Jun 082014
 


pope-francis2-300x187
This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 19 May to 7 June 2014.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s The Weekly Francis. Jimmy Akin came up with this idea when he started “The Weekly Benedict” and I have taken over curation of it.

Regina Caeli

General Audiences

Homilies

Speeches

Daily Homilies (fervorinos)

Papal Tweets

  • “At times we can be self-absorbed. Lord, help us to open our hearts to others and to serve those who are most vulnerable.” @pontifex, 2 June 2014
  • “Thank you to all teachers: educating is an important mission, which draws young people to what is good, beautiful and true.” @pontifex, 3 June 2014
  • “Like the Good Samaritan, may we not be ashamed of touching the wounds of those who suffer, but try to heal them with concrete acts of love.” @pontifex, 5 June 2014
  • “Peace is a gift of God, but requires our efforts. Let us be people of peace in prayer and deed. #weprayforpeace” @pontifex, 6 June 2014
  • “Prayer is all-powerful. Let us use it to bring peace to the Middle East and peace to the world. #weprayforpeace” @pontifex, 7 June 2014
Jun 042014
 

I almost always enjoy reading conversions stories as a full length book. While you usually find certain commonalities there are also aspects that flow from the uniqueness of individuals. Grace shines off the facets that can make such stories familiar and new.

In this case I am referring to Something Other Than God: How I Passionately Sought Happiness and Accidentally Found It by Jennifer Fulwiler.

The broad outline of here conversion story first took a public face when she decided when still an atheist to start a blog. She had questions about religion and wanted to see if there were actually any answers regarding this. To interact with others via the comment section and emails.

I had thought I had known her conversion story and most of the details of it. I remembered reading her posts she she wrote at The Reluctant Atheist and subsequently Et tu, Jen? prior to her entrance into the Catholic Church. She currently blogs at Conversion Diary.

So going in I found that while there was familiar territory in her story there was also much more to the story. From the start of the book I was totally engaged in how she relates her story. She really brings you into her life and some of the events surrounding her atheism and how it expressed itself as a child. How she came to grips with the fact that her non-belief in God was at odds with most of the other children she knew.

What so hooked me in her telling of her story was just how much you are invited in to both her struggles and her joys and consequently into her family. There is a very difficult struggle in going from an established atheistic view to admitting that just possibly there is something to consider on the other side of the divide. That even when there is a reconsideration of atheism and a movement towards faith that there is a fear you are losing your reason and going after something squishy. The problems where when intellectually you are increasingly satisfied there is still the divide between intellectual belief and acting on that belief.

The only thing I found lacking was that really I wanted more details regarding some aspects of her conversion. Although I totally understood why she didn’t go into them. It is a difficult balance to write about conversion while not going into every details regarding family relationships and demands of privacy. When Jennifer Fulwiler participated in a three-part reality show called Minor Revisions I was very intrigued with her relationship with her father who remains an atheists. The book goes partially into her very positive relationship with her father and his encouragement in her seeking the truth wherever it leads. Still she is also very frank about the conversations that came up between her and her husband and the struggles they had. Especially as she was coming to faith and he was starting to take his faith seriously. One of the reasons I so enjoy conversion stories is seeing real people live out the demands of the faith amidst everyday life.

The conversational tone of her writing along with the humor throughout takes on serious subjects while allowing you to think and laugh as you proceed through the book. I certainly found that my reading sessions of this book were prolonged where I was always thinking, “I will just read another page or two before I put it down for the night.” Even if conversion stories are not usually your taste, you will probably find that this one just might be. If you are looking for a book to give an atheist that is a more difficult question. The experience of atheist converts is often disregarded by atheists. Plus each person is different and are on various parts of a journey. So I would suggest reading it yourself and seeing if it would be helpful for a specific individual.

One aspect that I found difficult in writing this review is that I identified with so many points of her experience. As someone who had also from childhood identified as an atheist along with some similar aspects in family life. The difficulty is that I wanted to avoid writing about myself in reviewing this book. So I will let this last-paragraph intrusion of my ego be the extent of it.

Jun 012014
 

 

pope-francis2-300x187This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 19 to 31 May 2014.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s The Weekly Francis. Jimmy Akin came up with this idea when he started “The Weekly Benedict” and I have taken over curation of it.

Homilies

Messages

Speeches

Papal Tweets

  • “May we enter into true friendship with Jesus, so that following him closely, we may live with and for him.” @pontifex, 29 May 2014
  • “Every Christian can witness to God in the workplace, not only with words, but above all with an honest life.” @pontifex, 30 May 2014
  • “In the difficult moments of life, Christians can turn to the Mother of God and find protection and care.” @pontifex, 31 May 2014
May 252014
 

 

pope-francis2-300x187This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 11 to 25 May 2014.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s The Weekly Francis. Jimmy Akin came up with this idea when he started “The Weekly Benedict” and I have taken over curation of it.

Regina Caeli

General Audiences

Homilies

Speeches

Daily Homilies (fervorinos)

Papal Tweets

  • “The one who listens attentively to the Word of God and truly prays, always asks the Lord: what is your will for me?” @pontifex, 19 May 2014
  • “Come, Holy Spirit! Help us to overcome our selfishness.” @pontifex, 20 May 2014
  • “I ask all of you to pray for the victims of the floods in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in Serbia and in other countries in the region.” @pontifex, 21 May 2014
  • “We will never be disillusioned or lose our way if we are guided by God.” @pontifex, 22 May 2014
  • “To live by faith means to put our lives in the hands of God, especially in our most difficult moments.” @pontifex, 23 May 2014
  • “Dear friends, please pray for me during my pilgrimage to the Holy Land.” @pontifex, 24 May 2014
May 212014
 

<Roto Reuters> CINCINNATI A married man and former Brother did something his church doctrine says he cannot do.

Paul Hoeffer became a religious sister.

On Friday, the Deer Park resident became the 1st man to be “vowed” as a religious sister as part of the “Mens Sisterazation Movement”. A female bishop who says she was ordained by a male Catholic bishop she met in a coffee shop. led the ceremony.

Paul Hoeffer, who has taken the name “Sister Paul of the Non-Gendered Relationships in God”, released a statement:

“As a former Catholic Brother I was fed up with being a second class citizen when it came to vowed religious. Catholic Brothers are the Rodney Dangerfield of religion in that ”we get no respect.“ First off if you’re a Catholic Brother, people think you just didn’t have what it takes to be a priest. Then there is the fact that we get no attention whatsoever. Was there ever a ”Flying Brother“, ”Brother Act“, ”Two Mules for Brother Sean“ or any Hollywood attention regarding Brothers? How many Brothers had a number one hit on the charts or got viral attention on YouTube of a Brother singing a contemporary song? Again zero. If we went on a social justice tour with a bus the media wouldn’t care and no Brothers have gotten a pen from the President for helping to pass legislation.”

“Nobody ever dresses up as a Brother on Halloween and plus we don’t get to wear a wimple, cornette, or any other attention-grabbing headpiece. Plus even when Brothers go off the theological reservation they don’t get the same attention from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Even if this happened we would not get the same fawning media attention defending anything we might do.”

“All the power is really with religious sisters, which is so unfair. Scripture says ”There is neither Jew nor Greek“ and yet the Church would deny my vocation as a religious sister? When the Vatican proclaims that men can not adequately represent religious sisterness they are denying that we are equal in Christ. Besides there is a statue in Rome that just might depict a male Sister if you squint your eyes at the right time of day.”

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati issued the following statement:

“Church law and teaching are clear that only a baptized female can be vowed as a women’s religious ub the Catholic Church. Any attempted vowing of men to the Catholic women’s religious life is therefore invalid, and would be even in the unlikely event that a validly ordained bishop met in a coffee shop presided.”

Hoeffer did it anyway – even if it does mean excommunication from his church.

“I’m breaking that code. And I also believe that code was man-made and I really really want to be part of the Church where I think everything I don’t agree with, which is a lot, was man-made.”

May 182014
 

pope-francis2-300x187This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 24 April 2014 to 17 May 2014.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s The Weekly Francis. Jimmy Akin came up with this idea when he started “The Weekly Benedict” and I have taken over curation of it.

Regina Caeli

General Audiences

Homilies

Messages

Speeches

Daily Homilies (fervorinos)

Papal Tweets

  • “What does “evangelise” mean? To give witness with joy and simplicity to what we are and what we believe in.” @pontifex, 5 May 2014
  • “A society which abandons children and the elderly severs its roots and darkens its future.” @pontifex, 8 May 2014
  • “In our families we learn to love and to recognise the dignity of all, especially of the elderly.” @pontifex, 6 May 2014
  • “Holiness means giving ourselves in sacrifice every day. And so married life is a tremendous path to sanctity!” @pontifex, 9 May 2014
  • “A family enlightened by the Gospel provides a school for Christian living! There one learns faithfulness, patience and sacrifice.” @pontifex, 10 May 2014
  • “Let us all join in prayer for the immediate release of the schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria. #BringBackOurGirls” @pontifex, 10 May 2014
  • “Our life has been saved by the blood of Christ. Let us always be renewed by this love.” @pontifex, 12 May 2014
  • “Let us read the Gospel, a small section each day. This way we will learn what is most essential in our lives: love and mercy.” @pontifex, 13 May 2014
  • “Let us pray for the miners who died in Turkey and for the latest victims of shipwreck in the Mediterranean.” @pontifex, 14 May 2014
  • “Let us ask the Holy Spirit for the grace to live daily according to the mind of Jesus and his Gospel.” @pontifex, 15 May 2014
  • “Our mission as Christians is to conform ourselves evermore to Jesus as the model of our lives.” @pontifex, 16 May 2014
  • “The month of May, dedicated to Mary, is a fitting time to begin to recite the rosary daily.” @pontifex, 17 May 2014
May 042014
 


pope-francis2-300x187
This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 10 April 2014 to 3 May 2014.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s The Weekly Francis. Jimmy Akin came up with this idea when he started “The Weekly Benedict” and I have taken over curation of it.

Messages

Speeches

Daily Homilies (fervorinos)

Papal Tweets

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.

Suggestions:

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.

Apr 272014
 

pope-francis2-300x187This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 12 April 2014 to 27 April 2014.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s The Weekly Francis. Jimmy Akin came up with this idea when he started “The Weekly Benedict” and I have taken over curation of it.

Regina Cæli

General Audiences

Homilies

Speeches

Daily Homilies (fervorinos)

Papal Tweets