Pope urges barbers and hair stylists not to gossip

More than 200 Italian barbers and hair stylists visited the Vatican yesterday where they received a a solemn word of warning from Pope Francis:

"Avoid falling into the temptation of gossip that is easily associated with your work," he said, and do your job "with Christian style, treating clients with gentleness and courtesy, offering them always a good word and encouragement."

Francis also introduced the hairdressers to their patron saint St. Martin de Porres (d. 1639) who according to Catholic.org is the "patron of Mixed Race, Barbers, Public Health Workers, (and) Innkeepers."

(Reuters) Read the rest

Rome and the Catholic Church fighting over change tossed into the Trevi Fountain

Every year, visitors to Rome's famed Trevi Fountain toss in more than $1.7 million in coins. Historically, the Catholic charity Caritas has taken that money to help poor people. Now though, Rome mayor Virginia Raggi wants the cash for repairs to the city's infrastructure. From the BBC News:

We did not foresee this outcome," Caritas director Father Benoni Ambarus told Avvenire, the newspaper of the Italian bishops' conference. "I still hope it will not be final."

The newspaper ran a scathing article on the move in its Saturday edition, headlined "Money taken from the poorest".

City councillors have approved the change and it is due to take place in April.

Above, the classic Trevi Fountain scene from Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita (1960), featuring Anita Ekberg. Read the rest

Duplicitous Catholic Bishop buys $2.3 million home with church funds after pleading for parishioners to help the homeless

A couple of years back, the Most Reverend Patrick J. McGrath, Bishop of the Diocese of San Jose, California, wrote an impassioned missive. In his letter, Bishop McGrath acknowledged the Catholic charities working to better the lives of the less fortunate. He emphasized how important it was that Catholics "vote their consciences" on Measure A: a proposal that would see affordable housing in an effort to end homelessness in the area and give struggling families a much-needed helping hand.

From The Valley Catholic:

Too many veterans have vouchers for affordable housing but no place willing to accept them. Too many children and families are living in cars or tripled up with other families in small homes because they can’t afford the rent on their own. Too many of our own teachers and workers commute long distances to serve our community of faith because they cannot afford ever increasing rents and housing prices.

He was right: everyone deserves the dignity of decent housing. That a community leader, like Bishop McGrath, would lend his voice to end this kind of bullshit, is both just and welcomed. It's how things should be.

So of course, the Bishop and the diocese fucked all of the good will built by this statement by buying a five bedroom house worth $2.3 million for McGrath to live in once he retires.

You should know that not all priests, which sometimes become bishops after decades of service and political finagling, take vows of poverty. Only certain religious orders within the Catholic Church are down with that. Read the rest

Cardinal says Pope "has a bigger agenda" than addressing Catholic Church's sex abuse crisis.

Cardinal Blase Cupich offers a distinctively Catholic response to the church's renewed abuse crisis: the Pope "has a bigger agenda" than going down the "rabbit hole" of allegations. "He's got to get on with other things."

In a bizarre interview with a Chicago NBC affiliate, Cardinal Blaise Cupich, head of the Archdiocese of Chicago, suggested recent claims made by a former apostolic nuncio — the Vatican's envoy to the United States — that Pope Francis not only disregarded sexual abuse allegations against Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, but promoted McCarrick and sought his counsel, were going down a "rabbit hole."

The Pope, Cupich told NBC, has more important things to attend to than sex abuse scandals, like climate change and immigration.

The video of his statements is essential viewing.

If you want them held responsible, you're going to have to stop caring how. Read the rest

Project leveraging AI to scan and translate Vatican texts dating back to the 8th century

The Vatican Secret Archives sound like a joint that'd give Illuminati conspiracy junkies feverish wet dreams. The site, which sits kitty corner to the Vatican's Apostolic Library, is a treasure trove of Catholic Church documents: over 50 linear miles of that letters, books and papal bulls, some of which date back to the eighth century, to be exact. 

Too bad that you could jam the number of scholastically accessible information in the VSA could be jammed up a gnat's ass and it'd look like a BB in a boxcar.

Y'see, most of what's there is priceless. You'd be a nut to allow folks in to view it on a regular basis, for fear of it being damaged. Those responsible for the VSA have, in the past, made half-assed attempts to scan and translate a small number of the Archive's documents. But remember, we're talking OVER 50 MILES of shelves chockablock with missives, notes and tomes. It'd take a fortune (which the Vatican totally has, I suppose) and an unknowable amount of time to collate, translate and scan everything into a usable format.

According to The Atlantic, computer scientists love challenges like this. A new project called In Codice Ratio is working towards using Artificial Intelligence to understand and translate the Archive's contents using OCR so that the information can be plopped into text documents for humanities scholars to use in their studies. It's tough to do! OCR is notoriously bad at translating handwriting, let alone script which, in some cases, was written in a dead language. Read the rest

Pope won't apologize for brutal treatment of Indigenous Canadians

For more than a century, the Canadian government was responsible for perpetuating horrendous abuses against native peoples who were unfortunate enough to be living in an area where a imperial colonialist power decided to set up shop. It was government policy for Indigenous children to be separated from their families, the without the permission of their parents or tribal elders, and them into what were known as residential schools: institutions predominantly run by the Catholic Church, along with a small handful of schools that were handled by Anglican, Presbyterian and United Church interests.

Once the kids were secured into these boarding schools, they were taught the 'right' way to live--right being in accordance to western culture. Were the incarcerated children to dare to speak their own language or act according to cultural norms outside of what their white caretakers felt was 'civilized,' they were met with severe corporal punishment. Mortality rates at the schools were high. So were instances of physical and emotional abuse. Children were often buried in unmarked graves or simply disappeared. Even after the last residential school closed in 1998, its legacy of hate and abuse remains.

In 2015, Canada finally confessed to its part in this long-running crime. The nation's Truth and Reconciliation Commission looked to the crimes of the residential school system, saying that they amounted to cultural genocide. The commission made 94 recommendations that it felt would go along ways towards righting the wrongs of the past. One those recommendations was that the Pope step forward and apologize for his church's role in the residential school system. Read the rest

Man pointed gun at priest "the whole time" he was giving confession

A priest at St. Christopher Parish in Rocky Hill, Ohio says a man resembling this police sketch reportedly gave confession while pointing a gun at him the entire time. The fellow is still at large.

"He just came in, you know, to go to confession, and before he sat down, he pulled out this gun from behind his back," the priest said in a call to 911 after the incident. "So I did confession at gunpoint."

The question is, what did he confess? Well, that's between him and his priest, and the man of god isn't breaking "the sacred seal of confession."

(ABC News) Read the rest

Vatican spells Jesus wrong on commemorative coin

I bet the Vatican's commemorative coins celebrating Pope Francis's first year are suddenly much more valuable than expected. Why? They spelled Jesus wrong. According to The Independent, only four or so of the 6,000 medallions were sold before someone noticed. Praise Lesus! Read the rest

Vatican bans child abuse

Good news, everybody! Hada Messia, for CNN:

Pope Francis has laid down a law making it a crime to abuse children sexually or physically on Vatican grounds, the Holy See announced Thursday. The acts were already crimes under church law, but are now specifically outlawed within the Vatican city-state, which is home to hundreds of people.

Read the rest

The other other pope

Not happy with the election of Pope Francis (who looks either like Grumpy Cat or a Muppet, depending on the photo)? Then, perhaps, you can throw in your lot with Pope Michael I, who has ruled an offshoot, unofficial branch of the Catholic Church (which may, or may not, consist mostly of himself and his mother) from his living room in Delia, Kansas since 1990. Read the rest

Dutch Catholic Church accused of castrating 10 young men

In the New York Times, Stephen Castle reports on a case in the Netherlands dating back to the 1950s: Roman Catholic Church officials are accused of surgically castrating as many as ten young men. In at least one case, the act may have been punishment against a child who went to police to report that he had been sexually abused by priests. The castrations may have also been "treatment for homosexuality." The article contains descriptions that may be upsetting.

(via Mia Farrow)

 

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