U.N. Me: New doc about U.N. only tears down

 U.N. Me

A film by Ami Horowitz and Matthew Groff opens this weekend in limited release. And thank God for that. The film documents many of the gross and more recent failings of the United Nations but it felt like an assault by an affluent bully (Horowitz) trying to channel Michael Moore. The difference between the two is that Horowitz only knows how to criticize, judge and tear down but offers nothing in terms of understanding or solutions. At least Moore offers some hope.

These sins of the U.N. are known, as are critiques of the ineffectiveness of the U.N. Seeing them all lined up has the power to confirm the anger and frustration of Americans and people in the West. This seems to me to be the purpose of the film.

Nothing positive is said about the U.N.

The Catholic Church, through the Permanent Observer from the Holy See, makes known its interest in and support of, the work of the U.N.  Three popes, Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, have visited U.N. headquarters in New York and addressed the assembly, a way to speak to the governments of the entire world. It seems to me that the U.N. is important to the Church because the U.N. is the only worldwide organization of nations that we have.  The website of the Holy See’s mission to the United Nations states that, “In its activities at the United Nations, the Holy See Mission works to advance freedom of religion and respect for the sanctity of all human life – from conception to natural death – and thus all aspects of authentic human development including, for example, marriage and family, the primary role of parents, adequate employment, solidarity with the poor and suffering, ending violence against women and children, poverty eradication, food, basic healthcare and education.” Holy See’s mission to the United Nations

The U.N. is the best hope we have to live in peace, to employ negotiation over war to resolve problems. If it is not good enough then member nations need to regroup.  The  U.N.’s website has a page designated to reform beginning with “strengthening accountability.”

The film divides the world players into “them” and “us. It seems to want everyone to live according to our U.S./Western standard and since they are not bright enough, and don’t have our culture and values or understanding of economics, to turn into us, well, what are we to do? Get frustrated! (The film does not say shut down the U.N. but this is the only reasonable conclusion based on what the film establishes.)

The U.N. can only do what it has powers to do. Yes, the head of the Egyptian U.N. decided not to return to New York and went on a parade to gather laurels rather than attend to the Rwanda tragedy. Remember, President Clinton didn’t even know where Rwanda was and Madeleine Albright in her new book “Prague Winter” admits this was a tragic failure on the part of the United States and other nations.

Obviously the filmmakers did not see 2010 “The Whistelblower” (based on true events recounted in a book of the same title.) The company DynCorp that hired the woman who became a whistleblower, Kathryn Bolkovac, is a U.S. corporation, a private military contractor, used by the U.N. The firm did, as the film recounts, hire on people from U.N. member countries with no background checks, etc. And most of the bad guys that engaged in the sex trade in post-war Bosnia were from the U.S.

The film “U.N. Me” does not hold up for me. Anyone can tear down but it takes people who are authentically human and who appreciate the gift of community, to offer solutions.

If we dismantle the U.N., what then? How many wars will we have to endure, how many deaths, so that a country can be top dog? The filmmakers do not offer an answer.

First time filmmaker Horowitz was an investment banker for twelve years before turning to filmmaking in 2006. “U.N. Me” made a limited film festival circuit in 2009 and picked up an award. It’s interesting that it has taken another three years to make it to some theaters.

“U.N. Me” makes no attempt to be objective.

For Greater Glory opens June 1

In 1917 the Mexican Constitutional Congress adopted a new constitution. It confirmed the separation of church and state first decreed in the 1857 constitution, returned subsoil rights to the government from ownership and control by foreign corporations, established the basis for secular education, and provided for land reforms. Five articles restricted the power and liberty of the Catholic church. These forbade public worship outside of churches, restricted the church’s right to own property, closed monasteries, deprived clergy of civil rights, forbade the wearing of clerical or religious garb, and banned clergy from criticizing the government or commenting on public affairs in the press.

The rigid enforcement of these laws by President Plutarco Elías Calles led to the civil war known as the Cristero War, 1926-29.

Although this tragic conflict may be unknown by this name to many in the United States, many Catholics do know the story of Jesuit Fr. Miguel Pro (1891-1927) who was shot in November 1927 on the order of Calles under the pretext that Pro was part of a plot to assassinate former President Alvaro Obregón. The church canonized Pro in 1988. Calles ordered that the photographs of his killing were to be spread far and wide to discourage the Cristeros; it had the opposite effect.

Click here to read the rest of the story For Greater Glory

“The Way” Special screening and panel UCLA May 31, 2012

Cannes 2012 Ecumenical Jury Prize “The Hunt” & “Beasts of the Southern Wild”


American Idol Winner 2012 – A Prayer for Jessica

Jessica Sanchez had me when she channelled Whitney Houston in  “I will always love you”. If you look at the uneven album records of the 17 American Idol winners and runner-ups only eight first place winners have released an album – though Carrie underwood and Kelly Clarkson have done well- there is one Oscar winner among the runner-ups and many of these have fared much better than first place winners. (Daughtry should have won – and I don’t even like rock.)

I think Jessica is amazing. Phillips is fine but this young lady makes you cry.

When she sang “The Prayer” last night it was incredible – and she is only 16 years old.

The record business is terribly difficult however; so often it lacks a soul though music is all about soul. If Jessica wins I hope she will have good people on her team who are not just in it for the money.

No matter what both these young people are winners, all those who try are winners.

I really thought the judges threw Jessica under the bus last night; they are so obviously rooting for Phil. Perhaps they know it will be too hard on Jessica for her to win. But let’s be fair – what a gift Jessica has!

Apocalyptic Themes in Cinema

Click here  to view the presentation I gave last night at St. Monica’s Parish in Santa Monica, CA. The film clips are missing but the list of the films I referenced are in the last slide. (Thanks to Mary Sperry; she’ll know!)

How well do you know the Bible? New game show with Jeff Foxworthy GSN

Note from Sr. Rose: I have formed a team (you need to sign up as a team of three people) with Sr Marie James and Sr Jennifer! We will be playing for a charity: The Daughters of St. Paul Retired Sisters Fund. If we pass muster this will be the second time I have worked with the Game Show Network. The first time was for 1 vs 100 (when Carrie Ann Inaba was the host) and I really enjoyed the experience. A lot of “hurry up and wait”, sure, but that’s television. Met so many great people on both sides of the camera!

The first ever game show created to test your knowledge of The Bible will make its television debut this August.  GSN – the Game Show Network – and the creators of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” are producing “The American Bible Challenge” which will be hosted by comedian Jeff Foxworthy.

It’s rare these days to find a show on mainstream network or cable television suitable to share with the entire family.  In fact it’s pretty much non-existent.  For lack of a better phrase, it’s a huge leap of faith for GSN to develop and produce not only a family show, but one in which The Bible takes center stage.

And right now – THE SHOW IS LOOKING FOR CONTESTANTS who have a passion for The Bible and giving back to their community!!!!

The American Bible Challenge” is criss-crossing America scouting potential players who want to win money for their favorite charity.  Individual players or teams of up to three people who have competitive spirits, great personal testimonies, and of course know their bible are encouraged to try out.  ALL ARE WELCOME TO THE CASTING CALL.

For a list of casting cities, additional information, and to sign-up as a prospective contestant, please go to: The American Bible Challenge 

“The American Bible Challenge” will debut on Game Show Network this August.  Please check your local listing for your GSN channel and join in on the Bible trivia!!!!

The Voice 2012 – who will win? Jermaine Paul gets my vote!

What I love about “The Voice” – the blind auditions. What I don’t like about “The Voice”  – The judges, especially Christina, turned snarky this season. The first season was so kind and nurturing to the singers. It takes such courage for them to perform as they do.

I loved Katrina but she didn’t make it.

If you watch the performances of the final four, however, they were amazing. I love Chris Mann for singing “Ave Maria”. But to me, Jermaine Paul stands out over and above. See what you think. My vote goes to Jermaine, though I reserve the right to change my mind after tonight’s show.

Screenplay Competition: ActOne

Click here for more information  ActOne Screenplay Competition