Church

Rate your Priest: Hirtenbarometer

Hirtenbarometer is the stupid website in Germany:

Berlin – You can rate your restaurant meal, your make-up, your teacher online and now in Germany your priest.

Hirtenbarometer  or the “shepherds’ barometer” is the first online platform where priests can be rated for their performance at church services, on projects for youths and the elderly, on their credibility and on how up to date they are.

“Pastoral work should be qualitative,” Andreas Hahn, one of the founders said of the original idea behind the site, adding they hoped “to stimulate dialogue to improve pastoral work”.

Also, “many parishes work well, but their performance doesn’t become public,” Hahn said of the platform’s function.

He hoped the site could also contribute to some kind of an early alert system, so that potential problems might be recognised before they become actual problems.

Launched in April, the site has been well received by users. “We are overwhelmed by our own success,” Hahn said. With 25 000 parishes and some 8 000 priests registered so far and the option to add more, the site’s reach is growing.

But while the site has proven a hit with users, reaction from the Roman Catholic church, which has been rocked by abuse allegations in the past year and witnessed a record number of parishioners leaving the church, has been more muted.

Neither the archbishopric in Berlin nor the German conference of bishops wanted to comment on the website.

The protestant church said that it found the rising interest in public feedback as embodied by the hirtenbarometer concept a “positive development”, according to a recent press release.

Ratings for priests on the site are represented by sheep, whose woolly coats range from white to black to visually express a priest’s
rating. The pope and other prominent German priests so far sport light to middle grey wool.

 

Culture

Glamorizing Pedophiles

I’m afraid so… Up Next: Glamorizing Pedophiles:

Mainstreaming  of pedophilia via pop culture continues

As some of us have been saying for  years…

Now a (gay) actor/ “role model” announces with delight that his new TV series features a cool new character:

It isn’t going to be watered down. It’s actually going to be darker,  bigger and bolder, and more dramatic. I mean, for goodness’ sake, we’ve  got a main character [played by Bill Pullman] who’s a pedophile! The  interesting thing about that is that the audience is going to be torn, because  they’re going to not like him for what he’s done — but they’re gonna  like him

Read more here.

Church

Women Show Deep Drop In Church Attendance

So says a recent survey:

Women, long considered the dominant pew dwellers in the nation’s churches, have shown a dramatic drop in attendance in the last two decades, a new survey shows.

Since 1991, the percentage of women attending church during a typical week has decreased by 11 percentage points to 44 percent, the Barna Group reported Monday (Aug. 1).

Sunday school and volunteering among women also has diminished. Two decades ago, half of all women read the Bible in a typical week — other than at religious events. Now 40 percent do.

The survey also found a marked stepping away from congregations: a 17 percentage increase in the number of women who have become “unchurched.”

“For years, many church leaders have understood that ‘as go women, so goes the American church,'” wrote Barna Group founder George Barna, on his website. “Looking at the trends over the past 20 years, and especially those related to the beliefs and behavior of women, you might conclude that things are not going well for conventional Christian churches.”

The Ventura, Calif.-based researchers compared surveys of more than 1,000 people in 1991 and 2011.

They found that the percentage of women who strongly believe the Bible is accurate in all it teaches declined by 7 percentage points to 42 percent. And those who view God as “the all-knowing, all-powerful and perfect Creator of the universe who still rules the world today” dropped from 80 percent to 70 percent.

“Women used to put men to shame in terms of their orthodoxy of belief and the breadth and consistency of their religious behavior,” wrote Barna. “No more; the religious gender gap has substantially closed.”

Interesting. Though I must say that when I scan the pews on any given Sunday morning in our Parish, the larger majority of those attending clearly seem to be women. So the question then, I suppose, becomes: Are there even fewer of them now?

Culture

Blasphemous Philippine ‘Art’

AFP reports:

Manila — An art exhibit featuring a Jesus Christ poster with a wooden penis glued to His face has sparked protests in the mainly Catholic Philippines.

Bishops and lay groups have demanded the state-run Cultural Centre of the Philippines close the exhibit on grounds it is blasphemous, immoral, illegal and offends the country’s Catholic majority.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines said on its website that Christian lay groups were also preparing a lawsuit.

“Those responsible for the public exhibit… have a liability because they offended the religious beliefs of a country that is 85 percent Christian,” the website quoted well-known Catholic activist Jo Imbong as saying.

She said the cultural centre could be charged with violating a law on “immoral exhibitions” that normally applies to pornography.

The artwork, a collage by local artist Mideo Cruz, is part of an exhibit showcasing works by alumni from a church-run university aiming to challenge people’s perceptions of figures they idolise.

It also includes a cross made of discarded wood with a woodcarving of a penis attached, and an icon of Jesus that has a red clown nose and Mickey Mouse ears…

Blasphemous and disgusting is what it is! Rightly to be protested.

UPDATE:  The controversial Philippine art show has been shut down. Good!

Church

Could Italy Be Next?

Italy has begun crisis talks with the European Union:

Italian finance minister Giulio Tremonti has begun crisis talks with Jean-Claude Juncker, chair of the Eurogroup of finance ministers from the 17 eurozone countries.

The talks come as yields on Italian bonds have reached euro-era record levels.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is due to address parliament on the economy later on Wednesday.

The yields on Spanish bonds have also been rising.

In early trading on Wednesday, the yield on Italian 10-year bonds rose 0.19 percentage points to 6.21%, while the yield on Spanish 10-year bonds was at 6.34%, just below Tuesday’s record of 6.45%.

A cost of borrowing above 6% is considered unsustainable by many economists.

“The upward march in Spanish and Italian bond yields is evidence of the relentlessness of the sovereign debt crisis,” said Jane Foley, an analyst at Rabobank International.

The problems come less than two weeks after eurozone leaders agreed a second bailout for Greece, which was partly aimed at preventing the sovereign debt problems spreading to other countries.

Portugal and the Republic of Ireland have also received bailouts to help them cope with their debt problems.

Italy, which is the eurozone’s third-largest economy, has so far managed to avoid sovereign debt problems, despite having one of the highest debt-to-GDP ratios in the eurozone at 120%.

But Italy’s economy is twice as big as Greece, Portugal and the Irish Republic combined, so a bailout would probably be unaffordable…

Oh dear! Things are getting worse and worse.