Saturday, October 3, 2015

Exorcism, Still Around.

A Vatican-recognized university is offering a course in exorcism and demonic possession for a second year, concerned about the devil's lure.  The opening class of the "Exorcism and Prayer of Liberation" on Thursday at the Pontifical Academy Regina Apostolorum featured lectures about liturgical and spiritual aspects of Satanism and problems related to exorcism. "The aim of this course is to express a clear vision of the phenomenon," said Italian Bishop Andrea Gemma, a leading exorcist who delivered the opening lecture.  "Devil's action is much more common than people may think," Gemma said, adding that he performs at least four exorcisms a week. "Exorcism ... is an important prayer of the church to help those who believe to be, or who really are suffering from a diabolic infestation. ‘ Lectures, which will be broadcast via video to other pontifical institutes, focus on subjects that range from theological and historical aspects of Satanism to legal and medical issues. In 2005, Pope John Paul II wrote a letter requiring every US bishop to designate an exorcist.  Regular training conferences are held in Rome.

God Help Us.

There have long been allegations that the Vatican has a large number of gay priests who exercise considerable power in the running of the church.  Rome's newspapers frequently report on scandalous behavior.  In the latest,  Monsignor  Krzysztof Charamsa, a mid-level official in its doctrine office, came out in newspaper interviews in Italy and Poland saying he was happy and proud to be a gay priest, and that he was in love with a man whom he identified as his boyfriend.  The Vatican on Saturday fired him monsignor.  But the damage to the Pope's efforts had already been done.

A favorite of Lizzie McElwain

The Gipsy Girl's Dream

I dreamt that I dwelt in marble halls,
With vassals and serfs at my side,
And of all who assembled within those walls,
That I was the hope and the pride.

I had riches too great to count, could boast
Of a high ancestral name;
But I also dreamt, which pleased me most,
That you lov'd me still the same...

I dreamt that suitors sought my hand;
That knights upon bended knee,
And with vows no maiden heart could withstand,
They pledg'd their faith to me;

And I dreamt that one of that noble host
Came forth my hand to claim.
But I also dreamt, which charmed me most,
That you lov'd me still the same...

-- Michael Balfe

Friday, October 2, 2015

The Renowned Philosopher Speaks About Beer

  • All right, brain, I don't like you and you don't like me - so let's just do this and I'll get back to killing you with beer. 
    Alcohol, the cause and solution to all of life's problems.
  • Bart, a woman is like beer. They look good, they smell good, and you'd step over your own mother just to get one.
  • I've figured out an alternative to giving up my beer. Basically, we become a family of traveling acrobats.
  • Now son, you don't want to drink beer. That's for Daddies, and kids with fake IDs.
  • Beer: So much more than just a breakfast drink.
  • Beer... Now there's a temporary solution.
  • Apu I need a keg and a six pack to hold me until I tap the keg.
  • Homer no function beer well without.
    -Homer Simpsons

Synod on the Family

This Sunday will see the start of a Synod of Bishops in Rome that could become one of the defining moments for the Papacy of Pope Francis. An interim document during last year's Synod had led some to believe that the Vatican might ultimately agree a more liberal approach towards homosexuality and perhaps the taking of Holy Communion by remarried divorcees who had not first been granted an annulment.  Other issues include clerical sexual abuse and the ordination of women. However, Synod is not a democracy. All it can do is discuss and put forward recommendations and a summary of its findings.  After that, it will be up to Pope Francis to weigh up the opinions expressed, and to write an "Apostolic Exhortation" to the entire Roman Catholic Church. The Pope faces strong opposition. Good luck, as we need some changes.

Thoughts on beer

“When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading.”
-- Henny Youngman

“The problem with the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind.”
-- Humphrey Bogart

“Work is the curse of the drinking classes.”
-- Oscar Wilde

“I will make it a felony to drink small beer.
-- Shakespeare Henry IV

“A woman drove me to drink and I didn't even have the decency to thank her.”
- - W. C. Fields

Thursday, October 1, 2015

First church in wildwoods

Capon Chapel is a mid-19th-century church near the town of Capon Bridge in the US state of West Virginia. A Baptist congregation began gathering at the site of the present-day church as early as 1756 and has served has a place of worship ever since.  It was used as a place of worship by Baptists until the late 19th or early 20th century, by the Southern Methodist Episcopal Church for most of the 20th century, and in this century by the United Methodist Church. The church cemetery contains the remains of American Civil War veterans from the Union and the Confederacy, and free and enslaved African Americans. Capon Chapel, along with its cemetery, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2012 in recognition of its rural religious architecture representative of the Potomac Highlands region, and for its service as a rural church in Hampshire County.