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LABOR DAY WEEKEND
September 4-7, 1998
SECTION TWO vol 9, no. 174
To print out entire text of Today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION THREE and SECTION FOUR and SECTION ONE
On this Labor Day Weekend we reflect on one who personified the Labor of Love
In today's editorial, we remember someone who personified the Labor of Love - the kind of love Jesus advocated for all His children and which Mother Teresa lived every second of her life for His honor and glory. For the weekend commentary The ideal labor of love, click on CATHOLIC PewPOINT.
The ideal labor of love
The summer calendar is traditionally framed by two holidays - Memorial Day at the end of May and Labor Day at the beginning of September. The former is for memorializing those who gave their life for a cause - their country - and the latter is for honoring those who work day in and day out by the sweat of their brow. Neither of these holidays are a holyday or celebrated by the Church liturgically. Yet this year it takes on a special meaning for it is the one year anniversary of one of the most courageous and holy soldiers of Christ - His humble servant Mother Teresa who died of pneumonia on September 5, 1997 in Calcutta. Memorial day comes to mind because we remember her great accomplishments in the face of unbelieveable odds, one who gave her live for God's children everywhere; and Labor Day is significant for no human ever worked harder and gave everything as a labor of love than this simple, saintly founder of the Missionaries of Charity who was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Skopje, Macedonia during the reign of Pope Saint Pius X in 1910.
What does the one-year anniversary of her death mean? Just that it's one year down and four to go! We're talking of course about the eligibility time left before the Church can officially begin the beatification process for this living Beatitude bundle of energy and love Known the world over as the "Saint of the Gutters," Mother Teresa was the perfect example of personifying the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy. While many, including this editor, clamored for her immediate official sainthood, our Holy Church knows best and it would be unprecedented and dangerous to canonize anyone immediately after their death. When that also includes someone as holy as Mother Teresa, then we know the Holy See is right. Slow is better. Discretion is the better part of valor, so to speak. Like the waiting period for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame, so also the Church has a timeframe and all we can do on our part is pray and countdown to that time when she will carry the title "Blessed" before her name, then "Saint." It is a long and grueling process that so few of us can truly comprehend. Volumes upon volumes of material, information, first-hand reports, documentation as to miraculous occurences associated with the candidate in question and so much more are compiled taking years in themselves. Add to this the proverbial and necessary "Devil's Advocate" - one who purposely looks for any flaws or negatives, in a word tries to find reasons not to elevate the candidate - and the process can drone on for decades and even centuries. The "Devil's Advocate" is a mandatory and necessary part of the process and while his own disposition may personally be favorable to the candidate, his position has to be one of total objectivity - much like the prosecuting attorney. Thus the appointed cleric's moniker of "Devil's Advocate." We all know the real devil - satan - wants as few saints as possible in Heaven, especially someone as influential on souls as Mother Teresa was.
With the clock ticking down on the second millennium we can look forward to the new millennium not just because of the pending Triumph of the Immaculate Heart as the Blessed Virgin Mary promised at Fatima and in many other apparitions and messages, but also to the glorious events to follow - a mass return of God's children to His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, the beginning of the Era of Peace, often called the Reign of the Sacred Heart or the Age of the Holy Spirit. By following Mother's example we can better be prepared for this wondrous time. We'll also be able to look forward to the eventual canonization of two of the greatest saints of the twentieth century - Mother Teresa and Padre Pio. No one has canonized more saints in the history of Popes than John Paul II but he realizes protocol must take precedence over his own personal beliefs and testimony to the holiness of this diminutive nun who he has referred to as "a living saint." He's even gone further in his praise of Mother's qualities, saying "I had many occasions to meet with her, and I have the vivid memory as her small figure, bent over by past years of service among the poorest of the poor, but always full of inexhaustible interior energy; the energy of love of Christ." Few endorsements would carry more weight than that, especially coming from the Supreme Pontiff himself who knew her well. Yet, in obedience to the protocol of the Church and for the welfare of total credibility as well as Heavenly guidance, he resists any urge to declare a Motu Proprio and break with tradition. While we wish Mother's process could be expedited, we are totally understanding of the Church's position and obediently comply with all she professes. So, don't take this weekend's Labor Day editorial as a push to expedite her canonization but merely as a campaign to launch a countdown to the time she is eligible. Oh, we won't publish a running clock like we are doing for Jubilee 2000 but we do advocate that the best way to count down to the time Mother is eligible is by praying, say a Rosary a day or even three Hail Mary's daily for the intention that, if it be God's Will, He will allow her intercession to work miracles for others on behalf of her cause. No doubt Mother is most likely looking down from above quite embarrassed by all the adulation for her. After all that's how she lived. But we just know she would concur with the prayers and emulating all she did and all Jesus preaches by reaching out to others as living "Works of Mercy." That way, while we wait out her canonization, the Church might be able to offer many, many more candidates for sainthood and that would truly make Mother smile as well as another Mother - our Heavenly one and her Divine Son. If we can effect this by living the messages and putting all God asks into action then we truly can hope to join Mother someday in Celestial bliss because of our efforts and our labors, offering them all to Him for His honor and glory. On this Labor Day Weekend, it's a great way to start, and that would indeed be the ideal labor of love.
TOP TEN MOVIES OF THE SUMMER
"And He gathered them together in one place that is called in Hebrew Armageddon."
That is the passage from Revelations/Apocalypse 16: 16 and it could be paraphrased in secular terms to read: "And the top ten films gathered together in the summer of 1998 were topped by 'Armageddon'." But in the realm of celluloid make-believe it is all mute compared to the real Armageddon the Almighty has foretold to Saint John. Yet, because of the influence on the moral fiber of God's children today, we present the pitfalls that could befall the moviegoer's soul if they do not know what they are getting themselves into once they plop down in the nearest movieplex with their popcorn. Because last week's top ten was so tepid and mediocre, we present the total top ten for the summer which featured a poorer caliber of films as in past seasons. You can see reviews of the summer's top ten from a Catholic perspective including our take and the official review by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops by clicking on MOVIES & MORALS: TOP TEN MOVIES OF THE SUMMER
TOP TEN MOVIES FOR THE SUMMER
Since the list of top ten movies for the last week lacks so much in quality with sexploitive or violent "R" rated movies dominating the scene, we thought we'd bring you the top ten movies from the entire summer - Memorial Day to Labor Day. Two asteroid flicks were among the top three which points to the fact producers are thinking about the apocalypse but maybe not in the right frame as God intends for His people in light of the chastisement and coming Triumph of the Immaculate Heart which will usher in the Era of Peace - the Reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus - the Age of the Holy Spirit. The most deadly war ever took second billing this summer with "Saving Private Ryan" - a late bloomer, and the animals - domestic and prehistoric took fourth and fifth with "Dr. Dolittle" and "Godzilla" respectively. The Mel Gibson adventure "Lethal Weapon 4" came in sixth followed by the Jim Carrey vehicle "The Truman Show". The oriental animated family film "Mulan" held down eighth and the biggest disappointment of them all morally - "There's Something about Mary" closed fast at ninth. Bringing up the rear was the enjoyable family fun adventure "The Mask of Zorro" with Antonio Banderas. It's a sad fact that of the forty some movies released this summer few had any redeeming quality as the Hollywood industry continues to emphasize quantity rather than quality, showing no shame in compromising value for venue.
As you'll see with each review there is almost always something objectionable about each movie so go in with an open mind and keep in mind the best advice before you plunk down your hard-earned money at the box-office: Would Jesus and His Mother Mary watch it with you? If not, think twice about seeing it.
Below are the top ten for the summer with the Bishops' reviews. Reviews are categorized by A-I -- general patronage; A-II -- adults and adolescents; A-III -- adults;
A-IV -- adults, with reservations (an A-IV classification designates problematic films that, while not
morally offensive in themselves, require caution and some analysis and explanation as a safeguard
against wrong interpretations and false conclusions); and finally, ones no one should see:
O -- morally offensive.
- 1. ARMAGEDDON 186 million for the summer Disney
Many have said the concept of Armageddon is unbelieveable. We're not talking about their views on the end event in the Apocalypse, but rather the movie of the same name. We have always assimilated Armageddon with a place where a catastrophic event will occur that cannot be described. Little did we know it would also be boring! Don't know about you but "Armageddon" pretty tired of all the meteor disaster fare we've been subjected to lately. The latest is probably the dumbest, but add in some name "hunks" like same-ol' Bruce Willis and your stereotype characters and it will sell with more explosions and destruction than the human celebrum can handle, especially with the pumped up sound systems in the multiplexes these days. So if you want to waste two hours on this rehash of '"Independence Day" meets "Volcano" with "Deep Impact,"' then be our guest, but don't say we didn't warn you about "Armageddon".
Armageddon -- Because of explosive mayhem, an implied affair, occasional profanity and
an instance of rough language, 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. Armageddon is
a bloated disaster story with Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck planting a nuclear warhead on a
humongous asteroid in a desperate attempt to blast it out of its collision course with
Earth. The result is an overlong tale of macho heroics, pumped up with special effects,
then doused in weepy emotions.
- 2. SAVING PRIVATE RYAN 147 million for the summer Dreamworks
This movie has proven it has all the makings of being one of the top blockbusters of the summer. When you consider that a third of the population refuse to see it because of its mind-numbing graphic content that can stir nightmares like nothing "Halloween H20" could ever do, that says a lot for this film's staying power and powerful cast which many still feel will eventually catch "Armageddon". Like his award winning, but disturbing movie "Schlindler's List" Steven Spielberg brings us another powerful, poignant and purposeful masterpiece with a message that will have audiences buzzing for weeks to come. This one is not "entertainment" per se but a realistic look at the horrific casualties of war like no movie ever has. But it is not just for shock value as so many movies try to do today, but, true to the Spielberg purpose of expressing his heart and soul for a cause, the master director takes us there to show us how it really was and the saving grace and triumph of man's soul in the face of insurmountable odds. Below is the Bishops' review:
Saving Private Ryan--Because of graphic battlefield violence, some profanity and
recurring rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults.
The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Saving Private Ryan is
a riveting war drama with Tom Hanks as an army officer who leads a patrol behind
German lines in 1944 France to rescue G.I. Matt Damon whose three brothers had been
killed in action the previous week. This realistic re-creation of war's horror and chaos
never loses sight of the soldiers' humanity and loyalty, despite their questioning the
- 3. DEEP IMPACT 140 million for the summer Paramount/Dreamworks
As the first disaster film of the summer, it held up surprisingly well until the same genre flick "Armageddon" blazed into theatres. Audiences were mixed on which one they liked better although the later entry proved more popular at the box-office. Though both contained violence and some profanity they were both rated PG-13, similar subject matters from two different studios, and weak scripts. What it boils down to is that if you've seen one meteor movie you've seen them all. Below is the Bishops' review:
Deep Impact-- Because of a massive natural disaster, sexual innuendo, suicidal references,
occasional profanity and an instance of rough language, 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. "Deep Impact" is a
low-voltage disaster movie about the chaotic proceedings after President Morgan Freeman
announces the failure of a space mission to deflect a huge comet from its deadly collision course
with Earth. The spectacular special effects are brief and fleeting while the personal stories are
- 4. DR. DOLITTLE 140 million 20th Century Fox
What could have been another "Babe" or "Pauli" vehicle, fell short in quality but scored big in quantity - dollar wise as "Dr. Dolittle" wrested the fourth overall spot, riding the crest of Eddie Murphy's star billing. The problem is that if foul-mouthed Murphy is in it, you know it's going to be crass in some way. Exhibit A - his blatantly offensive "The Nutty Professor" a few years ago. The animals are cute, but like another critter caper that debuted late last year "Mouse Hunt", humor is at the expense of others and when that's the case it isn't funny. This gross-out movie grossed big as movie-goers flooded theaters this summer but a Noah's ark it was not. It's the only movie we can think of where the animals need therapy! Below is the Bishop's review:
Dr. Doolittle -- Because of much bathroom humor, coarse language and several instances of 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. Dr. Dolittle is a comic misfire with Eddie Murphy as a San Francisco physician whose life becomes complicated when he starts talking to animals but no one else can hear what they say to him. The result is a dull sentimental comedy paced by crude gags and verbal insults.
- 5. GODZILLA 135 million for the summerTri-Star
As big a flop as this one was it was surprising it snuck up on people box-office-take-wise. Even though the lizard was on its last legs it managed to finish fifth overall even though it got more play on the Taco Bell commercials than in theatres as it plodded into the early summer. Just as word of mouth elevated "Titanic", many were telling their friends that the streaky black and white, out of sync Japanese farces were better! Below is the Bishops' review:
Godzilla-- Because of recurring fantasy violence with much mayhem 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. "Godzilla" is an overhyped monster movie in which New York City's landmarks and citizens are stomped on by the giant beast whose hatching eggs prove an even greater threat, especially to
four adults in imminent danger. The special effects-thriller utterly lacks the consistent excitement or
goofy humor that would make it fun-filled escapist fare.
- 6. LETHAL WEAPON 4 124 for the summer Warner Brothers
This one wasn't as lethal at the box office as many thought it would be despite the draw of Mel Gibson, Danny Glover and Joe Pesci. Add in Rene Russo, foul mouthed Chris Rock and Jet Li an oriental master of kung fu and it still wasn't able to maintain what prognosticators forecast, yet it did top the 100 million mark to finish sixth overall. This fast-paced sequel of the other three is humorous and the chemistry between Gibson and Glover better than ever, but the violence continues and, while Pesci has toned down his mouth, Rock spews obscenities that are really not necessary or pertinent to the story. The choreography of Li's kung fu is amazing, and the sanctity and importance of marriage wins out in the end. Below is the bishops' review:
Lethal Weapon 4 -- Because of excessive violence and brutality, some profanity and
much rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is O -- morally
offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Lethal
Weapon 4 reteams Mel Gibson and Danny Glover as L.A. detectives pursuing a gang of
Chinese counterfeiters, while awaiting news that one's become a father and the other a
grandfather. Despite the pair's appealing comaraderie, the tired action formula is still
fueled by constant violence and deadly mayhem masquerading as exciting fun.
- 7. THE TRUMAN SHOW 123 million for the summer Paramount
Though it started strong, it slid badly as other fare knocked the comic -turned serious actor Jim Carrey off his perch. Still his pull was enough to garner seventh overall for the summer and top the 100 million mark. "The Truman Show" was a vehicle that allowed Jim Carrey to blossom into a full-fledge actor and warrant serious Oscar consideration. This satire was the kind of movie that left one reflecting on it long after the popcorn went stale and days after seeing it. Below is the Bishops' review:
The Truman Show-- Because of mature themes, marital discord and a few instances of
profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture
Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. "The Truman Show" is a
beguiling fantasy in which 30-year-old Jim Carrey suddenly discovers his life from day one has
been secretly televised 24 hours a day and all the people in his tranquil island community are paid
actors. The emotionally involving tale gingerly scratches the surface of moral issues concerning
media manipulation and the right to privacy.
- 8. MULAN 116 million for the summer Disney
Disney's newest animation tied in with all the hype on China. The timing of the release of the movie "Mulan" and Bill Clinton's obtrusive trip to Tiannamen Square was ironic. The fact this Disney vehicle targeted young girls admittedly limited audience appeal and it never achieved the high numbers of previous summer animated features such as "Hunchback of Notre Dame" or "The Lion King". Below is the Bishops' review:
Mulan -- The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. The Motion
Picture Association of America rating is G -- general audiences. "Mulan" offers a boisterous
animated tale of ancient China where a rebellious daughter disguises herself as a man to fight
invading Huns in place of her sickly father. Blending sumptuous visuals with catchy songs and
some contrived humor, the picture's theme of female empowerment downplays romance to focus
on issues of self-identity, honor and patriotism.
- 9. THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY 108 million for the summer 20th Century Fox
There's no accounting for the taste of the movie-going public as this one finished a fast ninth overall for the summer. While all the other trashy movies continued to plummet, this sexploitive film continued to hold its own which - when you consider this movie's contents - is an oxymoron. Speaking of morons, that's what we must call the American movie-goer who plunked down hard-earned cash for this garbage. It is, to put it simply, a story that is blatant profanity and something with absolutely no redeeming value. This "R" rated movie exploits others and holds sex on such a vulgar level that it is so bad that the best thing in the movie is the dog - even in full body cast he's more believable than any of the human characters who don't seem to have a clue what good acting is. How these kind of films get made and the poor calibre of actors and actresses that are being churned out is beyond our comprehension. This is definitely one to avoid like the plague! We have to disagree with the Bishops' review below when they said "the sentimental story helps keep its tasteless humor from becoming seriously offensive." Sorry, your excellencies, but it is seriously offensive! Below is the Bishops' review:
There's Something About Mary-- Because of some comic violence, gross sexual
innuendo, fleeting nudity, intermittent profanity and much rough language, the U.S.
Catholic Conference classification is A-IV -- adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture
Association of America rating is R -- restricted. There's Something About Mary is a wacky
but very crude comedy about lovelorn Ben Stiller competing with sneaky private eye Matt
Dillon and others for the affections of the attractive but incredibly naive Cameron Diaz. The
jokes in this goofy romantic comedy range from the dopey to the outrageously vulgar,
though the sentimental story helps keep its tasteless humor from becoming seriously
- 10. THE MASK OF ZORRO 83 million for the summer Sony
This one has proven that you can return to yesteryear for it is an adventurous romp through the nostalgia of that masked man who many of us grew up with in the television milieu when Disney was respectable, where many of us hummed the Zorro theme - you know, the one we couldn't get out of our heads. The movie version is more complicated, but the presence of Antonio Banderas who wowed movie goers in "Evita" and Anthony Hopkins who brings excellence to everything he does, adds up to a 90's version that can be "zesty" at times, but overall enjoyable PG-13 summer fare for the whole family. Below is the bishop's review of this film:
The Mask of Zorro -- Because of much stylized violence, mild sexual innuendo and
fleeting rear nudity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and
adolescents. 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
Mask of Zorro is set in Old California where Anthony Hopkins, an aging Zorro, trains fiery
replacement Antonio Banderas to destroy the tyrant who 20 years earlier stole his infant
daughter, now a dazzling beauty in love with the new masked avenger. The spirited
swashbuckler features old-fashioned derring-do and a game cast in a zesty adventure
pitting dauntless heroes against daunting villains.
PROVERB OF THE DAY
"Pleasing words are a honey-comb, sweet to the taste and healthful to the body."
Proverbs 16: 24
Click here to go to SECTION THREE or SECTION FOUR or return to SECTION ONE or click here to return to the graphics front page of this issue.
September 4-7, 1998 volume 9, no. 174 DAILY CATHOLIC