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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Four Christmases

By

Source: Catholic News Service

Routine comedy in which an airport shutdown ruins an unmarried couple's (Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon) usual Christmas getaway, forcing them instead to spend the holiday visiting each of their divorced parents (Robert Duvall, Mary Steenburgen, Sissy Spacek and Jon Voight). Despite the innovative casting of dramatic actors in comic roles, documentarian Seth Gordon's first fictional offering, which takes many a crude detour on the way to its muted affirmation of emotional maturity and commitment, boasts a few clever exchanges between its leads, but little else. Brief nongraphic, nonmarital sexual activity, cohabitation, much sexual humor, some crude and crass language, and a contraception reference. 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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Joan of Arc: 
		<p>Burned at the stake as a heretic after a politically-motivated trial, Joan was beatified in 1909 and canonized in 1920.</p>
		<p>Born of a fairly well-to-do peasant couple in Domremy-Greux (southeast of Paris), Joan was only 12 when she experienced a vision and heard voices that she later identified as Sts. Michael the Archangel, Catherine of Alexandria, and Margaret of Antioch.</p>
		<p>During the Hundred Years War, she led French troops against the English and recaptured the cities of Orléans and Troyes. This enabled Charles VII to be crowned as king in Reims in 1429. Captured near Compiegne the following year, she was sold to the English and placed on trial for heresy and witchcraft. Professors at the University of Paris supported Bishop Pierre Cauchon of Beauvis, the judge at her trial; Cardinal Henry Beaufort of Winchester, England, participated in the questioning of Joan in prison. In the end, she was condemned for wearing men's clothes. The English resented France's military success–to which Joan contributed. </p>
		<p>On this day in 1431, she was burned at the stake in Rouen, and her ashes were scattered in the Seine River. A second Church trial 25 years later nullified the earlier verdict, which was reached under political pressure.</p>
		<p>Remembered by most people for her military exploits, Joan had a great love for the sacraments, which strengthened her compassion toward the poor. Popular devotion to her increased greatly in 19th-century France and later among French soldiers during World War I. Theologian George Tavard writes that her life "offers a perfect example of the conjunction of contemplation and action" because her spiritual insight is that there should be a "unity of heaven and earth."</p>
		<p>Joan of Arc has been the subject of many books, plays, operas, and movies. </p>
American Catholic Blog A surfer becomes a better surfer as he spends more time in the water and learns from his friends and experiences how to improve. It is so with the virtues too. They’re actionable—which means our ability to pursue the good improves with practice!

Keeping Mary Close by Mike Aquilina

 
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