Spe Salvi. The Holy Father’s new encyclical. Read it here.

November 30, 2007

Today in Rome the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, released the second encyclical of his pontificate:  “Spe Salvi Factci Sumus – In Hope We Were Saved”. Read the new encyclical in its entirely, and in English, right here. 


Elovin’ Years of Marriage and Eight Blessings Later…

November 30, 2007

I would do it all over again.


This Is One Book We Won’t Be Carrying. Yikes.

November 29, 2007

Gunpowder Plot Bound with Jesuit Skin

Book bound in skin of executed Jesuit to be auctioned in England

LONDON (CNS). A book bound in the skin of an executed Jesuit priest was to be auctioned in England. The macabre, 17th-century book tells the story of the 1605 Gunpowder Plot and is covered in the hide of Father Henry Garnet. The priest, at the time the head of the Jesuits in England, was executed May 3, 1606, outside St. Paul’s Cathedral in London for his alleged role in a Catholic plot to detonate 36 barrels of gunpowder beneath the British Parliament, an act that would have killed the Protestant King James I and other government leaders. The book, “A True and Perfect Relation of the Whole Proceedings Against the Late Most Barbarous Traitors, Garnet a Jesuit and His Confederates,” contains accounts of speeches and evidence from the trials. It measures about 6 inches by 4 inches, comes in a wooden box and will be auctioned Dec. 2 by Wilkinson’s Auctioneers in Doncaster, England. Sid Wilkinson, the auctioneer, said: “The front cover is rather spooky because where the skin has mottled or crinkled there looks to be a bearded face.”

Full story here.

H/T Colorado Springs Catholic Herald


A Simple Guide for Understanding Icons

November 29, 2007

Catholics United for the Faith gave us permission to reprint this handy guide on the history and symbolism of icons.

What are icons? In Eastern Christian heritage, icons are sacred images of Christ, Mary, and the saints, or of events in salvation history such as the Nativity or the Crucifixion. The very word “icon” comes from the Greek word for “image.”

To people unfamiliar with icons, including many Western Christians, icons may initially seem weird, unappealing, or even disturbing. They don’t look quite “right.” Their silence and stillness is demanding, untame, and even terrifying. But with education and experience, people grow to appreciate and love them.

Icons are more than decorative art or educational illustrations. Icons are “theology in color.” An icon is a place to receive grace through faith, a sacramental: Its purpose is to transport us into a transfigured world, to plant that transfigured world within us, to bring us face-to-face with a living presence and change us (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 1667-1679).

Iconography is rooted in the Incarnation. St. Paul wrote that Christ “is the image [literally, icon] of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15). “In former times,” wrote St. John of Damascus, “God, who is without form or body, could never be depicted. But now when God is seen in the flesh conversing with men, I make an image of the God whom I see” (cf. Catechism, nos. 1159-1162).

Read the rest.

Browse our icons or our whole Eastern Catholicism section.

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Might Have to Get a Babysitter for This One

November 28, 2007

Remember the Fishers of Men video? Same producers.

Part 1:

Part 2:

H/T Crazy Acres


The US Anti-Catholic Strikes Again

November 28, 2007

Remember when the US “Catholic” suggested that fornicating shouldn’t be considered a sin if those involved were planning on getting married? Now the magazine is praising the suicidal ideas of dying Catholic theologians who want to “fix” the Church’s problems.

 To succeed, each church needs freedom and flexibility. Though a limited universalism can go a long way toward maintaining unity of faith, rigid insistence on a single answer to practical challenges doesn’t help. As Schillebeeckx and theologians like him have long argued, now is the time to try new things.

How about just being Catholic instead?

H/T The Closed Cafeteria 


Bad Music Isn’t Confined to the Catholic Church

November 28, 2007

You think Catholic music is bad? The Evangelicals have their own problems:

Without theology in music, we are offering fluff that will not comfort when bridges collapse and test reports are negative. Songwriters could provide true hope if they would write about the sovereignty of God rather than crying about “how safe I feel when Jesus is holding me.”

Charles Spurgeon had the same criticism of “Hymns for Heart and Voice” published in 1855. He condemned the hymns as being “little better than mermaids, nice to look at but dangerous because they cannot deliver what they promise.”

Read it all.

 Here’s the cure. You should also sign up for this workshop.