Destroying a Historic Chapel

Just caught these photos of the destruction of a historic chapel in Boston:

BCI has been writing about the moral, ethical, and fiscal demolition of the Boston Archdiocese and squandering of patrimony for more than a year now.  For those who find it difficult to believe that all of the astonishing things we write about at BCI are really happening–and they are– we offer today an unexpected continuation of our series on the relocation of the remains of the late Cardinal O’Connell by showing you a few pictures of the physical demolition of the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

To be fair, the land is owned by Boston College and BCI was not sure of exactly who retained and managed the demolition crew when we first wrote this post. (Wednesday evening, a commenter said that in fact it was the RCAB who hired the demolition team).

Here, once again, is a photo of the chapel before the demolition, and then several pictures sent to us yesterday by “Brighton Neighbor” from during and after the demolition.

Below are pictures of the site after the chapel was demolished.
War zone?

Shocking and sacrilegious.

The whole piece is here.

UPDATE:   Diocesan Demolition: Correction and Updates.


St Cuthbert Gospel Sold to the British Library for £9 Million

By Jesuits:

The Jesuits have sold the historic St Cuthbert Gospel – believed the oldest intact book produced in Europe – to the British Library for £9 million.

The British Province of the Society of Jesus agreed to sell the late seventh-century Anglo-Saxon manuscript to raise funds to restore a historic church and pay for educational work in London and Glasgow, Scotland.

The book, a pocket-size Latin translation of the Gospel of St John, was found inside the coffin of St Cuthbert, bishop of Lindisfarne, when the saint’s grave was opened in 1104.

Experts believe the manuscript was placed inside the casket within 10 years of the hermit’s death in 687.

Fr Kevin Fox, spokesman for the British Province of the Society of Jesus, announced the sale of the Gospel last month.

“It has been our privilege to possess this book for nearly 250 years,” he said. “Now, in order to answer more of the many demands on our resources, the province trustees have decided to sell.”

He said that the British Library would ensure that the manuscript was available for people from around the world to view either directly or online.

“People will be able to see the Gospel set among the library’s other treasures of the Christian faith and of Anglo-Saxon and Celtic art,” Father Fox said.

The statement said that the Gospel was produced by monks of Wearmouth-Jarrow in northeast England.

Funds from the sale, concluded in conjunction with the auction house Christie’s, will be used to help fund Jesuit schools in London and Glasgow, pay for a new school to be founded in Africa and pay for the restoration of the 19th-century Church of St Peter, Stonyhurst, the parish that serves Stonyhurst College in Lancashire, England.

The St Cuthbert Gospel was described by the British Library as having “beautifully-worked original red leather binding in excellent condition”. The library said it is “the only surviving high-status manuscript from this crucial period in British history to retain its original appearance, both inside and out”.

The Gospel was buried alongside St Cuthbert following his death on the island of Lindisfarne off the northeast coast of England. His coffin was transferred to nearby Durham as his community attempted to escape coastal Viking raids. His grave later became a pilgrimage site.

The Gospel was discovered when St Cuthbert’s coffin was opened 400 years after his death during the dedication of a shrine in his honor at Durham Cathedral.

It was kept in the cathedral priory but when King Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries during the Reformation the Gospel passed into the hands of a private collector in 1540.

By the 18th century, the book was in the possession of the 3rd Earl of Lichfield who gave it to Canon Thomas Phillips, who in turn presented it in 1769 to the Jesuits.

The book has been on loan to the British Library since 1979. It was often displayed in the Sir John Riblat Gallery.

The Jesuits approached the library in 2010 with an offer of the first option to acquire the Gospel for the public.


Charges Quashed Against Priest Accused of Grave Tampering

The Hereford Times reports on a rather unusual case:

The case against a Roman Catholic priest accused of exhuming the remains of a boy from the grounds of a former Hereford convent has been quashed.

Father Wojciech Jasinski, who is now based in Rome, was charged with illegally removing a corpse from a grave contrary to common law.

He made his third appearance at Worcester Crown Court last week, this time to hear a successful submission by defending barrister Andrew Davidson to have the case dismissed.

Mr Davidson said the case was “straight out of a Charles Dickens novel”.

“It is a Burke and Hare offence from when people went out in the middle of the night to steal gold teeth,” he said. “Father Jasinski was acting for moral reasons which were entirely honourable.”

The 40-year-old was accused of taking a box containing the remains of Witold Ortowski from St Raphael’s convent on Holme Lacy Road, Lower Bullingham, sometime between August 2008 and March 2010.

The convent had been sold for housing development and the boy’s mother Zofia wanted the remains – housed in a box in an overgrown wall – to be safe.

They have now been buried in a coffin in her grave in Henley-on- Thames, Oxfordshire…

… Jim Dunstan, prosecuting, said the issue was that human remains should not be removed from their resting place without authority. The case was based around a law dealing with burials dating from  1857.

The judge, Recorder David Mason, QC, said he had decided to quash the case because he did not think a jury could be properly convinced by the evidence.

He said the contents of the box, which included a skull, bones and a certificate in Spanish authenticating the remains, had not been analysed.

As Witold had died so long ago, noone could be sure they were human remains.

After the case, Father Jasinski said he was unsure himself whether the remains were Witold’s but it did not make a difference to his decision to remove them…

… As the head of the Marian Fathers order based at the site, he said he had spent a long time considering it because he didn’t know how it should be done.

The remains – which once attracted pilgrims to the site – were found in a box in a wall in the garden of the former convent.

“It was overgrown and we had trouble finding it. It had been many years since people had visited,” he said.

“Common sense tells me removing the remains was the right thing to do.

It was his mother’s last wish. If I had not done it, I would have been wrong.”…

The whole piece is here.

Bible Archaeology

Quarrelling Over Jesus’ Baptism Site

Is it or is it not?

Christian leaders in Jordan on Wednesday established “beyond doubt” that the  country hosts the holy site where Jesus Christ was baptized by John the Baptist  on the east bank of River Jordan.

They denied an Israeli claim that Jesus Christ was baptized on the west  bank of River Jordan at what had come to be called the Judith Church, which was  recently renamed as “Baptism Church” by the Israelis.

“There is no doubt that Jesus Christ had been baptised on the east bank  of River Jordan and that the site was honoured by Christians from the early days  of Christianity and still so until nowadays,” said a statement issued by leaders  of churches in Jordan.

They pointed out that they decided this fact in accordance with biblical  texts, Christian traditions, excavations as well as testimonies and writings by  many pilgrims who visited the area since the second century.

Similar remarks were issued on Monday by the Orthodox churches of the  East which met at the baptism site, about 25 miles west of Amman, in response to  an invitation by Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem.

The Rev. Nabil Haddad, president of the Jordan Interfaith Coexistence  Research Centre, said during the meeting that all Christian religious leaders  considered Jordan’s baptism site as “the actual place where Christ was baptized,  which affirms its authenticity and refutes Israeli allegations that claim  otherwise”.

Jordanian Interior Minister Mazen Saket said earlier this week that the  baptism site was recognized by several top Christian leaders and historians.

He pointed out that the site was inaugurated by the late Pope John Paul  II in 2000 and was blessed by Pope Benedict XVI during his pilgrimage to the  Holy Land in 2009.

“We were shocked in Jordan to see the Israelis inaugurating a new site  on the west bank of River Jordan and naming it the Baptism Church despite  well-known historical and religious facts,” Saket said.

Jordan seems at pains to defend its site – which has more to do with tourism (or the fear of losing tourists) than it has to do with actual authenticity. If I was to be honest here, that baptism site was, for me, the only thing worth seeing in Jordan (oh and perhaps swimming in the Dead Sea on their side, which wasn’t too bad either). But not having to go there again would be an absolute pleasure. So if you can now get the whole ‘pilgrim’ experience thing in Israel, then it’s bad economic news for Jordan I’m afraid. And that’s what this little Jordanian rant is all about.

Here I am, there, last year:


Man Arrested for Trying to Split Atoms – In his Kitchen

The Sydney Morning Herald reports this morning:

A Swedish man who was arrested after trying to split atoms in his kitchen  said he was only doing it as a hobby.

Richard Handl said he had the radioactive elements radium, americium and  uranium in his apartment in southern Sweden when police showed up and arrested  him on charges of unauthorised possession of nuclear material.

The 31-year-old Handl said he had tried for months to set up a nuclear  reactor at home and kept a blog about his experiments, describing how he created  a small meltdown on his stove.

Only later did he realise it might not be legal and sent a question to  Sweden’s Radiation Authority, which answered by sending the police.

“I have always been interested in physics and chemistry,” Handl said, adding  he just wanted to “see if it’s possible to split atoms at home”.

The police raid took place in late July, but police have refused to comment.  If convicted, Handl could face fines or up to two years in prison.

Although he says police didn’t detect dangerous levels of radiation in his  apartment, he now acknowledges the project wasn’t such a good idea.

“From now on, I will stick to the theory,” he said.