Aug 182015

“It’s a test to see if the average person or people of Philadelphia are kind enough, gentle enough to treat Pope Bot with respect and take it from place to place and have it be just fine,” radio host Preston Elliot said.

The radio station is hoping Pope Bot’s successful odyssey will show that Philadelphia and its residents are more than ready for Pope Francis’ visit next month.

“To show this area is loving, caring, nurturing and can serve as a proper host for the actual pope,” radio host Steve Morrison said.

Pope Bot was created in part due to the destruction of hitchBOT, a hitchhiking robot that captured the hearts of fans worldwide.

The Canadian researchers who created hitchBOT as a social experiment told The Associated Press that someone in the city damaged the robot beyond repair two weeks ago, ending its first American tour after about two weeks.

“Sadly, sadly it’s come to an end,” Frauke Zeller, one of its co-creators, said. Source


Well if you wanted to test survivability “Philadelphia or Bust” might not be the best phrase.

A Robot Pope is nothing new though. The short story “Good News from the Vatican” by Robert Silverberg involved the election of a robot Pope. It won the 1971 Nebula Award for Best Short Story. Of course a robot pope would be an anti-pope or is that antifreeze-pope?

Still I have to wonder about a robot Pope ruled by Asimov’s The Three Laws of Robotics. Which of course were loopholes galore so that stories could be made based on them.

Really regarding the Pope their is only one rule as defined by Vatican I.

A pope is protected from error when he “proclaims by a definitive act a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals” (CCC 891)

So lots of bad popes, but no loopholes within this very limited definition. Still the Holy Spirit is much wiser than positronic brains.

Now as to the build quality of Pope Bot, I can’t say I am impressed. I built robots in my basement as a kid and I think I could have done better than this.

Jul 202015

I recently saw this picture on Facebook.


Well if you don’t have an automatic, possibly they could do an “Anointing of the Stick” or some form of “Last Rides” for ailing engines.

Soon after this headline caught my attention San Francisco techies are hiring this Wiccan witch to protect their computers from viruses and offices from evil spirits.

Talley is one of those mystics, a Marin County witch boasting three master’s degrees and over 40 years of experience. Though tech problems are not the only ones Talley tackles, she is routinely called upon to debug people’s tech woes with spiritual energy.

“Most people want me to protect their computers from viruses and hacks,” she told SF Weekly. “So I’ll make charms for them. I like to use flora.” And when there are problems in office hardware, Talley turns to “Jet,” a black stone that serves to block energy. In extreme cases, she casts protection spells of her own over the entire company.

Talley recounts one particular tale to SF Weekly, when a startup’s office alarm would blare at all hours of the day, and no one knew why. After multiple electricians (the “rational” choice) completely failed to solve the problem, the company called in Talley.

“I got the spirit out,” she told SF Weekly.

Talley’s website says she welcomes issues too unusual or dangerous to take the the straight world of Western helpers. But she also says no problem is too big or small, even, perhaps, your printer malfunctioning. However before you jump on the phone, you should be aware that Talley’s services do not come cheap. She charges $200 an hour (though a phone consultation is free).

Well judging by her outfit shown in the article she is a “Black Hat” hacker.

Jokes aside, this is great if you want to open up your company to a zero day spiritual attack.

I’ll stick with sacramentals, although dousing equipment with holy water is probably not a good idea.

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has a Prayer for Computer Users.

Bless again this day the mysterious computer

which awaits your power and my human effort.

Grant wisdom, knowledge and a clear memory to my mind

as I sit before this new creature of your infinite power.

Bless my heart with endless patience whenever needed.

Guide my hands that I may be your faithful servant in every key I press.

Enable my limited efforts to bring glory to your Name

and blessings to your people everywhere.

Delete me not from your Kingdom

and save me from all fear and from all error of sin and ignorance.

I whisper this prayer, mindful of the needs of all with whom and for whom I work,

through the power of your Word and the life-giving energy of your Spirit.


Although I have to admit that the wording of this prayer tickles my funny bone inadvertently. Seriously “Delete me not from your Kingdom”?

Jul 072015

Yes that was a totally link bait headline. Yet their is truth to it. Specifically the Vatican has lent the Diocese of St. Augustine a relic of one of his fingers. So for a Diocese patron saint that counts as “the finger”.

A relic dating back to 430 A.D. isn’t something that’s easy to acquire.

So when the Diocese of St. Augustine was loaned a first-class relic of St. Augustine of Hippo late last month, it was considered a blessing and the culmination of many years of effort.

“One of my dreams was to find a way to get the relics of Saint Augustine here for the 450th to finally say the man for whom this city is named, his relics came here,” said the Rev. Tom Willis of Cathedral Basilica.

The relic is the finger of St. Augustine of Hippo – and it’s never before left Italy where it is part of the Vatican Treasury.

Kathleen Bagg, director of communications for the diocese, has done extensive research on the relic.

“This is a first-class relic because it is an actual piece – body part – of the saint,” she said. “It’s just taken a really long time because [officials in Italy and at the Vatican] didn’t want to let go of it.”

Encased in what is known as a reliquary – a container for holy relics – it is on loan to the diocese in celebration of St. Augustine’s 450th anniversary and the founding of America’s first Catholic parish. (Source)

Jun 082015

The crucifix on the top of the Pope’s crozier broke after a small accident during morning events at Sarajevo. Since there was another crozier available it was taped up with white tape and used during events of the day.

Not surprisingly many sites are having fun with this from secular to Catholic blogs. Also not surprisingly those who are not fans of the Paul VI style crucifix are also piling on. Aesthetically I am not a fan of the style as to me it looks like a crucifix left out in the sun to long.

Perhaps the crozier had a staff infection making it weaker.

Pope Francis arrives to lead the mass at the stadium in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, June 6, 2015.    REUTERS/Max Rossi

Pope Francis arrives to lead the mass at the stadium in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, June 6, 2015. REUTERS/Max Rossi

Still I can somewhat sympathize with this accident in a very tangental way.

In high school we had a variety show called Nostalgia made up of homages to the past. I played the character of W.C. Fields of whom I had mimicked from an early age. I used a pool cue as a prop in this act and during one performance it broke in two. As luck would have it I quickly improvised and said in the W.C. Fields voice “Cheap foreign goods” which got a sustained laugh. For the rest of the short run that became part of the act.

May 132015

Starting this Friday, Catholics in San Francisco will be able to donate to their local church by using an iPhone app, bringing modern technology to the millennia-old practice of tithing.

The so-called “digital collection plate” stems from a partnership between the Archdiocese of San Francisco and Evergive, as detailed by NBC on Wednesday. Beginning with this weekend’s masses, parishioners will be able to donate through the free Evergive app, which is available for Apple’s iPhone, as well as on Android.

The partnership with the Archdiocese of San Francisco and its 433,000 members marks the largest agreement yet for Evergive, which aims to assist “mission-driven organizations” in collecting donations. Much like with a standard credit card transaction, Evergive keeps a small percentage of each donation it processes.

Father Anthony Giampietro, interim director of development for the Archdiocese of San Francisco, said the arrangement is justified as a benefit of convenience on both sides. He noted that Evergive not only makes it easy for churchgoers to give, but also simplifies creating new donation categories for special causes.

“The ease with which we could set up a campaign for Nepal or a youth group was astounding,” Giampietro told NBC. Source

Well this makes one thing easy. When you wonder what the $1.00 charges are on your credit card, you remember you must have used this at Mass.

Reminds me of an old parody I did on the Tith-O-Matic.

May 072015

Recently the l’Osservatore Romano reported that an Italian man hung up the phone on Pope Francis twice thinking he was being pranked, but later apologised to him for his error.

Fortunately there is an app for that.


collarid_iconWhat if you received a phone call from the Pope and called him a nasty name for trying to prank you. Perhaps answering and saying “Yeah and I’m the Archbishop of Canterbury.” While those outside the faith think Catholics have too many hangups, you don’t want to hang up on the Holy Father. Pope Francis’ tendency to call people around the world means that there is a small possibility he could call you. Perhaps this might catch on with bishops and priests and you would like to verify the authenticity of the caller.

If so then Collar Id is the perfect app for you as it detects if the caller has Holy Orders along with their position within the Church.

  • No false positives: so-called women priests, anglicans, lutherans, etc are rejected.
  • Provides hints of proper addresses depending on level of Holy Orders such as Your Excellency” for bishops, Your Eminence for Cardinals, and Your Holiness for the Pope.
  • Authentic recording technology automatically records the conversation so you can play back the call to friends and family who don’t believe your bishop or the Pope called you.
  • Share that you got a phone call on social media via the sharing menu.

When someone with Holy Orders calls the app detect it:

  • Flashes the appropriate icon.
  • Shows phone number and name.
  • For bishops – swipe left to see information on their date of ordination, predecessors, Titular sees, along with other information pulled from
  • For priests and deacons – swipe left to go to the parish website for Mass times and available times for confession. Note: We are not responsible for bad design of parish sites.

In-app purchases

  • Stole Pack: Customize Deacon detection with a variety of stoles matching the liturgical season.
  • Hat Pack: A selection hats including Biretta, Tricorne, Canoa, Zuchetto, and Mitre.
  • Pope Pack: Upgrade from the default Pope Francis mitre to fancier mitre from throughout history.
  • Traditional Pope Pack: For all your papal tiara and triple crown needs.
  • Ring Tones: Since the free ring tones provides with this app all come from the Gather hymnal, you will want to upgraded right away for actual hymns.
  • Papal Ring Tones. Papal ring tones must be replaced at the death or resignation of a pope since they are automatically deleted by the Camerlengo.
  • Heraldry Pack: Show the Coat of Arms of calling bishops.

What’s new in version 1.01

  • Added a laicization and excommunication blacklist.

Love our app, consider leaving a review on the app store.

Available on iOS and coming soon to Android.
Windows Phone when the Gates of Hell prevails against the Church.

Apr 152015

My mind is so random that odd things strike me during the Mass. Concentration on what is important is not my strong point. So during Mass while kneeling to receive Communion on the tongue instead of concentrating about the full meaning of receiving the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of our Lord in the Eucharist, I started thinking about some more mechanical aspects of this.

Mostly I started thinking about how few Eucharistic Ministers of Holy Communion (EMHC) know how to deliver the Eucharist for those who receive on the tongue. Maybe part of it is that they don’t get much practice, at least from my own anecdotal databank of personal observations. For the most part the Ordinary Minister’s of Communion are better at this.

Often the experience is rather awkward. Really thinking back I can describe some of the different forms this takes.

  • Alligator delivery: The Eucharist is given as if they were expecting some kind of trap. That they thought my jaws would clamp down on their fingers. The hand dashes in and quickly withdraws.
  • Swish delivery: In basketball to make a shot where the ball falls through the rim without touching it is called a swish. Some EMHC’s must pride themselves on sailing the host into my mouth in a similar manner.
  • Cooties delivery: They properly place the host on my tongue, but they look as if they wish they were wearing a Hazmat suit when doing so.
  • Dumbfounded delivery: A couple of times I had EMHC’s totally at loss about what to do. In one case they still tried to put it into my hands even though they were held together in prayer. I have some sympathy for the dumbfounded EMHC. If someone who looked like me was kneeling down with their tongue sticking out I too might be dumbfounded.

So certainly in my experience EMHCs could use some training in doing this correctly.

During RCIA I was hoping we were going to get some instruction in receiving Communion. We didn’t and so I was kind of unsure exactly what the mechanics were for receiving on the tongue. Just how wide should you open your mouth and how far should you stick out your tongue? I soon found out that I did not have these mechanics figured out. During a daily Mass the priest instructed me to stick my tongue out farther. There was about a second where I felt totally embarrassed (well maybe more than a second). That is until I realized that this was exactly the feedback I was looking for.

Mar 242015

Did you ever have one of those transitory freak-out moments at Mass where you are praying and then something brings you out of it?

Well I had one of those incidents last Sunday at Mass. I was knelling prior to Communion and for a change during the middle of a distraction I might have actually been praying. Then all of a sudden I had a face full of hair. The women in front of me stopped kneeling and sat up in the pew. So for a second there was this experience of having a face full of hair, wondering what just happened, finally realizing what happened, and then rapidly returning to sit down.

Now usually I am prepared for such a contingency when the line to Communion is getting close enough that it would be time for my row to form up. What surprised me was that there was still some time until this was going to happen. Still no big deal and this is was not my first occurrence of this hair-esy.

Still there should be a much more developed form of pew etiquette. Perhaps a Miss Manners style booklet of what is expected. If I was to write such a booklet it would include:

  • Putting your kneeler in the upright position when going to Communion. Most people are pretty good about doing this. Others I guess expect that you have feet as the result of Chinese foot binding. Although not that big of deal since sliding it up for them is easy enough. Strangely one of the skills not taught at RCIA is the skill of toe-lifting a kneeler up with minimal noise.
  • Then there is the fascinating way people populate pews. Often you have a distribution with one or more people sitting on each side of a continual length of pews with much of the middle abandoned. So of course this results in the awkward sideways shuffle if you need to occupy the neutral zone of pew space.
  • You just have to love the chatterers who whisper what is no doubt liturgical catechesis to each other all through Mass. The close species of this are the love-birds who show signs of affection to each other all through Mass. I take comfort in knowing that eventually there dreams will be crushed and they will act like other couples at Mass instead. Okay that last was rather tongue-in-cheek (well appropriate regarding the affectionate couple).
  • My personal favorite is the hair adjuster. The person who keeps adjusting their hair all through Mass flipping it from side to side along with other movements. Still I am a bit more lenient about this than St. Paul “For if a woman does not have her head veiled, she may as well have her hair cut off.”
  • The gum-chewer during Mass is rather rare in my experience. I was rather dumbfounded noticing this once and so of course the rest of the Mass I didn’t think about the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, but “Is that person really going to chew gum all through Mass?” The answer to this was yes and at subsequents Masses also. Although people who have to clean pews might find that the gum chewer is less rare than I have visually experienced based on the amount of gum stuck under a pew.
  • Then of course there is the etiquette regarding leaving Mass. Sometimes I think I would be safer in a movie theater after someone yelled “fire.” Apparently “The last will be first” does not apply to the parking lot.
  • Getting back to my original point there should be some etiquette regarding sitting down if you know someone is kneeling behind you. Accidents will happen in this regard, but some people don’t seem to concern themselves at all regarding this and expect you to just get out of the way.

Still regarding Mass etiquette there is one thing that does not annoy me at all. The crying baby is just fine with me. I say down with cry rooms and let’s have the joyful noise of the crying baby, plus maybe it might just drown out the guitars and drum kit.

Now I am not going to be the one to write such a style booklet as I have certainly transgressed Mass etiquette causing disturbances during Mass or afterwards. Especially regarding sitting on one of the ends.

Once during Mass the Rosary I was just holding in my hand decided to come apart and so many beads came off and started rolling noisily on the floor. To my mind the sound of it was as if I had released bowling balls to roll down to the sanctuary.

Once after Mass I was kneeling in front of the Tabernacle at the Communion Rail (yes amazingly it hadn’t been removed). After some time apparently my legs had fallen asleep and when I got up to keep from falling over I grabbed the Communion rail. The top of it came off and I was on the ground with about 50 pounds of marble Communion rail on me. Talk about embarrassment as people came to help me.

Mar 242015

Via Rev. Daren J. Zehnle, K.H.S. at Servant and Steward.

Every now and again, though, a headline or two does capture my attention, like this one: Bishops say Marian emails and texts circulated in Ivory Coast may disturb public order. Alright, when did the Blessed Virgin Mary start sending text messages? That’s a headline that leads to a story I’ll read.

As should probably be expected, the Bishops of the Ivory Coast are cautioning the faithful about the claims of some who say the Mother of God is sending them messages through the new media:

In a letter sent earlier this month, the bishops said the authenticity of the messages “has neither been proven nor approved by the Church.” In fact, they said, most of the messages are “contrary to the teachings of the Church.”

“People, claiming to be from the Catholic Church, have given themselves the mission to disseminate messages that, according to their authors, are from the Virgin Mary,” said the bishops.

After reviewing their content, the letter said, “the conclusion is that the content of most of these messages is contrary to the spirit of the Gospel of Jesus Christ … for some messages may even disturb public order and create psychosis and fear among the people.

Consider me rather credulous. After all everyone knows Mary communicates via toast.

Still it does make me wonder what Mary’s email address would be? She has so many titles that she probably wouldn’t have any trouble finding a domain that is not taken up yet.

Still what two digit country code would she use? Heaven abbreviated HN is already taken up by Honduras. Blessed Virgin as BV is used by Bouvet Island. Maybe VI since the Virgin Islands is somewhat close. Pehaps DO as in “Do whatever he tells you” which is used by the Dominican Republic. Hail Mary as HM also fits even if used by Heard Island and McDonald Islands.

Still if I got an email from I would open that even if it is a Syrian country code. Perhaps which uses Sweden’s country code. Better yet Mary@ArkOfTheCovena.nt which uses the country code for Neutral Zone which is no longer used since it was for the Saudi-Iraqi neutral zone.

Mar 102015

I must say I was excited when I saw Archbishop in Philly for Pope Visit Planning, Special Milkshake Unveiling and that they were going to pick one official milkshake out of three created by Potbelly Sandwich Shops. The suspense was really getting to me.

Well the wait is over.

The Vatican has given its blessing to a shortbread milkshake.

Part of the proceeds from sales of the vanilla ice cream and shortbread cookie “#PopeinPhilly” milkshake will benefit two major events this fall in Philadelphia: a world gathering of Catholic families and a visit by the pope.

Fifty cents from every shake sold at three locations in Philadelphia will benefit the events.

Well I guess we can be glad it wasn’t Kasper Karamel or Remarriage Raspberry.