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Quick Hits: Star Wars, criticizing the Pope, and more

By Thomas V. Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Jan 26, 2018 | In Quick Hits

Bishop Barron annoyed many with his claim that Star Wars: The Last Jedi pushes feminism hard: “Every male character in The Last Jedi is either bumbling, incompetent, arrogant, or morally compromised; and every female character is wise, good, prudent, and courageous.” I basically agree with his take, and that this agenda renders much of the plot incoherent. And you know what? I’ll go ahead and say it: Vice Admiral Holdo is worse than Jar-Jar. But the more I think about it the more I realize (to my disappointment as a former fan of writer-director Rian Johnson) that this is far from the only thing wrong with the new Star Wars.

Here at we’ve been having a discussion, including feedback from readers, on how to handle criticism of the Pope. One reader shared a blog post by evangelist Mark Mallett that sums up my own perspective (emphasis mine):

Most of you own a Catechism. If not, get one. There is no confusion there. Hold the Bible in your right hand and the Catechism in your left, and get on with living these truths. Do you feel the Pope or bishops are confusing your family and friends? Then be the voice of clarity. After all, Pope Francis explicitly encouraged us to read and know the Catechism, so use it. I know what I need to do, despite any flaws, shortcomings, and failures of the Pope. He has not said a single word that prevents me from living the truth to the fullest, proclaiming the truth to the fullest, and becoming a saint to the fullest (and taking as many souls with me as I can). All the theorizing, suspicions, assumptions, guessing, predictions, conspiracies and forecasting are a waste of time—an utterly cunning, deceptive and successful distraction that is keeping otherwise well-meaning Christians from actually living the Gospel and being light to the world.

Mallett’s two-part short story about a priest trying to find a balanced and faithful position between a Catholic who can’t stand Francis and a Catholic who has his head in the sand is also well worth reading.

David Warren writes movingly about Church Father Origen’s “Discussion with Heraclides”, rare among ancient dialogues in that it is an actual, play-by-play transcription of what these people actually said to each other.

Hoping to better understand how Mary is prefigured in Wisdom literature, I recently came across an old commentary by Dr. Taylor Marshall on Ecclesiasticus 24:6-10. I was not only educated but moved: Dr. Marshall imbues his theological writing with a piety and filial affection that ought to shame his arid academic contemporaries.

Finally, Ryan Holiday tells us why we should all stop following the news this year.

Thomas V. Mirus is a pianist living in New York City. He is the director of audio media for and hosts The Catholic Culture Podcast. See full bio.

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