BlogWatcher - Woody Allen as defender of traditional morality

BY MICHAEL MULLINS

RealClearReligion is surprised and impressed by Woody Allen’s latest movie To Rome With Love, which has a strong message about “the need to resist those things that would tempt us away from real love”. 

Who would have thought that Woody Allen, who twenty years after separating from his longtime girlfriend to notoriously marry her adopted daughter, would emerge as a defender of what can only be called traditional morality?

What I found utterly remarkable about To Rome With Love is how its  writer and director consistently and energetically insisted that simple love should triumph over glitz, glamour and ephemeral pleasure. ... 

I'm entirely aware that Woody Allen's private life leaves quite a bit to be desired from a moral standpoint, but in regard to the fundamental message of To Rome With Love, Aquinas couldn't have said it better.

Meanwhile at v2catholic, Brian Lewis writes on Vatican II’s emphasis on marriage as a love relationship in his blog on the indissolubility of marriage. With regard to the tragedy of  marriage breakdown,

a major contributing factor is the inability of many couples to establish the sort of love relationship which the Council sees as one of the essential purposes of marriage. One or both spouses lack the personal qualities and maybe the verbal, sexual and other skills needed for the promise of the wedding day to be realised. ...

Love in marriage was a radical idea at the time of Jesus, who

was confronting a patriarchal society, in which women's main role in marriage was to provide a male heir for their husbands.

There are various blogs about tolerance and freedom of religion. UCAN’s Give Us This Day features the inclusiveness message of a Florida church.

We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, gay, filthy rich, dirt poor, yo no habla Ingles.

But The Divine Wedgie challenges what he calls

the cheap grace of "tolerance" often called for by advocates of particular lifestyles and cultures, which more often than not plaster over differences rather than further the craft of engaging those differences.

He blames postmodernity for making us all want to be the same and intensifying our inability to live with difference, “by shifting the standard of what is ‘normal’ from the level of the group, to the level of the atomised individual”.

The issue of the backlash against businesses taking a stand against gay marriage is the context for Cardinal Roger Mahony’s blog on chicken sandwiches and religious liberty.

If government can "punish" a store owner for his faith beliefs and threaten to close his store because of those beliefs, then we are all in big trouble.

Similarly Ross Douthat of the New York Times points out that the US First Amendment refers to the “free exercise of religion” , not simply “freedom of belief”.

It suggests a recognition that religious faith cannot be reduced to a purely private or individual affair. ... If you want to fine Catholic hospitals for following Catholic teaching, or prevent Jewish parents from circumcising their sons, or ban Chick-fil-A in Boston, then don’t tell religious people that you respect our freedoms. 

It’s possible to read a City of God / City of Man dichotomy into discussion that led to the Catholic Church’s purchase of the .catholic domain space. But the Vatican’s Monsignor Paul Tighe explains to Brandon Vogt that it was more practical than that.

The first reaction within the Church was a kind of concern that maybe it would be better not to open that process to religious terms and names, because there are [troublesome] certain contexts, which you can imagine, such as which community would best buy “.jesus” ... [But] the advice wasn’t taken ... for freedom of speech reasons. ...

We thought again about it ... [and] we became quite enthusiastic about the possibility of being able to have a space in the digital arena where people can go, Catholics and non-Catholics, and be certain that the institutions they find there are authentically Catholic institutions.”

Country Priest has been reading the book The Church and the New Media, and it is inspiring him to set up an iTeam for his parish to manage what needs to be an increasingly sophisticated digital strategy.

One of the authors suggests that every parish should assemble a committee of volunteers, which meets regularly, and is dedicated solely to co-ordinating the parish’s digital communications. A static website just doesn’t cut it anymore.

On the topic of the Sacrament of the Sick, Liturgy Lines argues that it’s quite misleading to refer to it as the “Last Rites”.

At a Mass I attended recently, a lady collapsed towards the end of the service. Fortunately both a doctor and a nurse were nearby and administered first aid until paramedics arrived. At one point somebody said: “We should ask Father to anoint her”. Another bystander stood with arms folded over the prone figure and announced: “Over my dead body! You’ll frighten her!” The sacrament of anointing is a source of healing for the sick rather than the final act of the Church for the dying. The proper sacrament for the dying is not anointing but viaticum, or Communion for the dying.

Sentire Cum Ecclesia refers to the larger than usual number of ordinands for the Archdiocese of Melbourne this year. There is underlying controversy but Sentire appears to sit on the fence for now.

I’ve just received news that eight priests will be Ordained at St Patrick’s Cathedral, East Melbourne on Saturday, 8th September ... It is an interesting decision to ordain the Anglicans along with this years secular clergy for the Melbourne Archdiocese.


Michael Mullins, founding editor of CathNews, compiles this 'Blog Watcher' column every week.

Disclaimer: CathBlog is an extension of CathNews story feedback. It is intended to promote discussion and debate among the subscribers to CathNews and the readers of the website. The opinions expressed in CathBlog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the members of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference or of Church Resources.

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