January 20, 2010


THEOLOGY OF THE BODY STUDY GROUP—Patrick Reidy (substitute for Fr. Loya)
[Sr. Helena’s hubritical comments in brackets]
January 9, 2010

Patrick also teaches TOB in SPANISH! He can be contacted at http://www.taborlife.org/ He also teaches moral theology to teens.

How can we bring the TOB message to youth?? Things have really changed. The way the Catholic Faith was taught in the past doesn’t work today. Pat teaches in a very good Catholic school where the families and the youth are all into the Catholic Faith and even the youth WANT to live it, but it’s still very, very hard.

Young people need at least two other voices backing up what their parents are saying: their school and their pastors. Kids have one ear to their parents and one ear to the culture, and the culture is very, very enticing.

There are different ways to give the TOB message. Pat thinks Fr. Loya has the best approach. The movie “The Patriot,” shows how a parent had to make choices about raising kids in a war environment. The young people growing up today are dealing with, being exposed to (sexually) stuff that people used to live their lives without ever even hearing about or knowing what these things were.

[Fr. Samuel Medley SOLT—campus minister on several high school/college campuses in Corpus Christi says that sex is ALL his young people want to talk about.]
It’s important that we don’t try to BE a young person with them, but show them that we can walk around in their world to bring them higher.
--Let them know that you DO know MORE than they know about these topics (and so does God/the Church)
--It’s safe to talk about this stuff

When Pat asks teens “Why doesn’t Church want pre-marital sex?” Average teen: “I don’t know.” Catholic teens: “It’s a sin, intrinsically evil.” Then he asks them: “Is this going to stop your buddy from taking his girlfriend upstairs at a party?” They realize that they need something better for themselves and their friends.

The teens AREN’T going to be all mature about it—they still giggle, make fun, etc., but they are growing and being equipped. When Pat walked into the auditorium at the high school where he teaches, the boys started chanting "TOB! TOB!'

3 tenets of John Paul II’s New Evangelization: 1) new ardor/zeal 2) new methods 3) new expressions

Tell students: we need a new way to approach all of Catholicism: Catholicism is about having the best life, being our best selves, getting the most out of life.

REDEFINE TERMS (keep redefining/redirecting when they use improperly):
Happiness—Have them find examples of what the culture says happiness is. The Catholic definition is “fulfilling your nature” (from the Greeks). You can’t be fulfilled until you know who you are and live accordingly.

The job of the Church is to make happy/joyful people. Saints were the happiest people. The Church should just be cranking out saints.

Person—triptych. Vatican II document: Gaudium et Spes # 24—only the person is made as an end in themselves (the opposite of love isn’t hate it’s use) / man only discovers his true self by making gift of self / only Jesus fully reveals man to himself

Love--If you want to find yourself, give yourself away. “Don’t give a gift, BE a gift.”


Many kids think they are the exact same as animals.
Teens might know something intuitively, but we need to equip them with language—and DRILL.
It’s not in the nature of a gift to expect something back. Gifts are freely given. (THAT’S THE DEF. OF LOVE.) And often it COSTS us.
We need to tell young people that the language is being hijacked from good philosophy, Catholicism, God.
Remember when “new Coke” came out? Why did they want to make a new one? To sell more. But it flopped—but the response was: “Classic Coke.” Same old coke, new packaging.
TEENS LOVE: “LANGUAGE OF THE BODY”!!!!!! TELLING THE TRUTH OR LYING WITH THE BODY. What speaks louder? THE BODY. “ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS.” You can do examples of how we can say one thing with our words, another with our body. “I’m so happy to see you.” “I’m not sick,” etc.
I like you. I love you.
I love you. I love you & want to spend the rest of my life with you.
I love you and want to spend the rest of my life with you. I want to give my life for you.
Do charades. Do an emotion (have cards and have them act them out to each other):ANGRY, FLIRTY, OVERJOYED
I can say ONE thing with my words, ONE with my body.
VIRGINITY is a negative and a positive. What’s the negative? Not partaking in something good.What’s the positive? Integrity of body and soul. (Body and soul are integrated.) So tell them: “In marriage, you’re not going to LOSE your virginity! You’re going to increase your integrity.”
Ask them if they know any married couples who waited till marriage? They don’t say they “lost” their virginity. Do any of them have any regrets? Gee, I wish I slept with more people so I could compare you to an old girlfriend/boyfriend and think about them when where we’re making love.
We don’t have to be GRAPHIC in our presentation of TOB. The biology is pretty simple. It’s not that hard. ;]
We need pre-emptive stuff, too. (Even if a kid has never heard a certain word YET….) This is a big objection to teaching TOB! [I believe in (about everything!): “You heard it first in the Catholic Church. In the proper context.”]
Parents are the “primary” teachers of “sex ed,” but doesn’t have to be exclusive. Other teachers should be supporting parents.
[ASK KIDS WHAT SATAN ATTACKS…(the most holy things).]
Every movie has the same plot (the hero). Why do we love it and keep going back? It’s stamped into our DNA. (Even the pagan religions.)
“supra-sensual”---JP2G’s term for the fact that the sensual/bodily points to something beyond the person (God). We should, in a sense, react to the sexual value of a person of the opposite sex. It’s what we do with that reaction.

How do you talk to young people who have "lost" their virginity? [“You can always start over” might sound like "just keep starting over.”] Ask WHERE HAVE I NOT FOUND THE DEEPER INTIMACY WITH GOD THAT I’M REALLY LONGING FOR?“The term ‘secondary virginity,’ isn’t that great because it makes it sound like you lost something, you’re second best, you’ll never be ‘as good.’” Actually, we can compromise our virginity even without having sex. It’s rather “restoring” your virginity. You CAN be whole again.

Katrina Zeno: long-term covenants with God always means:
--Shedding of blood (foreskin)
--Tearing of veil

If you’re not a good speaker, recommend books and Youtubes (Jason Evert for teens):

--“God’s Plan for You” (teens) His teens loved it! [Pauline Books & Media publication. Ahem.]
--“Real Love” (Marybeth Bonacci)
--pamphlets: Pure Love, Pure Manhood, Pure Womanhood (Jason Evert & Crystalina Evert)
--“Theology of His Body/Her Body” (Jason Evert)
--“Theology of the Body for Teens” (Ascension Press)
--“Theology of the Body for Teens” (also for Gr 7 & 8) DVD Fr. Tom Loya http://www.taborlife.org/ http://www.theologyofthebody.net/

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January 15, 2010


YY 1/2
The latest in quite a spate of bleak apocalyptic (and post-apocalyptic) films, “The Book of Eli” adds a new dimension. Eli (eye-candy Denzel Washington, altho’ a bit scruffy here) is a lone wanderer in a post-war-to-end-all-wars America. But his meanderings have a goal: go West. Actually, the whole movie feels like the Wild West, complete with gun-slinging, saloons, shootouts at high noon. In his backpack, Eli carries a precious Bible, the last on Earth. How he knows that, well, just go with it or you won’t enjoy the movie. And you assuredly won’t enjoy the movie if you don’t like violence. Lots of righteous, blood-spurting, creative violence with surround-sound sound effects. This is pure violence as pure entertainment. The folks in my theater were laughing at the worst of it. Not because it was ludicrous or because the audience was insensitive, but because, somehow, it was meant to be funny in some absurd way. Perhaps it’s really a sarcastic violence more than anything. There are several completely unnecessary and ill-placed F-bombs on the lips of the man who wants Eli’s Bible for nefarious reasons, Carnegie, (Gary Oldman being his excellent, villainous bad self) and his henchmen.

How could a Bible be used for evil? Well, here’s where “Eli” gets interesting. Some say the Bible was used to start the Big War, but without saying how. (Made me think of those fundamentalist Christians who are eager to initiate Armageddon in the Middle East so Jesus will come back.) Carnegie wants to use it to control “the minds and hearts” of the survivors. Any which way, the Word is powerful. And can make people powerful for good or not so good. It is a “two-edged sword” in more ways than one. “Eli” seems to be saying that the Word can be the blueprint for a just, kind, ethical society OR, perhaps, for a brain-washed, kept-down, homogeneous, controllable society. The Word of God (as He once put Himself in our hands as a helpless Baby, and is now in our hands as even more vulnerable Bread) can be used any way we choose. For now. The fact that the Detroit-based Hughes Brothers (twins!) made this film (one an atheist, one not), makes the story all the more intriguing. Are we detecting input from both?

It’s a kind of message film, but it’s clever. It makes you think. The rest of the movie? It’ll keep you hanging on to see what happens, but as one of our Samoan sisters (who’s a big movie buff) says: “You can always tell an American film from a European film. The American films are sooooo unrealistic!” But Denzel pulls it off as few others could.

In one way, “Eli” is about books. The future of books, the preservation of books (and literacy for that matter). But are books and even words sometimes being treated as “things,” as “objects” by Hollywood? Sci-fi and apocalyptic movies (e.g., “The Day After Tomorrow”) always dutifully mention and/or show all the classics that would have to be salvaged for civilization, but does anyone today even want to read books? If Hollywood cares so much about literature and books and words, could dialogue in films possibly be more nuanced, intelligent, thought-provoking, diverse, expressive? The “Bible-as-literature” is perhaps the best a pluralistic society can do, and we cannot deny the Bible as part of the fabric of the founding of America, but the Word of God is so much more. God demands our total selves, our total allegiance, like ancient Israel achieved at times in their history, and as our other siblings of Abraham, our Muslim brothers and sisters, remind us by their devotion.


--Who did I sit beside at the screening of “Eli”?? None other than the proprietors of Chicago’s own, all-natural, scrum-diddly-umptious ELI’S CHEESECAKE!!! (They were giving out free cheesecake at the end of the film.) I didn’t make the “Eli” connection till I completely left the cinema. Duuuuuuuuuh! http://www.elischeesecake.com/

--One can’t help but think of Haiti, looking at the bombed-out environs. And—speaking of Haiti--has not Pat Robertson borne out the fact that one can mold God and His Word into weapon with one’s tongue at least?

--What is with Hollywood’s obsession (besides box office) with Doomsday? It’s kind of scary, because Hollywood is often prescient in its subject matters….

--It’s a known fact that those in the upper echelons of Hollywood actually do have a penchant for collecting rare books.

--“Eli” gets off to a very slow start.

--Eli wears Mardi Gras beads.

--Shadows of the time of Ezra and Nehemiah in the Old Testament, when the Jewish people re-find the lost Law/Scriptures.

--The costumes? Very tailored, very chic “Apocalique,” (remember “Derelique” homeless fashions in “Zoolander”?). The chick with the broken shopping cart has a Cyndi Lauper vibe. And excessive use of “Is that you behind those Foster Grants?” pilot sunglasses.

--Machete vs. chainsaw? Goliath goes down.

--What’s valuable in the future?? Hot stock tip: Chapstick.

--Denzel Washington is just so great, isn’t he? One of the best actors of his generation, crowd pleasing, versatile, oozing integrity, raises the bar of any movie he graces. I read in the New York Times Magazine once that he projects the persona of the kind of man women trust, because they can tell he’s a “good man.”

--On second thought, the violence IS a bit ridiculous when nobody gets hurt. I wonder what our Iraq/Afghanistan vets think of this kind of portrayal of violence.

--From a Media Literacy point of view, is the outrĂ© violence just a money-making element or do the movie-makers feel it’s an intrinsic part of the work? Is violence the sugar to make the medicine of God’s Word go down?
--Like "Avatar," is exciting, entertaining violence being used to tell us violence isn't the way?

--I couldn’t help thinking: bread and circus, bread and circus. Is that where we are as a society? Have we just accepted violence at some fundamental level?

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January 8, 2010


The movie "Sherlock Holmes" is many things, as is the old boy himself. This new take on the world's most famous and favorite pipe-chomping sleuth is: a macabre-lite dark comedy; a psychological/crime/supernatural thriller; as well as an action-packed detective period-piece. Holmes (the always fabulous Robert Downey, Jr.) is an inventor, a recluse, a spy, a master of disguises, a scientist, a genius, an eccentric, a musician, a cold and calculating misanthrope, an able-bodied fighter (in some respects a hybrid of "Monk," "Psych" and "House"). He teams up with a youthful Dr. Watson (Jude Law) to solve mysteries (crimes) that interest him and thus do good for England and humanity.

Their friendship is a type of mutual admiration society, though Watson always seems worse for the wear due to their acquaintance. The only thing that comes between them is Watson's impending marriage (which will break up their well-oiled team), so Holmes does some obvious and ill-appreciated (by Watson) sabotaging of the relationship. But Holmes' life is not devoid of romance either. An old flame (Rachel McAdams) with a shadowy, wrong-side-of-the-law past resurfaces and unsettles Holmes in more ways than one, setting him off on what turns out to be a world-saving endeavor.

What's in it for Holmes? It's all a very serious game for him (and Watson can't resist the lure of whatever his friend is up to, either). But Holmes also seems to feel the pull of the dark side and must keep himself in check. The new "SH" involves lots of chases and firing of pistols and oh-so-debonair Victorian haberdashery punctuated by clever, witty--although ear-straining--British banter. What better way to introduce a new generation to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's indelible, quirky investigator? If the public votes with their wallets, there will be sequels ("SH" ends as a very ripe cliffhanger, or "suspension bridge hanger"). If it works, director Guy Ritchie got away with a rather "intelligent" movie. It's great fun to listen to Holmes spilling about what clues he uncannily observes and puts together, as well as his mental sparring with the good doctor.

In the end, reason, logic and good science (used in the employ of the good) defeats fear, hocus-pocus and techno-madness. Elementary, my dear Watson.


--Downey: not a bad accent, that.

--It took some getting used to Downey's New York Italian looks and diminutive body-type filling in for Holmes, but in the end, it flies. As much as I loved watching Basil Rathbone as a kid, I tried it again recently, and it is insufferable.

--I think if we get sequels (j'espere!) the characters can be developed even more.

--Downey has turned Holmes into a bit of a magician in the way he deports himself. Nice.

--What's with the, like, 37 references to the "ginger midget"? This is especially unfunny after "South Park" fans (zombies) beat up red-headed kids at a school in California.

--There is a bit of a comeback of all things Victorian these days. See this insightful article about "steampunk" (named for all those steam-powered pistons, gears and whirl-a-gigs on Victorian machines): http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1945343,00.html

--The soundtrack tells the story so well! It's like a story in stereo: visual and audial! You could close your eyes and write your own story to it.

--The surroundings are perfectly dripping, drab, dingy, dreary, drizzly and Dickensian.

--How come all the fight scenes have IRISH music playing?

--WAY too many ravens.

--(Lord Blackwood) It just dawned on me that the devil never promises what he can't give. He only promises what he CAN give in THIS life. He never even falsely promises eternal life—the thing we're all supposed to want. Only Jesus promises (and delivers) eternal life. And we are so STUPID that we're willing to settle for this life only. Blast! How dumb can we be? Thank God HE still loves us. BTW: "Revelation 1:18" is about JESUS—may He always be praised--not Old Scratch.

--Movie is a tad long. That really long fight scene with the French giant and the ship slipping into the water was boring and took us out of the story.

--Ooooh! It just dawned on me—when SH sees Mary's ruby-diamond necklace in the rubble, was that plot point ever tied up? Or is that for a sequel? I'll betcha Mary is T-R-O-U-B-L-E. I'll betcha she's a plant of…curse you, Professor Moriarty!!!

--The wicked-good Eddie Marsan plays his great top-hatted grouch!

--Why didn't Lord Coward just shoot SH through the smoke? Puh-lease….

--Although I liked this movie, a review on www.rottentomatoes.com called it "SH for the ADD generation...jerking and twisting..." which I totally agree with!

January 7, 2010


Wise Men Were Truly Wise, Says Pope
Notes Willingness to Mix Science and Faith

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 6, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The Wise Men from the East were not afraid of what would today be considered the "contamination" of science by the Word of God, says Benedict XVI. Instead, they were truly wise, avoiding self-sufficiency and ready to seek answers from others. The Pope reflected today on the true wisdom of the Magi when he addressed those gathered in St. Peter's Square to pray the midday Angelus."The Evangelist Matthew […] stresses how the Magi arrived in Jerusalem following a star, seen at its rising and interpreted as a sign of the birth of the king proclaimed by the prophets, that is, of the Messiah," the Holy Father said. "Arriving in Jerusalem, however, the Magi were in need of the indications of the priests and scribes to know exactly the place where they should go, namely, Bethlehem, the city of David. The star and sacred Scriptures were the two lights that guided the way of the Magi, who appear to us as models of genuine seekers of truth."
The Pontiff noted how the Magi were wise men who "scrutinized the stars and knew the history of peoples.""They were men of science in a broad sense," he continued, "who observed the cosmos regarding it almost as a great book full of divine signs and messages for man."But, the Pope affirmed, their learning, "far from making them self-sufficient, was open to further divine revelations and appeals. In fact, they were not ashamed to ask for instructions from the religious leaders of the Jews. They could have said: We can do it alone, we have no need of anyone, avoiding, according to our mentality today, every 'contamination' between science and the Word of God.
"Instead, the Magi listened to the prophecies and welcomed them and, no sooner were they on the way to Bethlehem, than they again saw the star, almost as a confirmation of the perfect harmony between human seeking and divine Truth, a harmony that filled the hearts of these genuine wise men with joy."SurprisedThe search undertaken by the Magi culminated "when they found themselves before 'the Child with Mary, his Mother,'" Benedict XVI added, noting that this was a further indication of their humility."They could have remained disappointed, even scandalized," he said. "Instead, as true wise men, they were open to the mystery manifested in a surprising way, and with their symbolic gifts, demonstrated that they recognized in Jesus the King and Son of God."The Pope pointed to a final detail to confirm "the unity between intelligence and faith: It is the fact that 'warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.'"
"It would have been natural to return to Jerusalem, to Herod's palace and the Temple, to proclaim their discovery," he said. "Instead, the Magi, who chose the Child as their sovereign, protected him in concealment, in keeping with Mary's style, or better, with that of God himself. And thus, as they appeared, they disappeared in silence, content, but also changed by the encounter with Truth. They had discovered a new face of God, a new royalty: that of love."The Holy Father concluded with a prayer to the Mother of Bethlehem: "May the Virgin Mary, model of true wisdom, help us to be genuine seekers of the truth of God, capable of living always the profound harmony that exists between reason and faith, science and revelation."

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