Shopping cart Shopping cartLog in / Register | Pressroom
Your shopping cart is empty
Home About Us Study Programs WOF TV WOF Radio Written Word Catholicism Series News Ambassador Store Contact Donate end cap
The appearance of an art house film on the philosopher Hannah Arendt has sparked renewed interest in an old controversy. In 1961, Arendt went to Jerusalem as a correspondent for the New Yorker magazine to cover the trial of Adolf Eichmann, the notorious Nazi colonel accused of masterminding the transportation of millions of Jews to the death camps. Arendt was herself a Jew who had managed to escape from Nazi Germany and who had been, years before, something of an ardent Zionist. But she had since grown suspicious of the Israeli state, seeing it as un-self-critical and indifferent to the legitimate concerns of the Palestinians. I think it is fair to say, therefore, that she came to the trial with a complicated set of assumptions and a good deal of conflicting feelings. 
Posted: 9/19/2013 9:58:49 AM by Word On Fire | with 0 comments


Time Magazine’s recent cover story “The Childfree Life” has generated a good deal of controversy and commentary. The photo that graces the cover of the edition pretty much sums up the argument: a young, fit couple lounge languidly on a beach and gaze up at the camera with blissful smiles—and no child anywhere in sight. What the editors want us to accept is that this scenario is not just increasingly a fact in our country, but that it is morally acceptable as well, a lifestyle choice that some people legitimately make. Whereas in one phase of the feminist movement, “having it all” meant that a woman should be able to both pursue a career and raise a family, now it apparently means a relationship and a career without the crushing encumbrance of annoying, expensive, and demanding children.   

There is no question that childlessness is on the rise in the United States. Our birthrate is the lowest in recorded history, surpassing even the crash in reproduction that followed the economic crash of the 1930’s. We have not yet reached the drastic levels found in Europe (in Italy, for example, one in four women never give birth), but childlessness has risen in our country across all ethnic and racial groups, even those that have traditionally put a particular premium on large families. What is behind this phenomenon? The article’s author spoke to a variety of women who had decided not to have children and found a number of different reasons for their decision. Some said that they simply never experienced the desire for children; others said that their careers were so satisfying to them that they couldn’t imagine taking on the responsibility of raising children; still others argued that in an era when bringing up a child costs upward of $250,000, they simply couldn’t afford to have even one baby; and the comedian Margaret Cho admitted, bluntly enough, “Babies scare me more than anything.” A researcher at the London School of Economics weighed in to say that there is a tight correlation between intelligence and childlessness: the smarter you are, it appears, the less likely you are to have children!

Posted: 9/10/2013 11:08:41 AM by Word On Fire | with 0 comments


 
In “new” atheist and secularist circles today, faith is regularly ridiculed. It is presented as pre-scientific mumbo jumbo, Bronze Age credulity, the surrender of the intellect, unwarranted submission to authority, etc. Time and again, the late Christopher Hitchens, echoing Immanuel Kant, called on people to be intellectually responsible, to think for themselves, to dare to know. This coming of age would be impossible, he insisted, without the abandonment of religious faith. And in standard accounts of cultural history, the “age of faith” is presented as a retrograde and regressive dark age, out of which emerged, only after a long twilight struggle, the modern physical sciences and their attendant technologies. In accord with this cynical reading, the contemporary media almost invariably present people of “faith” as hopelessly unenlightened yahoos or dangerous fanatics. If you want the very best example of this, watch Bill Maher’s film “Religulous.”
           
It was to counter this deeply distorted understanding of faith that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI composed an encyclical letter, which has just appeared under the name of his papal successor and bears the title Lumen Fidei (The Light of Faith). The text—smart, allusive, ruminative, informed by a profound grasp of cultural trends—is, though signed by Pope Francis, unmistakably Ratzingerian. Though it is impossible in the context of this brief article to do justice to its rich content, I should like to gesture, however briefly, to a few of its principal motifs. 
Posted: 8/6/2013 10:20:18 AM by Word On Fire | with 0 comments


There were a number of reasons why I liked “World War Z,” the film based on Max Brooks’s book of the same name. First, it was a competently made thriller and not simply a stringing together of whiz-bang CGI effects. Secondly, it presented a positive image of a father. In a time when Homer Simpson and Peter Griffin are the norm for fatherhood in the popular culture, Brad Pitt’s character, Gerry Lane, is actually a man of intelligence, deep compassion, and self-sacrificing courage. But what intrigued me the most about “World War Z” is how it provides a template for thinking seriously about sin and salvation. 

As the movie opens, an ordinary American family is alarmed by news of a mysterious contagion that is spreading quickly across the globe. In a matter of days, the disease has reached their hometown of Philadelphia, and they are forced to flee. It becomes clear that a virus is turning people into the walking dead, hungry for human flesh. What is particularly frightening about this iteration of the zombie myth is that the undead of “World War Z” are not the lumbering oafs that we’ve come to expect, but rather are fast-moving, teeth-grinding, extremely focused killing machines. 

After a series of close calls, Gerry and his family manage to escape and make their way to a ship off the eastern seaboard. We learn that Gerry had been a special operative for the United Nations, skilled in fighting his way in and out of hot spots around the world. His superiors draft him back into service, charging him with the task of finding out how to contain the virus. Accompanied only by a small team of scientists and military personnel, Gerry wings his way first to Korea and then to Jerusalem, where, at least for the moment, the Israeli government has managed to keep the zombies at bay behind a high and thick wall. Now when Jerusalem came into focus, I realized that the filmmakers perhaps had some ambitions beyond simply another ringing of the changes on the zombie story.
Posted: 7/19/2013 1:57:09 PM by Word On Fire | with 0 comments


I didn’t really care for the latest cinematic iteration of the Superman myth. Like way too many movies today, it was made for the generation that came of age with video games and MTV and their constant, irritatingly frenetic action. When the CGI whiz-bang stuff kicks in, I just check out, and “Man of Steel” is about three-quarters whiz-bang. 

However, there is a theme in this film that is worthy of some reflection, namely the tension between individual autonomy and a state-controlled society. “Man of Steel” commences with a lengthy segment dealing with the closing days of the planet Krypton. We learn that a fiercely totalitarian regime, led by a General Zod, is seeking the arrest of a scientist called Jor-El.  It becomes clear that Jor-El has attempted to undermine the regime’s policy of strictly controlling the genetics of Kryptonite newborns. Very much in the manner of Plato’s Republic, Kryptonite children are rigidly pre-programmed to be a member of one of three social groups.  Jor-El and his wife have conceived a child in the traditional manner and are seeking to send their son, born in freedom, away from their dying planet. I won’t bore you with many more plot details, but suffice it to say that the child (the future Superman) does indeed get away to planet Earth and that General Zod manages to survive the destruction of his world. The movie then unfolds as the story of a great battle between the representative of freedom and the avatar of genetic manipulation and political tyranny. 

Posted: 7/19/2013 1:38:13 PM by Word On Fire | with 0 comments


Displaying results 16-20 (of 167)
 |<  <  1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10  >  >| 

Share with your friends

Add to DeliciousAdd to DiggAdd to NewsvineAdd to RedditAdd to Yahoo MyWebAdd to FarkAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to StumbleUponAdd to Google BookmarksAdd to MySpace

Title

Click on the title of any of Fr. Barron's Articles on the left to view the full article.  Please feel free to provide your own comments and feedback. Clicking any of the Tags below will show you a listing of articles and commentaries that relate to the word you click. Click on the RSS link to sign up to be notified of each new item that is published here. Past articles can be found in the archive.

WOF Blog RSS Feed SubscriptionSubscribe to our RSS Feed to receive new articles

Tags

2012 A Man For All Seasons A Serious Man abortion Adjustment Bureau Adolph Eichmann advent agnostic Agora Alister angels and deomons apocalypse apologetics Archdiocese of Chicago Ascension atheism Audacity of Hope baptism Barack Obama big bang theory Bin Laden Bob Dylan book Book of Job Brad Caritas in Veritate Carol Marin Catholic Universities celibacy Charles Lwanga Chicago childfree marriages children Christopher Hitchens Civilta Cattolica Coen Brothers commentariat confession conscience contraception devil District 9 dysfunctional Eckhart Tolle Einstein Elijah Emmaus encyclical encyclicals ends and means Evangelization exorcism Father Andrew Greeley Father Barron films financial Fr. Paul Murray Genesis Georgetown golf Hannah Hannah Arendt Hell heresies holocaust interviews Ireland Judge Judy judgement Julia Roberts Kenneth Clark Kierkegaard Laurie Brink Liberal Catholicism Libya lord of the world Lumen Fidei Man of Steel marriage McGrath Mother Teresa movie review muslim nazi nones Notre Dame Nuns Of Gods and Men Palm Sunday PBS Pentecost Peter Snow Pew Forum philosophy Pitt Political Corruption Pope Benedict Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI Pope Francis Pope John Paul II priest pro life prosperity gospel protestantism Purgatory Ralph Grimston Richard McBrien robert hugh benson sacraments Samuel science scientism Sears Tower September 11th sex abuse sexuality Shari’a Law Simon Cowell spiritual St. Irenaeus St. John St. Patrick St. Thomas Aquinas St. Thomas More Superman Ted Kennedy The Hunger Games The Ides of March the shack The Stoning of Soraya M. theologian Time Magazine Timothy Dolan tolerance True Grit Twilight vampires Vatican Willis Tower Woody Allen World War Z World Youth Day YouTube

Syndication

RSS
WORD ON FIRE CATHOLIC MINISTRIES | 5215 Old Orchard Road Suite 410 | Skokie, IL 60077
Add to DeliciousAdd to DiggAdd to NewsvineAdd to RedditAdd to Yahoo MyWebAdd to FarkAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to StumbleUponAdd to Google BookmarksAdd to MySpace
Copyright © 2010 WordOnFire.org