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  • Secret deal? Author hopes Vatican archives shed light on efforts to end Holocaust
    VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Secret negotiations between Heinrich Himmler — the "architect" of the Holocaust — and a Swiss Catholic politician, hired by a Jewish woman and helped by an Italian papal nuncio, may have contributed to ending the mass extermination of the Jewish people, according to a Canadian researcher.
  • Pumpkin patches
    Crunch. It’s the sound of small children racing through a field in search of the perfect carving pumpkin. This annual tradition can fashion wonderful memories for families.
  • Compellingly honest book on prayer contrasts with another offering
    Heather King is a wonderful writer who, in "Holy Desperation," gives us a contemporary rendition of classic Catholic asceticism.
  • Harvest Moon Hoedown in Selma
    When America was made up largely of farms, the Saturday night hoedown was the high point of the week. With movies, television and internet, this tradition has faded, but younger folks are getting interested in authenticity and leaving digital devices behind now and then.
  • Theater for a time of racial division
    To characterize Father Augustus Tolton’s life as remarkable is an understatement. He was born a slave on a Missouri farm in 1854 and as a youth heard a call to priesthood. After every seminary in the United States rejected him, Tolton did not give up and finally was ordained in Rome. He died at 43 after collapsing from heat exhaustion in Chicago. His sainthood cause is now being explored.
  • Enjoyable bio looks at McDonald's businessman, his philanthropist wife
    Ray Kroc was driven to succeed. The first 50 years of his life he hustled to sell paper cups and then milkshake machines. He supported his wife and daughter in a little house in the Chicago area but never hit the big time. But he never gave up on his dreams, and he continually looked for opportunities to prosper.
  • It

    It

    NEW YORK (CNS) — Moviegoers looking for nothing more than to be unsettled will likely be satisfied with the horror adaptation "It" (Warner Bros.). However, while director Andy Muschietti's generally effective screen version of Stephen King's 1986 novel promotes friendship and fear-conquering solidarity, it also includes some grisly sights that, taken together with other elements, make it suitable for few.
  • Drama on first African-American priest opening in Portland
    To characterize Father Augustus Tolton’s life as remarkable is an understatement. 
  • Home Again
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Genteel decorum prevails in the romantic comedy "Home Again" (Open Road). At least, it does so everywhere beyond the confines of its protagonist's bedroom. The result is a morally mixed film in which kindly characters follow the misguided marital and sexual dictates of contemporary society.
  • Tulip Fever
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Horticulture was never as steamy — or silly — as in "Tulip Fever" (Weinstein), a period drama based on the 1999 novel by Deborah Moggach.
  • Tapestries, once on the walls of St. Peter’s Basilica, to go on display in Eugene
    EUGENE — An exhibition of rare 17th-century Italian tapestries that once decorated St. Peter’s Basilica will be on view beginning Sept. 23 at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art on the University of Oregon campus.
  • Corn maze on Sauvie Island
    Even if a sea of corn is not your field of dreams, Sauvie Island’s maze is a fun — corny? — way to get lost in fall’s splendor.
  • All Saints
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Sincere but less than slick, the low-key, fact-based drama "All Saints" (Sony) celebrates Christian faith and family life. Believers, accordingly, will likely be inclined to overlook its artistic shortcomings.
  • Birth of the Dragon
    NEW YORK (CNS) — No one goes to a kung fu movie to savor plot nuances. They're all about tightly choreographed kicks and punches, and pleasing epigrammatic dialogue about near-monastic discipline and self-control, mixed in with a dusting of Asian spice.
  • Good Time
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Gritty and intense, the ironically titled crime drama "Good Time" (A24) actually charts some very grim hours in the lives of its central characters.
  • Book collects John Paul II's notes from 41 years of spiritual retreats
    St. John Paul II was a churchman known for his public activism and as a major world figure during the latter part of the last century.

    As a priest, bishop and cardinal in communist-ruled Poland, he learned how to deal with an authoritarian atheist regime, helping to keep faith alive and flourishing in the historically Catholic country. As pope, he was instrumental in the fall of the Soviet empire and the end of the cold war, chipping away at the Iron Curtain with his constant calls for religious liberty and respect for human rights.
  • Notre Dame coach recalled as moral leader
    In the U.S. Catholic world, the coach of Notre Dame football is one of the most famed of figures. From 1964 to 1974, the post was held by a man who earned even more than the usual respect. Though he was Presbyterian, Ara Parseghian attended Mass every week with his players and insisted that they uphold the Catholic university’s values.
  • The Good Karma Hospital
    NEW YORK (CNS) — The wonderfully humane and sumptuously photographed drama "The Good Karma Hospital" makes an outstanding introduction to the streaming service Acorn TV — roughly a hybrid of Netflix and the BBC — for those who have yet to try it.
  • Logan Lucky
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Director Steven Soderbergh reinvents his "Ocean's Eleven" trilogy with a backwoods twist in "Logan Lucky" (Bleecker Street), a zany heist caper.
  • The Hitman's Bodyguard
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Morality is never allowed to get in the way of style as Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds find creative ways to dispatch a host of extras in the excessively mayhem-ridden action flick "The Hitman's Bodyguard" (Summit).
  • Leap
    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Ballet enthusiasts of all ages should jump at the chance to see the charming animated film "Leap!" (Weinstein). Set in 1880s France, and originally entitled "Ballerina," this French-Canadian movie, produced by L'Atelier Animation and directed with brio by Eric Summer and Eric Warin, is a visual wonder.
  • Documentary and Mass to mark 50th anniversary of Fr. Vincent Capodanno’s death in combat
    WASHINGTON, D.C.—This September marks the 50th anniversary of the death on a Vietnam battlefield of Father Vincent R. Capodanno, M.M., Servant of God. Two major events will commemorate the occasion.
  • Banks-Vernonia State Trail beckons
    There is a cornucopia of hikes to choose from in Oregon, but an especially striking one for autumn color is the Banks-Vernonia Trail. Its 21 miles are lined with deciduous trees — including Oregon ash, red alder, big-leaf maple and sour cherry — displaying creation’s arboreal hues at their most splendid.
  • The Glass Castle
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Anyone who's endured the ignominy of grinding poverty with an alcoholic, out-of- work parent understands that there's nothing ennobling about the experience. It's something to endure, to escape if one can, and it leaves deep psychic scars for which later wealth is weak compensation. It's not an experience to be sentimentalized.
  • Monastic hospitality
    The Benedictine monks of Mount Angel exercise their famous Christian welcome during the annual St. Benedict Festival earlier this summer. Food, music and drinks brought together monks and visitors on a warm day.
  • Annabelle: Creation
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Most of the mayhem wreaked by the figurine-haunting demon at the center of the horror prequel "Annabelle: Creation" (Warner Bros.) is restrained. Yet, as the film progresses, director David F. Sandberg and his collaborators allow their imagery to become briefly but disturbingly graphic.
  • 'Faith County' set for Aug. 17-18
    Play, at Glenn Otto Park in Troutdale, explores small town life.
  • The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Much of the action in the animated children's comedy "The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature" (Open Road) unfolds at a frenzied pace. Yet, for all the sound and fury, this is in the end a bland film, unlikely to please any but the least discerning viewers.

    Perhaps that's because the folks behind this sequel (the original launched in 2014) were too focused on 3-D special effects to waste time giving their characters much personality. Ironically, those effects turn out to raise the main objection to the picture from a parent's perspective since — together with the many menacing situations to which the plot gives rise — they may be too scary for little kids.
  • Detroit

    NEW YORK (CNS) — A dark chapter of the Motor City's history is revisited in "Detroit" (Annapurna), a searing period drama.

    The setting is the summer of 1967, when race riots broke out in several cities across the country. In Detroit, simmering discontent over systemic discrimination and growing unemployment erupted in African-American neighborhoods. As protesters clashed with police, businesses were set afire and looting was widespread.

  • Kidnap

    NEW YORK (CNS) — The compact thriller "Kidnap" (Aviron) has Halle Berry's expressive face going for it, but not a whole lot else. The film is less a story about a mother's enduring love and sacrifice for her young son than it is a long drive in an amazingly durable minivan.

  • Compelling study brings archaeology to life for academics, nonexperts
    Some 3.6 million years ago in what is now Laetoli, Tanzania, three "hominins" (ancestral humans) walked across fresh ash from a volcano, leaving footprints that the archaeologist Mary Leakey discovered in 1978-79. She and her team identified about 70 such footprints, extending for nearly 90 feet.
  • The Dark Tower
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Awash in high-flown metaphysical hooey, director and co-writer Nikolaj Arcel's dull sci-fi fantasy "The Dark Tower" (Columbia) is inappropriate for the impressionable.
  • The Emoji Movie

    NEW YORK (CNS) — Tech savvy viewers will especially enjoy the wacky proceedings of "The Emoji Movie" (Columbia). But patrons of all stripes will appreciate the film's themes of loyal friendship and faithful romance.

  • 'Chesapeake Shores,' Aug. 6, Hallmark Channel

    NEW YORK (CNS) — Considered the most successful series in the Hallmark Channel's history, the appealing multigenerational family drama ''Chesapeake Shores" will likely build on its popularity when it embarks on its second season Sunday, Aug. 6, 9-10 p.m.

  • A Ghost Story
    NEW YORK (CNS) — "A Ghost Story" (A24) could be the best film about purgatory you'll see this year.

    That depends, of course, on whether you think that purgatory is the state in which Casey Affleck's recently departed character exists. Writer-director David Lowery hasn't attempted a story about religion specifically or spirituality generally, but rather has made a reflection on loss.

  • FCC approves merger of Relevant Radio, Immaculate Heart Radio

    WASHINGTON (CNS) — The Federal Communications Commission has approved the merger of Relevant Radio and Immaculate Heart Radio.

    Both are nonprofit, listener-supported radio chains. Relevant's stations are principally in the Midwest and East, while Immaculate Heart's are in the West and the Plains states.

  • The Tribunal
    NEW YORK (CNS) — The annulment process provides the unusual courtroom setting for the romantic drama "The Tribunal" (Freestyle). While the movie's Catholic values are strong, they come filtered through some faulty filmmaking.
  • Atomic Blonde
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Aspiring to be edgy and stylish, the espionage thriller "Atomic Blonde" (Focus), matches sometimes sadistic brawling with exploitative scenes of aberrant sex. The result is not only degraded but tedious as well.
  • Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Despite its ponderous title, "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets" (STX) turns out to be a flashy but lightweight sci-fi adventure likely to divert those grown viewers content to munch their popcorn and enjoy a break from the heat of summer.
  • The Last Tycoon
    NEW YORK (CNS) — A few significantly objectionable moments, reflecting the worst excesses of contemporary TV and film production, mar the otherwise appealingly old–fashioned storytelling of "The Last Tycoon."

    Presented in nine one–hour episodes, this latest adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's posthumous, unfinished novel will stream on Amazon Prime beginning July 28.

  • Dunkirk
    NEW YORK (CNS) — "Wars are not won by evacuations," British Prime Minister Winston Churchill famously observed. As writer-director Christopher Nolan's compelling historical drama "Dunkirk" (Warner Bros.) demonstrates, however, fine films can be made about them.
  • Girls Trip
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Buried underneath several layers of crass gags, "Girls Trip" (Universal) has a substantial story about loyalty and moral decisions. But libidinous raunch is the evident lure.

    The intended audience for this film is women in groups, eager to vicariously enjoy some road-trip misbehavior that comes with a considerable helping of melodrama. It's meant to be a bonding experience.

  • Twentieth annual Byrd Festival includes three pontifical Masses
    This year’s 20th annual William Byrd Festival includes three Pontifical Masses. Two using the 1962 missal are part of the schedule.
  • The Exception
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Historical kitsch applied to World War II espionage doesn't get more gloriously over the top than in "The Exception" (A24).

    Based on Alan Judd's 2003 novel "The Kaiser's Last Kiss," it has, as billed, Kaiser Wilhelm II (Christopher Plummer) living out the last year of his exile in the Netherlands before his 1941 death.

  • Descendants 2
    NEW YORK (CNS) — The soundtrack of Disney's new television movie "Descendants 2" features overproduced and elaborately choreographed pop/hip-hop dance numbers and oversung, power pop-country anthems.
  • Wish Upon
    NEW YORK (CNS) — The low-budget Faustian fable that is "Wish Upon" (Broad Green) has a bullied teen girl fulfilling her earthly desires for vengeance, money, popularity and a surprisingly chaste romance in exchange for maybe her mortal soul.
  • War for the Planet of the Apes
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Monkey business turns deadly serious in "War for the Planet of the Apes" (Fox), the climactic installment of the rebooted film franchise based on the work of French science-fiction author Pierre Boulle (1912-1994).
  • Waiting for gold
    BEAVERTON — For a musician, receiving a gold record for a single or album is not only a career highlight — it’s the moment of a lifetime. For Dan Schauffler, Valley Catholic band director, that moment was more than 30 years in the making. On April 4, students, faculty and staff celebrated the golden achievement.
  • Cambridge choir to perform at Portland church
    On Sunday July 16, St. Peter Church in Southeast Portland welcomes the choir of Christ’s College, Cambridge, England, to perform at 6 p.m., Sunday, July 16, at the church.
  • Books on saints uplifting but one has grave errors on Scripture
    These two short books about saints are devotional, suitable for spiritual reading and quiet meditation. Wright's book narrates the lives and accomplishments of two scions of noble families in what are today Switzerland and France in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, the time of the Catholic Reformation.
  • Authors help couples provide credible, effective witness to marriage
    Throughout this book the authors write from both personal and professional experience. They write affectionately about how their marriage into each other's family has been a life-changing, yet at times challenging, experience. They write about how they have been aided in their marriage journey by a loving and supportive faith community, both within the Catholic Church itself, and within the church's marriage ministry community.
  • Valley Catholic senior makes Carnegie Hall debut

    BEAVERTON — It was a cold night in New York. But Hope Huang, a Valley Catholic senior and musician, didn’t mind the chill as she experienced a musician’s dream, performing at Carnegie Hall.

    It was Huang’s first time in the Big Apple, and she was there to take part in a string orchestra at the Young Adult Honors Performance Series at one of the most famous venues in the world.

  • Spider-Man: Homecoming

    NEW YORK (CNS) — There's much to like about the vibrant comic-book adaptation "Spider-Man: Homecoming" (Columbia). Besides an unslacking pace and a clever central plot twist, there's the fact that the mayhem on display is kept virtually bloodless.

    And the film showcases both loyal friendship and restrained romance.

  • Reprint of 19th-century book worthwhile
    The 19th-century British catacombs expert, Father James Spencer Northcote, brings the history of the early Christians in Rome to life in his book “The Roman Catacombs.” He covers not only how the early Christians hid from Roman soldiers and buried their dead in the dark and hidden tunnels underneath the environs of the ancient city, but also the history of the catacombs once Rome became Christian, and their loss and recovery.
  • For this book, you win with 'Draw'
    NEW YORK (CNS) — "The Draw of Sport" (Fantagraphics) is a delightful and historically valuable book. The retrospective is written and drawn by Murray Olderman, a pioneer and central figure in the golden age of sports cartoonists.
  • Summer arts and recreation

    A “fundamental truth of Catholic Christianity is that creation is good, so that love of created things is also good,” writes Jeffrey Mirus, a co-founder of Christendom College and Trinity Communications. It’s important, though, to make sure that one is not replacing God with nature. St. Thomas Aquinas taught that God is not an item in the world, but is being itself.

  • Beauty, poetry of classic hymns comes through in book, audio CD
    Anthony Esolen, an accomplished literary scholar who is a faithful Catholic, turns his attention to the poetry of our beloved classic hymns in "Real Music." The book and accompanying audio CD captivate at every turn.
  • The House
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Had "The House" (Warner Bros.) been made as a taut, dark comedy about the price of greed, it might have some me