ZelaskoOpening to select theaters nationwide on March 23, “October Baby” blends the perfect amount of humor, honesty and hope into a beautiful story of love, life and the power of forgiveness. The film begins with an introduction to 19-year-old college freshman Hannah (Rachel Hendrix), who suddenly loses consciousness out at the beginning of her college play. After a night in the hospital, she seeks answers from her physician and her parents Grace and Jacob (played by Jennifer Price and Hollywood veteran John Schneider). Hannah soon discovers not only that she is adopted, but that her long history of health issues are all tied to her premature birth – a premature birth caused by a failed abortion. Desperate for answers, Hannah accepts the help of her oldest friend Jason (Jason Burkey), and hitches a ride with a group of college students on their way to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Hannah hopes a side trip to Mobile, Alabama where she was born will reveal the answers she needs. The spring break excursion leads Hannah on some interesting adventures with a little comic relief provided by chaperon and VW bus owner B-Mac (Chris Sligh of American Idol fame), and the [...]
Source: Movie Reviews
Fri, Jan 20, 2012
By Peter ZelaskoRoland Joffe’s engaging story in “There be Dragons” highlights the early life of St. Josemaría Escriva, and examines the heart of Christian life through the need for both giving and receiving forgiveness. The film examines the “dragons” in life – those things that cause suffering and lead us away from God, such as guilt, hatred, jealousy and betrayal. In this way, the movie explores the heart of Christianity, the need to forgive, and to ask for forgiveness. It reminds us that we are all called to become saints, and though we may have different paths to take, and that by recognizing and overcoming the dragons in our everyday lives, we can find the true way to redemption. Inspired by actual events, “There Be Dragons,” is set during the Spanish Civil War of the mid- to late 1930s, and tells a story of the Spanish Saint through the relationship of a father and son. Dougray Scott plays journalist Robert Torres who is assigned to write a book about Josemaría Escrivá (Charlie Cox), the founder of Opus Dei. Robert soon discovers that his own father, Menolo (played by Wes Bentley), not only grew up in the same town as Josemaría, [...]
Source: Movie Reviews
Thu, Dec 01, 2011
By Peter Zelasko“A Princess for Christmas,” is a fun, family film starring Katie McGrath (“Merlin”) as Jules Daly, a frenetic 20-something who becomes guardian to her young niece Maddie (newcomer Leilah De Meza) and nephew Milo (Travis Turner) when her sister and brother-in-law are tragically killed in an accident. Jules loses both her job and her nanny, and the approach of Christmas only reminds the inexperienced “mom” and her two charges of the loved ones they lost around Christmas the previous year. But all hope of a happy Christmas is not lost. Enter Paisley Winterbottom (Miles Richardson, “Midsomer Murders”), with an invitation for a family reunion with the children’s paternal grandfather Edward, the Duke of Castlebury Hall played by Sir Roger Moore, and his lone surviving son Ashton, Prince of Castlebury (Sam Heughan). The Hallmark Channel original movie “A Princess for Christmas,” is a great film for the entire family to watch together during the Advent season. The story of family healing reminds us that sometimes we just have to believe. That belief renews our hope, and allows us to find love once again. Catholic husband and wife Michael and Janeen Damian (“Flicka 3”) co-wrote the script and produced the film with [...]
Source: Movie Reviews