Tag Archives: faith and reason

“Building a New World”: exploring human and spiritual issues through film

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“Building a New World” is new initiative Interdisciplinary Centre  for Social Communications of the Pontifical Gregorian University (Rome, Italy) beginning today, Friday, 2 March.

This project is focused on film and the power film has in our lives. The premise is: a good film liberates, forms and calls us to a new way of seeing and engaging in reality. Therefore, the good people at the Gregorian are exploring how a good movie or documentary can invite people to greatness through the imagination and research how a poorly written movie with mediocre images can severely handicap one’s openness to the true, the beautiful and the good. Just think of the good Father Robert Barron’s “Catholicism” project is doing for those learning the Catholic faith for the first time or those renewing their faith; or how damaging “The Deputy” was to to the person of Pope Pius XII and the rest of the Church.

Jesuit Father Lloyd Baugh, a professor of film,  told Vatican Radio that the initiative honors the 30th anniversary of the University’s Center for Interdisciplinary Study. It is popular these days to get at human, theological and philosphical issues by the use of film. Friends of mine do it regularly in the schools in which they instruct young minds: Benedictine Father Bede Price teaches a theology and film course at his abbey’s Priory School (St Louis, MO) and Jesuit Father Edward Oakes does so at Mundelein Seminary (outside Chicago, IL). Father Baugh he teaches theology using film as the text for class: Christology through the “Jesus films,” moral issues through the “The Decalogue” of Kieslowski, interreligious dialogue through a whole series of films from different religious traditions and so on.

The current cycle of films starting today will be inaugurated by the Gregorian University Rector Jesuit Father Dumortier, Archbishop Claudio Celli, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, of Jesuit Father Savarimuthu, director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies at the Gregorian University, and Father Baugh.

The first film is “Welcome.” which focuses on a young Kurdish boy who attempts to illegally enter England, and in doing so encounters other people changing their vision of the world, and ultimately their lives. “Welcome” is a award 2009 winning film directed by Philippe Loiret.

Other films include

March 23: “Water” (2005 Deepa Mehta film) focuses on Asia and on “the right to Freedom” drawing attention to the tragic reality of millions of young girls in India who are promised in marriage to elderly men and widowed shortly thereafter, leaving them destitute for the rest of their lives.

April 20: “La Zona” (2007 Roderigo Pla film) dedicated to the “Americas” and to the “right to Justice”, highlighting the persistent and ever-growing disparity between rich and poor particualrly in Latin America.

May 4: “Son of Man” (2006 Mark Dornford May) looks at the plight of the African continent and its “right to Hope”. May directs a narrative of the Gospel and situating the contemporaneous of the biblical reality of a township outside of Cape Town. The desire for peace is continuously punctuated by violence. It is a look at how Jesus would respond to the human reality before his eyes and what he does to change people’s hearts.

Screenings are free and everyone is welcome. For more information visit: www.unigre.it

Wisdom … our life … in Christ

It was brought to my attention that we need to ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom. We need help. So ask for it. Let’s look at what the Church said at the Second Vatican Council about our own times in Gaudium et Spes:

To carry out such a task, the Church has always had the duty of scrutinizing the signs of the times and of interpreting them in the light of the Gospel. Thus, in language intelligible to each generation, she can respond to the perennial questions which men ask about this present life and the life to come, and about the relationship of the one to the other. We must therefore recognize and understand the world in which we live, its explanations, its longings, and its often dramatic characteristics. Some of the main features of the modern world can be sketched as follows.

Today, the human race is involved in a new stage of history. Profound and rapid changes are spreading by degrees around the whole world. Triggered by the intelligence and creative energies of man, these changes recoil upon him, upon his decisions and desires, both individual and collective, and upon his manner of thinking and acting with respect to things and to people. Hence we can already speak of a true cultural and social transformation, one which has repercussions on man’s religious life as well.


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It’s Christianity. Simple.

We seem to be asking the same question: What is Christianity? A perplexing question for believers, I suspect. Test everything, Saint Paul tells us. Indeed, probe the question and don’t be afraid of doubt and the questions. The certainty of faith is known in the experience and the investigation of the reasonableness of the faith.


Antonio Quaglio in article published today on ilsussidiario.net, “It’s Christianity. Simple.” reflects on what Father Julián Carrón spoke on at the New Encounter 2012 this past weekend: that Christianity, in its true sense, need to be lived without reservation and without excuses and justifications.

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Unpacking the Pope’s World Day of Peace message for 2012


On January 1, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Mother
of God, the open the new civil year, and we observe the World Day of Peace. The
Pope gives a message on this day that sort of works as a programmatic statement
for his work throughout the year. 2012 is a year to work on the virtue of
justice. At some point the future I will define the virtue of justice more than
“giving another his or her just due.” The Pope clarified his thinking on justice which can be read here.


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The secretary of the Pontifical Council
for Justice and Peace
, the number 2 person at the Council, Bishop Mario Toso,
SDB, 61, spoke about the meaning of the Pope’s message for the Day, titled “Educate
Young People in Justice and Peace
.” His interview with Mercedes de la
Torre from January 10 with Zenit follows:

ZENIT spoke with the Salesian bishop,
professor of social philosophy, former rector of the Pontifical Salesian
University and Consultor for 20 years of the Pontifical Council for Justice and
Peace, about Benedict XVI’s message.

ZENIT: Why does Benedict XVI address young
people in particular in this 45th Message for the World Day of Peace?

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Christopher Hitchens, 62, RIP

Christopher Hitchens.jpegThe widely known public atheist Christopher Hitchens, 62, died from complications of pneumonia and cancer of the esophagus. He was Oxford educated and the author of several books who worked as a new correspondent and literary critic.

There’s a YouTube 2008 presentation of an interview between Christopher Hitchens and Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete that I recommend. They are here: Video (you and access the video clips by looking at the index).
May God be good to him. (I can say this because I believe in God even if Christopher didn’t.)

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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