Storm in the ancient city of Kilkenny

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My weekly newsletter from Screenit.com this week told me that among the crop of new movies just released is one entitled The Dead Don’t Die. In its very brief snapshot of what the film is about it says: “Comedy/Horror: Residents of a small town must contend with a zombie outbreak.” My God, I said to myself, “That was quick. They’ve already made a movie about Friar Tom Ford’s shocking sermon to the people of Kilkenny.” Well, sorry. I know Kilkenny is not a small town. It is one of Ireland’s oldest and most beautiful cities, for a short time the seat of its parliament.

Closer examination of the new release of course assured me that this movie was not about Friar Tom, or the remarks he made about the state of our bodies after the death of grace in our souls, when afflicted by that sin which we appropriately call “mortal”. You probably have some hazy recollection of what all Christians once learned in their catechisms. The people who walked out of Fr. Tom’s church in disgust at his remarks may have forgotten that.

It struck me as a bit strange to recall that Dolores Riordan and the Cranberries had a worldwide hit a few decades ago when they said exactly the same thing about another kind of sinful activity indulged in and causing the mayhem that all sin causes in any country. Zombies was what they called those who surrendered the life of their souls to Irish Republican Army. Perhaps had Friar Tom set his words to music he might have been more effective in getting his point across. As it is he now just has everyone falling over backwards in outrage and his friends and superiors apologizing for him. He included a range of what Catholic moral teaching describes as objectively sinful behavior. One feels, of course, that his real sin was to include gay activity among these.

The gay thing is, of course, impossible to talk about now – unless you are praising the lifestyle to the skies. What is it anyway? I once wrote something by way of explanation of the Catholic Church’s teaching that it did not condemn as sinful the condition of being gay in one’s sexual orientation. A friend of mine contradicted me, explaining that in contemporary usage – I’m not an expert in the area – “being gay” was in fact a description of one who was homo-sexually active. What the Catholic Church holds, he explained to me is that homosexual orientation is not in any way sinful, so much so that it is perfectly compatible with a virtuoso and sanctified life – which was the point I was trying to make. He thought I was not being helpful by confusing the two.

Friar Ford, as he admitted himself, is something of a fan of the zombie movie genre. To his cost, he let his enthusiasm for the metaphor he saw in them go just a little bit too far. But really, was it that shocking. Literary souls like using metaphors to explain their ideas. He saw it as a way of bringing home to us all the grossness and horror of that sin which we call “mortal”, that sin which kills the life our soul. Christ called some of those of his own time who were willfully in a similar state, “whited sepulchers” – which as an image is not far from zombie. Of course his hearers were offended and outraged also. Indeed, they ended up crucifying him for his offensiveness.

There is now much ado about the latest iteration of Catholic teaching on the gender and identity issue. It clearly explains the traditional Catholic view that men and women are created with fixed gender and sexual roles. Some are complaining that it does not address the work of biologists and psychologists who grapple with the exceptional cases which give rise to confusion of identity. The Church is not a Scientific Institute. It is a moral teacher and has to offer moral guidance to every soul on the planet. It is aware of and respects the responsible work being done by scientists, psychologists and psychiatrists in this field. Indeed it uses their findings to clarify its own moral teaching as faith and reason demands. However, it is the bizarre ramblings of the LGBT theorists that have made it necessary to offer this statement of moral teaching to poor bewildered humanity at this time.

At the root of all the confusion, of course is the poison inflicted on society and our civilization by the neo-Marxist definitions of our nature which spawned the sexual revolution. Sexual sin no longer exists. Pharmaceutical development and technological development – although they have brought great goods to mankind have combined together to poison our vision of what it is to be truly human. Together they have led us to a place where sexual abuse, promiscuity, abortion, pornography are corrupting individual human beings in their millions. As a consequence they are corrupting our society by destroying the family. That dual corruption, unless it is arrested, will end in utter chaos. If a bit of outrage in a Kilkenny Friary helps bring us back to our sense of what is really right and wrong, I can live with a bit of roughage.

More on the shifting sands of the media world

If readers pay for your news, you’re one of the lucky ones

By Mathew Ingram

Columbia Journalism Review

Every year, the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, which is based at Oxford University in the UK, comes out with its Digital News Report, a survey of global trends and attitudes towards online news. Depending on your position in the media industry, it can be either good news or bad news. According to the latest edition, which came out Wednesday morning, if you’re a prosperous digital giant with a well-established subscription program, then you are probably in great shape, thanks to the growth of digital and mobile consumption of the news. If you’re a small publisher that still relies predominantly on print and your subscription plan still isn’t lucrative, however, the report is probably going to cause nightmares. As Facebook and Google continue to vacuum up the lion’s share of digital advertising around the globe, the landscape is looking increasingly barren for any publisher that isn’t already a market leader. (Google helps fund the Reuters report.)

One of the big headlines from the study is that, despite the efforts of news publishers to pivot away from advertising revenue and focus more on subscriptions and membership plans, there has only been a tiny increase in the number of people who pay for online news in any form in the past year, and the bulk of what little growth did occur came primarily in Nordic countries like Norway and Sweden. In the US, the so-called “Trump bump,” which led many news consumers to sign up for subscriptions to newspapers like The New York Times and Washington Post, seems to have slowed into a virtual flat line. The number of people who paid for news in the US jumped sharply in 2017, the Reuters report says, but it currently remains relatively “stable” (i.e. it isn’t growing) at 16 percent of the population.

On a related note, the study found that even in countries where fairly large numbers of news consumers pay for their news, the vast majority of those consumers only have a single subscription. As the report points out, this phenomenon—which turns subscription revenue into a scarce resource that virtually every other news outlet is also fighting for—suggests that there is a “winner take all” aspect to online news. That might benefit the Times or the Post, or newspapers like The Guardian in the UK, but as those outlets grow stronger, their smaller competitors could find it even more difficult to sign up new subscribers, no matter how good their coverage is. Some media analysts believe there is a distinct possibility that this could create a polarized market, where the big get bigger and the small get smaller, and those in the middle either dramatically change their models or die out.

The Reuters study also suggests that news publishers aren’t just competing with other news outlets for subscribers. As more and more consumers—particularly younger ones, the kind the news industry is most interested in attracting—are looking to streaming services like Netflix and Spotify to serve their entertainment needs, there is a risk that even in markets where people don’t mind paying for news, a form of “subscription fatigue” may be developing. In this environment, “publishers may struggle to substantially increase the market for high-priced single-title subscriptions,” the Reuters report says. And publishers who are doing everything they can to sign up as many readers as possible could be exacerbating this problem by hitting consumers with paywalls more frequently. Reuters says that, in the US, about half of those surveyed said they now hit a pay barrier at least once a week.

If you’re desperate for a little good news, the study found that while trust in the news in general is down 2 percentage points to 42 percent across all countries, and less than half of those surveyed said they trust the news sources they use regularly, there are signs that these low levels of trust are helping move people towards more reputable sources of news. Across all of the countries surveyed, more than 25 percent said that they have started relying on more reputable sources, and in the US about 40 percent of those surveyed said they were doing the same (The study says the interpretation of “reputable” was left to respondents to determine.) How this particular statistic is likely to affect your media business depends on whether you are one of the reputable sources people are heading towards, or one of the not-so-reputable sources that readers are busy heading away from.

Here’s more on the state of digital news:

• Print’s long decline: The Reuters report isn’t the only significant survey of digital media trends to come out this week. Mary Meeker is a veteran technology analyst who recently left the VC fund Kleiner Perkins to start her own fund, and she releases a 300-plus page overview of the internet market every year that companies and investors routinely scan for details. Nieman Lab founder Josh Benton scans the Meeker report every year for data on the state of print advertising, and every year the data gets worse.

• Active avoiders: Damian Radcliffe of the site What’s New In Publishing has picked out what he believes are the five essential charts from the Reuters media report that publishers need to pay attention to, including the fact that almost a third of those surveyed for the report say that they “actively avoid the news.” That’s up by 3 percentage points from when Reuters asked the same question last year. How can publishers convince more readers to subscribe to their sites if a significant proportion are no longer interested in news at all?

• Congress cares: The backdrop to the Reuters study is, of course, the dominance of digital giants like Google and Facebook, which Congress is currently holding hearings into, with a view towards possible antitrust action against either one or both. During Tuesday’s hearings, the media got a shout out from several congressmen, including House Judiciary Committee Chairman David Cicilline, who asked: “If online news publishers can’t survive, then who can?”

• The youngs: Not everyone was depressed by the Reuters study. Mark Little, a former Irish TV Correspondent who founded the social-media verification service Storyful and now has a news curation startup called Kinzen, says there are encouraging signs that younger news consumers are more interested in reputable sources, share less fake news and are more interested in paying for news than older consumers.

The great divide

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The world seems to be irreconcilably divided into two diametrically opposed realms of feeling and fear. These worlds do not talk to each other, they talk at each other. There is the realm of those who feel The Shame And Peril Of Living In A No-Abortion State and those who in equal measure feel The Shame And Peril Of Living In An Abortion State.  The measure of difference between those two sound bites is the word “No” but the measure of difference between the sentiments expressed is as an abyss.

The first is a tweet signaling another volley of rifle-fire, in the form of a blog post, at the down-but-not-out opposing army. It is totally devoid of the slightest suggestion that there is any point in listening to what they might have to say in defence of their case against “an abortion State”. These are two forces at war, and it is not pretty.

The measure of shame and peril felt on each side may be relatively equal, but the measure of power exercised by one side of the divide over the other is not.

In a recent Irish Times article Gavin Boyne drew attention to the way in which the most extreme advocates of abortion had now captured the engines of social and health policy in Ireland and were molding them into their own image and serving the culture of death. But not only are they doing so in Ireland. They are seeking to work their way around the globe in pursuit of their goal.

The chairwoman of a U.N. commission, in the face of objections from more than one member state, recently forced the adoption of a measure that implicitly promotes abortion. Who is this woman? She is Irish ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason, who is recognised within the U.N. as a woman who has dedicated her life to using the Organisation to promote abortion around the world – which is probably why the government of the world’s newest Abortion State has appointed her as its ambassador there.

Controversy erupted a few months ago at the annual conference of the Commission on the Status of Women, when Byrne Nason, ignoring objections by two countries, forced the adoption of a document that promises “universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services” for citizens of member states. In the language of this war, that means only one thing.

The hearing on whether to adopt the “agreed conclusion,” which involves “a set of concrete recommendations for governments, intergovernmental bodies and other institutions,” came after weeks of negotiations. It was held at the U.N. headquarters in New York late on the evening of March 22, after translators had gone home. When Byrne Nason asked exhausted delegates whether any country had an objection, diplomats from both Saudi Arabia and Bahrain spoke, citing a slew of language dealing with sexuality and the family that “disregards important red lines” for them.

The delegate from Bahrain claimed that during the negotiation process he was “bullied and harassed” by high-ranking U.N. officials and senior Commission members, “in terms of threatening me to go back to my capital, talk to my royal family to pull me out of the negotiation.” Again, language says it all. Islamophobia anyone?

The Muslim countries objected to “multiple references to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights”.  But Byrne Nason was having none of it. “I hear no objection. It is so decided,” the ambassador responded as she banged her gavel.  The Bahraini and Saudi Arabian diplomats protested, but to no avail.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” a U.N. expert who advises member states on legal issues told National Review. The source characterized Byrne Nason as the “primary villain” in the situation who has “clearly dedicated her life and her work to advancing the abortion agenda at the U.N.”

A diplomat involved in the negotiation who requested anonymity from the National Review writer to speak on the record called it a “very frustrating session.” “This has never been the way” such negotiations work, the diplomat said. “Everybody needs to be on board.” If even one country rejects the document, the diplomat added, it “automatically means that there’s no agreement.”

The document in question promised, among other things, to “ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights”

United States was not a member of the Commission but did participate in negotiations about the measure. Their team was dismayed that “the clear views of many delegations were not taken into account,” U.S. Ambassador for U.N. Management and Reform Cherith Norman Chalet said in a statement delivered at the March 22 hearing. The U.S. also took issue with the language on “comprehensive education and sexual and reproductive health information.”

The Holy See, Guatemala, Comoros, Bahrain, Belarus, Cameroon, Djibouti, Libya, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Gambia, Malaysia, Mauritania, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Russia, Sudan, Zambia, and Zimbabwe joined the U.S. in expressing concerns about the parts of the document dealing with abortion and neglect of the family, and with the faulty process that led to the document’s adoption.

The unfortunate reality is that some of these countries are still in the early stages of development and have poor records when it comes to dealing with social inequality, economic progress, women’s rights, and more. This firstly allows the wise men and woman in control at the U.N. to denigrate all their values, and secondly, gives an opportunity to the neo-colonial Abortion States to package their very progressivist  policies into their development programmes.

Elroy off the leash

I like this – for its freshness. Why do more people who have interesting things to say, or might have, not take this line?

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This is from the Daily Telegraph:

London, 7.15pm, a warm evening on the Southbank. James Ellroy, the man known as the Demon Dog of American crime fiction, writer of The Black Dahlia and LA Confidential, is having his photograph taken with an English bull terrier called Brian. Smartly dressed in a blazer, leaning his loose-limbed 6’4” frame down into the shot, the novelist is affable and smiling. One hour later, at a question-and-answer session in the plush surroundings of the Queen Elizabeth Hall, he’s off the leash.

A fan has dared to embark upon a speech that seems to be leading towards a question about the current president of the USA, and Ellroy is on him fast. “Don’t even start…” he menaces. “Stop right there.” There’s some nervous laughter. “This is not a Trump question,” the punter protests. “Shut up!” Ellroy snaps. “Back off! I don’t answer any questions pertaining to contemporary politics, or America today, under any circumstances.” He sits back, still snarling. “First f—ing question.”

The Sleeping Beauty’s heartbeat counts for nothing anymore

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Thou shat do as I say, Georgia, or else…

Irony of ironies, Disney has gone over to the Dark Side and joined the forces of the abortion industry. The Daily Telegraph reported yesterday (May 30) that the corporation’s chief executive has warned the US state of Georgia that its  film and TV productions are likely to abandon the state if its controversial abortion bill becomes law.

Bob Iger said it would be “very difficult” for the entertainment giant to continue working in the state if the so-called “heartbeat bill”, which outlaws terminations from as early as six weeks, comes into force.

The Walt Disney Company has shot some of its biggest films in the US state, including Black Panther and Avengers: Endgame.

Speaking to Reuters, Iger said: “If it becomes law, it’ll be very difficult.

“I think many people who work for us will not want to work there, and we will have to heed their wishes in that regard.

“Right now we are watching it very carefully.”

Is that Big Brother, Mr. Iger? It appears that corporate America is becoming more and more daring daring every day in the way that it is playing fast and loose with democratic institutions.

Surely there is a glaring misuse of power here – when a multi-billion industrial baron can step in on an issue like this and decree “Thou shalt not do this” – or we will make you pay dearly? It is probably not personal on Iger’s part – and I am giving him the benefit of the doubt here. He knows that the ideological forces that have captivated the minds and hearts of his prima-dona workforce will make life and business difficult for him if he does not subvert the democratic institutions which they despise.

 

Ordinary people have a right to ask why a powerful empire like Hollywood has a right to force them to do what they think is wrong.  Why should their conscientious defence of the right to life of a human being be sacrificed to a big business which deems that terminating a beating human heart it is morally justifiable?

 

 

Trilogues – have we reason to be suspicious?

 

Trilogues

A helpful briefing from THE WEEK:

Trilogues, as the name suggests, are informal meetings in which a few key players from each of the EU’s three main institutions – MEPs from the relevant parliamentary committee, officials from the Council and the EC – hammer out a deal on a given policy. Ever since the 2009 Lisbon Treaty stressed the need for speedy decisions, they’ve become, as the EU Observer puts it, “the main engine in the sausage factory that churns out EU laws in Brussels”. The timing of trilogues isn’t known to most MEPs, let alone the public; no minutes are taken; no one knows which of Brussels’s countless lobby groups may have brought pressure to bear. Yet deals made in them are often presented to the EP on a “take-it-or-leave-it” basis, thus shortcircuiting the democratic legislative process and making mock of the transparency the parliament was meant to bring to it. Not that transparency is top of the list of MEP concerns. Last year a journalistic investigation exposed a host of dodgy MEP expenses claims; yet MEPs voted

down a subsequent EC proposal to force them to keep their receipts, and have their expenditures audited and made public. The European Court of Justice later upheld the MEPs’ right to keep their spending secret.

The problem at the heart of the European project

This analysis by David Thunder really hits the nail on the head. This points to the roots of Brexit. Battle for soul of Europe is only beginning

via @IrishTimes.

EU leaders undoubtedly breathed a collective sigh of relief as they surveyed the composition of the new EU parliament: although nationalist and Eurosceptical parties have made significant gains, the balance of power remains firmly on the side of more or less establishment-friendly parties. The dreaded populist upset has not materialised.

Pro-integration parties have enough votes to form a majority coalition in the EU parliament. This means that the EU can more or less trundle along as it is, at least for the time being.

Nonetheless, the steady gains of nationalist parties, led by Nigel Farage in the UK, Marine Le Pen in France and Matteo Salvini in Italy, cannot be easily dismissed, particularly given that France has given more seats to Le Pen’s Rassemblement National (National Rally) than any other party, representing a major setback for France’s pro-EU centrists led by Emmanuel Macron.

The gradual consolidation of nationalist and Eurosceptical parties, even if it does not reach a commanding position, is indicative of a brewing storm over the soul of Europe, over what the European Union really stands for. The current fracturing of European politics is symptomatic of a tension that has been latent in the European Union since its inception, between two very different visions of European integration.

Read the full article here.

The Devil in his time, the Devil in our time

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THE MASTER AND MARGARITA, a text for all time because the Devil is for all time.

The dark art of performing exorcisms may seem archaic, even absurd, to non-believers, but the Catholic Church insists that the presence of the devil is growing all the time, due to the increasing secularisation of society, loss of faith in God and the easy access provided by the internet to black magic and the occult. So Dublin’s Irish Independent newspaper and a good deal of other media reported last week.

If he is still doing mischief, it is reassuring that should he decide to target any of us individually to the extent of seeking to possess us bodily, someone will be prepared to do something about it. But individual possession might be the least of our problems. What if he is targeting our entire civilization – and given who he is it is not beyond his powers or ambitions to try to do so. He did it before, with devastating effect. Admittedly there were only two of us – but we underestimate him at our peril.

There is no doubt but that something very strange has happened to Western society. When you find yourself reading this from Thierry Frémaux, the chairman of Cannes Film Festival we surely have reason for concern. He told reporters last week. “Today it is very difficult to reward or honour or recompense anyone because the political police then falls on you.”

Add to that the life-shattering punishment meted out to Israel Folau on the other side of the world for a thought expressed on social media. Then, in another hemisphere, medical personnel, by a judgment of a Canadian court of appeals, are to have their professional careers destroyed if they will not cooperate in the killing of their patients. Those examples don’t even cover the tip of the iceberg of injustice being meted out in so-called civilized society today in the name of something they call equality.

Libertarian Brendan O’Neill, introducing a Spiked.dot.com post on the subject, says of the Folau case, “So we’re back to persecuting people for their religious beliefs. That’s the take-home message of the scandalous sacking of Israel Folau. He’s been dumped by Rugby Australia for sharing a meme on social media that said ‘hell awaits’ gay people (and also drunks, thieves, adulterers and atheists). But Folau is a devout Christian and this is a Christian belief. It is part of Christianity to believe in hell and to believe that certain sexual and social ‘deviants’ will go there. Folau has been punished for his religious convictions. And the people cheering his sacking are supporting this chilling, pre-modern form of punishment. This case speaks to the new intolerance, where anyone who thinks differently to the mainstream risks being cast out. Israel Folau – rugby player and thought criminal.”

This was the kind of totalitarian world which we thought we had largely left behind us with fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of Soviet Communism. Clearly, we were wrong. Soft cultural Marxism has brought us to a place which is worse than the stark Soviet variety ever was – worse because it insidiously masquerades under the cloak of a benign progressivism, and the whole world seems to be swallowing it.

It seems as if the battles for humanity fought by the Russian and Eastern European dissidents like Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Vaclav Havel and others have to be fought all over again if we are to have any hope of restoring our freedom, our common sense and common decency.

But who will fight them? Forget the political class. It is too prone to corruption of one kind or another, in thrall to or captive by the ayatollahs of ever more lunatic political correctness. Will writers and artists come to our rescue as those Russians did in the last century? The evil of National Socialism – in both its Teutonic and Latin manifestation – self-destructed in the space of little more than ten years. Admittedly there was the help of a significant military push. But the evils flowing from hard Marxist ideology took a good deal longer to vanquish (if vanquished they are). They were essentially undermined by a combination of religious faith and the creative imagination of a handful of great writers.

The great Russian writers and artists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries were never shy about talking about the Devil. Solzhenitsyn took on the soviets and identified their greatest folly and vice as the denial of the spiritual in man. He later warned us in the West that we were descending into our own hell by putting man at the centre of all things and denying the existence of God. He had no doubt who the driving force behind this was.

One of Russia and the world’s greatest film auters, Sergei  Eizenshtein, in Ivan the Terrible, personified the eponymous subject as Satan. No one said it out loud but everyone suspected who the real personification of Satan was. The film was heavily censored.

As noted in Russian Literature and its Demons (ed. Pamela Davidson, Berghahn Books, New York / Oxford), Stalin’s terror of the 1930s, evokes the book of Revelation, in which Satan takes on the form of a “great red dragon” (Rev.12:3). In Eizenshtein’s film, the play in the cathedral in which Shadrach, Medrach, and Abednego are symbolically cast into the fiery furnace draws a parallel between the cruelty of Ivan (or Stalin) and the evil Babylonian ruler Nebuchadnezzar. In the banquet scene, with its wild dance of the oprichniki (Ivan’s secret police) and its vivid use of black and red, the representation of Ivan evokes Satan presiding over some demonic orgy.

Mikhail Bulgakov was much more explicit and in some ways more devastating in making the Devil and his acolytes the central protagonists in his extraordinarily funny but utterly serious and complex satirical fable, The Master and Margarita. This was completed in 1940 but not published until 1965 – and only then in a heavily censored version.

Writers and artists like Bulgakov, and composers like Shostakovich and Prokofiev suffered rejection but persevered within the repressive system. Bulgakov, even with his White Russian background and hostility to atheism, kicked against it and still survived. He was constantly refused permission to go abroad and spent time being interrogated in the infamous Lubianka. The Master and Margarita, his masterpiece, is a slap in the face of the intolerant atheism which poisoned Soviet Russia. By 1922 the Orthodox Church was under direct attack and priests were rounded up. Four were condemned to be shot (Bulgakov’s own father was a priest and theologian). Throughout the 20’s the debunking of Christianity was a constant objective. Ruthless punishment was inflicted on the books whose authors questioned this and found themselves abroad owing to deportation, emigration, or defection. Their books had to be removed from public libraries and shredded.

Bulgakov’s portrait of the Devil, Woland, daringly suggests Stalin. Both were mysterious, aloof, and rarely seen. Like Woland, Stalin also destroyed what sought to expose him. Both demanded subservience from their followers. Woland and his acolytes, however, also attack the agents of the system. We are inclined to cheer them on. Throughout the novel they mock and play games, sometimes hilariously funny, with the apparatchiks who run the system and who at least pretend not to believe in Woland’s existence – despite all the evidence he gives them. In their folly they try to explain the tricks he plays on them as some form of hypnotism or scientific slight of hand.

Whether or not Bulgakov intended to draw a parallel between Stalin and Woland, there is no question but that the Soviet censors read the novel in this way. In one passage, the shape changing cat, Begemot, speaks of the grandeur of Satan’s ball, but, after being contradicted by Woland, immediately hastens to agree obsequiously with his master: “Of course, messire.  If you think it wasn’t very grand, I immediately find myself agreeing with you.” That was much too close to the bone.

And what does that remind us of? The daily groveling apologies of many of those who find themselves reprimanded and punished by our thought police.

So where are they, the writers, creative artists, who will expose this evil among us? They have yet to stick their heads above the parapets – and God help them when they do. The great Russians who exposed Satan suffered for what they did, some physically as well as mentally. Perhaps the same has to happen again? Perhaps the answer is here:

And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and kneeling before him said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly; for often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” And Jesus answered, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” And Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was cured instantly. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. But this kind never comes out except by prayer and fasting.” (Mathew 17. 14-20).

Guadalupe Ortiz, a scientist, a teacher, and more…

The Cross first came to Guadalupe at the age of 20 in the form of a tragic event – the execution of her father by a firing squad

 

Guadalupe Ortiz, the first woman member of Opus Dei to be beatified

Guadalupe Ortiz de Landázuri

The lives of saints, even the lives of great but ordinary people, who may also be saints without our knowing it, are often marked by great suffering. There is no such thing as holiness without Christ’s Cross.

This was certainly a distinguishing characteristic of a woman who will be beatified next week. On May 18, Guadalupe Ortiz, a scientist, a teacher, and much more, will be honoured in a stadium more commonly associated with rock concerts than with religious devotion.

The Cross first came to Guadalupe at the age of 20 in the form of a tragic event – the execution of her father by a firing squad.

Guadalupe bore this ordeal with exemplary serenity. Who is to say that the marks of this cross were not part of the foundation on which she later built that life of dedication to God and service to her fellow human beings, across two continents.

Read this article in full in The Tablet online.

Terrence Malick’s new film on Cannes programme

Last October we posted an article about Terrence Malick’s new film about the life and death of Franz Jagerstatter. At that time the working title for the film was Radegund, the village in Austria which was home to Jagerstatter. The released film’s title is now A Hidden Life.

The film is being shown at the Cannes Festival this month and is one of the most eagerly anticipated screenings on the festival’s programme.

Jordan Raup writes about it here on the website of The Film Stage. His piece includes several images from the film.

He says, of it and the festival:

We’ll soon be sharing our most-anticipated films of Cannes Film Festival, which begins next week, but it’s safe to reveal that the premiere we’re most looking forward to is Terrence Malick’s A Hidden Life, formerly titled Radegund. Marking the director’s return to World War II dramas, this one takes a much different perspective than The Thin Red Line.

A Hidden Life follows Austria’s Franz Jägerstätter (August Diehl), a conscientious objector who was put to death at the age of 36 for undermining military actions. A set of new images have now been unveiled for the film also starring Valerie Pachner, Matthias Schoenaerts, and Jürgen Prochnow, as well as the late Michael Nyqvist and Bruno Ganz. Cannes also updated the initially stated three-hour runtime, which now clocks in at 173 minutes.