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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

The Lorax

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

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not” says the Lorax (voice of Danny De Vito; for other voices see the Internet Movie Database http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1482459/) to the Once-ler who has moved into the forest to make a life for himself.

He chops down the trees to make “Thneeds”, a multipurpose ShamWow kind of garment. The Once-ler builds a factory and cuts down all the trees. This destroys the habitat for the animals and pollutes the air and water.

Fast forward many years and a 12-year old boy, Ted, wants to get a real live tree for Audrey, a girl he is sweet on. Ted has to break out of the plastic town he lives in (reminiscent of “The Truman Show”) and escape the greedy mayor and his thugs to find the Once-ler who will tell him how he can find a real tree.

“The Lorax” is a 3D computer generated image (CGI) animated fable based on Dr. Seuss’ 1971 book that does indeed “speak for the trees” and chronicles the destruction of the environment for profit.
 
As a film “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” is a bit long and contrived. It is also more of a message movie than an entertainment. However, “The Lorax” reflects the book very well and teaches its message of doom for the environment, unless each person does care an awful lot, in a way that appeals to families. The voices of the popular actor Zac Efron and singer Taylor Swift are a draw for younger audiences.  But the clash between the artificiality of the town, the placid attitude of its citizens, the baby that turns green after falling or swimming in the water, and the destruction of the environment by industry, is strong nevertheless.

Although “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” was released to commemorate Dr. Seuss’s 108th birthday, it is a perfect film for Earth Day, coming up on April 22. The themes of greed, unsustainability, and a scorched earth policy by corporations for profit (I am thinking of the 2011 film “The Last Mountain” about coal mining in West Virginia and 1994 film “The Burning Season” about deforestation of the Amazon region of South America), are clear in the film and correlate well with Themes of Catholic Social Teaching http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catholic-social-teaching.

I think “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” is a must see for citizens and disciples of any age. So much to talk about, so many opportunities to do something to make a difference.


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Lorenzo Ruiz and Companions: Lawrence (Lorenzo) was born in Manila of a Chinese father and a Filipino mother, both Christians. Thus he learned Chinese and Tagalog from them and Spanish from the Dominicans whom he served as altar boy and sacristan. He became a professional calligrapher, transcribing documents in beautiful penmanship. He was a full member of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary under Dominican auspices. He married and had two sons and a daughter. 
<p>His life took an abrupt turn when he was accused of murder. Nothing further is known except the statement of two Dominicans that "he was sought by the authorities on account of a homicide to which he was present or which was attributed to him." </p><p>At that time three Dominican priests, Antonio Gonzalez, Guillermo Courtet and Miguel de Aozaraza, were about to sail to Japan in spite of a violent persecution there. With them was a Japanese priest, Vicente Shiwozuka de la Cruz, and a layman named Lazaro, a leper. Lorenzo, having taken asylum with them, was allowed to accompany them. But only when they were at sea did he learn that they were going to Japan. </p><p>They landed at Okinawa. Lorenzo could have gone on to Formosa, but, he reported, "I decided to stay with the Fathers, because the Spaniards would hang me there." In Japan they were soon found out, arrested and taken to Nagasaki. The site of wholesale bloodshed when the atomic bomb was dropped had known tragedy before. The 50,000 Catholics who once lived there were dispersed or killed by persecution. </p><p>They were subjected to an unspeakable kind of torture: After huge quantities of water were forced down their throats, they were made to lie down. Long boards were placed on their stomachs and guards then stepped on the ends of the boards, forcing the water to spurt violently from mouth, nose and ears. </p><p>The superior, Antonio, died after some days. Both the Japanese priest and Lazaro broke under torture, which included the insertion of bamboo needles under their fingernails. But both were brought back to courage by their companions. </p><p>In Lorenzo's moment of crisis, he asked the interpreter, "I would like to know if, by apostatizing, they will spare my life." The interpreter was noncommittal, but Lorenzo, in the ensuing hours, felt his faith grow strong. He became bold, even audacious, with his interrogators. </p><p>The five were put to death by being hanged upside down in pits. Boards fitted with semicircular holes were fitted around their waists and stones put on top to increase the pressure. They were tightly bound, to slow circulation and prevent a speedy death. They were allowed to hang for three days. By that time Lorenzo and Lazaro were dead. The three Dominican priests, still alive, were beheaded. </p><p>In 1987, Blessed John Paul II canonized these six and 10 others, Asians and Europeans, men and women, who spread the faith in the Philippines, Formosa and Japan. Lorenzo Ruiz is the first canonized Filipino martyr.</p> American Catholic Blog We don’t have to scrub off our sin so God can love us. Instead, when we allow God’s healing love to touch us, we want to leave sin behind. Growth starts in love, not in guilt.

 
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