Drinking Horse Semen in New Zealand

I kid you not!

It is a very good thing that God is both Just and Merciful.

Because if God were only Just, he might have decided by now that free will, and leaving humanity to its own devices, was a bad call.

And this incredibly stupid story might have been the impetus that finally brought down the Almighty Hammer:

Teste Tincture of the Day: Wellington, New Zealand’s Green Man Pub recently introduced a rather night-marish sounding cocktail that’s equestionable at best: Apple-infused horse semen.

The “active ingredient” arrives fresh from a Christchurch stallion farm, and is served chilled in a shot glass for NZ$25 (US$20) a pop.

According to pub co-owner Steve Drummond, women were the drink’s chief clientele. “”Ladies thought it was great,” he told The Dominion Post. “A couple were going to go home and get their husbands to eat grass.”

I’m sorry, but this is not just gross — it’s sinful. It is disrespectful to creation and disrespectful to our own humanity. It sins against the dignity of both.

This is a half-step away from bestiality…

Sick, sick, sick!

Elizabeth Scalia has more on this evil here.

I can but only wonder how long God will still withhold His divine wrath from an ailing, seditious, fallen, and depraved world?

West Point Chaplains Feel Privileged Ministering to Cadets

West Point, N.Y. (CNS) — Augustinian Father Edson Wood has a campus ministry assignment like none other.

As brigade chaplain at the U.S. Military Academy, he is responsible for making sure that 4,400 college students have the opportunity to follow their religious traditions.

While most cadets identify themselves as Catholics or Protestants, Father Wood said there are more than 70 denominations and religious traditions represented in the student body.

“Each is important and requires certain attention,” he said, even if there are only two or three adherents.

Father Wood supervises resident chaplains of other faiths and arranges pastoral visits by off-campus clergy.

The academy is a rigorous training ground for future U.S. Army officers. It is also a highly selective four-year coeducational federal undergraduate liberal arts college that draws students from all 50 states and 14 foreign countries.

Father Wood is one of three Catholic priests at West Point. He is a civilian who was appointed to his position in 2002 by the president of the United States. Father Wood said he is the first Catholic brigade chaplain in the school’s 209-year history. He arrived at West Point as a summer replacement in 1993 after 25 years in education. And he’s still there.

“There’s a sense of privilege in knowing young men and women who are dedicating themselves to a particular ideal in support of the country and the belief that they are doing what God wills for them,” Father Wood said in an interview with Catholic News Service.

Father Wood said the West Point student body, known as the Corps of Cadets, has a “lot more orderliness in daily life and not much freedom to goof off,” but the young adults have a lot in common with their civilian peers. “Human beings are human beings even when they wear a uniform and tramp around in the woods and train a lot. They have fears and problems and family issues and they need time and attention and someone to listen,” he said.

West Point is a military post and home to faculty and staff at the college. It also has an active Catholic parish, Most Holy Trinity, which was founded in 1899. The stone church is perched on a palisade with a commanding view of the Hudson River. The building is owned by the Archdiocese of New York and leased to the government, but the parish is part of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, according to its pastor, Msgr. Brian Donahue. The parish serves military and civilian employees of West Point, as well as cadets.

Msgr. Donahue said the “vibrant” Catholic program at West Point benefits from “the spirit of the place and the cadets. It’s a total formation program. The whole movement is to be of service to others. The cadets are trained to be leaders and they demonstrate that in many ways — as leaders in the community, the military and their faith groups.”

He said Catholic cadets mold and support one another in their faith. “I provide the sacraments and faith guidance. I’m mentoring leaders who are leading and they take this to their peers and that’s how the faith grows. Peers form peers.” Msgr. Donahue said.

“West Point is one of the world’s best seminaries,” said Msgr. Donahue with a smile.

He said college is a time of formation, wherever it takes place, and West Point, like a seminary, helps cadets develop as human beings and leaders by focusing on integrity, character and service. The intense process of formation is fertile ground for personal growth, he said.

“It’s the perfect setting for anyone to discern God’s calling and purpose for them,” Msgr. Donahue said. “This bedrock of human formation takes place regardless of religious affiliation, but naturally leads to cadets seeking out their faith”…

CNS has more here.

Westboro Baptist Church Members Recieve FBI Training

A shocker indeed:

Washington – The FBI said Wednesday that members of an anti-gay fundamentalist group participated in the bureau’s training of police officers and FBI agents – a move the bureau says it will take steps to remedy in the future.

The bureau extended the invitations to Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., for training this spring at two bureau facilities in Virginia: Quantico and Manassas.

Westboro has stirred widespread outrage with raucous demonstrations at the funerals of U.S. military service members. The group contends God is punishing the military for the nation’s tolerance of homosexuality.

National Public Radio first reported the FBI’s involvement with Westboro.

At FBI headquarters in Washington, bureau spokesman Paul Bresson acknowledged that Westboro was invited to the training sessions.

An FBI official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, said that in retrospect, the bureau underestimated how the involvement of the outside organization would be perceived…

More on the above here.

Quite improper one has to say.

Strength of the Martyrs


Giant Statue of Jesus Christ Opened in Peru

One of the world’s tallest statues of Jesus Christ has been inaugurated in Peru despite high level opposition and Facebook campaigns mocking it.

The Telegraph has more:

President Alan Garcia formally opened the monument, known as Cristo del Pacifico or Christ of the Pacific, on a hill in the capital Lima.

He personally helped fund the cost of the statue to the tune of around 100,000 Peruvian soles (£22,000) and has said it will “bless and protect Lima”.

But he has faced strong criticism from several quarters, with many seeing it as a vanity project he chose to pursue before leaving office at the end of July.

Susana Villaran, the Mayor of Lima, condemned the lack of consultation over the statue and labelled it “a plastic copy of the Christ of Corcovado” in Rio de Janeiro.

Architects have also questioned whether it may violate building codes and historians objected to the fact that it has been erected at the location of a 19th century battle against Chile.

A number of Facebook groups were formed to oppose the statue with one attracting 4,000 members and users suggesting joke names such as Cristo de lo Robado, loosely meaning the Christ That Was Ripped Off But others founded Facebook groups supporting the project and a poll by a Peruvian consulting firm found 51 per cent of Lima residents giving approval to the monument compared to 37 per cent against.

The statue, which was built in Brazil and shipped to Lima, is 37 metres (122ft) tall when its 15 metre (49ft) pedestal is taken into account.

By comparison a statue of Christ unveiled in Poland last year stands 36 metres (118ft) including its crown, making it the tallest such statue not including any base.

If the pedestal is included then a statue of Christ in Cochabamba, Bolivia, completed in 1994 is the tallest at 40m (133ft) followed by Christ the Redeemer in Rio at 38m (125ft).

From Bulletproof Vest to Vestments

Via the Deacon’s Bench comes this feel good story:

From Alaska comes this unusual story of a divorced father recently ordained a priest (shown below with his daughter):

It started out as just another routine day on patrol for Officer Steve Gallagher cruising the streets of Olympia, Wash. At an imposing 6’ 4” and 240 pounds, armed with a .45 caliber Heckler and Koch semiautomatic pistol, handcuffs and pepper spray, he was always ready to respond to the call. Like all cops, his goal at the end of his shift was to make it safely home, which for Steve meant being with the love of his life, his teenage daughter Molly. What would the call be on this particular day back in 2004? Shots fired? Burglary in progress? Domestic violence? Drug dealing?

Looking back at that event today, 58-year-old Father Steve Gallagher can’t even remember. That’s because the call he’ll never forget that day came from a higher authority, so to speak.

“One day I received an emergency call and was running lights and siren to it,” Gallagher recalled. “En route to the call the phone in my patrol car rang — it was Alaska calling.”

Gallagher answered, “Officer Gallagher.” It was not his dispatcher, but  a priest from the Diocese of Juneau Alaska.

With sirens blaring, Gallagher politely but in a Joe-Friday-firm manner, asked the priest to call back in 20 minutes. The clergyman did as the cop requested and they discussed Gallagher’s inquiry about turning in his bullet proof vest for the vestments of a priest. Thus began the final leg of Gallagher’s response to the most important call of his life, the Catholic priesthood…

You can read the whole piece here.

Israeli Software Aims to Shed Light on the Bible

Ha’aretz reports:

A team of scholars and scientists are hoping the algorithm they developed will give intriguing new insights about what researchers believe to be the multiple hands that wrote the Bible.

Software developed by an Israeli team is giving intriguing new hints about what researchers believe to be the multiple hands that wrote the Bible.

The new software analyzes style and word choices to distinguish parts of a single text written by different authors, and when applied to the Bible its algorithm teased out distinct writerly voices in the holy book.

The program, part of a sub-field of artificial intelligence studies known as authorship attribution, has a range of potential application – from helping law enforcement to developing new computer programs for writers. But the Bible provided a tempting test case for the algorithm’s creators.

For millions of Jews and Christians, it’s a tenet of their faith that God is the author of the core text of the Hebrew Bible – the Torah, also known as the Pentateuch or the Five Books of Moses. But since the advent of modern biblical scholarship, academic researchers have believed the text was written by a number of different authors whose work could be identified by seemingly different ideological agendas and linguistic styles and the different names they used for God…

There’s more here.

Fascinating stuff!

HT:   eChurch Blog

Pope Benedict XVI Marks 60 Years as a Priest

The Catholic Herald reports:

Celebrating Mass with archbishops from 25 countries, Pope Benedict XVI reflected on his 60 years as a priest, calling it a demanding and “awe-inspiring” ministry that brought him closer to God.

The Pope’s unusually personal recollection came on the anniversary of his priestly ordination in Bavaria in 1951 and the feast of Ss Peter and Paul, the patron saints of Rome.

During the three-hour-long Mass, he gave 41 archbishops the woollen pallium as a sign of their communion with the pope and their pastoral responsibility as shepherds. Among them were four prelates from the United States, including Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, as well as Archbishop George Stack of Cardiff.

The liturgy in St Peter’s Basilica began with a fanfare of trumpets. The Pope smiled as he processed toward an altar ringed with flowers, pausing to greet Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.

The Pope devoted most of his homily to his 60 years of priestly ministry, and twice he excused himself for perhaps speaking too long about his recollections. He said he felt he had to look back on “the things that have left their mark”…

Read more here.

And here’s a video of that event, some sixty years back:

Irish ‘Catholics’

Via Fr Z’s blog:

A new video from Michael Voris.

Weep.

The Miriam, Daughter of Yeshua, Son of Caiphas Ossuary

Arutz Sheva reports  on the recovery of the ossuary belonging to Caiaphas’ granddaughter:

3 years ago  an ancient inscribed sarcophagus was turned over to the Theft Prevention Unit of the Antiquities Authority. It was discovered by grave robbers who plundered and ancient Jewish tomb site, from the period of the second temple. The sarcophagus probably came from a burial cave in the area of the Elah valley, on the Yehuda plains.

Scientists from the antiquities authority determined that the sarcophagus was for bone interment, a practice common from the first century BCE to the second century CE. The front of the sarcophagus bears the aramaic inscription “Miriam, daughter of Yeshua, son of Kipa, priest of Ma’azyah from the house of Imri”.

One of the family members, the High Priest Yehosef Ben Kipa was famous for his involvement in the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. Ma’azyah was the name of the 24th priestly service shift at the temple. Members of this family signed the convention mentioned in the book of Nehemiah (10,9). The House of Imri refers to the priestly family of Miriam, or to the location she came from.

The authenticity of the sarcophagus and inscription were verified using the technology called ESEM/EDS (Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope / Energy-Dispersive Spectrometer).

Caiaphas was the High Priest at Jesus’ trial (Matt 26:57-68).

And here is the Israel Antiquities Authority press release:

HTDr Jim West

The Telegraph also covers the news:

Israeli scholars say they have confirmed the authenticity of a 2,000-year-old burial box bearing the name of a relative of the high priest Caiaphas of the New Testament.

The ossuary bears an inscription with the name “Miriam daughter of Yeshua son of Caiaphas, priest of Maaziah from Beth Imri.”

An ossuary is a stone chest used to store bones. Caiaphas was a temple priest and an adversary of Jesus who played a key role in his crucifixion.

The Israel Antiquities Authority says the ossuary was seized from tomb robbers three years ago and has since been undergoing analysis. Forgery is common in the world of biblical artefacts.

The IAA says in Wednesday’s statement that microscopic tests have confirmed the inscription is “genuine and ancient.” 

UPDATEMore on the 2,000-year​-old burial box:

Israeli scholars have confirmed the authenticity of a 2,000-year-old burial box that appears to bear the name of a relative of the high priest Caiaphas mentioned in the New Testament, the Israel Antiquities Authority said Wednesday.

The find offers support for the existence of the biblical Caiaphas, who appears in the New Testament as a temple priest and an adversary of Jesus who played a key role in his crucifixion.

The ossuary — a stone chest used to store bones — is decorated with the stylized shapes of flowers and bears an inscription with the name “Miriam daughter of Yeshua son of Caiaphas, priest of Maaziah from Beth Imri.”

The ossuary was seized from tomb robbers three years ago, the government antiquities body said in a statement. Because it “was not found in a controlled archaeological excavation and because of its special scientific importance,” the statement said, it has been undergoing lab tests since then.

The tests, which used powerful microscopes to inspect layers of buildup on the box and inscription, were carried out by two scholars, one from Tel Aviv University and the other from Bar Ilan University, the statement said. The research indicated that the inscription is “genuine and ancient.”

Careful tests were necessary because forgery is common in the world of biblical artifacts, where a brisk black market exists and where antiquities linked in some way to the Bible can fetch millions of dollars.

A similar ossuary — bearing the inscription “James son of Joseph brother of Jesus” — is currently at the center of a fraud trial under way in Israel.

The James ossuary was exhibited to widespread acclaim as the only known archaeological link to Jesus, but lab tests run by the Israel Antiquities Authority indicated the inscription was fake. An Israeli collector has been charged with forging the ossuary and other biblical antiquities, and a verdict is pending. The collector says the box is authentic.

The scholars believe the Miriam ossuary was plundered from a tomb in the Valley of Elah, southwest of Jerusalem.

The word “maaziah” on the inscription refers to a subset of the priestly caste. Scholars believe “Beth Imri” refers either to a priestly family or to the family’s village of origin.

The above was here:

HT:   Joseph I Lauer

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