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Gangs of New York


Source: Catholic News Service

Brutal historical drama set in 1863 New York City where the vengeance-fueled son (Leonardo DiCaprio) of a slain Irish immigrant gang leader befriends his father's murderer (Daniel Day-Lewis) while secretly plotting to kill him and unite the immigrant gangs to overthrow their native rivals and the corrupt politicians backing them. As directed by Martin Scorsese, the Civil War historical context gets short shrift compared to the relentlessly indulgent focus on personal and mob violence. Excessive graphic violence linked to religious zeal, a sexual encounter, extended bordello nudity, brief drug abuse, racial epithets, intermittent rough language and recurring profanity. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted.

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James of the Marche: Meet one of the fathers of the modern pawnshop! 
<p>James was born in the Marche of Ancona, in central Italy along the Adriatic Sea. After earning doctorates in canon and civil law at the University of Perugia, he joined the Friars Minor and began a very austere life. He fasted nine months of the year; he slept three hours a night. St. Bernardine of Siena told him to moderate his penances. </p><p>James studied theology with St. John of Capistrano. Ordained in 1420, James began a preaching career that took him all over Italy and through 13 Central and Eastern European countries. This extremely popular preacher converted many people (250,000 at one estimate) and helped spread devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus. His sermons prompted numerous Catholics to reform their lives and many men joined the Franciscans under his influence. </p><p>With John of Capistrano, Albert of Sarteano and Bernardine of Siena, James is considered one of the "four pillars" of the Observant movement among the Franciscans. These friars became known especially for their preaching. </p><p>To combat extremely high interest rates, James established <i>montes pietatis</i> (literally, mountains of charity)--nonprofit credit organizations that lent money at very low rates on pawned objects. </p><p>Not everyone was happy with the work James did. Twice assassins lost their nerve when they came face to face with him. James died in 1476 and was canonized in 1726.</p> American Catholic Blog Let us never tire of seeking the Lord—of letting ourselves be sought by him—of tending over our relationship with him in silence and prayerful listening. Let us keep our gaze fixed on him, the center of time and history; let us make room for his presence within us.

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