The Russian Orthodox Church has condemned the Eurovision winner, drag queen Conchita Wurst. This led to Rustem Adagamov, a prominent Russian blogger, tweeting “The ROC categorically opposes bearded men in dresses!” along with a picture of their priests in full ceremonial robes. I just thought, I’d help it go viral. Thanks Bill.
Finally the so called Bishop of Bling, Monsignor Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, has been removed from his post by Pope Francis. The German bishop received wide criticism after the renovation of his residential complex costing €31 million. In Germany a church tax costs the country billions of euro, so the lack of transparency rubbed people up the wrong way. Monsignor Manfred Grothe, an auxiliary bishop will take over the post and Tebartz-van Elst will receive a new post at an opportune time.
Yes, those satanic seagulls are at it again. Exactly one year ago seagulls attacked two doves released by Pope Benedict as a sign of peace, but the doves escaped. Yesterday, the gulls decided to bring some reinforcements for their mission in the shape of a crow. You have to admire their choice. A crow is a more classical bird of evil, perhaps we may get a raven or two for next year’s rematch. Shortly after Pope Francis and two children released the doves, they were attacked by a seagull and a crow. Despite their being a crowd of tens of thousands of people in Saint Peter’s square, nobody knows if the doves survived. Well I guess that’s a miracle of sorts.
At the end of the World Youth Day week of celebration, the Pope’s Mass had to be moved to the beach of Copacabana due to weather changing the original location into a mud field. The shoreline most famous for night clubs and partying was swamped by over 3 million people enthusiastically greeting the pope and offering up babies to be kissed.
In his sermon Pope Francis encouraged young people who have protested against corruption to continue their efforts, fight apathy and offer a christian response. Many young people in Brazil have taken this as support for peaceful change, not a crusade. I agree that there cannot be apathy to corruption, but as for religion, that is a different matter.
Meanwhile, back in Rome, the media are being anything but apathetic towards Pope Francis and have been busy digging up dirt. The Italian clergyman hand-picked by Pope Francis to be papal delegate for the Vatican Bank, Battista Ricca, had a damning story published in the Italian press just days before the pope left for Brazil. The article charged that while Battista served in Uruguay from 1999 to 2001, he had a live-in male lover, cruised gay bars and brought a young man back to the Vatican embassy and ended up trapped in an elevator with him overnight. So far, Battista has retained his position. Additionally journalists have discovered that a woman Pope Francis appointed to a commission to study reform in the Vatican, Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui, while having excellent credentials, has issued some Tweets critical of the church. And just to round it off, the media published a letter allegedly written by Nunzio Scarano, the former Vatican accountant, arrested for his part in a plot to smuggle $26 million in cash, to Pope Francis protesting his innocence. He claims to have documents to show Pope Francis secretly, which will prove that he only acted under the direction of his superiors.
So I guess Pope Francis will not be going home for a rest. There’s a lot going on.
Yesterday the pope released a dove as a sign of peace following the angelus on holocaust day. A watching seagull, perhaps a nazi sympathiser intending to protest, attacked the dove and tried to kill it. Thousands of onlookers in St. Peter’s square looked on, as the dove flew for its life, trying to escape the gull. After a short while their prayers were answered as the dove flew free. Last year when the pope released two doves from the same window, they flew back in through the open window. Perhaps they had been given a tip off about another planned gull attack.
In a study, researchers in Australia have confirmed a link between BMI and religious denomination. In a survey of nearly 10,000 people they found that Catholic and Baptist men have a higher BMI than non-religious men and Christian women have a higher BMI than others. In their paper “Religion and BMI in Australia”, Kortt and Dollery note that many religious occasions involve food as part of the celebration, thus condoning over-eating. We need more researchers to continue this important work in other locations. I have a feeling that the influence of religion on BMI is leading to needless health problems throughout the world. Images of Jesus keep popping up on foodstuffs. What does it all mean?
A recent survey conducted among Catholics in Ireland has been raising a stir after it was found that only a quarter believe in transubstantiation and less than a third attend mass regularly, both of which are key aspects of being a Catholic. Many people also defy the Magisterium, or teaching authority of the Church, by using contraception or having gay relationships, yet still claim to be Catholic.
Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, when asked about the transubstantiation issue in the survey, speculated that maybe they have never been educated in that. I don’t think he is calling 75% of Irish Catholics dumb, just saying that they haven’t been told they have to believe this stuff. Does that mean you can be a Catholic if you don’t know you are supposed to believe in it? It reminds me of that joke:
Eskimo: If I did not know about God and sin would I go to hell?
Priest: No, not if you didn’t know.
Eskimo: Then why did you tell me?
So Catholics, now you know. When you eat that little wafer, you are actually eating the flesh of Christ and if you are lucky enough to sample the wine, it is the actual blood of Christ. If it looks like bread, smells like bread and tastes like bread, it’s actually meat. If it looks like wine, smells like wine and tastes like wine, it’s actually blood. Gruesome, I know. It’s your religion, get your head around it.
First President Obama didn’t thank God in his Thanksgiving day address, then he upset Catholic employers by forcing them to make contraception available to their employees, now he is quoting the bible to get Americans to pay more tax. It seems to be so easy to upset religious feelings in the United States. At a recent prayer breakfast, attended by about 3,000 people, Obama said that he was extraordinarily blessed and it was only right that he should give up some of the tax breaks that he enjoys. He said that is coincided with Jesus’ teaching that “for unto whom much is given, much shall be required”. So there you have it. Jesus agrees that the wealthy should pay more tax. Perhaps it’s so that the US military can do more of God’s work. The US Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office had the Latin slogan “Opus Dei Cum Pecunia Alienum Efficemus” on their emblem, which I’m told means “Doing God’s Work with Other People’s Money”. However the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers objected to the reference to God and the slogan was changed to “Working Miracles with Other People’s Money”. Now a republican group of 35 lawmakers is fighting to have the slogan restored. No doubt all the legal battling will consume more of those tax dollars that Jesus needs the government to collect.
Dr Kara Britt and Prof Roger Short, from Melbourne University, are urging the Catholic Church to make the pill freely available to their nuns. This is not because the nuns are at risk of getting pregnant, but like other women who do not give birth, they are more at risk of developing some forms of cancer. Taking the contraceptive pill greatly reduces the risk of cancer of the breast, ovary and uterus for these women. Unfortunately, the Catholic Church has taken a strong stand against all forms of contraception since the Humanae Vitae was published in 1968. However, the same document does state that medicine with contraceptive effects can be taken for the purpose of combating disease. So watch this space. Will the Catholic Church buy the contraceptive pill for almost 95,000 nuns each month, thus providing funds for the people producing contraceptive pills, or will it let the nuns take their chances with developing cancer?