Catholic Culture Overview
Catholic Culture Overview

Quick Hits: Divine Mercy movie, IVF and surrogacy, the Saints' favorite books

By Thomas V. Mirus ( bio - articles - email ) | Jan 27, 2016 | In Quick Hits

  • A documentary about the original painting of the Divine Mercy, which Jesus commanded St. Faustina to have made, is being released worldwide on Feb. 10. While representations of Jesus' Divine Mercy are now commonplace around the world, the original painting has been in obscurity for decades, especially since it had to be hidden during the anti-Catholic Soviet occupation of Vilnius, Lithuania. The film features interviews and commentary by key witnesses to the painting's journey since its creation in 1934, as well as prominent Churchmen and Catholic artists such as Fr. Leo Maasburg (the spiritual director of Blessed Mother Teresa), Cardinal Cristoph Schönborn, Bishop Robert Barron, Jim Gaffigan and Harry Connick, Jr. Based on the trailer, Gaffigan's presence in this documentary doesn't seem to have any substantive purpose beyond being a celebrity draw, and I find that the attitude toward Catholicism in his comedic work usually ranges from shallow to offensive. But the film as a whole looks worth watching, and is well-timed for the Year of Mercy. To request a local screening, visit the film's website.

  • A while back, Peter Jesserer Smith did a good investigative piece for the National Catholic Register on how two major legal cases involving in vitro fertilization and surrogacy are showing the wisdom of the Church's teaching on procreation. In one case, Nick Loeb and Sofia Vergera are battling for custody of their frozen IVF children, who, after their split, Vergara wants to have destroyed. Meanwhile, a woman in California is fighting not to be forced to abort one of the triplets she is carrying as a surrogate for a Georgia man. The legal question is whether embryos (children) are property. Smith interviews people from the Thomas More Society, the National Catholic Bioethics Center, and the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, who are fighting for justice in these cases.‚Äč

  • Apologist Brandon Vogt is offering a free eBook on his website: The Saints' Favorite Books. It's a nice little genealogy of the spiritual classics that have inspired some of our greatest saints, many of whom went on to write their own spiritual classics which inspired future saints. From St. Augustine reading St. Athanasius's Life of St. Antony to The Little Flower reading Thomas à Kempis's The Imitation of Christ, I guarantee you will learn something new about what inspired the heroes of our Church. There's also an appendix on the favorite books of a few Popes of the past century and a half.


Thomas V. Mirus is Director of Podcasts for, hosts The Catholic Culture Podcast, and co-hosts Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Jan. 29, 2016 3:04 AM ET USA

    Cardinal Ratzinger wrote the definitive work on the moral consequences of homologous and heterologous artificial insemination in _Donum Vitae_. In his capacity as Prefect of the CDF, he explained the moral implications of the results of science, but did not extend his instruction to the science itself. This is exactly where the Church should be in its Magisterial guidance regarding science: lay out the moral ramifications, but do not presume to evaluate the merits of the science.