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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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Maria Goretti: One of the largest crowds ever assembled for a canonization—250,000—symbolized the reaction of millions touched by the simple story of Maria Goretti. 
<p>She was the daughter of a poor Italian tenant farmer, had no chance to go to school, never learned to read or write. When she made her First Communion not long before her death at age 12, she was one of the larger and somewhat backward members of the class. </p><p>On a hot afternoon in July, Maria was sitting at the top of the stairs of her house, mending a shirt. She was not quite 12 years old, but physically mature. A cart stopped outside, and a neighbor, Alessandro, 18 years old, ran up the stairs. He seized her and pulled her into a bedroom. She struggled and tried to call for help. “No, God does not wish it," she cried out. "It is a sin. You would go to hell for it.” Alessandro began striking at her blindly with a long dagger. </p><p>She was taken to a hospital. Her last hours were marked by the usual simple compassion of the good—concern about where her mother would sleep, forgiveness of her murderer (she had been in fear of him, but did not say anything lest she cause trouble to his family) and her devout welcoming of Viaticum, her last Holy Communion. She died about 24 hours after the attack. </p><p>Her murderer was sentenced to 30 years in prison. For a long time he was unrepentant and surly. One night he had a dream or vision of Maria, gathering flowers and offering them to him. His life changed. When he was released after 27 years, his first act was to go to beg the forgiveness of Maria’s mother. </p><p>Devotion to the young martyr grew, miracles were worked, and in less than half a century she was canonized. At her beatification in 1947, her mother (then 82), two sisters and a brother appeared with Pope Pius XII on the balcony of St. Peter’s. Three years later, at her canonization, a 66-year-old Alessandro Serenelli knelt among the quarter-million people and cried tears of joy.</p> American Catholic Blog Lord, may the medals we wear be constant reminders of the lives they depict. While wearing them, may we be blessed through the saints’ intercession and protected from harm. Help us to continue to spread the messages of Jesus and Mary and the saints and angels.

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