Monthly Archives: December 2012

“At The End of the Day,” this is the best movie I’ve ever seen. Or, as Sr. Rose Pacatte, FSP, put it, “This is the Gospel.”

29 years ago, give or take, I heard Barry Manilow sing “Memory,” and it changed my life. 21 years ago, I heard Barry Manilow sing another song from a musical, and it also changed my life. That song was “Bring Him Home,” and it inspired me to go out and get a _Les Miserables_ soundtrack. When I was 6 years old, but already quite worn and worldly from 6 years of pain, “Memory” spoke to me. Given similarity of style and popularity, _Les Miserables_, by Claude-Michel Schönberg, Alain Boublil, Jean-Marc Natel, Herbert Kretzmer, and Trevor Nunn (who also wrote the lyrics to “Memory”), is often grouped with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s shows. After all, Cameron Mackintosh produced all the great Broadway/West End “hits” of the 80s: _Phantom_, _Cats_ and _Les Mis_. Trevor Nunn directed both _Cats_ and _Les Miserables_ and contributed to incidental lyrics of both (as well as winning the competition to write “Memory,” beating out Tim Rice and Richard Stilgoe).

Where “Memory” embodies my deep loneliness and hope for a better life in Heaven, “Bring Him Home” has always symbolized my constant shadow of mortality. For my parents, it represented their fear of my passing and hopes for me to experience a fuller life in this world–Mom used to always say, somewhat facetiously, “I hate this song.” For me, I would think of my little nephews (now grown up), and how I didn’t expect to make it past my teens. Today, it represents my hopes for my own children’s future as I face my mortality in a more impending way than ever.

So, today, I sat in a theater with my two oldest girls, who have watched the two concert videos with me several times, and I tried to hold the tears in. They burst out when we heard Hugh Jackman singing “Bring Him Home,” and I grabbed Allie’s hand.

Back in 2004, I said _Phantom of the Opera_ and _Passion of the Christ_ were the two best movies I’ve ever seen. THIS is, hands down, the best movie I’ve ever seen, and combines the best qualities of both those films, plus some. As Sr. Rose Pacatte put it, “this is the Gospel.” I kept crossing myself, saying Kyrie’s, saying Reqiuem aeternams, etc., while I was watching it.

For a movie that ought not to have much room for spoilers, there are a couple big ones. Here’s a hint: my dad’s favorite line from the novel is Cosette saying, “Should we call a priest?” and Jean Valjean, looking at the candle sticks, says, “No need. I already have one.”

There’s an addition of a symbolic flagpole that comes to represent the Cross. It is arguably the most Catholic movie I’ve ever seen. They amp up, rather than downplay, the religious themes of the book and the stage musical. The candlesticks have a wonderful symbolic role. Javert’s suicide is exactly how it’s described in the book, save for the quotation from Victor Hugo’s narration I love: “How to turn one’s resignation in to God?” It’s right at this whirlpool in front of Notre Dame.

I stand by my original assessment from the previews and the album that Russell Crowe’s Javert reminds me of Glenn Close’s Norma Desmond: he’s not *bad*, and acting wise he’s quite good, but his singing is weak, and they obviously changed many of his parts to suit his voice. Hugh Jackman is AMAZING.

As I expected, lots of people applauded, live-theater style, both when the credits began to role and as the names flashed on the screen. There was a roar when Colm Wilkinson’s name popped up, even though it was at the end of the credits.

I was upset that, just as they amplified the religious themes, they amplified the political themes. It would be nice if they acknowledged that the July 1832 uprising didn’t get any support because the vast majority (upwards of 75%) of the French population realized they were better off under monarchy, and they didn’t want to see a repeat of the Reign of Terror.

They work in a lot of the stuff the stage musical leaves out: Marius’s grandfather (he even has a couple singing parts!), young Eponine being spoiled, and most importantly Valjean and Cosette hiding out in the convent. I don’t remember where Hugo identifies the convent as being, but the nuns are clearly Daughters of Charity, which would make it Rue de Bac, St. Catherine Laboure’s convent.

In the book, Valjean picks up Cosette on St. Nicholas Day, which is made obvious in the movie obviously to make it a “Christmas movie,” but unfortunately not as positive a view of St. Nicholas Day as the book uses. In the book, Eponine and Azelma (who is still absent–in the book, Azelma is the only Thenardier kid who survives, and she and her father go off to America and strike it rich as slave traders) get a coin and piece of fruit in their shoe every year, and Cosette gets a lump of coal. He also describes the toy store across the street. In the book, he stays overnight at the inn, and in the morning of St. Nick’s Day, Cosette gets a very expensive coin and some gifts, and Eponine and Azemla have coal! And then when Valjean picks her up, he takes her on a shopping spree at the toy store.

Also, one theme neither the musical nor the movie express is how Valjean in in the book is always sincere in his promises to Javert. At first, he takes Fantine’s word that the Thenardiers are caring for Cosette, and he plans to give them all his money, then turn himself in. When he finds out Cosette’s being abused, he decides he must care for her, and that’s why he breaks his promise to turn himself in. So he keeps hoping to get to where he can be sure Cosette’s safe, and plans to turn himself in. When they move in the convent, he poses as her father and as the groundskeeper’s brother, and pays for her tuition at the school. He hopes she’ll grow up to become a nun, and plans to turn himself in when she enters the convent. Instead, when she turns sixteen, she says she wants to see the city, so he buys a house and they start the life we see in the second half of the musical. Thus, in the book, he’s not jealous of Marius as the musical depicts but happy that Marius represents a chance to fulfill his promise to Fantine so he can then fulfill his promise to Javert. He’s quite sincere when he tells Javert where to find him, but Javert at that point is moved by compassion, confronts his conscience over realizing God values mercy more than justice, and obviously offs himself.

They use my favorite instrumental (“Bring Him Home,” when the stage version shows all the bodies) and use it for an original scene about Javert that is deeply moving.

There *was* some graphic content that made me wince, but thankfully the girls didn’t understand it. The sewer scene was a little too graphic, and I was not the only person who audibly gagged, but horribly symbolic, as well.

While I hope to see it again with Mary Hathaway tomorrow, it was special seeing it with Allie and Gi. I started crying during “Bring Him Home” and hardly stopped. I started clinging to Allie’s hands.

I had forgotten that Valjean’s alias is “Monsieur Madeleine,” since it’s never used in the stage musical. When I *did* know that, I didn’t know that “Madeleine” is French for “Magdalene.”

Two scenes struck me as cinematic allusions to _Passion of the Christ_: Valjean carrying the flagpole at the opening (which was a clear Christ-reference in general but struck me in its grittiness), and the women scrubbing the blood off the street in “Turning,” which reminds me of the BVM & holy women scrubbing the Precious Blood off the torture room floor in _The Passion_.

I kept thinking of John of the Cross and the whole seeing from God’s eyes/Crucifix from up above thing. Every time Valjean or Javert was praying, most of the shots were either from above or deep close ups or whatever so you were looking on him from God’s perspective.

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Veneration of the Mysteries of the Sacred Infancy

Infant Jesus King and Priest000O God, come to my assistance!
O Lord, make haste to help me!
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

Our Father . . .

I.
Jesus, sweetest Child, You came down from the bosom of the Father for our salvation and were conceived by the Holy Spirit. You did not abhor the Virgin’s womb, and, being the Word made flesh, took upon Yourself the form of a servant. Have mercy on us.
Have mercy on us, Child Jesus, have mercy on us.
Hail Mary . . .

II.
Jesus, sweetest Child, by means of Your Virgin Mother You visited Saint Elizabeth. You filled Your forerunner, John the Baptist, with Your Holy Spirit and sanctified him in his mother’s womb. Have mercy on us.
Have mercy on us, Child Jesus, have mercy on us.
Hail Mary . . .

III.
Jesus, sweetest Child, You were enclosed for nine months in Your Mother’s womb. During this time You were looked for with eager expectation by the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph, and offered by God the Father for the salvation of the world. Have mercy on us.
Have mercy on us, Child Jesus, have mercy on us.
Hail Mary . . .

IV.
Jesus, sweetest Child, You were born in Bethlehem of the Virgin Mary, wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger. You were announced by Angels and visited by shepherds. Have mercy on us.
Have mercy on us, Child Jesus, have mercy on us.
Hail Mary . . .

All honor, laud and glory be,
O Jesus, Virgin-born, to Thee;
All glory as is ever meet,
To Father and to Paraclete. Amen.
Christ is near to us.
O Come, let us adore Him.
Our Father . . .

V.
Jesus, sweetest Child, You were wounded after eight days in Your circumcision and called by the glorious Name of Jesus. Thus, by Your Name and by Your blood You were foreshown as the Savior of the world. Have mercy on us.
Have mercy on us, Child Jesus, have mercy on us.
Hail Mary . . .

VI.
Jesus, sweetest Child, You were manifested by the leading of a star to the three Wise Men. You were worshipped in the arms of Your Mother and presented with the mystic gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Have mercy on us.
Have mercy on us, Child Jesus, have mercy on us.
Hail Mary . . .

VII.
Jesus, sweetest Child, You were presented in the Temple by Your Virgin Mother, taken up in Simeon’s arms, and revealed to Israel by Anna, a prophetess. Have mercy on us.
Have mercy on us, Child Jesus, have mercy on us.
Hail Mary . . .

VIII.
Jesus, sweetest Child, You were sought by wicked Herod to be slain, and You were carried with Your Mother into Egypt by Saint Joseph. You were rescued from the cruel slaughter and You were glorified by the praises of the martyred Innocents. Have mercy on us.
Have mercy on us, Child Jesus, have mercy on us.
Hail Mary . . .

All honor, laud and glory be,
O Jesus, Virgin-born, to Thee;
All glory as is ever meet,
To Father and to Paraclete. Amen.
Christ is near to us.
O Come, let us worship.
Our Father . . .

IX.
Jesus, sweetest Child, You dwelt in Egypt with most holy Mary and the Patriarch, Saint Joseph, until the death of Herod. Have mercy on us.
Have mercy on us, Child Jesus, have mercy on us.
Hail Mary . . .

X.
Jesus, sweetest Child, You returned form Egypt to the land of Israel with Your parents, suffering many hardships on the way. You entered into the city of Nazareth. Have mercy on us.
Have mercy on us, Child Jesus, have mercy on us.
Hail Mary . . .

XI.
Jesus, sweetest Child, You dwelt most holily in the holy house at Nazareth, in subjection to Your parents. You were wearied by poverty and toil, and You increased in wisdom, age, and grace. Have mercy on us.
Have mercy on us, Child Jesus, have mercy on us.
Hail Mary . . .

XII.
Jesus, sweetest Child, You were brought to Jerusalem at twelve years of age. You were sought by Your parents sorrowing and found with joy after three days in the midst of the Doctors. Have mercy on us.
Have mercy on us, Child Jesus, have mercy on us.
Hail Mary . . .

All honor, laud and glory be,
O Jesus, Virgin-born, to Thee;
All glory as is ever meet,
To Father and to Paraclete. Amen.

The Word as made flesh, alleluia.
And dwelt among us, alleluia.

Let us pray. Almighty and everlasting God, Lord of heaven and earth, You revealed Yourself to little ones. Grant, we beg You, that we may venerate with due honor the sacred mysteries of Your Son, the Child Jesus, and copy them with due imitation. May we thus be enabled to enter the kingdom of heaven which You have promised to little children. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Word was made flesh.
And dwelt among us.

Veneration of the Mysteries of the Sacred Infancy

nativity-scene

Veneration of the Mysteries of the Holy Infancy

O God, come to my assistance!
O Lord, make haste to help me!
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

Our Father . . .

I.
Jesus, sweetest Child, You came down from the bosom of the Father for our salvation and were conceived by the Holy Spirit. You did not abhor the Virgin’s womb, and, being the Word made flesh, took upon Yourself the form of a servant. Have mercy on us.
Have mercy on us, Child Jesus, have mercy on us.
Hail Mary . . .

II.
Jesus, sweetest Child, by means of Your Virgin Mother You visited Saint Elizabeth. You filled Your forerunner, John the Baptist, with Your Holy Spirit and sanctified him in his mother’s womb. Have mercy on us.
Have mercy on us, Child Jesus, have mercy on us.
Hail Mary . . .

III.
Jesus, sweetest Child, You were enclosed for nine months in Your Mother’s womb. During this time You were looked for with eager expectation by the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph, and offered by God the Father for the salvation of the world. Have mercy on us.
Have mercy on us, Child Jesus, have mercy on us.
Hail Mary . . .

IV.
Jesus, sweetest Child, You were born in Bethlehem of the Virgin Mary, wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger. You were announced by Angels and visited by shepherds. Have mercy on us.
Have mercy on us, Child Jesus, have mercy on us.
Hail Mary . . .

All honor, laud and glory be,
O Jesus, Virgin-born, to Thee;
All glory as is ever meet,
To Father and to Paraclete. Amen.
Christ is near to us.
O Come, let us adore Him.
Our Father . . .

V.
Jesus, sweetest Child, You were wounded after eight days in Your circumcision and called by the glorious Name of Jesus. Thus, by Your Name and by Your blood You were foreshown as the Savior of the world. Have mercy on us.
Have mercy on us, Child Jesus, have mercy on us.
Hail Mary . . .

VI.
Jesus, sweetest Child, You were manifested by the leading of a star to the three Wise Men. You were worshipped in the arms of Your Mother and presented with the mystic gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Have mercy on us.
Have mercy on us, Child Jesus, have mercy on us.
Hail Mary . . .

VII.
Jesus, sweetest Child, You were presented in the Temple by Your Virgin Mother, taken up in Simeon’s arms, and revealed to Israel by Anna, a prophetess. Have mercy on us.
Have mercy on us, Child Jesus, have mercy on us.
Hail Mary . . .

VIII.
Jesus, sweetest Child, You were sought by wicked Herod to be slain, and You were carried with Your Mother into Egypt by Saint Joseph. You were rescued from the cruel slaughter and You were glorified by the praises of the martyred Innocents. Have mercy on us.
Have mercy on us, Child Jesus, have mercy on us.
Hail Mary . . .

All honor, laud and glory be,
O Jesus, Virgin-born, to Thee;
All glory as is ever meet,
To Father and to Paraclete. Amen.
Christ is near to us.
O Come, let us worship.
Our Father . . .

IX.
Jesus, sweetest Child, You dwelt in Egypt with most holy Mary and the Patriarch, Saint Joseph, until the death of Herod. Have mercy on us.
Have mercy on us, Child Jesus, have mercy on us.
Hail Mary . . .

X.
Jesus, sweetest Child, You returned form Egypt to the land of Israel with Your parents, suffering many hardships on the way. You entered into the city of Nazareth. Have mercy on us.
Have mercy on us, Child Jesus, have mercy on us.
Hail Mary . . .

XI.
Jesus, sweetest Child, You dwelt most holily in the holy house at Nazareth, in subjection to Your parents. You were wearied by poverty and toil, and You increased in wisdom, age, and grace. Have mercy on us.
Have mercy on us, Child Jesus, have mercy on us.
Hail Mary . . .

XII.
Jesus, sweetest Child, You were brought to Jerusalem at twelve years of age. You were sought by Your parents sorrowing and found with joy after three days in the midst of the Doctors. Have mercy on us.
Have mercy on us, Child Jesus, have mercy on us.
Hail Mary . . .

All honor, laud and glory be,
O Jesus, Virgin-born, to Thee;
All glory as is ever meet,
To Father and to Paraclete. Amen.

The Word as made flesh, alleluia.
And dwelt among us, alleluia.

Let us pray. Almighty and everlasting God, Lord of heaven and earth, You revealed Yourself to little ones. Grant, we beg You, that we may venerate with due honor the sacred mysteries of Your Son, the Child Jesus, and copy them with due imitation. May we thus be enabled to enter the kingdom of heaven which You have promised to little children. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Word was made flesh.
And dwelt among us.

Infant of Prague Novena, Day 9

Mary with Infant of Prague at OLA Birmingham 08052000

O Miraculous Infant Jesus, prostrate before Your sacred Image, we beseech You to cast a merciful look on our troubled hearts. Let Your tender heart so inclined to pity be softened by our prayers, and grant us that grace which we so ardently implore.
Take from us all affliction and despair, all trials and misfortunes with which we are laden. For Your sacred Infancy’s sake hear our prayers and send us consolation and aid, that we may praise You with the Father and the Holy Spirit forever and ever. Amen.

Worship in the Name of the Divine Infant, in order to win deliverance from purgatory.

Aspiration
I look upon You as a small helpless child, forgetting Your Divinity. You are the true God, the same as the Father; the Blessed Virgin is Your true Mother, being so rightfully called the Mother of God. You are pleased when we honor Your Mother because You love her. Grant us the privilege of worshiping Your own Divine Heart. In the name of this, Your Immaculate and Most Beloved Heart, be merciful unto me.

Prayer
I am afraid that I will have to stay for a long time in purgatory, because I am lukewarm in my repentance and much too slow in gaining all graces. Once there, I will not be able to do anything on my behalf and will have to depend on the prayers of others. The dead are quickly forgotten.
Therefore, I beg of You today, my dearest Jesus, and in the name of Your purest Childhood, deliver me son from the pain and loneliness of purgatory. Amen.

Infant of Prague Novena, Day 8

Infant
O Miraculous Infant Jesus, prostrate before Your sacred Image, we beseech You to cast a merciful look on our troubled hearts. Let Your tender heart so inclined to pity be softened by our prayers, and grant us that grace which we so ardently implore.
Take from us all affliction and despair, all trials and misfortunes with which we are laden. For Your sacred Infancy’s sake hear our prayers and send us consolation and aid, that we may praise You with the Father and the Holy Spirit forever and ever. Amen.

Adore devoutly the feet of the Infant Jesus, that you may receive merciful judgement.

Aspiration
Hail, O blessed feet of my Infant Jesus! During the lonesome long years You remained unharmed, You were forgotten. But now You are honored and praised to the great fear of Your enemies. Your holy feet walked many thousand steps to find the lost sheep and to bring them back. How many a hard and difficult step did You take for me during the thirty-three years of Your earthly life? I am grateful for every one of them now and forever. Grant that they were not walked in vain.

Prayer
O Jesus, the Heavenly Father gave You the power and the judgment. Oh, that You could be my merciful, instead of severe, judge. Grant me the mercy to be reminded of the last judgment many times so that I may serve You truly and avoid YOur condemnation. In the name of YOur Holy Infancy, I pray: Do not be my judge; be my Savior.

Infant of Prague, Day 7

Infant Jesus Hands
O Miraculous Infant Jesus, prostrate before Your sacred Image, we beseech You to cast a merciful look on our troubled hearts. Let Your tender heart so inclined to pity be softened by our prayers, and grant us that grace which we so ardently implore.
Take from us all affliction and despair, all trials and misfortunes with which we are laden. For Your sacred Infancy’s sake hear our prayers and send us consolation and aid, that we may praise You with the Father and the Holy Spirit forever and ever. Amen.

SEVENTH DAY

Honor the breast of the Infant Jesus and you shall receive a blessed hour of death.

Aspiration
As the heretic soldiers ventured to throw Your Miraculous Image in dust and dirt hatefully and furiously, it was Your omnipotence, O most wondrous Infant Jesus, by which the breast of the image remained unharmed, although made of wax. Who can believe that a statue made from wax, so fragile and tender, could remain undamaged? But this is the way it was.

What other meaning could this have but Your future exaltation? “The Lord upholds all that falls and raises up all those that are bowed down.” This is the case with Your Image and with You Yourself.

Prayer
O merciful Infant Jesus! I come to You to pray for a happy and blessed hour of death. When my last hour approaches, please come to me. Also let Your Holy Mother and Saint Joseph bstay with me. Lessen my pain and my fear, let me conquer all temptations successfully, and be merciful unto me that I may gladly give my earthly life in hopes for eternal life and reward, and absolve my sins.

It’s about responsibility.

We hear it over and over when a catastrophe like Sandy Hook occurs: “Ban guns!” “Ban video games!” and so forth.
What about personal responsibility? What about teaching morality?

The problem with Liberalism–and in this case I mean *all* liberalism, or humanism, the philosophy of the Enlightenment (i.e., “conservatism” used to mean resisting Modernism)–is that it’s a philosophy that denies personal responsibility. Because the Enlightenment teaches that people are fundamentally good–denying the dogma of Original Sin–Enlightenment thinkers are constantly looking for someone to “blame” for the behaviors we call “evil.” This is even more with the modern day “Left,” but it’s also true of the “Right,” and both sides have their pet “causes” they try to blame for acts of catastrophic evil.

Despite those atheists who try to say religion is the cause of evil (a perfectly acceptable Enlightenment argument–and, btw, as much as I love _Les Miserables_, it’s good to remember the novel was once on the Index, and for good reason), when one looks at the history of the world *before* Christ, and the changes Christianity has made in the world and in people, one has to say, “Where would be without Christ’s grace?”

Henry Nouwen tells the story about someone attacking him for allegedly “unChristian” behavior (I love how some people are quick to “judge” others on this vague notion of “unChristian behavior” but say “judge not” when it comes to clearly defined moral principles), and he says, “imagine what I’d be like if I weren’t a man of faith.” One of the things I keep thinking of since Sandy Hook is the Crusades. Here were men with Sacramental Grace, Catholics who were supposedly catechized, and they engaged in horrific acts which, whatever the justification of the wars originally, clearly violated “Just War” principles and were condemned by the Popes. The question should not be “why do people do evil,” but “why don’t people commit atrocities like this more often?”

Of course, we do. 2000-4000 children a day are murdered in the US, and nobody cares. You don’t even see “pro-life” presidents crying on TV and demanding change. You don’t see people raising a hue and cry over how abortion needs to end now.

My kids were asking questions about ratings for games and movies. “What does ‘M’ mean?” “What does ‘R’ mean?” I said, in soapbox mode, “In theory, they mean only adults are supposed to see them. In practice, they mean absolutely nothing.”

I explained that movie ratings are based upon a weird number system: so many occurrences of one swear word mean “R” and less than that is “PG-13,” but another swear word can be said a bunch of times and just be a PG, etc. Sometimes, a movie like _The Passion of the Christ_ gets an “R” and a movie gets a “G” or “PG” that anyone with an ounce of a moral compass would insist should have a PG-13 or R.

On the other hand, the ratings don’t even have any “power,” because parents and other adults DON’T PAY ANY ATTENTION. We had a great party the other night with members of our homeschooling group. A lot of the conversation revolved around _The Hobbit_ and _Les Miserables_ and, by extension, ratings and how to deal with children and media. We all had slightly different views on parenting and popular culture, but what we all agreed on was our responsibility to protect and form our children (obviously, or we wouldn’t be homeschooling).

One mom said how her nephew watches anything he pleases, and it’s problematic when her son goes to visit at her brother’s house. One time, her brother said, in astonishment, “He actually said, ‘I’m not allowed to watch that.’ I can’t believe he said that!” He was surprised because he just expected his son to always sneak around and do what he wants.

A few years ago, I happened to read an article about how some activist group, using the “buy stock” boycotting strategy, got a Catholic priest on the board of Best Buy, and he got it established as policy that clerks must ask for ID and only sell “R” rated movies and “M” rated games to adults. Just a few days after reading this, I happened to be in Best Buy and saw it in practice.

A little boy was in line in front of me. There was a woman behind him, and while they were of different races, I assumed she was the adult in charge of him, since the notion of a child apparently around 10 years old shopping by himself is already strange to me. The kid had a copy of one of the Wayans _Scary Movie_ films. The cashier told him he could not buy the DVD because he was under 18, and he had to get an adult. So he said he’d be right back, and she held up the line for him. As the rest of us waited, he returned with a young woman whom I believe was his sister, not his mother.

She grumbled about being inconvenienced, and instead of seriously questioning why the child wanted to buy the movie, or doing the responsible thing and telling him he shouldn’t, she instead complained to the cashier for inconveniencing her. The cashier explained apologetically that it was policy, with a tone of agreement that she thought the policy was stupid, and the woman complained some more. She at one point nominally turned to the boy and said something like, “Why do you want to buy a movie called _Scary Movie_, anyway?”
“It’s not REALLY scary. It’s funny, and I already saw it at a friend’s house.”
“OK.”

That was it.
1) How would one see the humor in a parody movie *unless* one had already seen at least some of the movies it was parodying?
2) If I had to choose one or the other, I’d rather my children see a ‘scary’ movie than a Wayans style comedy.
3) The ever-present danger of the “friend’s house,” and the problem that arises from placing one’s children in the care of irresponsible adults.
4) Why didn’t this “responsible adult,” whoever she was, have the slightest interest in protecting the kid’s soul?

Indeed, when adults *do* censor kids’ viewing, it often has little to do with moral formation and simply has to do with avoiding nightmares, or some such nonsense.

That’s what’s wrong with America, right there. That’s why we have events like Sandy Hook. And it’s something you’re not going to legislate easily in this country. If there’s an amendment we need to change to prevent mass murders, it’s not the Second: it’s the First.

Unless our government starts talking about Morality, which means Natural Law, which means the Catholic Church (see Benedict XVI’s Caritas et Veritate), this will continue to happen.

Unless families start taking real care for the moral upbringing of their children–their #1 duty and obligation as families-things like Sandy Hook will continue to happen. And that means various things. It means parents must be vigilant. It means parents must be very careful about who their kids’ friends are and who their own friends are. When kids see their parents engaging in or tolerating the very behavior they criticize in their children, it creates a double standard. It means questioning whether it’s safe to send their kids to public school or even parochial school, not because of the physical danger posed by the 1 in 1,000,000 chance a mass shooting will happen, but the very real and ever present spiritual danger posed by 8 year olds who read _Twilight_ (or worse) and play “vampires versus werewolves” on the playground.

I have a good friend who won’t let his children go to public restrooms unescorted, not just because of concern over perverts, but because he worries they’ll read the graffiti on the walls. We were dining together in November, and his daughters kept asking to use the bathroom. He was suspicious, and finally got his daughter to admit there was a TV in the restroom that they were watching.

All parents can and should be that vigilant. What’s more important: your children having a “college fund” or their immortal souls? Not to mention the damage a lot of material goods can do to our souls. Oh, wait. It’s impossible to risk someone’s soul, because people think Jesus is just gonna forgive absolutely everything they do and let them come straight into Heaven, and all that stuff about Sacraments and Penances and Purgatory is just a bunch of made-up Catholic nonsense. Jesus is a nice guy hippie dude who just wants everyone to have a good time, and He’ll understand because we’re doing it out of love. St. Augustine *did* say, “Love and do as you will,” right? (No, he didn’t: he said “love your duty and then do what comes of that”).

I have, of course, addressed this topic frequently, as I did in this post, where I quoted the actual version of an often misquoted story about St. Pio of Pietrelcina. A couple who were sad that their sons were all in jail asked him for a blessing. “I absolutely refuse to bless you! You didn’t pull in the reins when your children were growing up, so don’t come along now when they are in jail and ask for my blessing.” Bl. Louis Martin would not let his daughter’s read the newspaper (of course, in an example of how such absolute bans can backfire, his daughter St. Therese snuck around to read the newspaper to follow the case of the murderer Pranzine, whom she helped get into Heaven). Holy Mother Teresa of Avila was bothered by some lifelong sin habit that she never specifically discloses. Some insist that it was scruples, but whatever it was, she implies in her _Life_ it was a sin against chastity–and she said that despite her temptations, she never crossed certain lines because she did not want to bring scandle to her family–she once got up the nerve to tell her father, and he practically disowned her.

Why can’t we have that style of parenting today? Why have parents become so permissive, so afraid of actually rearing their children? You can ban whatever you like, but until *that* changes, our society will just see worse and worse violence. After all, children who are not taught a modicum of self-control are not going to care about what the government bans, either. They’re just going to want it all the more because it’s banned.