Thursday, January 29, 2015

"I Will Follow" by Ascension Press

From The Digital Hairshirt:

Hat tip to the erudite Fr. David Carter for posting this.

Even if you are not Catholic, this is some mighty fine videography.  I especially like the drone shots.  Ascension Press did a great job with this and I am looking forward to checking out more of their videos.

Do me a favor - someone go tell Fr. John Moneypenny to post this to the OC Vocations page/FB wall.


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Peeved Parishioners Leaving SF Catholic Church Over Ban On Girls As Altar Servers

By Da Lin

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A Bay Area church is now under fire over a controversial new policy saying only boys can be altar servers.

The new practice is making waves at the century old church Star of the Sea. Since the ’70s, they’ve used altar girls during masses.

The well-known Richmond District church also has a school serving about 230 kids. When the new priest banned girls from being altar servers, it generated outrage among parents and parishioners alike. The priest admits some parishioners even left the church.

“It’s disturbing,” said churchgoer Connie Porciuncula.

Star of the Sea School parent Tara Widmer agrees. “They’re definitely taking a step in the wrong direction,” she said.

Father Joseph Illo took over five months ago and decided to train only boys to be altar servers.

He said he has no choice but to exclude girls because the future of the church is at stake.

“The specifics of serving at the altar is a priestly function,” Illo said. “And the Catholic church does not ordain women...” (continued)


Friday, January 23, 2015

Archbishop Gänswein - a New Interview

From In Caelo et in Terra:
An interesting interview in Christ & Welt, a weekly supplement to Die Zeit in Germany, with Archbishop Georg Gänswein yesterday. It sheds some interesting lights on recent developments in the Vatican, such as Pope Francis’ Christmas talk to the Curia, the Pope’s relationship with the media, the Synod and also retired Pope Benedict XVI and some personal touches. Worth a read:

Does Benedict sometimes speak about his retirement? Is he relieved?

He is at peace with himself and convinced that the decision was right and necessary. It was a decision of conscience that was well prayed and suffered over, and in that man stands alone before God.

You struggled with Benedict’s historical retirement in February of 2013. How do you look back on this step now?

It is true that the decision was difficult for me. It was not easy to accept it internally. I struggled to cope. The fight is now long since over.

You swore to be loyal to Benedict to the death. Does that also mean that you’ll remain at his side, and also in the Vatican?

On the day of his election as Pope I promised to help him in vita et in morte. Of course I did not take a retirement into account at that time. But the promise is still true and remains valid... (continued)

Pope Francis says he wants all annulments to be free

By David Gibson | Religion News Service 

Pope Francis on Friday (Jan. 23) warned the Vatican’s top marriage judges that they should not “lock the salvation of persons within the straits of legalism” and indicated he wants the church to no longer charge for the sometimes onerous and expensive annulment process.

“This is a point I want to emphasize: the sacraments are free,” Francis told jurists of the Roman Rota, the church’s final court of appeals for annulments.

“The sacraments give us grace,” he said. “And a marriage proceeding” — like an annulment — “touches on the sacrament of marriage...” (continued)


Pope to new cardinals: No flashy parties


VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis is warning his new cardinals to keep the partying to a minimum — and keep their egos in check — when they are formally elevated at a Vatican ceremony next month.

In a letter written to the 20 new princes of the church published Friday in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Francis warned the cardinals to avoid the type of ostentatious festivities that "stun worse than grappa on an empty stomach."

Traditionally, new cardinals are feted with lavish parties, often funded by well-meaning parishioners, in Rome after the ceremony where they receive their red hats. Francis, known for his personal simplicity and disdain for anything fancy, said it was perfectly fine to celebrate but urged his new cardinals to accept a party "with humility..." (continued)


Homosexual Catholic Clergy w/ Congressman Bob Dornan

Monday, January 19, 2015

Pope Francis Confirms He Will Visit DC, NYC and Philly

(NBC News) Pope Francis' confirmed Monday that his trip to the United States this fall will include stops in Washington and New York City, in addition to the previously announced visit to Philadelphia.

The pontiff told reporters he wishes he could enter the U.S. through the Mexican border "as a sign of brotherhood and of help to the immigrants," but will probably just fly directly to the East Coast. 

"You know that [to] go to Mexico without going to visit the Madonna [of Guadalupe] would be a drama. A war could break out," he said, laughing. "I think there will only be those three cities. Later there will be time to go to Mexico." 

Details of his itinerary are in the early-planning stages, but organizers are already talking about appearances at the White House, the United Nations and Ground Zero, and even a Mass at Madison Square Garden. 

One thing that is not in question: American Catholics can't wait to play host to the hugely popular people's pontiff. 

"You can't go to anything connected to the Archdiocese without people asking if Pope Francis is coming," Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York, told NBC News on Monday. 

Zwilling said he was in New York for Pope John Paul II's second visit in 1995 and for Pope Benedict XVI's trip in 2008 but thinks "a visit by Pope Francis is going to easily surpass either of those two events." 

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city will welcome the 79-year-old leader of the world's Catholics "with open arms." 

"Pope Francis is the leading global voice on issues of social justice and income inequality, and New Yorkers from all backgrounds will be tremendously humbled and honored to hear his message right here," de Blasio said in a statment... (continued)


Pope says Catholics don't need to be 'like rabbits'

By Philip Pullella

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (Reuters) - Catholics should not feel they have to breed "like rabbits" because of the Church's ban on contraception, Pope Francis said on Monday, suggesting approved natural family planning methods..

"Some think, excuse me if I use the word, that in order to be good Catholics, we have to be like rabbits - but no," he said, adding the Church promoted "responsible parenthood".

He mentioned a woman he recently met who already had seven children by caesarean sections and put her life at risk by becoming pregnant again. He said he chided her for "tempting God" and added: "That was an irresponsibility."

Dear Someone

By Ann Barnhardt

...A while back I wrote about the excellent and pious practice of teaching children to pray for their future spouse.  Here is a lovely song that I first heard over ten years ago when I attended the “Down From the Mountain” concert, which was the tour associated with the “O Brother Where Art Thou” soundtrack.  I splurged and bought front-row center seats at the Paramount Theatre in Denver.  Hands down, best show I’ve ever seen.  The only thing missing was the Cox Family, who were on the bill, but Willard Cox had just been in a serious car accident.

Anyway, this song by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings is about the anticipation of spousal love, and can also be heard Christologically, with the imagery of a boat (the Church), a guiding star (the star of Bethlehem), the wind rushing over the waters (creation and baptism), and the outstretched arms inviting embrace (Our Lord crucified). Hurry and take me straight into the arms… indeed.

I want to go all over the world
And start living free
I know that there’s somebody
Who is waiting for me

I’ll build a boat, steady and true
As soon as it’s done
I’m going to sail along in a dream
Of my dear someone

One little star, smiling tonight
Knows where you are
Stay, little star, steady and bright
To guide me afar

Rush, little wind, over the deep
For now I’ve begun
Hurry and take me straight into the arms
Of my dear someone
Hurry and take me into the arms
Of my dear someone


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Michael Sam

By Fr. Paul Nicholson 

A guilty conscience demands confession. So what does it do? it goes to the Cathedral of the Confession of St. Peter, and makes a gigantic public confession.

Unable to "get" absolution, it accepts that public approval is a kind of absolution. But it never satisfies.

A guilty conscience is a terrible and merciless punisher ... revealing, rather than concealing.


Friday, January 16, 2015

St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese files for bankruptcy

By Amy Forliti

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis filed for bankruptcy protection on Friday, saying it's the best way for the church to get as many resources as possible to victims of clergy sexual abuse.

"We're doing the right thing," the Rev. Charles Lachowitzer told The Associated Press in an interview in advance of Friday's filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. "This decision reflects the end of a process of putting victims first."

The archdiocese is the 12th U.S. diocese to seek bankruptcy protection in the face of sex abuse claims. Church leaders have said for months that bankruptcy was an option, as the archdiocese faces the potential for dozens of lawsuits by victims of clergy sex abuse. Those lawsuits would be put on hold while the bankruptcy case is pending.

The filing estimated the archdiocese's assets between $10 million and $50 million, with liabilities between $50 million and $100 million. It estimated 200 and 300 creditors... (continued)


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Mastodon Bones Discovered In Michigan Man's Yard


(You never know what's lying just beneath the surface in your own yard.

Most people find some old coins or a rusty bicycle chain. But two men in Michigan hit the jackpot when they discovered the remains of a massive Ice Age mammal.

Contractor Daniel LaPoint Jr. was working in Eric Witzke's Bellevue, Mich., yard when he noticed a giant rib sticking out of the ground, according to the Lansing State Journal. Over four days in November, the two worked together to pull 42 bones out of the ground..


Monday, January 12, 2015

Musical Interlude

From Ann Barnhardt:

I am thinking today of that beautiful land
We shall reach when the sun goeth down;
When through wonderful grace by my Savior I stand,
Will there be any stars in my crown?

Will there be any stars, any stars in my crown,
When at evening the sun goeth down?
When I wake with the blest in the mansions of rest,
Will there be any stars in my crown?

In the strength of the Lord let me labor and pray,
Let me watch as a winner of souls;
That bright stars may be mine in that glorious day,
When His praise like the sea-billow rolls.

Oh, what joy it will be when His face I behold,
Living gems at His feet to lay down;
It would sweeten my bliss in the city of gold,
Should there be any stars in my crown.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Real Face of Santa Claus

By Ryan Scheel 

(uCatholic) ...According to scientific analysis and computer models, Saint Nicholas, the 4th century Bishop of Myra who Santa Claus is based on, would have looked a bit different than the Nordic woodsman of popular culture and more like a 4th century Byzantine Bishop.

According to The Saint Nicholas Center 
St. Nicholas’ remains are buried in the crypt of the Basilica di San Nicola in Bari, Italy. These bones were temporarily removed when the crypt was repaired during the 1950s. At the Vatican’s request, anatomy professor Luigi Martino from the University of Bari, took thousands of minutely-detailed measurements and x-ray photographs (roentgenography) of the skull and other bones...

Using this data, the medical artist used state-of-the-art computer software to develop the model of St. Nicholas. The virtual clay was sculpted on screen using a special tool that allows one to “feel” the clay as it is molded. Dr. Wilkinson says, “In theory you could do the same thing with real clay, but it’s much easier, far less time-consuming and more reliable to do it on a computer...”


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Scottish monk arrested for distributing leaflets promoting sexual morality

By Thaddeus Baklinski

( A Scottish monk has been arrested for distributing a series of leaflets in the Cambridgeshire area critical of homosexuality, fornication, contraception, euthanasia, abortion, and divorce.

Brother Damon Jonah Kelly, head of the Glasgow based charity the Black Hermits, was arrested by Cambridgeshire Police on December 8 on suspicion of a Section 5 (religious/racial) public order offence after he wrote a letter to the homosexual news publication, Pink News, claiming responsibility for the distribution of leaflets in the city of Ely, as well as in Cambridge, King’s Lynn and several other Cambridgeshire towns and cities.

Initially police declined to take any action following a number of complaints about the leaflets, saying that neither the distribution of the leaflets nor the messages they contain were a crime, and in fact protected by free speech laws.

A spokeswoman for Cambridgeshire Police said in a statement to Ely News, "Leaflets of a homophobic nature were distributed in Cambridge earlier this year. Additionally, similar material has been distributed in other areas of the county and indeed, the country.”

"While the material being distributed earlier this week will in many cases offend, irritate, shock or disturb, the content, context and actions of the male concerned fall short of any criminality at this time,” the spokeswoman added.

However, once the source of the leaflets identified himself, the police arrested him. They then released him on bail with a promise to appear on January 20.

The leaflets in question have titles such as "The Works of Darkness," "Homosexuality," and "Christmas, Christ and AntiChrist."

"Homosexuality" states that "God created man and woman for their mutual compatibility and for the procreation of children," and that, "all sexual activity outside of matrimonial union of one man and one woman is sin, and therefore immoral."

Warning that "through the sin of lust the Devil tempts man to sexual impurity, excess and perversion," the leaflet states that homosexuality is in reality a mental illness, but has become a cult that belongs to the culture of death.

“Homosexuality, as well as being a sin and a vice, is essentially a neurosis, a pathological condition; the result of several factors including childhood experiences. It is a dangerous temptation rather than a healthy orientation,” it reads.

“If the practice of homosexuality is acceptable, then in time any form of sexual deviation, perversion and experimentation will be acceptable, including the progressive lowering of the age of consent, taking it below the age of puberty and thus legalizing paedophilia. A common form of homosexuality is pederasty."

The leaflet goes on to say, “The condition of homosexuality can be treated and healed, as all distorted sexuality can be healed, and as many cases in recent years have proved," adding that homosexual people should not be persecuted but that homosexual inclinations should “not be encouraged."

“They need healing, not approval,” the leaflet says.

"The Works of Darkness" leaflet states that, "The deliberate killing of the baby in the womb is infanticide, is homicide, and those who perpetrate such an act are guilty of murder," and that, "Divorce wreaks havoc in society and is part and parcel of the plague of the 'one-parent family' which is a great evil."

It states that, "Homosexuality is not inborn, it is a development disorder, a traumatized condition arising out of a dysfunctional family, or it is a lifestyle choice. It is utterly opposed to the law of God and to nature, and should in no way be condoned or promoted."

This leaflet also comments on fornication, contraception, assisted fertilization, pornography, transgenderism, euthanasia, and atheism as serious societal problems.

"Christmas, Christ and AntiChrist," which was delivered in Cambridge last week, states that, “Christmas is the invasion by God into the world He created out of pure love; which through man’s evil has become a polluted landscape of de-humanized people, debasing themselves with their false gods and fetishes."

In his letter to Pink News, Brother Damon claims to have been arrested on nine occasions for leafleting, and despite this has brought his 2014 campaign to a “satisfactory conclusion.”

He closed the letter saying, "I wouldn’t be a good monk if I didn’t exhort you to repentance and conversion to Christ."


Monday, December 8, 2014

Mass with Fr. Z in Rome

From J. P. Sonnen:

It was a proud moment to serve Fr. Z's Low Mass in the crypt chapel of the Basilica of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere.  During our Mass we could hear the chants of the Church from a sung Mass being celebrated above at the main altar.  For over 20 years I have been serving Mass for Fr. Z.

Fr. Z was first in Rome in 1981.  His second Mass was celebrated at the main altar of this Basilica, after his ordination by Pope St. John Paul II.  Having Mass at the tomb of St. Cecilia has a bit of an enchanting feel like having Holy Mass in the catacombs.   A very special place to visit, especially at dusk.  I saw it on my first trip to Rome and return every time. 

The Art Nouveau era mosaics were completed in the year 1900 under Cardinal Rampolla, who at age 43 in 1887 had been named Cardinal-Priest of Santa Cecilia.  Always nice to visit here on her feast day, November 22.  She is the patron saint of musicians.  A saint of the Roman Canon and Roman martyr - one of eight female saints mentioned in the Canon... (continued)


This 29-year-old was a waitress — then she got a cat with dwarfism, quit her job, and became a multi-millionaire

By Alyson Shontell

(Business Insider) Tabatha Bundesen, 29, is the owner of feline internet sensation Grumpy Cat. She lives in Arizona.

Grumpy Cat has a form of dwarfism and an underbite that yields a perpetual frown.

On Sept. 22, 2012, Bundesen's brother changed her life.

Bundesen was working as a waitress. Her brother took a photo of her peeved-looking cat and posted it to Reddit. The photo went viral and Grumpy Cat quickly became a meme, with recognition on sites like BuzzFeed and CNBC. It earned more than 1 million views on Imgur within 48 hours.

Here are the original pictures posted of Grumpy Cat:

The fame allowed Bundesen to quit serving tables.

"I was able to quit my job as a waitress within days of her first appearance on social media and the phone simply hasn't stopped ringing since," she tells The Telegraph.

In two years, Bundesen has generated nearly $100 million from Grumpy Cat's paid appearances, book deals, and modeling career, according to The Telegraph (Bundesen tells Huffington Post that amount is inaccurate, but doesn't say if it's high or low). Bundesen believes Grumpy Cat is "unstoppable."

"We knew she was extremely unique, but we didn't know she would be this magnitude of special," Bundesen said at Grumpy Cat's second-birthday party in April.

"I'm used to working every day, so this is a huge routine change," Bundesen said. "You don't have to have a routine when you have to take pictures of the cat."

Another perk: "I'm getting to travel ... we get to see my family that lives in different parts of the country more often," Bundesen told Phoenix Business Journal in an interview. "It's really awesome that Grumpy Cat can spread to joy to so many people — and she's a cat."

Grumpy Cat was born in Bundesen's home. Grumpy Cat has a brother named Pokey.

New: Just saw this notice from Fr. MacRae's editor who serves priests in crisis:

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Solving the ‘enigma’ of Pope Francis


(Fox News) Since Pope Francis was elected pontiff in 2013, his actions and what he has to say have been under the intense glare of the media spotlight. However, his background has remained largely unexamined.

A new book argues that in order to understand Francis’ radical agenda for the Catholic Church, it is necessary to delve deep into the pontiff’s background and the complex Argentinian political system in which Jorge Mario Bergoglio was raised.

Austen Ivereigh, journalist and former adviser to now-retired British Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, argues in “The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope” that, like his home country of Argentina, left-right paradigms do not adequately define Jorge-Mario Bergoglio, but this makes him no less revolutionary for an institution frequently defined by its wariness to change.

The thrust of Ivereigh’s book is that only by delving into Francis’ past, particularly his Jesuit background and his acceptance of certain forms of Peronism, can the reader understand his plan for the Church. Peronism -- a movement launched by former-Argentinian president Juan Peron -- rejects both capitalism and socialism and advocates a third way based on social justice, nationalism and state involvement in the economy.

Ivereigh describes Peronism as “a movement rather than a party, a culture rather than an interest group, a political hybrid so popular and absorbent that for decades it has dominated modern Argentina.” The movement was highly influential on Bergoglio, who was once reprimanded for wearing a Peronist symbol to school as a boy.

Bergoglio came to respect Peronism for the way it articulated the values of the people and their traditions. It leads, in Ivereigh’s view, to a Bergoglio who rejects Marxism and neo-liberalism as ideologies that place ideas above people, especially the poor. Ivereigh uses as an example Bergoglio’s position after the Second Vatican Council (1962-5) where he embraced the Council’s “preferential option for the poor” without sliding into the camp of some progressive bishops and clergy, who blended church teaching with Marxist ideology.

“He had a particular understanding of the renewal which was anti-liberal and anti-Marxist. He’s a nationalist, comes out of a nationalist Catholic tradition in Argentina…which tends to value the values of ordinary people and the traditions of Argentina and would see the Enlightenment as being foreign to that tradition,” Ivereigh told  ‘So he wasn’t a conservative, but he had an understanding of the Council that was at odds with a certain kind of progressive view.”

This caused Bergoglio a great deal of trouble as part of the head of the Jesuit order in Argentina. Made provincial in 1973, Bergoglio soon upset a powerful and ideological elite in the order who hated his popularity, and the direction he was taking the order. A bitter struggle ensued and despite being a popular and successful provincial, by 1990 he was exiled from the order after the anti-Bergoglio Jesuits successfully petitioned Rome to have him removed from his post.
Consequently, despite being made bishop in 1992 and Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998, Bergoglio was estranged from the Jesuits and had minimal contact with the order until he became pope.

“When he was elected, a kind of collective groan went around Jesuit houses across the world,” Ivereigh says, although pointing out that since then the pope and the Jesuits have reconciled.

“The Great Reformer” also deals with the accusations that as provincial, the future pope was negligent in his actions during the Argentinian military dictatorship’s “Dirty War” during the late 70s and early 80’s. Ivereigh deals head-on with charges that Bergoglio gave the green-light to the military junta to arrest two rogue priests, and could have done more to save more people.

Ivereigh concludes the opposite, that Bergoglio saved dozens of lives and did the best he could in trying circumstances, doing more than if he had spoken out against the military junta, which Ivereigh argues, could have only made things worse.

“I have a problem with some liberal journalists in another era wagging their fingers if you’ve never lived through a dictatorship,” Ivereigh told “Totalitarian regimes are never brought down by internal opposition and speaking out against totalitarian regimes usually means more people get killed.”

One of the more unique aspects Ivereigh brings to Francis’ story is an insight into the Vatican politics that got Bergoglio elected in the 2013 conclave.

Ivereigh cites sources to argue there was a bloc of progressive European cardinals who pushed Bergoglio, first as the “anti-Ratzinger” candidate to oppose the future Pope Benedict XVI in 2005, and then again in 2013, where this time a fragmented conservative opposition allowed “Team Bergoglio” to push through and win.

The chapter is noteworthy as deals and pacts are expressly forbidden by conclave rules. While Ivereigh believes that no canon law was infringed, the revelations will no doubt lead to speculation as to whether an apparently pre-determined faction of European progressives undermined the spirit of the conclave.

Ivereigh also notes, that while he was being pushed by European progressives as the “anti-Benedict,” Bergoglio had no desire to be part of this role.

“There is much more continuity between Benedict and Francis than people have realized - I hope that comes through from the book,” Ivereigh said.

By delving into Francis’ background, his encounters with the poor, his fight with his Jesuit order and the political undercurrents in Argentina, Ivereigh paints a picture of a pope who eschews ideology in order to live out the evangelical radicalness of the Gospel. “Francis’ radicalism is not to be confused with a progressive doctrine or ideology,” Ivereigh writes. “It is radical because it is missionary, and mystical.”

Ivereigh’s Francis is a complex man full of surprises and contradictions, trying to balance faithfulness to the Church’s doctrines with an evangelical passion for bringing people to Jesus Christ, and trying to helping the poor spiritually and politically without embracing Marxism. “The Great Reformer” does not solve what Ivereigh calls the “Francis enigma” but it does go a long way to shining light on the pope’s background, how he thinks and what he has in store for the Church.


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Mickey Rourke Prepared for Moscow Fight With Images of Saints and Sign of the Cross

From The Eponymous Flower:
MOSCOW -- We're always encouraging fellow Catholics to keep physically fit and militant. Mickey Rourke isn't an exemplary Catholic, but he seems sincere, and he is setting an example.
Hollywood actor Mickey Rourke returned to the boxing ring Friday at the age of 62, defeating a fighter less than half his age in an exhibition bout.

Rourke sent 29-year-old Pasadena, California, native Elliot Seymour to the canvas twice in the second round before the referee stopped the fight.

Rourke prepared in a dressing room in front of a shrine featuring candles, images of saints, and photographs of his dogs. He said he had been in mourning for his recently deceased Chihuahua.

He took to the ring in a Stetson hat, a red-and-gold robe and shiny gold gloves, repeatedly crossing himself.
Link to ESPN...

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

NASA builds a time-machine telescope 100 times as powerful as the Hubble

(The Washington Post) Inside a very big and very clean room at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., nearly 30 workers dressed in white protective suits, goggles and blue booties cluster around the parts of a time machine.

These parts — gold-covered mirrors, tennis-court-size sun shields, delicate infrared cameras — are slowly being put together to become the James Webb Space Telescope.

Astronomers are hoping that the Webb will be able to collect light that is very far away from us and is moving still farther away. The universe has been expanding ever since the big bang got it started, but scientists reckon that if the telescope is powerful enough, they just might be able to see the birth of the first galaxies, some 13.5 billion years ago.

“This is similar to archaeology,” says Harvard astrophysicist Avi Loeb, who helped plan Webb’s science mission. “We are digging deep into the universe. But as the sources of light become fainter and farther away, you need a big telescope like the James Webb.”

Named for a former NASA director, the 21-foot-diameter Webb telescope will be 100 times as powerful as the Hubble Space Telescope, which was launched in 1990. Although Hubble wasn’t the first space telescope, its images of far-off objects have dazzled the public and led to breakthroughs in astrophysics, such as determining how fast the universe is expanding.

The Webb will be both bigger and located in a darker part of space than Hubble, enabling it to capture images from the faintest galaxies. Four infrared cameras will capture light that is moving away from us very quickly and that has shifted from the visible to the infrared spectrum, described as red-shifted. The advantage of using infrared light is that it is not blocked by clouds of gas and dust that may lie between the telescope and the light. Webb’s mirrors are covered in a thin layer of gold that absorbs blue light but reflects yellow and red visible light, and its cameras will detect infrared light and a small part of the visible spectrum. As objects move away from us, the wavelength of their light shifts from visible light to infrared light. That’s why the Webb’s infrared cameras will be able to see things that are both far away and moving away from us... (continued)


Monday, November 17, 2014

Pope Francis Gets Patti Smith Singing For Cardinals at Vatican Christmas Concert

By Umberto Bacchi


(International Business Times) The Holy See has announced that Patti Smith will be among the artists set to perform live in front of bishops and cardinals at the traditional Vatican Christmas concert in December.

The US singer who once sang: "Jesus died for somebody's sins -- but not mine," was expressly invited by Pope Francis, Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera reported.

The two famously met and shook hands at St Peter's Square on the sidelines of a weekly general audience in April last year.

The concert will be held at Rome's Auditorium Conciliazione, a few metres from the Vatican, on December 13, and is to be broadcast live on television.

The announcement comes as another Catholic association has been trying to prevent the same singer from performing at the iconic Basilica of San Giovanni Maggiore in Naples on December 9.

The Portosalvo committee asked Naples Archbishop Crescenzio Sepe to block what they say is a "blasphemous" event.

Their chances of success, however, have been dramatically reduced after the pontiff placed Smith at the top of the list of stars for the Vatican Christmas concert.

Among other performers that will take the stage for the 22nd edition of the Concerto di Natale are house music DJ Bob Sinclar and Italian 'singing nun' Sister Cristina Scuccia.


Millennials Prefer a Classic Sanctuary, Turned Off by Trendy Church Buildings, Study Shows

By Stephanie Samuel, Christian Post Reporter

Millennials gravitate toward classic, quiet church spaces that feel authentic and provide a break from the busyness of a fast-paced, technological world, revealed a study commissioned by church architectural firms.

Online surveys administered to 843 young adults ages 18 to 29 by Christian research firm Barna Group and Cornerstone Knowledge Network, the market research organization created by church design firms Aspen Group and Cogun, found 67 percent chose the word "classic" to describe their ideal church. By contrast, 33 percent prefer a trendy church as their ideal.

"They don't want something created artificially for them; they don't want a bait and switch. What they want is something deeper and more authentic," Aspen Group AIA Architect Derek Degroot said of the survey results.

That search for authenticity translates into the look and sound Millennials prefer for their ideal church.

When asked to choose their preference between a church sanctuary and a church auditorium, 77 percent chose sanctuary. When shown four different kinds of church windows ranging from modern and least "churchy" to traditionally ornate, over a third of all respondents chose the most ornate stain glass window common to chapels. When shown four styles of church altars, the study showed that a majority of respondents chose altars that "are unambiguously Christian and are more traditional."

"Millennials are a very visual group," explained Barna Vice President of Publishing Roxanne Stone. "If they go into your church and they don't know where to go or it's ambiguous or they don't understand what something is for, they will move on."

Additionally, 78 percent of millennial respondents selected a quiet church as the ideal over a loud church.

The results seem to buck against the trends of the typical megachurch where the sanctuary is a vast space broken into several seating sections, congregants are treated to concert-like worship services, and the pastor preaches from a stage...(continued)