Homily: Prodigals, Pig Slop, Pornography and Penance

09/11/2016 Comments (5)

The Return of the Prodigal Son (Rembrandt, 1662–1669)

Note: The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks came up a number of times in Sunday’s Mass at my home parish of St. John’s in Orange, NJ — but not in my homily. I was open to it, but the readings, especially the parable of the prodigal son, led me in other directions. I was surprised at how important the topic of pornography became in this homily; still, I tried to keep the main focus on God’s mercy and on two of the three things that are called “penance”: repentance or contrition and the sacrament of confession. (The third kind of penance, prayers or other outward works of “satisfaction,” wasn’t discussed.) This lightly edited version is actually longer than either of the two forms of the...READ MORE

Filed under mercy of god, pornography, pornography addiction, prodigal son

People Keep Lying About Computer “Creativity”

No, artificial intelligences can’t write screenplays or cut movie trailers. Not yet, anyway.

09/02/2016 Comments (6)

Nearly 15 years ago the British futurist Ian Pearson predicted that by 2010 the world’s highest-paid celebrity would be an artificial “synthespian.” That didn’t pan out, but now journalists and PR people are trying to hype A.I. entities as filmmakers behind the camera. 

Artificial intelligence writes ‘perfect’ horror script,” headlines trumpeted a few weeks ago. Now you can “Watch the first ever movie trailer made by artificial intelligence.”

Neither of these things appears to be remotely true.

When you read past the headlines, it turns out that the movie trailer was not made by artificial intelligence, nor did artificial intelligence write a horror script at all, let alone a “perfect”...READ MORE

Filed under artificial intelligence, computers, movies

Homily: Yes or No? Are You All In?

08/07/2016 Comments (2)

Sacrifice of Isaac (Rembrandt, 1635)

Note: Preaching this weekend was a clarifying experience for me, in more ways than one. This was my third homily, but it was the first homily I preached more than once — three times, in fact. As my mentors told me would happen, it changed each time I preached it; among other things, it got shorter, and, I think, clearer and more focused. This lightly edited version is still too long, and could perhaps be clearer, but it’s as good as I could make it for now. — SDG

 

Let us be simple and true with ourselves. It is in our heart, in the depth of our heart that we must say “yes” or “no” to Jesus, “yes” or “no” to the path of truth and of peace; “yes” or “no” to the victory of love over hate,...READ MORE

Filed under faith and works, homily

How Bad Is Summer 2016, Movie-wise? Plus 60-sec reviews!

07/19/2016 Comments (11)

The summer is passing so quickly — and with so little worth remembering, movie-wise. Has there been even one A-level popcorn movie all summer? My top picks would probably be The Shallows and The BFG or Finding Dory (see 60-second reviews of all three below), but these are all B-level films.

When was the last summer without a single terrific summer movie? Let’s take a quick look back at the last ten years:

Last year had Inside Out, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, not to mention Shaun the Sheep Movie. Pretty great.

In 2014 we got X-Men: Days of Future Past, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and Guardians of the Galaxy, as well as Edge of Tomorrow. Another strong...READ MORE

Filed under movies, reel faith, sdg reviews, video reviews

Crazy, Holy, Love: The Mad Monk Who Built a Cathedral By Hand

In a small town near Madrid, a 90-year-old man labors every day on a soaring house of prayer to which he has dedicated over half a century of his life.

07/14/2016 Comments (17)

Unless the Lord builds the house, the builder labors in vain. — Psalm 127:1

It sounds like a pious legend from the early Middle Ages: A monastic postulant contracts tuberculosis before taking final vows, and is expelled from the monastery after eight years. On his sickbed, the former monastic takes a vow to the Blessed Virgin, if he is healed, to raise a shrine in her honor. After he recovers, he spends the rest of his life — over half a century — building, by hand and mostly single-handedly, an immense, soaring house of prayer comparable to the grandest medieval cathedrals.

Except it isn’t ancient history. The story is unfolding today. Now 90 years old, former Trappist Justo Galledgo...READ MORE

Filed under churches, faith

Homily: The Good Samaritan, violence, race, and politics

07/10/2016 Comments (8)

The good Samaritan heals the traveller (Nicolaes Roosendael, 1665)

Note: I share this lightly edited text of today’s homily, the second of my fledgling diaconal ministry, with some misgivings. Although I was asked to post the text online by a number of people, as a neophyte homilist I am uncomfortable sharing like this what is only my second effort, which I do not consider an exemplary or model work in any way. Be that as it may, the message is topical to the present moment, and will never be more applicable than it is right now. If I did nothing else in this homily, I tried to express something of what I believe today’s Gospel has to say to us today, so the time to share it is now. — SDG

 

You might have missed a story this past week from Texas...READ MORE

Filed under good samaritan, homily, racism, violence

Reel Faith! 60 sec reviews! Love & Friendship! More!

06/17/2016 Comment

Now that my four-year academic semi-hiatus is over, I hope to be blogging more regularly, as well as writing more movie reviews.

Since I don’t think I’ve blogged about this yet, the Gabriel Award–winning TV show “Reel Faith,” which I co-host with David DiCerto of the Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Center For Thought and Culture, is currently in its seventh season.

On tonight’s episode David and I discuss Finding Dory and Warcraft (and our Warcraft discussion got more spirited than I expected). Tune in tonight at 8:00 PM Eastern and check it out. (When and where to watch “Reel Faith”)

One thing I’ve neglected for awhile is posting 60-second reviews; I haven’t even posted them to Decent Films...READ MORE

Filed under movies, reel faith, sdg reviews, video reviews

Why a Mel Gibson Sequel to ‘The Passion’ Is Probably a Bad Idea

06/10/2016 Comments (49)

Rumors of Mel Gibson working on a sequel to The Passion of the Christ have swirled for years, but now Gibson’s friend Randall Wallace (who wrote the screenplay for Gibson’s Oscar-winning Braveheart, and wrote and directed We Were Soldiers) says he’s writing the screenplay for a Passion sequel — and The Hollywood Reporter says Gibson is on board. (No quote from Wallace in the article confirming this, and Gibson’s people aren’t talking.)

I’ll direct you to my friend Peter Chattaway for a survey of all the film projects (some completed, some not) that have tried to position themselves as sequels to The Passion. Peter also has a piece for Indiewire on why a Passion sequel could be Gibson’s...READ MORE

Filed under biblical films, jewish-catholic relations, mel gibson, resurrection of jesus, sdg reviews, the passion of the christ

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About SDG

Steven D. Greydanus
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Deacon Steven D. Greydanus is film critic for the National Catholic Register, creator of Decent Films, and a permanent deacon in the Archdiocese of Newark. With David DiCerto, he co-hosts the Gabriel Award–winning cable TV show “Reel Faith” for New Evangelization Television. Steven has degrees in media arts and religious studies, and has contributed several entries to the New Catholic Encyclopedia, including “The Church and Film” and a number of filmmaker biographies. He has also written about film for the Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought, Social Science, and Social Policy. He has a BFA in Media Arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York, and an MA in Religious Studies from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook, PA. Steven and his wife Suzanne have seven children.