Occasionally, I’m going to try to write a brief “check-in” covering the readings from my “read the Bible and Catechism in a year” plan. This should help keep me accountable and get me to think a little more deeply about the readings. We’re four readings in. My wife and I currently do them together after our daughter is in bed; once the school year starts, this will probably change.
Yesterday, my wife and I began a reading plan we found in a pamphlet from the Coming Home Network to read through Sacred Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church in one year. Reading through Scripture is a valuable experience, and trying to read through the whole thing periodically makes sure that you read everything and see how it all fits together. This will be the first time I’ve tackled this with the full Catholic Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
The Lord of the World by Robert Hugh Benson ought to be called The Lords of the World, since it features more than one. It’s an obscure book about a science fiction dystopia. It was published in 1907 and is perhaps the first modern science fiction dystopia novel. Despite its relative obscurity, it’s been recommended by both Pope Francis and Pope Benedict XVI. So, what’s it like?
Few Westerners think of China and Japan when asked to name atrocities in World War II. Yet the rape of Nanjing by the Japanese is a horrible and brutal event from that war that rivals atrocities in the west. During the war, Japanese forces entered the city of Nanjing and, though the exact scale is hard to determine, perhaps hundreds of thousands of civilians were murdered and tens of thousands of women were raped. Only a tendency to focus on Western problems keeps us from fully realizing this catastrophe.
Lots of people wonder why young people leave the church. Most people that look at this question ask those that left why they chose to leave. They then analyze the data, and select reasons that seem satisfactory to them. Secular or liberal-minded folks conclude that the church is too backward on social issues like sexual orientation and the status of women. The church needs to “change” to “get with the times.” Progressive-minded folks conclude that the church is not accessible enough. More music, louder music! Create great social opportunities. Invite even the lukewarm to participate in everything. Above all, people ought not to feel judged or like there are rules they ought to abide by to be welcome. Maybe then people will come back.
My favorite movie about Jesuits (thus far) is The Mission. It’s got beautiful music, sweeping scenery and a simple, sad, but hopeful story about missionary priests who are willing to die for their faith. I like unambiguous stories that give me a clear side to root for. About two and a half years ago, I got to read Silence, a masterpiece by Shusaku Endo. Silence is a grim and complex book/film. The film adaptation is not the sort of feel good Christian movie that pastors urge their congregations to go see.
Silence was made by the acclaimed director Martin Scorcese. Even though you may not have heard of it (it was beloved by critics but a box office flop) it was a labor of love and packed with talented, well known actors. You really owe it to yourself to see it. It’s beautiful, thoughtful and uncomfortable; and the main character is deeply flawed.
This video is an epic, 2nd century sermon on the occasion of Holy Saturday:
If you don’t watch it first: this is the day when Christ conquers death and frees Adam and Eve and our ancestors from hell. A long, gloomy wait for his disciples, but a day of joy for those who came before Christ.
I grew up really enjoying the 1991 animated Beauty and the Beast. Now, in 2017, I had a chance to see Disney’s updated take on the fairy tale. These are great movies – beautifully animated, with excellent musical numbers, and an engaging story. However, there has been some debate about the morals of this new film. Having that in the back of my mind made me want to take the film apart a bit after viewing it, and so I have.