The Great Ptolemaic Smackdown
is a nine-part series posted by sci-fi author and statistician Michael F. Flynn
to his blog last year, covering the historical conflict between heliocentrism and geocentrism, with a special focus on Galileo. They are based on an article (pdf)
by Flynn which originally appeared in the Jan/Feb 2013 issue of Analog
. [more inside]
Written for the dedication of The John F. Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts in 1971, Leonard Bernstein created MASS: A Theatre Piece for Singers, Players, and Dancers
as a memoriam for John F Kennedy and as a thoroughly modern theater musical piece to reflect both its current times and universal questions of faith and existence. A recasting of the Tridentine Mass (in Latin)
, featuring additional lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a brilliant lyric quatrain from Paul Simon, the full staging requires multiple choruses, a full stage performance company (including ballet cast), a marching band, a rock band, and many others. The 2012 BBC Proms featured a concert performance
[1h56m, including introduction sequences]. MASS has had very few full theatrical stagings since its premiere, although now, over 50 years after its creation, it is beginning to find new acclaim and appreciation. [more inside]
The deep philosophical differences between the two main conservative factions of the Catholic Church, pitting adherents of John Courtney Murray against the followers of Alasdair MacIntyre is the root cause of the mixed messages being put out by the Church on public policy matters. It is the fight worth watching.
Out of love and concern for the truth, and with the object of eliciting it, the following heads will be the subject of a public discussion at Wittenberg under the presidency of the reverend father, Martin Luther, Augustinian, Master of Arts and Sacred Theology, and duly appointed Lecturer on these subjects in that place. He requests that whoever cannot be present personally to debate the matter orally will do so in absence in writing.
Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences Commonly Known as The 95 Theses by Dr. Martin Luther on October 31, 1517. or 496 years ago today. [Original Latin] [more inside]
In Conversation: Antonin Scalia "On the eve of a new Supreme Court session, the firebrand justice discusses gay rights and media echo chambers, Seinfeld and the Devil, and how much he cares about his intellectual legacy ("I don’t")." [more inside]
The Vatican’s new secretary of state has said that priestly celibacy is not church dogma and therefore open to discussion, marking a significant change in approach towards one of the thorniest issues facing the Roman Catholic Church.
A relic hunter dubbed 'Indiana Bones' has lifted the lid
on a macabre collection of 400-year-old jewel-encrusted skeletons unearthed in churches across Europe.
A Conservative Catholic Now Backs Same-Sex Marriage
"Among religious conservatives, opposition to same-sex marriage has remained essentially unquestioned.
Which is why “The Things We Share: A Catholic’s Case for Same-Sex Marriage
,” an essay by Joseph Bottum, published Friday on the Web site of Commonweal magazine, is something new in this debate."
was a series of video games released between 1995 and 2003. Created by Yukio Futatsugi
, the series quickly became a hit among gamers for its arial combat
and great soundtrack
. And if that weren't enough, apparently the ending of the third installment helps explain the Holy Trinity
This past Sunday, while privately meeting with a delegation of clerics from Latin American and Caribbean Confederation of Religious, Pope Francis reportedly confirmed the existence
of a "gay lobby
" within the Curia. The delegation's notes of the meeting were published by Reflection and Liberation
, a Chilean website focusing on liberation theology
. While the Pope's statements were not public remarks, the question puzzling most Vatican watchers is not whether he made the remarks, but rather what does gay lobby in the Vatican mean? Rocco Palmo
from the blog Whispers in the Loggia
. Columnist Jimmy Akin
from the conservative National Catholic Register
. [more inside]
“I am convinced [Dorothy Day]
is a saint for our time,”
Cardinal Dolan said at the bishops’ meeting. She exemplifies, he said, “what’s best in Catholic life, that ability we have to be ‘both-and’ not ‘either-or.’ ” [more inside]
The irony in a way is that Messiaen used this great romantic organ for his most modern experiments. For Messiaen, this was a great sort of sonic paintbox, if you like, and he would come here and experiment with the extraordinary sounds that he could conjure out of this amazing instrument. [more inside]
Later this year, the Vatican will canonize Káteri Tekahkwí:the, a/k/a Catherine Tekakwitha, a/k/a "Lily of the Mohawks."
Born in 1656 to a Mohawk father and Algonquin mother, some are celebrating the canonization of the first North American indigenous saint.
For others, the news is bittersweet, inciting mixed reactions derived from complex emotions
, especially to those of American and Canadian Native ancestry, for whom the news represents a painful reminder of the dark history of European colonization of North America.
The compelling survival story of Tekakwitha (or "the Clumsy One") has long been cherished as a religious conversion story by non-Natives of European descent, particularly Catholics, who claimed her as one of their own and held her out to the world as a model of piety and Christian values. In her classic 1890 biography of Kateri, The Life and Times of Kateri Tekakwitha, The Lily of the Mohawks, 1656-1680
, Ellen Walworth documents Kateri's ascetic lifestyle - which included self-flagellation, frequent fasting and even sleeping on a bed of thorns - in vivid detail. Describing her interest in Tekakwitha as sparked by "the thought of a mere Indian girl reared in the forest among barbarians," Walworth's spin on Kateri's tragic life seems to echo the pro-Indian assimilation line which was typical of the Assimilation era of federal Indian policy
. However, in more recent years, some authors have attempted to reclaim her story by digging deeper into her dark history from more diverse secular and non-secular perspectives. For example, Mohawk author and biographer Darren Bonaparte argues for painting a more complex portrait of a future saint which more fully incorporates and appreciates her Mohawk roots.
Both an ingeniously choreographed crime film and a moral drama influenced by Dostoyevsky’s
Crime and Punishment,
Pickpocket marks the apotheosis of Bresson's stripped-down style. There’s little or no psychological realism or conventional drama at work in Martin La Salle’s portrayal of a master thief who plies his trade at the Gare de Lyon and easily outwits the cops who seek to ensnare him. See it once to appreciate the spare elegance of the pickpocketing scenes, and then a second time to appreciate how subtly Bresson accomplishes the story of a man’s self-willed corruption, his liberation through imprisonment and his redemption through love, all in less than 80 minutes.*
Thomas Merton (1915-1968) is arguably the most influential American Catholic author of the twentieth century. His autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, has sold over one million copies and has been translated into over fifteen languages. He wrote over sixty other books and hundreds of poems and articles on topics ranging from monastic spirituality to civil rights, nonviolence, and the nuclear arms race.
"So I admire those artists that are actually spiritually concerned. And have the balls to be concerned about that, and not concerned with fuckin’ George Bush’s dick. It’s very hard to sing when you’ve got someone’s dick in your mouth.”
She shoots a mischievous grin before adding, 'I’ve tried.'" Sinéad O’Connor
on the pope, her music, dating, buying condoms, and everything in between.
In October 1963, the Brazilian movie writer, director, and actor José Mojica Marins was having trouble with a movie he was working on, and fell asleep at the dinner table. He dreamed of being dragged to a cemetery by a creature in black, who showed Marins his own tomb stone, with the dates of his birth and death (YT: 9 min)
. That dream lead to the creation of Zé do Caixão
(anglicized as Coffin Joe
), the main character in Brazil's first horror movie, and Marins' first big movie success: À Meia-Noite Levarei Sua Alma (YT: 1hr 22min w/English subs)
(At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul
). This was one of the up-ticks in a life of some ups and lots of downs for the South American Roger Corman or Ed Wood
(NYT), and the birth of a character who would become Marins public persona. [more inside]
Irish PM condemns Vatican interference in sex abuse cases.
Enda Kenny, the new Taoiseach of Ireland, has scathingly criticized the Vatican, citing the Cloyne Report
and a recently-leaked Vatican letter
intended to prevent sex abuse cases from going public, despite their public policy of reporting all abuse claims to the authorities. (Similar claims of the Vatican not reporting recent child abuse cases have also been made in the US
.) Ireland's Minister for Justice has cited an extensive list of The Church's failures to comply with their policies
, and is supporting legislation to make it a crime not to report child abuse claims
. The Vatican's envoy was asked to report to Parliament and explain The Church's position on this matter quickly, with the implied threat that they might be forced to testify.
Today, the Church, citing "surprise and disappointment at certain excessive reactions"
has recalled their envoy. "(This) should be interpreted as an expression of the desire of the Holy See for serious and effective collaboration with the (Irish) Government."
On July 25th pilgrims
arrive at Santiago de Compostela for the holy feast day
of St. James
. The medieval pilgrimage route
has seen a spike in popularity
in recent years and has been portrayed in both classic
film as an introspective journey. However, travelers along the way also pass many reminders of Spain's history of religious conflict such as a monument to Ferregut's
final duel, the final resting place
of El Sid
, and the final battleground
. Images of the saint himself can sometimes
A scathing grand jury report accused the Philadelphia Archdiocese of providing safe haven for as many as 37 priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse.
Most of those priests remain active in the ministry. 'The possibility that even one predatory priest, not to mention three dozen, might still be serving in parishes — “on duty in the archdiocese today, with open access to new young prey,” as the grand jury put it — has unnerved many Roman Catholics here and sent the church reeling in the latest and one of the most damning episodes in the American church since it became engulfed in the sexual abuse scandal nearly a decade ago. The extent of the scandal here, including a cover-up that the grand jury said stretched over many years, is so great that Philadelphia is “Boston reborn,” said David J. O’Brien, who teaches Catholic history at the University of Dayton, referring to the archdiocese where widespread sexual abuse exploded in public in 2002.' [more inside]
"In a letter last May, Pope Benedict XVI urged priests to help people see the face of Christ on the Web, through blogs, Web sites and videos; priests could give the Web a 'soul,'
he said, by preaching theology through new technology
." Well ... it was only a matter of time. Are you a sinner? There's an app for that
. "Confession: A Roman Catholic App"
isn't supposed to replace the actual confessional booth, but instead offers "a personal examination of conscience." Sounds great, but the Vatican would like to remind you that you'll still need to drop by an actual church to make it count
ReturnTheDVD.org "Dear Archbishop Nienstedt,
We write to you as a small group of faithful Catholics. This letter, however, represents the voices of thousands of families who were as disheartened as we were by the DVD Preserving Marriage in Minnesota..." [more inside]
"Claz Gomez" is reporting live from the 2010 Papal Visit to the UK.
Claz is using a variety of Internet media to provide her personal point of view from the ground, covering events running up to, during and presumably after the visit (official site
) which takes place 16th - 19th September. [more inside]
This week NPR
featured a five part series of stories entitled, "New Believers: A religious revolution in China
" that explores the growth and status of religion in China today. [more inside]
Pope Benedict XVI has announced
the establishment of a new Vatican department
dedicated to tackling what he called 'a grave crisis in the sense of the Christian faith and the role of the Church." The Pontifical Council for the Promotion of New Evangelisation will (per Archbishop Vincent Nichols,
) focus on countries "in which, even though the Christian Gospel has shaped an entire culture,"
secularism now reigns, in what the Pope termed an "eclipse of a sense of God." [more inside]
A Saint for Lost Souls.
"The barrio of Tepito, where it's said that everything is for sale except dignity, has been one of Mexico City's roughest neighborhoods since Aztec times. Famous for its black market and its boxing champions, Tepito
is a place where residents learn to fight early and fight hard. These days it has also become the epicenter of Mexico's fastest-growing faith
: Santa Muerte
, or Holy Death
, a hybrid religion
that merges Catholic symbolism with pre-Hispanic worship of the skeletal Mictlantecuhtli
, Lord and Lady of the Dead."
The source Fr. Amoth refers to
, according to Fr. Fortea
, is the demons who are being exorcised
. Of this, the Spanish priest wrote that knowing whether or not the demon
is telling the truth "is in many cases impossible." "We can know with great confidence when a demon tells the truth in the subject directly related with the exorcism. That is, the number of demons, their name and similar things. But we cannot be confident in what regards concrete news relating to people." [more inside]
I am writing to you to inform you of an important change to our group health care benefit plan that will take effect on March 2, 2010 due to a change in the law of the District of Columbia. [more inside]
Some 10,000 people descended on the Knock Shrine
a few months ago to see a Marian Apparition
, promised by "clairvoyant" Joe Coleman
to appear in the sun.
Mary Kenny of the Irish Independent asks "What harm if people derive comfort from what they believe to be a spiritual experience?"
while an Irish opthalmic surgeon now reports that he has treated no fewer than five people already
, claiming it "monstrous" to mislead people into thinking that altered vision and effects, such as seeing the sun dance, were a religious apparition when they were classic symptoms of solar retinopathy. [more inside]
The Thirty Years War
is a website covers that ginormous kerfuffle that consumed Europe in the first half of the 17th Century from the Second Defenestration of Prague
to the Peace of Westphalia
. It has a handy map with a place locator
which will help you tell your Schweidnitz from your Schweinfurt. Here are some other maps, The Religious Situation in Central Europe about 1618
, Principal Seats of War, 1618-1660
and Europe in 1648 - Peace of Westphalia
Does it cause hairy palms?
(No, that is a myth.) Will it make you go blind?
(No, though zinc deficiency can be detrimental to one's vision, and semen contains a small amount of zinc.) Are you going to hell for it?
(Maybe, maybe not.) But what if it helps with conception?
(well, the men doing it, anyway)
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has found himself in a bit of an imbroglio this week. Having attended the state funeral of former Governor General Romeo LeBlanc
, the evangelical Harper has been accused of pocketing a communion wafer
, an action considered "seriously offensive" by Catholics [scroll down for explanation]
. But as professor of Internet and E-commerce law Michael Geist notes
, the confusing thing about the controversy isn't whether the PM did or didn't eat the wafer
(or even whether he should have been offered it in the first place
), but rather why Societe Radio-Canada (the French name for the government-owned Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) has yanked a video of the incident
from YouTube. [more inside]
The Irish Comission to Inquire into Child Abuse
published their full report
documenting systematic abuses by Catholic-run industrial schools and schools for the disabled. Collecting data from over 1,500 witnesses, including survivors, government officials, and school staff, the report includes more than 70 years of incidents. It also documents the history of the laws that supported the schools
. The executive summary
damns both Church organizations and government for the abuse, but gives no names and falls short of recommending criminal proceedings. [more inside]
When I was growing up, I did not dress up as a nun for Halloween. When I was a young, impressionable Catholic school girl, I did not secretly (or otherwise) pine for the veils, habits, odd religious names, and overall mystique of the nuns who taught me. The whole “nun” thing kind of snuck up on me when I wasn’t paying much attention. A Nun's Life
is the eclectic personal blog of Sister Julie
, a Servant of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
and a Star Wars fangirl
(google video) A former priest's personal journey through the tangled and sometimes violent history between Christians and Jews.
keeping up with the times and are they having fun
? From blogs
, to the arts
and union disputes
, nuns are busy. Even a beauty contest
is being planned. But, the old ways
persist. [more inside]
Pregnancy Boom at Gloucester High
As summer vacation begins, 17 girls at Gloucester High School are expecting babies—more than four times the number of pregnancies the 1,200-student school had last year. Some adults dismissed the statistic as a blip. Others blamed hit movies like Juno and Knocked Up for glamorizing young unwed mothers. But principal Joseph Sullivan knows at least part of the reason there's been such a spike in teen pregnancies in this Massachusetts fishing town.
"Ratzinger is an Evolutionist, which by definition makes one an athiest"
, is one of the reasons that this website
, in which the "true" catholic faith (different [?] from the other catholic faith
) is promoted, gives as to claiming Benedict XVI isn't the true pope. And to make their point they have elected a "real" pope themselves: Pope Pius XIII
His real name? Lucian Pulvermacher
) [more inside]
The Mills-Kronborg Collection of Danish Church Wall Paintings,
courtesy of Princeton University's Index of Christian Art
, includes descriptions and images of medieval and early modern church frescoes. There are more church frescoes at Painting and Sculpture in Medieval Hungary
. (Another site features a fine panorama
.) Anne Marshall has developed an extensive site
devoted to similar paintings in England, many of which were whitewashed during the Reformation. The University of Leicester hosts a much more specialized database devoted to the Seven Deadly Sins and the Seven Corporal Works of Mercy
(no images); La Mort Dans L'Art/Death in Art
has some Continental examples of The Three Living and the Three Dead
You have to make sure that St. Joseph is facing your house, if you face it out, the neighbor's house across the street will sell instead.
"We buried our little gem under the for sale sign just like we were supposed to do. On October 4th, yes the 4th, just 24 hours after we buried him, we had a showing and after several counter-offers back and fourth, we finally signed a contract on October 19th!!!!! 7 months after the house was sitting and not getting any bites at all and after 1 day, its sold!!! I have complete and utter faith."
America's desperate homesellers and realtors are turning to St. Joseph, Your Underground Real Estate Agent