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    AmP Countdown: Time left to demand that Congress make health care reform pro-life: 2009-11-07 18:00:00 GMT-05:00


    Monday, December 21, 2009

    Weird: Christian Elephants avenging religious persecutions in India?

    This is a terribly strange story.

    The Archdiocese of Colombo website has a story posted on their website entitled "ELEPHANTS ATTACK IN ORISSA - EXACTLY AFTER ONE YEAR OF PERSECUTIONS ."

    The blog is maintained by one Fr. Sunil De Silva, who seems to be convinced that recent elephant attacks on non-Christians on Orissa, India is retribution for the anti-Christian attacks which plagued the same region last year.

    This claim - published on the official website of a Catholic Archdiocesan website, raises some issues:

    1. Who authorized posting this story as "news"?
    2. Is it really a Christian sentiment to hope that our persecutors are being savaged by wild animals?
    3. Is there any corroborating evidence to confirm that, as claimed, Elephants are rampaging villages?

    One more thing - I'm very concerned that mainstream reporters will pick up on this story and claim that Christians are "gloating" about the misfortunes of non-Christians. That won't help settle things in the region in the least.

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    Monday, December 14, 2009

    Photo: Very Clever Advertising

    So clever I had to post this before offbeat Friday.

    From NullWeKnow : "To promote a plastic surgeon's office, this life scale poster was placed at the entrance of his office and by the elevator in the main lobby of the hospital building."


    Of course, telling people they will be "born again" through plastic surgery isn't a very Catholic message.

    {Ph/t: AmP reader Charles.}

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    Friday, December 11, 2009

    Offbeat Video: Christian Rap promotes "side hugs"

    The most random, disturbing religion-related video I've seen this week:



    Puritanical like it's going out of style. GetReligion reports:
    Christians can do funny, goofy things. That’s why reaction to a Christian rap group’s video seemingly advocating the sexually chaste “Christian side hug” was so interesting. Apparently, the group was kidding. But that didn’t stop critics and bloggers for missing the joke and getting snarky about it.

    As Steve Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reported in “Christian side hugs: The joke’s not on fundamentalist Christians”.
    ... [The] group may joke about the side hug, but as one Pentecostal pastor told The Roanoke Times last year in an article entitled, “The pastor’s holy hug: Divine but demure”:
    “I have my politically correct hugs,” he said. He demonstrates by bending into a pronounced stoop to grasp the parishioner’s shoulders while pulling back at the waist. That way, the huggers’ midsections don’t touch.
    Oh my gosh. I wonder what Christopher West would say?

    ... and if that doesn't spark a comment box flame war, I don't know what will. Happy Friday! ;-P

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    Friday, November 13, 2009

    Video: Automatic holy water dispenser to avoid swine flu transmission

    I think this is completely overblown:



    Really?? Holy water fonts are high transmission zones?!

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    Thursday, November 12, 2009

    Cool: Benedict XVI surfs the web and uses email!

    Or should I say, totally cool:
    The president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, shared this week that the Holy Father has an appreciation for new developments in technology and is comfortable surfing the internet and using email.

    During an interview with the program “Studio Aperto” on the Italia 1 TV network, Archbishop Celli added, while the Pope doesn't have a personal email address, he “sends his own personal emails. He does! He has great appreciation for new technology.”

    The archbishop explained that while the Pope “cannot respond to the millions of messages that arrive in his inbox,” he is committed to “offering his prayers for all who write to him.”

    “The internet is an excellent means of communication,” he continued. “We are seeking to be present where the people are, especially the youth.” (CNA)
    I wonder if the Pope reads AmP?!

    To my knowledge, we still don't have a picture of Pope Benedict using a computer.

    John Paul II preferred Dell laptops (with some papal customization, of course):

    Totally 1337.

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    Friday, October 16, 2009

    Offbeat: Poker-playing priest has chance to win $1,000,000

    This is a *classic* off-beat Catholic story....

    The Aiken Standard:

    Andrew Trapp's interest in becoming a priest dates back to fifth grade at St. Mary of Help of Christians School in Aiken.

    He followed through on that path. Now 28, Trapp is serving as the assistant pastor at St. Michael Catholic Church in Garden City Beach.
    Father Trapp has a new moniker in recent weeks - the poker-playing priest. He's good at it, too. In a tape-delayed broadcast from Los Angeles on Fox on Sunday, Trapp beat a professional poker player to win $100,000 - an unexpected prize he will donate to St. Michael's fundraising efforts for a new church building.

    ... But he's quick to point out to the kids that he's not advocating serious gambling. The online qualifying tournaments had no entry fee, and his trip to Los Angeles was provided expense-free.

    Earlier, Trapp had gotten permission from his parish priest and bishop to pursue the poker challenge.

    I think there should be a ministry dedicated to people in casinos.

    I've seen poker players use sunglasses to confuse their opponents.

    I wonder how the other players felt this time around about playing across from a roman collar.

    ... I mean, I wonder if they fell for the Trapp.

    *zing!*

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    Tuesday, October 06, 2009

    AmP: A diocesan resource

    It's humbling to find diocesan websites linking to you, like the Catholic diocese of Spokane, WA does!

    Clearly a diocese chock full of papists!

    I'm also aware of several Catholic parishes that link to AmP. Does yours? ;-)

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    Friday, October 02, 2009

    Weird: This week marked the first "Blasphemy Day"

    What sad, God-haunted, people:

    In his youth, Ronald Lindsey planned to enter the priesthood, so fervent was his devotion to God. But these days, Lindsay is devoted to protecting a person's right to ridicule, criticize -- even lambaste God.

    You might say he is a blasphemer's savior.

    The devout Catholic turned non-believer leads a movement that is all about protecting people's rights to speak irreverently about religion.

    Criticizing God is an act punishable by death in several nations. In America, blasphemy laws remain on the books in six states, though they are largely arcane and not enforced.

    But everywhere, it seems to Lindsay, scoffing at God is not socially acceptable. (CNN)

    Yeah, we're *such* a Godly society.

    Way to be daring, Ronald, in least in an oh-so-tired-and-predictable-way.

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    Friday, September 25, 2009

    Hilarious: Dan Brown's 20 worst sentences

    I've never read a Dan Brown book, but my friends claim that his novels are not very well written, and after reading this list of howlers, I can see what they mean! A sample:
    10. The Da Vinci Code, chapter 4: Five months ago, the kaleidoscope of power had been shaken, and Aringarosa was still reeling from the blow.

    (Did they hit him with the kaleidoscope?)
    And that's a fairly merciful example.

    Now - please - let's not have any top 20 lists of AmP gaffes appearing!

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    Friday off-beat Video: Cosmic Conflict

    I can't believe this is real:



    Well - it's real.

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    Friday, September 04, 2009

    Ben & Jerry introduces gay ice cream

    This is not a parody:


    From the Ben & Jerry's website:
    In partnership with Freedom to Marry we are gathered here to celebrate Vermont and all the other great states where loving couples of all kinds are free to marry legally. We have ceremoniously dubbed our iconic flavor, Chubby Hubby to Hubby Hubby in support, and to raise awareness of the importance of marriage equality. Check out our press release.
    Talk about setting out on a rocky road....

    So long, Ben & Jerry's, I'm going to miss Half-Baked. Hopefully Haagen-Dazs wants more business.

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    MSM shocked that Catholics see connection between prayer, sex

    Just because its off-beat news day:


    Roman Catholic couples are being encouraged to pray together before they have sex.

    A book published by a prominent Church group invites those setting out on married life to recite the specially-composed Prayer Before Making Love.

    It is aimed at 'purifying their intentions' so that the act is not about selfishness or hedonism.

    The prayer, which appears in the Prayer Book for Spouses, implores God 'to place within us love that truly gives, tenderness that truly unites, self-offering that tells the truth and does not deceive, forgiveness that truly receives, loving physical union that welcomes'.

    It adds: 'Open our hearts to you, to each other and to the goodness of your will.

    'Cover our poverty in the richness of your mercy and forgiveness. Clothe us in true dignity and take to yourself our shared aspirations, for your glory, for ever and ever.' - UK Daily Mail
    Tsk-tsk, those Catholics and their unhealthy views about sex.

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    Friday off-beat: Lego my Cathedral!

    I really look forward to AmP's friday offbeat news day.... I get to post stuff like this:


    In Minnesota, "LEGO ambassador Roy Cook sizes up the dome of his LEGO Cathedral that he completed recently in the Ryan Room of the Cathedral of St. Paul." (The Catholic Spirit)

    They even have a lego kit to create a mini Cathedral of St. Paul.

    And afterwards, you can have a lick of "Immaculate Con­fection, a new Sebastian Joe’s ice cream flavor dedicated to the Basilica of St. Mary." I'm for serious.

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    Tuesday, August 25, 2009

    Update: 'Waltons' actress converts Dallas Catholic church into her home

    update: more and better pictures here.

    (<-- unfortunately, this is the best picture I could find to accompany this story:)
    'This was never intended as a habitat – except by God and Catholics," says Ronnie Claire Edwards of her offbeat residence in Old East Dallas.

    "It wasn't the religion I was seeking; it was the architecture," Edwards says. "I'd always wanted to live in a church or a theater because it's a very dramatic space and unusual.

    "But, you see, a theater is frightening at night."
    That's why Churches have sanctuary candles ... oh right.

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    Friday, August 21, 2009

    Wierd: Freak Tornado rips up Lutheran Conference on homosexuality

    On Wednesday I noticed this Associated Press article which reports that the Lutherans - who were founded, among other things, in an attempt to "rediscover" the original meaning of the bible, are trying to dismiss the bible in a committee:

    Leaders of the country's largest Lutheran denomination have agreed to disagree on homosexuality, endorsing an official statement on human sexuality that says there's room in the church for differing views on an issue that's divided other religious groups.

    Delegates to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's nationwide assembly in Minneapolis on Wednesday approved a "social statement on human sexuality." The vote was a prelude to a bigger debate Friday, when delegates will tackle a proposal that would allow individual ELCA congregations to hire people in committed same-sex relationships as clergy.

    The meeting was, um, interrupted by ... a tornado:


    Wednesday's debate was interrupted briefly in the afternoon when severe storms and a possible tornado passed through downtown Minneapolis, damaging the steeple of an ELCA church across the street from the convention center. Delegates were allowed to remain in the convention hall, but a few jokes about God's wrath proved inevitable.

    "We trust that the weather is not a commentary on our work," said the Rev. Steven Loy, who was helping oversee the convention.
    To be clear, it was not a "possible tornado," it was an actual tornado. Local blogger Orate Fratres has pictures of the toppled steeple , and describes the event as one of those "things that make you go hmmm...".

    I mean, I don't remember the Council of Trent being plagued by local meteorological disasters.

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    Offbeat: Abp. Chaput agrees with me: Eat Fish on Fridays

    AmP readers will recall that I've belabored the point that Catholics ought to eat fish on Friday.

    This week Abp. Chaput makes the supporting point that Catholics ought to be concerned about the environment ... because no one wants to be eating queer fish. He says:

    "Human beings have a natural sense, reinforced by experience, that things like murder, cruelty, theft, adultery, lying, greed, pride and exploiting the weak are wrong. Faith and reason can walk that common moral ground of the human conscience and, if we’re serious about protecting the environment, they must walk that common ground." he stated.

    To illustrate his point, Archbishop Chaput related the story of what researchers found downstream of the University of Colorado in Boulder.

    "When scientists at the University of Colorado studied the trout in Boulder Creek downstream from that city’s sewer plant a few years ago, they found that, out of 123 fish, 101 were female, 12 were male, and 10 were a very strange mutation with male and female features," he recalled.

    Researchers were able to trace the cause back to "antibiotics, caffeine and especially the hormones from birth control pills can seriously contaminate a region’s drinking water," the prelate said, citing several local newspaper articles. One report quoted a biologist as saying that "the water effluent he found in Boulder Creek has unintended contraceptive effects in human beings."

    The scientists expected to hear an uproar from environmentalists when their findings became public but instead they heard silence. "Nobody is to blame for this, and I don’t have a solution," one well-known environmental activist said.

    In contrast, Archbishop Chaput lodged his disagreement with activists, insisting with the conference attendees, we "should have a solution. A moral solution."

    Any solution, he insisted, should take the form of "a response flowing from a respectful encounter of faith and reason; a response that will help us, collectively, to make the behavioral changes necessary to protect this beautiful world we share, ensuring not only its God-intended harmony, but our own well-being." (CNA)

    Catholics: Pro-Life, Pro-Environment, Pro-Fish!

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    Map: Where The Sinners Are

    These maps are tongue-in-cheek, and I found them amusing:
    Geographers from Kansas State University map the spatial distribution of the seven deadly sins in the United States. These types of maps are always kind of iffy as they draw from data from various sources gathered with different methods and usually use some kind of researcher-defined metric. Still interesting though... right?

    Red equals more sinful and blue equals less sinful. Democrat progaganda, I wonder? ;-)

    The Catholic News Service, that venerable organization, actually wrote an article on this.

    The areas of higher-sin-per-capita make perfect sense to me. Hollywood is in Los Angelas, Materialism is in New York, Liberals are in Seattle, gay parades are in San Francisco, Protestants are in the South, and hockey is in Michigan! :-P

    Where is your favorite sin?

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    Wednesday, August 19, 2009

    Twitter user provides followers "direct line to God"

    "It's a fax from God, John!"

    AmP kudos to anyone who knows the reference.

    Anywhere, here's the story:

    "Want to tweet God?

    An Israeli university student has opened a Twitter site, twitter.com/thekotel, where prayers can be sent for placement in the crevices of Jerusalem's Western Wall, a Jewish holy site that faithful believe provides a direct line to the Almighty.

    "I take their prayers, print them out and drive to Jerusalem to put them in the Western Wall," said Alon Nir, a resident of Tel Aviv.

    He said he hoped his initiative on the popular Internet social networking service, where users post brief messages known as tweets, would be "beneficial to people all over the world."

    Nir promises to deliver the prayers -- each no longer than a tweet's maximum 140 characters -- on a regular basis.He's placed over 1,000 rolled-up papers so far."

    What's next? Twittering in your local Mass intentions? I hope not. I mean, it's pretty obvious to me that God monitors Twitter closely. And your Facebook statuses too - so be prudent.

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    Friday, August 14, 2009

    Duh: PP President Cecile Richards in cozy with Obama

    Barack and Cecile sitting in a tree, P-L-O-T-T-I-N-G. Seriously!

    Barack and Cecile, you see, are buddies - they are, like, total BFFs (that means Best Friends Forever, if you're over 30).

    Barack Obama is the President of the United States, and Cecile Richards is the president of Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the United States. So they have a lot in common. They're both really important. Barack likes Cecile so much he puts his arm around her, which he doesn't do for many people. Cecile likes Barack and gets to wear his cute baby-doll rhinestone "Obama" t-shirts.

    Barack invites Cecile over to the White House a lot. Like, more than once. They pretty much get to hang out and stuff all the time. It's kind of sick how much fun they get to have.

    Cecile even gets to twitter little things like this afterwards:

    "Just left the White House meeting on women's health care - they appreciate all the might(y) pp [planned parenthood] supporters speaking up for reform in the states!"

    Cecile and Barack are cool like that. He really appreciates her. She said so. They both really want health care reform. They're really smart. I'm pretty sure Cecile is on Barack's Fave Five.

    Cecile gets to heart Obama on Facebook, telling all her friends important stuff like this:
    "Women need affordable health care that covers OUR needs ... Geez, we represent more than half the population here!"
    Yeah Cecile, like duh.

    Some folks totally make stuff up about them, like, that Cecile and Barack are such good friends because they do business together. Like how Planned Parenthood and all their supporters gave lots of cash to Obama and campaigned for him and stuff, and how he's all, like, giving them lots of money to Planned Parenthood whenever he can now that he won and gets to be a President, too.

    But, I mean, can't friends help each other out?

    Oh, and most the people who say that kind of stuff are just crazy pro-lifers who are jealous they aren't Barack's friends. Well - *news flash*, people - Barack can pick his own friends, and he decided to pick Cecile. So deal. Maybe if you tried changing and were cooler you could be his friend, too. So hey, try working on that. Okay bye.

    (Oh those photos at the top? Yeeaah ... I didn't take them. Nevada Advocates for Planned Parenthood did. My bad!)

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    Offbeat: Mall-Church hears confessions of shopaholics?

    Catholic Femina spots a Capuchin-run Catholic chapel .... located in a Colorado Springs shopping mall.

    It's not often you find directions to a chapel that include phrases like "between Burlington Coat Factory and Dillards."

    I like the fact that they have confessions available during all mall open hours. Between Cinnabon and Victoria's Secret there's plenty of opportunities for some serious capital sinning.

    The chapel is supported by the Knights of Columbus and local bishop Michael Sheridan.

    What do you think about this idea? Is it an innovative evangelization idea? Or an inappropriate space for Sacraments? Or something else?

    I'd like to hear your thoughts.

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    Video: Missouri Nuns Chase Down Armed Robber on Foot

    Goooooooooooooooooood morning AmP off-beat Friday!

    A pair of sandal-clad nuns in Missouri chased down an armed robbery suspect and helped police put handcuffs on him, FOX4KC reported.

    Sisters at Saint Francis of Holy Eucharist Convent in Independence, Mo., spotted a gun-toting man in their fields who turned out to be a suspect police believe is responsible for several burglaries in the area.

    "We looked out the window and saw someone in the bean field. I thought it was someone hunting. He was dragging something with him," Sister Connie told FOX4KC. "He kept coming across the field...I saw he had a gun in hands, what I thought was a rifle, and he dropped it in the field."

    When he realized he had been spotted the suspect set off on foot and was chased by a nun in flip-flops who goes by Sister Catrina.

    She chased him behind their green house and alerted authorities and the suspect ended up in police custody. Charges have yet to be filed. (FOX4KC)

    A quick note: I'm sure she doesn't "go by Sister Catrina." Her name is Sister Catrina.

    And for pete's sake, could the video report have included any more bad faith puns?

    "Don't mess with nuns." - okay, I agreed with that one.

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    Tuesday, August 11, 2009

    Shark jumps onto fisherman's boat - AmP readers were warned

    I tried to warn AmP readers that this was coming, but noooooo......
    HAULOVER BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) -- After a day of spear fishing and lobster diving, a group of boaters got the scare of a lifetime when a shark jumped into their boat.

    Michael Powers and his friends were on-board a 21 foot boat Saturday, when a shark decided to pay them an unannounced visit. "One minute it was in the air, the next minute it was in the boat just beating everything in God's creation," Micheal recalled. "It hit one of the crew members. It hit Patricia, then it went between Paul's legs and my legs in the back. We're all scattering for cover trying to get up on the deck and out of anywhere we could, just to be safe," Michael said.
    Catch that? "Beating everything in God's creation." This is why we need to bring back eating fish on Fridays!

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    Friday, August 07, 2009

    Cool: Swiss seek Pope's blessing to stop glacier melting

    Friday is offbeat story day at AmP, and this week delivers:
    After centuries of praying for a local glacier to stop growing, Swiss villagers are now seeking an audience with Pope Benedict to get his blessing for prayers against the global warming that is causing it to recede.

    In 1678, the inhabitants of the Alpine villages of Fieschertal and Fiesch made a formal vow to live virtuously and to pray against the growth of the Aletsch glacier, Europe's longest, which had caused a lake to flood into their homes.

    To reinforce their prayers, they started holding an annual procession in 1862, when the glacier reached its longest during the mini-Ice Age Europe suffered in the mid-19th century.

    But the villages now want to seek permission from Pope Benedict to change their vow as the glacier is melting fast due to climate change and have requested an audience with him. (Reuters)
    A prayer to stop glaciers melting, eh? Ha! Find me that in the book of blessings.

    update: I should have learned to not issue challenges to my savvy AmP readers long ago....
    [AmP reader Joshua says] "I don't know about the Book of Blessings, but number 28 under "Blessings of Places not designated for sacred purposes" there is a Blessing against floods. That would work I think."
    ... albeit an incredibly slow-moving flood. :-)

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    Friday, July 31, 2009

    Video: Florida Quarterback shocks reporter by admitting he's a virgin

    You get what you ask for:



    LifeSiteNews has a story on this. Tebow is a homeschooled Christian. Quality guy. ;)

    Offbeat Friday....

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    Indian health minister says that TV is the best contraception

    Friday is offbeat news day at AmP, and the stories don't come much more offbeat than this [my comments in brackets] (ph/t Deacon Greg Kandra):
    Ghulam Nabi Azad, the Health and Family Welfare Minister, has called for the country to redouble its efforts to bring electricity to all of its huge rural population.

    The introduction of the electric light and television sets to those vast areas that still did not have them would discourage procreation, he argued.

    “If there is electricity in every village, then people will watch TV till late at night and then fall asleep. They won’t get a chance to produce children,” Mr Azad said. “When there is no electricity there is nothing else to do but produce babies.” [Yeah, what a horrible existence.]

    He added: “Don’t think that I am saying this in a lighter vein. I am serious. TV will have a great impact. It’s a great medium to tackle the problem . . . 80 per cent of population growth can be reduced through TV.” [And here we think a sex-saturated culture will only result in more intercourse. Whouda thunk it?]
    Maybe that would be the way to promote a culture of life in America - cancel Monday Night Football.

    It completely true that more children are conceived during black-outs. What funny people we humans are. 

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    Friday, July 24, 2009

    Friday offbeat: Church of England offers 2-for-1 sacraments

    Specifically, "A wedding for the couples, and baptisms for their kids":
    The Church of England is offering couples a two-for-one service - marriage for them and baptisms for their children.

    The church says it is recognizing the changing reality of British families. Statistics show that 44 per cent of children in Britain are born to unmarried women.

    New guidelines sent to the Church of England's 16,000 parish churches encourage services that combine a wedding with a christening or a service of thanksgiving for the birth of a child.

    Some clergy welcomed the move Thursday, but others said it undermined church teaching about the sanctity of marriage.

    The church said it was responding to demand, but still believed the best place for sex was within marriage. (AP)
    Did you catch that? Marriage is not the "only" place for sex, just the "best" place.

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    Friday, July 17, 2009

    Offbeat: Why Catholics need to eat fish on Friday - because they are trying to eat us.

    For generations, fish knew their rightful place in God's creation because faithful Catholics observed the tradition of eating them en masse every Friday.

    Sure, the idea was to offer up the pleasures of eating meat as a penance one day out of the week, but frankly, those faithful Catholics still ate mammals six days out of the week. 

    So really, there could be no doubt in those tasty farmyard minds about who was the boss. I mean, have you ever witnessed a cow or pig try to attack someone? Of course not! Except maybe that one time (on a Friday - surprise, surprise).

    Anyway, fast-forward to 40 or so years after Vatican II, and it's clear that fish have forgotten our deal. The new generation of fishes, in fact, are now systematically, actively "testing the waters" to see if the time is ripe to have their turn at the top of the food chain.

    Luckily, so far their attempts have been unsuccessful. 

    This week a 24-foot basking shark washed ashore on Long Island beach. Now of course naysayers will point out that the basking shark is harmless, has no teeth, and feeds primarily on plankton. Well, it also has a mouth big enough to swallow your little sister in one gulp. I'm just saying, I wouldn't let a basking shark into my little sister's swimming pool.

    Unfortunate navigation error, or calculated reconnaissance mission?

    Earlier this week, on the opposite coast, dozens of Jumbo Humbolt Squid washed up minutes after a 4.0 earthquake hit off the coast of La Jolla, California

    ... sure people, earthquakes, like God never uses those to get a message across!

    Before Vatican II, this squid would never have been allowed to grow bigger than sushi-roll size.

    The local reporter in the case above was only too eager to leave the story high and dry:
    "For now there are more questions than answers; did the earthquake cause the squid to wash up or was it simply a coincidence?"
    Sure, give in to the dictatorship of relativism. Don't quit your Friday Lamb Kabob habit. Keep smugly visiting Sea World to watch dozens of eligible dinners wiggle around behind the Plexiglas unharmed and carefree.

    Not surprisingly, the most disturbing case of underwater-based aggression to date has occurred in Europe, which is especially guilty of ignoring the admonition of the Church to eat fish on Fridays:
    "Police divers have ended the reign of terror of a huge fish that was attacking swimmers in a Swiss lake.

    The zander, which was 70 centimetres (two feet three inches) long and weighed eight kilos (17.5 pounds), was harpooned on Sunday after it bit six swimmers over the weekend, fish warden Fabio Croci told local media."
    In other words, after biting six swimmers (presumably one each day), the fish rested from its nibbling on the seventh day, and was finally killed on that Sunday. Apparently even Zander fish have standards. So just what does that say about us? If the Zander fish had been eaten on Friday ... some Swiss kid would have kept on to his pinky finger on Saturday.

    My recommendation: bring an oven along with you on the boat. It just saves time.

    In fairness, I was relieved to find out, upon reading the story of the Zander fish's reign-of-terror more closely, that its delectable remains were "served up to tourists at the lake." As the saying goes, an eaten fish is a happy fish.

    After hearing about these examples of modern icthyan aggression, I think it should be very clear to all informed readers why we, as a community and a Church, need to make the serious effort of continuing the venerable tradition of consuming our scaly arch-enemies with reckless abandon every Friday. 

    After all, it's supposed to sound like "Fry-Day" for a reason.

    If this fish were still alive, it would be asking you to eat it.

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    Friday, July 10, 2009

    Video: Friday Offbeat

    For some reason I was worried I'd get through today without finding anything wierd enough to post for Friday Offbeat news day:



    Well, I'm relieved.

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    Friday, July 03, 2009

    Offbeat Video: The (Hundred!) Saint Song

    The same clever chaps behind the Catholic iPhone Apps video had their first "big hit" with "The Saint Song", which names over a hundred saints and is sung to the popular Gilbert and Sullivan tune:


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    Friday, June 26, 2009

    Offbeat: Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie Donate $1 Million to (Catholic) Hospital

    Friday is offbeat news day at AmP, and this one is perfect because it allows me to draw upon a story reported by US Magazine:
    Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and his family donated $1 million to a Missouri hospital over the weekend.

    Brad's bro, Doug, announced the generous contribution to St. John's Hospital in his hometown of Springfield Saturday. The money will establish an endowment fund to pay children's cancer specialists, the Springfield News-Leader reports.

    The hospital's cancer treatment unit will be renamed the Jane Pitt Pediatric Cancer Center, in honor of Brad's mom, who is passionate about children's issues.

    Who are the most generous celebs?

    Once completed this summer, St. John's Hospital will become one of six affiliates of the St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital (one of Jennifer Aniston's favorite charities).

    The endowment fund will also go toward building a new pediatric unit, a 10-bedroom hospital-based Ronald McDonald house and doubling the size of the neonatal and pediatric intensive care units.
    Of course, for the more traditional among us, the Associated Press also has the news.

    Following the trail begun by the official news release, one finds that Mercy St. John's hospital is part of the Sisters of Mercy Health System, which is sponsored by "Mercy Health Ministry, an entity established by the Catholic Church to oversee the healing ministry and Catholic identity of Mercy."

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    Thursday, June 18, 2009

    Mayor claims underwear edict "takes away freedom of choice."

    Shows you just how thin the argument is:
    The Brooksville city council recently approved a revised dress code as part of its effort to update existing policies.

    The revision instructs employees to observe "strict personal hygiene," including the use of deodorant. It lists "the observable lack of undergarments and exposed undergarments" as "unacceptable attire."

    It also prohibits clothing with foul language or messages promoting drug use, "sexually provocative" garments, halter tops and piercings anywhere except the ears.

    Repeat offenders can be fired.

    The city council approved the dress code 4-1. Mayor Joe Bernadini opposed the revision, saying the underwear edict "takes away freedom of choice." (AP)
    I wonder if Catholic parishes could adopt this dress code for Mass?
    Okay, something on a more substantial topic soon, I promise.

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    Tuesday, June 16, 2009

    Study: Breastfed babies get higher grades in school

    I should probably have saved this story for a "Friday off-beat" news item, but I figured some of us could use a Tuesday diversion.

    Reuters Life! (honestly, I have trouble trusting news sources with exclamation points in their name) ... anyway, Reuters Life! reports:
    Breastfed babies seem more likely to do well at high school and to go on to attend college than infants raised on a bottle, according to a new U.S. study.

    Professors Joseph Sabia from the American University and Daniel Rees from the University of Colorado Denver based their research on 126 children from 59 families, comparing siblings who were breastfed as infants to others who were not.

    By comparing siblings, the study was able to account for the influence of a variety of difficult-to-measure factors such as maternal intelligence and the quality of the home environment.

    The study, published in the Journal of Human Capital, found that an additional month of breastfeeding was associated with an increase in high school grade point averages of 0.019 points and an increase in the probability of college attendance of 0.014.
    Frankly, those infinitesimal gains don't impress me. They seem well within the margin of error. But hey, a study that promotes breast feeding as good thing? That's fine with me. Especially considering what passes for "health news" these days.

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    Sunday, May 03, 2009

    Photo: A good place to change a diaper?

    "A military usher suggests to a guest a better location than the crosshall of the White House to change a baby's diaper before an event in the East Room in Washington May 1, 2009." [REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque]

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    Saturday, May 02, 2009

    Humor: Fr. Jenkins' Tanqueray Gin Ad

    In the 1990's, Tanqueray Gin sponsored a US advertising campaign that went like this:

    Left: "In his next life, Mr Jenkins hopes he's... Mr Jenkins."
    Middle: "Mr Jenkins finds that deep dives tend to bruise one's olives."
    Right: "Mr Jenkins denies all rumors, whatever they may be."

    A witty AmP reader updated the campaign for Notre Dame President Fr. Jenkins amid the Notre Dame debacle:

    "In his next life Fr. Jenkins hopes he's... Mr. Jenkins."
    "Fr. Jenkins finds that deep theology tends to bruise one's ego."
    "Fr. Jenkins exacerbates all situations, whatever they may be."
    Clever, light-hearted ... and just a little true.

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    Friday, May 01, 2009

    Friday random: Jesus is my BFF t-shirt

    Friday, in case you didn't know it, is offbeat news day at AmP. This fits the bill:

    Does anyone else find it incongruous that the t-shirt's avant garde artiste included a depiction of the sacred heart?! That stikes me as a little hardcore traditional (= orthodox faithful) for a shirt that is, in every othe rway, trying to be super-trendy. Or maybe the artist intentionally incorporated such a contradiction. Still, you have to wonder how many people would "get" this oddity.
    Ph/t: Dawn Eden (really - who else would alert me to something as fun as this?!)

    [photo credit: wet seal]

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    Friday, March 27, 2009

    Funny Foto: LOL Pope

    Sent to me by AmP reader Paul.

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    Saturday, March 21, 2009

    Funny Search Query

    It's fascinating what sort of search queries people enter, only to still end up stumbling across AmP....

    Like this one: "is obama a jesuit?"

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    Friday, March 13, 2009

    Stopped by a bouncer? Try reciting the creed!

    Friday is offbeat story day at AmP. This one is an oldie but a goodie:

    My older, cooler brother rang me the other day with a funny story. He and his rock band, “Rocketeer”, had been playing a gig somewhere off Oxford Street. The evening had gone well and when the band’s set finished, they decided to head to a nightclub in Soho. They did the usual rock band thing: ring ahead, pretend they were important, and hope to get the VIP treatment – or at least be allowed to jump the queue. “It usually works a treat”, laughed my brother.

    But on arrival, the club had shut its doors. They were too late and a short, angry-looking Irishman blocked their entry. “No”, he said to their (now rather drunken) pleas, “I don’t care who you are. You’re not coming in.”

    [See how the band eventually convinced the bouncer to let them in!]

    Does anyone have a similar story?

    Ph/t: Blog of the Courtier.

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    Thursday, March 12, 2009

    Video: First look inside the world's tallest building

    Regular AmP readers know I have a fascination with Dubai, the fastest-growing city in the world (and in history).
    It's a city of "mosts", including the most-highest-est building ever, the Burj Dubai:

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    Friday, February 27, 2009

    QB Tom Brady marries supermodel girlfriend in Catholic "ceremony"

    Yes, we're still in the offbeat news state of mind. More Friday oddly-enough:

    Supermodel Gisele Bundchen and sidelined New England Patriots QB Tom Brady were wed in a sunset Catholic ceremony at St. Monica's Church in Santa Monica, Calif. on Thursday February 26.

    The ceremony for the couple, who have been dating since 2006, was intimate and attended by less than a dozen people, mostly immediate family, insiders tell RadarOnline.com

    "The reception was held at a home in Brentwood, and will be followed by a much larger party in the next few days," said a source.

    Brady's 17-month old son Jonathan with actress-model Bridget Moynahan was in attendance. (Radar Online)

    William Newton, who tipped me to this story, describes this with an apt Catalan phrase:
    "If you pay him, St. Peter will sing..."
    update: my mistake - Tom Brady was never married so does not need an annulment. This episode should teach me a lesson about the dangers of trying to last-minute blog as I run out the door to catch a plane. Apologies for the generally ill-advised nature of this post.

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    Offbeat: Dante's Inferno Turns Epic Poem Into Hellish Action Game

    Whaaa??

    On Friday's I make a special effort to find wierd, offbeat news. This one fits the bill perfectly:

    Electronic Arts' upcoming game Dante's Inferno is a riff on God of War [another game] that stars a beefed-up warrior based on the author of The Divine Comedy. Seriously.

    For those of us who spent our formative years sleeping through Classics lectures, Dante Alighieri's 14th-century epic poem The Divine Comedy is largely a mystery — 14,000 lines of allegory chronicling the author's philosophical journey through hell, Purgatory and beyond [er, it's called "Heaven" - AmP]. Electronic Arts hopes to jog our collective memories a bit with Dante's Inferno, an action game adapted from the first section of the Comedy. (Wired.)

    This reminds me of Arnold Schwarzenegger's retelling of Shakespeare's Hamlet in the Last Action Hero:

    Only this is funny.

    Ph/t: AmP reader Geoffrey.

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    Monday, February 23, 2009

    Photo: the NYT's odd choice of a Dolan photo

    I'm not sure why the New York Times chose a photo of a "napping" Abp. Tim Dolan for their homepage:

    "What - long plane ride, Timmy?"

    (I mean - can you imagine Obama getting a front-page photo like that?!)

    update: FOXNews.com does it even worse!

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    Sunday, February 22, 2009

    Words of Wisdom from St. Thomas Aquinas before Lent

    If you were guilty of imbibing a bit too much vino this weekend (it is, after all, the last weekend before Lent begins), just take to heart the words of St. Thomas Aquinas:

    "Si quis scienter in tantum a vino abstineret ut naturam multum gravaret, a culpa immunis non esset." (ST II-II 150.1 ad 1)

    "If one knowingly abstained from wine to the point of pressing nature seriously, he would not be free of guilt."
    [Sent in by AmP reader Isaac.]

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    Tuesday, February 10, 2009

    AmP in Poland!

    No, I'm not talking about a new market for my writing (sadly), or even a future planned trip (even more sadly!), ... just that a Polish Catholic website picked up one of my stories from January:
    "Zdaniem Thomasa Petersa, jednego z autorów blogu American Papist, ostatnie zdarzanie dobrze ukazuje rozdźwięk pomiędzy „katolicyzmem z nazwy”, a „katolicyzmem z przekonania”." (Dziennik Katolicki)
    Since I only know a few words in Polish, the Google translated page helped me figure out the gist.

    Dziekuje!

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    Thursday, February 05, 2009

    Obama: "There is no God who condones taking the life of an innocent human being."

    Sometimes irony is tragic, this from today's National Prayer Breakfast:
    [Obama:] “But no matter what we choose to believe, let us remember that there is no religion whose central tenet is hate. There is no God who condones taking the life of an innocent human being. This much we know.”
    Really? Do you know?

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    Thursday, January 29, 2009

    I couldn't resist....

    Wednesday, January 21, 2009

    Wee Believers: Mass Kits for Catholic Kids (er, Boys)

    Thanks to AmP reader Shaina for alerting me to this website:

    http://www.weebelievers.com/

    They even sell toy mass kits! Now there's a way to promote early vocation awareness.

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    Tuesday, January 20, 2009

    A needed moment of levity

    Emails pop into my inbox almost by the minute it seems, and because I have a blackberry and can access mobile email, I'm almost always sure to find a few new messages waiting for me whenever I check my coat pocket.

    This email subject line gave me a chuckle. It's from LifeNews editor Steven Ertelt:

    "Obama Officials Confirm He Will Fund Foreign Abortions on Weed"

    *Ahem*. Mr. Ertelt obviously meant "Wed".

    And now, back to matters of substance....

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    Friday, January 16, 2009

    Krispy Kreme Celebrates Obama with Free “Freedom of Choice” Donuts

    The doughnut giant released the following statement yesterday (underlining mine):
    Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Inc. (NYSE: KKD) is honoring American's sense of pride and freedom of choice on Inauguration Day, by offering a free doughnut of choice to every customer on this historic day, Jan. 20. By doing so, participating Krispy Kreme stores nationwide are making an oath to tasty goodies -- just another reminder of how oh-so-sweet "free" can be.
    Commentary from ALL President Judie Brown.

    Even though I walk right by a Krispy Kreme every day, I'll have readers know that AmP runs on dunkin'.

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    Friday, January 09, 2009

    Macintosh is Catholic and MS-DOS is Protestant

    Thursday, January 08, 2009

    The seabird named after the Dominicans

    Fr. Pius Pietrzyk, OP, explains: "The picture above is of the Kelp Gull. Its latin scientific name is the Larus Dominicanus, which translates literally as the “Dominican Gull”. The gull was given this name because it’s black wings and white front make it look like a Dominican Friar wearing his cappa."

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    Thursday, December 18, 2008

    EWTN provides Digital Advent Wreath for those on a budget

    For your inner devotional pyromaniac:

    http://ewtn.com/

    I tried to light the whole homepage on fire.

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    Thursday, November 27, 2008

    How many books does Pope Benedict own?

    Answer? 20,000!

    Aside from being a prolific author himself, Pope Benedict XVI loves books. After he was elected Pope in 2005, renovations were undertaken to the papal residence to accommodate his personal library of 20,000 books.

    So it’s especially fitting that the Vatican opened a new bookstore this week dedicated to the Holy Father. Along with books, the new store offers both a stamp and a medal collection, including a new stamp printed for the occasion of the opening, Zenit reported. (NCRegister.com)

    wow.

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    Wednesday, November 26, 2008

    Vatican forgives Lennon. Who's next, I wonder?

    Someone at L'OR must have had space to fill:

    The Vatican's newspaper [L'OR] has finally forgiven John Lennon for declaring that the Beatles were more famous than Jesus Christ, calling the remark a "boast" by a young man grappling with sudden fame. (Reuters)

    During the papacy of John Paul II, the Church went through an "apology stage." If this is the beginning of a "forgiveness stage" in the Church, I have some suggestions for who the Vatican should forgive next:
    1. Vatican "experts" who claimed Pope Benedict XVI would be a vindictive, blood-thirsty traditionalist tyrant, single-handely ushering in a new dark ages
    2. The so-called "new athiests" who have blamed the Catholic church for everything evil that has happened in the world since the Incarnation, except for natural disasters
    3. The pop singer Madonna, for the past 25-or-so years (this one will be tough)

    There, that should keep L'OR busy.

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    Tuesday, November 25, 2008

    Playing Gods: The Board Game of Divine Domination

    "The world's first satirical board game of religious warfare."

    USA Today has the story.

    I'm dissapointed the article doesn't contain the word "smite." Such a missed opportunity.

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    Friday, November 21, 2008

    A little Friday Onion

    Read The Onion, and get reduced to tears of laughter:

    "I'm Not One Of Those 'Love Thy Neighbor' Christians"

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    Wednesday, November 19, 2008

    Ron Howard having a tough time filming in Rome

    Boo-hoo:
    "Da Vinci Code director Ron Howard had to shoot the movie's forthcoming prequel using imitations of the Catholic churches in the storyline - after the Vatican banned him from all of its holy buildings.

    The first movie's portrayal of the Catholic church angered the religion's heads, who were in no mood to cooperate when Howard headed to Rome, Italy this year to shoot an adaptation of author Dan Brown's 2000 book Angels & Demons, which is set in the Vatican City.

    As a result, Howard has been forced to used camera trickery and substitute locations.

    He reveals, "We've had problems filming in Catholic Churches. We just weren't allowed anywhere near them." (Wenn)
    [photo credit: divxplanet, which also has a photo album of pictures taken on the movie set ... yeah, you're looking great, Tommy.]

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    Papist Quote of the Day

    Well, more like the "Papist Paraphrase of the Day":

    Several Beaufort County residents and officials expressed surprise and anger Tuesday after County Councilwoman Laura Von Harten criticized the Roman Catholic Church’s stance on women and reproductive rights during a rezoning discussion Monday.

    Von Harten brought up church positions that don’t allow women to become priests and on “uterus rights” while the Land Management Committee debated whether to grant a zoning request to allow the expansion of St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church in Bluffton.

    Though the committee approved the rezoning, Von Harten promised to fight the expansion, calling official Catholic church policies “an affront to my dignity and all womankind.”

    “I just have to vote in favor of love not hate,” she said. (The State)

    Wow, I'm surprised a Unitarian Universalist (no kidding) would show such .... intolerance!

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    Tuesday, November 18, 2008

    "Don’t drink and drive, Pope Benedict XVI urges"

    An interesting application of the Apostle Paul's advice to be "sober and alert":
    Pope Benedict XVI urged drivers to stay “sober and alert” Sunday and prayed for those who have died in traffic accidents.

    “On this third Sunday of November, we remember in a special way all those who have died as a result of traffic accidents,” Benedict said as he delivered the Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s Square.

    “Dear brothers and sisters, I implore everyone — drivers, passengers and pedestrians — to heed carefully the words of Saint Paul in the liturgy of the word today: Stay sober and alert,” he added. (AFP)
    Of course, if you have nowhere to drive....


    .... well, that's another story!

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    Saturday, November 15, 2008

    Video: Colbert gives the Pope a wag of his finger!

    For what you ask? Going green....



    And for the record, just to be a spoil sport, Pope Benedict did not say polluting is a cardinal sin.

    And I'm sure Cardinal Sin doesn't like having his name tossed around randomly.

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    Friday, November 14, 2008

    Oh sure, take the day off why don't ya?

    Judging by today's super-sparse bulletino, I guess Pope Benedict decide to start the weekend early!

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    Visit your Jesuit U. Spirit Shop ... at Victoria's Secret

    *cringe*

    Boston College in flap over lingerie ... Critics: Biz deal with Victoria’s Secret ‘disgraceful’:

    BC spokesman Jack Dunn said the school was “very selective” when it agreed to let Victoria’s Secret sell BC sweatshirts, sweatpants, T-shirts and flip-flops as part of the racy chain’s youth-oriented Pink line.

    “We thought it was a tasteful line of clothing that college students wear,” he said.

    “We never authorized undergarments,” he said.

    Yeah! Victoria's Secret wanting to sell undergarments? I'm sure that threw everyone for a loop.

    Ph/t: Diogenes.

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    Video: NARAL tries for Hippie, arrives at Confusing

    You've got to be kidding. This has to be the wierdest video I've seen in a long while. What's more, it was put together by the radical pro-abortion group NARAL. Considering it your Friday Zen Bad Trip:



    This Suzy B blogger is as equally freaked out as I am.

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    Man's nap causes $15k in church organ damages

    Friday random:
    This isn't music to anyone's ears: The restoration of a church's 130-year-old organ has been delayed because four delicate pipes were damaged when a visitor napped on them.

    The 18-foot pipes were among about 50 stored in the basement at First Churches in Northampton during the sanctuary's renovation.

    The Rev. Peter Ives estimates the damage at close to $15,000. But he says the organ can be played without the pipes. Ives says the church will not press charges. (AP)
    Oh sure, play it without some of the pipes. Who needs middle C, after all?!

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    Picture: "Why Believe in a God?" bus advertisement

    Yeah, it's "great" living in Washington DC. I take public transportation and get to see stuff like this:

    Talk about "essence of lame":

    Ads proclaiming, "Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness' sake," will appear on Washington, D.C., buses starting next week and running through December. The American Humanist Association unveiled the provocative $40,000 holiday ad campaign Tuesday. (AP)


    Actually, if people have never asked themselves why they believe in God, maybe the ad campaign could be useful. The problem here is - and I state it with nauseating repetition - that these "humanists" only think a God who is able to be discovered through scientific observation could be "real". They refuse to admit the possibility of a reality beyond the empirical sciences or scientific method.
    Well, I hope they have fun examining and dissecting that lump of coal they're going to get for Christmas.

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    Tuesday, November 11, 2008

    Picture: I want it, I want it, I want it!

    "The Archbishop PC" on BoingBoing, via the Whapsters & Fr. Z.

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    Wednesday, November 05, 2008

    And now for something completely different

    My Italian relatives are at it again it seems (and before you ask - no - the picture to the right is not connected to the story):

    ... The restaurateur said he rushed to the eatery, in the village of Rutino near Salerno, in southern Italy, after hearing that the priest and nuns were causing trouble.

    He told police that he got into an argument with the priest, who smashed a chair over his head. The nuns followed up by kicking him in the stomach.

    Stunned passers-by were shocked to see tables and chairs being hurled around the bar and promptly called the police.

    ... He was taken to hospital with injuries to his neck and bruising to his abdomen.

    A lawyer for the clergy disputed his version of events, noting that the nuns had "a combined age of 160".

    "This establishment was being occupied illegally," said lawyer Gaetano Di Vietri. "As to the alleged aggression, I would only say that the two nuns have a combined age of about 160. For the rest, it will be up to the magistrate to clear up, but the clergy members deny the allegations."

    The priest and nuns belong to a religious order, the Disciples of Santa Teresa and the Baby Jesus, which owns the lease on the premises and reportedly wants the property back. (UK Telegraph)

    Sometimes it can be difficult to tell the Church apart from the mafia. ;-)

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    Tuesday, November 04, 2008

    Vatican workers have to use swipe cards again

    Union! Union!

    For the first time since Pope John XXIII, Vatican workers from office staff to cardinals have been issued swipe cards for clocking on and off at work.

    Ansa reports the Vatican City State has issued new cards to all employees from the lowest office staff to the grandest heads of departments, including priests or bishops.
    The swipe cards have reportedly been received without complaint by the lay staff but some older clerics have been heard grumbling that Pope John XXII abolished timekeeping in the early 1960s.

    They fondly remembered that Pope John thought that keeping staff on the clock worked against the flexibility they needed.

    The clerics complain that clocking in and out is a headache when they have to leave the office on twice weekly pastoral duty.

    The timekeeping scheme is part of a new meritocracy drive at the Vatican, which is set to introduce performance related pay next year. (CathNews)

    A "meritocracy"?

    What's next - justification through works?!

    update: Bloomberg has more details (Ph/t: Fr. Z.)

    Picture: Flick user plemeljr

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    Monday, November 03, 2008

    Photo: The Onion does it again

    I know, it's macabre, but I feel that's in keeping with the day....

    "Fleet Of Stem-Cell Container Trucks Ready To Go If Obama Elected"
    [Source: The Onion]

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    "If Obama Loses the Election, I'll Blame the Catholic Church"

    So says one individual.

    I'll be happy to share the blame, too.

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    Thursday, October 30, 2008

    For anyone who's ever had a political sign stolen

    Margaret Cabaniss at IC has the story:
    On Monday, [Shawn Turschak] ran wires from his house and hooked the signs into a power source for an electric pet fence. Then he mounted a surveillance camera in a nearby tree and wired it to a digital recorder.

    Tuesday afternoon, the camera saw this: A neighbor trotting up with an Obama-Biden sign, grabbing a handful of volts as he touched a McCain-Palin sign, then fleeing at top 9-year-old boy speed.
    Video here.

    In my neighborhood here in Washington DC there is a single McCain sign among myriads of Obama signs that I walk past everyday. I think it's a wonder that it's still standing.

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    Picture: what do you think of this crosier?

    Archbishop Reinhard Marx of Munich-Freising:

    Here is a larger picture where the crosier is more visible.

    Wikipedia's crosier entry.

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    Picture: St. Louis Claims First *Pregnant* Catholic Priest

    "A little over a year ago, 26-year-old Jessica Rowley shattered the stained-glass ceiling, so to speak, by being ordained a Catholic priest. Now the St. Louisan is on the verge of giving birth to her first child, and a Washington, D.C.-based group that advocates for women’s ordination says that makes Rowley the world’s first pregnant Catholic priest."

    Her husband is a United Church of Christ minister. So which church will the baby be baptized in?

    "That's a good question," says Rowley, with a laugh. "It's a topic of conversation in our home a lot. We're going to baptize him in both churches."

    Why, of course! Why didn't I think of that? I'm so narrow-minded with my solutions sometimes....

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    Thursday, October 16, 2008

    Picture: Microsoft.com's clip art doesn't believe in God

    AmP reader Jean writes:

    I was searching online at Microsoft.com for clipart this morning and couldn't find "God" or "god" in the religion category. I got a very few results when I asked it to search in all categories (mostly Egyptian 'gods'). Trivial. But a sad commentary on our culture nonetheless.

    See the results for yourself:

    I got the same screen when I tried it. Try it yourself.

    I knew those Microsoft engineers had to be athiests. I mean, judging by their software and design philosophy, it's quite clear to me that they attribute everything ulitimately to chance and chaos....

    I'm still resisting the Apple temptation, however.

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    Tuesday, October 14, 2008

    Pope Benedict asked to begin blogging at Synod

    I kid you not:

    The Synod of Bishops on the Bible heard an unusual suggestion Tuesday morning when a Hong Kong observer asked Pope Benedict to start up his own daily blog on Scripture.

    Agnes Kam Leng Lam, president of the Catholic Biblical Association of Hong Kong, said people need to experience Scripture in small but significant doses.

    “To put it in a nutshell, I’d like to suggest to you Holy Father to start a multi-language blog to shepherd today’s world by scriptural verses, daily verses,” she said on the synod floor. The pope’s blog should include simple reflections that relate Scripture to real-life situations, she said.

    Lam included advice that’s probably good for any blogger: “Remember, brief texts, Holy Father, and plentiful images, and this will be very attractive to the young generation and to today’s people.”

    The talk apparently provoked a positive reaction and some laughter, but the pope, who was presiding over the Oct. 5-26 assembly, didn’t say whether he’d be blogging anytime soon. (CNS Blog)

    I agree with how Pope Benedict handled this. He definitely should wait to announce his blog until he has at least decided on a template and platform. After all, that's just common practice.
    Pope Benedict's blog would not be the first time a Pontiff has taken an active role on the web. Many will remember that Pope John Paul II was often known to lurk on Catholic forums (photographic evidence).
    (/joking.)
    update: The Curt Jester has a hilarious follow-up to this story, complete with his "photographic evidence."

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    Thursday, October 09, 2008

    "Give me $5 and I'll argue any position you want!"

    William Donohue proves the point by penning a tongue-in-cheek reply to Nick Cafardi's article, "I'm Catholic, Staunchly Anti-Abortion, and Support Obama." (More on the Cafardi story here.)
    (I think I've officially reached the point in this election cycle where I feel like I'm taking crazy pills, reading through some of these arguments people are coming up with to justify their positions.)

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    Enough with calling every Catholic "devout"

    For one thing, chances are, if they tell you they are devout - they aren't, says Mark Shea.
    And if the media says a certain Catholic is "devout," count on that being a justification for their dissent.

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    Favorite Catholic Quotations

    Eric Pavlet at Inside Catholic found some great ones:
    • Bd. Teresa of Calcutta: "God does not ask us to be successful; he asks us to be faithful."
    • St. Catherine of Siena: "If you are what you should be, you will set the world on fire."
    • St. Augustine: "If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself."
    • Also St. Augustine: "Seek not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand.
    • And yet again St. Augustine: "Our souls are restless, O Lord, until they rest in You."
      St. Thomas Aquinas: "Contemplate and give to others the fruit of your contemplation."

    Others?

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    Tuesday, October 07, 2008

    Video: Sarah Palin schools a heckler

    Today's obligatory Palin-mania video .... enjoy!

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    Friday, October 03, 2008

    List: 10 Commandments for Bloggers

    It was only a matter of time....
    1. You shall not put your blog before your integrity
    2. You shall not make an idol of your blog
    3. You shall not misuse your screen name by using your anonymity to sin
    4. Remember the Sabbath day by taking one day off a week from your blog
    5. Honour your fellow-bloggers above yourselves and do not give undue significance to their mistakes
    6. You shall not murder someone else's honour, reputation or feelings
    7. You shall not use the web to commit or permit adultery in your mind
    8. You shall not steal another person's content
    9. You shall not give false testimony against your fellow-blogger
    10. You shall not covet your neighbour's blog ranking. Be content with your own content

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    Monday, September 29, 2008

    Adam and Eve were vegans?!

    So concludes Cindy Wooden over at the CNS blog, citing as her authority the Pontifical Biblical Commission.

    I'm not really sure what sort of theological import such a theory might have, but it certainly seems like biblical fundamentalism to me. For instance, couldn't one argue that because man was given dominion over animals, humans ought to authentically be allowed to slay them for a higher purpose (i.e., feeding Cain & Abel post-fall)? Why do we think Abel was a shepherd - just the milk and wool? I don't think the human race had to wait until Noah to be permitted the consumption of meat.
    Some other considerations: the human organism in its current state cannot survive on a diet of roots and berries. Humans naturally have incisors which omnivores possess, not herbivores. Jesus, as a good Jew, would have eaten meat during feast days. St. Peter was told to eat (more) meat in a very famous episode. Is there any intrinsic spiritual benefit to avoiding meat besides a penitential one? I don't think so. We are only to give up good things in penance, after all, and so clearly eating meat is a good thing.
    Bottom line: I'm not sure how sound an argument there is for the claim that adam and eve were vegans (I'd have to see what the PBC says), and there doesn't seem to be any real substantive argument that vegans have chosen a higher path then the rest of us mundane BBQ-lovers.
    Why am I rambling on? Mostly because I intend to eat buffalo wings for lunch today. Yum.

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    Friday, September 26, 2008

    Friday Wierd: Bees are eating Lichfield Cathedral

    Obama or McCain? Try Starbucks or Walmart.

    NPR:
    Even though the two candidates are viewed favorably by about the same number of people, there are some big cultural splits. Of people who get their coffee at Starbucks, 52 percent favor Obama while 39 percent prefer McCain. Of people who frequent Wal-Mart, 58 percent favor McCain while 33 percent prefer Obama.
    Actually, espresso trumps politics in my consumption habits.

    Ph/t: Todd M. Ahliaro of IC.

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    Video: Friday Funny

    "Jesus is my friend"

    And because He is, well, that's the only reason I'm not going to say anything about this.

    Ph/t: Aggie Catholics.

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    Thursday, September 25, 2008

    Why you have to love World Net Daily

    I mean, where else can you read stories like this?
    "New experiments in genetic engineering could open the doors for the return of fearsome "giants" described in the Bible – the offspring of human women and fallen angels – warns author Thomas Horn in his best-selling book, "Nephilim Stargates: The Year 2012 and the Return of the Watchers."

    In the Book of Genesis, beings of great stature called "giants" appear, which some biblical scholars believe came into existence after powerful angels known as 'Watchers' descended to earth and used women (or their biological matter) to construct bodies of flesh, which they used to "extend" themselves into the material world."
    I for one welcome our new Nephilim overlords....

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    Cartoon: From the Anti-Papist Archives


    Odd how not all that much has changed since this cartoon was drawn.

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    Wednesday, September 24, 2008

    Humane Society endorses Obama, dislikes Palin

    And they included these comparison pictures between Obama and Palin:


    The Weekly Standard blog explains:
    "All Animals Are Equal, But ... wolves are more equal than caribou, says the Humane Society in its endorsement of Barack Obama. The Humane Society Legislative Fund's president writes that the group has never before endorsed a presidential candidate, but Sarah Palin simply poses too great of a threat to animals."
    Maybe they didn't hear that Obama has gone spearfishing before - and enjoyed it! McCain fishes catfish.

    It's a good thing popes have never needed the endorsement of the HS because I'm fairly sure most of them have hunted live game at some point in their life. Can anyone back up my hunch (say, with a photo)?

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    Tuesday, September 23, 2008

    SSPX Singles?!

    Not to poke fun, but... LOL.
    Curt Jester: "I can understand the reason for the site. It is annoying to advertise yourself as SSSPXWF (Single Society Saint Piux X White Female) in the local newspaper in their singles section."

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    Wednesday, September 17, 2008

    Picture: The Obama bumper sticker you won't see

    Texas High School Student Told Rosary Is 'Gang Symbol'

    Offbeat:

    "Tabitha Ruiz was stopped by security guards at Seagoville High School in Dallas last week and told to take off the silver and ruby beaded rosary, a gift from her mother. On Monday, the same thing happened when she again came to the school wearing the beads.

    "I went to school, walked through the metal detectors and they told me to take it off," the teen said. "I asked them why and they said because it's gang-related." (Fox News)

    I disagree with this analysis completely....
    Rosaries aren't gang signs, they're dangerous weapons against sin.

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    Monday, September 15, 2008

    Hope: Catholics attend Mass in Ike-ravaged Houston

    A beautiful tale emerging from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Ike (ph/t to Whispers):

    "At the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, also downtown, about 80 parishioners scattered throughout the pews in a cathedral that usually seats about 2,000 for the 11 a.m. Mass.

    "This is an opportunity, with a small crowd, to pray in gratitude that there was so little loss of life even though the loss of property is enormous," said Archbishop Emeritus Joseph A. Fiorenza of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

    In his remarks and during his homily, Fiorenza called on those present to be grateful that the storm had not taken many lives, though he acknowledged that an exact toll was not fully available. He also reminded parishioners to remain calm and friendly to family and neighbors as people struggle without electricity.

    "This calls us in times of great distress to have patience and kindness with one another, to realize we are going to have a long time of endurance and great inconvenience," he said. "But with good humor and God's grace and our public officials ... hopefully the time of great endurance won't be too long."

    At least the Cathedral they fled to looks like it could weather a storm.

    *Sigh.*

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    Sunday, September 14, 2008

    Video: SNL on Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton

    Warning: *Some Adult Language* (it is SNL...)

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    Thursday, September 11, 2008

    Morning Chuckle: Grace at a PTA meeting

    (Maybe for the first time ever.)

    A delightful read.

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    Saturday, September 06, 2008

    Video: Bible in a Minute

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    Thursday, September 04, 2008

    Priest fined $100,000 for ringing his church's bells

    So much for sacred ambiance:
    An Italian priest has been ordered to pay €60,000 (£49,000) in damages because the bells of his church were too loud, and were rung for too long at "unsocial hours".

    The judgement, handed down by a court in the town of Chiavari, has widespread implications for what is often seen as Europe's most Catholic nation, and perhaps the country with the highest density of churches. The case brought by a retired university teacher, Flora Leuzzi, is one of several alleging that over-enthusiastic tolling constitutes noise pollution.

    Professor Leuzzi, who lives close to the Carmine church in Lavagna, near Genoa, began her campaign against its belfry 13 years ago. The judge found that the sound it emitted was louder than average. He also agreed that Leuzzi's hearing had been marginally impaired. (The UK Guardian)
    Considering the average sounds one hears in an Italian city, I'd have thought the bells would help.

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    Wednesday, September 03, 2008

    Report: French gay groups under surveillance ahead of papal visit

    Wednesday Wierd:
    French police have placed radical gay militants under surveillance ahead of the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to France on September 12-15, the daily Le Figaro reported on Wednesday.

    Eager to avoid a repeat of the condom shower that greeted the Pope in Sydney, Australia, in July, certain gay activist groups such as Act Up are being closely watched in the run-up to the visit. (DPA)
    On a more serious note, France has an active al-Qaeda network that has made threats on the pope's life back in 2007. So let's keep his safety in our prayers.

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    "Pagans pray to goddess Athena in rare gathering at the Parthenon"

    From the "extended ecumenical dialogue" beat:
    Defying police presence and a thunderous downpour, dozens of Greek pagans huddled near the Parthenon in Athens on Sunday, holding a protest prayer for a museum being built at the foot of the sacred site.

    “Oh, goddess,” roared high priestess Doretta Peppa, her hands extending over an offering of water and olive oil. “We are ready to defend your grounds.

    ... On Sunday, about 200 people, by Peppa’s estimate, prayed to Athena, the goddess of wisdom and patron of ancient Athens, to protect the 2,500-year-old site and spare the city from harm.

    “Is it a coincidence that rain started falling when the ceremony started and ended at the same time as the ceremony? I think not,” Peppa said. (CNN)
    Wait, she was praying for rain? What happened to sparing the city from harm?

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    Picture: The Pope's ... Cologne?! {updated}

    {updated 12:00am - see below}


    It claims - wait for it - to be the "Private Formula of Pope Pius IX." I'm not kidding.

    If anything deserved to be in Pope Pius IX's Syllabus of Errors - this is it!

    update: from (someone claiming to be) the actual manufacturer of the Cologne:
    I make The Pope's Cologne from the private formula of PiuS IX. It is an aristocratic, Old World cologne with surprising freshness. It isn't some joke like "Pope on a Rope". It provides an interesting look into the mid 19th century, a very important time in the history of the Church.
    At first I thought it strange that a pope would be wearing cologne but in my research, I found that it was very fashionable at the time for aristocrats to have their own perfumers compose colognes for them. And Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti was an aristocrat.
    It is really a nice aftershave and my three sons and I all wear it.
    I hope some of you readers may be able to enjoy it.
    Fred Hass

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    Monday, September 01, 2008

    Lying man receives divine lightning reaction?

    Take note, fibbers:

    A Chinese man who swore to God that he didn't owe money to a neighbour was hit by lightning a minute later.

    The man, named Xu, made the oath in front of a crowd of neighbours in Fuqing city, reports Southeast Express.

    He vowed that he had never borrowed money from Mr Huang, who claimed Xu borrowed 500 yuan, the equivalent of £40, from him three years earlier.

    "He borrowed 500 yuan three years ago from me for a friend's marriage gift, but he has denied it ever since then," said Huang, who went to Xu's home to demand payment.

    "I told him that if he dared to swear to God that he didn't owe me the money, then I would waive his debt," said Huang.

    Xu made the oath, but was suddenly struck by lightning a minute later.

    He was immediately taken to hospital where doctors confirmed he had been hit by lightning. He is expected to make a full recovery. (Ananova)

    I wonder if this also rules out lying when in a car?

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    Video: Bp. Fulton Sheen on "What's My Line"

    From the Papist Archives:

    Ph/t: Dawn.

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