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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

This Means War

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service


Tom Hardy, Reese Witherspoon and Chris Pine star in "This Means War."
Ill-conceived cinematically, and pervaded by a misguided view of human sexuality, the action and romance blend "This Means War" (Fox) quickly fights itself to a stalemate.

Director McG tracks the rivalry between two CIA agents and best friends, FDR (Chris Pine) and Tuck (Tom Hardy), after they both fall for perky consumer goods tester Lauren (Reese Witherspoon). While her suitors bring the resources of the spy world to bear in an increasingly frantic effort to thwart each other, confused Lauren turns for advice to her closest pal Trish (Chelsea Handler). Trish's pointers, though meant to be comic, are more often low-minded. Indeed, the occasional one-liner aside, the humor on offer here rarely works.

Suave FDR — named, and nicknamed, for the 32nd president — is the footloose playboy type. Tuck, the divorced father of a young son, is not only out of practice at playing the field; he's also shown, early on, to be anxious for reconciliation with ex-wife Katie (Abigail Leigh Spencer).

The path to a generally moral -- though not unmixed — wrap-up sees FDR sufficiently smitten with Lauren to consider a committed lifestyle. Still, Timothy Dowling and Simon Kinberg's script takes it for granted that a dating couple reach the bedroom together long before they get anywhere near the altar. And, since Lauren is a partner in two such pairings simultaneously, we are left in at least temporary suspense as to how many beds she may be occupying in sequential short order.

The fairly transparent effort to craft a date movie with appeal to both genders, moreover, means that the main duo's competitive wooing is interspersed with explosions, gunplay and hand-to-hand combat. The springboard for introducing these elements is a subplot about an international arms dealer named Heinrich (Til Schweiger) whose machinations FDR and Tuck have been assigned to foil.

"War ... what is it good for?" demanded a classic 1970 Motown tune. In the case of this onscreen dust-up, the answer is, not a whole lot.

The film contains considerable action violence, skewed sexual values, brief semigraphic premarital sexual activity, a few instances of profanity, some adult humor and references, at least one use of the F-word and about a dozen crude or crass terms. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. 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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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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