Write In Between

Friday, November 30, 2007

Loving The Bride, vol. 43

Something old....

'Prayer for Faith, Hope, and Charity'

Lord Jesus, give me deeper faith, that faith which will enlighten my intellect, so that I can see You more clearly, until I see You face to face. Lord, may my intellect have Your thoughts.

Lord, give me a deeper hope, that hope which will totally heal my memory, leaving me with only purified and holy memories. Give me real joyful hope that the best is yet to come. Lord, share with me Your memories, Your hope.

Lord, give me deeper charity, that charity which enflames Your heart, to do the Father's will through the Holy Spirit,Until my will is perfectly united to Your will. Lord, place Your unconditional love and holy desires in my heart.

Amen. Amen. Amen.

-----Fr. Sam Tiesi, T.O.R. The Trinity: Our Family Now and Forever, Franciscan University Press

Something new....

BREAKING NEWS: Pope Benedict's new encyclical comes out!

For those who have yet to read Benedict's XVI's latest book "> Jesus of Nazareth, here's a wonderful exerpt from the chapter on the Lord's Prayer.

Something borrowed....

Strong commentary this week from George Weigel about Catholics and politics.

A young adult being thankful for Theology of the Body. I have such faith in the generation coming after us...

Something blue....

The Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary announces their first international Congress to be held in the USA! Nice speaker line up.

Copyright 2007 Patricia W. Gohn

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Writer's Wednesday -- Fr. Mike Scanlan, TOR

If this is the passion that drives us,
the priority that orders everything else,

all the failures and trials,
all the opportunities and trials,
all the opportunities and risks in our lives can be transformed.

They can be seen as ways to grow in holiness.

Failure is an opportunity to grow in humility.

Frustration is a way to grow in patience.

Suffering links us to the suffering of our Savior, who suffered and died for us.

The needs of others are opportunities to grow in charity.

To go for holiness means to live wholly for God. (111)

-----Fr. Mike Scanlan, T.O.R. What Does God Want? Our Sunday Visitor Publishing, 1996.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007


May you be truly full of thanksgiving...

I know I am. In a kinda streamofconsciousness sorta way...

For my hubby,

my kids,

my extended family in NY and NJ,

my God-children.

my community of friends in Massachusetts,

my neighborhood,

my parish,

the music ministry,

for education,

the schools my children attend,

and all their teachers,

our work,

our recreation,

our dog,

our home,

our cars,

our guitars,

our piano,

our favorite books,

our plants,

our fish,

oil in the burner,

gas in the tanks,

food in the pantry,

our porch,

our pool,

the Red Sox,

the Pats,

the kids' sports teams,

the warm clothes on our backs,

the memories of sweet vacations,

the changing New England seasons,


decent wine,

decadent desserts,


good beans to grind for my coffee,

all things New York (except its politics),

talk radio,

meaningful music,

a nearby parking space when it's raining,

finding money in a pocket,

a handwritten letter in the mail,

reading a good book,

an "A" in a class,

finishing a task,

breathing easier after a check-up,

for blog comments,


a compliment,

unexpected surprizes,

for fast shipping,

for free shipping,

dark chocolate,


ok, chocolate raspberry anything,

fires in the fireplace,

dinner on the grill,

birds at the feeder,

company on long drives,

flowers in my work space,

a clean room,

a down comforter,

losing a few pounds,

lifting someone's spirits,

walking outside,

for Advil, and allergy drugs,

for chiropractic care,

for doctors on call,

for quick recoveries,

for safe travel,

that my daughter's college applications are done,

for forgiveness and second chances,

for gifts given and those received,

for police and fire and EMS personnel who work on holidays,

for our faithful military,

for our constitutional freedoms,

for the chance to try again,

for answered prayers,

for Jesus, Mary, the saints, the Church, the Sacraments.

Copyright 2007 Patricia W. Gohn

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Writer's Wednesday -- Judith Gentle

[On why Mary is a channel for grace for us...]

Just as there is an order of progression that exists in God with regards to the mystery of the Persons of the Blessed Trinity, there is an order of procession in the mystery of Redemption. In the Blessed Trinity, the Son proceeds from the Father, and the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, “as from one principle and through one spiration[1]

Correspondingly, in the work of Redemption, the Father has given the Son to the Blessed Virgin, such that the Incarnate Son now proceeds through the Blessed Virgin by the Power of the Holy Spirit. Thus, the entire work of Redemption, including the graces that flow from it, proceed through her by grace and from the Incarnate Son by nature “as through one spiration...”

This order was established by God the Father in the very act of choosing Mary as the one through whom His eternally begotten Son would be conceived for all eternity as incarnate, from the moment of her fiat, by the Power of the Holy Spirit. Precisely because the Incarnation of the Son proceeds through her by divine choice, all that comes to us as the consequence and fruit of His Incarnation must now proceed through her as well, by divine choice… the Father has made her the inseparable associate of the Holy Spirit. Consequently, the Father has given her the very same power and dominion over souls that belongs to the Incarnate Son by virtue of His divinity and infinite merits…

The primary reason we may refer to Mary as mediatrix, coredemptrix, or reparatrix, or any similar title speaking of her mediating role in Redemption is that the Father, Himself, made the choice to involve her in the entire work of Redemption, by choosing her to be the Mother through whom the divine Son became Incarnate. This was one and the same deliberate choice on the part of the Father. While Mary’s full consent and substantial self-oblation signaled by her fiat are certainly the necessary human contributions that enabled her to take her place in the mystery of Redemption… the most important contribution was God’s…
[Finally,] … the whole mystery of Redemption is necessarily …contained in the divine Fiat of the eternal Son when He condescends to be conceived as the Incarnate Redeemer, only, through, with and in the Virgin Mary.

-----Rev. Dr. Judith Gentle, Jesus Redeeming in Mary, 2003.

[1] Refer to CCC 246 for explanation of this quotation within this quotation.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

A suffering blog...

I've been on hiatus.... more like a little retreat from blogdom. I know a few of you have wondered just where I've been...

When I last logged in I was headed to Rome for an anniversary celebration of 25 years with my darling hubby, Bob. And yes, it was wonderful and romantic and delicious and one of the craziest ideas we've been able to pull off in years! We also made the acquaintance of a nice priest who let us renew our vows in a very ancient church where the Mass has been celebrated on-site since the second century... what more can I say?

Yes, we did tour a little, and saw Benedict XVI at the Sunday noon Angelus, (along with 10,000 close friends) and visited St. Peter's, St. Paul's Outside the Walls, and the catacombs. But since we've had the privilege of already doing the biggest sites on a previous trip to Rome, this was a more leisurely, unhurried, let's-stroll-and-see-where-it-takes-us kind of trip. Great hotels and wonderful food and an oasis for both of us in the midst of an otherwise crazy busy October!

So, what else have I been doing? School work. School work. And, um, oh yes! School work. As soon as I came back from Rome, I took a huge midterm... and then commenced writing a 20 page paper and a 5 pager. And I read four books. And there's still more. Two tests and another major paper due soon. Sounds like I'm complaining. I am, kinda, but it's all for the best, right? I choose this chaos. YUP, actively creating my own little scholastic frenzy.

I have applied to graduate this coming May, and all of a sudden, I'm in over my head. What has been a leisurely pursuit of higher education is now very nerve-racking... the holidays are coming and there's, well, so much to do. Seems I'm a little behind the necessary timetable, and now I must pay.

I rarely am doing housework and laundry, and then in emergency-like spurts! (Thank the Lord, there is neighborhood grocery-delivery service on-line!)

I'm reading, writing, testing, and papering all things theological, and therefore, not being very blog-o-logical.

I fear this is going to be the case from now until May 2008. My other friends in the blogosphere will have to carry on as I duck in and out over the next few months. After all, this is a blog... and school right now, is , well, my job. Don't forget about me! Say a prayer for me now and again.

Copyright 2007 Patricia W. Gohn

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"The Golden Compass" points in the wrong direction

Perhaps you’ve seen the hype surrounding the December release of the new movie The Golden Compass. We are used to Hollywood hype to promote a film. But much of the hype is coming from the movie’s opposition: The Catholic League, a Catholic civil rights organization (and media watchdog), plus Catholic websites like this one and this one , blogs, and an extensive grassroots email campaign . Most are cautioning Catholics against letting their children see the film for it is purported to espouse atheism. This opposition warns against buying the books related to the movie (the first story in a trilogy) as gifts during the Christmas season.

With all media, parents have good reason to carefully discern what media messages are appropriate for their children to absorb. And Catholic parents, in particular, need to be the gatekeepers for their children as it pertains to faith and morals. Catholic parents are called to build up the Catholic conscience of their children, and to be about the business of teaching discernment between right and wrong. Therefore, they must be wary of what influences their children during their formative years.

In the interest of being a concerned parent, I have tried to investigate the anti-film hype, which you may wish to do with the links above, and I have reviewed the film’s trailer and website .

The Golden Compass is the latest Hollywood offering based on a series of books known as His Dark Materials, featuring The Golden Compass (also called Northern Lights), The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass. These books comprise a trilogy, written in the mid-to-late 90s by contemporary author, Philip Pullman, who as the above links allege, is an atheist. Some even call him a militant atheist, one that is intent on completely discrediting Christianity, and Catholicism in particular. These are pretty strong charges. Admittedly I did not read the books or see the full-length movie. All I saw was the trailer and the website. And all I’ve read and listened to is linked for your perusal.

But I gotta tell ya, this one does not pass my “gut check”... that interior signal from the conscience that says, PASS ON THIS ONE. Here’s why…

First, a preliminary perspective: every writer writes from the wellspring of one’s personal and professional experience. My writing this today comes from those two sources—my personal experience as a Catholic wife and mother, and my professional background: a bachelor’s degree in Communications; years working and writing in New York’s broadcasting milieu; my second career working in pastoral ministry; and finally, my current writing and research in pursuit of a Masters degree in Theology. Now, while a writer might not always write about his or her specific experiences in life, what they do write passes through the prism of perspective of their mind, will, and heart. As a writer I may not always write about Catholic subject matter, but my Catholicism is not something I lay aside when I do write. And whenever someone critically examines a literary work, one tries to examine the author’s intent.

Communications 101 teaches us the medium is the message. Pullman’s books are the message, and we must always link the message with its author’s intent. Whether it was Pullman’s motive to tear down Christianity is not for me to say. What is for me to say is that when I look at a film or a book, or any media, I consider the source first.

Where movies are concerned, it is a writer who first sets down the message of the film. No film studio could operate without the screenwriter’s story, which usually undergoes several revisions before the final production comes to the public. Therefore, a film that is based on an author’s book is often severely edited by a screenwriter from the original text. (This is why so many readers of a book are often unhappy with the resulting movie.) How many revisions away from the book this current film is, well, simply not known.

All that being said, I submit to you my take on the The Golden Compass. (Once again, my opinion is based on having watched the movie's trailer on the website here.) I submit both my most objective sense, and my subjective sense of the film.

Objectively, as a media person, I think this is a movie that has the look and feel of the 2005 Disney release based on the The Chronicles of Narnia’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. In fact, it is using the same special effects company as did “Narnia”. It also has the same distributors (New Line Cinemas) as the now-legendary Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. As we have seen in the recent past, with the success of the Lord of the Rings movies, and the Harry Potter series, when a film is based on a popular book or book series, there is a built-in willing public ready stand in line for tickets. So, one can infer that, if this first movie in Pullman’s trilogy is successful, the rest are waiting to be made. It’s the movie business, after all. Timing its release at Christmas is no accident. Not to mention that any publicity we give to this, well, it’s considered good publicity by Hollywood. People will go to a movie that is boycotted, just to see what all the hullabaloo is about… (remember The Da Vinci Code?)

Subjectively, this is what I glean when I look at the film trailer—and you should watch the trailer yourself, and use your own moral compass to determine what’s going on—but for the sake of this article, let me share with you what I contemplated when I looked at this film, while admitting my own theological bias (in italics below).

The Golden Compass takes place in “a parallel universe.” The title refers to a man made instrument that does not point directionally (to true north, for example) as one might guess. Named an alethiometer, it does not point north, but it points to “Truth.” And it cannot be read by others—only by Lyra, the young heroine in the film who is entrusted to carry the Golden Compass. We somehow conceive the compass as humanity’s highest prize and Lyra is on some sort of quest to save the universe from an evil of sorts, known as the "magisterium."

Hmmm… this story line sounds familiar… remembering the infancy narratives from the Gospel of Luke, we have a young girl, the bearer of the Ultimate Truth, on which humanity’s ultimate salvation rests, who undergoes her own sufferings and trials… hmmm…

Also in the film, we learn that persons are not whole in being, as in being embodied spirits, what we understand as being a united body-soul entity. They have a body, yes, but they also have a “daemon”… a daemon is the person’s “soul” captured in an animal likeness. And the likeness of the animal can morph into various animals as the soul matures… until it “settles” into one specific animal.

Hmmm… is this a parody of the dignity of the human person, who is a body-soul entity, made in the image and likeness of God according to the accounts in Genesis? If it is, we Catholics understand that we are not made in the image of animals, but of God. What’s more, this “separation” of body and soul, for us, in reality, equals death. Are we to imagine that the characters in this film are dead, as in disembodied spirits? Or, is this perhaps, an over-glorification of animals as the subtext? ( The World Wildlife Federation is partnering with this movie, probably to draw attention to those beautiful polar bears who star in the movie.) Does it suggest we are to be somehow ‘united’ with animals, or maybe ‘equal’ to animals, rather than to have dominion over them, as again, suggested by Genesis? Or am I missing a whole secondary point in which I should understand that my soul is not really my own, but united to a opposite-gendered demon, er, daemon?? Oh yeah, funny how that all the daemons are portrayed as the opposite gender to one's body... is this some sort of subliminal commentary that suggests that we are all masculine-feminine, rather than either-or in our creation?? Hmmm… (Note: this added on Dec 11, 2007: Still more disturbing is the commentary coming from other writers who note that deeper in the series of books, the daemons are linked with a person's sexuality ... and the touching of another person's daemon is, well, intimate...) Hmmm... the trailer gives us no such worry... but those who have read the books are sounding alarms...

In the movie’s plot, there is reference to the “magisterium.” It is obviously portrayed as source of evil authority.

Hmmm… How blatantly contrary to the way Catholics properly regard the Church’s Magisterium. For Catholics, the Magisterium is the teaching authority of the Church that guards, interprets and serves the Truth contained in Divine Revelation, both in sacred Scripture and sacred Tradition. With the Holy Spirit, the Magisterium is a reliable interpreter of Truth, and protector of the same, what we call the Deposit of Faith.

And this Golden Compass, this alethiometer, what does it symbolize?

Gee, I don’t know. Maybe, since it’s man-made, it’s a glorification of man’s intellect and science being the Highest Good, rather than God. In an atheistic universe, we know that the Highest Good could not be God, so ultimately, it must be something else… science? technology? man's reason? maybe even some other virtue? but what that is, is yet to be revealed.

And so, that’s what I get from the trailer. And on the movie’s website, you can take a short survey to find out what animal creature your daemon would be, like, if you really had one. In short, I do find a derogatory attitude toward some things "Catholic" and the tone of an atheistic mindset coming from the screenplay.

I don’t have anymore analysis on this movie at the moment. But hey, it’s enough for me to say my family has other ways to spend our time and money in terms of entertainment.

As a Catholic, I do have one last thought: If I do have an opportunity to talk with people who have seen the movie, I won’t hesitate to ask them how they interpreted its message which we understand to be within the context of fantasy. It will give me an opportunity to explain the Truth and Beauty of the Incarnation—which is the unity of both human and divine substance—while I also mention the great gift and dignity of the human person’s being as body and soul. Not the stuff of a parallel universe, but of the one we are actually living in. And that’s no fantasy.

Copyright 2007 Patricia W. Gohn

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