It all started with an off-hand remark I made at the beginning of the semester this fall while talking about the challenges of reading Aristotle and St. Thomas. Students today might find it preferable, I joked lamely, if somebody could come up with a different medium for communicating metaphysics, like, say, a MUSIC VIDEO!
The students politely laughed. But two of them approached me after class with the idea of undertaking precisely such a project. For a moment, I wasn’t sure whether they were joking or serious. They were serious. [more].
SOURCE: On November.13, 2010 unsuspecting shoppers got a big surprise while enjoying their lunch. Over 100 participants in this awesome Christmas Flash Mob. This flash mob was organized by http://www.AlphabetPhotography.com to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!
Personally, what I found equally impressive was the beautiful display of public (and explicitly Christian) religiosity — and the complete absence of disgruntled atheist loons protesting it.
HT: The Anchoress
As far as the Great Catholic Condom Conumdrum of 2010 goes (prompted by an excerpt of no more than 2 out of a nearly 200 page book-length interview God and the World), the myriad reactions among Catholic circles, seems to me largely (perhaps loosely) divided among two camps. But this is not simply a division between “progressives” and “conservatives”. Even those who would consider themselves orthodox, faithful adherents to Church teaching and admirers of Pope Benedict are divided.
On one side you have Fr. Martin Rhonheimer, Dr. Austen Ivereigh and even Fr. Lombardi himself. On the other side, you have Janet Smith, Fr. Joseph Fessio, and Cardinal Raymond Burke, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. Consider… Continue reading
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!)
Michael E. Miller (Miami New Times) provides a detailed — and fascinating — profile of Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski:
Dressed all in black, the biker roars his 1,800-cc Harley-Davidson Street Glide to a halt on the gravely shoulder of Florida Avenue in Lakeland. Ray-Bans hide his eyes. With his spike-topped black helmet glinting in the South Florida sun, he more closely resembles a Prussian soldier than Easy Rider.
Lucas Benitez spots the motorcyclist and his palms begin to sweat. All day, the stocky Mexican with a buzzcut has led a thousand Latino tomato pickers on the 11-mile march from Plant City to Lakeland to protest the stingy pay of $50 per two tons of fruit torn off the vine. When he looks at the biker, all he can think is: Not another pinche redneck picking a fight.
Then the heavyset motorcyclist steps from his machine and ambles toward the marchers. “Buenas tardes,” he says, holding out a hand. “I’m Bishop Thomas Wenski.” Continue reading
Carrying on the mission of his predecessor, Pope Benedict announced in June 2010 a pontifical council for the “the new evangelization”, the principle task of which was to:
[promote] a renewed evangelization in the countries where the first proclamation of faith has already resounded and where there are churches of ancient foundation present, but which are living through a progressive secularization of society and a kind of ‘eclipse of the sense of God.
Fr. Mirilli of Rome seems to have interpreted the Holy Father’s directive in a rather novel manner:A section of the crypt of the Basilica di San Carlo al Corso near St. Peter’s Square has boasted tombs of cardinals for centuries, has been turned into a nightclub by Rome’s Catholic Church.
In the spirit of the season, Taylor Marshall (Called to Communion) offers “top ten ways to have a Catholic Halloween:
This time of year introduces several debates. Among conservative Protestants it’s “Halloween or no Halloween?” which sometimes becomes “Halloween vs. Reformation Day,” the latter being the celebration of Martin Luther’s posting of the 95 Theses on Oct 31. Even some Catholics are concerned that Halloween has become “evil.” Well, here are ten ways to keep good ol’ Halloween fun and sacred. …
Secondly, a great reflection by John Zmirak (InsideCatholic) on “the brightest, best moment of the whole liturgical year.”
And speaking of our Protestant brethren, John Mark Reynolds (First Things‘ “Evangel”) asks: Is Reformation Day the new Kwanzaa?
There is little question that the Catholic Church believes in the reality of the spiritual realm — St. Paul in Ephesians speaks of “our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.” But it is a realm inhabited by angels, demons, and of course, Satan himself. (And, if you’re an enlightened “post-Vatican II” Catholic like Fr. Richard McBrien, you can scoff at the very mention of the latter).
As far as ghosts are concerned, the prevailing tendency among Catholics is to look askance at the concept of “lost souls”, trapped in this life and waiting to cross over. There is scarce mention of “ghosts” in the Catechism and judging by the absence of clear, definitive teaching — the Church has refrained from adopting a firm position on their existence.
According to Gary Jansen, a contemporary Catholic from Rockville Centre, Long Island, ghosts simply didn’t exist. For him, “heaven, hell, angels were basic tenents of my Catholic faith, but never basic tenents of my life. . . . these topics were never discused during my twelve years of attending parochial school.” While his devout Catholic mother would mention strange occurrences, he prided himself on his rationality.
Until, that is, when he had an unsettling encounter in his son’s bedroom in 2007. Holy Ghosts: Or How a (Not-So) Good Catholic Boy Became a Believer in Things That Go Bump in the Night is an account of one Catholic’s real-life haunting: Continue reading
Over at Vox Nova, Henry Karlson draws our attention to a video of Bono, expounding on why U2 felt compelled to cover Woody Guthrie’s song “Jesus Christ”. In short, “it’s more relevant today than when he wrote it.”
But why is it more relevant? — For Bono, “we decided to do it because of the line, “the bankers and the preachers, they nailed him in the air.”
Curiousity provoked, I took a look at the complete lyrics:
The month of October is dedicated to the Holy Rosary — by personal recommendation of Pope Leo XIII:
In a letter of September 1, 1883, mindful of the Rosary’s power to strengthen faith and foster a life of virtue, he outlined the triumphs of the Rosary in past times and admonished the faithful to dedicate the month of October to the Blessed Virgin through the daily recitation of her Rosary in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, in order to obtain through her intercession the grace that God would console and defend His Church in her sufferings.
Beginning on September 1, 1883, with SUPREMO APOSTOLATUS OFFICIO, Pope Leo wrote a total of eleven encyclicals on the Rosary, ending with DIUTURNI TEMPORIS in 1898. (Source: Rev. Matthew R. Mauriello, Catholic.net).
The spread of the devotion of the rosary is attributed to the revelation of Mary to St. Dominic, who sought her help in battling the heresy of the Albigenses. Robert Feeney’s “St. Dominic and the Rosary” gives a detailed account,
George Weigel’s new book, The End and the Beginning: Pope John Paul II — The Victory of Freedom, the Last Years, the Legacy, which was published by Doubleday on September 14, is the fulfillment of a promise the author made to Pope John Paul II less than four months before the pope died. In “A Promise To Pope John Paul II” (“The Catholic Difference” 9/17/10), Weigel gives his account of his parting words to the late Pope before his death:
The conversation over dinner was wide-ranging, and at one point, after the usual papal kidding about my having written “a very big book,” John Paul asked about the international reception of Witness to Hope, his biography, which I had published five years earlier. He was particularly happy when I told him that a Chinese edition was in the works, as he knew he would never get to that vast land himself. As that part of the conversation was winding down, I looked across the table and, referring to the fact that Witness to Hope had only taken the John Paul II story up to early 1999, I made the Pope a promise: “Holy Father,” I said, “if you don’t bury me, I want you to know that I’ll finish your story.”
It was the last time we saw each other, this side of the Kingdom of God.
The End and the Beginning covers the last six years of John Paul II’s life, including:
- Karol Wojtyla’s epic battle with communism through the prism of previously classified and top-secret communist files
- the Great Jubilee of 2000 and his historic pilgrimage to the Holy Land
- September 11th, and the Pope’s efforts to frustrate Osama bin Laden’s insistence that his war with the West was a religious crusade
- the Long Lent of 2002, when the Church in America grappled with the twin crises of clerical sexual abuse and episcopal misgovernance;
- John Paul’s ongoing efforts to build bridges of dialogue and reconciliation with the Churches of the Christian East
- his struggle with illness, “which brought him into at least one ‘dark night’ spiritually; and his heroic last months, in which his priestly death became, metaphorically, his last encyclical”
(Given that Weigel was personally engaged in the Catholic just war debate over the war in Iraq, it will be interesting to see the extent to which he covers this aspect of John Paul II’s pontificate).
- A Pope’s Legacy: How John Paul II kindled the fire of evangelism – Interview with Kathryn Jean Lopez (National Review).
- “A pope for all seasons”, by Don J. Briel. First Things [subscription required]