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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Tyler Perry's Single Moms Club

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service


Zulay Henao, Cocoa Brown and Nia Long star in "Tyler Perry's Single Moms Club."
Consummate funnyman Groucho Marx is said to have observed that he didn't want to belong to any club that would have him as a member.

Moviegoers considering enrollment in "Tyler Perry's Single Moms Club" (Lionsgate) should exercise a similar, if less ironic, sense of caution.

There's an artificial air to this ensemble seriocomedy. That's primarily because the socially diverse but uniformly beleaguered women at the heart of the story come across more as serviceable types than real individuals.

They range from uptight, career-obsessed publisher Jan (Wendi McLendon-Covey) to diner waitress —and don't-mess-with-me Earth mother—Lytia (Cocoa Brown). Hovering between those two extreme poles are journalist May (Nia Long), overwhelmed suburban housewife Hillary (Amy Smart) and unemployed Esperanza (Zulay Henao), whose lack of a career makes her dependent on the largesse of her manipulative former husband, Santos (Eddie Cibrian).

The prospect of new love helps at least some of the ladies cope with such challenges as troubled kids, professional setbacks and domineering exes. May falls for theater technician T.K. (Perry), Esperanza has been cohabiting with bartender Manny (William Levy) but concealing it from Santos, while Lytia keeps rebuffing the determined advances of happy-go-lucky auto repairman Branson (Terry Crews).

In charting his central quintet's growing friendship—they eventually form the grouping of the title to offer one another support in their travails—Perry, who also wrote and directed, shows many of the negative effects of divorce.

But his script implicitly accepts Esperanza and Manny's sexual relationship. It also affirms the never-married Jan in her long-ago decision to conceive her daughter, Katie (Cassie Brennan), through artificial insemination. This is at least partially balanced, though, by Katie's outspoken objection to the fact that she will never know who her father is.

Finally, passing, almost pro-forma approval is given to homosexual acts after one character mistakenly assumes that another is a lesbian: The price of the joke is a "not that there's anything wrong with that"-style backtrack.

Given these off-kilter bedroom (and laboratory) ethics, adult viewers will have to decide whether the forced proceedings on offer are worth the effort of straining out such currently widespread but scripturally unwarranted attitudes.

The film contains misguided sexual values, a premarital situation, much adult humor and some crass language. 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 he soon 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 Ultimately there is no friend who can fully understand us, who can walk with us all the way. We must go forward and walk on our own in response to who we are and who we are called to be in God. —Thomas Merton

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