Category: Arts, Leisure & Culture

Documentary on the Shroud Airs Sunday
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Documentary on the Shroud Airs Sunday

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All four gospels mention the burial cloth of Jesus Christ. The Shroud of Turin is believed by many to be that burial cloth. It is etched with the image of a man that was scourged, crowned with thorns, crucified, and lanced in the side. If it is real, it provides archeological evidence of the most […]

Still Alice: Life in the Wake of a Devastating Diagnosis
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Still Alice: Life in the Wake of a Devastating Diagnosis

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“I am not suffering; I am struggling.” These words are part of a beautiful speech delivered by Julianne Moore in her Oscar-nominated performance as Dr. Alice Howland in the film Still Alice. The film is a powerful testimony of how a woman who has made her career out of words loses her words because of […]

Why Settle for Shades of Grey?
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Why Settle for Shades of Grey?

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Remember the scene in the movie The Passion of the Christ when the androgynous, almost-beautiful-but-not-quite Satan character is carrying a baby, and when the face of the baby is revealed, it turns out to be old, ugly, and creepy rather than a sweet baby face? This was confusing for a lot of viewers, and when […]

Help Mary in Her Mission -- Offer Your Communion
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Help Mary in Her Mission — Offer Your Communion

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Fr. Emil Neubert, SM, one of my favorite Mariologists, wrote many books on Mary including Mary and the Priestly Ministry and My Ideal, Jesus, Son of Mary. Recently, the Franciscans of the Immaculate, through their publishing house, Academy of the Immaculata, have renewed interest in Father Emil Neubert by translating his French works from the 1950’s into English. […]

Book Review: The Power of Daily Mass
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Book Review: The Power of Daily Mass

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In The Power of Daily Mass: How Frequent Participation in the Eucharist Can Transform Your Life (Ave Maria Press, 2015), popular Catholic author and speaker Bert Ghezzi shares how attending daily Mass has enriched his life. He also offers quotes from other daily communicants on the value this practice has for them. He reflects on […]

Book Review: Practical Theology, Spiritual Direction from St. Thomas Aquinas
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Book Review: Practical Theology, Spiritual Direction from St. Thomas Aquinas

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Sometimes new parents will half jokingly complain that their precious new charge did not “come with an instruction manual”. They may be overlooking something. They don’t even have an instruction manual for their own selves. Think about it. Even the simplest utensil or small appliance nowadays comes with pages of instructions, often in multiple languages. […]

Movie Review: American Sniper
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Movie Review: American Sniper

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Does American Sniper glorify war? Does the film pretend to take very seriously the colossal cost of war, the human toll on both sides, the fact that “war is an adventure from which there is no return” (John Paul II)–but actually delights in it? Kinda, sorta. Even though Clint Eastwood insists he’s more of a […]

Book Review: I Thirst for Your Love
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Book Review: I Thirst for Your Love

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All of us need reminders of how much God loves us and how much He desires that we give Him our hearts. Our weak and distracted human nature all too often is pulled in many different directions at once and we forget that the invisible, immortal God took on flesh, suffered in all the ways […]

Movie Review: Selma
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Movie Review: Selma

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Selma, the story of a pivotal point in the civil rights work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is a well-cast, well-acted re-telling. At times it lacks a bit of a spark, especially as David Oyelowo delivers MLK’s rousing, eloquent and inspired speeches in an almost too polished fashion. But this is one of the […]

The Main Rules of the Mainstream-Media Herd
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The Main Rules of the Mainstream-Media Herd

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In case you were wondering.

A Preachable Message: The Dynamics of Preaching NFP
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A Preachable Message: The Dynamics of Preaching NFP

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When was the last time you heard a priest give a homily that mentioned Natural Family Planning? If you are like me, the answer is never. Admittedly, it isn’t necessarily a topic that I would want discussed at a Mass where younger children are present, but there are many times when it would be appropriate, […]

A New Year's Resolution for You
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A New Year’s Resolution for You

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New Year’s Resolutions tend towards the personal: lose weight, take up a hobby, spend more time with the family, get up earlier, read great books, etc. But this new year I beg people to take some time to learn more about bioethics. The stakes are high. Our definitions of life, death, and human dignity are […]

The Journey of the Magi: Baby, You're Gonna Be a Big Star Someday
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The Journey of the Magi: Baby, You’re Gonna Be a Big Star Someday

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Now the shepherds were not the only ones who visited the Holy Family after Jesus was born. Stargazers from Arabia soon arrived. They stopped off at the fortress-palace of Herod the Great because they needed directions. Men are often too proud to admit when we’re lost but the stargazers swallowed their pride and entered the […]

TV Review: The Sisterhood: Becoming Nuns
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TV Review: The Sisterhood: Becoming Nuns

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Reality TV about five young women discerning their vocation at three different convents? How could this be the proper vehicle? Won’t the cameras interfere with or even hamstring this very personal and intimate process? Will it “work”? When I heard that such an animal was coming down the pike, I had great apprehension, even when […]

Wedding Rings and Christmas Tree Ornament
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When Hollywood Celebrated Christmas and Marriage

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I don’t see a happy ending to this story.

Fr. Don Calloway on the Power of Mary
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Fr. Don Calloway on the Power of Mary

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Twelve years ago, a brief article in the Marian Helper magazine caught my attention. “My mother never gave up on me,” I read. “Even though I dropped out of high school, she never gave up on me, and now I’m becoming a priest.” That simple little story spoke volumes. I was on the lookout for inspirational […]

Movie Review: Exodus: Gods and Kings
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Movie Review: Exodus: Gods and Kings

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Exodus–the story of Moses–proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that atheists make the best Bible movies (see my review of Noah). I don’t know that atheists necessarily make the best contemporary movies about faith or people of faith, but they certainly do the oldies well. Perhaps this is in part because they mine an […]

The Gift of the Atheists
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The Gift of the Atheists

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I remember the deep frustration at one point years ago when a surly teen, despite having been conceived with joy and raised with devoted love—decided he wouldn’t accompany us to Sunday Mass. Confronted with his obstinacy, my larger disquiet was how his behavior would affect the younger children. While wringing my hands, I confided my […]

Loved as I Am - A Powerful Conversion Story
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Loved as I Am – A Powerful Conversion Story

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Loved as I Am: An Invitation to Conversion, Healing, and Freedom through Jesus (Ave Maria Press, 2014) is written by a religious sister who has experienced conversion in a very dramatic fashion, but this book is for anyone who is wounded, suffers from addiction, or feels unloved and/or unlovable. Sr. Miriam James Heidland, a member […]

A Charlie Brown Christmas Miracle
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A Charlie Brown Christmas Miracle

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It’s amazing that the show was nearly not broadcast. I speak of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” — a show that, for reasons I don’t understand, holds more power over me with every passing year. The show has a very simple premise: Too much commercialization can take the meaning out of Christmas. As it goes, Charlie […]

Book Review: Embracing Edith Stein: Wisdom for Women
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Book Review: Embracing Edith Stein: Wisdom for Women

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Before reading Anne Costa’s book Embracing Edith Stein: Wisdom for Women from St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, I knew who Edith Stein was but did not really know a lot about her. She had figured into other things I have read and I had connected with some of the passages quoted from her writings. […]

Chastity and Love: Please Don't Let Them Be Misunderstood
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Chastity and Love: Please Don’t Let Them Be Misunderstood

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Chastity and love are two of the most misunderstood concepts in our culture today. In her new book Chastity Is For Lovers: Single, Happy, and (Still) a Virgin, Arleen Spenceley does a masterful job clearing up the confusion. About chastity and how it differs from abstinence, she says: Chastity neither pretends sexuality doesn’t exist nor […]

Movie Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay--Part I
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Movie Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay–Part I

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The third installment of The Hunger Games: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay–Part I does not disappoint. Director, Francis Lawrence, who also directed The Hunger Games: Catching Fire keeps the momentum going in a sleek, seamless film. As we all know, sequels are hardly ever as good as the original, but in serial films it seems, as […]

The Contending Opinions on Three-Parent Embryo Safety, Part I
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The Contending Opinions on Three-Parent Embryo Safety, Part I

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In our long stride toward the inevitable designer babies, the first manipulation has been the noble goal of creating babies free of the mitochondrial diseases carried by their mothers. This series will examine the issue rather thoroughly in four basic segments: 1. The basic cell biology involved. 2. The problem of defective mitochondria. 3. The […]

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