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July 30 - August 1, 1999
SECTION THREE vol 10, no. 142
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"The Haunting" is not the only thing that's haunted! Top Ten Films for Fourth Week of July
The film "The Haunting" topped the charts and it personified the kind of summer it's been for movies for they have been "haunting" the good taste and moral turpitude of those seeking wholesome entertainment. Other than "Muppets from Space" movie which dropped out of the Top Ten this week, there's not a lot of fare worth seeing. This is evident as we scan the list from the new Disney entry "Inspector Gadget", a nonsensical farce that insults our intelligence to that atrocious excuse for a teen-flick "American Pie" whcih came in third followed by another slease-filled art film with no redeeming quality "Eyes Wide Shut" and the moronic Big Daddy which finished number five this week. Finishing sixth was "Lake Placid" then "Wild Wild West", "Tarzan", "The Wood" and the megahit Star Wars' "Episode One - The Phantom Menace" just barely staying in the Top Ten for the tenth consecutive week. Oh where, oh where is there quality in films? It can truly be haunting. For the Top Ten reviews for the fourth week of July prepared by the NCCB, click on MOVIES AND MORALS
TOP TEN MOVIES
FOR THE FOURTH WEEK OF JULY
1. THE HAUNTING
$33.4 million in one week:
Because of gory violence, including a decapitation, and intermittent profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents are strongly cautioned that some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. "The Haunting" is set in a spooky old house in rural New England where a psychologist uses three volunteers for an experiment in fear that goes awry as the house begins to come alive with the evil spirit of its builder. The special effects horror is laboriously overdone and leaves nothing to the imagination, a mistake not made in the 1963 original which remains the one to see.
2. INSPECTOR GADGET
$21.9 million in one week:
Because of comic violence and mild sexual innuendo, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. "Inspector Gadget" is a dopey adventure comedy starring Matthew Broderick as a bionic policeman slowly learning how to use the various crime-fighting gadgets with which his body has been equipped. Based on a TV cartoon character, this live-action Disney misfire is a waste of time.
3. AMERICAN PIE
$10.1 million last week/ $64.5 million in three weeks:
Because of its scornful treatment of premarital virginity, sexual situations including masturbation and oral encounters, some nudity, gross toilet humor, occasional profanity and recurring rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. In "American Pie" a quartet of sex-obsessed high school seniors make a pact to all lose their virginity by prom night and set about lining up willing partners. The gross comedy's focus on sex as mere sport with no consequences is relentlessly one-track and clearly aimed at impressionable teens.
4. EYES WIDE SHUT
$10.1 million last week/ $40.3 million in two weeks:
Because of graphic sex scenes, full nudity, drug use and rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. "Eyes Wide Shut" is a failed cautionary tale about a mixed-up Manhattan physician who sneaks into a satanic cult's sex orgy from which he barely escapes with his life to return home a more sober husband. Director Stanley Kubrick's final picture is a major disappointment in its cold-hearted, heavy-handed treatment of shallow characters in thinly contrived situations that fail to elicit any empathy.
5. BIG DADDY
$6 million last week/ $146 million in five weeks:
Because of implied affairs, coarse expressions and gestures, some profanity and fleeting violence, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents are strongly cautioned that some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. In "Big Daddy", Adam Sandler plays an irresponsible 32-year-old temporarily taking custody of a motherless 5-year-old boy to impress a girlfriend, but in the process he learns parenting is more than just hanging out and goofing off. The one-joke movie lurches from toilet humor to blatant brand-name product placements to increasingly sappy sentiment as Sandler's character predictably matures.
6. LAKE PLACID
$5.6 million last week/ $21.4 million in two weeks:
because of some predatory violence with decapitations, sex references, occasional profanity and intermittent rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. "Lake Placid" is a lame horror-comedy in which big-city paleontologist Bridget Fonda, earnest game warden Bill Pullman and wealthy eccentric Oliver Platt insist on helping a rural sheriff catch a huge crocodile that has devoured a few locals. The movie offers sparse spurts of comic mileage and suspense is equally absent.
7. WILD WILD WEST
$5.3 million last week/ $104.1 million in four weeks:
Because of intermittent explosions and stylized violence, some sexual innuendo with double entendres and fleeting rear nudity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents are strongly cautioned that some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. In "Wild Wild West", based on the '60's TV series, Will Smith and Kevin Kline play dashing post Civil War government agents who must disable a behemoth killing machine operated by a wheelchair-bound madman bent on bringing down the Republic. The blend of sci-fi contraptions and a comic tone in an Old West setting results in hallow escapist entertainment emphasizing impossible stunts and decorative femme fatales.
7. TARZAN $7.5 million last week/ $143 million in five weeks
Because of intensely menacing hunting scenes, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and
adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G -- general audiences. "Tarzan" is Disney's animated tale about an orphaned baby boy raised by jungle gorillas who grows up before encountering his first humans, including a duplicitous hunter intent on capturing his beloved ape family and spunky Jane, who tempts Tarzan to return to civilization. The classic characters of Edgar Rice Burroughs are appealing, the animation splendid and the music tuneful but some action scenes of predatory violence are too intense for younger children.
9. THE WOOD
$4.8 million last week/ $16.4 million in two weeks:
Because of sexual situations, brief violence, fleeting rear nudity, minimal profanity and much rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. "The Wood" is a drawn-out yet warm-hearted tale of three African-American buddies, one of whom (played by Taye Diggs) vaccilates about taking his vows hours before his wedding while another (Omar Epps) recalls in flashback their awkward teenage fumblings with the opposite sex a dozen years earlier. The comically intended macho posturings are overly familiar but the three are finally revealed as men more prepared to accept marital commitment.
10. STAR WARS: EPISODE ONE - THE PHANTOM MENACE $4.2 million last week/ $402.8 million in ten 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
While the reviews by the NCCB are very good and provide the ratings, 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.
NEWS & VIEWS
with a Catholic slant
NEWS & VIEWS
with a Catholic slant
U.S. Secretary of State meets with Vatican Secretary for Relations with States over progress in Kosovo
Acknowledging the past, present and future role of the Vatican's in the peace process in Kosovo, U.S. Secretary of State Madeliene Albright is huddled with Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, Secretary for Relations with States to hammer out the next step in maintaining peace in the former Yugoslavia. For more, click on Secretary to Secretary
U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE AT VATICAN
Albright Discusses Balkans and Middle East with Archbishop Tauran
VATICAN CITY, JUL 29 (ZENIT).- U.S. Secretary of Sate Madeleine Albright
was at the Vatican today to discuss issues including the Middle East
peace process, and the situation in the Balkans and some Asian
Albright had more than one hour's "cordial conversation" with the
Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Jean-Louis
Tauran, two days before the opening of the Sarajevo conference, which
will focus on the Balkans' situation.
Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said that "both parties agreed
on the need to persevere in efforts for law and justice that will
guarantee genuine peace and true coexistence among peoples everywhere."
Later, Madeleine Albright met with Italy's Foreign Minister, Lamberto
Dini, and expressed concern over the establishment of mechanisms for the
stabilization and reconstruction of Kosovo and the whole area, which are
proceeding "slowly, far more slowly than we would wish." She said that
the process must move forward with "greater speed."
Fortune Magazine spews venom against Vatican with yellow journalism that is slanderous
Fortune Magazine has launched an invective, vitrolic, slanderous campaign against the Vatican by committing the major sin of journalism - assuming facts that aren't there and condemning with no proof in regards to a scam manipulated by a priest singlehandedly. Yet they accuse the Holy See of masterminding it. Talk about Catholic bashing! For more, click on Catholic bashing.
FORTUNE MAGAZINE ATTACKS VATICAN
Sensationalist and Anti-Catholic Reporting
VATICAN CITY, JUL 29 (ZENIT).- The September 6 edition of "Fortune"
Magazine (available online at http://www.fortune.com) reports on the
alleged actions of Fr. Peter Jacobs in a money-laundering scheme to the
benefit of Martin Frankel. The article, by investigative reporter
Richard Behar, equates the actions of this one priest with a vast
Vatican plot to make money off of Frankel's crooked dealings.
Whether or not this priest was involved in the money-laundering action
has yet to be proven, and it seems to be quite precipitous to accuse the
Vatican of complicity in this plot. Holy See Spokesman Joaquin
Navarro-Valls explained to the press on July 2 that the Vatican does not
have any relations with Fr. Jacobs.
The scheme described in the article involved the setting up of a
"charity" called the "St. Francis of Assisi Foundation" that would use
the dirty money, keeping 10% of it for itself. This Foundation, in turn,
was under the control of the "Monitor Ecclesiasticus Foundation," which
reporter Richard Behar contends is under direct Vatican control.
The facts of the matter are that neither of these institutions is listed
among the juridical persons of the Holy See. Furthermore, the Vatican
Bank, which, according to the article, received the money from the "St.
Francis of Assisi Foundation," has never had an account for that
The "proof" that the article produces to imply a deeper Vatican
connection to the whole scandal is a statement from Pope Benedict XV
(reigned 1914-1922), who said that the "Monitor Ecclesiasticus" Magazine
was printed with "special Vatican approval." The reporter adds that Pope
Paul VI gave "Monitor Ecclesiasticus" his Apostolic Blessing, and that
John Paul II has never made statements against the magazine. From this,
the article concludes that the "Monitor Ecclesiasticus" is very close to
The facts speak differently, though. While "Monitor Ecclesiasticus"
Magazine existed in the time of Pope Benedict XV, since 1967 it has been
under the control of the "Monitor Ecclesiasticus Foundation," founded in
that year in the Diocese of Naples, outside of Vatican jurisdiction.
The fact is, like any other Catholic institution, the "Monitor
Ecclesiasticus Foundation" is subject to a certain degree of approval
from the Vatican -- its president, Msgr. Colagiovanni, also implicated
in the scandal, was appointed by the Secretariat of State -- but the
Vatican does not directly oversee the foundation.
All of this leaves the feeling that Behar's article fails in the basic
principles of ethical journalism. The article is clearly guilty of
sensationalism. Since a single priest getting involved in a dirty scheme
doesn't sell magazines, "Fortune" has apparently inflated the story to
make it appear that the whole Vatican is involved.
In the current intellectual environment in the United States, another
reason for this attack on the Vatican could even be a latent
anti-Catholic sentiment. If a low-level executive in a Fortune 500
company had been accused of wrongdoing, the national news magazines
would not blame the company for one man's action. Thus, the Church is
being held to a different standard by the media. In our day, it would
seem, anti-Catholicism sells.
The correct interpretation of these events was given by Christ himself
(Mt. 13:24-30). The Church is made up of both saints and sinners. It
cannot be held responsible as a whole for the actions of one or two men.
Family Research Council poll reveals public won't buy gay rights facade!
A recent poll taken by the Family Research Council illustrates that the majority of Americans don't think gays and lesbians are in the same boat as Blacks, Asians and Hispanic minorities in regard protected legal rights for homosexuality is a lifestyle, not an ethnic culture. The poll also revealed that 80% of those polled believe that gays have cried wolf too often and have not suffered to the degree African Americans and other groups have. Yet, nearly 100% agreed that any kind of violence or harassment of gays is totally wrong and a hate crime that cannot be justified, thus puncturing the argument gays use to try to lobby for more demands. For more, click on gay rights are wrong.
POLL: AMERICANS DON'T BELIEVE HOMOSEXUALS PROTECTED MINORITY
WASHINGTON, DC (CWNews.com) - A new poll released by the
Family research Council this week showed that a majority of
Americans don't believe that homosexuals should qualify as a
"The American people aren't buying the story that people
who engage in homosexual behaviors deserve the same special
legal protections as true minorities," said spokesman Janet
Parshall. "The 'gay' party line that homosexuals have
suffered injustices similar to those that Dr. Martin Luther
King fought against is a groundless comparison."
The poll commissioned by the council found that 80% of
respondents believe that "homosexuals have not suffered
the same as blacks," such as not being able to vote or get
an education. The poll also revealed that 98% of respondents
think that the murder of a homosexual and a heterosexual
are equally serious and should both be prosecuted to the
full extent of the law. A similar number believed that the
action of the crime should provide the basis for prosecution,
not the thoughts of those committing the crime.
"The poll exposes the fundamental inequity of 'hate crimes'
legislation," Parshall said. "Americans want to see all
people receive equal protection under the law."
Romania to build new church in honor of the Holy Father
The fruits of the Pope's first visit to Romania early this summer are already paying off. The Romanian diocese has pledged to build a church outside the city of Oradea. Though it will be called Mary, Star of Evangelization, the people are already dubbing it "the Pope's church." It is a tribute both to the Pontiff of Rome and the people of Romania who have suffered so much through the communist persecution. For more, click on new church in Romania.
CHURCH TO BE BUILT IN ROMANIA IN MEMORY OF PAPAL VISIT
ROME, 29 (NE) In memory of Pope John Paul II' pilgrimage to
Romania and as a homage to his tireless apostolic work, a
Romanian diocese has announced the decision to build a new
church for the faithful.
The new temple, to be constructed at the Greco-Catholic diocese
of Oradea Mare of Romanians, will be consecrated with the name
"Mary, Star of Evangelization." The church will be an important
initiative for the diocese's faithful, who in spite of several
years of communist persecution, lived coherently their faith in
the Lord and their fidelity to Peter's Successor.
"The Pope's church," as it is has been already named by local
people, will be built 6 miles from the city of Oradea, near the
border with Hungary. The temple expects to become and important
place of cult for the Catholic community in the diocese.
Pope's Wednesday treatise on hell ignites discussion on the existence of haides
Just as the Holy Father's talk on Heaven last week triggered discussion on the Hereafter, so also his talk this past Wednesday on the existence of hell has sparked discussions of the nether regions among many, including a priest and professor of Fundamental Theology in Florence who confirms what the Pope has said and adds that we cannot ignore hell for by being silent about it we contribute to the evil one's schemes. The people need to know that God does not condemn them, they condemn themselves through their own free will. For more, click on discussion of hell.
PROFESSOR OF FUNDAMENTAL THEOLOGY ON HELL
Fr. Severino Dianich: "Both Terror and Silence Must Be Avoided"
ROME, JUL 29 (ZENIT).- In spite of the heat and holidays, yesterday's
papal catechesis on Hell has sparked great interest. Among the various
reactions, Fr. Severino Dianich, Florentine professor of Fundamental
Theology, said to the Italian newspaper "Avvenire," that "terror and
silence are two extremes to be avoided."
In teachings on Hell, there seems to be an alternation between these two
extremes. "There was a time, when there was a veritable 'pedagogy of
terror.' Suffice it to think of part of the liturgy for the dead, the
'Dies Irae,' a splendid, but terrifying, hymn. Later there was a move to
virtual silence on the matter of responsibility. Nonetheless, from a
pastoral point of view, it is important to form the conscience to
understand that we risk our life once and for all."
The Holy Father said that punishment does not come from outside or from
God, but rather from the sinner himself. We have the reflection of two
great Christian thinkers -- Ss. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas. "The
former gave us that famous phrase: 'Although God created you without
you, He cannot save you without you.' Salvation, therefore, is an
interpersonal relation between man and God. It cannot but be conditioned
by my liberty, decision and intention," noted the theologian. "Moreover,
St. Thomas interprets the category of the eternal, of reward and
punishment, precisely in the sense that a time arrives when what I am, I
shall continue to be forever. Whereas in life I can change for better or
worse, be converted or perverted, at a certain point this way of living
stops: it is the leap to eternity. I go where I will to go. A mysterious
leap and, in certain aspects, terrifying."
In regard to the modern view of a vengeful God, a description used by
some to criticize the Church's doctrine, Fr. Dianich said, "I do not see
how, given contemporary sensitivity and language, one can speak of God
as rewarding and punishing. It is true that the Bible speaks this way.
But it does so by way of comparison with human justice, simply to tell
us that at the end, we are truly responsible before God. But not in the
sense of punishment, in other words, obliged by a superior justice to
give us a congruent punishment, as in the penal code."
Regarding the question of who might be in Hell, Fr. Dianich replied that
"what happens in the secrecy of conscience between men and God, no one
can know from outside. No one can say what might have happened in the
final meeting of the man Stalin, the man Hitler, or the man Judas with
God. This is the point: the relation of the human conscience with God."
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 30 - August 1, 1999 volume 10, no. 142 DAILY CATHOLIC