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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Black Dahlia, The

By

Source: Catholic News Service

Adaptation of James Ellroy's novel built around the never-solved, true-life case of a young Hollywood hopeful (Mia Kirshner) -- whose mutilated body was found in a vacant lot in 1947 -- focusing on two L.A. cops (Josh Hartnett and Aaron Eckhart) who are involved in the case. The Hartnett character finds himself in a platonic menage with his partner and the latter's longtime girlfriend (Scarlett Johansson), then falls under the sway of a seductive rich girl (Hilary Swank) who resembles the murder victim. Brian DePalma's film-noir homage is uneven as drama (with its overly complex script), despite his customary stylish flourishes and good, if occasionally over-the-top, performances, but the pileup of sordid revelations, though expected in the noir genre, and sundry other lurid plot elements preclude recommendation. Rough and crude language, general decadence, sexual situations and innuendo, much violence, a couple of brutal boxing matches, some grisly imagery, a re-creation of the lesbian underworld, pornography, adultery, incest, rear nudity, murder, suicide and drug use. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.



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Nativity of St. John the Baptist: Jesus called John the greatest of all those who had preceded him: “I tell you, among those born of women, no one is greater than John....” But John would have agreed completely with what Jesus added: “[Y]et the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he” (Luke 7:28). 
<p>John spent his time in the desert, an ascetic. He began to announce the coming of the Kingdom, and to call everyone to a fundamental reformation of life. </p><p>His purpose was to prepare the way for Jesus. His Baptism, he said, was for repentance. But One would come who would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. John is not worthy even to carry his sandals. His attitude toward Jesus was: “He must increase; I must decrease” (John 3:30). </p><p>John was humbled to find among the crowd of sinners who came to be baptized the one whom he already knew to be the Messiah. “I need to be baptized by you” (Matthew 3:14b). But Jesus insisted, “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15b). Jesus, true and humble human as well as eternal God, was eager to do what was required of any good Jew. John thus publicly entered the community of those awaiting the Messiah. But making himself part of that community, he made it truly messianic. </p><p>The greatness of John, his pivotal place in the history of salvation, is seen in the great emphasis Luke gives to the announcement of his birth and the event itself—both made prominently parallel to the same occurrences in the life of Jesus. John attracted countless people (“all Judea”) to the banks of the Jordan, and it occurred to some people that he might be the Messiah. But he constantly deferred to Jesus, even to sending away some of his followers to become the first disciples of Jesus. </p><p>Perhaps John’s idea of the coming of the Kingdom of God was not being perfectly fulfilled in the public ministry of Jesus. For whatever reason, he sent his disciples (when he was in prison) to ask Jesus if he was the Messiah. Jesus’ answer showed that the Messiah was to be a figure like that of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah (chapters 49 through 53). John himself would share in the pattern of messianic suffering, losing his life to the revenge of Herodias.</p> American Catholic Blog Let us pray to Our Lady, that she may protect us. In times of spiritual upset, the safest place is within the folds of her garments.

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Nativity of St. John the Baptist
The one who prepared the way for the Messiah remains a witness to Christians today.

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This 16th-century Jesuit, known as the patron of seminarians and AIDS patients, died of a plague at age 23.

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