Dec 112017
 

Over the last several days there has been a certain level of media coverage alleging that the Pope is ordering a specific change in translation of the Our Father.

I find it interesting that even though I realize just how bad media coverage regarding the Pope from secular and even Catholic sources is how easy it is to respond to a headline. My first thought was “Wait didn’t he recently give local bishops more responsibility regarding translations (“Magnum Principium”
) and here he is suggesting his own”. Like most hot takes my first thought was wrong.

As Jimmy Akin explains today No, Pope Francis Is Not Changing the Lord’s Prayer. Beyond showing how this false story got advanced, I also enjoyed his approach in looking at the translation and what it would mean if it was changed. As usual his balanced approach brings out some interesting points.

Msgr. Charles Pope recently wrote Why I Oppose Changing the English Translation of the Our Father where he acknowledges that reports regarding this are incorrect. I basically agree with the subtitle of his article “we should teach, explain and root ourselves more deeply in it.” Still I think Jimmy Akin answers some of his points better.

There are no perfect translations and there will always be some ambiguity and confusion. There are well known translations that often get asked about on Catholic radio such as the line “he descended into hell.” in the Nicene Creed. It would probably be better to translate this using the Hebrew word sheol for the place of the dead. But that wouldn’t end the confusion regarding this. It is not really negative that we have to ask questions about what we don’t understand or that we have to study more to understand something.

Oct 092017
 

So at Mass on Saturday morning I learned that my parish’s pastor had been named a bishop. I know little about him other that that I found his homilies quite worthwhile and that he has actively worked to include TLM going Catholics in the life of the parish. I attend the TLM at the St. Joseph historic church adjacent to the main church.

WASHINGTON (CNS) – Pope Francis has appointed Father Thanh Thai Nguyen, a priest of the Diocese of St. Augustine, Florida, to be an auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of Orange, California.

Born in Vietnam, Bishop-designate Nguyen, 64, fled the country in 1979 by boat with his family and spent 10 months in a refugee camp in the Philippines before arriving in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1980. After brief studies at Hartford State Technical College, he became a math and science teacher in Hartford public schools.

In 1984, he joined the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette, studying at Merrimack College and the Weston School of Theology, both in Massachusetts. He was ordained to the priesthood May 11, 1991.

For the next eight years, he worked in parishes in Georgia and Florida. In 1999, he was incardinated into the Diocese of St. Augustine. He has been pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Jacksonville, Florida, since 2014.

In 1979, Father Thanh and his family escaped Vietnam during the war. They fled by boat, and after 18 days at sea, they landed on the shores of the Philippines. He lived in a refugee camp for 10 months before moving to the United States in 1980.

“Father Thanh knows the plight of refugees, and he understands their journey seeking a safe home and the ability to support their families,” Bishop Estevez said in a statement. “He has a genuine gift when it comes to ministering to people of diverse cultures.”

“Now that reality is beginning to set in, I need to start the process of letting go and letting God,” said Bishop-designate Nguyen in a statement about his appointment. “Yes, letting go of familiar places, familiar faces, Bishop Estevez, the presbyterate of the diocese, parishioners, and staff of St. Joseph and Christ the King parishes who have played an important role in my priestly ministry for more than 20 years.

Source

Father Thanh Thai Nguyen, a priest of the Diocese of St. Augustine, Florida, is seen in this undated photo. Pope Francis appointed him Oct. 6 to be an auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of Orange, California. (CNS photo/courtesy Diocese of St. Augustine) See POPE-AUXILIARY-ORANGE Oct. 6, 2017.

Apr 272017
 

The one thing worse than political coverage is Church coverage. Almost always the reason for this is that they see everything through the political lens.

Exhibit 2,028,029,329,029,230,902,292,039,023:

This time from Reuters.

Ex Knights of Malta head defies pope order, plans Rome return

The ousted Grand Master of the Knights of Malta Catholic charity will attend a meeting that could elect his successor, the group said on Wednesday, in a direct defiance of Pope Francis’ order for him to stay away.

A spokesperson for the Knights said Matthew Festing, who resigned on Jan. 24, had informed the group that he would come to the meeting this Saturday at its headquarters in Rome.

It was not clear if he would stand for re-election, as some of his supporters have urged him to.

On April 15, Archbishop Angelo Becciu, the Vatican’s deputy secretary of state, who the pope named “special delegate” to the ancient chivalric group, ordered Festing not to travel to Rome for the election.

“Your presence would re-open wounds, only recently healed, and would prevent the event taking place in an atmosphere of peace and regained harmony,” Becciu said in a letter, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters from a Vatican source.

So is it true that Matthew Festing defied the Vatican or the Pope’s order? Nope.

Vatican Reverses Decision, Allows Festing to Take Part in Order of Malta Election

The Vatican has reconsidered an earlier instruction forbidding the Order of Malta’s former Grand Master Fra’ Matthew Festing from attending the election of his successor this week.

According to sources within the order, Fra’ Festing will be coming to Rome to vote in the Saturday election partly because his absence as a professed knight would have invalidated the ballot.

Now I understand the whole debacle regarding the Order of Malta has run more like a soap opera than normal church governance. The whole thing has seemed rather heavy-handed as seen by an outsider such as myself. Still the Reuter’s story is typically bad as the whole emphasis of the story isn’t even correct. What actually happened was much more interesting and Edward Pentin provides his typical excellent coverage.

Aug 142016
 

Apparently when you have Poltergeist activity it is not the Ghostbusters, but the Catholic Church.

Police contact Catholic Church after baffling ‘poltergeist’ report

Police officers in Scotland have called in representatives from the Catholic Church after investigating reports of “disturbing incidents” of a “poltergeist” at a family home.

A mother and her teenage son were said to be “extremely distressed” after experiencing what the Daily Record describes as “violent and unexplained circumstances”.

The family, who live in South Lanarkshire, called police on Monday and Tuesday.

“The officers attended expecting it to be a mental health issue but they witnessed the lights going off, clothes flying across the room and the dog [the family’s pet Chihuahua] sitting on top of a hedge,” a police source said.

“The officers called their superiors, who also attended, thinking the cops were perhaps being a bit silly. But it’s being taken very seriously.”

A priest is understood to have blessed the house in Rutherglen after officers got in touch with the Catholic Church.

The mother and son have left their home and are now staying with relatives.

“One problem we’ve got is where we go from here, as no crime has been established, so what else can we do but deal with any reports of disturbances,” the police source said.

No doubt one the Church’s tests for the preternatural is a Chihuahua sitting on top of a hedge.

Still it does remind me of other cases where the Church was brought in over something explicable. Such as in the case the book the Exorcist was based on where the family’s Lutheran priest recommended they go to the Catholic Church for help.

Jun 142016
 

An already tense relationship between the world’s two most powerful Argentines became more so recently when the pope rejected a sizable charitable donation to an organization he backs from Argentina’s president, Mauricio Macri. The reason? In addition to possible concerns over the donation’s political overtones, a communication from the pope to the office of the nonprofit, according to the Vatican Insider, had a postscript: “I don’t like the 666.”

The proposed amount of the donation was 16,666,000 Argentine pesos, or about $1.2 million to Scholas Occurentes. The strange specificity of the sum, which contains the number many superstitiously believe can invoke the Antichrist, left some wondering whether the donation was really a troll of presidential proportions.

Macri and the pope, who used to be the archbishop of Buenos Aires, hold differing views on matters of policy, especially the austerity measures that center-right Macri has introduced to stave off critical levels of inflation. An article recounting Macri’s trip to the Vatican in February was headlined “Pope gives Macri a frosty 22 minutes.”

In the world of Vatican reporting you never quite know the truth. But this is what Vatican Insider at lastampa.it is reporting. It certainly seems it is possible that this is epic trolling by Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri.

Now since it is the Washington Post covering the story you can expect some ignorance.

The strange specificity of the sum, which contains the number many superstitiously believe can invoke the Antichrist,…

Yes most Christians believe saying the number might accidentally invoke the Antichrist, just like saying Bloody Mary three times in front of a mirror. Doh!

Pope rejects Argentine president’s donation of 16,666,000 pesos because of the ‘666’ part

Jun 072016
 

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Even after being robbed, beaten and carjacked in front of his West Brighton church Thursday morning, the priest would not take another day off.

Parish priest Rev. Marc Roselli, of St. Mary of the Assumption-Our Lady of Mount Carmel-St. Benedicta R.C. Church, returned Friday morning to deliver his weekly mass inside the Roman Catholic church.

Sporting a black-and-blue shiner under his left eye, Roselli made light of the situation when addressing the flock of parishioners in attendance.

“It looks way worse than it feels,” he joked. “I know it looks bad, but the eye was not hit.”

The priest skipped the junior morning mass, as to spare the children of his injury – but made sure to return for the 12 p.m. service.

Hours before, police arrested two men in connection with the armed robbery, charging both suspects with robbery and criminal possession of stolen property.

In custody are Kerry Pack, 39, of North Burgher Avenue, and Antwine Lucas, 44, of Gates Avenue in Brooklyn, according to a spokesman for the NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner of Public information.

The suspects approached the priest as he exited his car around 5 a.m. Thursday outside 1265 Castleton Ave., police say. A culprit brandished a black firearm and demanded the victim’s wallet, according to police.

After the priest complied with their demands, a suspect punched the victim in the face, and both culprits fled in the victim’s champagne-colored Ford Fusion, police said.

Source

May 202016
 

From an article in the Washington Post ‘Exorcist’ director William Friedkin says Vatican invited him to document the real thing.

William Friedkin, acclaimed director of “The Exorcist,” says he’s now seen the real thing — and filmed it.

Talking to an audience at the Cannes Film Festival in France on Thursday, the 80-year-old filmmaker said that the Vatican invited him to film an exorcism earlier in May. The version he constructed for the 1973 supernatural horror film, Friedkin added, was not that far from the actual rite he recently documented.

“I don’t think I will ever be the same having seen this astonishing thing,” he said, according to Agence France-Presse. “I am not talking about some cult, I am talking about an exorcism by the Catholic Church in Rome.”

A representative for the Vatican countered the claim that it had invited Friedkin, noting that it currently does not have an official exorcist. However, the spokesman told the AFP that it is possible Friedkin was confusing another Catholic initiative with the Vatican.

It does make you wonder who did invite him to film an exorcism if that is actually what happened.

Now some might ask “Isn’t Father Gabriele Amorth the Vatican Chief Exorcist?” Well there is no such position and Fr. Amorth is just one of the exorcists for the Diocese of Rome. There is no hierarchy of exorcists.

The question does come up from time to time about why doesn’t the Church film exorcisms as a sort of proof of Demonic activity. No doubt the main reason is the privacy of the people involved. Plus unlike the movies where Exorcism is mostly one grueling session – in real life they can go on for a considerable amount of time. I think there are quite a lot of good reasons why the Church doesn’t publicize exorcisms and I surely doubt filming one would change anybodies mind about the existence of Demons. People can witness miracles and remain skeptical afterwards.

This whole report seems pretty dodgy to me.

May 172016
 

A couple of weeks I listened to an episode of Catholic Answers Focus where Patrick Coffin interviewed Father Douglas Joseph Shimshon Al-Bazi, a Syriac-Catholic Priest who was captured and tortured by Islamic State terrorists. Quite a harrowing story. What got to me most about the interview is how Fr. Al-Bazi described what happened to him in such a calm manner. He mentioned having his teeth knocked out by a hammer as I would talk about falling and skinning my knees. While he is raising a rallying cry about the situation in the Middle East, he talks with zero malice towards his captures.

From a new article in the National Catholic Register about him:

“I don’t speak out now to complain or look for pity, but, rather, to confront the world, which has turned a blind eye to the violence that is meant to wipe us out completely,” explained Father Al-Bazi by phone on May 2.

“Look at what has happened with ISIS to my people. We must discuss this. We cannot ignore it. We must put an end to this before it destroys us,” the priest explained of the atrocities.

“It is obvious to anyone who will look at the facts that ISIS and other Muslim terrorists are specifically targeting and killing Christians. They attack others, certainly, but 80% of their efforts are against us. They want us out or dead.”

Listen to or download Catholic Answer’s Focus interview


In other news, yesterday the Same-Sex Attracted pastor who had accused Whole Foods of baking a cake with an anti-gay slur apologized – kind of.

Today I am dismissing my lawsuit against Whole Foods Market. The company did nothing wrong. I was wrong to pursue this matter and use the media to perpetuate this story. I want to apologize to Whole Foods and its team members for questioning the company’s commitment to its values, and especially the bakery associate who I understand was put in a terrible position because of my actions. I apologize to the LGBT community for diverting attention from real issues. I also want to apologize to my partner, my family, my church family, and my attorney.

I remember when this story first broke and pretty much everyone on my Twitter feed nailed this as another hate crime hoax. Soon after Whole Foods said they would countersue him and they had video to back them up.

The psychology of hate crime hoaxers is hard to understand. When you have to gin up your own hate crime to illustrate discrimination you kind of miss the point. It is easy to psychoanalyze these acts as attention getting, especially as center of attention getting. But people are complicated and guessing at motives is just guessing.

Still this particular case is odd on several levels. First off if you are creating a hate crime hoax, an Austin Whole Foods has to be the dumbest target ever.

What gets me is that a Christian pastor decides to order a “Love Wins” cake and then adds a slur himself. Wow love really won there. Bearing false witness is such a great idea as long as it is for a cause. He had so much love for the staff at the bakery and other employees. Well if you are going to falsely accuse bakers, you have to break a few eggs as the saying goes.

In this case “Self Love Wins” as he demonstrates the art of the non-apology without the slightest hint of contrition, besides being caught. Still while he actions pretty much aggravate me, I still have managed to pray for him. It is easy to fall in to the same trap of demonizing others who disagree with you.


With the Supreme Court sending the case involving The Little Sisters of the Poor back to the lower courts, I saw lots of people calling this a win. Perhaps it is, but I will wait to see what “accommodation” is made. After all the Obamacare mandate has going through several “accommodations” without ever actually being accommodating. Still the government undermined it case in statements made to the court to such an extent EWTN asked for a rehearing based on it.

So while this is not exactly a win yet, it is certainly not a loss and it was a unanimous decision to return it to the lower courts. The whole thing has been in bad faith from the get go since those involved in the government tightly focused the mandate in the first place to target Catholic institutions. Administration targeted Catholic groups for contraceptive mandate. So we shall see what actually happens with The Little Sisters of the Poor and other Catholic institutions.

Mar 262016
 

So I noticed this series of headlines:

Basically the same basic story appeared in British news sources:

An insider on the tour added: “The band’s team were flabbergasted when the Vatican got in touch via letter and couldn’t believe their eyes.

“As much as they didn’t want to upset the Pope, they had a contract in place to play on the Friday – and in their mind they were going to honour it. They have made a promise to the Cuban people and won’t let them down.”

My spidey-senses are tingling and my first instinct is to call BS on this story (my second and third instincts as well). First off the story is being shaped as “Pope bans”, when at most it might have been someone in the Vatican. Even that seems rather fishy. Where is this letter they received? Seems to me that if The Rolling Stones management ever actually received such a letter it they would make the most of it by posting it online. It makes great publicity.

I really don’t think the Vatican is going to get involved in rock band tour dates.

Although I remember when the Vatican’s semi-official newspaper L’ Osservatore Romano decided to get into music journalism and released a list of the top ten rock and pop albums of all time.

At the time I envisioned their new direction which thankfully didn’t bear out.

Feb 022016
 

(Vatican Radio) The Prefect of the recently established Secretariat for Communications, Monsignor Dario Edoardo Viganò, has refuted press reports claiming Pope Francis “will play himself” in an upcoming film.

The film production company ENVI Pictures issued a statement on Monday saying Pope Francis will appear in the film “Beyond the Sun.”

“The Pope is not an actor,” Msgr. Viganò said.

He added that no scenes for the movie were filmed “for purpose,” although he does not exclude “as has happened before, video clips of the Pope could appear in the film.”

Any profits from the film are being used to support two Argentinian charities for children Source

“The Pope is not an actor” not that there is any thing wrong with that says Saint Pope John Paul II.