On Sunday, Andrew Sullivan quoted this from an essay by Jennifer Fulwiler about becoming Catholic:
If everything that we call heroism and glory, and all the significance of all great human achievements, can be reduced to some neurons firing in the human brain, then it’s all destined to be extinguished at death. And considering that the entire span of homo sapiens’ existence on earth wouldn’t even amount to a blip on the radar screen of a 5-billion-year-old universe, it seemed silly to pretend like the 60-odd-year life of some random organism on one of trillions of planets was something special.
This is a woman who was an atheist until she married a Christian and had a baby. She was always racked with worry about the meaninglessness of life, so she read some Christian books and decided their standard arguments for Christianity were good enough for her.
Then yesterday, I read this post from Matt Haughey. He has a benign brain tumor and recently lost his mom to cancer.
I feel like the tumor scare has taught me to appreciate all the people, experiences, and things in my life and I’ve done my best to live a fuller life while I can. In 2012 I’m going to be doing a lot of things I’ve always wanted to do, and they will mostly involve travel to places all over the world (planning on Hawaii, New Zealand, Belgium, Yosemite, Italy, all in the first six months). A tumor taught me that life can be brutal and short and to relish our time here.
Of all the ways to demolish Fulwiler’s arguments against atheism — and most of them are pretty lame, if you read the whole article — I think this nails it best. If you can’t handle that a lifetime is all you get and that, yes, eventually your accomplishments will be washed away by the vastness of space and time, then I think you ask for too much.
A priest in St. Paul dropped a wafer on the floor. Then he put it in a cup of water, and it turned red as it dissolved. Gross. Some suspect it was caused by bacteria. The Catholic Church is investigating into whether this qualifies as a miracle.
From Twincities.com, Obscure Store.
“The Rainbow Ministry of St. Cecilia Parish invites all friends and supporters of the LGBT community to a Mass in celebration of Boston’s Pride Month,’’ the bulletin said. “The theme of the liturgy, ‘All Are Welcome,’ honors Christ’s message of hope and salvation to all people. We will also celebrate the diverse community that finds its home at St. Cecilia.’’
But after protests from conservative church members, the archdiocese intervened.
The implication that a Catholic church doesn’t hate gay people was just too much.
From The Boston Globe, via The Dish.
While the number of genuine cases of possession by the Devil remained relatively small, “we must be on guard because occult and Satanist practices are spreading a great deal, in part with the help of the internet and new technologies that make it easier to access these rituals,” he said.
The Vatican’s chief exorcist claimed last year that the Devil lurked in the Vatican, the very heart of the Catholic Church.
Father Gabriele Amorth said people who are possessed by Satan vomit shards of glass and pieces of iron, scream, dribble and slobber, utter blasphemies and have to be physically restrained.
Also of note: the internet has led to a resurgence for satanists.
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops has has come up with a new translation of the Bible that changes, among other things, the word “booty” to “spoils”. Which we know is not a big deal, considering all the editing, interpretation, and retranslation that went into creating all our current versions of the Bible.
Via The Morning News.
A Polish church is getting a vial of Pope John Paul II’s blood as a relic. Some Polish officials were hoping his heart would be removed from his body and buried in Poland, but it turns out the Church doesn’t do that kind of thing anymore.
Via The Morning News.
Benedict issued a papal decree today launching the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, which will seek to bring Christianity to those whose spiritual lives have become an “interior desert” amid technological and scientific changes in recent decades, according to the document.
The new Vatican office will employ “all the progress of the science of communications” in a bid to restore religion to the secular world. “My first concern is to get a computer on my desk so that I can have Internet access,” Monsignor Rino Fisichella, the head of the new office, said at a Vatican briefing today.
That’s a good first step!
Via The Morning News.
The Catholic Church is offering indulgences again.
There are partial indulgences, which reduce purgatorial time by a certain number of days or years, and plenary indulgences, which eliminate all of it, until another sin is committed. You can get one for yourself, or for someone who is dead. You cannot buy one — the church outlawed the sale of indulgences in 1567 — but charitable contributions, combined with other acts, can help you earn one. There is a limit of one plenary indulgence per sinner per day.
Hooray for religions embracing their own absurdity!
via The Morning News