US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Can misfortune run in the family?

In the new film ‘Hereditary,’ characters are doomed to live out drama set in motion by an earlier generation.

By Jessica Mesman |
Article Culture

I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me (Exod. 20:5).

Netflix’s ‘Lost in Space’ is a modern take on a classic family story

In this new version of the classic show, children and parents must work to overcome their estrangement, a situation all too familiar to modern parents.

By Pamela Hill Nettleton |
Article Culture

Toss a family onto a deserted tropical island—or, say, an uncharted planet in outer space—and see what happens when all social and cultural conventions and pressures are swept away and parents and children are forced to work together to survive. 

That was the story arc of Johann David Wyss’ Swiss Family Robinson novel in 1812, which was made into a film twice—in 1960 and in 1998. Then the Robinsons were reimagined as being shipwrecked not in the East Indies but in outer space on an uncharted planet in the Lost in Space CBS television series in the 1960s. 

Making sense of Sunday

Is ‘Come Sunday’ the tale of a brave spirit or a tragedy about a religious tradition that gives its followers few tools for making sense of their faith?

By Danny Duncan Collum |
Article Culture

In the past 25 years or so, nondenominational evangelical Protestantism seems to have become the state religion of the American suburbs, and in many of those churches every pastor is a pope. They face no educational requirement, and their only accountability comes when the offering basket is passed. If it is full enough then grace abounds. If a preacher rubs congregants the wrong way, abuses their trust, or just tells them things they don’t want to hear, they leave. 

In new pope biopic, Pope Francis finds space to speak

‘Pope Francis: A Man of His Word’ is more than just the top hits of Francis’ papacy.

By Kathleen Manning |
Article Culture

Midway through the documentary Pope Francis: A Man of His Word, there is an image that brings to mind scenes from May’s Met Gala celebrating Catholic imagination in fashion. Notably, there was no outfit at the ball resembling the cheap yellow rain poncho Pope Francis wore to celebrate Mass in the Philippines during a tropical storm. Nor was there anything resembling the simple habit papal namesake and ex-fashionista Francis of Assisi donned after renouncing his wealth to take up preaching the gospel.

5 questions with Randall Wright on ‘Summer in the Forest’

A new documentary traces Jean Vanier’s founding of L’Arche, providing a window into the existence of people with disabilities.

By Elizabeth Lefebvre |
Article Culture

Getting dressed. Going to work. Enjoying dinner with friends or family. Celebrating an engagement. These are just a few of the moments a new documentary, Summer in the Forest, captures that provide a glimpse into the lives of people with disabilities living in L’Arche communities.

Who gets to be a hero?

The Black Panther is the hero we need right now.

By Pamela Hill Nettleton |
Article Culture

In ancient Greece, heroes were half god, half human. Comic superheroes followed that mold—unlikely people with exceptional abilities to leap tall buildings or fly invisible planes, celebrating the potential greatness hidden in mere mortals and making common folk feel as if they, too, might someday rise. 

The saintliness of Fred Rogers

Fred Rogers believed that love, embodied as justice and compassion, could change the world.

By Danny Duncan Collum |
Article Culture

This is the year when America seems to be experiencing the 50th anniversary of everything—the Tet Offensive, the 1968 riots, the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. But in the midst of that maelstrom, on February 19, 1968, the still, small voice of Fred Rogers began to be heard on the nation’s embryonic network of public television stations. 

In ‘Lucky,’ a contemplation of the reality of death

‘Lucky’ tackles both aging and death with feeling and dignity.

By John Christman |
Article Culture
Directed by John Carroll Lynch (Magnolia Pictures, 2017)

Harry Dean Stanton died on September 15, 2017 at the age of 91. This was just after completing the film Lucky, in which Stanton plays a man named Lucky who is approaching the end of his life and contemplating the reality of death and the meaning of existence. It’s a powerful convergence and gives Lucky an even more momentous and sobering dimension.

Women are the true heroes of Star Wars

It’s not only in Star Wars where men flake out and women hold firm—it happens in scripture, too.

By Rebecca Bratten Weiss |
Article Culture

I went to see The Last Jedi with some immature trepidation, since I’m more emotionally invested in this story than I should be, not being a teenager doing crappy cosplay before I knew cosplay was a thing anymore. For me, you see, the Star Wars epic is not just a story. It’s one of “my” stories—the stories I have carried with me and that helped shape my imagination, my sense of humanity, and my understanding of our relationships to the cosmos.