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A Christmas Tale (Un Conte de Noel)


Source: Catholic News Service

Three grown siblings (Anne Consigny, Mathieu Amalric and Melvil Poupaud) of a dysfunctional French family gather at their parents' (Catherine Deneuve and Jean-Paul Roussillon) home for Christmas after their mother is diagnosed with the same disease that killed their older brother in childhood. Though the angst-ridden proceedings, as written and directed by Arnaud Desplechin, inch toward reconciliation, uniformly fine acting from the ensemble cast only makes the discord along the way that much more uncomfortable to watch, while an ambivalent portrayal of faith and an indulgence of adultery add further complications. In French. Subtitles. Graphic adulterous sexual activity, partial upper female and brief rear nudity, cohabitation, occasional rough and crude language, and sexual references. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is L—limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.

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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.

The Blessing of Family

First Sunday of Advent
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