FRI-SAT-SUN     February 18-20, 2000    vol. 11, no. 35    SECTION ONE

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SECTION ONE Contents: Go immediately to the article:
  • CATHOLIC PewPOINT editorial
  • Sr. Mary Lucy Astuto's GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER column
  • Michael Vincent Boyer's MOVIES & MORALS column
  • APPRECIATION OF THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH: Installment 113: Creation - part two
  • Monthly Medjugorje Message for January


  • Through Reconciliation Our Lord and His Church have given us all an opportunity to sit up straight, and fly right!

       In this weekend's editorial, we probe the reason for reconciliation and see that it is vital for all in order to bury our pride and embrace humility as God desires. The Holy Father is stressing this so much that he has set aside a special day on the First Sunday of Lent for all to reconcile with themselves and their brothers and sisters. This theme, so central to the Jubilee Year, is also the lesson learned in the excellent film whose lead actor Richard Farnsworth is up for an Oscar for his masterful role as Alvin Straight in "The Straight Story" which is, essentially, this year's "Life is Beautiful." For today's editorial Only Jesus, through His Church, provides the Straight Story! , see CATHOLIC PewPOINT

    Only Jesus, through His Church, provides the Straight Story!

    Michael Cain, editor

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    Despite how the concept of freedom has been twisted into a license to wound and even kill others, true freedom begins and ends with the Cross of Christ!

       In her column this week, Sister Mary Lucy Astuto differentiates between "freedom" and "license." One is God-given, the other is something forged by selfish souls to mandate their own will on others and it is running rampant today, even usurping legislation where those mistaking freedom for license state they can do whatever they want, forgetting God's inate laws. She points out how "freedom of speech" has been so twisted as to implicate that anyone can say whatever they want, no matter how much they hurt others. Oh how wrong they are, for true freedom means following God's Will. For her column, Can't we say whatever?, see GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER

    CAN'T WE SAY WHATEVER?
          Recently, a local rock group here in Omaha had recorded a song in which the words call for the killing of police. This rock group was interviewed by some local news journalists about the dastardliness of the words. The reply of these young singers was that in this country we have freedom of speech, so why can't they say whatever they want to say?

          I cringed in my chair realizing that these young people were not differentiating between FREEDOM and LICENSE. There is a difference --- and NO - WE MAY NOT SAY WHATEVER WE MIGHT WANT TO SAY.

          As a young person, I looked forward to the weekly television programs of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen. What a great speaker and what a great mind!!!! Among the many things I learned from the Bishop was the definition of freedom. He said: "Freedom is the right to do what we should do!" In other words, freedom does not mean that any of us can do or say whatever we feel like doing or saying. For example, your neighbor might be driven to burn down your house, but does he/she have the right to do so? Tabloids print all kinds of stories about people and sometimes get sued for millions for the lies that they print. No one has the right to libel anyone.

          God gave us Ten Commandments to observe. They are not outdated or old fashioned. We are dutifully bound to keep all of them. None of us has the right to act contrary to what God ordains. To act contrary to God's laws is to sin, and as I have written before: NO ONE HAS A RIGHT TO DO WHAT IS WRONG.

          The gravity of the local rock group's song reminded our Omaha community of the death of a very young policeman a few years ago, who was shot by a young man as he sat in his police car.

          Freedom does not mean license. Freedom does not mean we can say or do whatever we please. If we could do so, there would be no law and order in the world. Everyone has rights and laws are necessary to protect those rights.

          There is a great confusion which exists in those minds that think they can call for any evil and be justified in doing do. Frankly, I sometimes wonder if even court justices understand the difference between freedom and license.

          Parents and teachers must do all that they can to help their children, as soon as possible, to understand that there are rules which bind everyone and respect for God and one another implies that certain self-control is in order.

          If people lived by LICENSE only, our world be worse than jungle existence, because even the wild animals have a respect for what nature has built into them.

          Dear reader, this all goes back to keeping God's Commandments. Let us pray for each other. God bless you!

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    The Straight Story on why Hollywood kills good movies: the rationale behind the madness!

        We complete this week-long debut of a column by Michael Vincent Boyer, a well-respected Catholic insider on what's happening in the entertainment industry. Today he reveals why and how Hollywood suppresses excellent family fare in favor of promoting pulp trash that will soon find its way anyway to the video store shelves and garner really nothing but cobwebs. It's not the individual movies themselves but an overall perception the industry is trying to pawn off on the public in an effort to continue the malaise they produce. In short, Hollywood doesn't want to change their ways and they'll go to great lengths to preserve their place in the gutter. Such is the case with excellent movies that are placed in the shadows such as this year's "The Straight Story" and last year's "Iron Giant." For his column, see MOVIES & MORALS-VIDEOS & VIRTUES-TELEVISION & TEMPERANCE

    What Hollywood doesn't want you to know

    Why Hollywood kills good movies

        " 'The Straight Story' is a masterpiece of redemption. One problem: even after unanimous glowing reviews, Disney has failed to actively promote and advertise the film except for a small site on its web page. And they continue not to promote it despite the fact that the lead actor, Farnsworth, is considered a leading contender for the Best Actor category on Oscar night."

          Warner Brothers actually produced a memorable animated feature in 1999 titled "The Iron Giant" in a move that might have given the studio a starting advantage to compete with other Hollywood feature animators such as Dreamworks and Disney. The story surrounds a young boy who befriends a mysterious giant robot hiding in the woods. The dialogue between the two actually plays out as a morality play that deals with problem-solving, values, alienation, ignorance, love, fear, and making responsible choices. Of the 500 plus features released by the industry in 1999, it was actually one you could watch together as a family.

          Why did it not succeed? For reasons unexplained by the studio, Warner Brothers barely publicized it with few, if any ads, movie trailers, TV exposure, or even theatre posters. However, Warner Brothers had no problem promoting "Natural Born Killers" with a multi-million dollar budget.

          The conclusion is that the studios do promote a philosophical bent that ultimately rests with the Chairmen at the top of the media-conglomerate ladder; in this case, co-chairmen Levin and Turner; two individuals responsible for some of the most morally corrupt entertainment currently shown at theatres and on television. Without promoting positive entertainment, decision-makers like Levin and Turner can always argue with their critics, which comprises most Americans, that, "We tried family entertainment, and it just didn't sell." Now you know the dark underbelly of entertainment.

          It was former Education Secretary and best-selling author William Bennet who stood up at a Time-Warner stockholders' meeting and read the lyrics to a Time-Warner record division song titled "Cop Killers". The record division was sold shortly thereafter.

          In the wake of the "Iron Giant" fiasco by Warner Brothers, it was Disney's turn to do what it does best, kill one of the year's best movies, and promote one of the decade's worst. The strategy is a reflection of Disney's demented "creative" decision makers and marketing department executive who fear that Disney might actually have the potential to be a producer of quality films again where families can actually go to the movies together. Imagine that ever happening? But the studio's "dark-siders" appear to be pulling the strings with the full permission of Disney chief Michael Eisner.

          Such is happening right now with the movie "The Straight Story" based on the true life of Alvin Straight, an elderly Midwesterner who has not spoken to his ailing brother in decades. The role has merited Richard Farnsworth an Oscar nomination for his role as Straight. When he discovers that his brother might not have much time to live, Straight buys a large John Deere lawn tractor and hooks up a small wagon to travel the 360 mile journey to make amends between the two of them. The tractor-mower is his only mode of transportation since poor eyesight does not allow him a driver's license.

          Along the way, Straight meets several interesting people and camps out in the cornfields under stunning starlit nights and reflects on better days as a younger man without grudges; a man who fought in World War II and realizes that too much time has passed without reconciliation. "The Straight Story" is a masterpiece of redemption. One problem: even after unanimous glowing reviews, Disney has failed to actively promote and advertise the film except for a small site on its web page. And they continue not to promote it despite the fact that the lead actor, Farnsworth, is considered a leading contender for the "Best Actor" category on Oscar night.

          Disney is adopting the same strategy Time-Warner did with "The Iron Giant." By limiting the release to only a handful of theatres nationwide, the movie is guaranteed to fail. When critics complain about the degrading content and quality of films, Disney will use this as their "token" example of "we tried, but nobody came" strategy, thus justifying their continuation of increasingly debased entertainment, giving the audience what "the industry" wants you to see, not what you want to see. At the same time, Disney/Miramax is promoting the decade's worst movie, with a large advertising budget and distribution to ten times as many theatres and in a few weeks it will be released in video stores with more hoopla, even though it did not garner great box office during its short theater run. That's another reason it is coming to video so soon, it's a sure sign it's a dog! In "Dogma" God is portrayed as a woman who comes to earth as an elderly man along with a profanity spouting "13th" apostle who complains he was killed for revealing the sex lives of the other apostles. Together, this "holy union" intervenes in the life of the story's heroine, a young girl working in an abortion clinic who claims to be a descendent of Mary and Joseph! Most major newspapers carried large display ads for "Dogma" and only the showtimes for "The Straight Story," if it was playing at all. The current strategy is an example of value manipulation and moral corruption at Disney. Consider that Disney chose to promote "The Straight Story" in only 153 theaters nationwide while "Dogma" contaminated 1,287 movie plexes during the same first week of December. The Evidence speaks for itself. No wonder Disney's financial picture continues its declining roller-coaster ride. Just more evidence of value manipulation and practices Disney doesn't want you to know. We can only hope that with the publicity Farnsworth will receive for his Academy Award nomination, that the people will demand it be shown in a theatre near them and Disney will be forced to capitualate and eat crow! Maybe someday they'll remember who they are supposed to be and what Walt had in mind: family entertainment the whole family can enjoy and share!

    Michael Vincent Boyer

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    Appreciation of Creation

       Today we continue with our new series in the search to uncover the wonderful treasures of the Church contained in the great Deposit of Faith, concentrating today on the second part of the catechesis on Creation as outlined in My Catholic Faith. For the 113th installment, see APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH

    installment 113: CREATION part two

          In the creation, God worked from the lower to the higher: He first made plants, and then He created the animals that would use them for food. Man was the crown of His earthly creations; all other works in the material universe, were for man's enjoyment and use.

          On the first day, God said: "Be light made," and light was made. Then He divided light from darkness, and called the light Day and the darkness Night.

          On the second day, God made the sky or firmament and divided the waters. The "Heaven" thus made is the material Heaven in which the stars, the moon, and the sun pursue their courses.

          On the third day, God made dry land to appear, bade it bring forth plants. In its account Holy Scripture concerns itself chiefly with our earth. Originally a fiery ball of gaseous matter, it gradually lost its heat, and land began to appear, apart from the sea. The moisture and warmth encouraged the development of organic life, the beginning of which had been implanted by God in the original primary matter.

          On the fourth day, God made the sun, moon, and stars. On the fifth day He made creeping things, birds, and fishes. On the sixth day, He made beasts and cattle. Finally, "God created man to His own image." Man is different from the animals in his possession of reason and free will. Surpassing them all in dignity, he is the crown of God's creations, the one for whom the world had been made ready.

          On the seventh day, God "rested…from all His work which He had done."

          On the seventh day God ceased to make new kinds of things. This "seventh day" continues to the present; everything that is "made" now is a development or a combination of already existing matter. It is true that "nothing is new under the sun. However, God continues to work in this sense: that He preserves and governs created things, and that He creats souls for those to be born.

          There is not the least contradiction between the account in the book of Genesis, and the latest discoveries of science, concerning the origin of matter. An apprent contradiction arises through the mistake of uninformed persons, who forget that the Church reads the Bible bearing in mind the principal object of the sacred writers.

          In writing the account of the creation, the sacred writer, under the guidance of the Holy Ghost, wished to impress upon the Jews (for whom he was writing) that there is but one God, and that He created the entire universe, lliving and lifeless. At that time the Jews were surrounded by idolatrous peoples who believed in the existence of many gods, and worshipped all kinds of creatures, even the sun, moon, planets, animals, and images.

          In pursusing his aim, the sacred writer used the form that was most effective, under the circumstances, to convey his meaning. It is a popular form: that is, it relates historical events in popular expression and order. The words used, while in themselves not scientific terms, are in conformity with ordinary speech, and understandable by ordinary people. In the same way today we say, "The sun rises in the east", even when we know through the investigations of science that the sun does not "rise" at all. Events are set down in an order not necessarily scientific, but suited to the understanding of a primitive people, and therefore of all mankind. We must remember that the sacred writer was not aiming to teach physics or anthropology, but Faith.

      Monday: Revelation and Science

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    January 25th Medjugorje Monthly Message

    NOTE: We respectfully recognize and accept the final authority regarding apparitions, locutions and prophecies presently being reported around the world rests with the Holy See of Rome and the Magisterium of Holy Mother Church to whose judjment we humbly and obediently submit.

      "Dear children! I call you, little children, to pray without ceasing. If you pray, you are closer to God and He will lead you on the way of peace and salvation. That is why I call you today to give peace to others. Only in God is there true peace. Open your hearts and become those who give a gift of peace and others will discover peace in you and through you and in this way you will witness God's peace and love which He gives you. Thank you for having responded to my call."

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    February 18-20, 2000     volume 11, no. 35
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