Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Reviews New Zealand Catholic

Bishops publish new policy booklet on Christian funerals

The New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference has published a new booklet on liturgical policy for Christian funerals and guidelines for tangihana. The 36-page booklet is entitled For Those Who Believe:...

Celebrating 150 years of the icon of love

FOUNTAIN OF GRACE – celebrating 150 years of the Icon of Love by Jim McManus, CSsR, (Redemptorist Publications, 2015, Supplied by Pleroma Christian Supplies); $27.50. Reviewed by Fr MERVYN...

Convent drama tests beliefs

Poland, nuns and winter are a surefire mix of ingredients for an excellent film, if recent experience is any guide. A couple of years ago, Ida proved a big hit...

Fuelled by the good music we love

“This music makes me sad: can you put something else on?” asked the sous chef.  Funny how the same piece of music can produce different responses in different people. I was head waiter in...

When doubts go unanswered

Ever since Japanese Catholic writer Shusaku Endo published his 1966 novel Silence, film-makers and others have been fascinated by its themes of religious doubt, martyrdom and apostasy. Although set in...

A journey through the theological life of the retired pope

Reviewed by BRIAN WELTER (CNS)  Peter Seewald’s interview of Pope Benedict, which follows from previous interviews and works including Salt of the Earth, offers readers a journey through the theological life of the retired pope. This...

The most impressive film of the year

When the annual awards season comes around, the question of too few films made by women usually arises. A lack of ethnic diversity in the movie industry is another complaint.  The recent Oscars show these criticisms,...

What to do with fading resolutions

“Raise your glass and we’ll have a cheer / My dear acquaintance, a happy new year,” sings Peggy Lee on her Winter Wonderland collection. In writing this piece I was surprised to discover so...

Remember the needy and vulnerable

“Christmas . . . all the treasure and the trash,” sings Australian musical icon Paul Kelly in his song How to Make Gravy. Go and look it up online now,...

Music that values craft and soul

“I remember all of it … Let me take you back,” said musician and producer John Simon at the start of the Last Waltz 40th Anniversary Concert at the...

Aliens dialogue with linguist

The more challenging end of the science fiction spectrum should offer as much reward for the mind as for the senses.  In the past few years, some of the most creative work...

The untold story of married Catholic priests

In Keeping the Vow, author Fr D. Paul Sullins, a sociologist and a former Episcopal priest, presents his research on a tiny but fascinating subcategory of American Catholic priests — married Catholic priests who...

Mother’s loss turns to discovery

Most film productions have their share of drama behind the scenes. Often these are bigger than what finally appears on the screen. For obvious reasons, the big studios go out of their way...

Reflection and prayers from Auckland church ‘legend’

by Pat Lythe On the Saturday of Labour weekend, an assembly of people, mainly Catholics, gathered at the Little Sisters of the Poor in Herne Bay, Auckland, to witness the launch of Jocelyn Franklin’s...

Anti-heroes of the lone star state

Few  would argue that the big open skies and arid landscapes of Texas have produced some of the best classic and modern westerns. As far back as the 1950s and...

Live a life lit up by love’s splendour

On our fridge sits a daily desk calendar with quotes from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Retired prayerfully and peacefully to a former convent in a corner of the Vatican with his books, piano and...

Burton burnishes macabre vision

Few directors have built up as consistent a body of work as Tim Burton. In a career that spans nearly 30 years, he has created 16 features that celebrate the macabre, with one or two exceptions.  But...

Highlighting those on the lower rungs

In autumn 2009, I loaded up my old Mitsubishi van with all my worldly possessions and hit the road. I’d finished a degree and was ready for a change of scene. And there...

25 years as a Catholic apologist sees empathy grow

Apologetics is that branch of theology that defends the faith with reasoned arguments. St Stephen was doing apologetics before Christians were even called Christians and St Paul seems to savour his intellectual jousts with...

Flawed female characters to the fore

The Sundance film festival at the beginning of each year is a leading indicator for independent productions which deserve to reach a wider audience. Increasingly, the changing nature of the business means...

The complex truth about Hitchens’ faith explored

by NANCY ROBERTS When Christopher Hitchens died of esophageal cancer at the age of 62 in 2011, he was famous as a left-wing polemicist who argued passionately for atheism. Author...

Damon’s rogue agent returns

The North American summer blockbuster season is running out and looks like being the most disappointing ever, in commercial terms. The reason is not hard to find –  too many sequels and not...

Songs that are measured, honest and true

“This collection of songs came out of a hard time, including loss and relocation,” singersongwriter Grant-Lee Phillips told music site Noisetrade, talking about his latest album The Narrows. That “hard time” has produced a...

Spiritual reflections for all couples

by Dame Lyndsay Freer The first words of Joy Cowley’s introduction to this little book exactly describe my reaction when asked to review it: “The head said no, while the heart said yes.” She had...

When Te Reo conquered world

The mid-1980s were a time of major change politically, economically and culturally. For some it was a time of upheaval, disruption and a lost past. For others it was a fresh opening to the world...

Herzog investigates the Internet

Few film-makers can look back on a career as varied as German director Werner Herzog. Now 73, he had early arthouse hits such as Even Dwarfs Started Small (1970), Fata Morgana (1971) and Aguirre, the...

Hope and love in Avalanche City

Dave Baxter used to be in a metal band. He wanted a change, “wanted to write music that you can walk along the street humming to”, so he taught himself to sing, started...

Cult, family clash in science fiction thriller

The use of parallel universes, sometimes known as alternative reality, is a common feature in science fiction and its movie spinoffs. A couple of good recent examples were Another Earth and Source Code, both released in 2011. The latest, Midnight Special...

A worthy gift from father to child

“Six top pop-rock songs for a top son": that was the working title for this piece (my wife detested it). It’s been kicking around in my head since my boy was born several weeks...

This lady’s no plain Jane

The works of Jane Austen have created about 60 screen adaptations from just six novels. That doesn’t include her first short work of fiction, written in the epistolary form around 1794 when she was 18. It was never...