The Science of Holy Smoke: Conclave Messaging Secrets Revealed!

This morning, a friend of mine who lives in Rome posted the following observation on Facebook: Looking up at the chimney on the Sistine Chapel this morning, I began to see the problem with creating recognisably black smoke in weather like this. With the light grey of the overcast, any solid, including smoke particles, are going to show up appearing very dark in silhouette. It was obvious last nig... More
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Offbeat: Man vows to fast on beer during Lent!

I know, I know: it sounds like a headline for The Onion. But it’s actually by Anna Arco of the UK Catholic Herald, who relays to us a (slightly) tongue-in-cheek story to make us smile on this dreary day of fasting and abstaining: An American blogger has pledged to live only off beer during Lent. Following the ancient tradition of Bavarian monks who brewed stronger beer during the Lenten f... More
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Paging Dr Freud: Storm Troopers for Planned Parenthood!?!

I did a double-take when I saw Planned Parenthood post this on it’s Facebook page: Check out some of the cute and creative “I Stand With Planned Parenthood” photos posted to our Fan Photo Album. We’d love to see what else you come up with! Even Planned Parenthood fans were confused: Storm Troopers? Oh, noooo… They’re storm troopers.. doesn’t anyone else... More

Offbeat: Too much Facebook gets Dominican nun dismissed?

There’s typically more to these stories than what we see in the press, but still: Maria Jesus Galan had 600 Facebook friends. She liked to communicate with them, to spread good news. However, her Facebook habit has lost her something very dear–her habit. Her fellow nuns reportedly claimed that Sister Maria’s Facebook activity “made life impossible.” She was therefore ... More

TBTR: Cake Edition

Remember when I wrote back in December that some gay activists were upset that Dr. Jenny Morse of the Ruth Institute decided to wear a rainbow scarf? I suggested that we should take back the rainbow (“TBTR”), and made the point that to many the rainbow symbolizes peace. I also suggested that the disagreements between gay activists and Christians could be more peaceful in 2011. AmP rea... More
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Offbeat: Rambo Priest has Communion desecrator pulled over

From DC Examiner’s “Stupid Crimes” column: God squad A Catholic priest denied a woman Holy Communion, then had a sheriff’s deputy pull her over. According to the Northwest Florida Daily News, Jackie Trebesh and her 19-year-old daughter went to take Holy Communion, the priest turned them away and said he would explain his actions after the [Mass] ended. Trebesh decided no... More

Offbeat: Thief thwarted by falling saint statue!

It was an intense weekend of responding to the pope’s comments about condoms, so I wanted to start this Monday morning off right – with some heavy poetic justice: A thief who tried to break open the donation box in a church was hit on the head by a falling statue of a saint, police in Munich reported on Sunday. The man suffered a nasty cut to the head and fled the St Benno Church wi... More

Funny “Otherworldly” Spam

And now for something completely random. One of the monotonous tasks of running a heavily-visited blog is moderating comments. I and the CV team have had to moderate almost 30,000 comments since the new site launched early this year. Some of these are randomly-generated spam comments, and most of these spam comments range from annoying to really annoying. Comment #28,074 at least made me smile b... More
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Offbeat: Sunday Mass at 2:30AM?

This is from last week but seems appropriate to post after the weekend: Old-time Pittsburghers remember when a church in the city offered services in the early morning hours for employees who worked odd hours. One church is now bringing that tradition back with a 2:30 a.m. service. … The early-morning Mass tradition began in 1905 and was frequented by employees from seven daily newspapers... More

Offbeat: “JP2″ Nightclub opens up in Roman Basilica’s Crypt

It appears that papists visiting the Eternal City have a new watering hole to checkout! The Wall Street Journal reported last week: The crypt of the Basilica di San Carlo al Corso near St. Peter’s Square has boasted tombs of cardinals for centuries. Today it is taking on a livelier vibe. Rev. Maurizio Mirilli, head of youth ministry in Rome’s Catholic Church, has converted a sectio... More

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