Sink the Titanic and Push Full Monty
The movie Titanic swept the Oscar nominations, but there's more to be learned from The Full Monty, a comic look at the foibles of jobless steelworkers."For sure, The Full Monty tells more about the human spirit and aspirations than all the lush romance and hollow spectacle of Titanic," notes movie reviewer Henry Herx, head of the U.S. Bishops' Office for Film and Broadcasting. The small British import garnered nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Original Music or Comedy Score and it's the Film Herx will be rooting for March 23, the night that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science hands out its golden Oscars. The Full Monty features an unemployed steelworker who convinces five jobless buddies they can make some easy money performing in a one-night male strip show. Though it's not for everyone, the result downplays the story's sleazy aspects by focusing on the characters' financial plight and ridiculous ineptitude as would-be performers. Because of its comic treatment of sexuality, brief rear nudity, fleeting homosexual innuendo, some rough language and occasional profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV -- adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted.
Women's History Month Should Herald Church Women
Women's History Month resonates in the Catholic Church where women have made a remarkable impact for centuries. "Great women have abounded," says Sheila Garcia, who advises the Bishops on women's concerns. "The saints include heroic figures such as Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena and Therese of Lisieux, who have been recognized as doctors of the Church, an honor given to a select few throughout history," she said. "Every diocese in the country can name women who built and staffed hospitals, schools and social service agencies and who have served in other responsible positions on diocesan staffs. Such accomplishments need to be broadcast far and wide. History looks different when women's accomplishments are included."
St. Patrick's Day Peace Worth Celebrating
The fragile peace process in Northern Ireland concerns not just the Irish and British but all peace-loving people and not just on St. Patrick's Day, March 17. "The historic all-party peace talks in Northern Ireland face a May deadline for reaching a political settlement," says Gerard Powers, the U.S. Bishops' adviser on Northern Ireland issues. "Violence by some paramilitary groups endangers not just the victims of their shooting and bombings but the peace process itself. This is a time when Americans, so many of whom have religious and cultural ties to Ireland, need to support those who reject all violence and are committed to finding a just peace settlement without delay."