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 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.


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.

Mar 032015

Like many I was caught totally surprised by the naming of St. Gregory of Narek as a Doctor of the Church. Although the same is true when Pope Benedict XVI named St. Hildegard of Bingen as a Doctor of the Church in 2012 along with St. John of Ávila. Still at least I was somewhat aware of the ones Pope Benedict XVI named. St. Gregory of Narek was a total unknown to me.

After the naming I started seeing grumbling threads about him not even being Catholic. I thought surely that can’t be right.

On February 21, Pope Francis announced his decision to make St. Gregory of Narek (950–1003) a Doctor of the Church. Once again, Pope Francis has caught us off guard and now many people are scrambling to figure out who St. Gregory was and what the implications of the new honor bestowed upon him are. One key question that is arising is: was St. Gregory a Catholic?

The short answer to this question seems to be no. He was a member of the Armenian Apostolic Church, which is a non-Chalcedonian Church (sometimes referred to somewhat pejoratively as a Monophysite Church), because of its rejection of the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon.

However, the relationship of the Armenian Apostolic Church to the Catholic Church is long and complicated. I would like to provide a brief overview to help us consider the implications of the new Armenian Doctor of the Church.

This excellent article at Catholic World Report gives a overview regarding the Armenian Catholic Church along with its reconciliation with the Catholic Church under Pope St. John Paul II in 1996. It also details information about St. Gregory of Narek and references to where he is quoted in the Catechism and the encyclical Redemptoris Mater.

An update to this post included this information:

Thanks to the comments of readers, I have learned that the 2005 martyrology included not only St. Gregory of Narek on February 27, but also two other Orthodox saints, the Russians St. Stephen of Perm (1340–1396) and St. Sergius of Radonezh (1314–1392).

The first article I had read about this was Mark Movesesian at First Things who pondered about this:

As far as I can make out, it’s this. When Rome receives part of an Eastern church into full communion, it accepts all of the Eastern church’s saints, as long as they did not explicitly contradict Catholic doctrine. So, when part of the Armenian Church united with Rome in the eighteenth century to form the Armenian-rite Catholic Church, Rome accepted the Armenian saints, including Gregory of Narek. He was, as it were, grandfathered in, and has been a Catholic saint ever since. That’s how, in light of his great contributions, he can be declared a Doctor of the Church today.

So now this makes much more sense to me regarding the process. This was first under the purview of the Vatican’s Congregation for Causes of Saints which made the recommendation to the Pope. How this came about would be interesting in and of itself.

What annoys me is that I had to piece together information from news sources to see what was going on. You would think the Vatican just might communicate some clue when a non-Catholic is named a Universal Doctor of the Church. That just possibly some people might be scratching their heads over this. Yes that even the infamous “teaching moment” that constantly evades Vatican communication could be invoked and that some background information might be provided. Hope springs eternal that the Vatican could ever get ahead of the curve.

Still mostly the press has almost totally ignored the naming of a new Doctor of the Church and is confining itself, as usual ,to unimportant stories about the Church.

Mar 022015

New York City, N.Y., Mar 1, 2015 / 04:23 pm (CNA).- A lot has changed in journalism since 1961, but not Msgr. Daniel S. Hamilton’s resolve to rebut the New York Times on its editorial opinions regarding matters of faith and morals.

The New York priest has submitted Letters to the Editor of the publication since 1961 and recently compiled them all in a self-published book entitled “Jousting with the New York Times 1961–2014: Worldviews in Radical Conflict.”

Why has he written so faithfully?

“Among various instruments contributing to and constituting the political process, newspapers with their editorials and Letters to the Editor are one way of keeping in focus the truths and freedoms we hold dear,” he writes in the book’s introduction. “People with a strong sense of responsibility should use the letters instrument liberally.”

And liberally use them he has. Msgr. Hamilton has written The Times over 300 letters; some have made it to print or online, though most have not. The pieces printed by The Times are signified in the book by including their publication date next to their headline. Source

Quite an interesting article, but I found this section surprising and not surprising.

As momentum in favor of “gay marriage” picked up in the United States from about 2008–2011, the New York Times published several editorials advocating for the redefinition of marriage. Msgr. Hamilton responded to every one, but none of his letters made it to print.

“I have always suspected, perhaps unfairly, that they use the column for advocacy, and not being, as they have always maintained themselves to be, a liberal, pluralistic newspaper which admits to all views,” he said.

It wasn’t only that none of his own letters made it to publication, but The Times did not publish any Letters to the Editor within that timeframe that were not in favor of “gay marriage.”

“My disappointment was not, as I said to them and to their public editor, that my letter was not printed, that’s not the point,” he said, “but no letter taking issue with the position of the editorial board on the same-sex issue was printed out.”

Feb 252015

I’ve seen some news here and there about a Vatican official suing a Catholic blogger.

I really like this post from Diane Korzeniewski at Te Deum laudamus. which succinctly gets to the point about why this is wrong and that this goes beyond any dispute between this priest and a blogger.

Father Rosica, drop this embarrassing threat of litigation – it is really making you look bad…. really bad.   What kind of priest, much less an official in the Vatican, uses litigation against a Catholic blogger over his reputation?  Reputation?

Without judging whether any part of what the blogger said is right or wrong, and whether I agree with how he chose to express his concerns or not, bearing patiently with injury, or long-suffering, is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. From a discernment stand point, I don’t see the Holy Spirit’s involvement in threats of litigation or lawsuits against bloggers. While you are concerned with your own reputation, what harm are you bringing to the reputation of the priesthood with litigation?

My headline is plucked from her last paragraph.

In related new Fr. Timothy Scott Removed as Basilian Spokesperson After Hurling Obscenity Toward Cardinal Burke which must be read to believe.