Jul 082014

This looks pretty cool.

The Ignatius Pew Missal is an annual subscription-based worship aid intended for Roman Catholic parishes. Available to pre-order now for a special introductory price of $3.50 when you order 50+ missals!

Its purpose is simple: to provide worshipers with a liturgical resource that is consistent with the directives of the Church and accessible to the average parishioner, especially in regards to music.

This is done in two ways: by using simple plainsong melodies for the Entrance and Communion antiphons, so that a cantor, choir, and even a congregation can easily sing them, and by selecting hymns and songs which, combined, provide a repertoire of sacred songs that is fitting for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, yet accessible for the average parish.

Visit www.PewMissal.com to see samples and learn more about the Ignatius Pew Missal.

Still there is something wrong with the cover art. Don’t they know that for parish missal’s that the cover art is suppose to be abstract and barely recognizable as representing religious themes. They really need to take the Draw Me! course.

Jul 082014

The Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge has issued a statement decrying a decision by the Louisiana Supreme Court that could compel a local priest to testify in court about confessions he might have received. The alleged confessions, according to legal documents, were made to the priest by a minor girl regarding possible sexual abuse perpetrated by another church parishioner.

The statement, published Monday (July 7) on the diocese’s website, said forcing such testimony “attacks the seal of confession,” a sacrament that “cuts to the core of the Catholic faith.”

The statement refers to a lawsuit naming the Rev. Jeff Bayhi and the Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge as defendants and compels Bayhi to testify whether or not there were confessions “and, if so, what the contents of any such confessions were.”

“A foundational doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church for thousands of years mandates that the seal of confession is absolute and inviolable,” the statement says. ”The position of the Diocese of Baton Rouge and Fr. Bayhi is that the Supreme Court of Louisiana has run afoul of the constitutional rights of both the Church and the priest, more particularly, has violated the Establishment Clause and the separation of Church and State under the first amendment.”

The state high court’s decision, rendered in May of this year, demands that a hearing be held in 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge, where the suit originated, to determine whether or not a confession was made. It reverses an earlier decision by the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeals dismissing the original lawsuit filed against Bayhi and the diocese.

The case stems from a claim by parents of a minor that their daughter confessed to Bayhi during the sacrament of reconciliation that she engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior with grown man who also attended their church. Court documents indicate the child was 12 years old at the time of the alleged sexual abuse.

A criminal investigation by East Feliciana Sheriff’s Office into the alleged sexual abuse was ongoing when the accused church member died suddenly in February 2009 of a heart attack.

The civil lawsuit in question, filed five months later in July 2009, names the late sexual abuse suspect, as well as Bayhi and the Baton Rouge diocese, as defendants. The suit seeks damages suffered as a result of the sexual abuse, noting that abuse continued following the alleged confessions.

Source: NOLA.com: 

Maybe the Louisiana Supreme Court thought the case involved Anglicans and not Catholics. From a story a week ago.

ANGLICAN ministers told during confession about serious crimes such as child sexual abuse shouldn’t be obliged to keep them secret, the church has declared.

THE ruling means ministers are only obliged to keep serious offences secret if “reasonably satisfied” they have already been reported to police.

Representatives of the Anglican Church of Australia approved the amendment on Wednesday at the church’s national parliament in Adelaide.

The legislation also covers other serious offences, including domestic violence.

Sydney barrister Garth Blake, who proposed the amendment, said it would ensure the church did not “act as a cloak” for offenders.

However, the legislation will only become active once adopted by individual dioceses.

Originally published as Confession not all confidential: Anglicans

Really we need to send copies of I Confess to members of their court.

Oh and yes I linked to this story primarly as an excuse to create the above graphic.

Apr 302014

In the First Book of Samuel, in the very famous scene between King Saul, the (dead) Prophet Samuel, and the Witch of Endor, the lesson to be learned is, poking about with things that are dead and buried is never a good idea. Unfortunately, I couldn’t help but be reminded of this story in checking out the Vatican’s new web site today. If you thought it was a mess before – and oh, it was – you ain’t seen nothing yet. I don’t know why the tech department at The Holy See is trying to conjure up the spirits of web designers from 15 years ago, but they’ve succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

Funny and unfortunately dead-on commentary on the Vatican’s new site design.

William Newton of Blog of the Courtier goes on to describe just some of the unfortunate design decisions which you [should read][newton

Unfortunately things have not changed since I wrote the Lost in the Holy See parody post back in 2005.

Lovers of parchment wallpaper will be thrilled that they have kept this in their design. Those who enjoy scrolling marquees will also be thrilled with the Pope’s tweet’s been scrolled across the screen.

Those nostalgic for 90’s web design will find much to like. For example documents still use table elements instead of CSS for layout. The only thing missing is a footer saying “This site optimized for Internet Explorer and screen size of 1024 X 768.” and perhaps an animated gif (encyclicals going in-and-out of a mailbox).

Take a look at the icons they use all over the Vatican’s site for social sharing. First off they actually spaced the icons using an underscore character. Plus the icons used have very poor resolution and the Google Plus icon is really bad looking. The Catholic Church has been doing icons for more than a millennium, surely they could do a better job with the modern icon. There really is no excuse for the icons used across the site such as the video icon they use.

The up arrow appearing at the top of documents on the Vatican site is really amazing. When you click on it, it goes to the top of the page. The fact that this arrow appears at the top of the page makes it super useful!

If you had selected English and on a page in English, doing a search with no results gives you this helpful message.


Assicurarsi che tutte le parole siano state digitate correttamente.

Provare con parole chiave diverse.

Provare con parole chiave piu generiche.

Hopefully this year on Pentecost I will get the gift of tongues!

As Billy noted:

Language: The default language setting for the site is “Italian”, and fair enough, since the people who maintain it are in Italy. However, virtually any site can be coded to detect the browser’s country of origin when a visitor lands there, and will adjust the language setting automatically. Why isn’t this possible here?

Why indeed?

Now if you were a normal person and saw a hyperlink that said (video) you just might think clicking it would display the video. What actually happens is that a video in wmv format will start to download to your computer. This is a format developed by Microsoft that will not play in any browser including Internet Explorer without downloading a plugin. I guess my only surprise is that their videos weren’t in RealPlayer format. Even if you were saddled by bad video format decisions in the past transcoding, even on a large scale, is just not that hard.

What is so exasperating is that there is really no good reason for this state of affairs. The Vatican run site news.va is fairly decent design-wise and their icons are much better. Sure a serious redesign of the Vatican site is certainly an intensive task. Yet even the minor refresh they did is simply amateurish. Unfortunately the state of many official Catholic sites from the Vatican on down to diocese and parishes shows the same amateurishness. Although I have seen great improvement of diocesan sites over the years.

Note: “This site optimized for Internet Explorer and screen size of 1024 X 768.” is still used on the web site for a parish close to me. Their web site is embarrassing.

Mar 232014

The drug haul was unremarkable, but the destination raised eyebrows.

German weekly Bild am Sonntag reported Sunday that customs officials intercepted a cocaine shipment destined for the Vatican in January.

Officers at Leipzig airport found 340 grams — about 12 ounces — of the drug packed into 14 condoms inside a shipment of cushions coming from South America.

The paper says the package was simply addressed to the Vatican postal office, meaning any of the Catholic mini-state’s 800 residents could have picked it up.

Citing a German customs report, the paper adds that a sting operation arranged with Vatican police didn’t lure a possible recipient. The drugs would have a street value of several tens of thousands of euros (dollars).

Neither German customs nor the Vatican could be immediately reached for comment.


An anonymous Vatican official did comment that obviously the recipient was not a faithful Catholic due to the drugs being wrapped in condoms.

Feb 262014

So what does the non-photogenic book lover do to have their own fad? Well I suggest they post a #shelfie. This really should be a thing and the world would be a better place.


Feb 052014

In a story by Eric J. Lyman for the Religion News Service and published in The Washington Post.

ROME — Did you hear that Pope Francis plans to call a Third Vatican Council? Or that he uncovered previously unknown Bible verses? Or that he sees the story of Adam and Eve as just a fable?

Here’s the problem: None of it is true.

Still, that didn’t stop these and other stories from ricocheting around the Internet and, in some cases, even in traditional news sources. Among the dozens of other fake pope stories are claims that he called hell a literary device and that he believes all religions are equally true.

The article mentions a warning from the Pontifical Council for Culture.

“Check the official Vatican media sources for confirmation of Pope Francis’ statements.” Remarks should be considered untrue if they do not appear on the pope’s Twitter feed, the Vatican Information Service, the Holy See press office, the Vatican website, Vatican radio, the L’Osservatore Romano newspaper or another official information source, the council said.

“If the statements attributed to the pope by any media agency do not appear in the official media sources of the Vatican, it means that the information they report is not true,” said the statement, which was written in all caps as if to underscore the point.

So far a decent enough article, but they couldn’t let that stand.

The Rev. Thomas Reese, a senior analyst with National Catholic Reporter, said only some fake comments are worth worrying about.

“There are basically three kinds of inaccurate comments,” Reese said. “There are the pranksters, and there are people who simply make mistakes because they don’t understand the issues being discussed. It’s hard to get worked up over those things.

“But then there are people who want to spin the pope’s point of view to further a particular agenda, and that’s very problematic and reprehensible.”

I almost fell out of my chair reading that last line. Fr. Reese thinks that people spinning what the Pope said or by extension spinning what the Church teaches as “very problematic and reprehensible.” Another example of somebody with an irony deficit. He has spun so much of what the Church teaches that I think one day he hopes to be named Spin Doctor of the Church.

Getting back to all the papal misinformation and disinformation you almost wish there was a source similar to Snopes which debunked urban legends or in this case I guess Pope Urban legends.

The problem is that it would be a full time job for a team of people to counter all of “the pope said what?” stories or false stories involving the Church. So it will continue to be crowd-sourced to Catholic bloggers and others in Catholic media not to mention individuals in their daily life.

By the way yes I am well aware of the fact that snopes.com like any fact checking site is not totally reliable.

Feb 042014

I was thumbing through one of those catalogs targeted towards Catholics that has everything from books to furniture for parishes.

These catalogs can be fun to look through depending on just how much kitsch they contain. This catalog had a little bit of everything and I ran across this item.

So is the message “I Thank God For You” intended for the phone?

Besides making Steve Jobs cry by using a stylus on an iPhone it made me think of something. About the fact that there is hardly any Catholic tech kitsch. For example I can’t think I ever have seen a specific Catholic themed case for a phone or a tablet. Looking for something in this category I did find items at cafepress.com and zazzle.com. These services provides items such as t-shirts, cups, and some phone/tablet accessories where people can setup a store with their own designs that get imprinted.

Now I wouldn’t mind having a super-pious case for my phone or iPad. The lock screen on my iPad has an image of Saint Isidore of Seville. Some lists describe one of his patronages as being for programmers. So I wouldn’t mind having a case with his image at all. Having holy images is a nice reminder and for us moderns obsessed with tech a good place is on the very devices we are so often looking at.

Still there is a difference between holy reminders and more badly designed junk.

The Divine Mercy image where Jesus is holding your camera lens.

This Galaxy S4 cover is even more unfortunate unless the new iconography for the The Eye of Providence is a camera lens. The LED flash as a semi-Hindu touch.

First off not exactly the best depiction of St. Therese along with the missing corpus. In this case the camera and flash make for an interesting attachment for a veil, but the Trinitarian aspect is heretical.


This one is at least kind of interesting with its anime styling.

Feb 032014

Catholic Church leaders say a phony priest has been making the rounds in Northern California, going into people’s homes, celebrating mass and possibly asking for money.

The Sacramento Diocese says Javier Posada is pretending to be someone he’s not—a Roman Catholic priest or bishop. He invites himself into homes of the faithful under false pretenses and celebrates mass. Source

This fake priest must not be very smart. Hitting up Catholics for money will likely give you a nice collection of dollar bills.

Jan 272014

The Ironic Catholics as a series of It’s cold in the old Church tonight” jokes to which I add:

  • Multiple people chipped fingernails reaching into the frozen Holy Water font.
  • It is reported that in some parishes more people actually made it to the end of Mass as the church was warmer than braving the cold out in the parking lot.
  • Inculturation lead to statues being dressed in snow parkas to fit in including mittens for the Infant Jesus Of Prague statue.
  • Coffee and donuts were cancelled in the Parish Hall in favor of Hot Chocolate and donuts Flambé.
  • The sound of twigs snapping turns out to be people’s fronzen joints at they make the Sign of the Cross and kneel.