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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Eastern Promises

By

Source: Catholic News Service

Taut, grippingly powerful story of the Russian underworld as a midwife in a London hospital (Naomi Watts) tries to locate the family of Russian girl who died giving birth; when she reveals she has the dead girl's incriminating diary, she becomes the target of a restaurateur-mobster (Armin Mueller-Stahl), his alcoholic bully of a son (Vincent Cassel) and their taciturn chauffeur (Viggo Mortensen). Director David Cronenberg's somber thriller is crafted with impressive artistry, and performances -- including those of Sinead Cusack and Jerzy Skolimowski -- are excellent, but though the violence is artistically valid extreme caution is advised as there are some graphic images and one intense sexual encounter. Brutal violence with bloodshed, the mutilation of a corpse, a graphic sexual act, rear and fleeting full-frontal-male and upper-female nudity, blood hemorrhaging, an extended tattooing sequence, rough language and profanity, and drug and rape references. 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. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

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Gregory the Great: Coming events cast their shadows before: Gregory was the prefect of Rome before he was 30. After five years in office he resigned, founded six monasteries on his Sicilian estate and became a Benedictine monk in his own home at Rome. 
<p>Ordained a priest, he became one of the pope's seven deacons, and also served six years in the East as papal representative in Constantinople. He was recalled to become abbot, and at the age of 50 was elected pope by the clergy and people of Rome. </p><p>He was direct and firm. He removed unworthy priests from office, forbade taking money for many services, emptied the papal treasury to ransom prisoners of the Lombards and to care for persecuted Jews and the victims of plague and famine. He was very concerned about the conversion of England, sending 40 monks from his own monastery. He is known for his reform of the liturgy, for strengthening respect for doctrine. Whether he was largely responsible for the revision of "Gregorian" chant is disputed. </p><p>Gregory lived in a time of perpetual strife with invading Lombards and difficult relations with the East. When Rome itself was under attack, he interviewed the Lombard king. </p><p>An Anglican historian has written: "It is impossible to conceive what would have been the confusion, the lawlessness, the chaotic state of the Middle Ages without the medieval papacy; and of the medieval papacy, the real father is Gregory the Great." </p><p>His book, <i>Pastoral Care</i>, on the duties and qualities of a bishop, was read for centuries after his death. He described bishops mainly as physicians whose main duties were preaching and the enforcement of discipline. In his own down-to-earth preaching, Gregory was skilled at applying the daily gospel to the needs of his listeners. Called "the Great," Gregory has been given a place with Augustine (August 28), Ambrose (December 7) and Jerome (September 30)as one of the four key doctors of the Western Church.</p> American Catholic Blog The pierced, open side of Christ on the cross, which makes visible the Sacred Heart of the Son of God, remains “the way in” to knowledge of Jesus Christ.

 
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