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SDG’s Top Films of 2013 (19672)

Themes of hope, survival and faith in a year of big-screen trauma.

01/17/2014 Comments (49)

Top to bottom: This Is Martin Bonner (Monterey Media); 12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight); Gravity (Warner Bros).

2013 was a year of cinematic trauma and stress, full of harrowing, at times also exhilarating, survival stories, many on the abyss of the sea or even the void of space.

Rather than fighting to overcome evil and save their worlds, like the heroes of blockbusters of other recent years (The Avengers; The Dark Knight Rises; Harry Potter; Avatar), this year the protagonists of one film after another fought simply for the hope of getting out alive and returning home: Gravity; The Hunger Games: Catching Fire; Captain Phillips; 12 Years a Slave; All is Lost.

The travails of African-Americans throughout U.S. history, from slavery to segregation to the Civil Rights era to today’s creeping police...READ MORE

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Buffer Zones and Comfort Zones (4162)

EDITORIAL on Supreme Court Hearing of McCullen v. Coakley

01/16/2014 Comments (12)

In his blueprint for the New Evangelization, Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), Pope Francis offered a striking challenge for 21st-century Catholics: “I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security.”

In 2000, Eleanor McCullen of Boston heard a very similar message from God while she was attending Mass, and she sought further advice from a priest. As Live Action News tells it, the priest said McCullen was being asked “to go out of her comfort zone to build up the Kingdom of God. He told her she’d have to stretch herself.”

Back then,...READ MORE

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Cardinal Marx: Base Economics on People, Not Capital (2697)

In an essay explaining Evangelii Guadium, the German cardinal affirms market economies but rejects a capitalistic worldview.

01/16/2014 Comments (10)
Wikimedia Commons

Cardinal Reinhard Marx

– Wikimedia Commons

VATICAN CITY — German Cardinal Reinhard Marx has written an essay in the Vatican’s newspaper on Pope Francis’ recent apostolic letter, Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), taking capitalism to task for centering itself on means of production rather than persons and calling for broader dialogue on the issue.

“The very word 'capitalism' is misleading,” the archbishop of Munich and Freising wrote, “to define the whole of life from a particular point. What vision of the economy and of society is that which takes capital as its starting point and renders acting persons marginal conditions or factors of cost?”

“Whoever reduces economic action to capitalism not only has chosen the...READ MORE

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Holy See Presents Sex-Abuse Assessment to U.N. Panel (3178)

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi told the international board that abusers are found among members of the ‘world’s most respected professions, most regrettably, including members of the clergy and other Church personnel.’

01/16/2014 Comments (14)

GENEVA — The Holy See gave its first detailed assessment of the Church's handling of clerical sex-abuse cases today to an international panel at the United Nations, during which officials stressed the Church’s commitment to protecting and upholding the inviolable dignity of every child.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See’s permanent observer to the United Nations in Geneva, told the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child “there is no excuse” for the abuse of minors. He added that, after having worked closely with local Churches in implementing a series of measures, the Holy See “is keen to become an example of best practice” in eliminating such cases.

He also said the Holy See...READ MORE

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New York Encounter for 2014 Delves Into the Meaning of Relationship (1640)

The three-day cultural event sponsored by Catholics in the Big Apple teaches people that they can find their identity and fulfillment only in relationships.

01/16/2014 Comment
New York Encounter

– New York Encounter

NEW YORK — The upcoming New York Encounter cultural festival will explore the dynamic between “I” and “we” — between individuals and community — and how the human person finds fulfillment only in relationship.

The 2014 New York Encounter takes place Jan. 17-19 in Midtown Manhattan, and it is in its fourth year. This year’s theme is “The Time of the Person, the Origins of a People.”

While the event is organized by Catholics, it is meant to be an encounter for all persons.

“People come looking for something beautiful, and, hopefully, they will find it,” said Maurizio Maniscalco, chairman of the New York Encounter.

“It’s a very human and common experience: realizing that you can’t...READ MORE

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Engaged Couples to Meet With Pope on Valentine’s Day (2031)

During the event, which is being organized by the Pontifical Council of the Family, the couples will gather with the Holy Father in the Vatican’s Paul VI hall.

01/16/2014 Comment
Kerri Lenartowick/CNA

A newly married couple at the Vatican waits to be blessed by Pope Francis on Oct. 16, 2013.

– Kerri Lenartowick/CNA

VATICAN CITY — The Pontifical Council for the Family is promoting a special encounter between Pope Francis and couples who are engaged, which will take place on the upcoming feast of St. Valentine.

Invited to the meeting with the Pope are those couples “who have already attended or are currently going through their marriage-preparation courses,” the council’s webpage states.

Couples who meet these qualifications will gather in the Vatican’s Paul VI hall on Feb. 14 at 11am to receive the personal greetings and message of the Pope.

The Pontifical Council for the Family, which is organizing the event, is part of the Roman Curia and was established by Blessed John Paul II in 1981 in...READ MORE

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California Project Aiding ‘Motel Kids’ Seeks Global Expansion (1834)

A rags-to-riches immigrant chef is serving up a global plan to feed impoverished kids everywhere.

01/16/2014 Comments (2)

ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. — An Orange County chef, who began feeding impoverished children out of his restaurant in 2005, has created a special project to continue the work, which he hopes to expand to a global level.

“Growing up, I knew what it was like firsthand to be a part of a low-income family,” Bruno Serato told CNA, “so I identified with these kids.”

“I experienced many struggles myself, as I came from a place of hardship and struggle,” he said.

Serato, originally from Verona, Italy, where he grew up as one of seven children in a poor family, moved to the United States more than 30 years ago. He began to work as a dishwasher, but within five years had become the chef and owner...READ MORE

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Vocations Delayed by High Student Debt (5675)

Catholic colleges are taking steps to reduce costs for students, whose lives after graduation are often hindered by their accumulated financial burdens.

01/16/2014 Comments (24)

– Shutterstock

WASHINGTON — The increasing burden of student debt on Catholics has turned into a major roadblock for young people trying to fulfill their vocations: whether it be for marriage, priesthood or religious life.

Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston raised the alarm in November about student debt, saying that “people are postponing marriage — are postponing a decision to go into the seminary or religious life — because they’re saddled under these tremendous debts which former generations didn’t have.

“If you have a $150,000 debt when you graduate law school, are you going to marry a girl who has a $130,000 debt and start off your marriage with over a quarter-million dollars’ debt?”

Just last...READ MORE

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