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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Salt

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service


Angelina Jolie stars in the action-thriller "Salt." The Catholic News Service classification is L—limited adult audience.
Angelina Jolie makes a weak script reasonably compelling in "Salt" (Columbia/Relativity). But, though well-acted, director Phillip Noyce's action thriller is also thoroughly violent.

Jolie plays veteran and highly skilled CIA operative Evelyn Salt. When a Russian intelligence officer named Orlov (Daniel Olbrychski) strolls into the offices of the front corporation for which she ostensibly works and accuses her of being a longtime double agent who is about to assassinate the Russian president as part of a plot to destabilize the world political scene, Salt tries to convince her boss, Ted Winter (Liev Schreiber), that the charge is preposterous.

But another of her colleagues, counterintelligence specialist William Peabody (Chiwetel Ejiofor), insists on an investigation. So Salt uses her training to escape from custody and goes on the run. Fearing that the situation has endangered her husband, Mike (August Diehl), Salt tries to locate and warn him. But she also makes her way to New York where the Russian president is scheduled to deliver the eulogy at the funeral of the U.S. vice president.

This leaves Winter and Peabody scrambling to uncover whether Salt is friend or foe, even as they try to recapture her.

The recent arrest of several real-life Russian sleeper agents may make the film's rather paranoid back story of a vast undercover conspiracy more unsettlingly plausible than it might otherwise have been. Yet, Salt's all-but-superhuman abilities as an unstoppable killing machine register as over the top, while the rampage on which she repeatedly demonstrates them will not sit well with many viewers.

And, though Salt is shown to be strongly motivated by marital loyalty, screenwriter Kurt Wimmer has her pursuers express their frustration over her seemingly limitless ability to elude them—as they chase her along a path she litters with corpses—by peppering their talk with numerous profanities.

The film contains frequent violence, some of it bloody, at least 10 uses of profanity, one instance of the F-word and six crude terms. The Catholic News Service classification is L—limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13—parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

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


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Alphonsus Liguori: 
		<p>Moral theology, Vatican II said, should be more thoroughly nourished by Scripture, and show the nobility of the Christian vocation of the faithful and their obligation to bring forth fruit in charity for the life of the world. Alphonsus, declared patron of moral theologians by Pius XII in 1950, would rejoice in that statement.</p>
		<p>In his day, Alphonsus fought for the liberation of moral theology from the rigidity of Jansenism. His moral theology, which went through 60 editions in the century following him, concentrated on the practical and concrete problems of pastors and confessors. If a certain legalism and minimalism crept into moral theology, it should not be attributed to this model of moderation and gentleness.</p>
		<p>At the University of Naples he received, at the age of 16, a doctorate in both canon and civil law by acclamation, but he soon gave up the practice of law for apostolic activity. He was ordained a priest and concentrated his pastoral efforts on popular (parish) missions, hearing confessions, forming Christian groups. </p>
		<p>He founded the Redemptorist congregation in 1732. It was an association of priests and brothers living a common life, dedicated to the imitation of Christ, and working mainly in popular missions for peasants in rural areas. Almost as an omen of what was to come later, he found himself deserted, after a while, by all his original companions except one lay brother. But the congregation managed to survive and was formally approved 17 years later, though its troubles were not over. </p>
		<p>Alphonsus’ great pastoral reforms were in the pulpit and confessional—replacing the pompous oratory of the time with simplicity, and the rigorism of Jansenism with kindness. His great fame as a writer has somewhat eclipsed the fact that for 26 years he traveled up and down the Kingdom of Naples, preaching popular missions. </p>
		<p>He was made bishop (after trying to reject the honor) at 66 and at once instituted a thorough reform of his diocese. </p>
		<p>His greatest sorrow came toward the end of his life. The Redemptorists, precariously continuing after the suppression of the Jesuits in 1773, had difficulty in getting their Rule approved by the Kingdom of Naples. Alphonsus acceded to the condition that they possess no property in common, but a royal official, with the connivance of a high Redemptorist official, changed the Rule substantially. Alphonsus, old, crippled and with very bad sight, signed the document, unaware that he had been betrayed. The Redemptorists in the Papal States then put themselves under the pope, who withdrew those in Naples from the jurisdiction of Alphonsus. It was only after his death that the branches were united. </p>
		<p>At 71 he was afflicted with rheumatic pains which left incurable bending of his neck; until it was straightened a little, the pressure of his chin caused a raw wound on his chest. He suffered a final 18 months of “dark night” scruples, fears, temptations against every article of faith and every virtue, interspersed with intervals of light and relief, when ecstasies were frequent. </p>
		<p>Alphonsus is best known for his moral theology, but he also wrote well in the field of spiritual and dogmatic theology. His <i>Glories of Mary</i> is one of the great works on that subject, and his book <i>Visits to the Blessed Sacrament</i> went through 40 editions in his lifetime, greatly influencing the practice of this devotion in the Church.</p> American Catholic Blog Ultimately there is no friend who can fully understand us, who can walk with us all the way. We must go forward and walk on our own in response to who we are and who we are called to be in God. —Thomas Merton

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