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January 2, 2018

Benjamin Franklin on Dissent

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fr. John Larson @ 8:43 pm

It’s rather unusual for me to be quoting Ben Franklin, but I happen to be watching a TV special John Wayne put together called Swing Out, Sweet Land, and it had this quote from Franklin… a quote that is found barely anywhere on the Internet. This is the attitude we who are old enough to remember still remember.

“Let us be aware in these infant years of our beloved Republic. . . There are those who wait to celebrate our failure. Be not disheartened, this will always be so, for we have lighted our candle of liberty in a dark world and each of us is in charge of keeping it lighted. And though the winds of dissent may threaten our flame, despair not, remembering that a nation which allows dissent is stronger from with-in and brighter from with-out. For when dissent becomes a crime, hope becomes despair. …

“Dissent, but dissent honorably. Dissent with faith in your hearts, not despair. Dissent to rebuild not to destroy. Dissent from with-in for dissent from with-out becomes attack. Speak out for what you believe in at least as loudly as you speak against the system, for gentlemen, if ours is a generation to say democracy will not administer to the people, let it be a conscious decision arrived at only after every opportunity for man to rule himself has failed.” … Benjamin Franklin

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January 1, 2018

Best Films?

Filed under: Audio and Video — Fr. John Larson @ 4:08 pm

It’s not unusual to see a “best films list” these days. So, why not do one myself?

I’m thinking here of films that have a message that is worth paying attention to.

Although some of these are fairly big movies, they are not Casablanca or Lawrence of Arabia. I am trying to look at movies that may not be on the radar of the average viewer.

1. Sergeant York

A pacifist sharpshooter during World War I? It’s a true story that could not have been made up, and full of Christian themes. The 100th anniversary of the events depicted occurs in 2018.

2. Call Northside 777

Another true story (with a few Catholic themes) that is quite gripping, and of course, has Jimmy Stewart.

3. Captains Courageous (1937)
I have decided not to include the trailer, because this movie is best seen without knowing anything about the story. Once again, Catholic themes come up, especially in the end.

4. The Human Comedy (1943)

The modern movie Little Boy has some similar themes, but this great old film is such a testament to a time when war was raging and uncertainty was still in the air, but eternal truths were also in the air.

5. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
I decided against posting the trailer here, because once again, I think it’s a great movie to go into without a clue as to what is going to happen. But here, with John Wayne calling Jimmy Stewart a “pilgrim,” is a movie that is quite funny and quite serious, as only John Ford could make.

It so happens that every one of these films is in black and white, but that is not intentional. There are plenty of great movies down through the years. These are some I think might be a bit neglected.

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