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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Life As We Know It

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service

"Life As We Know It" (Warner Bros.) boasts a somewhat sharper-witted script—penned by feature-length first-timers Ian Deitchman and Kristin Rusk Robinson—than the average romantic comedy.

But director Greg Berlanti's thoroughly predictable yarn of opposites attracting and animosity gradually yielding to a very different emotion also showcases a variety of lifestyle choices—and of more impromptu decisions—at variance with traditional morality.

Meeting ugly and butting heads from the start—as we witness in opening scenes set in 2007—are womanizing television director Eric Messer (Josh Duhamel) and successful cafe owner Holly Berenson (Katherine Heigl).

Eric and Holly have been set up by the Novacks (Christina Hendricks and Hayes MacArthur), the soon-to-be happily married couple with whom each is best friends. As their disastrous blind date—during which Eric using his cell phone to arrange a sleepover tryst with another gal as soon as he can get away from Holly—makes painfully clear, however, the Novacks are all these two are ever likely to have in common.

Vignettes of Eric and Holly demonstrating their mutual dislike at social events surrounding the Novacks' wedding and the birth of their daughter, Sophie (played by triplets Alexis, Brynn and Brooke Clagett), carry us forward to the present and to the news that a terrible accident has left Sophie an orphan. Her joint guardians under the terms of the Novacks' wills, it need hardly be said, are her quarrelsome godparents, Eric and Holly.

Their caustic relationship initially keeps the unusual household that results—as the ill-matched duo move into the Novacks' old home and struggle to cope with sudden-onset parenthood—from becoming an objectionable arrangement. But further complications involving the shift in their feelings, as well as Holly's competing interest in Sophie's pediatrician, Sam (Josh Lucas), lead to the crossing of several moral boundaries.

Add to this scenes illustrating Eric's heedless lifestyle and the presence, among the pair's eccentric new-found neighbors, of a homosexual couple, and "Life As We Know It" ends up falling far short of life as it should be.

The film contains brief nongraphic premarital sexual activity, implied casual encounters and cohabitation, an incidental gay relationship, drug use, much sexual and some scatological humor, at least one use of profanity, a couple of rough terms and frequent crude or crass language. 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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Cornelius: 
		<p>There was no pope for 14 months after the martyrdom of St. Fabian because of the intensity of the persecution of the Church. During the interval, the Church was governed by a college of priests. St. Cyprian, a friend of Cornelius, writes that Cornelius was elected pope "by the judgment of God and of Christ, by the testimony of most of the clergy, by the vote of the people, with the consent of aged priests and of good men." </p>
		<p>The greatest problem of Cornelius's two-year term as pope had to do with the Sacrament of Penance and centered on the readmission of Christians who had denied their faith during the time of persecution. Two extremes were finally both condemned. Cyprian, primate of North Africa, appealed to the pope to confirm his stand that the relapsed could be reconciled only by the decision of the bishop. </p>
		<p>In Rome, however, Cornelius met with the opposite view. After his election, a priest named Novatian (one of those who had governed the Church) had himself consecrated a rival bishop of Rome—one of the first antipopes. He denied that the Church had any power to reconcile not only the apostates, but also those guilty of murder, adultery, fornication or second marriage! Cornelius had the support of most of the Church (especially of Cyprian of Africa) in condemning Novatianism, though the sect persisted for several centuries. Cornelius held a synod at Rome in 251 and ordered the "relapsed" to be restored to the Church with the usual "medicines of repentance." </p>
		<p>The friendship of Cornelius and Cyprian was strained for a time when one of Cyprian's rivals made accusations about him. But the problem was cleared up. </p>
		<p>A document from Cornelius shows the extent of organization in the Church of Rome in the mid-third century: 46 priests, seven deacons, seven subdeacons. It is estimated that the number of Christians totaled about 50,000. </p>
		<p>Cornelius died as a result of the hardships of his exile in what is now Civitavecchia (near Rome). <br /> </p>
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