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]
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]
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."
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]
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.
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."
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."
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]
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)
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]
"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
From a Time magazine article:
A new, innocuously titled book, Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light
(Doubleday), consisting primarily of correspondence between Teresa and her confessors and superiors over a period of 66 years, provides the spiritual counterpoint to a life known mostly through its works. The letters, many of them preserved against her wishes (she had requested that they be destroyed but was overruled by her church), reveal that for the last nearly half-century of her life she felt no presence of God whatsoever — or, as the book's compiler and editor, the Rev. Brian Kolodiejchuk, writes, "neither in her heart or in the eucharist." Previously
on Mother Teresa's doubt, more generally
Sam Harris, an atheist, and Andrew Sullivan, a Catholic, debate whether moderate religion makes any sense
. Harris: "Religious moderation is the result of not taking scripture all that seriously." Sullivan: "Blogger, please."
This Week in God
Salon interviews Karen Armstrong
, a British ex-nun
who has used her religious search to write several books
on the subject. Her focus is not merely on Catholicism, but extends to many religions, including Islam
The Interpretative Dance Theocrats.
Inspired by Salon's excerpt
from Michelle Goldberg's new book, Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism
, this handy guide will resolve your confusion over Christian theological jargon. [via]
Catholic church warns of the danger of fundamentalism.
"The Bible is true in passages relating to human salvation, they say, but continue: 'We should not expect total accuracy from the Bible in other, secular matters.'" (via flambingo
Some MeFites have expressed an interest in learning more about the Catholic Church's positions on abortion,
the death penalty,
and other issues
. I hope you will all find these links interesting and enlightening. The people
and the Church
, what about how other Christians see Catholics
? Can Catholics respond to these claims
? Of course, some claims have to be taken with a very large chunk of salt
. Some Christians are even changing their minds
. Though there is no single kind of Catholicism
. Finally, here is a source
for further research.
The conclave of cardinals will soon start the process of choosing a new pope. Have you filled in your brackets
. Tony Blair's new Education Secretary Ruth Kelly
is almost certainly a member of masochistic Catholic cult Opus Dei
, as featured in The Da Vinci Code
Hey, It's Not Enough We Die Of Obesity
without having to go to Hell too? Some enlightened Frenchmen are bending the Pope's ear, trying to spring Gluttony from the Deadly Sins
blacklist. Well, even clever old Thomas Aquinas
did his damnedest to narrow the seven buggers down. So: which sins would you
excuse today's poor sufferers from and which ones would you insist
on keeping, if any? [Something tells me MetaFilter is ideally suited to put in a good word for Sloth. I wonder why? Speaking of which, NYT reg. is required but you can read about it here instead. Via Arts and Letters Daily.
The Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels
~ (en Español)
~ opened today. The $195 million cathedral was designed by Spanish architect Rafael Moneo
and is one foot longer than Saint Patrick's Cathedral. [more inside]
Know-Nothings, Bible Riots and the Catholic Church
Take a break from priest abuse news with this detailed history of anti-Catholic bias in the United States. In 1834, an angry Boston mob burned down a convent
after Harriet Beecher Stowe's father preached that Catholic immigrants were a threat to democracy
. In Philadelphia, the 1844 Bible Riots
lasted for days, destroying Irish-Catholic churches and neighborhoods. In 1855, Louisville Know-Nothings
went on a "Bloody Monday"
rampage that left dozens of Catholics dead. Even telegraph inventor Samuel Morse
got into the act with a series of anonymous anti-Catholic letters. Fascinating stuff, but oops, break's over. We now return to our regularly scheduled program
Catholics, Jews, Muslims - all three feel suddenly embattled and isolated
[nyt reg req] "This is a rare moment in history, like a planetary alignment: three world religions simultaneously racked by crisis....this confluence is highly unusual but not without precedent... — from 800 to 200 B.C., a period of tremendous violence and upheaval on many continents.... We could use this suffering to create wonderful new religious systems, as the Buddha did, or we could retreat into the spiritual barbarism of hatred ." Perhaps Karl Marx
was right that religion, like opium, results only in illusion and false hope.
God Changes Everything
Let's say there was a school system or a chain of clinics on whose professional staff were a certain number of men who molested the children in their care and who, whenever this behavior came to the attention of their superiors, were shifted to another school or clinic, with parents and colleagues, not to mention the justice system, kept in the dark whenever possible...
Boston's Catholic Archdiocese questions link of celibacy to pedophilia.
The Pilot, the Archdiocese of Boston's newspaper, questions if celibacy causes sexual abuse by priests. Also questions if the priesthood attracts a disproportionate number of homosexual men. (Also on cnn.com
What do you think?
On a side note, the editorial also says that "We know that our sexual orientation is neither morally good nor evil." Since when was that a Catholic belief?
"Saint's Lives" are some of the most important primary sources
from the late ancient, Byzantine, and medieval periods. The Internet Medieval Sourcebook
links to hundreds of these texts, translated for your benefit, as well as thousands of other documents. Celebrate All Saint's Day by reading about your favorite saint in a text written while your saint was still alive.
Someone else's Religion or your health?
How the Catholic church is manipulating medical research in the United States. Stem cell research offers some exciting opportunities for medicine but the Pope doesn't think so.
New! Jesus Sports Statues
. When you saw the Buddy Christ
idea in the movie Dogma
you thought it was a funny, yet biting swipe at the Catholic Church. But apparently Catholics think it's a great idea. These figurines have already sold out. Jesus playing tackle football
is my favorite.
Pope John Paul II has been busy protecting his conservative legacy by appointing a record number of new cardinals
. This expanded group of cardinals will vote for the next pontiff and so a continuation of the Church's present course on abortion and birth control is quite likely.
Still, it's a little known fact that the Vatican actually ceased to the home of the true
Catholic Church on October 9th, 1959
and that John Paul II is, in fact, a heretical anti-pope
was the object of some controversy in his life. The title of Bishop in Lastingham was thought to be vacant and Chad was appointed. It was later discovered that the title was not actually vacant, and Chad was not the rightful holder. He politely stepped aside. On an interesting side note, this happened in the year 666.
Our religion is better then yours, Naa, Naa!
“The truth of faith does not lessen the sincere respect which the Church has for the religions of the world, but at the same time, it rules out...a religious relativism which leads to the belief that ‘one religion is as good as another’,” it said.