Saturday, December 13, 2008

Avery Cardinal Dulles (1918-2008)

The Church lost a giant yesterday with the passing of Avery Cardinal Dulles, SJ. Cardinal Dulles was the only American theologian to become a prince of the Church having bypassed the episcopate. he was a convert to Catholicism from a prominent Presbyterian family.

Born in Auburn, New York, on August 24, 1918, to John Foster Dulles and Janet Pomeroy Avery Dulles. His father later became the United States Secretary of State to whom Dulles International Airport is dedicated.

Avery Dulles became a Catholic in 1940 and entered the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in 1946. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1956. After many years as an important influential theologian, he was elevated to the college of cardinals in recognition of his enormous contribution to Catholic theology. This elevation ordinarily comes with ordination as a bishop, but Dulles requested and recieved permission to decline this ordination.

Of his many works, Models of the Church, is one of his best known works. It was one of the first theological works I formally studied. However, he wrote prolifically on many issues.

I was fortunate to hear him speak last year on Divine Impassibility. The lecture, which was one of his very last, was simply brilliant.
I plan to travel to New York for the funeral and will report when I return.
Photo by Domini Sumus

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas Movies Sure Have Changed

Oh my! I am shocked and horrified at the latest Christmas special to air on TV "The Flight Before Christmas".
JP has a great love for all things Santa and has a special fondness for Rudolph so he got very excited when he saw this movie. I looked at the description and saw this: "A young reindeer who's never met his father and suffers from vertigo wants to follow in his hoofprints and become a part of Santa's high-flying team, so he takes lessons from a member of a Finnish family of aeralist squirrels". After reading the innocuous summary and seeing the G rating I felt comfortable watching it with JP.
I have never been so wrong!
  1. The little reindeer, Niko, asks his mother to tell him about how his parents met and learns that he is the result of a Christmas eve reindeer one night stand between his mother and a member of Santa's reindeer team.
  2. Niko then asks his mother if she misses his father and she says that she doesn't miss him and she already has one man in her life (presumably that man is Niko).
  3. The little reindeer longs to meet his father and tries desperately to fly. During one of his improvised flying lessons with Julius, a flying squirrel who serves as his father figure, Niko inadvertantly attracts the attention of a pack of wolves. The wolves follow him home and threaten the herd.
  4. Niko runs away and heads to Santa's fell. At the same time, the wolves are also heading there with a such more sinister intention. They plan on killing the reindeer and Santa. Then the leader plans on taking Santa's place and visiting all the children on Christmas so he can kill and eat them!

Thankfully, JP fell asleep well before the movie grew dark, but this is advertised as a fun Christmas movie for the family, not a violent nightmare in the making which promotes immorality.