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FRI-SAT-SUN      July 23-25, 1999      SECTION THREE       vol 10, no. 137

To print out entire text of Today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO

Eyes Wide Shut should stay shut! Top Ten Films for Third Week of July

      The good news is that the new "Muppets from Space" movie made the top ten list this week and porn-oriented flicks "South Park" and "Austin Powers" completely dropped out of sight. The bad news is that "American Pie" is still there at number two and the "Big Daddy" at number four. Worst news is the fact that the slease-filled art film considered the swan song of deceased director Stanley Kubrick entitled "Eyes Wide Shut" topped the charts last week in its debut week. Another newcomer "Lake Placid" finished third with former champ "Wild Wild West" dropping to fifth followed by yet another new film "The Wood" in sixth. "Tarzan" was next at seventh followed by the megahit Star Wars' "Episode One - The Phantom Menace"and "The General's Daughter" with the Muppet flick bringing up the rear probably because it was rated "G" and is wholesome fare sadly prompting many to stay away. That's a shame. While the reviews by the NCCB are very good, we have discovered another site which will give you a much more detailed survey of what to watch out for. Just click on Christian Analysis of Culture Alert. For the Top Ten reviews for the third week of July prepared by the NCCB, click on MOVIES AND MORALS


  • 3.   LAKE PLACID

  • 4.   BIG DADDY


  • 6.   THE WOOD

  • 7.   TARZAN

      (20th Century Fox) -    $5.6 million last week/   $395.2 million in nine weeks:
            Because of sci-fi swordfights and battle sequences, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification of Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace is A-II - adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. "The Phantom Menace" is a disappointing prequel to the "Star Wars" trilogy in which two Jedi knights (played by Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor) intent on saving the planet Naboo from Federation invaders enlist the help of a young boy who will eventually become the evil Darth Vader. By emphasizing fantastical creatures and myriad special effects, writer-director George Lucas loses much of the movie's human dimension and ends up achieving mostly visual spectacle. May 1999

      (Paramount)    $5.2 million last week/    $87.9 million in five weeks
            Because of sporadic intense violence including rape, full nudity, videotape of a sadistic sexual encounter, frequent rough language and intermittent profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. "The General's Daughter" is a lurid military thriller in which an Army criminal investigator (John Travolta) assigned to solve the brutal strangulation of a promiscuous female captain (Leslie Stefanson), is pressured to participate in a cover-up after he unravels a widespread criminal conspiracy of many years standing. Despite sleek visuals and some strong performances, the movie plays like a cynical and at times grotesque potboiler.

      (Sony)    $6.7 million in one week
            The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G -- general audiences. "Muppets From Space" is a merry tale about muppet Gonzo discovering he is an alien and inviting his extraterrestrial relatives to visit even though a government operative (played by Jeffrey Tambor) wants them attacked on sight as enemy invaders. The madcap movie orchestrates frolicsome foolishness with goofy sight gags, gentle humor and upbeat musical numbers that translate into family-friendly entertainment.
    Reviews provided through Film & Broadcasting Division of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and figures provided through Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.

    with a Catholic slant

    with a Catholic slant

    provided by
    Catholic World News Service
    and Noticias Eclesiales Church News and ZENIT International News Agency


      Holy Father tweaks thoughts on Heaven with his talk at Wednesday's Papal Audience

            Leave it to Pope John Paul II to get the media back on track by talking about the existence of Heaven...and hell for that matter, not by telling them to, but by speaking on it at his Papal Audience in St. Peter's Square this past Wednesday. His words have caused a flurry of questions from the fifth estate and no amount of advertising could bring more attention to the concept that is Heaven. For more, click on A Heavenly query


    Echo in Media

          ROME, JUL 22 (ZENIT).- John Paul II's catechesis on Heaven at yesterday's general audience has struck at the heart of the matter. At this midpoint in the summer holidays, elements of the media have given attention to an unbelievable debate -- "The Meaning of Heaven."

          Professor Carlo Molari, leading exponent of the Italian Association of Theologians and for many years professor of Dogmatic Theology at the Pontifical Urban University of Rome, said to the Italian newspaper "La Repubblica," that paradise has always been thought of as a place one can fly to and hear the angels play instruments. "The imagination has gone to work on a world we cannot even imagine. Painters have shattered the heavens to represent an imagined collectivity, magnifying terrestrial joys, pure skies, green fields, peaceful people," he noted.

          But paradise is not really like this, according to Prof. Molari. Paradise is "the fullness of relation with God. Religious experience makes us perceive a Presence, but, as limited beings, we are unable to express its greatness."

          As regards the resurrection of the body, "it can be said symbolically that the special final dimension will also develop as a corporeal experience. Our body is condensed energy. It will flower in its totality, it will reach an unheard of dimension, like the fetus, which fully flowers at birth," Professor Molari explained.

          In regard to the Holy Father's teaching on the possibility of beginning to experience the happiness of Heaven on earth, Professor Molari said, "This is obvious, even for someone who does not believe in God. It is credible for the person who perceives that reality is richer and deeper than what we see at present."

          "It is essential that modern man think about the Last Things," Professor Molari concluded. "There were periods in history where this did not happen. The ancient Jews, for example, did not think about it. In the beginning they believed that to have more children and more cattle was a blessing from God. Later they passed to a more mature phase. Today it is critical to think of the Last Things. Humanity has discovered the incompleteness of things, situations, experiences and persons with respect to the unrest we have in our hearts."

          According to Inos Biffi, professor at the Faculty of Theology of Milan and Lugano, "Heaven is where we see and love the Father. From this point of view, it means to be with the glorified Lord, and to share in his loving vision of the Father. There is eternal happiness and unending joy in this, and that is Heaven. The place does not matter at all. Because Heaven must not be understood as a 'physical' place with characteristics like terrestrial bodies that are subject to experience. 'Heaven' is beyond any representation of terrestrial or temporal experience, of the kind with which we are familiar."

          "Rather than be concerned with describing ultimate realities," said Prof. Biffi, "it is important to prepare oneself to participate, and this is the grace God gives to those who love Him, as Jesus said. 'If any one loves me, we will come to him and make our home in him.' In fact, we can say that the person in the state of grace, already lives in paradise. Whoever loves God is already in Heaven, since Heaven is within him even though, to use St. Paul's words, 'the future glory has not yet been revealed' or, as St. John says, 'what we will be has not yet been revealed.' "

          To the question as to why Heaven and hell are concepts that have virtually disappeared from the modern mind, Bishop Biffi explained, "If Heaven has disappeared or is cloudy in a mind, it is because Jesus Christ has disappeared and become cloudy. The only way for Heaven to reappear is to return to Jesus Christ through the Gospel and faith. There are no other ways." ZE99072203

      Nebraska Bishops launch a crusade to "SAVE THE FARMS!"

            Led by Archbishop Elden Francis Curtiss, shepherd of the Omaha Archdiocese, Nebraska's other two prelates Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln and Bishop Lawrence McNamara of Grand Island have joined him in bringing to the attention of officials and politicians the vital need to preserve the farmlands of the rich fertile soil of Nebraska, long a major contributor to the US and world as the breadbasket. The crusade to "Save the Farms" was prompted by many pastors in agricultural areas who understand the plight of the farmers. For more, click on Help for Huskers.


          In a pastoral statement responding to what they see as a crisis in American agricultural system, the bishops of Nebraska have come out strongly in defense of family farms, and endorsed efforts to limit corporate ownership of agricultural land.

          In their statement, the bishops express deep concern about the economic losses and personal hardships suffered by many families engaged in farming in Nebraska. The economic difficulties of family farms, they note, can take a toll on family life, and contribute to the breakdown of small communities as well. Because the economy of Nebraska has always been heavily oriented toward farming, these problems have a severe impact on the life of the state.

          Many of the factors that have contributed to the problems of small, family- owned farms are beyond the control of the farmers themselves, the bishops observe. They point to the trend toward large corporate farms, the development of industrial-sized production systems, the "vertical integration" of corporate ownership, and the trend toward globalization of the agricultural market. All of these influences, the bishops say, make it more difficult for family-owned farms to compete on the marketplace.

          Jim Cunningham, the executive director of the Nebraska Catholic Conference, said that the problems faced by family farmers were weighing heavily on the Catholic pastors of Nebraska, and the bishops felt it imperative to respond to those concerns. "The bishops, as teachers and pastors, felt a very real need to say something about the current crisis," he explained. "Rural pastors especially have been telling them of the serious economic hardships many of the families in their parishes are facing, and their struggles to survive in agriculture.'

          The pastoral message-- jointly signed by Archbishop Elden Curtiss of Omaha and Bishops Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln and Lawrence McNamara of Grand Island-- has been published in the diocesan newspapers of Nebraska, and distributed to all of the 275 parishes in the state. The bishops urged the faithful to use their statement as a basis for further discussions.

          The bishops' statement, citing the social teachings of the Catholic Church, argues that smaller farms provide not only a healthy environment for a family business, but also a productive and enduring model for the agricultural economy. The bishops say that they "endorse and defend family farms and ranches as a viable way of life." But they add: "We remain steadfast in our belief that small- and moderate-sized farms and ranches operated by families on a full-time basis constitute the most sustainable, efficient, and morally responsible method for connecting with the land and providing food for the world."

          The bishops also underline their support for the "Family Farm Preservation" measure which was approved by Nebraska's voters in 1982 as an amendment to the state's constitution. That measure places restrictions on the ownership of land and agricultural involvement by corporations. "We hereby reaffirm our support for this public policy," the bishops write. "It upholds a just hierarchy of values and a view toward the common good. We urge that it be conscientiously and effectively enforced."

          As practical responses to the crisis of the family farm, the bishops urge farmers to act cooperatively, pooling their resources to take advantage of more efficient marketing options. They also call upon consumers to support family farmers by buying their produce. Finally, they call upon all members of the community to offer whatever assistance they can to the families that are struggling because of their economic setbacks.

          To those who have already been scarred by the agricultural crisis, the bishops offer a message of sympathy and understanding. They emphasize the importance of developing a strong interior life in order to able to absorb the difficulties caused by economic forces.

      Catholic Family Radio doubles its stations with seven more enabling it to reach over nine million more Catholics

            Catholic Family Radio, an alternative for Catholics to shut out the chaff of noise and clutter in other media outlets, now counts fourteen stations in its growing stable. The most recent acquisition by Catholic Radio Network President and CEO John Lynch will allow the network to reach over nine million more Catholics in New England and the Bay area. For more, click on CRN expands.


          WASHINGTON, D.C., JUL 22 (ZENIT).- Catholic Family Radio (CFR), a chain of radio stations designed to provide healthy programming for families, has recently bought seven more stations, bringing its total to fourteen. This new period of expansion is designed to better consolidate its position in the U.S. market.

          One of the most significant new markets is San Francisco, where the CFR has acquired KDIA, a North Bay AM station, originally carrying African-American programming. An estimated 1.5 million Catholics live within reception range of this transmitter, some 25% of the population in this area, according to a report in ACI.

          The remaining stations acquired by CFR are in New England, opening an audience of 7.6 million persons to the chain. The chain already operated stations in Denver, Chicago, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Minneapolis/St. Paul.

          CFR hopes to address recent moral debates with its programming, providing consistent Catholic material and hourly news, 24 hours a day. Its motto is "Building Families through Faith." According to its web page, "The goal of CFR is to seek out unique personalities who are likable and who can relate real life events, issues and problems to scripture and God's wisdom in a way which is inspiring, meaningful, and entertaining."

          "Ultimately, our goal will be to help our listeners become better parents, friends and citizens, thus happier individuals," says CFR.

          On their web page (, the network also offers the opportunity to listen to the broadcasts live over the Internet using Real Audio technology. ZE99072220

      Modern marvels of technology would bewilder the early Franciscans in Assisi

            It took years and years to etch and paint the magnificent frescoes on the ceilings and walls of the majestic Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi and it took just minutes to destroy many of them in the devastating Umbrian earthquake two years ago. Now, with the help of modern technology and video projection, the images can be superimposed over the damaged ones in seconds. For more, click on marvels in Assisi.


    Tiny Video Projectors Will Project Images of Destroyed Paintings

          ASSISI, JUL 22 (ZENIT).- Thanks to technology, the magnificent frescoes of the immortal painter Cimabue that decorated the vault of the Upper Basilica of Assisi and were completely destroyed by the September 26, 1997, earthquake, will soon be enjoyed once again. Tiny video projectors, to be placed on either side of the vault, will project slides of the destroyed frescoes, showing images of the paintings that for eight centuries welcomed pilgrims to Assisi.

          At present, much restoration work is being carried out in both the Upper and Lower Basilicas. Both are covered with frescoes by great Pre-Renaissance and Renaissance masters. The work should be completed for the inauguration of the Holy Year on Christmas Eve, 1999.

          The Lower Basilica, which has works by Lorenzetti, Simone Martini and other great Gothic painters, was not as severely damaged as the Upper. In the Upper Basilica, 28 frescoes by Giotto and his disciples depicting St. Francis' life, suffered cracks and chips in the plaster that have been completely restored. What seems impossible to recover, however, are Cimabue's St. Matthew, portraits of the Doctors of the Church, and the star-studded blue heavens that decorated the vault's ceiling.

          The technicians have not given up hope of reconstructing the lost frescoes, however. As with a puzzle, they hope to piece together the thousands of fragments found, although they estimate that 25% of the paintings are irrecoverable. In the best of cases, pilgrims will see totally fragmented frescoes with painted areas covering the missing sections.

          Because the restoration of the frescoes will take longer than initially estimated, the idea of the video cameras seemed at least an immediate solution.

          The above decision unleashed a larger debate between those who wanted to leave the marks of the earthquake as evidence, including the bricks of the vault without plaster, and those who wanted to forget it and restore the Basilicas to their original state. The use of slides resolved the issue in the immediate sense.

          The Basilica has now been made earthquake proof, thanks to almost 20 miles of steel tubeing that supports the foundations, walls, roofs and 30,000 bricks fired in the original manner, which replace those that crumbled. The possibility that new tremors will damage these monuments to universal art is now virtually out of the question. ZE99072201

    For more headlines and articles, we suggest you go to the Catholic World News site at the CWN home page and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and Daily Dispatches, Dossiers and Features from ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

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    July 23-25, 1999 volume 10, no. 137   DAILY CATHOLIC