Are Friendships a Thing of the Past?


Two happy friends talking in a balcony at sunset

[Guest post by Hudson Byblow]

Recently, a female friend shared with me about her relationship with her friend who is of the same sex. Her words struck me to the core, especially in this over-isolated and over-sexualized culture. Here is what she said:

“I’ve been thinking a lot about my relationship with [name]. I care about her so much; we talk almost every day, we have a lot in common, and we genuinely care about each other. When I first met her, she was so beautiful and so cool that it really caught me off guard. I found myself really drawn to her and I really want to be her friend — strictly her friend — and at first, that scared me. I had to remind myself that it is okay to want to be around someone of the same sex, to be close to someone of the same sex, to be intimate friends with someone of the same sex. And that intimacy does not require sexual/romantic interaction (in thought or action). It just seems as though society has forgotten this.”

Again, her words echoed in my heart. Friendship. What does that even look like anymore?

How the Theology of the Body Made Me a Better Filmmaker

Few filmmakers have captured the gaze of the male and female character relationship like this classic scene from “Casablanca.”

[Guest post by filmmaker Matt LaFont]

Movies are still considered to be one of the youngest art forms of storytelling. With the invention of the motion picture camera in the late 19th century and the evolution of the editorial process, films have entertained audiences all over the world for many years.

As one of the most labor-intensive art forms, filmmaking itself requires an enormous collaborative effort of many different talented artists who all contribute to the same goal of creating an entertaining story for people to experience.

The process at times can be stressful, but after immersing myself in St John Paul II’s Theology of the Body (TOB) and working in the film industry for almost a decade, I’ve found my work more rewarding as it relates to the human experience. With the ups and downs of reality in my own life, it can be easy to connect with a compelling fictional story through beautiful images, a complementary score, and realistic sound design. Life’s biggest questions always seem to reveal themselves as the story unfolds, but during the creative process, you need to dig a lot deeper to find that story which awakens the sleepy heart. Even from my early childhood, I always sensed this was a career path I should take and JP2’s TOB constantly reaffirms this calling.

Art has the ability to engage the body through the senses with a variety of perspectives. The art of filmmaking has a unique way of taking someone’s mind away from reality for the duration of the film. Usually if someone responds to a film, it is because they engage their minds and hearts with certain characters of a story. Like any story, characters are usually faced with a conflict that needs to be resolved, and it is our job as filmmakers to guide the viewer throughout the journey of resolution.

In the cutting room, which is where the bulk of my work comes from, the editor must analyze the character’s inner soul through his or her body language in each shot, keeping the overall character arc consistent throughout the film. Observing these qualities of a character, which is a whole and complex human being, the editor can determine the emotional climax of any given scene. With my experience in editorial department, this careful examination is simply encountering the body and inner soul with a creative eye, and I feel the Theology of the Body has enhanced my craft as an editor.

My first glimpse of this “new way of seeing” was during my first feature-length documentary “Dog Man.” As the interview process began, it was hard to feel the full scope of emotion during the interview as everything was happening in real time. Once in the cutting room, I was allowed to play back and replay back what he or she said, hearing and seeing them laugh or cry again. Then it hit me… these are human persons who have intrinsic dignity, and it was my responsibility to show the truth regarding the things stirring in their hearts (since they permitted me to share their story in the first place). It wasn’t that I didn’t respect them during the interview, but that I was blind and did not truly see this dimension of their dignity as a human person. I had a deeper connection with them in a sense… not realizing that I was encountering God.

Almost like a interviewee in a documentary, the actor places a trust in the director’s vision as they work together to bring a character to life. It’s fair to say that most of Hollywood would not know anything about JP2 and his teachings, but you can’t deny that they are in touch with their inner desires as fallen and broken human beings. This is exactly why Christopher West uses movies to bring out themes of the Theology of the Body. You cannot separate the body from the soul, and during the actual filmmaking process, this is more evident than ever. I would argue that this is what makes or breaks a film. Just like a porn movie separates the soul from the body by allowing the indulgence of our desires with no limits, so too does the “so-called” Christian film (with good intentions) separates the body from the soul by forcing the Christian message in their art and only relying on the spiritual dimension of the human person. The fact is, God is already present in our art. God is present in His creation as He already speaks through us, through our bodies and through our souls.

Recently, I decided to answer God’s call to produce a narrative short film that is close to my heart. The story is about a man who discovers a beautiful woman expressing interest in meeting on his dating app. But after they meet, neither of them will see the other in the same way again. One of the greatest gifts you can give a person is a good and honest story. Stories can leave questions in a person’s heart… questions that awaken the desire for true love. In a world with so much sexual tension and confusion, it is hard to fathom how the healing process can begin. A simple short story can make people ponder life’s biggest questions without judging someone’s heart.

Please click the button below to learn more about the project and consider making a contribution (large or small) to help make this project a reality and possibly make an impact in today’s hungry world.

Click to Support Matt LaFont’s Short Film Project Connected

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matt lafont CROP

After completing his bachelors at the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2010, Matt LaFont has been working at River Road Creative ( for 8 years as an editor for title designer/filmmaker, Richie Adams. During his time at RRC, LaFont has traveled from L.A. to NYC on commercial projects, and even as far as France at the Festival de Cannes, where LaFont served as an on-location editor for filmmaker/talent interviews for client, Variety magazine. See Matt’s commercial reel and other highlights at his website


Matt edited the feature length documentary, “Dog Man,” which the Times-Picayune cited as one of the top 10 films to watch at the 2015 New Orleans film festival. LaFont served as assistant editor for Adams’ acclaimed narrative feature, “Of Mind and Music,” and most recently was the co-editor with Adams of “American,” an award-winning short film starring George Takei about the internment of Japanese Americans in the U.S. during WWII. He continues to edit commercials, mini documentaries and title sequences for feature films. With vast experience in the cutting room, Matt is excited to make his directorial debut with “Connection,” a short film about the lost of the “original” union between human beings. Please support his project here. Check out his IMDB page here.

7 Effective Ways to Respond to the Sexual Crisis in the Catholic Church

Crisis, accusation, and the revelation of sin has left a wake of sorrow and devastation in the Catholic Church over the last few weeks. Bill Donaghy and Christopher West have collaborated to write a short resource to guide us through these times. This resource intends not to fix the problems in the Church today, but rather forms a path ahead for believers who are a mixture of righteous anger, frustration, horror and hope for justice and conversion to happen in the hearts of our shepherds and in the broken structures of the Church. God of Justice, deliver us. Merciful Lord, heal us. Immaculate Mary, pray for us!

Click to Download ‘7 Effective Ways to Respond to the Sexual Crisis in the Catholic Church’ PDF

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A Message for All My Brothers

man praying in nature

[Guest post by Hudson Byblow]

Dear Guys,

I don’t know you. I’ll probably never even meet you. However, what you have chosen to do has seriously impacted my life. This isn’t some kind of victim story, but rather me telling you that your choice to do GOOD was the inspiration to ME to strive to live a holy and chaste life.

My story is rooted in escapism. All it took, however, was a few good men to be the reason why I wanted to step up my game and become a man instead of remaining a boy in a man’s body. A man does what is difficult, while a boy runs from it. A man pursues self-mastery while a boy justifies his attachments to the passions of the flesh. For many years as an “adult,” I was nothing more than a boy. I ran from woman to woman, and then from porn site to porn site trying to escape myself. I lived very unchastely for many years. Though I was wounded, it was my choice to remain in my wounds.

It was you guys, however, who radiated a peaceful confidence that I craved, which drew me towards what you were holding onto. And that was Jesus Christ, King of our Universe, The Restorer of man. And today, I strive to live not in my wounds, but in His. I’ve been renewed.

What a Priest Is Supposed to Be

priest celebrating Mass

[NOTE: The following is excerpted from a homily by Father Patrick R. Schultz delivered Aug. 19, 2018. It is transcribed and printed with his permission.]

It’s been so hard reading and watching the news over the past [several]­ weeks and days as we hear again the incredible abuse and negligence of churchmen from within the hierarchy; not just priests and bishops, but all the way up to cardinals, and my heart is just shattered — it’s just shattered — for the victims and their families, and for this Church that I love so much. I’ve spent many of my holy hours this week sitting in front of the Blessed Sacrament, sitting in front of Jesus speechless; I’m not quite sure what to say to him or what to ask of him, other than, “Why?”

I’ve been really blessed by a number of people from this parish and around the diocese, a number of people who have reached out through emails and text messages, things like that, just to check in, to offer words of support, just to check in and see how I’m doing, how I’m processing, how priests of the diocese are doing, how we’re processing. And the honest to God truth is: it’s not been easy, it’s been a struggle…I’m angry, confused, hurt, I’m disgusted, heartbroken…I feel betrayed by brother priests, I feel betrayed by bishops. This is the first time since I was ordained a deacon in 2015 that, putting clerics on in the morning, going out, walking on the streets that I am very conscientious of what I’m wearing.

I was ordained in 2016, and entered the seminary in 2008, and I feel like my generation, my classmates and ordination class were ordained at a very interesting time, and formed during a very interesting time. Between these two lulls, it feels like we always had the abuse crisis hanging over our heads, we always had it in our minds, it was always part of conversation. We knew that we would be coming into a Church that was badly battered and wounded and desperately in need of healing. But this is the first time walking around as a priest that I … I feel it. I feel it.