Providing a moment’s respite from what George Weigel dubs the media obsession with “Salvation by Latex”, here are some other notable (and/or interesting) Catholic stories that caught my attention:
- Hungary’s last communist leader János Kádár met a priest at his own request shortly before he died, former Hungarian Prime Minister Miklós Németh revealed on Tuesday, two decades after Kadar’s death (Reuters’ Faithworld):
I still remember the Catholic priest whom I found, he was a short man called Bíró, I think,” he added.
“I don’t know whether Kádár atoned to him or what he told him, you can’t ask a priest about such things. There is no way to find out now — everybody has died since.”
Németh said this happened in late May or early June, 1989. “This (Kádár’s request) struck all of us as a complete surprise,” he said.
- On November 21st, the world’s tallest Jesus statue was unveiled in Poland — greeted by a throng of some 15,000 Christian pilgrims proclaiming “Christ The King of the Universe.” (Reuters’ FaithWorld)
The brain child of retired local Roman Catholic priest Sylwester Zawadzki, the figure soars to a height of 33 meters (108 ft) which he said symbolized the 33 years Jesus lived on earth. It is three meters taller than Brazil’s statue of Christ the Redeemer which stands on a mountain top overlooking Rio de Janeiro.
I admire the sentiment, but is there anybody else besides me hoping this doesn’t spark an international competition? — I mean, Dubai, with their penchant for grand monuments and architecture, might get wind of this …
- The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist of Ann Arbor, Mich., will be making a second appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” Nov. 23 (Catholic News Agency):
Life in the order was portrayed during Oprah’s Feb. 9 program. That segment received so many positive responses that the TV talk show host thought it would be a good idea to visit again.
In a statement, the order said it hopes to reach viewers who otherwise would have no exposure or understanding of vowed religious life.
- The “Benedict Bump” — seminaries in England have seen a rise in the number applicants this fall – the highest number in over a decade (Catholic News Agency):
This September, 56 men began their journey towards the priesthood in the country, the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales announced on Nov. 15, adding that Pope Benedict’s recent visit to the U.K. may boost numbers in the near future.
- Catholic Herald [UK] reports that singing trio The Priests have defended their decision to collaborate with Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan after criticism from fans, teaming up to record the Christmas single “The Little Drummer Boy”:
Fr David Delargy said it was a privilege to work with him and that he had a “depth and sincerity” that is not picked up by the media. At the end of the recording session, Fr Delargy said, he asked the priests for a blessing.
“He came across as a deeper, richer and more complex person than he’s often portrayed,” he said.
(Bring it on, I say — I love Shane MacGowan!)