Feminist Chimpanzee and Jane Goodall

15 11 2020

I recently watched a documentary on the life of Jane Goodall, the British born woman who studied the life of chimpanzees in the African wild. Though I enjoyed it very much, it seems to me that some of her fame was due more to her stunning looks and aquiline beauty rather than due to the ugly hairy Chimpanzees she was studying. Still , her “Tarzan-like” courage is remarkable, and a nose that could withstand strong unpleasant stench was invaluable to her works. She definitely helped the world get a better glimpse of the private life of those hairy beasts, but even more importantly, her discoveries had remarkable influence on her own private life in ways that even she would not admit.

At the early stage of her expedition, she met and fallen in love with Hugo, a young photographer who was sent by the National geographic to photograph and documents her work. It was a love affair that was– as far as all could see—unavoidable. What better way of falling in love than for two young people to be alone in an African jungle with nothing better to do than ogle each other while watching Chimps?  

In one of the scenes, Jane and her boyfriend watched a female Chimp mating freely with several males, who took turns with her, and off course, afterwards, when she gave birth; all the males abandoned her to raise the child alone.  One could almost say that this female Chimp had as a natural gift, what modern feminist seek or aspire to achieve throughout sexual revolution of the 60: serial sexual partnerships and of course no strings attached. It can be argued that the female chimps had an advanced form of feminism which culminates in large rate of single motherhood among chimps, and lousy fatherhood of males who play very little role in the family and the life of their offspring.

Furthermore, the couple confirmed by their observations that the female chimp with multiple sex partners, if they already had offspring,  was a cause of distress for their adolescent offspring, some of whom would even attack their mother’s lovers trying to break up the ongoing act. Thus if multiple sex partnership similar to modern day serial divorce in human society was terribly upsetting even for beastly offspring, it would be equally  if not more distressing to human offspring just as studies have shown. In a 2010 study, Donahue et al demonstrated that adolescents whose parents were divorced were more likely to experience depression and a range of psychological problems.

In spite of all these discoveries, Jane and Hugo marriage would end in divorce a few odd years later, and Jane will go on and marry someone else, obviously forgetting the odd grief of the adolescent chimps at their mother’s multiple sex partners. One would have expected her to spare her son the grief she had witnessed in the baby chimp. 

However, apart from this singular failure, Jane would successfully emulate virtues of the mother chimp in her life as she raised her son alone in the wild, struggling to replicate the love she witnessed that the mother chimps lavished on their children. But she also got avoid all the mistakes the mother chimps made in raising their infant offspring. For instance, she discovered that sometimes infant male chimps became so attached to their mothers that they couldn’t ever grow up, and when they eventually became adults, they couldn’t survive on their own and would die when their mothers died.

Fears of this propelled Jane to send her son away to a boarding school in London, a way of helping him gain greater independence from her, and perhaps have a  greater contact with his father and others male companies.

Surprisingly, Jane who was a passionate believer in evolution and a feminist, failed to make the connection that the very failures and weaknesses that threatened the extinction of these beasts are what is being proposed today in the modern world as progressivism. If evolution is movement from inferior intelligence to superior rational articulate intelligence, how do we account for the return to the instinctive “multiple sex partners” and the consequent “absent fatherhood” in our post modern world?  Perhaps instead of evolving we are actually devolving.

Prior to the sexual revolutions of 60’s multiple sex partnership, serial divorce, cohabitation and single motherhood— traits that Jane observed on chimp world–were abhorred in most human societies. The sexual revolution returned these straits back to human societies, a devolution back, from man to chimp. Today, only the Catholic church remains firm in her conviction that the sexual revolution is wrong, insisting that marriage is between one man and one woman, for life and maintaining that premarital sex and promiscuity are beneath the dignity of humans and indeed, by doing this, the Church is actually supporting science and evolutionary progress and rejecting the devolutionary agenda of the sexual revolution.





Three teen girls who killed a Nun weep because of her love by Hannah Brockhaus

31 10 2020

catholicnewsagency.com
October 22, 2020
CNA).- The three teenage girls who killed Sr. Maria Laura Mainetti 20 years ago attested afterward that, while they were stabbing the 60-year-old religious sister to death, she told them she forgave them.

“The sister cried out. She said she would not report us. That she forgave us,” Milena De Giambattista, Ambra Gianasso, and Veronica Pietrobelli told police when they confessed to killing the woman as part of a Satanic ritual.

In May, Pope Francis declared Venerable Maria Laura Mainetti a martyr, killed in “hatred of the faith” in Chiavenna, Italy. She will be beatified on June 6, 2021, the 21st anniversary of her murder.

Born in a small town in northern Italy, Mainetti entered the Congregation of the Sisters of the Cross at age 18. In 1984 she moved to the convent in Chiavenna, where she became superior.

Mainetti was known in the small town for her social and charitable commitment to dispossessed youth and poor people. According to a person who knew her, Mainetti had “an unconditional love for the weak. A life that was a real witness of love for Christ.”

“She never said no to anyone: she always opened the door ready to listen,” the person added.

The sister displayed this quality on the seemingly ordinary Tuesday night when the teens drew her out of the convent with a call claiming that a girl was pregnant by rape and needed to speak with her. They brought the sister to an isolated and dark street, near a cliff called “Paradise,” which originated from an ancient soapstone quarry.

According to local legend, a 160-feet tall and nearly 500-foot deep opening in the side of the cliff leads to the “inferno,” and was the work of the devil, who created the fissure to escape to hell while fleeing the Virgin Mary.

The three teens, dressed in black, then stabbed Mainetti 19 times with a kitchen knife and beat her, while shouting abuse. They had, according to Italian media reports, intended to stab her 18 times, six times each, to form by their violence the number 666.

“I deceived her by drawing her into a trap and then I killed her, and while we were doing this she forgave us,” Milena De Giambattista wrote to Sr. Mainetti’s religious community some years after the act.

“I can have of her only a memory of love. And in addition to this, it also allowed me to believe in something that is neither God nor Satan, but which was a simple woman who defeated evil,” Milena wrote.

“Now in her I find comfort and the grace to endure everything. I always pray and I am sure she will help me become a better person.”

Milena’s letter is included in an Italian-language biography of Mainetti written by Sr. Beniamina Mariani in 2005.

Sr. Mainetti was known to the girls, who did not have any prior history of violence or crime. They confessed that they had originally planned to kill the parish priest, but decided that, because he was larger, it would prove too difficult. Investigators said that the girls’ notebooks were filled with Satanic writings and they had made a blood oath some months earlier.

The three served sentences in different juvenile prisons. After their release, between six and seven years later, at least two of them spent time in community recovery centers. According to media reports, the women changed their names, and now have jobs and families.

After her release from prison in 2006, Milena was a guest for several years of the Exodus communities in the area of Verona — residences for the prevention and treatment of drug addiction, founded by Fr. Antonio Mazzi.

Mazzi once said, as recounted by Amedeo Mainetti, the murdered nun’s brother, that Milena “is fully aware of what she did and at the same time repentant and convinced that she can be reborn and recover better and better.”

Speaking to Il Giorno Milano newspaper in June this year, Mazzi said that Milena had been an active participant in the communities, though she never spoke about the murder and they never “fully faced the fact” with her.

The priest also noted that Milena “never declared herself a believer and neither the opposite.”

“She did not want to give testimony for the sister. However, she radically changed her life, and with her actions she clearly showed that she was repentant and that she understood that she had made a great mistake,” he said. “Today she has her own life and her own job.”

In a 2008 interview in the magazine Panorama, Veronica asked the public to forget her.

“Prison, psychologists, and the recovery community have allowed me to become the person I otherwise would never have been,” she said.

“It was decided to kill at age 16 while sitting for six hours over a beer in a small village bar,” she recalled. “Everything we said, thought and did was worthless. What was I terrified of? Of Sr. Maria Laura’s gaze? Of blood? I don’t know, because it was dark and I didn’t look at her face, just as I didn’t look at the blood. At that moment and only then, I was afraid of everything, even of Ambra and Milena.”

In her biography of the slain religious sister, Mariani wrote that when she was among young people, Mainetti felt “at ease and loved to entertain them both in scheduled meetings and in casual ones.”

Someone who knew her said in an interview for the book that “only God can know how much she sacrificed herself for young people! Meetings, talks, school camps, world youth days, catechesis, individual accompaniment.”

The biography reproduced what Mainetti wrote in her journal on the day of her perpetual profession in 1964: “Give me your feelings, Jesus, those of the Beatitudes: the poor who trusts, abandons himself/the child who feels loved by him/the affliction that is participation in that of Christ and is salvation/Mercy, Benevolence, Purity of body and heart, Humility. To serve Christ is to reign: Here I am… The joy of my service every instant in conformity with Your Divine Will.”

From this life, “a spring gushes out, a gush of evangelical life,” Sr. Kitty Hiriat Urruty, the superior of her congregation, wrote at the time of Mainetti’s martyrdom.

“This spring speaks to us of our consecration, of our life offered to the Trinity, of our desire of identification with Jesus Christ, of our choice of the poorest, of the wounded in life. And this leads to the origins of our Congregation,” the sister said.

“She showed that our charism is alive and very current,” she continued. “In this style of love and gift, she gave herself with both hands, without calculation, just like someone who knows that all she has is a gift of love, to be shared and made to bear fruit.”





Amy Corney Barrett is good for America and the World

27 10 2020
Justice Amy Corney Barret. Sworn in as Justice of the Supreme Court at the White house

The recent confirmation and swearing in of Amy Barrett to the US Supreme Court is something very significant and disruptive to the false feminist theory that motherhood and family shackles  women down, preventing them from reaching heights attained by their male counterparts. For far too long, the image of the successful woman has been the movie star, single, or divorced but usually always childless, perhaps having had multiple abortions. This message has been devastating to adolescent girls who really wish to marry and have families as well as reach the peak of their chosen careers. Now they know it is possible. A woman can be the best even with children strapped to her apron.  Amy Corney Barrett has revealed to these young teens an alternative path to the same goal, but this time, family and children can come along. Amy is living proof that nothing holds a woman back except her own fears, yes a woman can have it all and more. Rarely have we seen a beautiful woman with seven beautiful children most of whom are school aged, shatter the highest glass ceiling in the philosophy, science and study of law.

Her judicial philosophy of originalism simply put is the philosophy that proposes to interpret law as it is, not as she would wish it to be. It is speak the truth, it is the progressivism of truthfulness, of striving to decipher what the authors of the law had in mind when they wrote the law,  rather than imposing the her own meaning, which unfortunately is all the vogue in a postmodernist America and indeed the world.  We see it today in mainstream media, journalism, and even the highest citadel of learning, the Universities. In the humanities, subjective postmodernist textual interpretations are now institutionalized. Amy’s originalism seeks to confirm that reality is objective and not subjective. The law is what it is, not whatever she wishes it to be and more importantly she wishes to respect the integrity of the authors of the American constitution who wished to communicate something, Amy pledges to try to hear or understand what they is trying to say is to respect and recognize them as individuals, capable of making statements.

Those who attack her originalism argue that the US constitution is a text written two centuries ago, and many necessary apply to the today’s people. Though this argument, on the surface, seems logical, but its underlying assumptions are that the social and civil ills that beset people two hundred years ago are fundamentally different from today, this is clearly false. Though we are technologically more advanced, the fundamental human problem of justice, equity and fairness are much the same today as they were two hundred years ago, and would likely be remain so till the end of time. Thus laws moderating life in society today should not fundamentally different yesteryears.

Amy Corney Barrett is an originalist because she loves truth and believes that age old maxim that says that the truth will set you free. In addition she is a woman of faith, during the confirmation hearings she caught the world’s attentions when she said that she believes in power of prayer and she knows that many people are praying for her. With this she shared the secret of her strength with the world. Her faith in God! She is a shining example of how the faith should be lived. Some people Christian wait for pies from the skies. Amy works hard, like anybody else; in fact she works better than the best because she is not just working for money, but working for God.  This is how a Christian should work, says Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei, as people who participate in the creative work of God, and since God works are always perfect, so a Christian has to strive for perfection in his work, because it is also something that has to be offered to God. Working like this and living like this, turning work into an occasion to serve God through her neighbors was something that Amy Barrett was very good at. Her work as a university professor brought her in contact with many people who she was able to help in one way or another. As a large hearted Judge, asks herself before passing judgment, what she would do if she was passing the same judgment on her own child. This is how she feels and senses the pains of others.

In summary, it is clear that Amy Corney Barrett’s love for the truth, her in-depth knowledge of law and jurisprudence, her philosophy of originalism, her human and spiritual empathy with others, her strong love and faith in God are overwhelming evidence she is an immense contribution to the Supreme Court of America and that her sterling qualities would have great and positive impact on American lives and indeed the world for years to come.





Francis and Homosexuals: What is the Pope saying?

25 10 2020
Pope Francis

Many are troubled by recent utterances of Pope Francis about homosexuals deserving a family as he call for their freedom and choices to be protected by law. There is no doubt that for many, this may be disconcerting, perhaps even alarming since we all know that this act is explicitly condemned in the  bible and the teaching authority of the Church right from the beginning. Thus, many may be asking, what does it mean and what is the Pope saying here. Well for those looking for answers on what the Pope is saying, they need look no further than his newest encyclical, Fratelli Tutti. In the first few pages, he makes it clear that he is calling all Christians back to the fundamental primacy of charity as the distinguishing mark of the Christian.  In all things, and especially to those most in need, the poor and the wounded of this world, Christians must show charity.

He narrates in Fratelli Tutti, the story of the Good Samaritan who of all the people that came alongside the man dispossessed by robbers was the only one who had it in his heart to help him. The Samaritan realized that this man needs a friend and a family and decided to be one to him. What is a family but people who accept and a company one another in their wounds, take care of one another, spend time with one another.  Time is one of the most challenging things to give to others, the Pope continues, and for sure, the Samaritan must have had other plans that day, and had to give them up, making drastic changes in order to accommodate the wounded man, pour wine and bandages on his wounds, he had to make a u-turn and find an Inn.

The Samaritan became a neighbour to the wounded Judean. By approaching and making himself present, he crossed all cultural and historical barriers. Jesus concludes the parable by saying: “Go and do likewise” (Lk 10:37). In other words, he challenges us to put aside all differences and, in the face of suffering, to draw near to others with no questions asked (pg. 21).

Fratelli Tutti

In Fratelli Tutti Pope Francis carefully draws our attention to those who Jesus said rejected the wounded man, those who on sighting him crossed to the other side. They were religious people! The very people with an obligation to help, to live charity, and they failed miserably in this regard.

It shows that belief in God and the worship of God are not enough to ensure that we are actually living in a way pleasing to God. A believer may be untrue to everything that his faith demands of him, and yet think he is close to God and better than others. The guarantee of an authentic openness to God, on the other hand, is a way of practising the faith that helps open our hearts to our brothers and sisters (pg. 19).

Fratelli Tutti

The Holy Spirit is calling Christians to return to the roots of Christ charity, which came, not for the righteous, but to call sinners to repentance. Christ condemns sin, but never the sinner; ask that we do not judge.

Perhaps in their hearts, those Levites, priests that passed to the other side were judgmental like those disciples who asked Jesus whose sin it was that made blind the man born blind. Jesus gives the answer, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, rather it is so that God’s power may be made manifest” (John 9:2). Those born blind to the true nature of sexuality, can be likened to the man born blind. Many homosexual are so not by their own choosing, and yes each is born with his melancholy basic temperaments, ill temper, and sanguine. But born that way has never means living that way. We all have the obligation to struggle against self defeating urges, and the adulterous, must cease using his passion, and the glutton desist from gluttony.

Consequently, charity demands a moderation of language. Homosexuality is an issue so many people are so passionate about today unlike in the 19th century when homosexuality was relatively hidden and obscure and considered by a wide section of people as wrong and improper. Things are totally different today, and it’s accepted by most advanced societies, and even celebrated in the media, thus charity demands that the sensitivity of so many people be taken into accounts when issuing statements at the risk of antagonizing, and hence closing hearts permanently to the saving word of God. It must be kept in mind that meeting someone midway may be the beginning of leading him out of it as long as you bear the light and know the way. And thanks to the unchanging teaching of Christ and his Church, every Christian bears the light and knows the way.

Those who fear that concessions are slippery slope to changing the church’s teaching on homosexuality often cite the gradual caving of civil laws in different countries in West as evidence of how concession to civil union ends with full endorsement of homosexual acts and even acceptance of homosexual marriage as the equivalent of marriage between man and woman. Those who entertain this fear need to make an important distinction between Church and civil society. The church is a supernatural society whose laws come outside of her and revealed by God and thus no one can change those laws. Civil societies have laws coming from within men prone to change. Thus the Church has nothing to fear in getting as near as she can to the sinner to save them because she is well anchored on solid rock.

By Chinwuba Iyizoba





Molokia: True story of courageous Priest and Queen working in Leper’s colony

23 10 2020
Young Fr. Damien of Molokai

“I see another law in my member warring against the law of my mind, for when I wish to do go, I find that evil lies at hand.” These words of St. Paul are ever relevant in the life of all men no matter where they find themselves to be. Even in the leper’s colony of Molokia, among the lepers, the law of sin still holds sways, and men still hunger for sex amidst the flies and decaying flesh, as Fr. Damien would find out.

The movie Molokai (1999) is a true story of a young priest, Fr. Damien who volunteers to minister to the leper’s colony off the Hawaiian island of Molokai. He gets there to find not only decay and abandonment, but, worse, sex brothels! Men and women with half rotten limbs, soaking themselves in alcohol and sexually cavort with each other even though they are unsure that they would live to see another day. Fr .Damian instantly sets about rebuilding the broken Church and cleaning up to celebrate the Eucharist, and despite, his bishop’s repeated warning not to touch the lepers,  he warmly shakes the hands of a young boy who came to offer himself as his as altar boy.

As soon as he gets the chance, Fr. Damian rushes into the sex brothels and rescue the children among the inmates and starts a small clinic, and with some other healthier women volunteers, begin taken care of the sick and dying, but more important, he reawakens the love of God in the hearts of the inhabitants of the colony, most of whom have fallen into the despair, tormented with enormous doubt of the existence of God. Fr. Damien reminded them that, He, Jesus, who died on the Cross, bears their pain and isolation and suffering, reminded them that they should unite their torments with His, as atonement for the sin of the world. In short order, joy and singing could be heard in the community and people who have long given up all basic instincts of human decency begin to pick themselves up and clean up and sing. Though there was no cure for their illness, Fr. Damien’s love and compassion helped bring the light of God’ love piecing through the darkness and gloom in their hearts.

News of the revival at the camp soon reach the all Hawaii and the Governor and bishop are full of praises for Fr. Damien, yet when he began making demands for better housing, clothes and most important,  Christian nuns to come to the colony, he was met with severe opposition from the greedy Governor who was unwilling to lose his sources income he usually diverted for personal use, to the lepers colonies, and using the pretext of quarantine and  preventing infections, he bans  Fr. Damien from ever leaving the lepers island, such that he could not even come to make his confessions, and his bishop had to hear his  confession at sea.

When news of this incident reached the crown queen of Hawaii, Queen Liliʻuokalani, her heart was rent with sorrow, and in a magnificent display of love, she decides to visit the leper’s colony herself. It was the high point of the movie, a rare and almost unbelievable scene, and like, Theresa of Calcutta, this queen not only came to the leper’s colony, but picked up and hugged and kissed leper children, children with rotten limbs. Having seen for herself the good work that Fr. Damien was doing, she becomes his advocate and with her help and support he begin receiving more support from the governor and even from the ecclesiastical authorities.

Queen Liliʻuokalani of Hawaii

But the devil had more in stock for the young priest as he finds himself the object of intense sexual attention of one a young woman, Malulani who had been helping him with care for the others. One day, unable to control her passion, she bursts into his dormitory  pretending he seemed sad and dejected and she wished to comfort him cuddled up to him, but Fr. Damien, emphatically, ordered her to leave, saying to her, “You wish to destroy my life’s work?”  For a plate of beans, I would add.

How does the devil offer so little in exchange for Eternal life? For the undoing of  happiness of paradise, for which Fr. Damien  worked all his life,  the cleaning, scrubbing, smell and flies, he had endured for years, all that would have gone up in smoke in minutes for a few minutes of canal pleasure with a half dressed young woman. Yet countless men and women would take that deal. They give up the happiness of paradise, in marital fidelity for the passing pleasure of adultery, and extramarital sex. Innumerable priests and nuns abandon the prize of heaven for passion and license. Countless youth, toss unending happiness out the window at the behest of sex. Yet as Dr Peter Kreeft puts it, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot long keep for what he can never lose.” Many of the patients in that colony knew that they had but a short time before the disease consumed them, and that the time they had was a gift, a chance to get well prepared to pass the entrance exams of into life that never ends which for them was sure to come so soon. Yet even this imminence was insufficient and many still chose to hang on to whatever they could get from fleshy pleasures. Thanks to the courage and perseverance, by the time he lay dying of the leprosy he cleaned up in others, of Fr. Damien’s Molokai leper’s colony was blessed with a community of nuns to care for the sick and continue his life works. He died in 1936 and went like St. Paul to receive his rewards in paradise having fought the good fight and kept the faith.

Molokai: The Story of Father Damien

Article by Chinwuba Iyizoba 




You are “Chosen”

22 10 2020

 

Approximately one year ago, I visited the Jerusalem and the holy land for the first time. One of the feelings one experiences during visits to the Holy Land is the desire to see Jesus, to get a behind the scenes, to turn back the hands of the clock and be there. There comes a time when the rocks aren’t enough, you wish to be transported back in time, to smell Mary’s cooking and watch Jesus  and laugh and play, and sorrowful, you wish to help him with the cross on Calvary. Sadly is only the imagination left to fill in the gaps of centuries, and recreate the scenes and atmosphere and only very few and very gifted people are able to use their imagination so prodigiously, as for the rest of us, any means, or anyone who can assistance us see what happened there many centuries ago is more than welcome. It is craved. Thus you can imagine my joy when I came across the film, Chosen, directed by a young man named Dallas Jenkins recreating the life of Jesus so that the less imaginatively endowed can get close up view of the greatest story ever told.

Chosen

Jenkins must have inherited his father’s knack for telling stories, and I must add, for using stories to try to spread the word of God. Jenkins’ father was a Christian novelist whose bestselling novel, Left behind, sold over 60 million copies and has been adapted to serial television programs. Both father and son, teamed up to start a movie company and intent on producing family friendly Christian movies, they launched several attempt that has been successful such as “What if” a 2010 international bestseller staring Kristy Swanson, a film about a business man whose guardian Angel appeared to him to show him what he would have become if he followed the will of God for his life, a story that is so relevant to all.

Nevertheless, Chosen would appear to be the most successful of Jenkins endeavors and the one that will endear him to the hearts of millions of Christians he would have helped to get to know God and Jesus Christ even if it is only one inch better. The project started as a short film clip called The Sheppard which Jenkins made to help his church members visualize the birth of Jesus from the perspective of the Sheppard. He shot the entire movie clip at a friend’s farm, but the clip was so go that it caught the attention of VidAngel, an online streaming service looking for original content, who encouraged Jenkins to post it up on Facebook to see if people would be interested. The clip received 15million views around the world and gave birth to a multi season series  about the life of Jesus called Chosen, and it is said to be the to be the highest  crowd funded movie of all time.

“I’m trying to justify the faith of those who invested in this project and I’m also trying to, of course, please my Savior, and make sure that we’re doing this project for Him,” Jenkins said.

It’s sad that Christians has been edged out of the competition in the movies to the disastrous consequences and missed opportunities of bringing life savings and healing doctrines too the lost and often deceived people whose only means of knowing the most important truth of gospel comes from what they glean from poor scripts and bad acting in most Christian movie, or from the ideologically manipulated and religiously hostile Hollywood blockbusters. Jenkins has shown a good example of how to use motion pictures to bring the gospel to the hearts and minds of many.

It is the same zeal that burned in the heart of Monsignor Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei, when he wrote in 1959, “I found my love for God enkindled by considering Jesus’ zeal to set the world ablaze with his fire. I couldn’t contain the irrepressible ardour that welled up within me, making me cry out with the very words of the Master: I’ve come to set fire to the earth and what will I but that it be enkindled?… Here I am, for you have called me! He encouraged good people, Christians to get involved in the movie industries.  Recalling the first time Escriva saw a color television in 1972, those who were with him wrote this account:

“At Civenna, just over four kilometers from the Swiss border, and less as the crow flies, they could get Swiss television channels. Their house had a color television set, and the first time they turned it on Monsignor Escrivá was as surprised as everyone else. “Isn’t it good?” he exclaimed. “I had no idea the image would be so clear and the color so natural. The color’s so attractive that you’re captivated no matter what program is on.”

After the television set had been turned off, he reflected aloud, “All this progress, great and small, has to bring us to give great glory to God. All noble human work, done well and used properly, is a fabulous instrument for serving society and sanctifying ourselves. I suppose the same thing happened to you as to me a moment ago when we were watching television: it was easy to raise one’s heart to God, thanking him for the technical perfection of the image and the color. And then there’s an idea which is always going around my head. I thought of the good and the evil which can be done with television and with all the media. Good? Yes, because it’s a wonderful vehicle for reaching out to so many people, capturing their attention in such an attractive way. Bad? It’s that too, because images and words can be used to spread bad doctrine and false morals. And people swallow these errors and falsehoods without realizing it, they welcome it like pure gold. That’s why I insist so much that the apostolate through the media will always be very important. And Catholics who have a professional vocation to the media, journalists, people working in the press, radio, and television, have to be present and active: to be absent would be a shameful act of desertion.”

Thus, any Christian who is not eager to share Christ with others, to make his humanity known and loved, using whatever talents, few or many, is not doing well, in fact he is lukewarm. Jenkins striving to use his talents as a movie maker to make Jesus better known is commendable. Jenkins urged on by the burning desire to tell Jesus story the way it should be told, with the pump, brilliance and genius of great masters of the big studios has come up with the brilliant master piece Chosen and on behalf of many millions of Christians the world over, I would like to say a very big thanks to Jenkins for making this effort, for not giving up and for helping us see even if minutely a little more background story of Jesus life. His adaptation are brilliant, his ability to help us visualize the real environment most of us are only able to conjure and some with great difficulty is inestimable.

By Chinwuba Iyizoba

Dallas Jenkins

by Chinwuba Iyizoba




Why Amy Barrett Matters

20 10 2020
amy-coney-barrett-1

Just this week, Stevie, a female member of a British rock band called, Fleetwood Mac,   told the world that, thanks to her abortion, she was able to make a success out of her musical career, “If I had not had that abortion, I’m pretty sure there would have been no Fleetwood Mac”. Incidentally, this same week, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, a beautiful woman of 48, is set to be confirmed as the ninth Justice of US Supreme Court, having climbed to the highest peak of a career in the legal profession that few women can dream of, while being a wife and a mother of 7 teenage children, which includes two adopted children from Haiti and one child with down syndrome. As the world stands in awe of this great woman, perhaps it is a time to take a few moments to reflect on this two very different world views.

The first world view, the world view of Ms Stevie, propagated by the ideologues of a postmodern world, is the world view  that motherhood, family and children are oppressive forces, holding women back from real progress, and ensure that they never actualize their potencies. They sell this notion by celebrating the likes of Ms Stevie, flooding the front cover of their media tabloids with selfies she took in her underwears with Hollywood super star status pinned to her backside like a medal of honor, a media anointed queen of impressionable young girls.

Yet, the same devious ideologues are bending over backwards to gloss over or at best pay only grudging acknowledgment to a better and a more shining world view, that of Amy Coney Barrett, an intelligent, articulate and astonishingly brilliant woman who had faced the odds like other millions of hard working women all over the world, hard at work, while raising children, (future citizens of the world), and yet emerged brilliantly at the very top of their profession. Thus, the false narrative pushed by those who control the media has been deeply debunked by the tremendous success of Amy Barrett. She hurts their narrative, and the narrative of the abortion industry that claims that the only way a modern woman can stride to the top is if she has unrestricted access to abortion. Barrett confirmation ensures that women are deceived no longer.  Women do not necessarily have to choose their careers over family, love of children. It is actually the other way round for it can be argued that Justice Barrett may not have been where she is today but for her family.

True, her record breaking achievement is not a recent thing, having been practically a pace setter all her life. She graduated in English and literature with great honors and went on to study law at Notre Dame, graduating top of her class, a keen intellect, a scholar with formidable capacity, nevertheless evidence shows that having children only makes a sharp intellect keener. This second world view has been confirmed to be a better fulfilling world view, one that leads to even more enduring success by the testimony of so many women who have gone on to achieve surpassing greatness precisely because of their love for family and children. Singer and superstar Adele said that she overcome discouragement and the urge to give up singing when she had her child because she wanted her child to know “what his mother does”. Serena William won top world tennis championship after having a baby.

 At 48, Amy has shattered the entire glass ceiling in the legal and academic citadels and poised to become member of the US Supreme Court all the while juggling children, a husband and a child with special needs, in dramatic refutation of postmodernist feminist claims that family and children are obstacle to a woman’s dream. It would be inexcusable for anyone to believe these falsehoods from now on.

Furthermore, Amy’s nomination has put her in the spot light, bringing to lime light all good she has been doing secretly. She and her husband could have closed themselves up from the troubles of the world, enjoying their sheltered, blessed life of high success all by themselves. Yet they reached out to lend a hand to the less privileged, to the poor and made the decision to adopt two children from one of the most destitute countries in the world, Haiti. They lifted out those children, a boy and a girl, and brought them out of misery and into their own home, into their own lives, thus giving hope and a future to those who could not have dreamed off it.

The Barretts demonstrate that Christianity is not a theory to be espoused and not practiced, but a real dynamics that demands a radical commitment in those who choose to be called by that name. As Pope Francis says in his latest encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, “The “gospel” of save yourself is not the Gospel of salvation. It is the falsest of the apocryphal gospels, making others carry the cross. Whereas the true Gospel bids us take up the cross of others.” This action of the Barretts restores faith in humanity. Further evidence of Amy’s goodness came from a blind student who testified at the hearing saying that Amy Coney Barrett is the kindest and most generous professor she had ever had at the university and went on to narrate her story of arriving at Notre Dame as a blind student only to find out that the school did not have facilities for the blind, the type of laptop /brail she needed and finally finding herself flunking her grades went to Amy Barrett for help. After she had finished speaking, Amy told her, “Laura, this is no longer your problem it is my problem now,” and went on to solve all her problems.   

Finally, according to three presently serving female Governors in the US, Kay Ivey, Kristi Noem, & Kim Reynolds, “Should Judge Barrett be confirmed, “it will be a win-win for every female—young and old alike during the past 100 years—who has dreamed of seeing women advance to the top positions of our government.”

by Chinwuba Iyizoba





I love the movie “Fatima”

7 10 2020
Fatima

I must admit that I have always been fascinated by the story of the 1917 apparition of Mary at Fatima, Portugal to the three little Sheppard children, Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco in the forest and I was excited that a film about the entire episode was released in August 2020.  Though, a bit apprehensive about religious films, especially those that involve Angels and apparitions because somehow, Hollywood directors never seem to get the supernatural aura right,    I finally get to watch the movie and I think it was a great movie. The children were perfect, though I think the woman that played the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary seemed to have a bit too much powder on her face. I guess when you have spent an entire life imagining how Mary looks like; no screen image ever gets close. How wonderful it is to see our Lady. I guess I will have to wait till heaven to find out.

In any case, the movie Fatima tells the story from the point of view of Sister Lucia; one of the surviving children who saw our lady and who later became a nun, as she was interviewed by a journalist (an Atheist)

I liked the banter between Lucia and the Journalist, during the interview. At one point the journalist asked her, “Do you have any regrets?”

Sister Lucia paused for a brief moment before replying, “Does it seem that the world has heeded the words of our Lady?  My only regret is not doing enough to spread her message.”

And that message is to say the Rosary, daily for the conversion of sinners. Such a simple request but so important. According to Fr. Don Collaway, the rosary is so important, that Jesus sent his own mother to Earth to remind us earthlings to say the rosary, and yet many Christians are ever so forgetful of such a powerful weapon.

The rosary has been a bone of contention between Protestants and Catholics. Protestant claim that the rosary is not scriptural yet every single prayer of the rosary can be found in the bible. The Hail Mary is the greeting of the Angel Gabriel to Mary when he came to announce to her that she will be the mother of Jesus. Since the Angels are God’s messengers, then, it truth it is God who addressed Mary. Again, many find the repetitious nature of the prayer irksome, but the truth is that the recommended way to say the rosary is to meditate on the mysteries of the rosary which cover the entire life of Jesus from his birth to his death on the cross. Thus a Christian who says the rosary well each day would be meditating on the life of Christ each day, what better way to grow in love of God.

 Nevertheless, this is not the forum to delve into all the polemic. If you wish to know more about the rosary, you can watch the video below where Fr. Don Collaway speaks about the Rosary as the sword of Christians.  

Fr Don Calloway Rosary, sword of Christians

 I would say that watching the movie Fatima is the closest thing to being there at Fatima when all it happened, although the crowd at the apparitions sites (in the movie) where a bit too rowdy and perhaps not too prayerful (I wish the director had added more prayerful moments) but then, this was a country at the grip of communist at that time and.

There was another scene I found a bit disconcerting. When it was time for the second apparition, Lucia’s mother tried to stop her from going to the apparition site, but Lucia resisted her mother, snatching her hands away and retorting, “I have to go, Mama, because the lady told us to come.”

I thought God would not permit a child to disobey her mother, but then after due considerations, I think she (Lucia) did the right thing. Obedience to God supersedes obedience to parents and that’s what many parents perhaps nowadays fail to grasp. Children are a gift from God, and a parent is nothing but a God’s care taker for a while for the souls of children entrusted to them by God. Hence a parent’s authority ends where God begins. Parent must not stand between their children and God, but rather stand beside and support them. It’s always unfortunate when a parent is opposing God’s call. True, they have the duty to ensure that at least, the call is authentic, but once that is done, they must leave them free to follow their vocation, but even more, they should actively support them. This is common all over the world. In Africa, though Africans have lots of children parents sometimes oppose their children’s vocation simply out of self preservation, because children are a sort of pension scheme for parents due to lack of social security, a child’s vocation, especially when it limits their ability to contribute to parents upkeep can be a real problem. Nevertheless, at the bottom of such opposition lies a lack of faith in God. In Western countries, it is a bit different; parents resist their children vocation by not having children or limiting the number of children by birth control, again out of selfishness or misguided   attempt to save the world from over population. In any case I love the movie Fatima and I encourage you to watch it.

by Chinwuba Iyizoba




“Cuties” is generating a lot of fury

3 10 2020
Cuties is generating a lot of fury

Netflix movie “Cuties” is generating a lot of fury and rightly so.  Every sane person would agree that there is something disturbing about watching a movie where minors are dancing seductively and sexually suggestively. It makes one feel uncomfortable. Even the name “Cutie” is resoundingly deceptive and is a reflection of the dishonestly misappropriated language that has a clear meaning and attributing to something else. The word “Cute” according to the dictionary is defined as something attractive or pleasing in a youthful, dainty, quaint or fun-spirited way.  This is not what sexually suggestive twerks by 10 yr old girls is, and people who think otherwise may rightly be suspected of harboring deviant desire. The rest of the normal people these dances less than cute, at best disturbing, or outright offensive and since it involves minors, criminal.

Why would a minor dance in a sexually provocative way? Is it to attract a mate? Minors aren’t legally permitted to mate, nor marry nor give birth. Why then would a minor be directed in a movie to perform sexual seductive acts? Is it to attract men?  Its crime for a man to be sexual involved with a minor. People who denounce this movie for preparing the ground for criminal acts are on track.

Perhaps, Netflix, together with those who produced the movie are aware of the hypocrisy that led to the success of playboy magazine back in the 50’s. When Hugh Hefner launched playboy in 1953, there was certainly a loud public outcry, and people lashed out against playboy and many families avoided going to a cinema advertising pornography, yet astonishingly, even as protests were on going, private purchase of pornographic VCR tapes was skyrocketing, and thus Hefner who was making big bucks couldn’t care less about public protest. He saw the protest for what it was worth, worthless hypocrisy.

Perhaps, Netflix, like Hefner, is determined to ride out the storm, stay the course and in the end make a lot of money. By being innovators of child pornography, they are rest assured that there will be plenty of bucks at the end of the tunnel. It may even be that Cuties is even at this moment experiencing a windfall in spite of the pretense at protest. Thus, those of us who wish to resist the Cuties “new normal” must guard against curiosity, and hypocrisy and stop privately funding Cuties by watching it in private or else we would be hypocritically cooperating in the triumph of sexual objectification of minors and would be no different from pedophiles for whom Netflix made this movie .

Furthermore, this is not an isolated incident. There are far worse content that we should all stand up against. The Internet is brimming with pornography websites, chief of which is Porn hub, a publicly listed company in USA, with more than 40 billion visitors yearly, where anyone can upload pornographic content no matter how deviant.  Research confirms that many of the content in these sites involve minors, kidnapped or trafficked women and children. Society cannot afford to turn a blind to these extremely hard core sites while fretting over Cuties because again, that would be hypocrisy. It is sad that studies has it that pornography addiction is very high among Christians who attend Church regularly, people who should be at the vanguard of the fight against pornography. Little wonder then that pornographer are getting richer by the hour. We all need to join hand together to fight this or else Netflix’s persistence will eventually lead to the normalization of film like Cuties.

by Chinwuba Iyizoba





What a woman can do: Nigerian woman fabricates motorcycles parts

1 10 2020

It is hard to find good things to write about Nigeria that is why I never let an opportunity pass if one ever presents itself. Scrolling through twitter this morning, I came across a clip from Reuters about Ukamaka Okoye, a Nigerian woman who fabricates parts for motorcycles using smelted aluminum vehicle parts from the scrap yard.

According to her, she used to work as someone’s secretary in computer firm, but one day, an opportunity came for training as an auto part fabricator at Nnewi and she volunteered to attend and instantly fell in love with auto fabrication technique. Wasting no time, she set up a small factory run entirely by hand and together with her husband they began manufacturing and today they have employed some more women to help them churn out about 1000 motorcycle clutch pads and disks a day.

Her office is no air-conditioned rose smelling upscale flat, but a rented shack, hot and smoky, with blasting furnace adding to the sweltering heat of the sun blazing down her back as she works, yet she is working and working very hard, bearing witness to the truth contained the time worn refrain that when the going gets tough only the tough gets going.

In a time when countless young people are falling into hopeless despondency, Ukamaka Okoye shines the light of hope, and providing an example that if you are ready to work hard, there is no obstacle you cannot overcome and nobody has any reason to give up hope or worse fall into the temptation of engaging in crime like many young people are doing. Here is the spirit of initiative and industriousness that Nigeria and indeed the rest of Africa need to lift her from the putrid gutters of poverty.

Ukamaka and her husband have triumphed over lack of electricity Power, pipe borne water and every possible amenity that any one can imagine, and built a manufacturing firm, creating wealth and contributing their fair share in developing their country. I hope that this exposure and recognition she received from Reuters and the rest of the world would encourage investor to come forward and give her help to expand her business into a modern industry, as I know would be the case where she living in any other country other than Africa.

Yes, what a man can do, a woman can do even better. Ukamaka is a good model to many indigent young girls often tempted into prostitution and selling their bodies to survive. Ukamaka story shows that there is another way, a better way. Honest and dignified work is always available to those willing to find them, and who courageously embark on their dreams no matter the odds. Lastly the Nigerian government would do well to recognize and support Ukamaka, and more importantly study her method of enterprise so that they can guide the teaming mass unemployed young people roaming streets without direction, to emulate Ukamaka’s enterprise in other to carve a better future for themselves and the Nation.

Ukamaka Okoye and her female workers

https://reut.rs/36lZaHU

 

by Chinwuba Iyizoba





The face of America: Why Gosnell is the honest face of pro- choice

13 09 2020

There’s an African proverb that says that if you want to eat a toad, you should look for a fat and juicy one, so that if anyone calls you a toad eater you would answer to who you are.
Recently, I summoned up the courage to watch the 2018 Gosnell movie, the trial of American biggest serial killer, which is simply the story of physician who runs a filthy hospital in Philadelphia, filled with aborted body parts, who was arrested in 2011. Fainthearted, I opened all the windows, and sat trembling before the movie started, unsure of what I was about to witness. In the end I was glad I watched it, the movie was cleverly done, without traces of gore and more importantly, it answered the question I have been waiting to ask:
“What is the difference between Gosnell and the others abortion providers? The simple answer is none. Rather, he is more honest, because he embodies the American dream of effective and efficient service delivery. In 1972, he had experimented with inserting electric powered spinning knife blender into women’s womb and crushing babies like pawpaw juice, but it didn’t work and some many women died.
But America wants abortion and that is what Kermit Gosnell is all about. He is ready to deliver, fast and cheap, and good businesses, to compete, cut cost. Kermit Gosnell is a good business man, who knows that it is faster and safer to induce delivery and then kill the child rather than go inside a woman’s womb to kill a child. That’s the efficient way, the American way. Like he said those who made these laws are rambling idiot “I have no respect for any of them” and rightly so.
Gosnell lawyers put it more succinctly to the neatly dressed woman ( perhaps from Planned Parenthood) who testified during the trial that she has done more than 30000 abortions but never had to snipped the spine of “a born alive child” with a scissors.
“What would you do if you have a born alive?” The lawyer asked.
“We never have any,” the woman replied.
“That’s because you inject potassium chloride in to the womb to kill the baby, but hypothetically, what would you do if you have a “born alive?”
“We would make sure it is comfortable and allow it to die.”
“Wouldn’t it be more merciful to just snip its spine.” The lawyer asked the hypocritical jury. There was silence.


However, there are plenty of lessons in this movie for women who ask for abortion. The moment they take that decision they should not blame Kermit Gosnell for what happens next. It’s their call, their choice, their body. Similarly, the state of Philadelphia is saying to them, “Though it is your right to get rid of your baby, nevertheless, once you seek out people like Gosnell and place yourself in their hands, accept the consequences, don’t expect the state to interfere, inspect, or inquire.
America is likewise saying to them, “You want abortion; you get it, with all that comes with it. Don’t expect the press to report what happened, they aren’t going to do that because you won, women have won the right to do as they please with their bodies and we will let them.”
And why shouldn’t Gosnell’s clinic or any other abortion clinic for that matter, smell? Are killing fields expected to smell like roses? During the French Revolution, it was said that the fetid odor from the guillotine could be perceived from miles away. Likewise the grisly death camps of Auschwitz II-Birkenau did not smell of jasmine. What’s more, the child whose life is snuffed out garners no advantage even if the place was as exquisite as Buckingham palace.
Perhaps, the filthy smell and grime should have flagged the unfortunate women of the fowl thing they had embarked on. The filth should have brought them to their senses, to run away and put their trust in God who can unlock possibilities. Every abortion is a fitly act.
I would argue that Gosnell is the most honest face of American pro- choice or more accurately, pro-death movement. The filth and smell they decry are tangible manifestation of the final consequences of pro-death. Gosnell’s calloused indifference and self confidence mirrors the swaggering pro-choice America, champion of freedom, yet killers innocents. It’s the face of a legal system that protects dogs but permits egregious violence on the unborn. Gosnell calls out many Americans who, like ostrich, bury their heads in the sand rather than face what they know in conscience is evil and wrong.

In truth, the real hero of the movie is the relentless blogger who without pay and against the denigrating attitude of smug lawyers and police officers, managed to bring the trail to the world, thwarting the mainstream mafia code of silence. She deserves credit and she demonstrates that truth can no longer be gagged by money and politics. She stands as model of how social media could be used for good as opposed to frivolity or worse, evil.

by Chinwuba Iyizoba





A life worth living: Denzel and Pauletta Washington’s 40 yrs Marriage

6 09 2020
(L-R) Denzel, Pauleta, Jnr, Katie

When Socrates says that the unexamined life is not worth living, he means that only when we strive to acquire self-knowledge would our life be meaningful. This truth was evident to all gathered last year at the American film institute (AFI) Life Achievement Award to Denzel Washington. Delivering the opening speech to a packed hall full of stars and superstars,  Julia Roberts thanked Denzel for mentoring and helping her put her life back together when she was going through a rough patch during the shooting of the movie Pelican brief in 1992. She said that his warm human qualities drew her to open her troubles to him, and Denzel and his wife took her problems to heart and helped her through it. Undoubtedly, this is an amazing story in Hollywood, an industry famous for men taking advantage of vulnerable women. A black man going out of his way to help a white woman, but not just that, he introduces her to his wife.

Julia Roberts

There is valuable lesson here for married men: If you wish to help other women, do so with your wife. That way your help will be more effective and what’s more, you will not run the unnecessary risk of endangering your marriage by getting emotional entangled with a woman who is not your wife and whom your wife know nothing about. The devil that drives men to adultery thrives in secrecy. When fail to introduce their wives to the women they work with, leave the door open to possible infidelity.

Again,  in Hollywood  where serial divorce, adultery and infidelity are the norm, there is no doubt that a good role model like Denzel Washington who have risen to the very top of that industry and yet kept his sense of duty, family and honor intact is in high demand.

Interestingly, when Denzel finally mounted in the midst of thundering applause, he began by thanking God and asking God’s forgiveness for what he had done badly.

Denzel delivering his thank you address

“I m up here to say thank you to God,  for giving me this ability, for blessing me, for shaping me, for chastising me, for teaching me, for punishing me, for allowing me to be a vessel to touch people around the world.”

 Few actors can boast of the kind of success that Denzel Washington has had in Hollywood: two times Oscar winner, starred in at least 53 movies–most blockbusters, in a career that spanned 40 years, yet even fewer actors can boast of his capacity for self-examination. While success often spurs disdain for religion, Denzel’s success, on the other hand, makes him more humble in acknowledging God and his instrument for sustaining, nurturing, and supporting him.

In his speech, he appreciated his mother at 95, and declared that his father taught him how to be a man. Turning to his wife of 40 years, he proclaimed, “I would not be alive, without Pauletta Washington. 40 years of sacrifice, 40 years of forgiveness, she taught me about faith, spirituality, love, real love, unwavering love, inspite of myself.”

Older than Denzel when they got married, Pauletta has played the balancing force in his life helping to anchor him from the illusory world of make belief to the nitty-gritty of reality. Mother of his children, she surely must have fought many fearful battles with jealousy whenever it rears its ugly head as beautiful dashing damsels  flock towards her handsome husband ready to give him anything if he so much as smile at them. However, she did not let fear override the trusting confidence that every spouse deserves. Her devotion to the home, made him long to return home, to her and his children. Today, she is blessed to hear him acknowledge it before the rich and powerful and attest to the truth that the power of a woman is not solely in her external beauty, but the internal as well.

Unfortunately, many people claim that happy marriage is all about the money and that having made money, Denzel and Pauletta no longer need struggle to love each other. This is not true. A cursory look at the dismal marital landscape of Hollywood full of battered, violent, and ruptured marriages, with all the abuses, infidelities, and misery is sufficient to refute this argument.

Denzel and Pauletta have confirmed that marital fidelity is possible regardless of the environment. Their example is a challenge to those who have already caved in to licentiousness to pick up the pieces and begin again, and an encouragement to the young. It also demonstrates that the prevalence of toxic culture opposed to life, values and spirit, is largely due to individual choices.

Denzel then played a video where Pauletta’s father said:

“We were put her for a reason. God created man and God intends for us to love all mankind and by being in a loving mood, caring for one another, that is our purpose for life. We should care for one another, and we should love one another.”

His words echoed the words of Jesus Christ, “Love one another by this all men will know that you are my disciples,” reminding all that all lives matter. Love does not discriminate. Jesus said to love our enemies and do good to them who hate us and thus we will be like our father in heaven. The hate we see today is the proof that we have ditched the Christian faith and that witness is lacking.

 “In this twitter-tweet mean world we have created for our children,” Denzel continued, “the least we can do is to consider what we have done, and think about the young people, the future and individually, collectively do the best we can to try and turn this thing around.”

 Perhaps to the surprise of many of his colleagues whom have been blaming President Trump for all the evil in the world, Denzel said, “I blame no one, I look in the mirror.”

“On the other side of it,” he continued, “what an opportunity we have–because tomorrow is the first day of the rest of our lives– what an opportunity we have to practice what Pauletta’s father preached.”  

 In the end, Denzel qualities as an actor, for which he was being honored, is the quality expected of all, but more especially from Christians. The Christian faith calls all Christians to do all things well as Christ did. St. Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei, has preached message of sanctification of work since 1928 that Christian holiness depends on work well done, for God.

Finally, Denzel has borne witness that a well-done work leads us towards God, and that work sanctifies, and sanctifies others. Millions the world over watched as Julia Roberts narrated how working   with Denzel and seeing how much he loves his wife made a deep impression on her.  Julia, who herself is a remarried divorcee, knows more than anyone does the challenges of marriage. She has now been married for 17 years with her present husband perhaps due to her emulating the life of Denzel, a life worth living.

By Chinwuba Iyizoba

Editor of Authors-choice





Do you know what it means to forgive? What the movie “A beautiful life in the Neighborhood” teaches us about forgiveness

31 08 2020
Susan Kelechi Watson(Lloyd’s wife), Tom Hanks(Roger), Marielle Heller(Director), Matthew Rhys(Lloyd) and Chris Cooper(Dad) attend the Photo Call for “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” at Four Seasons Hotel in New York City.

To err is human; to forgive is divine is perhaps the central message of the movie, A beautiful day in the Neighborhood, based on a true-life story of a famous TV icon, Fred Rogers, who inspired and comforted many people with his marvelous stories in his acclaimed children’s TV series which ran from 1968 till 2002 . In the opening lines of the movie, Mr. Rogers (Hanks) asks, “Do you know what it means to forgive? It is a conscious decision we make to release someone from the feeling of anger we have against them,” and he goes on to narrate the story of his encounter with a troubled journalist, Lloyd Vogel who was having a hard time forgiving his father who had abandoned his mother for another woman while she was dying of cancer. One night, at a party, Lloyd anger boils over and he punched his dad in the face and things turned ugly. Luckily, Lloyd meets Rogers when his editor sent him to Rogers’s studio to interview him for an article.

As he enters, Rogers walks off the stage, camera rolling and all, and greets him, introducing him to the rest of the crew. After the shooting, they sit down and talk and Lloyd discovers that Rogers had a great love for people, and the genuine concern he saw in Rogers eyes when he told him about his fights with his father profoundly affects him and perhaps for the first time, Lloyd gets insight into Rogers’s pleasant personality.

 When he asks Rogers if he had burdens and how he deals with them. Rogers admitted that like every one, he too has burdens but that he tries deal with them without taking it out on others. For instance, if he was having a bad day,  he would swim as hard as he can, or even bang out a single note on the piano keys, but more important he had learnt to accept people they way they are.

Rogers made Lloyd understand that these virtues were what made him attractive to many people because his message uplifts them and they felt understood and loved, and therefore many open their hearts to him.

“He is the nicest man I have ever met,” Lloyd announced to his wife, Andrea when he returned home.

When Lloyd met Rogers’s wife, he could not but blurt out the question that was topmost in his mind. “How does it feel to share the same house as a living saint,” he asked her. To which she replied with a sincere smile, “Roger is not perfect, he has his flaws, but he is always striving to overcome them.”  “Furthermore,” Roger wife adds, “he prays for people he meets by name every day.”

Her answer is similar to what saint Josemaria, the founder of Opus Dei, used to repeat so often, that a saint is not a person who has no defect but one who continually struggles to overcome them with the grace of God and by forgetting himself and concerning himself with the problems of other people.

Rogers’s affection finally helps Lloyd deal with his anger and make up with his father after a final row in his apartment precipitated his father’s heart attack and his father was rushed to the hospital. This marked the turning point for Lloyd who healed by Rogers’s words and examples returned repentant and apologized to his wife and firmly determined to patched things with his dad who was dying..

In the end the healing process was completed when dad and son shared a glass of sherry, his dad assured him that he had always loved him. “I love you too dad” he replied bringing tears to the old man’s eyes. This reconciliation reunites the entire family, and Lloyd sister comes in to share the moment. Lloyd’s dad died a few days later after meeting Rogers who helped him overcome death fears by asking for his prayers. Lloyd became a more caring person, even to his wife, offering to stay home and take care of baby so his wife could get back to work.

A beautiful day in the Neighborhood was a successful movie that made a stunning $42.8 million at the box office profit  and Times Magazines voted it the best film of 2019; in contrast, the sex themed Hologram for the King (2016), made a $23.2 million loss.

With its good humor, family, and children friendly entertainment, this movie proves to be timely in an industry fast normalizing hard core on-screen sex and foul language.  I hope that its success sends right message to Hollywood producers and encourage them to produce more movies like it, and thus contribute in making a better world.








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