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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Pirate Radio

By

Source: Catholic News Service

"Pirate Radio" (Focus) is an energetic but sexually freewheeling ensemble comedy set in mid-1960s Britain. As written and directed by Richard Curtis, this fact-based frolic's potentially buoyant celebration of music and camaraderie is torpedoed by its implicit acceptance of all manner of bedroom shenanigans.

After being expelled from school, rebellious teen Carl (Tom Sturridge) is sent by his glamorous mother, Elenore (January Jones), to live with Quentin (Bill Nighy), a friend from her past who has converted an oil tanker anchored in the North Sea into an offshore radio station broadcasting the rock 'n' roll music that the government-sponsored BBC will not.
(While Quentin's operation is fictional, several such facilities did exist at the time.)

As Quentin's staff of eccentric disc jockeys—including, most prominently, a shaggy-haired American expatriate known as the Count (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and his celebrated native rival Gavin (Rhys Ifans)—battles uptight bureaucrat Dormandy's (Kenneth Branagh) efforts to shut them down, Carl wins the record spinners' acceptance and pursues romance with fetching shipboard visitor Marianne (Talulah Riley).

With characters slipping into and out of each other's cabins, and boatloads of groupies being brought from shore on a regular basis for casual sex, physical combinations range from the premarital—Carl's determination to lose his virginity is aided and applauded by his new friends -- to the multiple, as we see one DJ happily slipping off with two enthusiastic female fans.

Even the ship's lesbian cook, Felicity (Katherine Parkinson), eventually finds a partner, much to her fellow characters' delight.

The film contains a benign view of casual, group and gay sex and of drug and condom use, brief rear nudity, a pornographic image, some irreverent and sexual humor, a couple of profanities and at least 20 uses of the F-word. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is O—morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R—restricted; under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

*****
Mulderig is on the staff of the Office for Film & Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.


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Augustine of Canterbury: In the year 596, some 40 monks set out from Rome to evangelize the Anglo-Saxons in England. Leading the group was Augustine, the prior of their monastery in Rome. Hardly had he and his men reached Gaul (France) when they heard stories of the ferocity of the Anglo-Saxons and of the treacherous waters of the English Channel. Augustine returned to Rome and to the pope who had sent them—St. Gregory the Great (September 3 )—only to be assured by him that their fears were groundless. 
<p>Augustine again set out. This time the group crossed the English Channel and landed in the territory of Kent, ruled by King Ethelbert, a pagan married to a Christian, Bertha. Ethelbert received them kindly, set up a residence for them in Canterbury and within the year, on Pentecost Sunday, 597, was himself baptized. After being consecrated a bishop in France, Augustine returned to Canterbury, where he founded his see. He constructed a church and monastery near where the present cathedral, begun in 1070, now stands. As the faith spread, additional sees were established at London and Rochester. </p><p>Work was sometimes slow and Augustine did not always meet with success. Attempts to reconcile the Anglo-Saxon Christians with the original Briton Christians (who had been driven into western England by Anglo-Saxon invaders) ended in dismal failure. Augustine failed to convince the Britons to give up certain Celtic customs at variance with Rome and to forget their bitterness, helping him evangelize their Anglo-Saxon conquerors </p><p>Laboring patiently, Augustine wisely heeded the missionary principles—quite enlightened for the times—suggested by Pope Gregory the Great: purify rather than destroy pagan temples and customs; let pagan rites and festivals be transformed into Christian feasts; retain local customs as far as possible. The limited success Augustine achieved in England before his death in 605, a short eight years after he arrived in England, would eventually bear fruit long after in the conversion of England. Augustine of Canterbury can truly be called the “Apostle of England.”</p> American Catholic Blog When we go through pain it is easy to feel abandoned or forgotten, but suffering doesn’t mean God doesn’t love us, He does. Even Jesus suffered, and He was completely without sin.

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