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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

This Christmas

By

Source: Catholic News Service

Spirited but somewhat pat family drama in which a well heeled African-American clan gathers for the holidays at the Los Angeles home of their mother (Loretta Devine) and her companion (Delroy Lindo) who then try to help the oldest daughter (Regina King) cope with her domineering husband (Laz Alonso) -- as well as with the tension between him and her younger sister (Sharon Leal) -- ignore the amorous antics of a third sister (Lauren London) and her visiting boyfriend (Keith Robinson), and attempt to convince the eldest son (Idris Elba) to quit his wandering ways, while two younger sons (Columbus Short and Chris Brown) struggle to find the courage to reveal their closely held secrets. Writer-director-producer Preston A. Whitmore II deftly interweaves the various elements of the plot while adding welcome strands of humor and music to produce, overall, a very pleasant tapestry. A scene of domestic violence, some sexual references and humor, some crude and crass language, implied nonmarital sex and cohabitation, themes of divorce and skimpy costuming. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

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Elizabeth of Portugal: Elizabeth is usually depicted in royal garb with a dove or an olive branch. At her birth in 1271, her father, Pedro III, future king of Aragon, was reconciled with his father, James, the reigning monarch. This proved to be a portent of things to come. Under the healthful influences surrounding her early years, she quickly learned self-discipline and acquired a taste for spirituality. Thus fortunately prepared, she was able to meet the challenge when, at the age of 12, she was given in marriage to Denis, king of Portugal. She was able to establish for herself a pattern of life conducive to growth in God’s love, not merely through her exercises of piety, including daily Mass, but also through her exercise of charity, by which she was able to befriend and help pilgrims, strangers, the sick, the poor—in a word, all those whose need came to her notice. At the same time she remained devoted to her husband, whose infidelity to her was a scandal to the kingdom. 
<p>He, too, was the object of many of her peace endeavors. She long sought peace for him with God, and was finally rewarded when he gave up his life of sin. She repeatedly sought and effected peace between the king and their rebellious son, Alfonso, who thought that he was passed over to favor the king’s illegitimate children. She acted as peacemaker in the struggle between Ferdinand, king of Aragon, and his cousin James, who claimed the crown. And finally from Coimbra, where she had retired as a Franciscan tertiary to the monastery of the Poor Clares after the death of her husband, she set out and was able to bring about a lasting peace between her son Alfonso, now king of Portugal, and his son-in-law, the king of Castile.</p> American Catholic Blog In the name of the Father, use my mind to bring you honor, and of the Son, fill my heart to spread your word, and of the Holy Spirit, strengthen me to carry you out to all the world. Amen.

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