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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Dominion: The Prequel to the Exorcist

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Source: Catholic News Service

Subdued yet somewhat involved prequel to the 1973 horror classic set in 1949 British East Africa where lapsed priest Father Merrin (Stellan Skarsgard), wrestling with a crisis of faith wrought by wartime memories of Nazi atrocities, rediscovers his belief to help a possessed native boy after an ancient evil is unleashed by the excavation of a Byzantine church. Sparse on horror gimmicks, director Paul Schrader's more cerebral movie is a marked improvement over Renny Harlin's 2004 gorier "alternate" version of the same story, yet, while thoughtfully exploring the nature of evil, faith, doubt, guilt and forgiveness, the ultimately redemptive, if at times dry, film is hampered by laggard pacing, shaky theology and narrative gaps -- not to mention some cheesy computer-generated effects. Some strong violence, including a graphic suicide, and several grisly murders and executions, demonic violence, a disturbing childbirth scene, a bloody medical procedure and a few racial slurs. 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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Hilary of Arles: It’s been said that youth is wasted on the young. In some ways, that was true for today’s saint. 
<p>Born in France in the early fifth century, Hilary came from an aristocratic family. In the course of his education he encountered his relative, Honoratus, who encouraged the young man to join him in the monastic life. Hilary did so. He continued to follow in the footsteps of Honoratus as bishop. Hilary was only 29 when he was chosen bishop of Arles. </p><p>The new, youthful bishop undertook the role with confidence. He did manual labor to earn money for the poor. He sold sacred vessels to ransom captives. He became a magnificent orator. He traveled everywhere on foot, always wearing simple clothing. </p><p>That was the bright side. Hilary encountered difficulty in his relationships with other bishops over whom he had some jurisdiction. He unilaterally deposed one bishop. He selected another bishop to replace one who was very ill–but, to complicate matters, did not die! Pope St. Leo the Great kept Hilary a bishop but stripped him of some of his powers. </p><p>Hilary died at 49. He was a man of talent and piety who, in due time, had learned how to be a bishop.</p> American Catholic Blog True freedom lies in the ability to align one’s actions freely with the truth, so as to achieve authentic human happiness both now and in the life to come. Jesus promised, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31–32).

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