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SDG Reviews 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug' (21439)

The charm and manners of Tolkien’s fairy tale are jettisoned in favor of more preposterous action scenes and a tepid love triangle in this bloated middle movie.

12/11/2013 Comments (65)
Warner Bros.

– Warner Bros.

At the climax of the last of the many sprawling, outrageous action set pieces in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug — a few with some textual basis in Tolkien, many without — comes a visual conceit so spectacularly gratuitous that it beggars the phrase “gilding the lily.” What is gilded here is so far beyond lilies that, like “jumping the shark” and “nuking the fridge,” it demands to be commemorated as the standard for future excess: in this case, excess in cinematic adaptation.

“Gilding the you-know-what” (or you will know what, if you click the link, so spoiler warning) has become, by now, the stock in trade of Peter Jackson and his collaborators, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens. The...READ MORE

Filed under hobbit, lord of the rings, movies, sdg reviews, tolkien

SSPX and the Church Dialogue in Limbo (9953)

Relations with the traditionalist society, which is outside full communion with the Church, have deteriorated since mid-2012, but hope remains for full reconciliation.

12/11/2013 Comments (25)

ST. LOUIS — Dialogue between the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X and the rest of the Catholic Church appears to have come to a complete stop. However, hope remains that a full reconciliation is possible in the pontificate of Francis, even as the SSPX faces a rebellion within its own ranks that opposes any full unity with the bishop of Rome.

“I think it is safe to say that the discussions are presently in a state of limbo,” Louis Tofari, spokesman for the U.S. district of the SSPX, told the Register.

The SSPX, a priestly fraternity of more than 560 priests, operates without any recognized status in the Church, since losing its canonical status in 1975. Pope Benedict XVI...READ MORE

Filed under catholic church, church unity, dissenters from church teaching, jesus christ, pope benedict xvi, pope francis, second vatican council, society of st. pius x

Pope Francis: Final Judgment Brings Comfort, Despite Our Fears (3984)

The Holy Father says we help determine our own judgment by the way we live every day.

12/11/2013 Comments (2)
CNA/Kyle Burkhart

– CNA/Kyle Burkhart

VATICAN CITY — In his general audience this week, Pope Francis reflected that the reality of the Final Judgment allows us to trust in God even if we are afraid, emphasizing also that our judgment begins each day through the way we live.

“Dear brothers and sisters, reflecting on the Final Judgment — despite that it instinctively raises a certain fear in us — gives elements of comfort and trust,” the Pope said in his Dec. 11 Wednesday audience.

The Pope’s weekly discourse was given to the thousands of pilgrims who flocked to St. Peter’s Square in order to hear the pontiff speak.

Turning to the final article in the Creed in which believers proclaim their belief “in life everlasting,”...READ MORE

Filed under catholic faith, creed, faith and works, jesus christ, last judgment, pope francis

Father Barron’s ‘New Evangelization’ (9120)

Latest documentary encourages Catholics to spread the Good News in today’s world.

12/11/2013 Comments (11)

– wordonfire.org

When Father Robert Barron headed to Australia to answer an invitation to roll out his Catholicism series there, he had no idea the trip would necessarily inspire another DVD on the faith.

“It came about in a certain way by accident,” said Father Barron, who is rector of St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, Ill., and founder of Word on Fire, a Catholic ministry.

Since he would spend two weeks in Australia and then another two weeks in England, he decided to bring the film crew over to these Western cultures and see what they might record about the faith in those locales.

After talking with many people, from Catholic youth to bishops, what they recorded was plenty. Despite all...READ MORE

Filed under catholicism, ewtn, father robert barron, new evangelization

The Greatest Catholic Painter You've Never Heard Of, Encountering the Christian East and More! (3733)

The Best in Catholic Blog

12/11/2013 Comment

The Greatest Catholic Painter You’ve Never Heard Of. Follow the link by Gwyneth Holston to read more.

The Greatest Catholic Painter You’ve Never Heard Of by Gwyneth Holston - BigPulpit.com

Anti-Common Core Speaker Disallowed from Speaking at Church - Matthew Archbold, Creative Minority Report

Encountering the Christian East for the First Time - Jason Liske, Ascending Mount Carmel

SNAP Publishes Phone Numbers & Emails of Accused Clerics – David F. Pierre Jr., The Media Report

Lost My Daughter to the Culture of Death – God & Caesar

To Theologians: Sensus Fidelium Is Not Majority Opinion - Catherine Harmon, The CWR Blog

Cardinal Newman on the Immaculate Conception – Donald R. McClarey JD, The American Catholic

Emergency Contraception Can Cause Abortion - Donna Harrison MD


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Pope Urges Egyptian Christians to ‘Be Strong; Do Not Fear!’ (2929)

The Holy Father and the Coptic Catholic Patriarch celebrated Mass together, advocating peace and reconciliation in Egypt.

12/10/2013 Comments (1)


VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis concelebrated his daily Mass Monday morning with the Coptic Catholic Patriarch of Alexandria, offering prayers for peace and renewing his call for religious freedom throughout the Middle East.

“‘Be strong; do not fear!’ Here are the consoling words that find their confirmation in fraternal solidarity,” the Pope said during his homily, adding that “I am thankful to God for this encounter that gives me a way to reinforce your hope and our hope, because they are the same.”

With these words, Pope Francis began the reflections of his morning Mass, which he celebrated in the Santa Marta guesthouse of the Vatican alongside Egypt’s Coptic Catholic Patriarch,...READ MORE

Filed under catholic faith, coptic catholic church, jesus christ, perseverence amid persecution, pope francis

Pope Francis Lauds European Pro-Life Group (3708)

Members of the Institute for Human Dignity met with the Holy Father Dec. 7 on the eve of the organization’s fifth anniversary.

12/10/2013 Comments (3)

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has encouraged an international movement that serves as a political counterweight to the growing number of politicians supporting anti-life policies around the world.

In a private audience with members of the Institute for Human Dignity Dec. 7, the Holy Father warned there is “no lack of powers and forces” that produce a “throwaway culture,” whose victims are “precisely the weakest and most fragile human beings.”

“The unborn, the poorest people, sick, elderly people, gravely disabled people [are] in danger of being ‘thrown out,’” he said. “This false model of man and society embodies a practical atheism, de facto negating the word of God that says: 'Let us...READ MORE

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Vatican Launches Global Campaign to Fight ‘Scandal of Hunger’ (2948)

Pope Francis threw his ‘full support’ behind the initiative at a Dec. 10 conference.

12/10/2013 Comments (3)
Caritas Internationalis

Caritas' campaign supports subsistence farmers in Tonga.

– Caritas Internationalis

VATICAN CITY — Caritas International has initiated its first global campaign to eradicate hunger, promoting the basic human right to food and encouraging fraternal solidarity in ensuring that everyone has enough.

In a video message for the Dec. 10 press conference announcing the launching of the campaign, Pope Francis stated that “I am happy to announce to you the launch of a campaign against global hunger by our very own ‘Caritas Internationalis’ and to tell you that I intend to give my full support.”

The Pope highlighted that the work of Caritas, a relief agency of the Church, “is at the heart of the mission of the Church and of her attention towards all those who suffer because of...READ MORE

Filed under caritas internationalis, catholic faith, charity, corporal works of mercy, hunger, jesus christ, pope francis, poverty

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