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June 13, 2008

Comments

David B.

SDG,

I just read the review. Your observations concerning the general failure of films to make CGI characters connect with the audience is dead on. Since you compared Gollum and Norton's Hulk, you may find this humorously ironic:
http://www.imdb.com/news/ni0247498/

Fr. Andrew

At its most suggestive, the idea of the Hulk suggests the potential destructiveness of violent emotions in all of us that that boil over from time to time despite our best efforts to keep a lid on them...This film, though, has little interest in exploring such ideas.

Interesting comment, do you think this is rooted in America's dualistic tendency to say that our actions are removed from our personal identity?

SDG

I just read the review. Your observations concerning the general failure of films to make CGI characters connect with the audience is dead on. Since you compared Gollum and Norton's Hulk, you may find this humorously ironic:
http://www.imdb.com/news/ni0247498/

Thanks, David B (heh, like Bill Bixby's character!). Yes, ironic indeed. Once again I'm reminded of Lewis's paraphrase of Pascal's description of the error of stoicism, viz. "thinking we can do always what we can do sometimes"!

Interesting comment, do you think this is rooted in America's dualistic tendency to say that our actions are removed from our personal identity?

Hm. An interesting question, Father. I'm not sure I've particularly noticed that tendency, or that I would have thought of it as an American thing, or a dualistic thing (not that the word doesn't apply, just that I'm not sure I would have reached for that word).

Trying to think of possible illustrations, I find, rather contrarianly, that all I can think of are counter-examples that seem to be at odds with the tendency you suggest. For example, the call-back line from Batman Begins: "It's not who you are inside that counts, it's what you do that defines you." Again, a remark from director Billy Ray, whose films Shattered Glass and Breach represent a similar perspective: "People always ask me 'why did Hanssen do what he did?' and you know, that doesn't matter to me. The ultimate point is that he did it. Our actions define us."

Would you say that these examples are out of sync with the tendency you have in mind? Are they perhaps exceptions proving the rule? Any typical examples illustrating the principle come to mind?

skyhawk

One little quibble... I think it's Andy Serkis instead of Sirkus. Beyond that reat review as usual!!

SDG

One little quibble... I think it's Andy Serkis instead of Sirkus. Beyond that reat review as usual!!

Ah, quite right, thanks for the catch!

David B.

"It's not who you are inside that counts, it's what you do that defines you."

Slightly off topic, I've always liked that line. Bruce was saying "though I now appear to be behaving like total jerk, my actions don't reflect my character."
Taking the fifth, Hollywood style. While it was true that Bruce Wayne the playboy was not the 'real' Bruce Wayne, Rachel was correct to point out that our actions reflect our character and moral outlook. It is a very Catholic response, I think.

Padre Steve

Thanks for the review of The Incredible Hulk. I don't expect it to be another Ironman, but I will give it a shot anyway! I just love the genre!

Jamie Beu

Really off topic...

Not that you aren't a great fill-in, SDG, but I'm wondering:

WHERE IS JIMMY WITH MY BSG UPDATE?!?

Sorry - just had to vent after seeing last night's mid-season finale (no new episodes until the end of the year).

Tim J.

SDG -

For what it's worth, I really enjoyed the first Hulk movie, and my son (then probably 14), too. We've watched it multiple times and will sometimes do quick, spontaneous reenactments of moments in the film, which is kind of an informal test of screen-worthiness in our house.

However, I was mot a Hulk fan of any stripe before the movie, so I'm not carrying that baggage.

I thought the director did a good job of giving the movie the feel of reading a comic book (through shot framing and panning, multiple shots on screen, etc...), if not the Hulk comics.

I also thought that Eric Bana acted the part well. I haven't seen the new Hulk movie, but probably will... I'm not all that sure about the casting of Edward Norton... a hulk with a weak chin?

Ted

Jimmy:

Off topic, but I wish you (or someone here) could correct the idiots at the Boar's Head Tavern who are about to engage on an anti-Catholic rampage, inspired by the addition of a young Catholic guy to their blogging board.

They don't take comments, but you can email any of the participants with the links to the right.

The new Catholic guy is "Mack".

Veronica

Thanks for your review, I think I'll go see this movie after all! After the disappointment that was the ghastly 2003 Hulk movie (which I downright hated and still regret not walking out of the theater midway through that train wreck) I nearly swore not to see this one, but I've been hearing some good things about it, enough to make me curious. I guess I'll give it a chance.

"I also thought that Eric Bana acted the part well. I haven't seen the new Hulk movie, but probably will... I'm not all that sure about the casting of Edward Norton... a hulk with a weak chin?"

LOL, that's what I thought too. About the only thing I liked about the previous Hulk movie was the casting of Eric Bana as the main lead, he was perfect for the role. I'm not sure casting Ed Norton as Hulk's 'normal' self is a good idea, although I do think he's a decent actor... we'll see how it goes.

Jeffrey G
Interesting comment, do you think this is rooted in America's dualistic tendency to say that our actions are removed from our personal identity?

Posted by: Fr. Andrew

Our actions are removed from our personal identity.

Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I [Paul's personal identity] who do it, but sin that dwells within me....Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself [Paul's personal identity] serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. Romans 7:20,25.

Through Jesus, the Christian is allowed to think of his identity as removed from the sin that dwells within him.

horatio

Missing Jimmy's posts again. I do enjoy SDG and Tim Jones' ideas quite a bit - especially in the combox where they clear up a lot of the misconceptions littered there (even those sometimes littered by me).

Jimmy's last significant post (17 days ago) garnered 121 combox posts. The last 4 posts by others has garnered about half that in aggregate. That is not an insult to SDG or Tim Jones, only pointing out people come here for Jimmy's insightful thoughts on doctrine and practice. (and SDG and Tim's thoughts on doctrine as well, though the posts on the Hulk and the Ninja Panda movie are not up to their uniquely strong guidance in all things Catholic in the combox).

Not complaining, just gentle encouragement towards another Jimmy Akin post... Plus I don't really watch many movies...

SDG

Horatio, bear in mind Jimmy's been away on the Catholic Answers cruise. I expect he'll be posting again soon.

Adam D

"I also thought that Eric Bana acted the part well. I haven't seen the new Hulk movie, but probably will... I'm not all that sure about the casting of Edward Norton... a hulk with a weak chin?"

LOL, that's what I thought too. About the only thing I liked about the previous Hulk movie was the casting of Eric Bana as the main lead, he was perfect for the role. I'm not sure casting Ed Norton as Hulk's 'normal' self is a good idea, although I do think he's a decent actor... we'll see how it goes.

Make that three votes for Eric Bana. That guy was a great casting call and the one element I really wish they could have held on to in this re-boot. I was actually enjoying a good deal of the setup to the first Hulk, and kinda liked the gutsy comic-book panels thing (it mostly failed, in my esteem, but I appreciate the gutsiness of the attempt) but the whole dad-son Freudian super fight at the end totally killed that flick.

Veronica

"I was actually enjoying a good deal of the setup to the first Hulk, and kinda liked the gutsy comic-book panels thing (it mostly failed, in my esteem, but I appreciate the gutsiness of the attempt) but the whole dad-son Freudian super fight at the end totally killed that flick."

Those are my sentiments exactly. I didn't like the multiple-panel shots of the first Hulk movie at all, but at least it was original (if a little annoying). In fact I was liking the movie well-enough at first, however, the whole super-villian father plot (which I found disturbing in the extreme), the confusing ending, the lack of action, the so-so love interest (I still have no idea whether Betty Ross actually cared for him or only saw him as an interesting experiment), and the crappy special effects, made me regard this movie as the worst I've seen in theaters in a long time (I've seen bad movies on TV, but at least I didn't pay to see them!).

This film was as fun as the Transformers film. There are a bunch of crowd pleasing moments. The fight against "The Abomination" was very good and the best moment was when...after taking a brutal pummeling by "The Abomination" the monster asks the seemingly half-dead Hulk...."Any last words?"......Hulk's response..."HUUUUUUULLLLKKKK SMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASHHHHHHHHHHH!!!" Everyone whooping hollering laughing even my wife...I love it! That was always the-bad-guy-wets-his-pants moment in the comic books...

I haven't seen crowd response like that since I saw the Exorcist III in the movie theater and after the possessing demon committed a bunch of terrible things...a door slides open and you a Priest is standing there. It must have been catholic night at the theaters because everyone started cheering

Dan Hunter

Is there anyone that writes for this website who is devoutly Catholic?

Ut Prosim

SDG

Dan, this is your Rule 1 warning. There won't be another one. God bless you.

Tim J.

"Is there anyone that writes for this website who is devoutly Catholic?"

Yes, SDG, are there any Catholic saints depicted in the Hulk movie? Hmmmm? Does the Hulk show proper devotion to Our Blessed Mother?

Having just got back from the annual G.K. Chesterton conference, I believe that Chesterton - clearly a candidate for future beatification, a modern saint and the greatest writer in English of the 20th century - was laboring partly to explode such cramped and dour conceptions of "devoutness".

God's creative energy and His grace do not stop at the doors of the Church. As Chesterton saw it, we can't talk about God without talking about everything, because God is everywhere and touches everything.

There is no topic in the world that is *not* related to the faith.

The Masked Chicken

Dear Tim J.,

Any really good presentations at the G. K. Chesterton conference? Want to share in a separate post?

The Chicken

Inocencio

Tim J.,

I second the request that you post about the Chesterton conference. And I am green with envy that you were able to attend.

Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

David B.

Is there anyone that writes for this website who is devoutly Catholic?

Dan, I think you were redirected from Novus Ordo Watch. Now they need a Devout Catholic.

Tim J.

Yes, I'm working on a ChesterCon '08 post(s), but I'm also trying to catch up on all the personal business I neglected in order to attend the conference. I should have it in a day or so.

Our grass is a foot tall.

Dan Hunter.

"There is no topic in the world that is *not* related to the faith."

I looked through The Roman Catechism, The Baltimore Catechism #3
The St Pius X Catechism
"This the Faith", Catechism [Canon Ripley]
The CCC.
For some reason I could not find word one about "The Hulk"
There was a brief reference to the "Happy Hollisters" in the Dutch Catechism, though.

Ut Prosim.

Tim J.

Thanks, Dan, for illustrating my point.

SDG

I looked through The Roman Catechism, The Baltimore Catechism #3
The St Pius X Catechism
"This the Faith", Catechism [Canon Ripley]
The CCC.
For some reason I could not find word one about "The Hulk"

You neglected to check Pope Pius XII's Apostolic Exhortation to Representatives of the Cinema World (commonly called the discourse on the "Ideal Film"). It offers many observations quite relevant to just this sort of film (as well as better-done examples of the genre):

The first power of attraction of a film springs from its technical qualities, which perform the prodigy of transferring the spectator into an imaginary world … The reciprocity of influence between the technical process and the film has thus brought about a swift development towards perfection, starting from the shaky retakes of a train arriving, to pass on to the animated film … Spurred on by desire to transport the spectator into the unreal world, the film has asked technical skill for Nature's colours, then the three dimensions of space, and at the present time is striving with daring ingenuity to place the spectator amidst the scene itself.

A growing mastery of invention and of the setting of the subject has made ever more alive and enthralling the entertainment which avails itself, moreover, of the traditional power of dramatic art of all times and in all civilizations, nay, with a notable advantage over the latter, by the greater freedom of movement, the spaciousness of the scene, and by the other effects special to the Cinema.

The Pope addresses the world of cinema, incidentally, "as Pastor of the Flock to open Our heart to them in which praise for their great achievements is joined to a piercing anxiety for the fate of so many souls on which the Cinema exercises a profound influence." Calling the cinema "in itself most noble," the Pope adds that its effects can be double-edged, "so apt to uplift or degrade men, and so quick to produce good or spread evil."

Perhaps you will now want to ask whether Pius XII was a devout Catholic.

Dan Hunter

SDG,
"When I was a child I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But, when I became a man, I put away the things of a child."
St Pauls 1st Letter to the Corinthians. Chapter 13 vs 11

Deo Gratias!

Dan Hunter

If you like cartoons, here are some holy ones.
God bless.

Know Your Mass
by Fr. Demetrius Manousos

Originally published by the Catechetical Guild in 1954 (Imprimatur Francis Cardinal Spellman), this is a "comic" book unlike any other. Know Your Mass is a detailed, fully illustrated, step by step explanation of the Traditional Latin Mass now reprinted for the first time in full color!

The book presents the theology of the Mass in a manner easily understood by children and yet is incredibly interesting and informative for adults as well. This should come as no surprise to those who have read The Seven Sacraments, another Angelus Press reprint by Fr. Manousos, who has the amazing ability to take solid theology and present it to children...without dumbing it down. He was truly a gifted writer.

This makes Know Your Mass an excellent catechetical tool for all ages. All parts of the Holy Sacrifice are covered, from the preparation for Mass, the altar, sacred vessels and vestments, liturgical actions, the sanctuary, and some liturgical history as well, including helpful suggestions for children to get the most or should we say GIVE the most at Mass. Ideal, NO, PERFECT, as a First Holy Communion gift. Great for converts as well.

Anyone who delves into this book cannot come away ignorant of the true significance of the liturgical representation of Our Lord's Sacrifice on Calvary that is the Holy Mass. Highly recommended.

96pp, softcover, 335 color illustrations.


The Sacraments
by Fr. Demetrius Manousos

This book needs to be seen to be fully appreciated. Originally published by the Catechetical Guild in 1955 (Imprimatur Francis Cardinal Spellman), this is a "comic" book unlike any other. The Sacraments is a detailed, fully illustrated, step by step explanation of all seven sacraments.

The book presents the theology of the sacraments in a manner easily understood by children and yet is incredibly interesting and informative for adults as well. This should come as no surprise to those who have read The Seven Sacraments, another Angelus Press reprint by Fr. Manousos, who has the amazing ability to take solid theology and present it to children...without dumbing it down. He was truly a gifted writer.

This makes The Sacraments an excellent catechetical tool for all ages. All parts of the sacraments are explained: matter, form, minister, intention, Biblical basis, liturgical actions, including helpful suggestions for children to best prepare for the reception of the sacraments. Covers all seven Sacraments in an engrossing full color "comic"-style format. A perfect companion to Know Your Mass.

64pp, softcover, 316 color illustrations.


Life of Christ
by Fr. Robert E. Southard

Originally published by the Catechetical Guild in 1955 (Imprimatur Francis Cardinal Spellman), this is the "comic" book companion to Know Your Mass. Both illustrated by Addison Burbank in full color.

The book presents the Life of Our Lord from the Annunciation to His Ascension in a manner easily understood by children. Adults will find the seamless integration of the Gospels informative as well.

An ideal companion to Know Your Mass, which presents the unbloody Sacrifice of the Mass...here, children learn to know and love He Who is the Sacrifice. Even students who excel in religion class often do not KNOW Our Lord...they don't yet understand Scripture, the Gospels do not read like the stories they are used to. The Life of Christ introduces them to their Savior in a way they can understand and love. Great for religion classes and makes an excellent gift for the Feast of St. Nicholas, Christmas, Epiphany, Easter, First Holy Communion, name days, birthdays, etc. Highly recommended.

96pp, softcover, 393 color illustrations.


Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary
by Fr. Demetrius Manousos

Originally published by the Catechetical Guild in the 1950's, this is the "comic" book companion to The Life of Christ. Both illustrated by Addison Burbank in full color.

The book presents the life of Mary in an engrossing full color "comic"-style format. Starting in the Garden of Eden when God promised to send a woman who would battle Satan...a battle "between thy offspring and hers" through her Assumption into Heaven. Adults and children alike will find the seamless integration of the Gospels informative.

An ideal companion to Know Your Mass, which presents the unbloody Sacrifice of the Mass...here, children learn about she who best assisted at the bloody sacrifice of Calvary...she who we are to imitate in our assistance at the unbloody Sacrifice of the Mass.

Great for religion classes and makes an excellent gift for the Feast of St. Nicholas, Christmas, Epiphany, Easter, First Holy Communion, name days, birthdays, etc. Highly recommended.

Digitially remastered from a 1950's original. Like all of Fr. Manousos's children's books, this one is doctrinally profound, yet accessible to children without being dumbed-down...making it useful for many adults as well.

Perfect for catechism or gifts. A perfect companion to The Life of Christ.

64pp, softcover, 215 color illustrations.




SDG

Dan: I'm glad you have read 1 Corinthians 13. I was put in mind of that very chapter by your opening salvo.

Regarding v. 11: "When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up." - C.S. Lewis

I do like comics, children's books and family films. I think Bambi, The Wizard of Oz and My Neighbor Totoro are among the finest films ever made. Likewise, The Last Puppy, Guess How Much I Love You and Max's Dragon Shirt are masterpieces of literary symmetry, dramatic resolution and elegance. I could read them to my five children five hundred times without them palling (who knows, maybe I have), and God knows you can't say that about every children's book.

I feel not the slightest need to apologize that the Holy Trinity and Our Blessed Mother are not mentioned in these works, or to "counter" with a list of "holy" counterparts (alternatives?).

The best argument against hyper-piety is… hyper-piety. Your own posts are your own refutation, for anyone with eyes to see.

Inocencio

SDG,

You are a scholar and a gentleman. All of us can learn from your example and hopefully will.

Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Matheus
SDG, "When I was a child I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But, when I became a man, I put away the things of a child." St Pauls 1st Letter to the Corinthians. Chapter 13 vs 11

Deo Gratias!

Dear Dan

And what about

Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child 2 will not enter it.
. Mark Chapter 10 vs 15.
Dan Hunter

SDG. I was not aware that C.S.Lewis works were part of the Canon of Sacred Scripture.

I said nothing about you apologizing for enjoying cartoons that do not mention The Truths of the Trinity or our Mother, you should not have to.
I just find it very surprising that you enjoy kiddie comics.

It is very telling that you put scare quotes around the word: holy.

Matheus,
So unless I get all drooly about action figures, I will not go to heaven?
Where is that dogmatically defined?

In St Mark chapter 10 vs 15 Christ was referring to the purity of children, and how we all must be pure, and cannot attain to the Beatific vision unless we are cleansed of all sin and the stain thereof.
There is nothing pure in contemporary comic books
in presentation or holy content.

Nunc Sancte, nobis,Spiritus

SDG

I was not aware that C.S.Lewis works were part of the Canon of Sacred Scripture.

I was not aware that the sum total of human and Christian wisdom was exhausted by the canon of sacred scripture.

I just find it very surprising that you enjoy kiddie comics.

Are you kidding? I majored in kiddie comics. I took whole classes on comic strip history, history of animation and comic strip art (as well as film history). That was my undergraduate degree. Then I got a Master's in religious studies at one of the finest Catholic seminaries on the east coast. While I was there, I showed some of my kiddie comics to my seminary professors, including people like John Haas and John Saward. I don't remember them being particularly surprised.

It is very telling that you put scare quotes around the word: holy.

Those were quotative quotes, not "scare quotes." Sorry about your confusion. I wonder what you think it "tells." Perhaps you might pray about it.

There is nothing pure in contemporary comic books in presentation or holy content.

Fascinating. And just how do you come to know so much about kiddie comics, to be able to render so sweeping a judgment?

Dan Hunter

SDG,
Fascinating. And just how do you come to know so much about kiddie comics, to be able to render so sweeping a judgment?

Because when I was a 7-11 year old I used to read those impure and immoral comics such as The Incredible Hulk, Spiderman, Batman etc.
Maybe the women are no longer scantily clad or wearing tight lycra outfits these days, and if they arn't I apologise.
But I have a nephew that reads comics and he tells me about some dark and murderous tales that are played out on those pages.

If you are making your living in comic books and it is pure, I am sorry for putting comics down, but with so many dread serious problems in the Church and Her liturgy and modernism I find this atraction to comic books as a waste of time.

If they help your immortal soul get to heaven though, more power to you and them.

Believe me, I am not trying to bust anyones balls I just want all to be saved.

Ut Prosim.

David B.

Dan Hunter,

I am sorry for putting comics down, but with so many dread serious problems in the Church and Her liturgy and modernism I find this atraction to comic books as a waste of time.

If they help your immortal soul get to heaven though, more power to you and them.

It is incorrect to think that only explicitly religious things, acts, and thoughts are worthy of a Christian. Since when is it wrong to enjoy something 'neutral'? I have some classic Batman and Spidy (that's spider-man, for the uninitiated) comics, and they aren't filled with nakedness (plot holes, yes). Comics, good music, movies, and books don't have to center around the Catechesis to be good. A Saint (might have been Francis De Sales) said that too much of anything in this world is not advisable.

J.R.R. Tolkien once said, in response to charges that The Lord of The Rings is escapist, and therefore worthless:


I have claimed that Escape is one of the main functions of fairy-stories, and since I do not disapprove of them, it is plain that I do not accept the tone of scorn or pity with which 'Escape' is now so often used. Why should a man be scorned if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if he cannot do so, he thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison-walls? Fantasy remains a human right: we make in our measure and in our derivative mode, because we are made: and not only made, but made in the image and likeness of a Maker.

'Nuff said.


Dan Hunter

David B.

No saint ever said that one can pray to much.
If that was so then 99.9% of canonized saints went way overboard. More like 100%

Iwonder if St Pio prayed or made supplication to much.
I guess all of the Churches martyrs went way to far in their faith.

Show me a canonized saint who regularly read comic books and I might pick up a copy of Classics Illustrated again.

Inocencio

Dan Hunter,

Is it possible that you might be spending too much time on this blog? I would suggest that since you have used offensive language and an condesending tone in your comments in the past that this blog might be a near occasion of sin for you. Perhaps you should spend more time in prayer and less here. Just a suggestion.

Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

David B.

Iwonder if St Pio prayed or made supplication to much.
I guess all of the Churches martyrs went way to far in their faith.

Dan,

First, thanks for the quick response. 1st, I didn't talk about prayer. We should pray always, through our thoughts, words, and actions.
2nd, regarding the Saint quote, my memory wasn't quite exact. Here's What Saint Francis De Sales said:

Do not love anything too much, I beg you, not even virtues, for by loving them too much we run the risk of losing them.

Close enough (I think). Loving even the Virtues too much (not very much) can lead one to become unable to see the good in the non-religious works of God's Creatures ( film, music, etc). This is wrong-headed. Citizen Kane, a film, never confronts religious problems, but that doesn't mean it's crud unworthy of being viewed. The Vatican even has it on its (questionable) film list. Do you think that the pope should condemn the film?

SDG

Believe me, I am not trying to bust anyones balls I just want all to be saved.

Dan, I absolutely believe that you just want all to be saved, but can you really say you're being totally honest about not trying to bust anyone's balls? Because I would have thought that an opening like "Is there anyone that writes for this website who is devoutly Catholic?" sounded a little like trying to bust someone's balls. I'm sure you wouldn't claim to be above ball-busting, would you? I bet you have enough humility to admit it. Right?

Because when I was a 7-11 year old I used to read those impure and immoral comics such as The Incredible Hulk, Spiderman, Batman etc.

Interesting. Why did you read them, Dan? What was the attraction? What did you see in them at the time? Was there nothing you got out of them that you can still look back at as a positive contribution to your life?

At any rate, if your knowledge of comics is based on your memories of what you read as a 7 to 11-year-old, is that really a sufficient basis for pronouncing judgment on it today?

Maybe the women are no longer scantily clad or wearing tight lycra outfits these days, and if they arn't I apologise.
But I have a nephew that reads comics and he tells me about some dark and murderous tales that are played out on those pages.

Sometimes the women are provocatively dressed. Sometimes they aren't. Sometimes the stories are dark and murderous. Sometimes they are edifying and inspiring. Sometimes dark and murderous stories can be edifying and inspiring.

If you are making your living in comic books and it is pure, I am sorry for putting comics down, but with so many dread serious problems in the Church and Her liturgy and modernism I find this atraction to comic books as a waste of time.

While I once hoped to make a living doing comic books, God had other plans. For the rest, though, couldn't your sentence be equally rewritten with the kinds of movies Pope Pius discusses above in his Apostolic Exhortation? "With so many dread serious problems in the Church and Her liturgy and modernism I find this attraction to movies about imaginary worlds as a waste of time." Is that the sense you get from Pope Pius's remarks?

If that was so then 99.9% of canonized saints went way overboard. More like 100%

You won't be able to say that if Mother Teresa is canonized. She believed so much in action that at one point she didn't want to make any time at all in her sisters' schedules for prayer if she could help it. She eventually came around on that, but still with her emphasis on action she would have agreed that there is such a thing as too much prayer. And I'll bet she was far from the first canonized saint to have such views.

Furthermore, for better and worse, most canonized saints were either clergy, religious or both; comparatively few have been in the lay state, much less married with families. The laity have a different calling than clergy and religious, and what is an appropriate amount of time for prayer in the religious or clerical state may very easily be excessive in the lay state.

I know of mothers who have effectively abandoned their families to devote themselves to holy hours and private devotions, of fathers who have made shipwreck of their marriages and families because they thought that whatever they were doing was all right as long as it was for God. Employers also have been defrauded by employees giving "to God" time that they owed to their employers.

Perhaps you might say that as long as one does one's duty to one's family and employer, then there is no such thing as too much prayer. But what is doing one's duty to one's family? Is it enough if your children are fed, clothed and educated? Does a parent not also owe them play and recreation, time spent together as a family -- reading books, say? If they spend time together reading wholesome comic books or watching wholesome movies, is God defrauded, or glorified? What would Pius XII say?

Finally, Dan, may I suggest, with humility and seriousness, that you consider with humility and seriousness Inocencio's suggestion that your participation in this blog may at times be an occasion of sin for you -- as well as for others. I must candidly acknowledge that at times your participation here has been one for me, which I freely confess is at least as much my fault as yours, or more. At the moment, thanks to the grace of the daily Mass I've just now returned from, as well as Inocencio's remarks, and what seems to me the change in tone from your earlier posts to your later ones, I think I am not now tempted to sin in writing to you. But I do wonder whether your participation here generally tends to be healthy for you and for others as well. Again, you might consider the tone and likely response to your opening salvo, and ask yourself how best to serve the Lord and edify your brother.

Tim J.

"she would have agreed that there is such a thing as too much prayer"

It all depends on one's calling. The big mistake that people sometimes make is to think that all Christians are called to respond to Christ in exactly the same way, by doing exactly the same things.

Some are called to a life of contemplative prayer, some to a life of compassion for the poor. Some are called to renounce violence - even in self defense - and some are called to fight for others.

"Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand." Romans 14:4

Mary

I forget the name of the saint, but I once read of a canonized housewife and in particular, of how she would try to pray and find herself time to do so, but she would be endlessly interrupted -- and how she would endlessly arise to deal with all the interruptions with total patience.

Dan Hunter

SDG; Please pray the Litany of the Saints, as I will so your soul may be at peace.
I understand how hard things are for you right now, but our Lord promised that He would not abandon His children who pray through His Saints to Him, in their time of woe:
Lord, have mercy, (Lord, have mercy.)
Christ, have mercy, (Christ, have mercy.)
Lord, have mercy, (Lord, have mercy.)

Latin version:
Litaniae Sanctorum

Kyrie, eleison (Kyrie, eleison.)
Christe, eleison (Christe, eleison.)
Kyrie, eleison (Kyrie, eleison.)

Christe, audi nos (Christe, audi nos.)
Christe, exaudi nos. (Christe, exaudi nos.)

Pater de caelis, Deus, (miserere nobis.)
Fili, Redemptor mundi, Deus, (miserere nobis.)
Spiritus Sancte, Deus, (miserere nobis.)
Sancta Trinitas, unus Deus, (miserere nobis.)
Sancta Maria,
Sancta Dei Genetrix,
Sancta Virgo virginum,

Sancte Michael,
Sancte Gabriel,
Sancte Raphael,
Omnes sancti Angeli et Archangeli,
Omnes sancti beatorum Spirituum ordines,

Sancte Ioannes Baptista,
Sancte Ioseph,
Omnes sancti Patriarchae et Prophetae,

Sancte Petre,
Sancte Paule,
Sancte Andrea,
Sancte Iacobe,
Sancte Ioannes,
Sancte Thoma,
Sancte Iacobe,
Sancte Philippe,
Sancte Bartolomaee,
Sancte Matthaee,
Sancte Simon,
Sancte Thaddaee,
Sancte Matthia,
Sancte Barnaba,
Sancte Luca,
Sancte Marce,
Omnes sancti Apostoli et Evangelistae,
Omnes sancti discipuli Domini,

Omnes sancti Innocentes,
Sancte Stephane,
Sancte Laurenti,
Sancte Vincenti,
Sancti Fabiane et Sebastiane,
Sancti Iohannes et Paule,
Sancti Cosma et Damiane,
Sancti Gervasi et Protasi,
Omnes sancti martyres,

Sancte Sylvester,
Sancte Gregori,
Sancte Ambrosi,
Sancte Augustine,
Sancte Hieronyme,
Sancte Martine,
Sancte Nicolae,
Omnes sancti Pontifices et Confessores,
Omnes sancti Doctores,

Sancte Antoni,
Sancte Benedicte,
Sancte Bernarde,
Sancte Dominice,
Sancte Francisce,
Omnes sancti Sacerdotes et Levitae,
Omnes sancti Monachi et Eremitae,

Sancta Maria Magdalena,
Sancta Agatha,
Sancta Lucia,
Sancta Agnes,
Sancta Caecilia,
Sancta Catharina,
Sancta Anastasia,
Omnes sanctae Virgines et Viduae o
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Omnes Sancti et Sanctae Dei, (intercedite pro nobis.)
Propitius esto, (parce nos, Domine.)
Propitius esto, (exaudi nos, Domine.)
Ab omni malo,
Ab omni peccato,
Ab ira tua,
A subitanea et improvisa morte,
Ab insidiis diaboli,
Ab ira et odio et omni mala voluntate,
A spiritu fornicationis,
A fulgure et tempestate,
A flagello terraemotus,
A peste, fame et bello,
A morte perpetua,
Per mysterium sanctae Incarnationis tuae,
Per adventum tuum,
Per nativitatem tuam,
Per baptismum et sanctum ieiunium tuum,
Per crucem et passionem tuam,
Per mortem et sepulturam tuam,
Per sanctam resurrectionem tuam,
Per admirabilem ascensionem tuam,
Per adventum Spiritus Sancti Paracliti,
In die iudicii,
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D
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Peccatores,

Ut nobis parcas,

Ut nobis indulgeas,

Ut ad veram paenitentiam nos perducere digneris,

Ut Ecclesiam tuam sanctam regere et conservare digneris,

Ut domum Apostolicum et omnes ecclesiasticos ordines in sancta religione conservare digneris,
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Ut inimicos sanctae Ecclesiae humiliare digneris,

Ut regibus et principibus christianis pacem et veram concordiam donare digneris,

Ut cuncto populo christiano pacem et unitatem largiri digneris,

Ut omnes errantes ad unitatem Ecclesiae revocare, et infideles universos ad Evangelii lumen perducere digneris,

Ut nosmetipsos in tuo sancto servitio confortare et conservare digneris,

Ut mentes nostras ad caelestia desideria erigas,

Ut omnibus benefactoribus nostris sempiterna bona retribuas,

Ut animas nostras, fratrum, propinquorum et benefactorum nostrorum ab aeterna damnatione eripias,

Ut fructus terrae dare et conservare digneris,

Ut omnibus fidelibus defunctis requiem aeternam donare digneris,

Ut nos exaudire digneris,

Fili Dei, T
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Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, (parce nobis, Domine.)
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, (exaudi nos, Domine.)
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, (miserere nobis.)

Christe, (audi nos.)
Christe, (exaudi nos.)
Kyrie, eleison. (Kyrie, eleison.)
Christe, eleison. (Christe, eleison.)
Kyrie, eleison. (Kyrie, eleison.)

[Pater noster silentio] Et ne nos inducas in tentationem. (Sed libera nos a malo.)

SDG

I think you may have misunderstood me, Dan.

The Masked Chicken

I do not approve of Dan's presumptive tone of judgment about anyone who writes for this blog. I also do not know what he means by the term, "devout Catholic" (please,do not explain, as this will probably ignite the combox, again). How dare he attempt to judge lives that are not finished or actions that are incomplete, because the statement, "Is there anyone that writes for this website who is devoutly Catholic?" does not, in context, seem to be merely rhetorical, but conclusive. Does he know how much some people on this blog may have suffered for the Faith? How much they are suffering for it? Mozart wrote his happiest music when he was most depressed and sometimes people who are suffering for the Faith hide their suffering by light talk.

If he has specific information about the Faith that may be of benefit, it is his duty to produce it in a clear, calm fashion, that others may learn from it and discuss it. Fraternal correction must be specific and kind, or it is fraternal nor useful; character assassination, even in general terms, is not of benefit.

He may be frustrated that the Faith is not more prominently displayed, here, but faith touches all of life. If some people wish to express their unabounded interest in topics that are at the periphery of Catholicism, then, fine. To begin with, this is not a Catholic blog, it is a blog by a Catholic - Jimmy Akin. He may write about what he pleases, within moral reason. So may others. How these topics make one less than devout, I do not know.

Now, all of that having been said, I think he is right about the current state of comics (not, necessarily, the films of comic characters). Comics used to be about noble ideas (back in the late 50's and 60's), but turned more to social issues in the 1970's and the occult in the 1980's. Comic historians do not deny this. The trend has been because of the writers and artists. I am talking about superhero comic, not other children's comics, which have remained, more or less, static in their moral content.

There are some older comics which are classics and rightly so. They are very moral, in a Catholic sense, and I would have no hesitation in using them to teach Sunday school.

Unfortunately, the current state of comics is such that New Age thinking is taken for granted, if black magic is not. Women really are shamefully clad (all one needs to do is study the evolution of Wonder Woman's costume, to confirm this). The artists have stated, publicly (there was an A & E special a few years ago, featuring interviews), that they were trying to introduce unwholesome attire and morally ambiguous situations.

I have tried to read some of the modern comics and they make me sick. I could not recommend them to anyone. In that sense, Dan is correct - modern comics are written by people who seem to not have a very strong moral sense. Julies Swartz and Curt Swan, the editor and artist of the Silver Age of Superman, were very careful to make comics that were elevating, both in story and art. Yes, some superheros were a bit underdressed, but never in a provocative way. Now adays ...

I realize that this does not touch on Dan's main point, about the devoutness of those who write for this blog, but his point about comics, at least todays comics, is more right than wrong, in my opinion. If I criticize what is false, I must also support what is true. Fair is fair. Others may have a different appraisal of the state of the art in comics. We can discuss this (this is, after all, a post about The Hulk), but I think a fair case can be made for the moral disintegration of the genre. Most of the current films about comics characters are based on the characters from the 1960's. If they tried to use the characters from today, most of these films would have R ratings.

The Chicken

The Masked Chicken

That should be:

Fraternal correction must be specific and kind, or it is neither fraternal nor useful; character assassination, even in general terms, is not of benefit.

The Chicken

Dan Hunter

My statement was of an expression of surprise and disapointment, most certainly not character assasination.
God bless.

The Masked Chicken

Dear Dan,

Thanks for clarifying. I was too harsh in my comments. It did sound like you were criticizing the Catholicity of the people who write, here, but it was not exactly clear to me as a reader of your post what violations of Catholic moral teaching that have been made by the writers of this site that would lead you to that conclusion. We can all profit from correction (usually, best done in private). I was just unclear what you took exception to that would indicate that the people who write here were not Catholic. We don't need to re-ignite the discussion. It was just hard to tell the basis for your comments. People do have a right to discuss other topics than Catholicism, especially on a personal blog site. If the comments contain a flaw in theology, then that might be pointed out. I think that may be the best way to approach things, if you are surprised or disappointed by the writers.

The Chicken

Dan Hunter

Cam we talk about the works of Dietrich Von Hildebrand sometime, along with the Hulk?

SDG

It did sound like you were criticizing the Catholicity of the people who write, here

It sounded like that? Um, pretty much exactly like that, yes, pretty much inescapably that. Whether in a spirit of "surprise and disappointment" or "character assassination" (or just "ball-busting"), I don't see how asking "Is there anyone that writes for this website who is devoutly Catholic?" can possibly be spun as not "criticizing the Catholicity of the people who write here." That's pretty much what you'd have to call it.

Cam we talk about the works of Dietrich Von Hildebrand sometime, along with the Hulk?

I posted on The Hulk because it was easy to do: I'd already written the review; I just threw up the url, linked to an image and called it a day. I don't have anything to say about von Hildebrand that I can do that easily.

Right now, though, if I were to post something more substantial, it probably wouldn't be von Hildebrand. It would probably be Cardinal Dulles, who I'm reading right now. Or N.T. Wright, who may be an Anglican but has really good things to say about history and scripture that are a lot in line with Pope Benedict's views. Or B16 himself. Those are the people I'm reading right now. But I don't have a lot of time for substantial posts. My life is pretty full.

Incidentally, it's been awhile since I've regularly read any comic books. The last book I read regularly was Straczynski's Amazing Spider-Man. Interestingly, while Straczynski is not a believer, his Peter Parker was, and prayed regularly to God, often in a Job-like (or Tevye-like) vein. His Peter was also deeply committed to his wife MJ and of course his aged aunt. He cared deeply about doing the right thing, without counting the cost to himself. There's a lot of good stuff to say about Straczynski's Spider-Man. Not that I'd put it on a par with Dulles or Wright or anything. But it seems totally unnecessary to me to declare out of hand that there is "nothing pure in contemporary comic books" or to dismiss them as "impure and immoral."

Dan Hunter

SDG,
I can mail you a copy of "The Devastated Vineyard", if you have not read it, I believe that you will find it to be quite excellent.

God bless your baby.

The comments to this entry are closed.

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