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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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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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