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The church sings ‘Along comes Mary’

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“And then along comes Mary, and does she want to set them free, and let them see reality.” In 1966, these words were sung by the groovy band The Association, in its huge chart hit, “Along Comes Mary.”

Each Sept. 8, the church, in universal praise, sings its version of “Along Comes Mary” as it celebrates the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Read more »

‘This Is Where I Leave You’ displays squabbling infantilism

September 19th, 2014 Posted in Movies Tags: , ,

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Catholic News Service

Billed as a dramatic comedy, “This is Where I Leave You” tries, unsuccessfully, to wring laughs and sentiment from one suburban family’s dysfunction.

Jason Bateman and Annie Altman star in a scene from the movie "This Is Where I Leave You." The Catholic News Service classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. (CNS photo/Warner Bros.)

Jason Bateman and Annie Altman star in a scene from the movie “This Is Where I Leave You.” The Catholic News Service classification is O — morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. (CNS photo/Warner Bros.)

When four adult siblings gather for their father’s funeral, they quickly get under one another’s skin. But their tendency to over-share is also likely to make viewers squirm, which undercuts the aim of being funny and insightful. Many audience members will be discomfited by the coarse language and litany of tawdry, juvenile behaviors.

Adding to the disappointment, the project boasts an appealing ensemble, likable performers who, in most cases, are asked to play unlikable characters. Few are able to keep their mouths or libidos in check. Actions meant to be outrageous and irreverent are predictable and insufficiently entertaining.

Adapted from a novel by Jonathan Tropper, the story focuses on one member of the Altman clan, Judd (Jason Bateman), who discovers his wife is having an affair with his boss, the host of a radio program called “Man Up.” Despondent over the break-up of his marriage and the loss of his job, he then learns his father has died. Judd returns to his childhood home, joining stolid older brother Paul (Corey Stoll), sarcastic, unhappily married sister Wendy (Tina Fey), and spoiled younger brother Phillip (Adam Driver).

Their outspoken mother, Hillary (Jane Fonda), is a child psychologist who 25 years earlier penned a best-seller entitled “Cradle and All” that revealed intimate details about her offspring. Now, claiming it was her husband’s last wish, she insists they all sit Shiva, the Jewish custom of a weeklong mourning period for the decedent’s closest kin.

Over the course of the following week, in addition to the squabbling and ribbing, Judd reconnects with Penny (Rose Byrne), his free-spirited high-school crush. Wendy finds she still has feelings for the boy across the street she grew up with, who has sustained a traumatic brain injury. Paul and his wife grapple with their inability to conceive a child, and Phillip introduces his much-older fiance, who was formerly his therapist.

Regarding the tenor of the humor, siblings do tend to regress under such circumstances, sharing private jokes and cracking themselves up by recalling youthful shenanigans. So a certain degree of immaturity is to be expected. Moreover, irreverent jocularity and dark, gallows humor is a common response to painful events.

Yet when Hillary yanks a breathing tube from her husband’s corpse in the hospital, it’s more macabre than funny. A running gag about Wendy’s son’s potty training, while underscoring the rampant infantilism on display, fails to amuse. Likewise, the attention paid to Hillary’s surgically enhanced cleavage. And the glee the Altmans take in addressing their rabbi, a longtime family friend, by his crude childhood nickname borders on cruelty.

Hearing these entitled characters complain about their problems becomes tiresome. Wendy has a line emblematic of the film’s pose of world-weary cynicism. She tells Judd, “Love causes cancer, like everything else, but it has its moments.” Unfortunately, “This is Where I Leave You” has precious few.

The film contains frequent rough and crass language, profanity and sexual banter, a number of sexual encounters, most involving marital infidelity, drug use, a same-sex relationship, and a glib attitude toward religious faith. The Catholic News Service classification is O, morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R – restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

 

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‘The Maze Runner’ — Who needs adults anyway?

September 19th, 2014 Posted in Movies Tags: , ,

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Catholic News Service

Cross “The Hunger Games” with “Divergent” and you’ll get “The Maze Runner,” the latest angst-ridden drama about teenagers fighting to survive in a post-apocalyptic world.

Dylan O'Brien stars in a scene from the movie "The Maze Runner." The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children

Dylan O’Brien stars in a scene from the movie “The Maze Runner.” The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children

This go-round, there’s a boys-only twist, based on the 2009 novel by James Dashner (and borrowing heavily from William Golding’s 1954 classic, “Lord of the Flies”). The inhabitants of “The Glade,” a walled-in expanse of grass and trees, are all teenage boys, wiped of their memories. They must work together and build a community from scratch, all the while looking for a means to escape.

Think bonfires, cliques and macho displays of wrestling, and you won’t be far off.

How the boys got there is unknown. Every 30 days, a new recruit arrives via a mysterious underground elevator.

Enter Thomas (Dylan O’Brien). There’s something different about him, and his curiosity and daring threaten to upset the fragile world order built by the boys’ leader, Gally (Will Poulter).

The only way out is through the Maze, an ever-changing labyrinth that surrounds The Glade. Once a day, the entrance opens, and chosen boys called Runners enter, combing every nook and cranny for an exit.

Runners who don’t return in time before the doors close face certain death from the Grievers, spiderlike monsters that roam the Maze at night.

If this all sounds confusing, even a tad pointless, it is. And when the elevator deposits the first-ever girl, Teresa (Kaya Scodelario), to the amazement of all those boys, things really get complicated.

Teresa and Thomas seem to know each other. They forge an alliance and convince the community to wage a new assault on the Maze and gain their freedom.

Naturally, someone is watching: the so-called Creators, led by Ava Paige (Patricia Clarkson). The Glade and Maze are the grown-ups’ doing, for reasons that are unclear.

But who needs adults anyway? Teenagers rule in this genre, and the (regrettable) impression endures that anyone over 18 is not to be trusted or needed, for that matter.

Wes Ball directs “The Maze Runner” at a relentless pace, and some of the action sequences may be too intense for young viewers. It all builds up to a quizzical climax that screams the word Hollywood longs to hear: sequel.

The film contains occasional intense violence, including gory images, and some crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III, adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13.

 

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St. Mark’s products making a difference for W.Va. college football program

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Dialog reporter

 

Two St. Mark’s products are helping a Division II university off to a fast start in 2014.

Jeffrey Ziemba, a 2012 graduate of St. Mark’s High School who is the starting quarterback at Shepherd University in West Virginia, is showing Rams fans the same form he did in leading St. Mark’s to the 2010 Division I state title.

Ziemba, a sophomore, completed all 14 of his pass attempts in a 56-0 victory over Fairmont State last Saturday in Shepherdstown. He threw for 262 yards and a touchdown, and he also ran the ball three times for 22 yards. The week before, in the season opener, Ziemba completed 17 of 25 passes for 204 yards and two touchdowns. His completion percentage for the season is 79.5 percent. Shepherd is 2-0.

In the game against Fairmont State, Ziemba’s classmate, running back Jabre Lolley, ran for 78 yards on just nine carries. He ran for touchdowns of one, 11 and 16 yards. Lolley has carried 23 times for 131 yards (5.7 per attempt) and five scores in the Rams’ first two games. He also has one pass reception for two yards.

The Rams, members of the Mountain East Conference, are ranked 11th in NCAA Division II by the American Football Coaches Association, one spot behind West Chester University. They return to action Saturday at noon at Urbana (Ohio).

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Pope Francis’ Sunday in Albania expected to bring hope, healing

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Catholic News Service VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis’ choice of Albania as the destination of his first international trip in Europe reflects his trademark pastoral approach: Head to the peripheries, bring healing to the suffering.

 

But his Sept. 21 visit to the poor, Muslim-majority nation also will highlight, to a world increasingly torn apart by sectarian strife, a hopeful example of Muslims and Christians living in harmony. Read more »

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Student and school news

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National Merit semifinalists named

The following seniors have been named semifinalists in the 2015 National Merit Scholarship Program. They are among approximately 16,000 students nationwide who will continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth about $33 million.

About half the semifinalists will attain finalist standing, and more than half the finalists will receive a scholarship. The scholarships are sponsored by the National Merit Scholarship Corp., colleges and universities, and businesses. Winners will be announced next spring. Read more »

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Scot bishops hope Catholics work for benefit of nation after independence vote

September 19th, 2014 Posted in International News Tags: , ,

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Catholic News Service

The Catholic bishops of Scotland said they accept the results of referendum in which Scot voters rejected independence.

In a Sept. 19 statement, the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland also commended “all those who participated in what was a passionate and sometimes partisan debate.”

Dejected supporters from the "Yes" Campaign walk through George Square in Glasgow, Scotland, early Sept. 19. Scotland's First Minister Alec Salmond conceded defeat the same day over his bid to win independence and demanded the British government rapidly meet its promise of more powers for Edinburgh. (CNS photo/Paul Hackett, Reuters)

Dejected supporters from the “Yes” Campaign walk through George Square in Glasgow, Scotland, early Sept. 19. Scotland’s First Minister Alec Salmond conceded defeat the same day over his bid to win independence and demanded the British government rapidly meet its promise of more powers for Edinburgh. (CNS photo/Paul Hackett, Reuters)

“The vast majority of Scots engaged with the referendum and it is our hope that we can all now cooperate for the benefit of our nation in the future,” it said.

The Sept. 18 vote on whether Scotland should leave the United Kingdom was rejected by a 55 percent to 45 percent margin.

The issue of independence had generated intense feelings among advocates on both sides, and the days leading to the vote were marred by reports of violence, vandalism and intimidation, mostly, though not exclusively, by those campaigning in favor of an end to the 300-year union.

The bishops also urged the Catholic community to “continue to engage in public debate and decision-making and, in doing so, to uphold the meaning and importance of the Christian message.

“May God bless Scotland,” the statement concluded.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster, president of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, endorsed the Scottish bishops’ statement

A spokesman for the cardinal said Sept. 19: “All Catholics are encouraged to continue to engage in public debate and decision-making as confidently we seek to make the face of Christ known and together work for the common good.”

Scottish officials reported that 2,001,926 people voted to remain with the U.K., while 1,617,989 cast ballots in favor of independence. Voter turnout was reported at nearly 85 percent.

Conceding defeat Sept. 19, Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond, who also is leader of the governing Scottish National Party, told supporters not to “dwell on the distance we have fallen short” but on “the distance we have traveled and have confidence the movement is abroad in Scotland that will take this nation forward.”

The “no” campaign had been expected to win the referendum from the outset, but from early September, the outcome looked increasingly uncertain as opinion polls repeatedly showed a rise in support for independence.

Queen Elizabeth II, faced with the possible breakup of her kingdom, entered the debate to urge the Scottish electorate to think very carefully about what the consequences of their vote might be.

The real possibility of the success of pro-independence campaigners prompted the leaders of the major parties in the British Parliament to travel north to directly appeal to the Scottish people not to leave the union.

In the final week, they promised to devolve further powers over tax, spending and welfare to Scotland if independence was rejected in the referendum.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said Sept. 19 he was delighted by the result, adding that his commitments on additional powers would be “honored in full.”

 

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Vatican Letter: Cardinals openly debate Communion for divorced, remarried before Vatican meeting on family

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — The extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family will not open until Oct. 5, but some of its most prominent members are already publicly debating what is bound to be one of its most controversial topics: the eligibility of divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive Communion.

German Cardinal Walter Kasper. (CNS)

German Cardinal Walter Kasper. (CNS)

In an interview published Sept. 18, a proponent of changing church practice to allow such Catholics to receive Communion answered criticism from some of his fellow cardinals, suggesting they are seeking a “doctrinal war” whose ultimate target is Pope Francis.

“They claim to know on their own what truth is, but Catholic doctrine is not a closed system, but a living tradition that develops,” German Cardinal Walter Kasper told the Italian daily Il Mattino. “They want to crystallize the truth in certain formulas … the formulas of tradition.”

“None of my brother cardinals has ever spoken with me,” the cardinal said. “I, on the other hand, have spoken twice with the Holy Father. I arranged everything with him. He was in agreement. What can a cardinal do but stand with the pope? I am not the target, the target is another.”

Asked if the target was Pope Francis, the cardinal replied: “Probably yes.”

Cardinal Kasper, who will participate in the upcoming synod by personal appointment of the pope, was responding to a new book featuring contributions by five cardinals, including three of his fellow synod fathers, who criticize his proposal to make it easier for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive Communion.

According to church teaching, Catholics who remarry civilly without an annulment of their first, sacramental marriage may not receive Communion unless they abstain from sexual relations, living with their new partners “as brother and sister.”

Pope Francis has said the predicament of such Catholics exemplifies a general need for mercy in the church today, and has indicated that their predicament will be a major topic of discussion at the synod. In February, at the pope’s invitation, Cardinal Kasper addressed the world’s cardinals at the Vatican and argued for allowing some Catholics in that situation to receive Communion.

The Oct. 5-19 synod is not supposed to reach any definitive conclusions but instead set the agenda for a larger synod on the family in October 2015, which will make recommendations to the pope, who will make any final decisions on change.

“Remaining in the Truth of Christ,” which Ignatius Press will publish Oct. 1, includes essays in response to Cardinal Kasper’s proposal by three synod fathers: Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, prefect of the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature; and Cardinal Carlo Caffarra of Bologna, Italy.

German Cardinal Gerhard Muller, doctrinal congregation prefect. (CNS/Reuters)

German Cardinal Gerhard Muller, doctrinal congregation prefect. (CNS/Reuters)

On the same day, Ignatius Press will also publish two other books in which synod fathers respond to Cardinal Kasper’s proposal: “The Hope of the Family,” an extended interview with Cardinal Muller; and “The Gospel of the Family,” which features a foreword by Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy. (Cardinal Kasper’s address, published by Paulist Press, is also titled “The Gospel of the Family.”)

Cardinal Pell calls for a clear restatement of the traditional ban on Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried, to avoid the sort of widespread protests that greeted Pope Paul VI’s affirmation of Catholic teaching against contraception in 1968.

“The sooner the wounded, the lukewarm, and the outsiders realize that substantial doctrinal and pastoral changes are impossible, the more the hostile disappointment (which must follow the reassertion of doctrine) will be anticipated and dissipated,” writes Cardinal Pell, who sits on the nine-member Council of Cardinals advising Pope Francis on Vatican reform and governance of the universal church.

Cardinal Muller’s essay, previously published in the Vatican newspaper, reaffirms the traditional ban. However, the cardinal notes that many Catholics’ first marriages might be invalid, and thus eligible for annulment, if the parties have been influenced by prevailing contemporary conceptions of marriage as a temporary arrangement.

In the book-length interview, Cardinal Muller, whom Pope Francis made a cardinal in February, makes an apparent reference to Cardinal Kasper’s argument, which underscores the importance of mercy.

“I observe with a certain amazement the use by some theologians, once again, of the same reasoning about mercy as an excuse for promoting the admission of divorced and civilly remarried persons to the sacraments,” Cardinal Muller is quoted as saying. “The scriptural evidence shows us that, besides mercy, holiness and justice are also part of the mystery of God.”

Cardinal Burke, head of the Vatican’s highest court, warns that any reform of the process for annulling marriages, something both Pope Francis and Cardinal Kasper have said is necessary, should not oversimplify the judicial process at the cost of justice, since Catholics seeking an annulment deserve a decision that “respects fully the truth and, therefore, charity.”

Cardinal Caffara, whom Pope Francis personally named to participate in the synod, argues that divorced and civilly remarried Catholics may not receive Communion because their situation “is in objective contradiction with that bond of love that unites Christ and the church, which is signified and actualized by the Eucharist.”

To lift the ban, Cardinal Caffarra argues, would be to legitimize extramarital sexual relations and effectively deny the doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage.

 

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Support Catholic education through Share in the Spirit

September 19th, 2014 Posted in Uncategorized Tags: , ,

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Dear Friends,

 

Catholic education is one of the greatest instruments we have available to evangelize and to pass on the treasures of our faith. Through our Catholic schools we reach not only the children who seek excellence in education, faith and morals, but also their parents, family and friends who see firsthand those values each day.

The importance of having our children begin their day with prayer, freely talk about faith in God and incorporate essential moral values into their daily lives cannot be underestimated. The Catholic school experience not only prepares our children for challenges they will face as adults, it also prepares them to become intellectual and honorable leaders of our next generation.

It is, however, unfortunate that we are unable to provide a Catholic education to every child who desires one. The cost of education is increasing and the resources of many of our families have been stretched to the limit.

On Sept. 27 and 28, the diocese will conduct its annual Share in the Spirit collection. Monies drawn from the diocesan Vision for the Future Education Trust and raised through the Share in the Spirit collection enable the diocese to make Catholic education affordable to many families who desire it, regardless of their economic circumstances. This year $605,500 in tuition assistance will be allocated to 317 students. While this support is significant, there were nearly 500 other students whose families qualified for aid but who will go unassisted because of limited resources.

By supporting the Share in the Spirit collection you will not only help to pass on the gift of a Catholic education to the children who seek it, but you will also be making a valuable investment in the future of our Church.

May God bless you for all that you do in his name.

 

Sincerely yours in Our Lord,

 

 

Most Reverend W. Francis Malooly

Bishop of Wilmington

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40 Days for Life vigils begin Sept. 24 in Wilmington, Dover

September 19th, 2014 Posted in Our Diocese Tags: ,

By

Dialog Editor

 

Bishop Malooly will celebrate Mass Sept. 24, 8 a.m. at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Wilmington to mark the beginning of 40 Days for Life, a nondenominational pro-life effort marked by prayer vigils outside abortion clinics.

In the Diocese of Wilmington, the 40-day vigil, Sept. 24 to Nov. 2, will take placed at Planned Parenthood on Shipley Street.

A 40 Days for Life campaign in Dover will be conducted on the same days at the Planned Parenthood clinic on Governors Avenue. Read more »

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