People are flocking to collect ‘Holy Water’ from a statue of Jesus, in a village near Mumbai in India, that has started crying. Police have had to be called in to control the crowds.
The last time this happened at church in Mumbai, in 2012, Sanal Edamaruku came along to disprove the miracle and proved that the source of water was a blocked drain. Instead of thanking Edamaruku for protecting their health, the people turned against him and a number of blasphemy charges were brought against him. Edamaruku is well know for exposing fake miracle workers. After death threats were made and a fellow activist was murdered, he sought refuge in Helsinki, Finland and remains there to this day.
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 seventh grade student in Fresno, California is causing a fuss with parents after the school displayed a poster in the lobby. The poster depicts Jesus, in the style of an Uncle Sam recruitment poster, under the heading “I Want You”, with a continuation underneath “To Kill All Infidels!” The poster was made as part of a project on the crusades where students were asked to make recruitment posters for the crusades. Further down the poster it states, “Meet Me In Jerusalem, get a free ticket to heaven.” I think the young student should be commended on bringing home the truth of the affair in a simple poster. Parents, however, just want it taken down. Perhaps they should remove the crusades and the Spanish Inquisition from history lessons?
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.