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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service


Andrew Jacobs stars in a scene from the movie "Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones."
In crafting "Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones" (Paramount), writer-director Christopher Landon maintains the admirable tradition of minimal bloodletting that has characterized this spooky franchise since its 2007 debut. But he also ratchets up the adult content with a steady flow of vulgarities and a scene of occult rites performed without clothing.

Perhaps the tough talk is meant to be in keeping with a shift in venue from the suburban setting of the previous films to a working-class Latino section of Oxnard, Calif. There, recent high school grad Jessie (Andrew Jacobs) has a series of unsettling experiences that his best friend Hector (Jorge Diaz) documents using a handheld camera.

The pals suspect the strange goings-on are connected to the murder of Anna (Gloria Sandoval), a mysterious neighbor in Jessie's apartment complex who was rumored to be a witch.

The black-arts back story is just there for window dressing. More troubling is the combination of Catholic prayer and Santeria practices to which Jessie's grandmother (Renee Victor) eventually resorts to try to rid him of his supernatural woes. Along with the elements cited above, this potentially confusing admixture of scriptural faith and barely disguised polytheism prevents endorsement for young or impressionable moviegoers.

In fact, with the found-footage conceit underlying all the "Paranormal Activity" pictures beginning to feel threadbare, even those few mature horror fans who make up the appropriate audience for this fifth outing in the series may find it less rewarding than its predecessors.

The film contains some violence with brief gore, a suicide, full nudity, nongraphic nonmarital sexual activity, drug use, a couple of instances of profanity, pervasive rough and crude language and a few sexual jokes, one involving an obscene image. The Catholic News Service classification is L—limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R—restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.



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Angela Merici: Angela has the double distinction of founding the first teaching congregation of women in the Church and what is now called a “secular institute” of religious women. 
<p>As a young woman she became a member of the Third Order of St. Francis (now known as the Secular Franciscan Order), and lived a life of great austerity, wishing, like St. Francis, to own nothing, not even a bed. Early in life she was appalled at the ignorance among poorer children, whose parents could not or would not teach them the elements of religion. Angela’s charming manner and good looks complemented her natural qualities of leadership. Others joined her in giving regular instruction to the little girls of their neighborhood. </p><p>She was invited to live with a family in Brescia (where, she had been told in a vision, she would one day found a religious community). Her work continued and became well known. She became the center of a group of people with similar ideals. </p><p>She eagerly took the opportunity for a trip to the Holy Land. When they had gotten as far as Crete, she was struck with blindness. Her friends wanted to return home, but she insisted on going through with the pilgrimage, and visited the sacred shrines with as much devotion and enthusiasm as if she had her sight. On the way back, while praying before a crucifix, her sight was restored at the same place where it had been lost. </p><p>At 57, she organized a group of 12 girls to help her in catechetical work. Four years later the group had increased to 28. She formed them into the Company of St. Ursula (patroness of medieval universities and venerated as a leader of women) for the purpose of re-Christianizing family life through solid Christian education of future wives and mothers. The members continued to live at home, had no special habit and took no formal vows, though the early Rule prescribed the practice of virginity, poverty and obedience. The idea of a teaching congregation of women was new and took time to develop. The community thus existed as a “secular institute” until some years after Angela’s death.</p> American Catholic Blog I hear far more people discuss the presence of evil in their lives than they do the supreme power of grace. God is bigger than evil!

 
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