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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Contraband

By
Sr. Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.
Source: AmericanCatholic.org

Chris Farraday (Mark Wahlberg) is a hard working security expert who installs alarm systems in New Orleans. He’s given up a life of crime, that is smuggling and drug running. When his wife Kate’s (Kate Beckinsale) incredibly stupid brother Andy (Caleb Landry Jones) has to dump a shipment of drugs when customs boards the ship, the drug lord, Tim Briggs (Giovanni Ribisi), demands millions of dollars in payment anyway, or he will kill Andy’s family. Chris used to run drugs for Tim and tries to reason with him. When he cannot reason with him, he returns to smuggling counterfeit US money from Panama to pay the debt, refusing to run drugs again.
 
“Contraband” is based on the 2009 Islandic film “Reykjavik-Rotterdam” and is a fairly exciting action-crime-adventure movie, a kind of Western set in the wild west  of New Orleans where cars, trucks and ships have replaced horses. Mark Wahlberg is always an easy watch and here he is a sympathetic character trying to save his wife and two sons, and his really dumb and self-centered brother-in-law, from being killed by his former thug associate. Kate and her loser brother Andy don’t seem to have come from the same family.
 
There are plenty of surprise switch-and-bait plot points to keep you watching, but somehow I just couldn’t buy the premise except for one major point. The story reminded me somewhat of Mark Wahlberg’s personal story of moving from a life of trouble making to a family man, good citizen, and productive member of society.
 
There’s very little moral behavior in the film unless you count Chris who will do anything to keep his family safe. After he visits his wife in the hospital (Chris’ trusted friend smashes her head into the wall and then tries to bury her alive) we know he has made sure that in one way or another, no one from his past will bother them again. 
 
Did I mention that this is a really violent movie?


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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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