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Vatican Preacher: Accusing Church of Abuse Akin to Anti-Semitism April 4, 2010

Posted by pacejmiller in Religion, Social/Political Commentary.
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Rev Raniero Cantalamessa, who made the comments on Good Friday

I don’t usually like to comment on religious or political things, but this latest Vatican furore has gotten me worked up — and after all, it’s Easter.

At the Good Friday service delivered by Pope Benedict XVI’s personal preacher, Rev Raniero Cantalamessa, read out a letter from a friend which likened the recent persecution of the Catholic Church over clerical sex abuse cover ups to the “more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism.”

What could have possibly possessed Cantalamessa to compare the allegations of feigned ignorance or blatant cover up over child sex abuse by the Catholic Church to the unspeakable horrors stemming from anti-Semitism?  Rather than whine about and give lame excuses over the flack the Church has copped (and justifiably so) over the child abuse and cover up claims, why not actually do something about it?  Or at least make it look like they’re doing something about it?  By all means, make the point that the Church as a whole is being unfairly blamed, and that not all priests are pedophiles.  But do it in an intelligent way that does not unnecessaily stir up the already sensitive public.

And of course, the expected public backlash/overreaction is equally frustrating.  It’s typical of the media to pick one little bit of a sermon by one person of the Church and blow it out of proportion by saying it’s an insult to all the Jews that perished in the Holocaust.  No wonder the Pope (and the Vatican) is trying to distance himself from the comments.

However, at the end of the day, it’s really just another example of the arrogance and naivete of certain members of the Catholic Church in thinking that they can play the “victim” card in the child abuse saga and expect to get away it.  And to use anti-Semitism to draw parallels is just plain stupid.

In particular, I found the comparison interesting given that the Catholic Church has played a prominent role in both the child abuse cover-up scandals and in perpetuating theological anti-Semitism throughout history.

Movie Review: Green Zone (2010) March 28, 2010

Posted by pacejmiller in Movie Reviews.
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There have been a lot of movies made about the (latest) Iraq war in recent years, but not many I know of have tried to tackle the controversial threshold issue — the existence (or non-existence) of WMDs — that started the war in the first place.

Green Zone, featuring director Paul Greengrass and actor Matt Damon (they previously collaborated on The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum) is a very clever movie that blends the Iraq WMD conspiracy/debacle with a cracking plot and high octane action.

It tells the story of US Army Chief Roy Miller (Damon), who stumbles across a possible conspiracy involving WMDs in Iraq, and those who will do anything to stop the truth from being revealed.

The script is supposedly “inspired” by the non-fiction book, Imperial Life in the Emerald City by Rajiv Chandrasekaran, which I haven’t read (and don’t intend do), but I understand it does not take any sides.  The film, on the other hand, makes it pretty clear what it thinks of the war.

However, it would be wrong to focus on the political message in Green Zone.  I liked how fact and fiction intertwined in this movie, but it’s the suspenseful action that made it a highly enjoyable experience.

I didn’t mind the cliched, archetypal characters or the unlikely “local” helper thrown into the mix to add a more emotional element to the film.  After all, it is an action movie.  But what did irritate me was Greengrass’s overuse of the vomit cam.  I know what’s his style — I’ve seen his Bourne movies — but it was overkill for me.  Used in moderation, it can add voyeuristic realism and tension.  However, there was no need to have the camera hover around like a faulty UFO on just about every scene, even when all that’s on screen is two people standing around having a chat, or a close up of a person’s face.

On the whole, Green Zone is 115 minutes of solid, interesting entertainment that is mostly made up, but it still makes you wonder how much of it, if any, is true.

4 out of 5 stars!

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