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Arkansas Catholic
Litlte Rock, Arkansas
November 20, 1999     Arkansas Catholic
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November 20, 1999

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Page ! 2 November 20, 1999 ARKANSAS CATHOLIC ~ ...................................................................... ~ .............................................................................. :; :;~ = :~:::::::~ ::~:: ,: ~:; ................ :: : :~:::~:~:~:=~:~ ::::::~ ~::~::;== ::: ..................... ::::: :; : i~ ii:; :~i Ji~ By Mark Pattison CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE WASHINGTON -- According to a the- ologian at The Catholic University of America, there's precious little theological insight in the new movie "Dogma." I'here so little in the way of theology there," said Benedictine Father James Wiseman. He attended a critics' screening in Washington of the film, which opened nationwide Nov. 12. Writer-director Kevin Smith, who also appears in the movie, "obviously remembers a lot of stuff from his grade school days" and has thrown it all into the film, Father Wlseman told Catholic News Service. "Dogma" focuses on the efforts of two angels (Matt Damon and Ben Affieck), long ago kicked out of heaven, who try to get back using a so-called loophole in Catholic dogma -- a plenary indulgence. Father Wiseman said people discussed plenary indulgences "a lot more in that time (of Smith's childhood) than you do today." According to the plot, if the angels get back to heaven via the loophole, it proves that God's not perfect and existence would come to an end. The plot device, Father Wtseman said, is "off the scale, totally off the scale." Chosen to stop the angels' scheme is a Catholic who works at an abortion clinic (Linda Fiorendno) and who is a descen- dant of Jesus since -- in the movie's version of reality Jesus had brothers and sisters. Among the other imponderables in the Chris Rock, Jason Mewes and Salma Hayek star in the film "Dogma." The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is 0 - morally offensive. plot are a 13th apostle named Rufus played Fiorentino's character has to take him off by comedian Chris Rock and a female God artificial life support so God in human form played by rock singer Alanis Morissette. can die and stop the angels' plan by return- God doesn't show up until the movie's ing in divine form. end because, according to the film, he likes The Catholic League for Religious and to come to Earth on occasion incognito to Civil Rights has been an early and vocal play skee-ball. But when badly beaten by opponent of"Dogma" since league officials three of Satan's minions, he languishes in a saw one version of the script earlier this year. hospital near death, and heaven's emis- The league organized a protest Oct. 4 in saries don't know where God has gone. New York, where the movie was being shown as part of a film festival. Father Wiseman, editor of the journal Mo u , c In t .,eligious D/a/ogu said that h,e,: doesn t think it would be injurious to faith if a Catholic saw "Dogma." It is possible, he added, that a non-Catholic could come away with erroneous impressions about the Church after having seen it. A long.disclaimer at the start of"D " calls the movie a "comedic fantasy,' while reminding viewers that passingjudgment reserved for God and God alone." But Father Wiseman wasn't buying the disclaimer. "I don't believe that. I thought they were trying to avoid cnuosm, he said He said scenes of mass killing in the filna were insensitive, "especially in view of the shootings at Columbine (High School in Colorado) and Conyers, Ga." And an early scene which showed a car- dinal (George Carlin) dispatching the ditional crucifix representation of JesUs u, favor of a sendup of the Sacred Heart stame called "Buddy Christ" was %ery, very insen" sitive," Father Wiseman said. One line in the movie -- Vhe Ca olic _J Church makes no mistakes!" -- recetVo'. generous laughter from much of the ence at the screening. The U.S. Catholic Conference Office for Film and Broadcasting gave "Dogma" a classification of O --- morally offensive "" for "anti-religious japes, some intense vi0" lence, sexual references, substance abUSe, assorted vulgarities, profanity and recurring rough language." J Catholic Campaign for Human Development in the Diocese of Little Rock The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) tim& projects in our diocese that help people help themselves out of poverty. CCHD is making a difference in our diocese through projects like these: Beacons and Bridg~ is an effort of Blessed Sacrament Church and local congregations in Jonesboro to create social, political, and long-term economic change for the disenfranchised and matginalized. Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families is a statewide initiative to promote participation by Catholic parishes in local welfare reform efforts. Lee County Family Resource Center is a community-based program in Marianna that is helping weffare recipients to make the transition to self-sufficiency through employment. Save our Children is an outreach started in Little Rock that matches mentors with children from low-income families to help them deal with losing a parent through death, incarceration, or abandonment. Boys, Girls, Adult Community Development Corporation is a seif-help project, based in Marvell, that seeks to empower low-income African American women to improve both their own economic status and that of their community. For 1999 our goal is to increase our collection by 10% and give low-income people a hand up - not a handout! If parishioners increase their contribution by just a few dollars, we can easily meet our goal! Please give generously in your parish on November 20-21, 1999. For more information, to volunteer at a CCHD project, or to participate in CCHD, contact: Lynnette Watts, CCHD Director, PO Box 7239, Little Rock, All. 72217-7239. (501) 664-0340 Double your CCHD Donation! Ask your employer about corporate gift matching. The Catholic Church working to end poverty and injustice in America. '7 am edified and grateful and the diocese is blessed by our local parishes' involvement in these and other CCHD efforts to give a hand up. Please support the CCHD collection November 21." -- Most Rev. Andrew J. McDonald Bishop of Little Rock