Nov 262014
 

Via Brandon Vogt:

This morning Fr. Robert Barron launched AdventReflections.com, a place where people can sign up to receive FREE daily reflections throughout Advent.

Each day, from November 30 until Christmas Eve (December 24), Fr. Barron will email a short reflection on an Advent theme, in either English or Spanish (your choice!). In addition, subscribers receive exclusive videos not found anywhere else,** special discount codes** for new products, and several giveaways throughout Advent including DVDs, CDs, signed books, and more. The best part? It’s totally FREE!

Sign-up now at AdventReflections.com.

Also Amy Welborn has a new Avent devotional out. Prepare Him Room: Advent Family Devotions. Kindle version is a steal at .99! I super enjoyed her Lenten devotional and so look forward to reading this one.

Oct 292014
 

Maureen aka suburbanbanshee posts Worst Vatican Translation Yet at # Over the Rhine and Into the Tiber

On October 27th, Pope Francis addressed the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and talked about evolution as one of God’s probable methods of Creation. News reports in English had the Pope saying, “God is not a divine being.”

What the Pope actually said was, “….Dio non è un demiurgo….” which is the Italian for “God is not a demiurge.”

In heretical Gnostic theology, the creator of the material universe was an evil or depressed lesser being called the Demiurge [Builder] who was often identified with Satan, whereas God was a higher being (or beings, or eight beings, or….) who never wanted matter created at all. Christian Gnostics justified this term (like many others they used) because it was used once in the Bible in Hebrews 11:10 – “For [Abraham] looked for a city that has foundations, the Architect and Builder of which is God.” (Of course St. Paul didn’t mean it like they meant it.)

So yeah, maybe some of you will believe me now about the pathetic inaccuracy of the current Vatican English translations.

I do have to wonder if the English translator is a native English speaker or not since there have been so many egregious translations. Is there even a team that cross-checks translatons? I would not be surprised at all to find out there isn’t.

Her primary blog is Aliens in This World which covers a cornucopia of topics and has been a long-time favorite of mine.

Aug 212014
 

I have complained in the past just how aesthetically awful so many Catholic websites are. There has certainly been progress, but most parish websites seem to have a design ethic older than the Church.

So it is with some pleasure to point out a site that is beautiful, easy to navigate, and renders nicely in multiple resolutions.

So thumbs way up for the new Word on Fire site.

Now maybe we should have a prayer campaign for the Vatican’s web designer(s).

Aug 212014
 

Via Rich at  Over the Rhine and Into the Tiber with “Kick the Bucket”

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati is discouraging its employees from taking the ice bucket challenge for the ALS Association over the group’s embrace of embryonic stem cell research. Instead, would-be bucketeers should send donations to the John Paul II Medical Research Institute. Here’s a snippet from the Cincinnati Enquirer’s story:

“We appreciate the compassion that has caused so many people to engage in this,” Andriacco said. “But it’s a well established moral principle that a good end is not enough. The means to that ends must be morally licit.”

An embryo must be destroyed to harvest its stem cells, Andriacco said. Many Catholics relate that to abortion.

The Archdiocese asks that any money raised is sent instead to the John Paul II Medical Research Institute in Iowa City, Iowa, where the research is only conducted using adult stem cells.

Rigg and Tom Otten, principal of Elder High School, plan to take the ice-bucket challenge — for the research institute — Thursday morning at Elder, Andriacco said.

The idea behind this campaign is rather brilliant. Appeal first to the vanity of celebrities to get the ball rolling and than the vanity of others as they post their own YouTube videos of this. This is selfie charity.

So much for not letting your left hand know what your right hand is doing, since that can never go viral. Add a bit of shaming to get others to follow and you have a nicely crafted campaign that so far has raised over 40 million dollars. Even if the ALS Association supported totally ethical research, selfie charity is still unfortunate. The mixture of imposed penance, doing something good, broadcasting your penance for the cause, and then the chain-letter aspect of getting others to join in is perfect in a Madison Avenue sense, but otherwise unfortunate. Just wonder how this will escalate with other charitable causes? We have already seen the Fire Challenge, what’s next?

John Paul II Medical Research Institute, Donation page

On the funny side of this:

Barren, Minnesota: Inspired by a viral charity challenge that involves achieving a monetary goal and ice buckets, the St. Bartholomew youth group issued a “boiling bucket of glop” challenge: donate or collect donations of $100 to their Fall mission trip to Appalachia, and one of the youth group members will get dunked with a boiling bucket of glop. They earned $3.27. …

You’ve seen all the USCCB Sword Swallowing Challenge videos by now. Everyone from Catholic celebrities like The Curt Jester writer Jeff Miller, Fr. Robert Barron, and Jeff Cavins, to your friends have posted videos of themselves slowly dropping swords down their throats to help raise money for the USCCB. …

Thanks Eye of the Tiber, if I am a Catholic celebrity I am suddenly being tempted towards selfie charity. Where is my web cam and YouTube account?

Aug 052014
 

So who is the geekiest Catholic Apologist? No doubt it is Catholic Answer’s Jimmy Akin who has just released a new blog Let’s Watch Doctor Who! subtitled “Reviewing every Doctor Who TV story … from the beginning!

Now I just love cheesy SF and this creates a good excuse to watch the series from the start. Besides I have exhausted all the episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 available for streaming on Netflix. Fortunately most of the episodes of Dr. Who are available for streaming on Netflix, except part of the first season. Although I ordered the DVDs of it and now have it for viewing.

In one of those strange coincidences I happened to see this image for the first time today.

William Hartnell was the first Dr. Who and of course St. John Vianney’s feast day was yesterday.

Aug 052014
 

SF Author John C. Wright was asked to write an essay for the new First Peter Five explaining how his faith influenced his science fiction writing.

Few men have ever hated Christ as much as I have, before turning to love Him. Before I was a Catholic, I was an atheist, and not an atheist who kept his opinions to himself, but a vituperative, proselytizing, aggressive, evangelist of atheism who sought at every opportunity to spread the Bad News that God was dead and Christians were fools.

There is much to be enjoyed in this essay, but I really liked this point.

I wrote stories with nakedly religious endings of pure hope when I was an atheist because the story logic required such an ending. Likewise, I wrote stories with a nakedly atheist ending of pure despair when I was a Christian because the story logic required such an ending.

Such an excellent point especially since message fiction is getting so prevalent in science fiction. Agenda before story which can never go right.

In other John C. Wright news, he announced today that Tor Books has agreed to publish the remaining books in the Count to the Eschaton Sequence. Great news as I have read an enjoyed the first three books and await “The Architect of Aeons” to be released next year. So it is good to know that the full series will be published.

So I commend Tor Books for doing this. Now if only they would stop the message fiction outbursts on their blog and the stupidity of topics like “Post-Binary Gender in SF.”

Jul 312014
 

Here is an absolutely wonderful interview with SF great Gene Wolfe. Some interesting questions did get asked along with what you would expect.

Which writers have most influenced you?

It’s a difficult question. My first editor, Damon Knight, asked me the same thing when I was just starting out, and I told him my chief influences were G. K. Chesterton and Marks’ [Standard] Handbook for [Mechanical] Engineers. And that’s still about as good an answer as I can give. I’ve been impressed with a lot of people—with Kipling, for example; with Dickens—but I don’t think I’ve been greatly influenced by them.

What struck you about Chesterton?

His charm; his willingness to follow an argument wherever it led.

Most of the interview concentrates (as it should) on the themes in his various books. Along with some of the craftsmanship often found in his writings regarding the unreliable narrator.

I was happy to see in a interview for the MIT Technology Review (Wolfe was originally an engineer at Proctor & Gamble) that they did get around to the use of religion in his books and his being Catholic.

Were you born a Catholic, or was Rosemary?

No, I was a convert.

Like Chesterton.

It’s a bad thing in that born Catholics tend to look down on you. But being looked down upon has its advantages.

Like what?

You don’t put yourself forward as an expert. You understand other people who are in similar situations, and not only in religious matters. I once met Archbishop Fulton Sheen, who we’re trying to get made a saint now. He looked at you and you felt that he knew all about you, that he had taken your worth, both positive and negative, and had formed a correct opinion about you, and that was it.

Did Sheen feel saintly? He was canny by your account; he had an intelligent eye.

Sheen was a very intelligent man. He was smaller than I had expected. I suppose he was about five-five, five-six, or something like that.

John XXIII was a little man, too.

Well, size only counts with football players, really.

But did Sheen feel saintly? Did he have a quality of holiness?

He had a quality of something really quite extraordinary. I was at a party once for locally important politicians—a former governor of Illinois, for example. And Sheen came through as somebody who was actually on a higher level. A hundred years from now, he was the only one at the party who would still be important. The rest of us were lost. 

I really enjoyed his responses and the last answer he gave really made me laugh.

Jul 202014
 

(Vatican Radio) This year’s Carl Sagan Medal, presenter by the American Astronomical Society (AAS), has been awarded to Brother Guy Consolmagno, SJ, of the Vatican Observatory.

The Division for Planetary Sciences of the AAS, upon announcing the award, said Consolmagno “occupies a unique position within our profession as a credible spokesperson for scientific honesty within the context of religious belief.”

The AAS made a special note of his book “Turn Left at Orion,” which “has had an enormous impact on the amateur astronomy community, engendering public support for astronomy.”

“As a Jesuit Brother, Guy has become the voice of the juxtaposition of planetary science and astronomy with Christian belief, a rational spokesperson who can convey exceptionally well how religion and science can co-exist for believers,” the AAS wrote.

This award will be presented to Brother Consolmagno at the 46th annual meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences in Tucson, Arizona, in November. The Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope, operated by the Vatican Observatory, is located nearby, in southeastern Arizona’s Pinaleno Mountains near Mount Graham.

(From archive of Vatican Radio)

Source

Jan 232014
 

Voting for the 2014 Sheenazing Awards are is now open!

The Sheenazing Blogger Awards get their name from Venerable Fulton J. Sheen, who was amazing at using the newest forms of media to communicate the beauty of the Catholic Church and his love of Christ to the world. They are a fun way to celebrate the excellence of the Catholic blogosphere and honor Venerable

There will be a winner and a runner up in each category. The winners will earn a firm virtual handshake, the pride in knowing that they’ve been named the Best of something by a fairly obscure blog, and the right to display the following on their site:

They have me in the “Funniest Blogger” column. This section includes several blogs I am unaware of an will have to check out.