Interviews, diplomats’ archives help clarify Vatican role in WWII

“The Pope’s Jews: The Vatican’s Secret Plan to Save the Jews from the Nazis” by Gordon Thomas. Thomas Dunne Books (New York, 2012). 336 pp., $27.99.  Gordon Thomas, the author of “The Pope’s Jews,” is a British journalist who has written numerous works, a number of them on the intelligence services of Great Britain and […]

Considering international adoption? See ‘Somewhere Between’ first

NEW YORK (CNS) — Happily ever after can be an elusive goal when it comes to international adoptions, as the documentary “Somewhere Between” (Long Shot Factory) explains. Eighty thousand Chinese children, most of them girls, have been adopted in the United States since 1991, when China — which imposed a strict, morally unacceptable “one child” […]

‘Wreck-It Ralph’ looks for goodness among video-game bad guys

NEW YORK (CNS) — Cross “Toy Story” with a video arcade game and you get “Wreck-It Ralph” (Disney), a clever 3-D animated adventure that explores the meaning of life inside the machine, once the “Game Over” message appears. Director Rich Moore is a veteran of “The Simpsons” television series, and it shows, for better and […]

Great expectations: Book weakly tells how art relates to Bible

“Sister Wendy’s Bible Treasury: Stories and Wisdom Through the Eyes of Great Painters” by Sister Wendy Beckett. Orbis Books (Maryknoll, N.Y., 2012). 228 pp. $35.  Sometimes good ideas don’t click in practice, as is the case with this book. For adolescents and young adults, it could have been an excellent introduction to understanding masterpiece paintings […]

Video game review: New ‘Super Mario Bros. 2’

NEW YORK (CNS) — With apologies to Tom Hanks’ Forrest Gump, “Super Mario” games are not at all like a box of chocolates — you pretty much know from the start exactly what you’re gonna get. Yet, while the morally unobjectionable entries in the “Super Mario” series may be predictable as far as their run-and-jump […]

Exploring the power of words as catalyst for controversy

“The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide and Define a Nation” by Stephen Prothero. HarperCollins (San Francisco, 2012). 531 pp., $29.99.    Stephen Prothero, a professor of religion at Boston University, has compiled diverse texts and genres — song lyrics, letters, legal documents, essays, proverbs and fiction — into an American bible, a canon […]

Stamp for Christmas season features Holy Family fleeing to Egypt

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The U.S. Postal Service Oct. 10 released a Christmas stamp featuring an image of the Holy Family fleeing to Egypt. A ceremony to celebrate the first day of issue of the stamp took place at the Washington National Cathedral of the Episcopal Church. The portrayal of the Holy Family is a change […]

‘Here Comes the Boom’ wrestles with Christian virtues in winning film

NEW YORK (CNS) — Perseverance pays off big time in “Here Comes the Boom” (Columbia), the unlikely yet inspiring tale of an ordinary man who goes to extraordinary lengths to help others. Directed by Frank Coraci and starring Catholic actor Kevin James — who also co-wrote the screenplay with Allan Loeb — “Here Comes the […]

Comic actor Kevin James wants to ‘glorify God in every way’

WASHINGTON (CNS) — He doesn’t exactly advertise it, but the “king of Queens” is a Catholic family man. Kevin James, who played Doug Heffernan for nine seasons on the CBS sitcom and has since branched out into movies, has no problem talking about his values and how it affects his career. “I am involved in […]

‘Looper’ shows violent future; logic is a casualty, too

NEW YORK (CNS) — In the dystopian distant future — and in science fiction, and especially “Looper” (FilmDistrict), dystopian is all there is — there will be time travel, but it will be illegal, so only criminals will utilize it. Dang. In the near future, though, all cars will be electric, we'll have cool flying […]