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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Final Destination 5

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service

What has become a cinematic meat grinder of a franchise churns on with "Final Destination 5" (Warner Bros.). Appealing exploitatively to the worst in human nature—a morbid desire to watch special-effects-fodder characters killed off in various nauseating ways—director Steven Quale's gorefest is mind-numbingly boring when not repulsive.

The current retread of the all-too-familiar formula behind these flicks sees a group of paper factory executives—played by Emma Bell, Miles Fisher, Ellen Wroe, P.J. Byrne, Arlen Escarpeta and David Koechner—managing to evade death thanks to the timely premonition of a colleague named Sam (Nicholas D'Agosto). Sam mystically foresees the collapse of the bridge the co-workers are crossing on their way to a corporate retreat.

But the Grim Reaper, who clearly doesn't appreciate being hustled, begins evening his accounts by subjecting each survivor in succession to a bizarre and grisly end. These range from an acupuncture session and a laser eye surgery appointment that both go horribly wrong to a gymnastics incident that even the notorious East German Olympic judges of old would have been justified in scoring low.

Stitching these scenes of mayhem together, barely, is something like a plotline about Sam leaving the paper industry behind to pursue his real interest—haute cuisine—by becoming an intern chef at a Paris restaurant.

But what will this mean for his relationship with girlfriend Molly (Bell)? Of course no one cares, and the cooking angle is just an excuse to tease viewers with the meat cleavers, flaming skillets and bubbling deep fryers of the eatery where Sam moonlights after office hours.

Those conversant with Russian dramatist Anton Chekhov's dictum that, if a revolver is seen in the first act of a play it must be fired in the second or third act, will be suitably alarmed to note that this array of kitchen equipment also includes a huge pointed skewer for roasting meat.

Coming at you, as they say, and in 3-D.

The film contains pervasive gruesome violence, a few rough and about a dozen crude terms and some sexual references. 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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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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