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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Prom

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service

Like the rite of passage for which it's named, "Prom" (Disney)—a wholesome but ho-hum high school-set romantic comedy—conjures opportunities and problems that seem to matter a great deal more to its youthful participants than to more mature outside observers.

Still, if the characters onscreen appear to have little to worry about, the same can also, fortunately, be said for parents dispatching or accompanying youngsters to director Joe Nussbaum's low-key, carefully choreographed social square dance.

Do-si-doing their way through the buildup to the big night—as they discover, renew or lose love—are a variety of teen couples led, in a classic case of attracted opposites, by clean-cut class president Nova (Aimee Teegarden) and mild bad boy Jesse (Thomas McDonell).

Nova—who seems destined to be her alma mater's answer to Martha Stewart, or perhaps Albert Speer—has devoted so much time and attention to prom preparations that she's crushed when the storage shed housing all the decorations goes up in smoke. And things seem to only get worse when the principal, as a means of punishing the rebel, assigns brooding, motorcycle-riding Jesse to be her helper in the Herculean task of reconstruction.

Despite the chopper—and a haircut reminiscent of Arlo Guthrie, circa "Alice's Restaurant"—Jesse turns out to be an OK guy who, in turn, discovers all the virtues initially hidden by Nova's emotional corset stays.

Concealing something else is Mei (Yin Chang), the distaff half of the school's longest running duo. Mei can't bring herself to tell her boyfriend Justin (Jared Kusnitz) that she's been accepted to a college she fancies more than the one they had planned to attend together.

Then there's goodhearted music nerd and promising lacrosse player Lucas (Nolan Sotillo). Not to be held back by his peas-in-the-pod friendship with even dorkier Corey (Cameron Monaghan)—who likes the same bands, but lacks coordination—Lucas aspires to win the affections of his fetching classmate Simone (Danielle Campbell). To do so, however, he'll have to overcome the rivalry of the lacrosse captain himself, Tyler (De'Vaughn Nixon).

Well, this is the movies after all.

Though Katie Wech's script varies what often feels like trivializing realism with such Hollywood flights of fancy, it does gather some emotional momentum as it proceeds. And the closest thing to problematic material comes with a brief dust-up between Jesse and a trio of louts who harass his mother at the diner where she toils as a waitress.

"Prom," in sum, registers as appropriate and agreeable—if not especially enthralling—entertainment for all.

The Catholic News Service classification is A-I—general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG—parental guidance suggested.

*****
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 she oon 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 Those who want to participate more fully in salvation history are comforted by the fact that Jesus wants to walk with us in our suffering and wants to break bread to give us strength on our way.

 
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