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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Saw 3-D

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service

If memory serves, it was the editors of Mad magazine who coined the expression "Yecch!" Whoever armed us with that handy exclamation, it certainly springs to mind while meditating—if one must—on the repellant "Saw" franchise that began in 2004.

True to form, as directed by Kevin Greutert, "Saw 3-D" (Lionsgate), the seventh of these misuses of celluloid, turns out to be nothing more than gruesome, dehumanizing and—despite its title—very much one-dimensional torture porn. But even saying so seems as redundant, by now, as this unwelcome sequel itself.

Yet again, agony awaits—for characters and audiences alike—as ex-police Detective Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) carries on the twisted work of the late, unlamented Jigsaw (Tobin Bell, who puts in a cameo via video and flashbacks).

For those who may have been mercifully spared this flick's predecessors, this agony involves subjecting a series of victims to a series of sadistic life-or-death games. Here, victims include racist skinheads, an assortment of ordinary folk and, most prominently, self-proclaimed Jigsaw survivor Bobby Dagen (Sean Patrick Flanery).

The nastiness is interspersed with boredom and punctuated by feeble attempts to make Jigsaw and Hoffman's circus of dismemberment mean something. If their heinous high jinks signify anything at all, though, it's simply this: that we live in a society where people will pay $12 of their presumably hard-earned cash and devote 91 minutes of their all-too-brief earthly lives to watching innards flying at them off a movie screen.

The film contains pervasive gory violence, with multiple scenes of torture, mutilation and disembowelment, a few uses of profanity and relentless rough and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is O—morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America 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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Junipero Serra: In 1776, when the American Revolution was beginning in the east, another part of the future United States was being born in California. That year a gray-robed Franciscan founded Mission San Juan Capistrano, now famous for its annually returning swallows. San Juan was the seventh of nine missions established under the direction of this indomitable Spaniard. 
<p>Born on Spain’s island of Mallorca, Serra entered the Franciscan Order, taking the name of St. Francis’ childlike companion, Brother Juniper. Until he was 35, he spent most of his time in the classroom—first as a student of theology and then as a professor. He also became famous for his preaching. Suddenly he gave it all up and followed the yearning that had begun years before when he heard about the missionary work of St. Francis Solanus in South America. Junipero’s desire was to convert native peoples in the New World. </p><p>Arriving by ship at Vera Cruz, Mexico, he and a companion walked the 250 miles to Mexico City. On the way Junipero’s left leg became infected by an insect bite and would remain a cross—sometimes life-threatening—for the rest of his life. For 18 years he worked in central Mexico and in the Baja Peninsula. He became president of the missions there. </p><p>Enter politics: the threat of a Russian invasion south from Alaska. Charles III of Spain ordered an expedition to beat Russia to the territory. So the last two <i>conquistadors</i>—one military, one spiritual—began their quest. José de Galvez persuaded Junipero to set out with him for present-day Monterey, California. The first mission founded after the 900-mile journey north was San Diego (1769). That year a shortage of food almost canceled the expedition. Vowing to stay with the local people, Junipero and another friar began a novena in preparation for St. Joseph’s day, March 19, the scheduled day of departure. On that day, the relief ship arrived. </p><p>Other missions followed: Monterey/Carmel (1770); San Antonio and San Gabriel (1771); San Luís Obispo (1772); San Francisco and San Juan Capistrano (1776); Santa Clara (1777); San Buenaventura (1782). Twelve more were founded after Serra’s death. </p><p>Junipero made the long trip to Mexico City to settle great differences with the military commander. He arrived at the point of death. The outcome was substantially what Junipero sought: the famous “Regulation” protecting the Indians and the missions. It was the basis for the first significant legislation in California, a “Bill of Rights” for Native Americans. </p><p>Because the Native Americans were living a nonhuman life from the Spanish point of view, the friars were made their legal guardians. The Native Americans were kept at the mission after Baptism lest they be corrupted in their former haunts—a move that has brought cries of “injustice” from some moderns. </p><p>Junipero’s missionary life was a long battle with cold and hunger, with unsympathetic military commanders and even with danger of death from non-Christian native peoples. Through it all his unquenchable zeal was fed by prayer each night, often from midnight till dawn. He baptized over 6,000 people and confirmed 5,000. His travels would have circled the globe. He brought the Native Americans not only the gift of faith but also a decent standard of living. He won their love, as witnessed especially by their grief at his death. He is buried at Mission San Carlo Borromeo, Carmel, and was beatified in 1988.</p> American Catholic Blog God is great. God is good. And God, in his fatherly love, has a plan for our lives that will work out for our benefit and salvation. All we have to do is trust and obey.

Walk Softly and Carry a Great Bag

 
CATHOLIC GREETINGS
Blessed Junipero Serra
This Franciscan friar was instrumental in founding many of California’s mission churches.

Happy Birthday
May this birthday mark the beginning of new and exciting adventures!

Sts. Peter and Paul
Honored both separately and together, these apostles were probably martyred during the reign of the emperor Nero.

Wedding
Help the bride and groom see their love as a mirror of God’s love.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help
God gave Mary to us as a help in our quest for holiness.




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