In the recent killing at the Batman movie the alleged perpetrator James Holmes said eerily, “I am the Joker.” Let me state right away, I do not pretend to understand what set this alleged mad man off, but his self-identifying with the Joker, the featured nemesis of Batman in the last “Dark Knight” movie, resonates deeply with the horrific, violence the gunman committed. The Joker was a sadistic, violent killer. There was nothing humorous about him at all.

Writing back in 2008 about the Batman move “The Dark Knight” English columnist Jenny McCartney wrote of the intense violence of the satanic “Joker.” Her words give context to the chilling words of James the alleged killer in Colorado.

Our attitude to violence is beyond a joke as new Batman film, The Dark Knight, shows. The new Batman film reaches new levels of brutality, so why are we letting children watch it? …..The maniacal, deranged face of The Joker, grippingly played by the late Heath Ledger, leers from posters all over town.

If I were the parent who relented and took a 10-year-old child to see The Dark Knight, would I be sorry? …You bet I would. It’s different from other superhero films, as fans are quick to point out. Certainly, there are surprises in its swooping camera angles and darkened, ominous screen.

But the greatest surprise of all – even for me, after eight years spent working as a film critic – has been the sustained level of intensely sadistic brutality throughout the film.

….The film begins with a heist carried out by men in sinister clown masks. As each clown completes a task, another shoots him point-blank in the head. The scene ends with a clown – The Joker – stuffing a bomb into a wounded bank employee’s mouth.

After the murderous clown heist, things slip downhill. A man’s face is filleted by a knife, and another’s is burned half off. A man’s eye is slammed into a pencil. A bomb can be seen crudely stitched inside another man’s stomach, which subsequently explodes. A trussed-up man is bound to a chair and set alight atop a pile of banknotes.

A plainly terrorized child is threatened at gunpoint by a man with a melted face. It is all intensely realistic. Oh but don’t worry, folks: there isn’t any nudity. [1]

Do the movies simply reflect these trends or to they help mold it? Probably both. But it in the context of the last Batman movie, that the words of the Movie Theater Killer “I am the Joker” can stun us with their overwhelming and sadistic darkness.

Was the Colorado killer an isolated and deeply disturbed man, an anomaly who, on account of his madness indicates little or nothing, other than his own madness? Sure.

But he did not grow up in isolation and we ought not simply dismiss him as a “one-out” situation. Our culture did reach and form him somehow: “I am the Joker.” He did not say “I am Neutromax from Xenon Alter.” He uttered a cultural artifact from this planet and this culture. He referenced a sadist killer and a context of intense violence that many of us see with moral neutrality, as entertainment and diversion.

It is a certainly significant that the recent Batman series emphasizes the word “dark” in its titles. Even the cinematography is shadowy, dark, and brooding. And it is not the Batman series alone. (By the way, Film Critic Tony Rossi says the New Batman movie redeems itself from its last violent escapade HERE).

Yes, it is far more than Batman. We have discussed on this blog before how so many movies today are steeped in darkness. There is terrible violence, mass destruction, mass killing, natural disasters, chase scenes, death and destruction all about. High kill ratios compete with explosions. And even our hero is often portrayed as a dark figure, deeply conflicted, lonely and brooding over his own demons. It is all very dark, very brooding, violent, and a seeming picture of nihilistic, self-destructive drives. This is film noir on steroids. There are increasingly deep threads of this in our culture.

Jesus spoke in the Gospel of Matthew about our eyes as being the lamp of the body. And while the original meaning of these words is caught up in a complex cultural anthropology of the time, to us in the modern world, his words can serve as a strong reminder to be very careful of what we admit into our mind and heart through our eyes:

The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how deep is that darkness! (Matt 6:21-22)

Yes, if the light we choose to see by is already dark, how deep the darkness in which we walk.

But, Father, but Father, watching violent movies doesn’t make me violent. Perhaps not in the short run. But when this sort of fare becomes the steady diet of a culture, can we say that we are wholly unaffected? Or, from the other perspective, when these themes continue to recur in the movies that theoretically depict “us,” what does that say about us?

The Colorado killings are not a mere anomaly. We are getting more and more of these in our culture. Indeed, call it a steady stream:

• January 8, 2011: U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and eighteen other people were shot during a public meeting held in a supermarket parking lot in Casas Adobes, near Tucson, Arizona

• November 5, 2009, at Fort Hood, TX, Nidal Malik Hasan killed 13 people and wounded 29 others.

• April 3, 2009: A gunman walked into an immigration services center in downtown Binghamton, N.Y. on Friday, killing 4 people, wounding at six, and taking as many as 41 hostage.

• March 29, 2009: Robert Stewart, 45, shot and killed eight people at Pinelake Health and Rehab in Carthage, N.C. before a police officer shot him and ended the rampage.

• March 29, 2009: Devan Kalathat, 42, shot and killed his two children and three other relatives, then killed himself in an upscale neighborhood of Santa Clara, Calif. Kalathat’s wife was critically injured.

• March 10, 2009: Michael McLendon, 28, killed 10 people • including his mother, four other relatives, and the wife and child of a local sheriff’s deputy • across two rural Alabama counties. He then killed himself.

• Feb. 14, 2008: Former student Steven Kazmierczak, 27, opened fire in a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, fatally shooting five students and wounding 18 others before committing suicide.

• Dec. 5, 2007: Robert A. Hawkins, 19, opened fire with a rifle at a Von Maur store in an Omaha, Neb., mall, killing eight people before taking his own life. Five more people were wounded, two critically.

• April 16, 2007: Seung-Hui Cho, 23, fatally shot 32 people in a dorm and a classroom at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, then killed himself in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

• Oct. 2, 2006: Charles Carl Roberts IV, 32, shot to death five girls at West Nickel Mines Amish School in Pennsylvania, then killed himself.

• March 21, 2005: Student Jeffrey Weise, 16, killed nine people, including his grandfather and his grandfather’s companion at home. Also included were five fellow students, a teacher and a security guard at Red Lake High School in Red Lake, Minn. He then killed himself. Seven students were wounded.

• March 12, 2005: Terry Ratzmann, 44, gunned down members of his congregation as they worshipped at the Brookfield Sheraton in Brookfield, Wisconsin, slaying seven and wounding four before killing himself.

• March 5, 2001: Charles “Andy” Williams, 15, killed two fellow students and wounded 13 others at Santana High School in Santee, Calif.

• Nov. 2, 1999: Copier repairman Byran Uyesugi, 40, fatally shoots seven people at Xerox Corp. in Honolulu. He is convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

• July 29, 1999: Former day trader Mark Barton, 44, killed nine people in shootings at two Atlanta brokerage offices, then killed himself.

• April 20, 1999: Students Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, opened fire at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., killing 12 classmates and a teacher and wounding 26 others before killing themselves in the school’s library.

• May 21, 1998: Two teenagers were killed and more than 20 people hurt when Kip Kinkel, 17, opened fire at a high school in Springfield, Ore., after killing his parents.

• March 24, 1998 School Shooting – Jonesboro, Arkansas: 5 killed

• May 20, 1998 School Shooting – Springfield, Oregon: 2 killed, 22 wounded

• April 26, 1998 School Shooting – Edinboro, Pennsylvania: 1 killed, 3 wounded

• March 24, 1998: Andrew Golden, 11, and Mitchell Johnson, 13, killed four girls and a teacher at a Jonesboro, Ark., middle school. Ten others were wounded in the shooting.

• October 1, 1997: School Shooting – Perl, Mississippi: 3 killed, 9 wounded

• December 1, 1997: School Shooting – Paducah, Kentucky: 3 killed, 6 wounded

• Oct. 16, 1991: A deadly shooting rampage took place in Killeen, Texas, as George Hennard opened fire at a Luby’s Cafeteria, killing 23 people before taking his own life. 20 others were wounded in the attack.

• June 18, 1990: James Edward Pough shoots people at random in a General Motors Acceptance Corp. office in Jacksonville, Fla., killing 10 and wounding four, before killing himself.

• Aug. 20, 1986: Pat Sherrill, 44, a postal worker who was about to be fired, shoots 14 people at a post office in Edmond, Okla. He then kills himself.

These are just the most prominent cases. You will likely remember more. Note too how many of the killings above are school shootings.

And in just about all these incidents the case is usually made that the given shooting is just a “one-out” case, a local madman with his own issues. Perhaps, but we are producing a pretty steady stream of them. There are more than a few nuts falling from our family tree and something, many things, work to produce them, beginning with Satan himself. But we do well not to be wholly dismissive of the steady stream of shootings and violence as mere “anomalies.” They are regular features of our culture.

I would also say we cannot simply dismiss the regular fare of violent movies, video games and TV. They are a factor. I am not for Government censorship, and I realize it is more than movies. Mother Teresa traced violence in the West to violence in the womb through abortion. And violence from all its sources is continuing to overflow in our society.

Think about it, and give serious consideration to what your children are watching, to what you are watching.

The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how deep is that darkness! (Matt 6:21-22)

This song talks about a better place to turn our eyes:

46 Responses

  1. Cynthia BC says:

    When I heard that one of the victims was a 6-year-old, my immediate reaction was: Who the he!! would take a six-year-old to a midnight movie, let alone a movie clearly inappropriate for a child that age?

    I know that I am not the only influence in my daughter’s life, and that I can’t shield her from all that is ugly or troubling, but I do my best to act as a filter. My 11yo does not need to see gratuitous sex and violence (and frankly I don’t want to see it, either). I’ve blocked networks aimed at children & teens because much of their programming seems to be about smart-alec kids making their peers, teachers, and/or parents look like idiots. [If the story lines didn’t make me cringe, the bad acting would!] I don’t expect every program to be chock-full of Paragons of Virtue, but neither do I want the antithesis of virtue to be presented as a norm. While my daughter’s peers are watching Disney, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon, we have cruelly restricted her to Animal Planet and Discovery Channel.

    Children are not minature adults. Depending on their developmental (not necessarily chronological) age, children can’t differentiate between fantasy or reality; and they lack the life experience to put what they see in context. What an adult can laugh off as s/he walks out of the theater will keep a child awake for weeks.

    Movies have ratings for a reason. For a parent to blithly ignore them is irresponsible.

    That poor six-year-old. She was in the wrong place at the wrong time – and it wasn’t because of James Holmes.

    • Stephen from New Orleans says:

      Cynthia, that was my first thought also…and I thought I was being a little judgmental.

      But then I found out that the “Man” who was the father of those kids was holding the 4 month old and dropped the baby, ran out of the theater and drove away leaving the kids and their mother.

      http://m.yahoo.com/w/legobpengine/news/couple-colo-theater-shooting-escape-baby-toddler-tow-162024554–abc-news-topstories.html?.nx=count=5&sortBy=latest&exprKey=Descending:f927dc35-739e-3219-8126-9842d31672a0-1342833312999-99b09bd5-fd87-4637-9e85-639509d2e5a2:f927dc35-739e-3219-8126-9842d31672a0-1342833305895-994711a2-8ca7-4069-888f-7fc739aa4318&isNext=true&pageNumber=1&.ts=1342833325&.intl=us&.lang=en

      I wasn’t being judgemental…I was forming and opinion.

      • It certainly is hard to understand bringing such a young child to such a late nite movie.

        • Christine the Soccer Mom says:

          Father, it’s more than that. If I recall correctly, it was a *triple feature* of all the movies, one after the other, on one night. nearly 9 hours of movies so dark I won’t let my nearly-14-year-old see them, ending at nearly 3 in the morning.

          A tragedy does not render someone immune to criticism for a bad decision. Those children should have been nowhere near that theater. No one could have predicted a murderer, but anyone could have told you that violence would be seen by those tiny eyes.

    • Yes the judgment of the parents is surely poor.

  2. Bill says:

    Is that cartoon about darkness or light?

    • Not quite sure I guess your point. Do you mean to imply that I suggest a total condemnation of the Batman genre? I do not. I grew up watching Batman et al. The point in question is the recent series of movies, not the cartoon.

      • etr says:

        Although I do think these dark violent movies may put ideas into people’s head, it seems to me that the common thread to the shootings mentioned is some prescription drug. Why isn’t this being investigated? Why are these drugs, that say suicide and violence are a side-effect, not being scrutinized? As for the gun laws, if people were able to carry guns, he would have been stopped before so many were shot. Maybe only those on mind altering prescriptions or that have a history of mental illness should be barred from buying guns.

  3. Bender says:

    Yes, it is far more than Batman. We have discussed on this blog before how so many movies today are steeped in darkness.

    More than movies, more than TV, more than music, the factor that most influences these killers is the media and others giving publicity to them, including remembering the dates, facts, and names of the perpetrators.

    Yes, the “Colorado killings are not a mere anomaly.” There is nothing new here. This is not an original thought in the mind of the latest killer. He is a copycat. The latest in a long string of copycats who read and learned about all of the notoriety the others gained and wanting to seek some of that stardom himself.

    Fictional movies and TV pale in comparison to people perpetuating stories about the real thing. Rather than listing the names of all of these killers, they should be consigned to the dustbin of anonymity, treated as non-entities. Deprive them of the publicity that they crave, that feeds their hunger for evil.

  4. Sabu Augustine says:

    Dear Father,

    I totally like your blog & the points you raise are valid. But don’t you think that American Gun Laws are to be blamed for all this. I belong from India and it feels weird that any man can purchase guns and ammunition (I believe 4,000 rounds) from a Departmental Store & then go on a shooting spree. And there is no way anyway can find out how those guns would be used.

    Some Americans say that they need all those guns for hunting & self-protection etc but don’t you think its a lame excuse ?

    • J says:

      Actually, the American people do need guns to protect themselves…from the bad guys who will always be able to obtain them, and from the government who will have no reason to show any restraint at all if guns are outlawed. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to find out what happens when handguns are banned – in Britain for instance. Handgun crimes rose after they were banned.

      Better for everyone to have a gun and learn to use them than for no one to have them…except the bad guys.

    • That is certainly a great debate in this country. I doubt gun laws will change much though. The second ammendent is largely understood by the courts to permit significant gun ownership. I am no expert in these issue

      • Blake Helgoth says:

        Guns are not so much for hunting, but to detere tyranny. The only question is wether or not modern weaponry has advance to the degree that the weapons obtainable by the ordinary citizen hold little detering capacity in comparision to those held by governments.

  5. Peter says:

    I find it interesting, and I’m sure you do too, Father, that when someone suggests a, more than casual, cause and effect relationship between horrific acts like the shooter’s, and the mainstreaming of such deviant violence as Batman, a hue and cry arises from the “normal” adherents of such rot decrying the connection. This same ethic pervades the culture in every arena, from politics to sexual ethics. Interesting and, eventually, completely destroying whatever civilization we have left.

  6. Cathy says:

    I subscribe to bare-bones cable in order to watch EWTN. Most nights, on the secular networks, I can find nothing but gruesome murder investigations; “reality” shows featuring hostile, immoral, back-stabbing people; sexually-suggestive dance competitions with nasty commentators; “extreme” sports events/contests with little concern for injury/death; and so-called “comedies” that highlight immoral life styles, vulgar language and promiscuity. Crude, rude, lewd, nude. Anything goes. Heaven help us. The evil is palpable. Satan roams. Dear Jesus, to You we pray.

  7. Tony Rossi says:

    Thanks for linking to my review of “The Dark Knight Rises,” Msgr. I do think the darkness in the previous Batman movie far exceeded anything I’ve ever seen in a comic book related movie and left me profoundly disturbed. At the same time, I think the title of the previous film – “The Dark Knight” – could realistically have been followed by the words “of the soul” because that is what the character of Batman faces in that story. The hero who has committed his life to the cause of helping people is confronted by an absence of goodness and the seeming-victory of evil. I’m just guessing here because I don’t know director Christopher Nolan’s intentions, but it’s possible he was trying to leave the Batman character in as low a place as possible before allowing him to rise again in the newest film. However, the unsettling violence he used to get Batman to that place is questionable. Though most people found that violence unsettling (and I believe we were supposed to feel unsettled), a few like James Homes apparently found it attractive. I don’t believe a single movie can turn someone into a rampaging killer. There must be something else going on in that person’s life and mind and personality as well. But it’s obvious that The Joker’s story had an obvious influence on Holmes. Hopefully it will force filmmakers to look at how they tell their stories and think about the possible influence they can have.

  8. Dismas says:

    @Bender,

    I saw this premise of leaving the perpetrators of these types of crime in media anonymity Friday on the web. At first it seemed to make some kind of sense but the more I thought about it the more I rejected the idea for the following reasons. First, can this really be reduced to ‘monkey see, monkey do’? Second, is ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil’ a proper response? Third, when religious gathering places, dare I say, houses of worship are attacked in this manner, would we, do we or should we also seek to attempt to nullify the perpetrator with anonymity?

    Although cute with a certain kind of provincial charm, I had to reject this idea or at least be suspicious of it. It seems to me this is much more complicated than monkey see, monkey do and I don’t see any advantage in dehumanizing the perpetrator with anonymity.

    Speaking of provincial, the thing that interests me most at this point is the response of the writers, producers, distributors and theater owners. What do they think and feel about what happened? What is their view of what is being producing and provided in these secular gathering places, dare I say, houses of worship?

    • I am not entirely sure in a culture like ours w ith such a free media presence we can deny people like this publicity. I wish we co uld becuase i sympathize with Benders point

      • Jan says:

        Reporting the news is one thing – people have the right to be aware of danger. But that’s not what sells on MSNBC or Fox or any of the major networks. Sensationalism is what sells. The Media are selling themselves more than the story.

      • Dismas says:

        No doubt I also sympathize and wish we could too, however…….

  9. Jamie Reynolds says:

    Msgr., these movies are violent for a clear marketing reason. Movie going is down among teenage boys and young men. They will (and do) stay at home all weekend playing violent video games on their x-boxes. Movie makers know that the only ways to get them to pay $20 for a night out at the movie is to make as violent as the video game they left behind; and market the movie as an unmissable event. It is deeply disturbing that we are raising a (global) generation of young men raised on a never-ending diet of virtual and consequence-free violence. It cannot be good for the soul.

    • Sue Korlan says:

      I think that actually computer game violence is much more of a factor than most of the rest of the other violent media because it’s interactive in a way that most other violent media isn’t. Holmes was really into computer games, according to the media. So are a lot of other people.

  10. Loreen Lee says:

    As I have personally found the life experience to come to terms with ‘mental illness’ I cannot help but have some sympathy for James Holmes, for is it not possible that he could be like the thief on the cross, acting out what constitutes, (from his own personal history) the context of violence that as you blog says, dominates in society. There is evidence that points towards such a ‘conclusion’. Apparently, someone who had a beer with him some time ago, found that he said that recent music was ‘too violent’ or something, and that he preferred rock and roll. I just find that mental illness, (which should be called physiopsychological illness, or psychophysical illness, is so poorly understood, that he do not recognize the symptoms, even in our’ selves’. Certainly such phenomena were once classified as ‘sinful actions’, or being ‘infested’ with demons etc. But was not Jesus known for casting out demons, even in legions. It would be far more beneficial to society, if we faced the societal context of such happenings, (no I will not call them ‘crimes’), as I believe, that in a way we all have some responsibility, through our lack of recognition of this phenoma, or a stigma associated even with the prodromal characteristics of such illness, in that we do not recognize such phenomena, and more importnatly, do not have the faith, or the good will, to respond to these people in need, in such a way that their illness does not result in such desperate acts. Judge not, lest you be judged.

  11. […] a culture pervaded with violence and death. (Msgr Charles Pope gets those questions started here.)We must ask—and not be afraid of sounding judgmental, or of blaming the […]

  12. RichardC says:

    I think Blessed Mother Teresa also said that the fruit of abortion is nuclear war.

  13. Doug says:

    “The Colorado killings are not a mere anomaly. We are getting more and more of these in our culture. Indeed, call it a steady stream:” Mr. Pope, I heartily agree.
    Is there a reason for the increase? St. Peter said, “and delivered just Lot, oppressed by the injustice and lewd conversation of the wicked:” And didn’t Jesus refer to ‘the days of Lot and Noah’ in discussing his advent?
    Your point on video violence is well taken, but what about “senseless violence” in Iraq? Nigeria? N Ireland?

  14. Jim J. McCrea says:

    That’s a far cry from the slap-happy Batman of the original series.

  15. Blake Helgoth says:

    Msgr.,

    In reading through the coments I could not help but think maybe it has much to do with our denial of evil and the lack of spiritual attention we give to Satan and the fallen angels. How few exorcisms there are, how seldom is the St. Michael prayer prayed. How few are there that even consider demonic posession or oppression a possibility. Are we not negligent in our duty to evangelize?

  16. Sherry says:

    About ten years ago, when my husband and I went to see a movie, at a small theater, I was not able to stomach the violence and told him I would wait for him outside. The young movie projectionist took a break, came outside, and sat near me on a bench. I told him that there should be some kind of sign to warn people that this was an exceptionally violent film so they could decide ahead of time whether or not to spend their money on a film that might make them sick. The projectionist told me he had seen the film many times – and each time he had the same reaction. He said that for the first fifteen minutes or so after each showing, he was so “revved up” that if he had a machine gun he would “let loose” with it, since the action in the movie stimulated him into “hyperdrive”. As people came out of the theater when the show ended, many had ashen faces such as mine – however, others seemed to be strangely excited by the film – which had a nihilistic ending. It is really sad that so many are unable to see the destructive road we continue to follow… “Our Lady of Good Help, pray for us.”

  17. Nate says:

    Msgr.

    I thought The Dark Knight did a fantastic job, in the character of the Joker, of portraying the logical end to which embracing nihilism will lead. I don’t know how Christopher Nolan can be faulted for displaying that and it seems directors who portray violence and death in a casual manner seem more at fault.

    More broadly, we also have ourselves to blame in part. Catholicism used to be prominent in arts and culture, both implicitly and explicitly. Current Christian fiction is dominated by hokey and heretical Protestant authors who, quite deservedly, are mocked by the public but the great Catholic works of Tolkien, for example, and the great Catholic movies of the last century are still quite popular. The problem is new works are increasingly rare and Catholics produce art that either mirrors the popular culture or the hokey Protestants. Its just another aspect of the surrender of our identity to the world since the 1960s.

  18. FELIX Jr. says:

    Date : 24-JULY-2012

    The recent tragedy that befall on Aurora, Colorado was a senseless and inhuman act perpetuated by the killer. The U.S.A. in all it’s richness, development, prestige, power and might has become nowadays a haven of misfortune and even powerless in the midst of all these travails. That it has long been called the champion of liberties and model of democratic society, freedom and courage now find itself in fear and sadness. A land of civil liberties and fortune now has become a country where it’s citizen can freely get or own firearms because of their inherent and constitutional rights to be able to depend it’s citizens against his/her enemies. But who are the enemies now ? Is it the Russian, Japanese, Nazis or the Iranians ? No, it’s own people has become such. Even the movies have become platform of violence and an instigator of making heinous acts brought about by such movie, the Batman movie where apparently the killer assumed upon himself the character of the villain who is the Joker. Perhaps, hollywood should examine itself and check and supervise all violent movies, action flicks or horrors that it is producing in order to preempt the would be guillable minds and physichopats and protect it’s youth from these deranged people. But this action will suppress liberty and freedom of choice that it hold dear. So, what is left to do ? Shall it let this kind of culture of dependence on guns and wild west mentality prevail all over the country ? Or is it time that people should to turn to God almighty now and let his words and ways prevail upon there lives and liberty. ===> This is just my humble opinion and expression. I sympathize and extend deepest sorrow and respect to the bereaved families of the victims.

  19. Gail Carman says:

    Excellent article, eloquently said, I agree completely. Our society is headed down a very dangerous path.

  20. Richard Maffeo says:

    Before I read this post, I posted something similar to my blog at http://www.thecontemplativecatholicconvert.blogspot.com . America, and the Church, needs to wake up.

  21. Mei says:

    I have enjoyed the Batman story over the years but when I first saw the films, I was horrified at the violence. The original Batman tv shows were never that violent and it was stressed that Batman did not kill the bad guy. It appears to me, to make up for Batman’s reservations (in not killing the criminal but only sending them to jail), the producers of the films decided to make the criminals extremely real and even darker than Batman himself. There are ways they could have shown the evil of the criminals without actually showing such horrific violence and made it kid-friendly.

    I have not seen the new movie and I agree with Msgr here that what we take in DOES affect us. Everything we take in does make us who we are in some way. In monastic life one learns how to guard the eyes and this skill is really needed by laity as well–especially in our sick and immoral culture.

  22. Richard says:

    An tragic incident this year that was not on your list was the killing of 7 students here in Oakland, CA. see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oikos_University_shooting

  23. C Taylor says:

    I know this is an old post but the darkness passage you quote from is about greed in the context of first century Judaism – *however* it is possible that it could be used to mean more than that now – but at the time, and to his hearers, it was an understood analogy to greed.

    Just thought I’d throw that out there.

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