IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Opinions expressed on the Insight Scoop weblog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Ignatius Press. Links on this weblog to articles do not necessarily imply agreement by the author or by Ignatius Press with the contents of the articles. Links are provided to foster discussion of important issues. Readers should make their own evaluations of the contents of such articles.
Brendan Gleeson stars in "Calvary," written and directed by John Michael McDonagh
A Good Priest Is Hard to Film | Michael Jameson | CWR
John Michael McDonagh's new film, "Calvary", has a gripping premise, but a shaky grasp on Catholic teaching and practice
The poster for Calvary is arresting and evocative: a cross of bullet holes marks the lead character, Fr. James--seemingly shot through the paper. John Michael McDonagh's Calvary attempts to tell the story of a "good priest" who, while waiting in the confessional for a penitent, receives a death threat from a male victim of sexual abuse, whose identity is obscured by the confessional. The penitent tells the priest to meet him on the beach in seven days. The killer explains his logic as follows: no one pays any mind when a bad priest is killed, but if a good priest is murdered, he'll have everyone's attention.
Thus begins this sometimes promising but ultimately unsatisfying film, with Fr. James unpacking the veracity of the threat and the potential identity of the confessional-obscured killer. However, the faithful Catholic viewer will quickly notice that the descriptive "good priest" mean very different things to different people.
Tornielli, the foremost “Vatican insider” journalist, offers here inspiring stories, incidents, encounters, and excerpts from the writings and talks of Pope Francis through his first year as Pope.
These add up to a powerful witness by Pope Francis of “heartwarming stories of the Gospel in action”, and reflect on various spiritual and social themes important to the Pope, including mercy, forgiveness, charity, prayer, justice, Eucharist, Our Lady and much more.
His little gestures and big ones, the minor or major choices that he has made each day, his ability to meet everyone and to speak to everyone, his simple way of being himself, have made Francis not only credible but above all close. The Pope is perceived by many, many people throughout the world as ‘‘one of us’’. It is enough to watch him embrace the sick, the suffering, the children, to see why that is so.
The title echoes the Little Flowers of Saint Francis, the famous collection of stories about the beloved Francis of Assisi, whose name the Pope adopted for himself.
This work offers a wonderful collection of insightful fragments from various aspects of the life of the Pope in his first year that will help the reader become better acquainted with the immensely popular Bishop of Rome who came ‘‘from the end of the earth’’.
Andrea Tornielli is a Vatican correspondent for the highly regarded Italian newspaper La Stampa who has collaborated with numerous Italian and international publications. His numerous books include Francis - Pope of a New World; Pius XII, the Pope of the Jews; Pope Luciani: the Smile of a Saint; The Pope Who Saved the Jews; Benedict XVI, Guardian of the Faith; The Secret of Padre Pio.
In this volume five Cardinals of the Church, and four other scholars, respond to the call issued by Cardinal Walter Kasper for the Church to harmonize "fidelity and mercy in its pastoral practice with civilly remarried, divorced people".
Beginning with a concise introduction, the first part of the book is dedicated to the primary biblical texts pertaining to divorce and remarriage, and the second part is an examination of the teaching and practice prevalent in the early Church. In neither of these cases, biblical or patristic, do these scholars find support for the kind of "toleration" of civil marriages following divorce advocated by Cardinal Kasper.
This book also examines the Eastern Orthodox practice of oikonomia (understood as "mercy" implying "toleration") in cases of remarriage after divorce and in the context of the vexed question of Eucharistic communion. It traces the centuries long history of Catholic resistance to this convention, revealing serious theological and canonical difficulties inherent in past and current Orthodox Church practice.
Thus, in the second part of the book, the authors argue in favor of retaining the theological and canonical rationale for the intrinsic connection between traditional Catholic doctrine and sacramental discipline concerning marriage and communion.
The various studies in this book lead to the conclusion that the Church's longstanding fidelity to the truth of marriage constitutes the irrevocable foundation of its merciful and loving response to the individual who is civilly divorced and remarried. The book therefore challenges the premise that traditional Catholic doctrine and contemporary pastoral practice are in contradiction.
"Because it is the task of the apostolic ministry to ensure that the Church remains in the truth of Christ and to lead her ever more deeply into that truth, pastors must promote the sense of faith in all the faithful, examine and authoritatively judge the genuineness of its expressions and educate the faithful in an ever more mature evangelical discernment." - St. John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio
Stills from the film, "Desire of the Everlasting Hills" (everlastinghills.org)
Same-Sex Attraction and the Universal Desires of the Human Heart | Carrie Gress | CWR
Fr. Paul Check, executive director of Courage, says the film, Desire of the Everlasting Hills, portrays a “special blend of humility, courage, and charity"
On the face of it, the newly-released film, Desire of the Everlasting Hills, has a typical plot. A man is looking for a soul mate to fulfill him, and then the soul mate is found—but something is missing: God. St. Augustine could relate.
What makes “Desire of the Everlasting Hills” different is that the one-hour-long film features three individuals with same-sex attraction—the people our culture tells us are fulfilled in their lifestyle, cannot change, don’t want to change, and so forth. But the movie reveals that they, like St. Augustine, have hearts that are restless until they rest in God.
The movie was produced by the Courage Apostolate, which ministers to people with same-sex attraction who want to live by the Catholic Church’s sexual teachings.
Asked why he made this film, Fr. Paul Check, the executive director of Courage and a former Marine Corps Officer, told Catholic World Report: “When I first started working within the Courage Apostolate, I recall Fr. John Harvey, our founding executive director, saying, ‘Our best ambassadors are our members.’ In the culture that we live right now, the best way to engage people, especially on a topic of such sensitivity, complexity and of a painful nature, is through story.”
With the stories of Paul, Dan and Rilene, Fr. Check explained, the filmmakers found “people who would like to share their perspective, while not claiming that their story is every man’s story, but just saying ‘look, here is my story.’” From there, the priest added, they can find a way to engage in conversation “in some places we wouldn’t be otherwise welcome.”
“We first showed the film publicly at a Christian LGBT film festival in Pasadena, California, in March called Level Ground,” he explained. “It was well received because of the production value—it is just a well-made movie—but also because of the authenticity of the stories.”
“The content of the stories made some people uncomfortable. We aren’t surprised by that. The preaching of Jesus made a lot of people uncomfortable too, so that just shows that fallen human nature is still alive and well in the world, unfortunately.”
The sometimes quirky, often funny, and at times shocking film, follows the lives of three people:
So writes author and blogger Sarah Reinhard in her recent review for National Catholic Register of Robert Ovies’ new novel, The Rising, published this spring by Ignatius Press:
This isn’t a thriller. It’s not a horror novel. It’s a serious consideration of what that would mean for a normal kid and his family.
On the surface, this seems like it could be either heretical or awesome or even some combination of both. Ovies, however, forces us to go deeper. What does it mean to be alive? What does it mean to be dead? And what are the implications of a boy having this ability?
C.J.’s dad has an entrepreneurial streak, his mom is very protective, and it seems no one’s really concerned about him. For a nine-year-old boy, raising people from the dead could be a neat trick. For the rest of the world, it’s an opportunity to spit in death’s face.
And let’s not forget exploitation, because you know that would happen. The media and even the Church get in on the “what can you do for me?” side of things and, in the end, the hero of the story is the most unexpected person.
This isn’t just entertaining reading, though it’s definitely that. It’s also an examination of life and death. This book is really a consideration of human nature and maybe even divine nature. It’s a look at relationship and trust.
I couldn’t stop thinking about this book the whole time I was reading it. It’s fast-paced and yet it has a way of getting into your brain and making you think.
This might be one of the best novels I’ve read in a couple of years. It gets my highest recommendation. You won’t be sorry you read it!
When nine-year-old C.J. Walker touches the arm of his mother's dead friend at her wake service and whispers the wish that she wouldn't be dead, he's just trying to do the right thing. But when the undertaker sees the woman's rosary sliding off her outstretched fingers and tumbling down her raised left arm, the firestorm can't be held in check. Frightened people near and far demand to know how many of their own loved ones might have been buried alive by the same undertaker, or by any undertaker.
But proof that C.J. Walker can indeed raise the dead is secretly videoed, then publicly aired. In a single morning, C.J.'s mother, Lynn, watches their home becoming a fortress and her son becoming a target. Grieving individuals desperate to see death let go of their loved ones; representatives from news, medical, and scientific organizations; influential religious representatives; and powerful government agencies all move in to gain maximum positions of influence over the greatest power on earth.
Through the ordeal, Lynn and her separated husband, Joe, struggle to find a way to escape with C.J., to keep him hidden from every pursuer, and somehow to make it possible for him to live a normal life again. But to do it all they must act quickly, before he's stolen away by authorities in high places.
Robert Ovies is a former Director of Chevrolet's U.S. advertising, an ordained Deacon, an MSW Counselor, and with his wife he was a mission worker on Arizona's Navajo Reservation. For ten years he was a live-in Director of a communal Halfway House in Detroit offering support to broken families, the homeless, runaways and abused women. He and his wife created a widely used marriage support program called "Together with Jesus Couple Prayer Series." The Rising is Robert's first novel.
Praise for The Rising:
"Ovies is a highly skilled writer of prose. But what we have here is more than a bravura performance: we are taken to that point at which eternal mysteries touch our ordinary world. Is it realism? Read this tale and decide." - Thomas Howard, Author, Dove Descending: A Journey into T.S Eliot's Four Quartets
"Not only is this book difficult to put down, it is impossible to forget. When fine writing and compelling ideas combine, the result is essential reading. Works like this do not come along very often." - Michael Coren, Author, Gilbert: The Man Who Was G. K. Chesterton
"A mesmerizing and provocative story packed with vivid characters and told with an easy elegance. The Rising makes you think, wonder, and then ponder what death, life, and love really mean." - T.M. Doran, Author, Towards the Gleam
The talk, at the offices of First Things in New York, started with Aristotle’s Politics and the idea of natural functioning. If you follow human nature, the idea seemed to be, politics begins with the family, the family with the bond between man and woman. Such a view evidently disfavors homosexual behavior, and denying that verdict in the interests of sexual freedom means denying human nature as the basis of politics. That’s a problem, since (among other things) it does away with limits. Politics becomes a technology like any other, to be used by whoever controls it for whatever purposes he happens to have.
So Reilly is among those who point out the totalitarian implications of today’s progressivism. As he puts it, making gay okay changes everything—and not in a way any sane person would want.
But what will this kind of argument get us in the world as it is today?
"Nigerian villagers killed in Boko Haram church attack"
"Sudanese Christian woman fears for her life"
"Iraqi Christians Flee Homes In Brutal Conflict"
As headlines like the ones above become more and more common, we must again face the question of whether or not the Islamic vision of the world, as proclaimed in the Quran, allows for a peaceful coexistence between Islam and Christianity.
Writing for Catholic World Report, Michael Coren, examines this question in his article below, "The Quran and Christianity."
For a deeper exploration of this question and related issues, scroll down further to browse our related titles and save 20% on these select titles with the code JULY01 for a limited time* only.
The Quran and Christianity Islam's holy book is filled with intolerant, aggressive language that calls directly for violence against Christians Michael Coren
A boy copies Quranic verses in a Muslim school in June in Timbuktu, the northern Mali city that was seized by Islamist fighters in 2012 and then liberated by French and Malian soldiers in early 2013. (CNS photo/Paul Jeffrey)
Islam’s persecution of Christianity has reached a grotesque crescendo in the past few months. Nigeria, Pakistan, Sudan, Egypt—the list goes on and horribly on. There is much that can be said—and I will not refrain from saying it—but if there is to be honest debate and discussion about the issue we have to admit what the Quran, the holy text of Islam, states about Muslim attitudes toward Christians...continue reading
Related Titles Save 20%* with the code JULY01 for a limited time only!
111 Questions on Islam Samir Khalil Samir $16.95
The Regensburg Lecture Pope Benedict XVI and Fr. James Schall $20.00
Christianity, Islam and Atheism William Kilpatrick $24.95 eBook also available.
The Price to Pay Joseph Fadelle $19.95 eBook also available.
The 18th volume in the popular Bible study series leads readers through a penetrating study of the Book of Job using the biblical text itself and the Church's own guidelines for understanding the Bible.
Ample notes accompany each page, providing fresh insights by renowned Bible teachers Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch, as well as time-tested interpretations from the Fathers of the Church. They provide rich historical, cultural, geographical or theological information pertinent to the Old Testament book - information that bridges the distance between the biblical world and our own.
It also includes Topical Essays, Word Studies and Charts. The Topical Essays explore the major themes of Job , often relating them to the teachings of the Church. The Word Studies explain the background to important Bible terms, while the Charts summarize crucial biblical information "at a glance".
Scott Hahn, Ph.D., well-known as the author of several best-selling books including Rome Sweet Home and The Lamb's Supper, is a professor of scripture at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, and a very popular scripture scholar and speaker.
Curtis Mitch, a former student of Scott Hahn, is the General Editor of the complete Ignatius Study Bible series.
PRAISE FOR the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible:
"With copious historical and theological notes, incisive commentary and tools for study, the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible is outstanding for private devotion, personal study and Bible study groups. It is excellent for evangelization and apologetics as well!" -- Stephen Ray, Host ,The Footprints of God series
"The Ignatius Study Bible is a triumph of both piety and scholarship, in the best Catholic tradition: simply the most useful succinct commentary that any Christian or other interested person could hope for." -- Erasmo Leiva, Author, Fire of Mercy, Heart of the Word
In this beautiful book of meditations, illustrated with full-color reproductions of Giotto's famous Scrovegni chapel Frescos (c.1305), discover the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and contemplate with her how the mysteries of Christ's life answer the deepest questions of our lives.
A deep contemplation of Christ's passion through the eyes of his Blessed Mother, and a profound and lively reflection on the Seven Sorrows of Mary, this book is an invaluable companion to pray and meditate with during Lent and a beautiful resource you will return to throughout the year. It is also an ideal gift for Catholics and for those who wish to understand the mystery of our own salvation and is well-suited for adult catechetical instruction and RCIA.
Bring Mary of Nazareth to a parish or school near you!
Fresh from an extremely successful sponsored theatrical release and seen by tens of thousands in theaters across North America, the highly acclaimed MARY of NAZARETH, an epic motion picture on the life of the Blessed Mother from her childhood through the Resurrection of Jesus, is now available to be shown in your own church or school!
IGNATIUS PRESS is pleased to announce the MARY of NAZARETH Parish Screening Program.
Now you can bring the life of the Mother of Christ to the “Big Screen” in your own facility to entertain, evangelize, educate, change hearts and even raise funds for your own worthy cause!
Father Donald Calloway MIC, considered one of the foremost experts on the life of Mary, had this to say about the film, “Mary of Nazareth offers the best presentation of Our Lady I have ever seen. Mary of Nazareth is an absolute theological and Mariological masterpiece! It will make you want to love her more than ever. Mary's beauty is pure and ageless; her feminine mystery filled with wonder and virtue, and her divine motherhood is both tender and captivating. Without a doubt, this is the most stunning portrayal of the Virgin Mary on film!”
Packages will include the following:
Site License – allows licensee to show the movie unlimited times at one venue for 12 full months from date of purchase. License cannot be shared with another church, school, individual or organization.
Mary of Nazareth DVDs to sell (MSRP $29.95) or gift. Each DVD case contains two discs – one is the Mary of Nazareth movie in English with Spanish and English subtitles. The exciting contents of the second bonus disc includes an interview with Alissa Jung, who starred as Mary; an interview with Fr. Donald Calloway MIC, author and Marian expert; “behind the scenes” footage; a film photos slide show; segments from Mary: Mother of God, part of the acclaimed “Footprints of God” DVD series; “Pieta” song by M.J. Poirier; and testimonies from the San Francisco premiere of Mary of Nazareth. Plus, there is a 24-page collector’s booklet with study questions included in each case.
Mary product brochures to give out with each DVD.
One additional Mary of Nazareth DVD for screening purposes
13x19 full-color promotional posters with write-in space for event place, date and time
full-color souvenir tickets
1 full-color 24 x 36 souvenir poster
Downloadable event planning guide and other downloads will be available at www.MaryFilm.com
Packages are available in 10-, 25-, 50-, and 100-DVD sets and, for a time until mid-October, license holders will have exclusive sales of the DVDs.
To see a trailer of this film, package contents and prices, endorsements from prominent Catholics and much more, check out the www.MaryFilm.com website.
Bring this incredible movie to your community for the first time or bring it back! Many are asking where they can see it again!
Among the “LGBT” activists and their allies who have lately been so successful in transforming our culture’s understanding of love, marriage, and sexual integrity, Reilly’s book will be hated and denounced. It is likely that many of those who denounce the book most strongly will not actually read it. They will certainly not squarely confront or refute its arguments.
By contrast, among those who feel beleaguered by the culture war over same-sex marriage, who have shrugged and decided to live with the fraud of “marriage equality” in hopes of obtaining some civil peace, Reilly’s book will probably just be ignored. That is unfortunate, because Making Gay Okay is a very powerful account of how LGBT activists have so successfully conquered—or at least subdued—the hearts and minds of such people. It is also unfortunate because LGBT activists will not allow for a civil peace on any terms that friends of a free society can accept.
Here are a few more excerpts from Franck's review:
This is not a book that relies on revelation or scripture in any way. As Reilly notes, it was the ancient Greek philosophers who first came to the insights about nature on which he relies. By contrast, the idea that our nature is malleable, that we can remake ourselves to suit our desires, was ushered in by Rousseau. Only with the dominance of this distinctly modern notion did it become possible for age-old moral strictures on sexual behavior to be burned to the ground and replaced by new strictures of our own making. Only a Rousseauian view that nothing about human nature is fixed could give rise to a culture in which it is possible to redefine marriage to include relationships once considered to be intrinsically immoral. ...
Reilly rightly notes that “it would be wrong to assign the major share of blame” for the legal somersaults of recent years “to the homosexual apologists.” The blame largely belongs to the partisans who gave us the “privacy” jurisprudence of the Supreme Court, which began in Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) by breaking “the first link in the chain connecting sex and diapers” and declaring a right of married couples to use contraception. The progression continued in Eisenstadt v. Baird (1971) and Carey v. Population Services (1977), which declared single adults and minors had the same right. Most horrifyingly, Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) declared and reaffirmed a right to kill the unborn child in the womb. “Abortion,” Reilly remarks, “brings to completion the denial of procreative sex by nullifying its effects, which are seen as accidental.” ...
As Robert Reilly underscores in this searingly effective book, what we face today is a movement to accomplish, on a collective and society-wide basis, what those who embrace morally condemned behavior have always sought to accomplish for themselves as individuals: rationalization that what's wrong is right. If we are to remain true to the cumulative wisdom of our civilization about human nature and the conditions of human flourishing, we must respond as fearlessly as the author of Making Gay Okay and say—it’s not.
The best thing about the book is that Reilly explains what’s happening within the gay agenda with an objective, critical stance. He simply reports what’s going on. Just the facts ma’am. The most brilliant thing is that he does so without reference to the Catholic faith, the Bible or any other religious connection. This makes his argument all the stronger for he allows the facts to speak for themselves and never has to pose or get preachy.
You can read the Introduction to Making Gay Okay here on Insight Scoop. Or the Introduction and opening chapter on Ignatius.com as a PDF file. And, finally, here is the video trailer for the book:
Liaugminas: Catholic social teaching covers a broad spectrum of principles we must not capitulate on or abrogate in caring for human life and needs. It’s not negotiable that we must feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, relieve suffering, protect the vulnerable, seek justice wherever it is denied, work for peace.
But some rights are so fundamental to all others that they take pre-eminence as first principles for a free, just and virtuous society to exist and flourish. They are life from the biological beginning to life at the most dependent final end, marriage between one man and one woman for the sake of their children and the role of family in society, and the protection of conscience and religious freedom to carry out the social gospel in public life.
CNW: You write that the right to life underlies all of the non-negotiables. Some critics say the Catholic Church focuses too much on abortion over other issues. How do we respond to that?
Liaugminas: If you can’t guarantee the right to life, no coherent argument can be made for any other right for human beings. Our popes, each in succession, have taught this immutable truth repeatedly and forcefully. We should never be defensive of such a fundamental truth. It’s not an “either/or” proposition of abortion or other important human rights. It’s a “both/and,” beginning with protecting human life from the youngest, most vulnerable stage through to human life in the final, often vulnerable stage. Every abortion ends a human life. Full stop. ...
CNW: What’s the value of the Christian witness in today’s world?
Liaugminas: When lived out, ours is a countercultural witness to transcendent truths about human dignity inherent to every person, deriving not from a State or government but from the Creator. Christians throughout the ages have witnessed to those eternal truths in the face of grave dangers, and we are the modern inheritors of that tradition and the teaching of the church. G. K. Chesterton said there are many ways to fall, but only one way to stand. It is with the truth found in the Christian faith. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said “The end of life is not to achieve pleasure or avoid pain. The end of life is to do the will of God, come what may.” These are timeless truths and we have to be courageous, unafraid, calm and charitable in debating, defending or sharing them with people in the modern world.
Our recent popes have given us the moral grammar to talk about these issues with clarity and charity in a society that has given rise to “the culture of death” as Pope John Paul II stated it, an increasingly secular society that is “increasingly growing hostile to Christianity,” as Pope Benedict XVI stated it, a “throwaway culture” that has grown into a “culture of indifference” as Pope Francis stated it.
He calls us continually to “go out to the existential peripheries” and “create a culture of encounter.” That can be across the world in developing countries, or across the street, the office space or even your kitchen table at home in this country. Complacency is not an option. We have been given the knowledge, the words and the tools, and certainly the continual encouragement, to go out and reach the world with the love and mercy of Christ.
I end the book on what I pray is a hopeful note. Early in his papacy, in one of his compelling daily homilies, Pope Francis said “Christians are called to do the great work of evangelizing to the ends of the world … she goes forth with Jesus…This is the magnanimity that Christians should have … this magnanimity is part of the Christian vocation: always more and more, more and more, more and more, always onwards.”
Q: Please briefly introduce yourself and your family to our readers.
Ever since early childhood, I knew I wanted to be a journalist, making my own newspapers while following daily news reporting in the newspaper and network television. I’m a cradle Catholic raised in an environment imbued with the sense of transcendent truth, and the Social Gospel of caring for ‘the least of these’, which informed everything I did as a professional journalist. While reporting for Time Magazine, I married and had two sons, rededicated myself to the faith for their sake, and committed to family and work, in that order. Raising my sons was a wonderful blessing and loads of fun, with lots of family travel that brought us in touch with other cultures and global realities. My firstborn son discerned a call to the priesthood and was ordained in 2010. He’s studying in Rome for his doctorate, and is scheduled to teach on faculty at Mundelein Seminary in a few years. He’s an amazing priest and scholar. My younger son is a gifted writer with a postgraduate degree, struggling as most writers do to find his place while doing unrelated work that feeds his imagination for future fiction pieces. My husband is a physician who loves his family, travel and the always-trying Chicago sports teams. ...
Q: What prompted you to write this book and what do you hope that readers will take from their experience with Non-Negotiable?
The book started as a response to a long perceived need of such a reference, since the bishops issued ‘Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,’ and yet so many Catholics don’t access it. We need an accessible book in hand that distills Church teaching, provides specific points and links, and helps us to ‘be prepared to give an explanation for what you believe’ (a liturgical reading just before Pentecost). Writing it was finally precipitated by a parish Respect Life group’s need for a resource that states clearly what the Church teaches on the top issues of the day, and why. But early on, I prayerfully discerned that the book needed to cast a wider net and drew from the nation’s founding documents, universal human rights declarations and civil rights struggles as well as Church teaching. My intent was to show that these aren’t truths because the Catholic Church teaches them. The Catholic Church teaches them because they’re true.
Q: You cover some critical issues that are complex yet timely in today’s society. Which portions of the book were most challenging to write?
Given the social, cultural and political climate today, fostered by frequent media distortions, the chapter on marriage was probably a tougher one to navigate. I always seek what I call ‘clarity with charity,’ and there’s not much charity in that debate today. With the focus on human dignity of all persons, and the reason for laws and their social ramifications, I wanted to keenly clarify Church teaching and long standing social policy, while upholding dignity for everyone concerned in the debate, which is all of us at this moment in our history. But then, the chapters on when life begins, the euthanasia movement, and religious liberty dealing with the government mandate that violates conscience rights, all presented their challenges.
What gave Abraham Lincoln the authority to declare the freedom and choice to own slaves as immoral? After all, the law of the land allowed it. What gave Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King the authority to lead a whole movement calling civil laws immoral and demanding new civil rights laws that recognized the equal dignity and worth of "all God's children" without exception? After all, segregation was legal. What gave the United Nations the moral authority to claim and designate absolute human rights in an international declaration, though some member nations were already violating them?
Principles. First principles. In their founding documents, the United States and the United Nations recognized the principles that all men have inherent dignity and that they deserve equal rights. They both have declared those principles the conditions fundamental to freedom, justice, and peace. Yet both the United States and the United Nations have within them powerful political forces passing laws or resolutions that violate first principles and put at risk the most vulnerable populations.
This book goes beyond the politics of pragmatism and cultural relativism to reacquaint the reader with first principles. It demonstrates what the Church has to say about the most important issues of our time and why. It anticipates the questions readers will ask and provides the answers they will need in the struggle to restore respect for human dignity.
Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy Award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. She reported for Time magazine in its Midwest Bureau for over 20 years, and co-hosted the Chicago television program YOU. She has appeared on Fox Chicago News and the BBC. Liaugminas is an established contributor to MercatorNet.com, and has been published in the Chicago Tribune, Crain's Chicago Business, Crisis, National Catholic Register, and National Review Online. She currently hosts the daily radio program A Closer Look on Relevant Radio.
Praise for Non-Negotiable:
"Sheila Liaugminas is an articulate voice of the New Evangelization and as she demonstrates in this powerful book, being seriously Catholic today means being part of a culture-reforming counterculture." - George Weigel, Author, Evangelical Catholicism
"Combining the passion of personal conscience and the convictions of reason and faith, Sheila Liaugminas analyzes conflicted points in our culture in the light of first principles. It's a good tool in skilled hands." - Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I. Archbishop of Chicago
"Sheila Liaugminas stresses in her fine book that 'Complacency is not an option,' and she hammers home that point with brilliant insight into the past, present and future of all the so-called 'social issues' that continue to divide America. This book is a must-read for every person of faith who understands that action is needed – now – if we ever hope to build a free, just and humane society." - Dr. Alveda King, Director of African-American Outreach, Priests for Life
"I truly admire Sheila Liaugminas. She is an outstanding journalist. We have dialogued extensively on her radio program about the rights of conscience and the protection of what we call our 'first principles.' Sheila has laid out in great breadth and depth the need for a revived understanding of the essentials of human dignity and societal organization." - Jeff Fortenberry, Member of Congress
"Both Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis have spoken of the 'dictatorship of relativism' in our world today and its negative impacts not just on our faith, but to the common good of society. Shelia Liaugminas draws upon the universal principle of natural human rights and dignity to address several contemporary moral issues which have suffered as a result of a relativistic mindset. Her book is a valuable resource in the struggle to restore a true, just and virtuous society." - Most Reverend Thomas Paprocki, Bishop of Springfield, Illinois
"Sheila Liaugminas brings her keen insights on applying timeless truths to important issues of the day. She demonstrates how 'first principles' have made free, just, and humane society possible and explains why these principles must be non-negotiable. As America grapples with issues of freedom and justice today, Sheila's book is a must-read for those who want to understand why it is critical that we do not back down from "human truths" – affirmed by the Catholic Church and others – if we want a society that protects every individual's life and dignity." - Dan Lipinski, Member of Congress
Robert R. Reillywas Senior Advisor for Information Strategy (2002–2006) for the US Secretary of Defense, after which he taught at National Defense University. He was the director of the Voice of America (2001–2002) and served in the White House as a Special Assistant to the President (1983–1985). He writes widely on "war of ideas" issues, foreign policy, and classical music. His previous book is The Closing of the Muslim Mind: How Intellectual Suicide Created the Modern Islamist Crisis.
Ignatius Press is pleased to announce the arrival of video streaming!
Now, for the first time ever, watch your favorite Ignatius Press feature films and documentaries INSTANTLY.
For a list of all available titles, see below or visit our website and simply click on "Streaming Video" and for more information on how our streaming platform works, please read over our Video Streaming Instructions.
Now Available for Streaming
Mother Teresa In an acclaimed film portrayal, Olivia Hussey illuminates the life story of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the selfless missionary who brought hope, love and salvation to the poorest of the poor. The movie examines the fundamental moments of Mother Teresa's life from her childhood in Albania in the 1920s to her first calling as a nun, the decision to leave her order and live with the poorest of the poor, the vicissitudes of founding the Congregation of the Missionaries of Charity, and her great work of service in Calcutta and the rest of the world. Original full length version, 177 minutes. $3.95
Padre Pio: Miracle Man This movie captures the Capuchin friar's intense faith and devotion, and deep spiritual concern for others, as well as his great compassion for the sick and suffering. It reveals the amazing details and events in Padre Pio's life as a boy and throughout his 50 years as a friar, dramatizing the frequent attacks of the Devil on him, as well as the persecution he suffered at the hands of people, including those in the church.
Starring Italian actor Sergio Castellitto, and directed by Carlo Carlei, this is an outstanding feature film on the amazing life of this great saint. $3.95
Pope John Paul II This epic film follows Karol Wojtyla’s journey from his youth in Poland through his late days on the Chair of St. Peter. It explores his life behind the scenes: how he touched millions of people and changed the face of the Church and the world; how he defended the dignity of mankind. Jon Voight’s powerful, Emmy-nominated performance as John Paul II was widely praised, as was Cary Elwes as the young Karol. Shot on location in Rome and Poland in close connection with the Vatican, this is the definitive epic film on the life of Pope John Paul II. $3.95
Clare and Francis A major epic feature film on the lives of St. Clare and St. Francis of Assisi shot on location in Italy by the Italian film company Lux Vide, the producers of Saint Rita, Pope John Paul II and St. John Bosco. This outstanding movie is unique among films on St. Francis because of the historical accuracy of the story and its authentic spirit of joy and piety Francis was known for, as well as the major role played by Clare who is given equal stature with Francis. The two leads are played by very appealing performers, Mary Petruolo and Ettore Bassi, who give genuinely inspiring and beautifully moving performances of the daughter of a patrician family and the son of a rich merchant who leave all to follow Christ. $3.95
Pius XII: Under the Roman Sky Based on Vatican documents and personal testimonies used by advocates for the cause for the canonization of Venerable Pope Pius XII, this epic film stars acclaimed actor James Cromwell in a powerful movie about the great, often hidden struggle waged by the Pope and many others with him to save the Jews from the Nazis during WWII. After the Nazi's take over Rome in 1943, Hitler's plan to kidnap the Pope is revealed as the Nazis make an all-out attempt to silence the one authority figure in Italy standing strong against them. Everything comes together with great intensity in this dramatic story that retraces history from the documents and the testimonies of witnesses that was not fully known til now. $3.95
Maximilian Schell stars as "the flying friar", St. Joseph of Cupertino, in this heartwarming and amazing true story of the humble Franciscan friar who literally rose to sainthood. In the impoverished village of 17th century Cupertino, Italy, Joseph’s peasant mother convinces the reluctant Abbott (Ricardo Montalban) to accept her son into the monastery. With the support of the kindly local Bishop who sees in him a great deal more than others, and by a series of miraculous incidents, the simple but pious Joseph is ordained a priest. Yet some are convinced that it is the devil, not God, who is responsible for Joseph's miraculous powers – until a final miracle reveals to all his true sanctity. $3.95
To see a full list of the Ignatius Press films and documentaries that are available for streaming please click below.
Ansel Elgort and Shailene Woodley star in a scene from the movie "The Fault in Our Stars." (CNS photo/Fox)
An (Almost) Faultless Masterpiece | Nick Olszyk | CWR
The Fault in Our Stars can be seen as a theodicy of sorts, a film about how to find love and meaning amid so much pain and suffering
MPAA Rating, PG-13 USCCB Rating, A-III Reel Rating: (4 Reels out of 5)
The Fault in Our Stars is a difficult, painful story about cancer-stricken teenagers; it is also one of the most beautiful films ever made about romantic love. It has the courage to approach the frequently trodden—yet nearly always disappointing—genre of “Young Adult” (YA) romance with surprisingly youthful vigor considering its deep subject matter (and without Mandy Moore or sparkling vampires). What a treat! It’s rare to see a film turn almost every expectation on its head in such thrilling fashion.
Put simply, this is a tale of true love, a love forged in the crucible of pain, suffering, and devotion. While it is lacking in addressing spiritual questions, it is profound in its approach to human relationships.
Hazel Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) is an average sixteen year-old girl who likes books and thinks her parents are embarrassing. But she also has cancer, which requires her to carry around extra oxygen wherever she goes. Her mother forces her to go to an unreasonably lame Christian cancer support group where she meets Gus Waters (Ansel Elgort), a likeable dreamboat whose recent and successful battle with cancer left him without one leg but in possession of a fresh, exciting perspective on life.
Hazel is obsessed with a serious, dark novel titled, An Imperial Affliction, written by a recluse Salinger-esque Dutch author, which is about a similar cancer patient and which ends, maddeningly, in mid-sentence.
Ignatius Press Novels interviewed Mrs. Beckett via email.
The Leaves Are Falling is your third work of historical fiction published by Ignatius Press. Why are you interested in the historical fiction genre?
Beckett: I am a historian by training, but I got married very young (age 19), had a lot of children and now grandchildren, live in the depths of the country, and have been a schoolteacher for 40 years (I still teach Latin in the local high school), so I never had a chance to do proper historical research, though I have written academic books on literature and music. So historical fiction is perfect for me: I can read plenty of books at home, and I love to imagine what it must have been like to live through periods and events quite different from my own quiet and orderly life. Because I am a teacher, I also like the idea of helping people to understand better things that they may know little about: the Reformation in England (The Time Before You Die), the descent of Germany into the horrors of Nazism (A Postcard from the Volcano) and now, in The Leaves Are Falling, what really happened on the Eastern front in World War II, where no British or American forces ever were.
This novel provides a lot of details about the historical events of World War II and the events after the war. How much research did you do before writing this novel? Do you have any favorite history books or resources that helped your research?
Beckett: I did a lot of work and read a great many history books. The two authors who were the most help with this new book were Professor Timothy Snyder, now at Yale, particularly his books The Reconstruction of Nations, and Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin, and Yitzhak Arad: The Holocaust in the Soviet Union. I read dozens of other books, including all (not very much) that has been written about the Jewish partisans in Byelorussia, and about the Katyn massacre. (Everything that happens in the Soviet prison in the last third of my book is true, and Major Zarubin, the NKVD interrogator, and Rabbi Steinberg, are real historical figures.)
The novel tells the story of Joseph Halpern, an octogenarian book seller who finds a description of his father in a story, and wonders if his own story would be worth telling. Why did you decide to tell Joseph’s story in this novel?
The Story of the West: Who, Why, and How | Gregory J. Sullivan | CWR
Rodney Stark's new book, How the West Won: The Neglected Story of the Triumph of Modernity, relates history that most Westerners have never heard
The impressive book by Baylor University social scientist Rodney Stark, How the West Won: The Neglected Story of the Triumph of Modernity, continues the prolific scholar's fascinating project of bringing social-science rigor (a phrase that is not contradictory in Stark’s meticulous hands) to watershed historical events and epochs.
As with such earlier and well-received works as The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Let to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success (2005) and The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World’s Largest Religion (2011), Stark’s lively and absorbing new work beheads the academy’s dictatorship of relativism and enthrones in its place concrete and fact-based understanding in order here to give Western civilization the credit it richly deserves.
Modernity – the centerpiece of this project that Stark defines as “that fundamental store of scientific knowledge and procedures, powerful technologies, artistic achievements, political freedoms, economic arrangements, moral sensibilities, and improved standards of living that characterize Western nations and are now revolutionizing life in the rest of the world” – and its unique development in the West is Stark’s emphasis. That is to say, this book is an investigation of why it happened here and not the Islamic world or anywhere else.
Of course, the advent and astonishing spread and influence of Christianity is at the core of Stark’s analysis.
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Choose one of our new films or spiritually enriching titles, and touch not just his heart, but also his soul.
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Francis: The Pope of Renewal
All the Insights into an Already Historic Papacy
This film shows the striking ascension to the top of world's popularity of the almost unknown Argentinian cardinal. It also reflects the renewal of the Catholic Church's image that he has generated. A brief street poll with people of various nationalities and beliefs suggests the extension of this phenomenon. What can be the causes of such spectacular change in the public opinion?
This new film is the world's biggest documentary on the new saint. It utilizes exclusive archival footage featuring John Paul II, as well as a lot of original shots made for this comprehensive film. Produced in HD quality, and four years in the making, it was filmed in 13 countries. It features many world famous figures from the Church, Politics, Entertainment and News industries, and their inspiring, insightful thoughts about and experiences with John Paul II. 90 minutes, $19.95 Watch the trailer
When he opened the historic Second Vatican Council in 1962, the "Good Pope" launched a spiritual revolution in the Church and the world. He summoned the bishops of the world to engage in straightforward discussions about the direction and future of the Church, and the relationship of the Church to the modern world. Few events in the history of the modern Catholic Church have been as far-reaching as the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). And few have been as controversial. 55 minutes, $19.95 Watch the trailer