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)


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Making Tiny Canons That Actually Work


It may look like a toy but make no mistake, this cannon fires steel ball bearings using real gunpowder.

(Make:) Back in the day (the Civil War) naval vessels were outfitted with state of the art Dahlgren guns (nicknamed Soda Bottles from their distinctive shape), which could lob a shell close to 2 miles in distance. The North used to heat those shells until they were red hot and fired them into the sides of Confederate ships, which would set them ablaze.

Scope it out- Sighting in the cannon is done using a custom-made scope that attaches to the barrel. Is the scope that useful?

As cool as cannons are, owning one is incredibly expensive and ammo is tough to find, however making one at 1/9th the scale is a lot cheaper provided you have the tools. Imgur user [Jefenry] designed his Dahlgren cannon using 4130 seamless alloy stainless steel with a 1-inch bore. The barrel fits snugly into his steel carriage with brass wheels, which was laser cut for an exact fit. Elevation is adjusted using a simple screw and sighting in is accomplished with a detachable scope... (continued)


Friday, November 14, 2014

Cardinal O'Malley: Pope Must Act on Bishop Who Hid Pedophile

By Drew MacKenzie

(Newsmax) Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley has called on Pope Francis to "urgently address" the fact that an American bishop heads a Catholic diocese even though he’s been convicted of shielding a pedophile priest.

In an interview on "60 Minutes" to be broadcast this Sunday, O’Malley told correspondent Norah O’Donnell that the Vatican must deal with the leadership problem surrounding Bishop Robert Finn of the Kansas City, Missouri, diocese.

"It’s a question the Holy See needs to address urgently," said O’Malley. "There’s a recognition of that from Pope Francis."

Citing the Catholic Church’s stated "zero tolerance" policy on sex abuse, O’Donnell told O’Malley that Finn "wouldn’t be allowed to teach Sunday school in Boston."

"That’s right," said O’Malley, the archbishop of Boston, replied during the rare extended interview on the CBS show.

Finn, who has headed the diocese since 2005, has come under increasing fire following his misdemeanor conviction in 2012 for failing to report suspected child abuse in the case of a then diocesan priest who was producing child pornography.

Former priest Shawn Ratigan, who was suspected of sexually abusing a minor, was found guilty in federal court in 2013 of producing child pornography and sentenced to 50 years in jail.

Two months ago, the Vatican sent Ontario Archbishop Terrence Prendergast to Kansas City to examine Finn’s leadership. Prendergast interviewed a dozen people, and his main question reportedly was: "Do you think [Finn)] is fit to be a leader?"

Earlier this year, after the church had come under increasing attack for not doing enough to prevent sexual abuse by priests, O’Malley was named by Pope Francis as one of eight members of the Vatican’s new Commission for the Protection of Minors, which is aimed at dealing with the sex scandal that has rocked the church.

O’Malley was also chosen by Pope Francis to be on the Council of Cardinals — the pontiff’s closest advisers.


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Pope demotes outspoken American conservative cardinal

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis on Saturday demoted an outspoken conservative American cardinal who has been highly critical of the pontiff's reformist leadership of the Roman Catholic Church.

Cardinal Raymond Burke, 66, was removed as head of the Vatican's highest court and appointed to the ceremonial post of chaplain of the charity group Knights of Malta.

The move, which the Vatican announced on Saturday without comment, had been expected. Burke said last month he had been told he would move to a new job but did not know when.

Burke, who until Saturday was the highest-ranking American in the Vatican, gave a series of recent interviews criticizing the pope and had emerged as the face of conservative opposition to Francis' reform agenda.

In an interview with a Spanish magazine last month, Burke, known for his unbending interpretation of doctrine, compared the Catholic Church under Francis to "a ship without a rudder".

At a meeting of bishops from around the world last month, Burke was the flag-bearer for conservatives opposed to the Church adopting a more welcoming attitude towards homosexuals.

Burke has publicly clashed with the pope several times since the Argentine pontiff's election in 2013 and Vatican sources have said the pope saw Burke's outspokenness as part of the so-called "culture wars" among Catholics that he wants to avoid.

During the synod, Burke assailed German Cardinal Walter Kasper, who had argued that the Church should modify teachings that ban Catholics who have divorced and then remarried in civil services from receiving communion.

Burke was also highly critical of an interim synod document that had talked more positively of homosexuals than ever before in Church history.

Shocked by the language, Burke and other conservative bishops spearheaded a campaign that led to a much watered-down version in the gathering's final statement.

It was the second time in less than a year that the pope had sidelined Burke, the former archbishop of St. Louis. Last December he removed Burke from the board of the influential Vatican department that handles the appointment of bishops.

Burke said last month he would be disappointed to leave his post at the top Vatican court, which oversees the administration of justice in the Church and hears appeals from lower Church tribunals, but would obey the pope's orders.