Maker of Our Lady of Guadalupe docufilm hopes for wide circulation

  WASHINGTON (CNS) — Before making his documentary on Our Lady of Guadalupe, “The Blood & the Rose,” director and co-writer Tim Watkins said, “I knew very little about Our Lady of Guadalupe.” Now, with his film out and available on DVD, he wants the world to know about her. “I reinvigorated my faith about […]

Gun violence leads to closer scrutiny for links with media violence

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- It was bound to happen. After the massacre in December at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that killed 26 people, Americans started looking for ways to curb gun violence. Inevitably, that search has extended to violence in media, including movies, TV shows and video games.

Books on Spain’s ‘Camino’ offer little for serious Catholics

“A Room with a Pew: Sleeping Our Way through Spain’s Ancient Monasteries” by Richard Starks and Miriam Murcutt. Globe Pequot Press (Guilford, Conn., 2012). 244 pp., $16.95. “The Way of the Stars: Journeys on the Camino de Santiago” by Robert C. Sibley. University of Virginia Press (Charlottesville, Va., 2012). 170 pp., $23.95.    Like early […]

Film on Roosevelt echoes theme of ‘morals don’t matter’

NEW YORK (CNS) — “Oh, Those Randy Roosevelts!” might be a better title for “Hyde Park on Hudson” (Focus). This comedy-drama purports to chronicle — and blithely celebrates — the real-life sexual indiscretions of the 32nd president of the United States, his first lady, his cousin and assorted members of his staff. Director Roger Michell […]

Sociologist responds to atheistic views on how Americans see faith

“The God Problem: Expressing Faith and Being Reasonable” by Robert Wuthnow. University of California Press (Berkeley, Calif., 2012), 304 pp., $34.95. Studies of religion in the United States have for many decades tried to understand faith by looking at everything except what people say about it, declares Robert Wuthnow in “The God Problem.” Poll-takers ask […]

Joseph Kennedy biography comprehensive, but may be too much for many

Before one even begins to read "The Patriarch," David Nasaw's comprehensive biography of Joseph P. Kennedy, there is a 10-page listing of the "Cast of Characters" in Kennedy's life. This section not only explains relations but it also reads as a "Who's Who" of the first seven decades of the 20th century. It shows how a young man fromBostonbecame a multimillionaire and reared a family that would be dominant in American politics.

4 seniors in ‘Quartet’ can’t resist the stage, even in retirement

NEW YORK (CNS) — Dustin Hoffman steps behind the camera for his directorial debut with “Quartet” (Weinstein), a comedy-drama about musical artists who face the ultimate curtain call: a date with the Grim Reaper. Based on the play by Ronald Harwood (who also wrote the screenplay), “Quartet” casts senior citizens in the same warm and […]

Is ‘game over’ the proper Catholic response to violent video games?

The Newtown tragedy should prompt more than just a discussion about how violent games may affect the mentally disturbed. Rather, it should inspire healthy players to take a step back and ask what the games they play are doing to their minds and, by extension, to their hearts and souls.

Disturbing ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ challenges viewers’ moral compass

NEW YORK (CNS) — “Zero Dark Thirty” (Columbia) offers moviegoers a challenging account, based on real events, of the decade-long hunt for terrorist leader Osama bin Laden. This gritty glimpse into the underworld of acknowledged detention centers and concealed prisons, known as “black sites,” raises ethical quandaries and presents content that will prove unsettling even […]

Author brings 16th-century Council of Trent to life

Catholic readers will be grateful for John O'Malley's "Trent," the long-awaited story of one of the most influential events in the religious history of Western Europe, the 16th-century council of the Catholic Church that set the tone for 400 years. The author has a mastery of the historical sources in all of the languages, yet the story is told with the verve and intrigue of a mystery novel.