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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

John Carter

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

This epically expensive film cost Disney $200 million dollars to produce. It’s both a throwback to American history and futuristic sci-fi story based on a character and series of novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs of “Tarzan” fame.
 
John Carter is a former Confederate soldier who heads west to Arizona Territory only for men to try to force him to fight their frontier battles. But John does not believe in war or violence and he resists. Then he is mysteriously transported to Mars where strange beings capture him. Some are kindly; they only want to communicate because they wonder about his amazing ability to jump huge distances and heights. He wonders about this himself and this gift comes in very handy as his adventures increase. Others do not like him. Humans are there, too, with one group is fighting to take over the other. He is attracted to the Princess of Helium who does not want to marry the head of the other city that her father thinks will ensure peace.
 
And on and on.
 
“John Carter” initials are “J.C.”, in other words, he could be considered a kind of savior figure to the people of Helium and other creatures of Mars or Barsoom as they call the planet. The only point I got out of this long and rambling movie – that is strangely watchable – is that Carter stands for peace and non-violence.
 
Otherwise much of the film, including the melodramatic music in the first part, is like a 1950s “B” movie. In other words, it’s corny and campy.
  If you know the Tarzan stories you will notice much similarity: men among aliens, in alien environments, one swings from trees in the jungle and the other jumps canyons and cliffs to escape danger, save the princess, and avoid conflict.


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Philip Neri: Philip Neri was a sign of contradiction, combining popularity with piety against the background of a corrupt Rome and a disinterested clergy, the whole post-Renaissance malaise. 
<p>At an early age, he abandoned the chance to become a businessman, moved to Rome from Florence and devoted his life and individuality to God. After three years of philosophy and theology studies, he gave up any thought of ordination. The next 13 years were spent in a vocation unusual at the time—that of a layperson actively engaged in prayer and the apostolate. </p><p>As the Council of Trent (1545-63) was reforming the Church on a doctrinal level, Philip’s appealing personality was winning him friends from all levels of society, from beggars to cardinals. He rapidly gathered around himself a group of laypersons won over by his audacious spirituality. Initially they met as an informal prayer and discussion group, and also served poor people in Rome. </p><p>At the urging of his confessor, he was ordained a priest and soon became an outstanding confessor, gifted with the knack of piercing the pretenses and illusions of others, though always in a charitable manner and often with a joke. He arranged talks, discussions and prayers for his penitents in a room above the church. He sometimes led “excursions” to other churches, often with music and a picnic on the way. </p><p>Some of his followers became priests and lived together in community. This was the beginning of the Oratory, the religious institute he founded. A feature of their life was a daily afternoon service of four informal talks, with vernacular hymns and prayers. Giovanni Palestrina was one of Philip’s followers, and composed music for the services. </p><p>The Oratory was finally approved after suffering through a period of accusations of being an assembly of heretics, where laypersons preached and sang vernacular hymns! (Cardinal Newman founded the first English-speaking house of the Oratory three centuries later.) </p><p>Philip’s advice was sought by many of the prominent figures of his day. He is one of the influential figures of the Counter-Reformation, mainly for converting to personal holiness many of the influential people within the Church itself. His characteristic virtues were humility and gaiety.</p> American Catholic Blog When we suffer, we don’t just come to understand the pain of Christ’s cross more, we come to understand the depth of God’s love for us: that he would endure such pain for us—in our place. We have a God who endured death so we would never have to do so.

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