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Pirates of the Caribbean: The Quadrilogy Chapter 4

The end, until the next one!

Chapter Four: At World’s End

 

In my opinion, At World’s End should rightly have out earned the famed 1997 movie that went on and on and on until we were lulled to sleep by the last half hour of dialogue, essentially reducible to two words, “Jack” and “Rose”, shouted out above the din of everything that was more enjoyable than them. The fact that it didn’t even pass the one billion dollar mark in world wide box office still makes me angry. I can’t let it go.

 

Furthermore, critics and the general public condemn themselves when they allege that the movie contains disappointing plot confusion that’s too hard to follow. With James Norrington I want to lean over the table and yell into their faces, “Weren’t you listening?!” Over the decades we have become lazy movie goers. But what we don’t realize is that if we don’t think and muse while we are watching, we are still being formed. Pure entertainment does not exist. So, grab your rosary and let’s muse.

 

If the second movie asks the soul selling question, the third corrects the mistakes made by asking each main character one more question. This time around they must give answer to their crimes by way of recompense and redemption. They are mercifully asked, “What are you willing to suffer in order to reconcile the wrongs you have done?”

 

Before we dive into the particulars of each individual answer, I am delighted to explore yet another concept very unpopular in the secular world that is trumpeted in this Hollywood blockbuster, that is redemptive suffering. The concept is delivered to us once again by our resident theologian, Pintel. It shouldn’t be surprising because historically lots of pirates were Catholic, and this guy has a good head on his shoulders. He offers his insight out loud on the way to World’s End, a journey which, by the way, contains subtly moving backgrounds that could justifiably be displayed scrolling on high definition screens next to the still works of the masters in the Louvre. It’s breathtaking artwork. Now, where was I before truth broke in? Oh yes, the gorgeous Chinese masted Junk passes through a region of cold that recalls Dante’s lowest layer of hell. While shivering with the others, Pintel surmises, “I’m sure our suffering is for something good.” Normally we are trained to shun any kind of pain and suffering. Our society has tipped even so far as to advocate Euthanasia, physician assisted suicide and other violations of human dignity in order to avoid suffering. But Pintel thinks otherwise. Although he recognizes pain for what it is, disordered nature that says something is wrong, he is neither indifferent to it nor aggressive against it. His hope in embracing it is also not in vain as moments later he discovers its purpose. I concede that this is a fleeting element of the script and played for comic value, but such pearls wisdom shine at night like a lamp on a stand in the center of the room.

 

Elizabeth Swan is maybe the most unaccustomed to sinfulness and so finds it most difficult to hide. Remorse changes her behavior and she becomes clumsy and aloof. Her secret weighs her down. In Will’s words and by her own admission, she cannot be trusted. But she is willing to suffer the journey to World’s End to find Jack, bring him back to life as it were, and thereby restore the purity of her love for Will. As much as her glances were false and misleading for the audience in number two, the glances in number three are telling and truthful. Her love is exclusive. Once Jack is found her eyes are only for her husband to be.

 

Will Turner’s soul bargaining is perhaps the most blatant having been done through a dice game. But his motives and means are transparent, he is fulfilling a promise to his father. Only when the circuitous betrayals begin does he attempt to hide what he is doing. Still, Master Turner too suffers the journey to World’s End to board the Flying Dutchman and save his father. But that’s not the only pain this redemptive journey will cause him. He will also endure the hardship of a strained relationship between his beloved bride to be and him. It’s the necessary consequence of making a choice, a consequence he hopes will later heal, but one which he cannot allow to stop him.

 

Bill “Bootstrap” Turner, due to his servitude to the Flying Dutchman and its cruel captain, cannot suffer for redemption. He can only suffer. Since he has surrendered his free will to a mere creature, he slowly looses himself to that creature. The only mercy is that his memory and consciousness are fading, but so is his ability to feel and to love. Again, I’m overwhelmed by the true counter-cultural nature of this movie. On display in Bootstrap is the utter sadness of not being able to suffer for a purpose. We already know that he would do anything for Will but his choices have rendered him so helpless that he even takes a knife after his own son. Like a hapless addict, he is pathetically part of the crew and part of the ship.

 

Governor Swan, we learn, had sold his soul out of ignorance. His fault is diminished and his death carries a semblance of happiness. As he suspects foul play he questions his roll. Rather than risk loosing redemption, he suffers the fate of death. Virtue is always rewarded and he’s reunited with his wife. Although he must be mourned, his eternal fate is clearly good and marvelously depicted aboard the transitional boat, ghostly and tangible, spiritual and material. So like the gospel is this appearance that I half expected the former Governor to beach his vessel and eat a fish.

 

Commodore Norrington experienced the farthest fall and, as one would expect, the most admirable ascent. He too suffered death for his redemption, but his is less like that of a simple virtuous man and more like that of an heroic martyr. His redemption is made crystal clear when he is presented a choice. He has risen the ladder of virtue so high that when asked by Davy Jones the predictable and, by now silly proposition, he presents no fear of death. His self promotion is completely replaced by true valor. He is redeemed in a most victorious way.

 

Lord Cutler Becket dies a hopeless and mute death. His is a miserable fall. Thunderstruck, he first mindlesssly descends the disintegrating stairway, his hand sliding across the perfectly polished surface of the hand rail which splinters and shatters behind his touch. Then he drops helplessly into the sea where the once proud flag he served becomes his unforgiving burial shroud. His plans that day come to nothing. His death is as cold as his life and his end is best summarized in his own words to the apparently immortal Davy Jones. Becket claimed, in good business, to have conquered even the supernatural and brazenly declares, “The immaterial is . . . immaterial.” If indeed his declaration is true and he held it to the end, his soul is not only sold, it’s annihilated.

 

An inspired character addition in At World’s End is Captain Teague. He is Jack Sparrow’s father, Johnny Depp’s inspiration and basically Keith Richards as himself. This saga about sin and redemption is desperately in need of a priest, and who better to don the hat than them, or rather him. Captain Teague’s costume lays bare the priestly intentions of his creators. His head is swimming in Christian symbol and clerical sign. Rather than beads and coins, he is adorned with silver crosses. His entrance stirs reverence and the massive book establishes an authority which demands the assent of his listeners. I would guess that his is a celibate clerical state as well. Once his wife died it’s made abundantly and hilariously clear that he never remarried. Nor, by the same evidence, would any sane woman ever marry him. The keeper of the code has taught his son virtue on the seas, so when there is a question the Codex Pirata is produced in all its glory and its status is restored. It is a collection of no mere guidelines but of principle and law to be strictly followed. In fact, I think the Code at this point replaces the Rosary as the object which embodies the moral theme. Devotion is the unfailing source of courage in Dead Man’s Chest and holy obedience is the guarantee of righteousness in At World’s End. The adherencce of the Pirate Lords at council and the creative and virtuous adjustments Jack makes to their long standing traditions outside the law eventually bind them together against an otherwise insurmountable force and fleet of war ships.

 

Captain Teague by all present evidence worked hard to discipline his son, teach him wisdom and keep him on the straight and narrow. The bond between father and son is one of the reasons why it is predictable that Jack would use Will’s hand and not his own to stab the disembodied heart. Virtue dictates that the other’s life and not your own counts first. The fact that he looses his chance to captain the Dutchman no longer matters. Jack’s discernment was instant because it was the right thing to do.

 

As a rule, relationships can either help or hinder the quality of virtue found in each individual. Two relationships that are vital to understanding the thrust of the movie also provide a great study in opposites. The selfish love of Davy Jones and Tia Dalma is well juxtaposed with the selfless love of Will Turner and Elizabeth Swan.

 

Selfish love seeks pleasure for the lover and control over the beloved. It is different from any other kind of love in the fact that it is prone to disappointment and easily becomes disdain. Love and spite in the lives of Tia Dalma and Davy Jones are odd and symbiotic creatures. They are even palpable in the music that envelops them. The score is at times dominated by the tender soft tones of a heart shaped music box but then mutates into tortured cords blown forth from angry organ pipes, brass and percussion. Then, following the whim of the selfish heart, single soft notes return and summon Jones’ trembling tear. Caprice is beautiful and ugly, touching and tense. Wandering with the wind, the heart aches for what it is conditioned to never fully possess. When it is disappointed, selfish love will drift, there is nothing to keep it stable. Tia Dalma searches elsewhere because her nature is as impulsive as the sea. Jones takes his jaded love back and turns it into hate. The moment his beloved touches her lover’s empty chest and steals a vision of what he used to be offers a glimpse of what selfless love could afford them. But they both cling tightly to their different forms of selfishness and the moment is lost. Their hearts are rent again and they each turn away from the virtue that could help them and toward the vice that hurts them.

 

Similarly, Elizabeth Swan and Will Turner could have walked away from each other at any time. They had as yet no unbreakable bond of marriage between them. Furthermore, they had secrets and betrayals that were causing them to drift. Their communication was waning and their families each gave reasons for them not to be joined. Governer Swan distrusted the lowly blacksmith and Bootstrap Bill knew that his son would need to choose between his fiance and his father, he could not have both. I imagine that if ‘Liz’ had met her girl friends at Starbucks and started to complain about ‘Billy’s’ latest antics on behalf of his lost father, they’d tell her, “You don’t need this aggravation. He’s bad news. Dump him and get out while you can.” If Will had let slip his complaints about the love of his life over a beer on the lido deck, you can bet the guys would say, “There’s plenty of fish in the sea. Here’s the solution: Forget about this last one. We’ll introduce you to Babette the Gorgeous. She’ll help you forget” Unfortunately, in our day and age the bond of marriage itself would not change the scenarios much. But the 18th century love between these two redeemed people weathers many storms and one maelstrom.

 

To love selflessly is to will the good of the other. The lover gives to the beloved unconditionally because the reciprocal love is so trusted that it does not need to be felt. Such is the nature of a covenant, it is mutual and lasting. Elizabeth and Will share a rarified love, the kind that gives and is able to forgive. The tide carries them to emotional places they would never have been able to predict, but the purity of their love is all the preparation they need.

 

One of the most cherished aspects of their love is the fact that it is purposefully chaste. They abstain from complete self giving in the conjugal act of intercourse until after Barbossa has received their vows in the absolutely best marriage rite Hollywood has yet come up with, bar none. When they do consummate the marriage it is celebrated by letting us know that what happened appropriately off screen was for them both unitive and procreative. Pleasure, joy and life are all the results of love that is faithful and holy. Pope John Paul II’s collection of reflections entitled ‘Theology of the Body’ seems to be fully up on screen by the movie’s portrayal of faithful, erotic and fruitful love. Footprints in the sand, a game with the boot and one last embrace before the sunset are two becoming one flesh. Plus, the post script epilogue gives me the hope of Pirates of the Caribbean: A New Beginning. Come on number four.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Quadrilogy Chapter 3

Wait, there’s more –

Chapter Three: Dead Man’s Chest

I ask with enthusiasm and raised voice every group I can find who might show the slightest interest, “What is The Key to understanding Pirates of the Caribbean?” The answer I give is always the same – the rosary. “The what,” they say. “Yes, the Rosary!” says I. Then I have to exposit once again that it’s not actually the Rosary per se. It’s what the Rosary signifies, a relationship with eternity that says, “O Death, where is your sting” or in more fitting parlance, “I’ll take my chances, sir.” That’s what the only crew member who ever countered Davy Jones had the courage to say, and the close-up camera leads us to believe that it was because he was saying the rosary at the time.

Second only to the rosary is another symbol of something our society often discourages: a moral compass. In this case it is quite literally a compass. It came from the captivatingly mysterious Tia Dalma and she has the best line about it. In the hands of Jack Sparrow, the compass has fallen into non-function, but the insightful Dalma does not blame the object, she targets its user. “Jack do not know what he want,” she slurs in that delicious voice of hers. “Or,” she continues, now hinting at what is more likely the truth, “he is loath to claim it as his own.” When your compass is a moral one, what your heart most desires out of virtue can reverse the most heinous of vices, a fact that would be well remembered when facing down the clever tentacles of Davy Jones. His threats of “deeds lay bare” and “sins punished” would be seen for what they really are, as vaporous as his countenance.

The dialogue that circles around the proverbial moral compass is priceless all the way through the second installment. I’ll point out a few notable favorites. Elizabeth and Captain Sparrow volley forms of the word “curiosity” in what amounts to a seductive lure to come to ‘the other side’: light to dark and dark to light. “Come fly with me,” said swan to sparrow and sparrow to swan. It’s a great scene well written and well acted. Another pair, Pintel and Ragetti are the obvious comic side kicks but we’d best pay attention to them if we have any regard for our immortal souls. They offer wisdom when it comes to upside-down bible reading, reversing bad habits, evangelizing friends and especially justifying spurious acts. The fact that they make explicit the connection between our immortality and our behavior is more than conventional Hollywood often dares. Captain Norrington is the archetype of one whose moral compass has gone bad. His description to Gibbs of the final leg of his ruin and volatile response to hearing his old title of Commodore are self-fulfilled when he is thrown in with the pigs, another iconic ride scene with a new morally twisted background story. Finally, this paragraph would remain incomplete without reference to Davy Jones himself. His has to count as one of the greatest screen entrances of all time. The creativity and stunning visual effects are matched by the intelligence of his script and the perfection of Bill Nighy’s line delivery. In every respect the scene is exactly the opposite of the angel’s message, “Do not be afraid.” Before him, a moral compass is impossible to behold unless by a life time of habitual turning to grace.

The well placed symbolism of Dead Man’s Chest is accompanied by a common thread among its principal players. The peril of their souls comes about by one question asked of them all. Ultimately it’s a re-articulation of the question Davy Jones administers to potential crew members, “Are you afraid of death?” But re-articulation posses it as a a dilemma: What good in your life are you willing protect to the point of selling your soul? In other words, what do you value in your life so much so that you are willingly to bargain with Satan in order to shield it from harm? I’ll answer the question for each according to my observations:

Elizabeth Swan violates the fifth commandment, “Thou shalt not kill,” in order to protect her pure and chaste love for her fiancé. She and Will were to have been husband and wife, but their traditional wedding was interrupted by their bogus arrest. The intensity of her love and disappointment lead her to shackle Captain Jack to his death, and this act she sells her soul.

Will Turner quite literally bargains with his eternal soul out of a committed love for his estranged father. Ultimately, he proves willing to sacrifice his love for his future wife in order to free his father from the debt owed to Davy Jones. The contradictory choices present two goods, but the very act of choosing necessitates that an evil be committed. Will is caught between a rock and a hard place, and either direction forces him toward betrayal and the sale of his soul.

Bill “Bootstrap” Turner has already sold his soul for a period of 100 years in Davy Jones’ service. He had done this, as the movie’s exposition indicates, to be freed from the bottom of the sea, a fate assigned to his cursed existence by Captain Barbossa since he once defended Jack Sparrow. But, out of love, he further condemns himself, body and soul, to an eternity of the same servitude in order to protect his son from a similar fate.

Governor Swan acts against his moral principles. Out of a father’s devoted love for his daughter he offers his civil authority in service of the corrupt East India Trading Company. In order to protect her from the punishment of traitors, i.e. death, he bargains with Lord Cutler Becket to sign documents which further the business’s cause. When it occurs to him that he has been duped he will right the wrong and go willingly to his death, but for the time being even he sells his soul.

Commodore Norrington experiences perhaps the most severe personal plummet of them all. His highest priority is valor and honor and for it he is willing to sell his soul. However unwitting his decision, the act of stealing Davy Jones’ heart betrays a willful and dishonorable promotion of himself. When he places the heart on Cutler Becket’s desk he is throwing his soul to the pigs and has arguably fallen the farthest of them all.

Lord Cutler Becket has clearly sold his soul and his conscience to nothingness out of greed for money and power. The state of his soul is spelled out in what I think is a classic line. When Elizabeth lobs an insult at him recalling a better time when dignity and honor were the currency of the British dominion, he coldly tosses back a terse summary of his new ethics, “Unfortunately, currency is now the currency of the realm.” But Becket does not limit his assertion of superiority to his temporal aims only, his kingdom is an ever expanding one. His new possession, the heart of Davy Jones, places his soul in even greater peril.

As you may have noticed, the answers are surprisingly noble and selfless. Like building levees against the raging gulf waters, even Becket is convinced he’s bringing order to the chaotic seas. But the darker side of the same coin shows that the answers are also foolish and shortsighted, like a child to put his finger into the failing dike. The reasoning behind this judgment is theology. Now the absence of the rosary points to punishment and fear, and the movie makers are abundantly aware of what they are doing. These dilemmas are real for us. We can relate to the fantastical settings and characters because we are often faced with the same conundrums. Emotionally, we would rather that God protect us from the tough spots, but in faith we realize that He ultimately protects our free will over anything the disordered world, turned topsy-turvy by original sin, can throw at us. We are to freely love Him, even over all His good and holy creatures.

Speaking of loving freedom, you may have also noticed that I left Jack off the list. I believe that, despite his history, his profession, his cunning serpentine wit and even what he would have us believe, he is a virtuous man. Listen to the females with whom he cavorts. Elizabeth names his virtuous side and Tia is disappointed that he has claimed virtue as his own. Furthermore, why else would cannibals make him king?!? Jack seems to be in the toughest spot of all, the black spot. If there is anything that he tries to protect, it’s his very life and freedom. He’s even tempted by the artificial immortality of captaining the Flying Dutchman. Interestingly, when faced with the moral choice, there always seems to be something that protects him from himself. It’s even more rewarding than the conversation between Gandolf and Frodo in which the Wizard comforts the Hobbit with the assurance that there is a greater power out there struggling with them for the good, a power that will ultimately win. I find it ‘more rewarding’ because the conversation happens silently within the heart of our protagonist. That’s why I enjoyed the scene in which Jack finally embraces his virtuous nature and destiny. Under the haunting words of Elizabeth and his own prick of conscience, he reverses his dingy and returns to the ship.  Right wins out and after he is betrayed with a kiss, he growls with full gusto, “Hello Beastie,” entering the Leviathan. Virtue strengthens the man to fight that from which he has previously fled.

Changing subjects, I argued at the very beginning of this article, that the Pirates Quadrilogy is much more effective than Peter Jackson’s embodiment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Here is another reason why I believe that to be true. Cursed sea creature pirates are a much clearer metaphor than partially decayed orcs for two reasons. The former is a metaphysical statement, the second is just a physical image. Both are exterior reflections of the corruption sin brings to the interior of the human person. The cursed pirates of the first installment are like the orcs. The pirates of two and three, however, take the next step and explicitly define an element of choice inherent in sinfulness and show the decision’s consequence. Davy Jones promises to delay judgment and punishment, but he cannot hold off its deforming effect. In choosing to serve an evil master the physical appearance of each crew member changes over time to reflect his weakened spiritual disposition. The fact that they become “fish people” rather than the skeletal pirates of the Aztec curse is not just for novelty. Sin reduces us to our more animalistic tendencies, to seek pleasure for pleasure’s sake, to suspend our reasoning ability for what is instinctual and base. When taken to the extreme, one by one the surrendered souls finally loose themselves to an inanimate object, the ship. Any humanity or higher function is lost entirely. The idea that sinners begin to resemble the lesser creatures of the environment they inhabit is genius at work and very theological.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Quadrilogy Chapter 2

And we continue –

Chapter Two: The Curse of the Black Pearl

When we step out on to the wharf with Captain Jack Sparrow it’s quite clear that we have stepped into the world of salty pirates and principled citizens, well researched and purposeful. By that I mean not only that Disney had done it’s homework for this beautiful period piece, but that they have transported us into a world where vice and virtue ‘swashbuckle’ to great effect. As with the double edged sword, their strokes divide bone from marrow and our careful attention to dialogue discerns thoughts of the heart. The first encounter between the two brightly clad members of the shore brigade and the dingy unkempt renegade of the sea sets the tone for the entire saga. At first they are parallel lines preferring no real contact. When contact must occur the players feign a perpendicular head on clash of wills. But intrigue and necessity quickly confound the linear proceedings and surprising curves ensue.

We know of course that virtue will win, but vice must first display its arrogance. The two adversaries most poignantly meet when the cursed captain and the virgin daughter sit at table to dine. Though technically kidnapped, Elizabeth has already displayed her taste for the forbidden fruit, the gold Aztec coin she wears secretly on a chain. Barbossa, however, makes no qualms of demonstrating his haughty but vain pursuit of the pleasure he once possessed, but which mere gold, the same hanging from Elizabeth’s neck, has robbed from him forever. The true significance of this extravagant meal is hinted at by the presence of an apple. We are dining in the Garden of Eden after the Fall. It’s as if Adam is confronting Eve with the full force of blame for his fallen nature. What Barbossa explains in words, the moonlight exposes to the eye. His insatiable concupiscence is brilliantly revealed in the slug of wine he pours between his teeth. Gulped with such vigor, the substance which should rightly gladden the hearts of men instead runs futilely over his skeletal frame. It’s a great visual borrowed from the ride and given infinitely more meaning in the context of the story. The pursuit of hedonistic pleasure eventually becomes empty regret.

Adam and Eve’s pity party is ultimately busted up by another. William ‘Will’ Turner is a sword-smith by trade, a gentleman by choice, and a pirate by blood. His choice and his blood relate him to the old Adam’s vice. The culture of the time would have him believe that the sins of his father, William ‘Bootstrap’ Turner, have also served to condemn him to vice. But Will, practicing the freedom implied in his name, opts instead for virtue. Although he is a common laborer, Turner’s impeccable etiquette is held up by Governor Swan as an example to emulate for his errant aristocratic daughter. Whereas Captain Barbossa tells us that unchecked vice imprisons, Will’s traits tell us that habitual virtue frees. Here too, Miss Swan has already made her desires known, but until the wedding she must ever state them ‘at least once more.’

Once Turner acts on his pirate instincts, his choice remains noble and good, but his blood is what Barbossa must have. It and the remaining coin are the final ingredients for redemption, the lifting of the curse and the ability to again live finitely. The seemingly demonic pirates know that the blood of this Adam liberates and restores. But one should also be cautioned that this blood is the instrument of justice as much as mercy. Will’s blood can be deadly, as in Barbossa’s final breath once the single bullet is fired, or it can be forgiving, as in Sparrow’s assisted final escape.

Lest my intentional blurring of the analogy get carried away and ultimately confuse the point, I’ll finish with this, the opportune time to clarify. The choice and the blood in this story are less salvific and more covenantal. I see the plot device as inspired less by the cross of Christ and more by the sacrifices of Abraham, Moses and the priests of the Temple. This blood, shed and sprinkled, reverses the punishment of sin, it restores things to the way they were. The blood of Christ, on the other hand, makes all things new, a reality never actually encountered in the Caribbean of these characters. Sacrifices having been made in the temple cave and at the military courtyard, Jack swims away and the Black Pearl sails again. He is virtuous but mere mortal.

Trivia Night

Trivia Night to Support the Our Lady of Guadalupe High School Science Lab In Uganda

Fun for the entire family!

Test your trivia skills with your family and friends! Come and join in this friendly competition and a chance to have your team’s name inscribed on our “Master Minds from the Four Saints for Uganda night” plaque.

Uganda_PosterA funtastic time competing and answering multiple choice trivia questions against other teams while raising money for Uganda. Snacks will be provided!

Trivia categories will be announced!

When: Friday •  February 19 from 7:00 – 9:00 pm

Where:  St. John the Apostle Parish Hall •  Whitehall

Participants: anyone of age who would like to support the building of a science lab/resources at Our Lady of Guadalupe High School, Uganda.

Cost: $80.00 per table of eight or $10.00 per person.  Please call the Parish office to register and reserve a table of eight at 715/985.2227.  Individuals or smaller groups can also call the office if you would like to be put on a team for the evening.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Quadrilogy Chapter 1

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Quadrilogy

These theological reflections aboard the Black Pearl have fallen into four chapters of commentary. I had wanted to avoid long readings but this requires a little something different. By “this” I mean the most effective morality play of our times, more effective by far than Peter Jackson’s incarnation of The Lord or the Rings.

Chapter One: Origins of greatness

Marc and Alice Davis are the first in a long line of geniuses who have conspired through recent decades to bring these pirates to life. Marc’s character designs and Alice’s costumes were lifted from the paper through excellent storytelling and a phenomenal application of technology on March 18, 1967. The attention to detail and the use of audio animatronics continue to captivate guests who board the boats in Disney parks around the globe. Both came from the vision of Walt himself and the ‘can-do’ expertise of his design and development team, later known as the Imagineers.

The next generation, raised on the ride, picked up the baton and worthily carried it forward. Certain iconic moments were taken from their small rooms on the dark ride and developed into full pieces of entertainment. I am thinking of the skeleton pirates, the talking skull, the dark plummet, the sand crab, the great schooner, the port-side party, the drunk among the pigs, the dog with the keys and . . . need I go on?! The dead pirates gave rise to the idea of a curse and the inspiration began. There in lies another entry portal. Anytime you play with mortality and immortality you’re ‘at play in the field of the Lord’ (another great movie I hope someday to analyze here). You’ve navigated into the world of theology, and now I’m on board.

While director, Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer, impress with their prowess at the helm, it is my opinion that the writers, Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio, are the real heroes (like Andrew Adamson, they too are forthwith freed from the punishment otherwise incurred for inflicting Shrek upon our unsuspecting souls). To listen to them, they were flying by the seat of their pants. To watch the result, one gets an entirely different feeling. My favorite installment so far is At World’s End because it moves everything forward and combines complete logic with utter whimsy, formulaic Hollywood with fourth-wall-breaking courage. For example, when making a sequel to a multi-million dollar blockbuster movie, who would dare fill the screen with a totally white background and a close up of a nose with no explanation as to who or why? The peanut doesn’t help a thing either. That’s sheer unadulterated brilliance, says I.

Finally, coming full circle and adding to the ink already spilled on the controversial subject, I was delighted to see how the movies have affected the ride. Jeffrey Rush as Captain Hector Barbossa is the character I enjoy most on screen, so I laughed out load when I heard his gravely voice eating up the watery “ship and port” vignette and saw his face taking piratey pleasure in every repeated minute. Second only to that inspired addition was Davey Jones’ wispy projection through which every sailor passes . . . or does he pass through us?! His voice is so spot on convincing that I’m convinced Bill Nighy actually has tentacles and no lips.

Now, on to the movies.

New Parish App for Smart Phones and Tablets

ParishApp LogoAs you may have seen, the banners are up in each of our churches to announce the presence of a new way to communicate from the parish to you. Again, we are just at the beginning stages of learning the wonders this App can provide, but things are very promising so far. We invite you to download the App from iTunes or the Android store and start learning about our parishes, the universal Catholic Church and your faith.

So, what is the myParish App? Quite simply, it’s a premium Catholic Church app to stay connected with parishioners. A first-of-its-kind app for iOS and Android devices, myParish helps build stronger Catholic communities and better engage the New Evangelization. myParish puts parish news, information and contacts—as well as faith-building resources and features, such as daily Mass readings, Confession and prayer time reminders, the ability to submit prayer requests and much more—all in the palm of parishioners’ hands.
Download and start using it today: http://myparishapp.com

New Parish Website

For those who have used the parish Website, you know that it has recently gone through some trying times. Our domain provider went out of business and our second option proved inadequate for our needs. Painfully, the last bulletin uploaded was May 23, 2015. But the days of suffering are over!
We have been working hard on preparing a new Website for our three parishes, now affectionately dubbed in our alignment as the 4 Apostles. Saints Peter and John are the among the Apostles chosen by Jesus to walk in His footsteps during and after His own earthly journey. St. Paul was chosen by Jesus outside the normal pattern for Apostles and was sent as a missionary to the world. St. Ansgar is the Apostle to Scandinavia because of his own missionary spirit and obedience to the command of Christ to proclaim the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
The website is a work in progress and we are just at the beginning stages of construction. We are indebted to Bridget Barczak for sharing with us her expertise and sense of design, as well as her countless hours of service given to the Parishes to make this happen. Once again, we can encourage you to follow the link to the new website and start enjoying this connection to your faith.