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Sex and the City 2

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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Charles de Foucauld: Born into an aristocratic family in Strasbourg, France, Charles was orphaned at the age of six, raised by his devout grandfather, rejected the Catholic faith as a teenager and joined the French army. Inheriting a great deal of money from his grandfather, Charles went to Algeria with his regiment, but not without his mistress, Mimi. <br /><br />When he declined to give her up, he was dismissed from the army. Still in Algeria when he left Mimi, Charles reenlisted in the army. Refused permission to make a scientific exploration of nearby Morocco, he resigned from the service. With the help of a Jewish rabbi, Charles disguised himself as a Jew and in 1883 began a one-year exploration that he recorded in a book that was well received. <br /><br />Inspired by the Jews and Muslims whom he met, Charles resumed the practice of his Catholic faith when he returned to France in 1886. He joined a Trappist monastery in Ardeche, France, and later transferred to one in Akbes, Syria. Leaving the monastery in 1897, Charles worked as gardener and sacristan for the Poor Clare nuns in Nazareth and later in Jerusalem. In 1901 he returned to France and was ordained a priest. <br /><br />Later that year Charles journeyed to Beni-Abbes, Morocco, intending to found a monastic religious community in North Africa that offered hospitality to Christians, Muslims, Jews, or people with no religion. He lived a peaceful, hidden life but attracted no companions. <br /><br />A former army comrade invited him to live among the Tuareg people in Algeria. Charles learned their language enough to write a Tuareg-French and French-Tuareg dictionary, and to translate the Gospels into Tuareg. In 1905 he came to Tamanrasset, where he lived the rest of his life. A two-volume collection of Charles' Tuareg poetry was published after his death. <br /><br />In early 1909 he visited France and established an association of laypeople who pledged to live by the Gospels. His return to Tamanrasset was welcomed by the Tuareg. In 1915 Charles wrote to Louis Massignon: “The love of God, the love for one’s neighbor…All religion is found there…How to get to that point? Not in a day since it is perfection itself: it is the goal we must always aim for, which we must unceasingly try to reach and that we will only attain in heaven.”   <br /><br />The outbreak of World War I led to attacks on the French in Algeria. Seized in a raid by another tribe, Charles and two French soldiers coming to visit him were shot to death on December 1, 1916. <br />Five religious congregations, associations, and spiritual institutes (Little Brothers of Jesus, Little Sisters of the Sacred Heart, Little Sisters of Jesus, Little Brothers of the Gospel and Little Sisters of the Gospel) draw inspiration from the peaceful, largely hidden, yet hospitable life that characterized Charles. He was beatified on November 13, 2005. American Catholic Blog You know, O my God, I have never desired anything but to love you, and I am ambitious for no other glory.


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