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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Sex and the City 2

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service

The skewed values on display in the romantic comedy "Sex and the City 2" (New Line)—writer-director Michael Patrick King's follow-up to his 2008 big-screen adaptation of the long-running HBO TV series—are typified early on when its main character and narrator, New York-based columnist turned author Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), serves as "best man" at the lavish "wedding" of two male friends.

Having settled down herself at the conclusion of the previous feature, Carrie is battling the stay-at-home instincts of her husband of two years' standing, John Preston, better known as Mr. Big (Chris Noth).

Among her familiar trio of best friends, lawyer Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) finds her career hobbled by a sexist boss, stay-at-home mom Charlotte (Kristin Davis) can't take the 24/7 bawling of her baby daughter and slatternly single Samantha (Kim Cattrall) is desperately popping hormones in pursuit of eternal youth.

An all-expenses-paid jaunt to Abu Dhabi, courtesy of Samantha's potential public relations client Sheik Khalid, provides only temporary relief from these pressures. But it does allow the quartet of pals to express their outrage over the repressive treatment of Muslim women by belting out a karaoke version of Helen Reddy's feminist anthem "I Am Woman."

Their goal, as a later scene suggests, is not only to liberate their Middle Eastern sisters from the burdensome burqa—so lacking in style, so un-Bergdorf Goodman—but to empower them to carry condoms in their purses, as Samantha always does, just in case.

It's hard to decide which aspect of this morally unmoored adventure rankles most: the caricature of Muslims, the confusion of promiscuity with empowerment or the materialist assumption that happiness can be found in conspicuous consumption.

The film contains graphic nonmarital sexual activity with nudity, a benign view of casual sex and homosexual acts, an adultery theme, constant sexual humor and references and some rough and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is O—morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R—restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.


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Rose Philippine Duchesne: Born in Grenoble, France, of a family that was among the new rich, Philippine learned political skills from her father and a love of the poor from her mother. The dominant feature of her temperament was a strong and dauntless will, which became the material—and the battlefield—of her holiness. She entered the convent at 19 and remained despite their opposition. As the French Revolution broke, the convent was closed, and she began taking care of the poor and sick, opened a school for homeless children and risked her life helping priests in the underground. 
<p>When the situation cooled, she personally rented her old convent, now a shambles, and tried to revive its religious life. The spirit was gone, and soon there were only four nuns left. They joined the infant Society of the Sacred Heart, whose young superior, St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, would be her lifelong friend. In a short time Philippine was a superior and supervisor of the novitiate and a school. But her ambition, since hearing tales of missionary work in Louisiana as a little girl, was to go to America and work among the Indians. At 49, she thought this would be her work. With four nuns, she spent 11 weeks at sea en route to New Orleans, and seven weeks more on the Mississippi to St. Louis. She then met one of the many disappointments of her life. The bishop had no place for them to live and work among Native Americans. Instead, he sent her to what she sadly called "the remotest village in the U.S.," St. Charles, Missouri. With characteristic drive and courage, she founded the first free school for girls west of the Mississippi. </p><p>It was a mistake. Though she was as hardy as any of the pioneer women in the wagons rolling west, cold and hunger drove them out—to Florissant, Missouri, where she founded the first Catholic Indian school, adding others in the territory. "In her first decade in America, Mother Duchesne suffered practically every hardship the frontier had to offer, except the threat of Indian massacre—poor lodging, shortages of food, drinking water, fuel and money, forest fires and blazing chimneys, the vagaries of the Missouri climate, cramped living quarters and the privation of all privacy, and the crude manners of children reared in rough surroundings and with only the slightest training in courtesy" (Louise Callan, R.S.C.J., <i>Philippine Duchesne</i>). </p><p>Finally at 72, in poor health and retired, she got her lifelong wish. A mission was founded at Sugar Creek, Kansas, among the Potawatomi. She was taken along. Though she could not learn their language, they soon named her "Woman-Who-Prays-Always." While others taught, she prayed. Legend has it that Native American children sneaked behind her as she knelt and sprinkled bits of paper on her habit, and came back hours later to find them undisturbed. She died in 1852 at the age of 83 and was canonized in 1988.</p> American Catholic Blog It was important for some saints to vanish from view, to “decrease” so that God could “increase” in the scheme of things. Many saints actively fought promotions. If obedience required embracing them, they found other ways to remain lowly.

 
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