Pope Benedict XVI Uses John Paul II Mobile Platform in St Peter’s Basilica

For the first time:

AFP reports further,

Vatican City — Pope Benedict XVI made use of the same mobile platform used by his long-ailing predecessor John Paul II for the first time on Sunday, with the Vatican saying it was to “ease his tiredness.”

The 84-year-old pope used the wheeled platform to make his way from the sacristy to the altar of St Peter’s Basilica for a Sunday mass in honour of global evangelisation. It was pushed by a group of special Vatican porters.

Starting in December 1999, John Paul II who was 79 at the time and suffering from Parkison’s disease began making use of the platform in the basilica.

Vatican spokesman said there was “no illness or diagnosis” behind the use of the platform, adding that it would simply “ease his tiredness” as well as increase the pope’s security, religious news agency reported.

Benedict was shoved by a young mentally disturbed woman during his procession in the basilica on Christmas Eve 2009.

Since August, the pope has appeared particularly unsteady on his feet.

Some commentators had speculated that Benedict could make use of the traditional portable throne — known as a sedia gestatoria — on which popes were carried by porters until 1978 before the election of John Paul II.



Robert Downey Jr Urges Hollywood: ‘Forgive Mel Gibson’

It befalls a Jewish-Buddhist (or Jewbu – Robert Downey, Jr) to make the call.  MSNBC reports:

Los Angeles — It was supposed to be Robert Downey Jr.’s night, but somehow Friday’s American Cinematheque Award ceremony became all about Mel Gibson.

When the evening’s honoree took to the stage at the Beverly Hills Hilton to accept his doorstop, he had a clear message for Hollywood.

“I urge you to forgive my friend his trespasses,” Downey said to loud applause. “Allow him to pursue this art without shame.”

It was Gibson who handed out the award to the “Iron Man” star. That was a choice Downey made clear he had made in part to help his friend rehabilitate his image.

Gibson has become something of an industry pariah in the wake of taped phone calls during which he had used racial slurs and threatened to beat his estranged girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva. Prior to that, Gibson was already on thin ice with Hollywood, having made anti-Semitic remarks when he was arrested in 2006 for driving under the influence.

Gibson was dropped from a cameo in “Hangover 2” after cast members rebelled, although lately Warner Brothers has made a deal with the actor-director to explore an action film about a Biblical-era Jewish rebellion against oppressors. That too has drawn angry responses from Jewish leaders.

Downey, who had well-publicized bouts with drinking and drug abuse, said that by sticking up for Gibson, he was simply returning the favor. After his imprisonment and arrests on drug charges made him uninsurable and thus prevented him from being hired in Hollywood, it was Gibson who stepped up and paid his insurance bond on the 2003 film “The Singing Detective.”

“He kept a roof over my head and put food on my table,” Downey remembered.

He said that all Gibson asked in return was that Downey do the same for another person who was struggling…

More here.



Rome: Church Desecrated During Protests


Vatican City—The Vatican has condemned Saturday’s violent clashes in central Rome including an attack by protesters on a church in which a crucifix and a statue of the Virgin Mary were destroyed.

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said he “condemned the violence and the fact that a church was desecrated by some protesters who broke in and destroyed some images.” He referred to the clashes in Rome as “horrific.”

The 18th-century church of Santi Marcellino and Pietro is near St John Lateran square where much of Saturday’s violence occurred.

“When I came down, I saw the entrance door had been smashed in,” the church’s parish priest, Father Giuseppe Ciucci, was quoted by Italian media as saying.

“The Virgin Mary’s statue, which was at the entrance, had been taken away and I saw it had been thrown into the street and smashed,” he said.

“I went into the sacristy and I saw the door there was also destroyed. The large crucifix at the entrance had been vandalized,” he added.

Hundreds of protesters torched cars, smashed banks and hurled rocks at police during the clashes. Tens of thousands of people had been protesting against government cutbacks and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.



The Clergy Project: For the Unbelieving Leader in a Religious Community

Not unlike AA, there is now an organisation whose purpose is to support clergy addicted to unbelief. It is called The Clergy Project. It boasts a hundred members who:

use it to network and discuss what it’s like being an unbelieving leader in a religious community. The Clergy Project’s goal is to support members as they move beyond faith. Members freely discuss issues related to their transition
from believer to unbeliever including:

  • Wrestling with intellectual, ethical, philosophical and theological issues
  • Coping with cognitive dissonance
  • Addressing feelings of being stuck and fearing the future
  • Looking for new careers
  • Telling their families
  • Sharing useful resources
  • Living as a nonbeliever with religious spouses and family
  • Using humor to soften the pain
  • Finding a way out of the ministry
  • Adjusting to life after the ministry

The organisation is sponsored by Richard Dawkins who devoutly encourages apostates who have, as he says, seen the light to
join in a koinonia of disbelief with other faithless victims trapped in pulpits of pretend piety.

The above was here.

Such people really have no place leading. Better they leave than otherwise be what they are:  Hypocrites!