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  • Author well-versed in law but has gaps in religious perspective
    Luke Goodrich is an attorney who has represented clients from various religions in cases involving questions of religious freedom. Some have gone to the Supreme Court. He has represented Catholic nuns who serve the elderly and the poor, and the Christian owners of Hobby Lobby.
  • Tools Up!
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Real-life home improvement can be hard work. But even the most amateur handyman can make a masterpiece out of a mess in "Tools Up!" (All In! Games).
  • Stations of the Cross at St. Stanislaus
    St. Stanislaus Parish celebrated Christmas this year with a special gift, a new collection of paintings depicting the Stations of the Cross. The paintings were a collaboration between artists Sarah Crow and Tomasz Misztal. Each of the pieces measures 18 by 24 inches. They were done in oil paints on linen. Archbishop Alexander Sample celebrated the Christmas Mass at the parish, allowing him to be one of the first witnesses of parish’s new sacred art.
  • Parasite
    NEW YORK (CNS) — The South Korean feature "Parasite" (Neon) is a bit of a roller-coaster ride. The film begins as a sly comedy, then takes a surprising turn that leads on to a bloody, operatic climax laden with grim social commentary about class conflict.
  • Books offer powerful testimony on difficult work of forgiving others
    Forgiveness. It may sound easy, but in fact it's one of the toughest challenges for us as humans and as Christians. Two new books point the way to new perspectives on this key experience that holds so much promise as well as so much difficulty for us.
  • Jesuit uses hard data to assess where church is headed with Pope Francis
    What difference is Pope Francis making on the church? This is the basic question on which this book reports. Rather than being a summary of wishful thinking on the church's future, it's based on empirical data collected by the Jesuit author over a number of years. Founder of the Parish Evaluation Project in 1973, Father Thomas Sweetser continues to serve as a facilitator and consultant to parishes. 
  • Seasoned musician inspires people to sing, raise voices 'in honor of God'
    PHILADELPHIA (CNS) — With the start of the new year, a seasoned Philadelphia musician is taking on a new challenge as director of the Philadelphia Catholic Gospel Mass Choir.
  • 'Vienna Blood,' Sunday, Jan. 19, PBS
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Set in its titular city in 1906, the PBS period murder mystery "Vienna Blood" features only a cameo appearance by the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud (Franz Josef Koepp). Yet Freud's radical and controversial theories figure prominently throughout the limited series.
  • Jojo Rabbit
    NEW YORK (CNS) — As with many satires, the makers of "Jojo Rabbit" (Fox Searchlight) don't care much whether an audience likes their film — or understands all of it.
  • Marriage Story
    NEW YORK (CNS) — At first blush, the title of the drama "Marriage Story" (Netflix) may strike some as ironic. This is, after all, at least on the surface, an engrossing study of the divorce process in contemporary America.
  • Dolittle
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Exactly a century ago, British author Hugh Lofting published "The Story of Doctor Dolittle," the first in a long series of books for children that have won lasting popularity for their protagonist, a physician-turned-veterinarian who has, need it be said, the unique ability to communicate with the critters he treats.
  • Bad Boys for Life
    NEW YORK (CNS) — After lying dormant for more than a decade and a half, the action-comedy franchise that gave us "Bad Boys" in 1995 and the imaginatively titled sequel "Bad Boys II" eight years later makes an unwelcome reappearance.
  • 'Messiah,' streaming, Netflix
    NEW YORK (CNS) — "Messiah," one of Netflix's first offerings of the new year, landed amid controversy. Intriguing, if overly complex, the limited-series topical drama is currently streaming in 10 episodes.
  • Encore: Catholic press continues mission to reach today's film audiences
    NEW YORK (CNS) — The once influential Catholic film office had been able to get Hollywood studios to change content in movies it deemed morally offensive for decades, but that power was extinguished as the 1970s rolled into the 1980s.
  • Encore: Church changes course to maintain guidance on film as culture shifts
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Songwriter Bob Dylan wrote his celebrated anthem "The Times They Are a-Changin'" in 1963 and though it was penned as a hymn to the civil rights and anti-war movements of the era, it could also speak to the changing culture reflected in motion pictures.
  • Encore: Catholicism influenced moviemaking from the early days of film
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Motion pictures have enchanted the public since the late 19th century, providing audiences with vivid storytelling on a host of topics and conceptually transporting them to distant places.
  • 1917
    NEW YORK (CNS) — "1917" (Universal) is a great movie about the Great War. By turns harrowing and lyrically beautiful — and deeply humane throughout — director and co-writer (with Krysty Wilson-Cairns) Sam Mendes' gripping historical drama displays both the horrors of trench combat and the endurance of fundamental decency and spiritual striving.
  • Arise: A Simple Story
    NEW YORK (CNS) — "Arise: A Simple Story" (Techland) dips deep into the well of emotion as an old man looks back across the highs and lows of his life. This wholesome game is suitable for all ages, but adult players will better appreciate the more nuanced aspects of the story.
  • Underwater
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Like the ocean depths in which it's set, director William Eubank's monster movie "Underwater" (Fox) is dim and murky. Though acceptable for most grown moviegoers, some gruesome deaths notwithstanding, it's a tedious survival slog on which viewers should hesitate to embark.
  • Survivors' group, archbishop back journalist sued by Sodalitium members
    VATICAN CITY (CNS) — A network of clergy abuse survivors has joined calls for an end to lawsuits against a journalist who investigated alleged sexual abuse and financial irregularities within a controversial Catholic group.
  • Brazil's high court: Netflix can continue 'First Temptation of Christ'
    SAO PAULO (CNS) — Supreme Court Justice Jose Antonio Dias Toffoli has overturned a lower court decision to temporarily suspend Netflix's Brazilian-made movie, "The First Temptation of Christ." The satirical movie has been severely criticized by Catholic organizations and hundreds of Brazilians for suggesting that Jesus had a homosexual experience after spending 40 days in the desert.
  • Like a Boss
    NEW YORK (CNS) — There's a lot not to like about "Like a Boss" (Paramount). In addition to the lazy bedroom jokes that are its stock-in-trade, director Miguel Arteta's feminist buddy comedy is tainted by a vaguely anti-family tone since it exalts friendship and professional success over marriage and child rearing and condones commitment-free hookups.
  • The Grudge
    NEW YORK (CNS) — The drab horror tale "The Grudge" (Screen Gems) has a complex history and a complicated structure. But the upshot for viewers is a simple one: Failing skillfully to interweave his various narratives, writer-director Nicolas Pesce bids for audience attention with ever bloodier deaths and ever more hideous sights.
  • Update: Writer's Southern roots inspire 'radical faith' element to her fiction
    TORONTO (CNS) — Valerie Sayers is a Catholic writer with a keen appreciation of the grand style of renowned novelists in the school of William Faulkner, Carson McCullers, Flannery O'Connor and even Walker Percy.
  • NEW YORK (CNS) — Sheer provocation designed to generate controversy often helps TV programming gain an edge over the competition in an increasingly crowded, global marketplace. With their more-than-irreverent comedy special "The First Temptation of Christ," however, the Brazilian comedy troupe Porta dos Fundos (Back Door) have gone too far.
  • Priest helps fellow homilists confront 'crisis of bad preaching'
    Is there a "secret ingredient," a special yeast that enables a homilist's words to rise to the level of something fine, something others will find worth hearing?
  • Catholic publisher reissuing book with release of Jagerstatter biopic
    WASHINGTON (CNS) — With the release of a film biography of Blessed Franz Jagerstatter, the conscientious objector who was martyred by the Nazis, Orbis Books is reissuing its 10-year-old collection of the Austrian farmer's letters and other writings from prison.
  • Little Women
    NEW YORK (CNS) – Writer-director Greta Gerwig, who proved her bona fides as a screen moralist in 2017 with "Lady Bird," has repeated the feat with her elegant, vibrantly emotional adaptation of the 19th-century classic "Little Women" (Sony).
  • The Irishman
    NEW YORK (CNS) — The disappearance of union boss Jimmy Hoffa, who vanished without a trace in 1975, has never been explained. But that doesn't deter director Martin Scorsese from solving the mystery in "The Irishman" (Netflix), an epic historical drama.
  • Just Mercy
    NEW YORK (CNS) — The legal drama "Just Mercy" (Warner Bros.), director and co-writer Destin Daniel Cretton's adaptation of the 2014 memoir by Bryan Stevenson, reaches back to events in the 1980s.
  • Spies in Disguise
    NEW YORK (CNS) — As animated pigeon-transformation movies go, "Spies in Disguise" (Fox) hits an avian sweet spot you undoubtedly didn't know existed.
  • Richard Jewell
    NEW YORK (CNS) — "Richard Jewell" (Warner Bros.) is director Clint Eastwood's sympathetic profile of the titular security guard (Paul Walter Hauser) who, as many will remember, was caught up in a media firestorm in the wake of the explosion of three pipe bombs in Atlanta's Centennial Park while the Georgia capital was hosting the 1996 Summer Olympics.
  • A Hidden Life
    NEW YORK (CNS) — In 2007, Franz Jagerstatter (1907-1943), a devoutly Catholic Austrian farmer martyred by the Nazis for his stance as a conscientious objector, was declared blessed.
  • Made for love: Book explores what Bible says about being human
    VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Catholic Church believes the full meaning of human life, human relationships and human history is impossible to grasp without reference to God, but what else does the Bible say about being human?
  • Author hopes families find his retelling of Christmas story 'uplifting'
    WASHINGTON (CNS) — Last Christmas while watching "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" with his son, Thomas Williams said it "suddenly hit" him that "nearly all the clever poetry surrounding Christmas has virtually nothing to do with Jesus Christ."
  • Update: 'Christ Was Born for This': Christmas homily to share with readers
    WASHINGTON (CNS) — Here is a Christmas homily titled "Christ Was Born For This" by Archbishop J. Augustine DiNoia, adjunct secretary of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. A Dominican, he taught theology for many years at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington. 
  • Creches tell the Nativity
    DAYTON, Ohio (CNS) — Each culture, if not every home, has its own unique rendition of the Nativity. The Christ child may lay on a manger made from materials as diverse as wax, blown glass, yarn, papier-mache and terra cotta. Mary might don the dress of a first-century peasant or Renaissance royalty.
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
    NEW YORK (CNS) — A long time ago, in a world that now seems far, far away — to wit, Earth in spring 1977 — George Lucas wowed audiences with the original "Star Wars" film.
  • Cats
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Since its debut in London in 1981, Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical "Cats" has been staged continuously around the globe, seen by more than 81 million people in 50 countries and 19 languages. To that gigantic built-in fan base, the film version of "Cats" (Universal) will be nothing less than, well, catnip.
  • Dark Waters
    NEW YORK (CNS) — This fact-based drama about poisoned H2O is similar in theme to 2000’s “Erin Brockovich.” A single crusading lawyer takes on a powerful company — in this case, DuPont — that’s been dumping industrial waste from the manufacture of Teflon around Parkersburg, the company town where the coating is made.
  • Flannery O'Connor's letters sparkle, but editor's commentary lacking
    This new book of Flannery O'Connor's letters will, inevitably, beg comparison with "The Habit of Being," the 1979 collection edited by Sally Fitzgerald. 
  • Bombshell
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Ripped from the headlines, as the saying goes, "Bombshell" (Lionsgate) dramatizes the real-life story of the sexual harassment scandal that swamped the Fox News organization in 2016 and helped to launch the #MeToo movement.
  • Update: Black Christmas
    NEW YORK (CNS) — It's sorority sisters versus frat boys in the horror flick "Black Christmas" (Universal).
  • 'Finding the Way Home,' Dec. 18, HBO
    Having collaborated on another HBO project, 2006's "Baghdad ER," which earned them three Emmy awards, Jon Alpert and Matthew O'Neill produce and direct the film, which focuses on the work of an organization called Lumos. Established by "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling, Lumos aims to end the institutionalization of children in all forms by 2050.
  • SAO PAULO (CNS) — The latest episode of Brazil's comedy group Porta dos Fundos on Netflix has angered thousands of Brazilians from different religions. The group's Christmas special, "A Primeira Tentacao de Cristo" ("The First Temptation of Christ") is a satire about a gay Jesus bringing his boyfriend home to meet Mary and Joseph.
  • Jumanji: The Next Level
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Playful gender-bending by video-game avatars mingles with an unexpectedly somber message about approaching death in "Jumanji: The Next Level" (Columbia).
  • Star of Wonder with In Mulieribus
    In Mulieribus’ Christmas concert has become a Portland tradition, complete with medieval carols from the Worcester Fragments, contemporary works by Tarik O'Regan and James MacMillan, and other seasonal favorites from across the centuries. The concert takes place Friday Dec. 20, at 8 p.m. at St. Mary Cathedral in Portland, and Saturday, Dec. 21, at 7:30 p.m. at the Proto-Cathedral of St. James the Greater in Vancouver, Washington. Advance tickets (including Arts for All) are available at mulieribus.bpt.me or 800-838-3006.
  • Death penalty foes applaud message of new movie 'Just Mercy'
    ALEXANDRIA, Va. (CNS) — The upcoming movie "Just Mercy" "has the potential to wake up out of a slumber the part of society that either doesn't believe the death penalty is still in practice or chooses to ignore it," according to two leaders of the Catholic Mobilizing Network, founded 10 years ago to eliminate death penalty laws and executions.
  • The Two Popes
    NEW YORK (CNS) — In "The Two Popes" (Netflix), their glossy but highly speculative account of supposedly real events, screenwriter Anthony McCarten and director Fernando Meirelles ill-advisedly try to extol Pope Francis (Jonathan Pryce) by trashing retired Pope Benedict XVI (Anthony Hopkins).
  • WASHINGTON (CNS) — A decade ago, Americans were grinding their teeth about the cost of cable TV.
  • Cultural issues and how to address them at forefront of two new books
    In "Common Sense Catholicism," Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, looks at many of the major moral issues of the day and offers insights into how they could be resolved by taking guidance from Catholic moral and social teaching.
  • Love and Mercy: Faustina
    NEW YORK (CNS) — During Advent, Catholics are invited to look for ways to prepare spiritually for the coming of Christ at Christmas. Experiencing the gentleness of God through learning more about St. Faustina and the devotion to the Divine Mercy might just be the perfect way to do so.
  • 'Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements,'
    NEW YORK (CNS) — The film "Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements" takes its title, of course, from Ludwig von Beethoven's famous 19th-century composition for piano.
  • Playmobil: The Movie
    NEW YORK (CNS) — What middling community theater is to Broadway, "Playmobil: The Movie" (STX) is to the Lego film franchise. While the lines of toys on which they're based may be similar, the quality of their big-screen outings diverges widely.
  • NEW YORK (CNS) — The holidays are filled with classics in various media, not least several popular video-game franchises that annually acquire new additions to their families. As the shopping season opens, gamers and their relatives should keep an eye out for the following titles.
  • The musical season
    Whether it’s Handel’s Messiah at venues up and down the state, the Singing Christmas Tree at the Keller Auditorium in downtown Portland or In Mulieribus’ Star of Wonder at St. Mary Cathedral, the music of Advent is a part of the joy of this hopeful season. 
  • New books for Catholic children
    The following children's books are suitable for Christmas giving: "The Advent of Christmas," "Drawing God," "Made for Greatness: A Growth Mindset Journal for Catholic Youth," "The Seed Who Was Afraid to be Planted," "Kiddie Cat," "For Eden's Sake," "YouCat for Kids: A Catholic Catechism for Children and Parents," and "Where is Jesus: My First Words in Search of God."