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Blood Diamond


Source: Catholic News Service

Compelling action-adventure set in Africa's Sierra Leone as a mercenary (a superb Leonardo DiCaprio), a crusading U.S. reporter (Jennifer Connelly) and a frantic African fisherman (Djimon Hounsou) who's been separated from his family join forces against a backdrop of bloody civil war and plundering of the country's natural resources. Director Edward Zwick masterfully balances the action sequences with the more intimate ones. The film, though overly long, delivers on entertainment value, while imparting a worthy message about the immoral origin of conflict diamonds and the exploitation of child soldiers, and delivers a strong affirmation of family, while the DiCaprio-Connelly romance is refreshingly devoid of overt sexual elements. Much violence and bloodshed though admirably restrained in its presentation, murder, rough language and profanity, crude expressions, threat of rape, underage drinking and smoking. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

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James of the Marche: Meet one of the fathers of the modern pawnshop! 
<p>James was born in the Marche of Ancona, in central Italy along the Adriatic Sea. After earning doctorates in canon and civil law at the University of Perugia, he joined the Friars Minor and began a very austere life. He fasted nine months of the year; he slept three hours a night. St. Bernardine of Siena told him to moderate his penances. </p><p>James studied theology with St. John of Capistrano. Ordained in 1420, James began a preaching career that took him all over Italy and through 13 Central and Eastern European countries. This extremely popular preacher converted many people (250,000 at one estimate) and helped spread devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus. His sermons prompted numerous Catholics to reform their lives and many men joined the Franciscans under his influence. </p><p>With John of Capistrano, Albert of Sarteano and Bernardine of Siena, James is considered one of the "four pillars" of the Observant movement among the Franciscans. These friars became known especially for their preaching. </p><p>To combat extremely high interest rates, James established <i>montes pietatis</i> (literally, mountains of charity)--nonprofit credit organizations that lent money at very low rates on pawned objects. </p><p>Not everyone was happy with the work James did. Twice assassins lost their nerve when they came face to face with him. James died in 1476 and was canonized in 1726.</p> American Catholic Blog Let us never tire of seeking the Lord—of letting ourselves be sought by him—of tending over our relationship with him in silence and prayerful listening. Let us keep our gaze fixed on him, the center of time and history; let us make room for his presence within us.

Stumble Virtue Vice and the Space Between

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