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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Kingdom of Heaven

By

Source: Catholic News Service

Sweeping, if bloody and somewhat revisionist, historical drama set in the time of the Crusades about a disillusioned blacksmith (Orlando Bloom) elevated to knighthood who journeys to Jerusalem in search of redemption and becomes embroiled in the power struggle between the tolerance-advocating Latin king and a war-mongering would-be usurper, who threatens to disrupt the tenuous truce between the Christian and Muslim forces. Spectacularly directed by Ridley Scott and full of grand-scale battle scenes and period detail, the epic film takes license with the facts, but overall portrays both sides as a mix of vice and virtue (though in its skewed telling of the events Christians come off as the prime villains) and imparts a timely message of peaceful coexistence, as well as a strong condemnation of violence, ideological hatred and war. Recurring intense battlefield violence and associated gore, including decapitations, hacked limbs and flaming bodies, as well as a brief adulterous sexual encounter. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted.

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Augustine of Hippo: A Christian at 33, a priest at 36, a bishop at 41: Many people are familiar with the biographical sketch of Augustine of Hippo, sinner turned saint. But really to get to know the man is a rewarding experience. 
<p>There quickly surfaces the intensity with which he lived his life, whether his path led away from or toward God. The tears of his mother, the instructions of Ambrose and, most of all, God himself speaking to him in the Scriptures redirected Augustine’s love of life to a life of love. </p><p>Having been so deeply immersed in creature-pride of life in his early days and having drunk deeply of its bitter dregs, it is not surprising that Augustine should have turned, with a holy fierceness, against the many demon-thrusts rampant in his day. His times were truly decadent—politically, socially, morally. He was both feared and loved, like the Master. The perennial criticism leveled against him: a fundamental rigorism. </p><p>In his day, he providentially fulfilled the office of prophet. Like Jeremiah and other greats, he was hard-pressed but could not keep quiet. “I say to myself, I will not mention him,/I will speak in his name no more./But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart,/imprisoned in my bones;/I grow weary holding it in,/I cannot endure it” (Jeremiah 20:9).</p> American Catholic Blog Lord, please fill my heart and soul with the confidence that you will always provide what I need, when I need it, and let me be obedient to you.

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