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Today in Porn(eia): Lent Edition


Any well-catechized Catholic knows that fornication and other sexual sins are not the worst sins; pride, vanity, and acedia, indeed all the other deadly sins, are worse in themselves than lust. We know, too, that all human beings suffer to a greater or lesser degree from the disordered concupiscence of our fallen nature; we are prone to sins of the flesh, and many will struggle with them for a long time. All this is true; and yet it is no less true, as St. John Cassian and countless spiritual masters teach us, that we must fight against this sin and conquer it if we wish to make any progress in the spiritual life, in holiness, in the charity that loves God for His own sake and our neighbor for God. If we get stuck in porneia, we make the devil’s job easy. He can leave us alone to wreck ourselves.

And…we’re out.

(Apologies for language in video.)

Well, it looks like someone went and made Alphonse into a movie.

“And the Darkness Did Not Comprehend It”


An early December story in The Hollywood Reporter recounts the first time that Hollywood actress Meryl Streep and legendary director Steven Spielberg met. “Most of the time,” Streep recalled in the December 5 story by Peter Galloway, she and Spielberg “talked about how his property was haunted and did I know anybody who did exorcisms? And of course, I did. I got him a priest.”

This comment from a member of the Hollywood community might come as a surprise to some people. After all, Streep works for the same business that produced a legion of movies about the devil—from Rosemary’s Baby to The Omen to The Exorcist—all in one way giving the devil more than his due by sensationalizing evil. Sure, images of devil and hellfire help maximize ticket sales—but do people in Hollywood actually believe all this Satan stuff?

While it’s not clear from The Hollywood Reporter story whether the famed director rid his house of the suspected evil, it is clear that even those who make fantasies for a living accept that the devil is real and that when he shows up on its doorstep, even the world of make-believe knows there’s only one place to turn: the Catholic Church.

Perhaps implicit in Streep’s recommendation to Spielberg is an understanding that believer and non-believer alike acknowledge, grudgingly or not—that the Catholic Church alone offers a direct, no-nonsense and effective solution to demonic affliction…


In Other News…

Today in Catholic Artists: Ben Hatke

Ben Hatke: Artist & Adventurer from Mirandum Pictures on Vimeo.

The man is talented and prolific and weirdly happy-seeming. He’s probably also disciplined and sober and able to face his demons with a confident smile. I’m baffled.

Today in Catholic Artists: Gene Yang


Gene Yang, a MacArthur Genius whose work I once reviewed, continues to sound his great theme, the meeting of East and West, this time by putting Superman in China. Not Kal-El, Mr. Truth, Justice, and the American Way, but an analogue, Kenan Kong. (There’s a Chinese Batman and Wonder Woman, too!)

I like the idea behind Sleez, the villain here. He feeds off unhealthy desires. Like something out of The Great Divorce.

Because “Kulture Klash” is one of our categories…


…and because a few of us tackled the kulturkampf-inspired Exiles lo these ten years ago, and because I’ve been spending a lot of time on the astonishing blog Monster Brains of late, I am sharing a link to The Kaiser’s Garland. As Gaga Confidential will eventually attest, I’m a sucker for illustrations featuring perversions of the Mass, and Garland is full of ’em. Here, the innocent angel Belgium has been slain on the altar and offered to Moloch. Love the simian acolytes.

“Natural order? You sound like one of those insane Neo-Catholics.”


…is an actual line of dialogue from Altered Carbon, Netflix’s dense and gorgeous sci-fi series about life after death has been digitally defeated. Consciousness has been codified, so you can get “spun up” into a new bodily “sleeve” for all eternity — provided you have the means. But wouldn’t you know it, there’s this weird bunch of religious zealots who object — who make noises about soul and body having more to do with each other than ghost and machine, who think it devilish to deny death and what comes after. Who make noises about human dignity. Remarkable.

It’s chock full of sex and violence, and the dialogue isn’t always the strongest, and the acting isn’t always spot-on. But there’s a lot there, and I’m kinda fascinated. It’d be fun to see some smart Catholic critic dig into it. Heh.

Hello sophomore, my old slump…

So as I dig into Entry Two of Lives of Famous Catholics, I realize that I’m basically re-doing Entry One. A story about a film director (Guillermo Del Toro) pursuing a passion project (At the Mountains of Madness) that never gets made but nevertheless reveals something about his spiritual state, told from the perspective of a collaborator on the project (an illustrator). For that matter, Gaga Confidential also treats a failed artistic effort (The Secret Show), only it’s told from the perspective of an embittered fan who uncovers a link to a collaborator on the project (H.R. Giger).

I keep thinking back to the line from the opening to Donna Tartt’s The Secret History: “I suppose at one time in my life, I might have had any number of stories, but now there is no other. This is the only story I will ever be able to tell.” Heh.

Bitches be hangin’.