Friday, April 26, 2013
The Big Wedding 
CNS/USCCB (J. Mulderig) review
RogerEbert.com (I. Vishnevetsky) review
It's approaching wedding season in the U.S., so "wedding" themed movies are to be expected. However, honestly, unless your own wedding/marriage proved a disaster (over 1/2 the marriages in the United States end in divorce, and though domestic violence is at times a reason (and a justifiable one - if one beats or otherwise truly abuses one's spouse one obviously doesn't know what a marriage is supposed to be), the vast majority of the times divorce comes when one or the other party convinces themselves that their partner is simply a disappointment in one way or another - or just plain getting old - and convinces oneself that one could still "trade up" somehow) I wouldn't recommend The Big Wedding  (written and directed by Justin Zackham) to anybody.
Particularly galling to someone like me is that the families in the film are supposed to be Catholic, not random religion, but CATHOLIC. Okay, one of the families is racist. Are there racists in the Catholic Church? I can with ABSOLUTE CONFIDENCE BASED ON MY PASTORAL MINISTRY SAY _YES_. NO DOUBT, NONE. There CERTAINLY ARE racists in the Catholic Church in this country AND A FAIR NUMBER OF THEM (certainly not all but far more than one really ought to be at all comfortable with). But having said that, it gets "complicated":
For one, half the Catholics in the United States are now Hispanic. Add to those non-white Catholics, Catholics from Asia -- the Philippines, Vietnam, South Korea, a non-inconsequential number of Catholics from India and from the Middle East (Lebanon, Iraq, even more recently Syria), then Catholics from Africa (the Congo, much of West Africa), the Caribbean (Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba as well as from some of the smaller islands) and then African American Catholics with family roots in Louisiana (which actually was the only predominantly Catholic slave state in 'the Old South') ... the substantial majority of Catholics in the United States are NO LONGER WHITE.
Then let's go through what the Protestant majority in this country has called the various Catholic immigrant groups that have come to this fair land over its history: The Irish were "drunks," the Italians were "crooks," the Poles (there isn't a building of consequence standing in Chicago that wasn't built largely by Poles) were "stupid," and, of course, the Hispanics coming over the Rio Grande or on boats from Cuba and Haiti are "crooks" (okay the Cubans are generally anti-communists, so we put a flag in their hands first and then call them "drug dealing crooks") as well. That's why we have to build a wall between us and our southern borders. Oh, yes, and young Hispanic women, like "Alejandro's sister" in this film are _also_ "sluts."
Add to this that while there are actually quite a few prominent Catholic-Jewish interfaith couples in America today, I can think of EXACTLY ZERO prominent Protestant-Jewish couples today. Why? My sense is that lived-out Catholicism is actually far closer to Judaism than Protestantism is to either: Catholicism is NOT MERELY theology/doctrine. Like Judaism, Catholicism is a way of life. There are seasons, there are feast days, there are traditions and there are ALWAYS opportunities to celebrate key milestones in the lives of the (individual) faithful in the context (and with the blessing) of the Church.
So Mr. Zachham, who my friend is being a racist?
And I honestly find it hard to believe that Robert DeNiro, Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon, Katherine Heigl, Amanda Seyfreid and Robin Williams (who I've liked for most of my life) would associate themselves with such a blatantly racist anti-Catholic picture such as this.
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