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Cartoon movies and Catholics

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Shortly after our pop-culture critic, Sr. Rose Pacatte, did her review of the Dan Brown/Tom Hanks/Ron Howard collaboration, Angels & Demons: Everyone's trying to save the church, I noted that Columbia TriStar Motion Pictures was in pre-production of a movie of "Priest," the Korean comic book series created by Hyung Min-woo, starring a submachine gun toting, Roman collar wearing "warrior" priest.

Now I see that Nicolas Cage is talking about a sequel to his comic book brought to life movie of 2007, "Ghost Rider." According to the comics reporter of the Digital Spy Web site, Cage has agreed to reprise his role as the motorcycle-riding, flaming-skull spirit of vengeance Johnny Blaze, but he wants to "reconceive" the movie.

"I would like to go in a whole other direction," Cage is quoted as saying. "I would make it much less of a Western and more of an international story."

Cage's idea? Set the next story in Europe and have Johnny Blaze team up with the Catholic church.

A faith-based attack on the Taliban

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Baptist and the Mullah Launch a Faith-Based Attack on the Taliban

This is an interesting piece about a faith-based collaboration to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan. The article states:

In a country soaked with religion, it has fallen to an Oklahoma Baptist to turn Islam into a weapon against the Taliban.

The U.S. military, eager to hand the war over to the Afghan government, has placed mentors throughout the Afghan National Army. The Americans help commanders command, fliers fly and spies spy. U.S. Army Capt. James Hill, a baby-faced 27-year-old from Lawton, Okla., drew the job of mentoring Lt. Col. Abdul Haq, a 51-year-old army mullah who has never shaved.



I'm surprised some separation-of-church-and-state group hasn't stepped in to prevent such mentoring.

Kicanas: communications candor

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When discussion turns to the matter of communicating the church's message (the churchspeak is "use of the social means of communication"), too often the occasion becomes just one more opportunity to tee off on the messenger.

Rarely do church leaders reflect on their own roles and what they may need to do to be more effective communicators.

Tucson Bishop Gerald Kicanas took a refreshingly different tack in a speech last month during a meeting in Philadelphia of the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management, which this year is focusing on communication.

It's a fairly lengthy speech, but worth the time, and worth especially getting to his "What we can do" list at the end.

Early in his talk, Kicanas discusses his love of theater and draws five "ingredients" necessary for effective communication:

-- Those telling the story must themselves be taken up by it;

-- The church's message is best communicated succinctly with emotion and color, and in concrete language people understand and that engages them;

Two-by-four therapy

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Yesterday, the "Morning Briefing" contained a link to an article by Frances Kissling, in which she takes on the "common ground" approach to abortion in general and Chris Korzen, the executive director of Catholics United in particular. She writes, "I am very curious about what makes Chris tick; what he thinks and believes and how two people with somewhat similar politics and the same access to knowledge and information -- possibly an ethics professor in common -- could come to such different conclusions on critical social justice issues." These are the words of someone incapable of seeing the other side of an argument.

Well, it is not my place to speak for Mr. Korzen as to what makes him tick, but let me venture a guess. He, unlike Ms. Kissling, takes the church's unambiguous teaching seriously when it sees abortion as a social justice issue, a point reiterated by the magisterium as recently as last week's encyclical Caritas in Veritate. But, Kissling has made a career out of arguing both that the church should be silent on the issue and that a Catholic can, in good conscience, ignore the church's teaching.

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July 4-17, 2014

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