Posts Tagged ‘death’

Earlier this evening, Bishop David Foley, Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Birmingham (Third bishop of the diocese, as well as former auxiliary of Richmond), passed away after final bout of cancer. He was 88, tiny (under five feet tall) but astonishingly energetic up until the end. Last weekend, parishes in the diocese published this handwritten letter from him in their bulletins.

Bishop Foley

Bishop Foley remained very active in the diocese after his retirement. He said Mass everywhere, whenever needed, including in the Extraordinary Form. I last heard him preach perhaps a year ago or so, and his preaching was focused, on point and deeply well-prepared. One of the most striking elements of the way he celebrated Mass was perhaps related to his celebration of the Extraordinary Form – he prayed the Consecration almost sotto voce.  This might surprise some of you whose knowledge of Bishop Foley derives primarily from his interactions with EWTN leadership – including Mother Angelica – back in the day. But there it was.

One more note: My 17-year old works at a local grocery store, and just last fall, Bishop Foley came in. He recognized my son – we are assuming because my son has served at Casa Maria Convent and Retreat Center, where the Bishop would sometimes celebrate Mass – but their paths did not cross that often – perhaps two or three times over the course of three years – but Bishop Foley recognized him – if not by name, but definitely by sight – and chatted with him.

Requiescat in Pace. 

Bishop Foley’s obituary.


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Many, many years ago, I found this image on the webpage of a small pro-life group that no longer exists, I guess. It’s still one of my favorites. It says it all, and 44 years after Roe is still pertinent.

Pertinent not just for our thinking and behavior toward the defenseless unborn, but also for our stance toward anyone who is dependent on us,  anyone whom we are called to love, for whom we are challenged to sacrifice.

Not the enemy. 


(Feel free to use the image.)


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We’ve arrived at the point in our household at which if no older siblings are available, I let the boys (who are ages almost 10 and 13) go to the movies by themselves.   It will not surprise you to know that I obsessively research a movie before they’re allowed to see it, so I feel very comfortable about it.  I’m around during the showing, just down the mall row at Barnes and Noble, and I get back to the theater well before the movie ends. This doesn’t happen very often since most movies are awful, but rarely, it does.

That’s a preamble to telling you about last night.  They’ve been wanting to see Guardians of the Galaxy, and considering the raves I’ve been reading, I wasn’t against it.  It was quite rainy here last night, so it seemed like a good time to take in a flick.  I was going to let them go by themselves, but do you know what?  Something nagged inside, telling me…not this time.   It’s not that I wanted to go.   I have no truck with comic book/superhero movies – they bore the heck out of me, no matter how psychologically deep they attempt to be.  In fact, the more attempted psychological depth, the duller it is.   But, you know, popcorn.  And that nagging sense.

And boy am I glad I did.  First of all, I’m glad I can, you know, enter knowledgeably into this cultural conversation.  Secondly, I would hate to have had my boys sit through the opening scene of this movie without me.

Because do you know how the adventurous hijinks begin?  Cold open – no credits, just a date (1988):  With a kid watching his mother die.

Okay, so it’s essential to the arc.  No problem.  That’s real.  But I was just…surprised.  And glad I listened to the voice that gently insisted I be there with the boys. And if you are taking younger children, you might what to know that.  The movie starts with a young boy watching his mother die and shrinking back from her outreached hand.

But. There are other problems with this movie that hardly anyone is mentioning.  There’s a surprising amount of vulgarity.  Several “sh**” – includiIng one at a climactic – what I would call “quotable” moment.  I don’t mind it so much, in small doses, in offhand ways, but at moments like this, when a character is making a big speech and the vulgarity is part of what might be a catch phrase..not so much.

There’s an extended riff on to what extent someone is a “dick.”  Really.  At one point, a character goes, “What the …” and you know the rest – how his teeth reach out to the lower lip for the beginning of the “f” sound.  I really have to wonder…what kind of idiots who are also adults sit around and think, “HARDY HAR HAR…LET’S HAVE THE GUY ALMOST  SAY F***!”  HILARIOUS!”


I’m no prude.  I say all those words in real life (not in front of the kids, though).  Well, maybe not “dick” because why?  But I’m not keen on them being used in movies marketed to kids.

Nor am I keen on the exhausting violence.  Yes, it’s cartoonish, in a way.  But it really is deadening, exhausting and stupid in the end – this constant assault of CGI creatures screaming, rolling, blasting and slicing each other, mostly for the sake of the 3D version.  (Felt the same way about Hobbit 2 – it was an assault.  Not just of the two parties on screen on each other, but on me. An assault, I tell you!  Relentless and deadening.)

And, yes, oh, it had a point.  There was a bit of self-sacrifice at two junctures, which was good and even a bit moving to behold, but other than that?

Really?  You got into the late 70’s and 80’s soundtrack?  As if you didn’t grasp the direct appeal to the demographic that is in its late 30’s and might have early tween kids?

Sorry for the dissent, bu  once again, I’m left marveling at the resources – millions of dollars and human creative energies – spent on something that was really not great, was obviously exploitative in the way most contemporary entertainment is  and that a day later, my kids aren’t quoting or referencing at all….it came, it brawled, it cussed, it moved on….


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I have no patience with being coy about spoilers, so, you know, if you haven’t seen it and you’re going to, don’t read this post.


(I, myself, will be in that boat next week, as I will be traveling Sunday night and might not be able to watch the next episode until Tuesday…..)


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