A Lutheran’s love letter to Pope Francis
In America, the Jesuit review, Aana Marie Vigen wrote a “Lutheran’s love letter” to Pope Francis: “Ever since you became the Bishop of Rome in 2013, I have become increasingly convinced that you are the pope that Luther was looking for 500 years ago”.
She gave four reasons: “You help us to see Christ in our neighbour, You help us to see God in creation, You combine humility with audacity and You inspire creative hope and action”.
She concluded: “You inspire me, Pope Francis. You help me find the grit to live with intention. So I boldly close this love letter with a fervent request: that you pray for the United States and the world in these tumultuous and confounding times, that we will stumble our way through with minimal injury to ourselves and to others. I ask you to pray without ceasing that humanity wakes up to creation’s myriad cries in time to do something meaningful about them.”
How to argue religion in the internet age
The Catholic News Agency reported Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron’s remarks at Facebook’s headquarters last week.
“If we don’t know how to argue about religion, then we’re going to fight about religion,” he said. On social media “you’ll see a lot of energy around religious issues. There will be a lot of words exchanged, often angry ones, but very little argument.”
One “extraordinarily helpful” way to have a real conversation, the bishop said, is to highlight what your opponent is right about. It is also worth engaging with your opponent’s case in real depth, even thinking about the ways in which they are correct. He cited St Thomas Aquinas, who made the case for disbelief in God before presenting the arguments for rational belief in God.
The Benedictines who invented a chicken
Those of us who enjoy eating chicken have mediaeval monks to thank, according to a piece on ucatholic.com.
“Archaeologists have long noted an increase in the fossil record of chicken bones from the 9th century AD onward,” it said. “A team of Oxford researchers identified a gene that is one of the primary causes of reduced aggression and increased egg-laying ability in chickens.”
They directly linked “Catholic fasting practices of Benedictine monks to the domestication of chickens, because during a fast meat from four-legged animals was not allowed while chicken was exempted from this rule”.
The result? “Because Benedictine monks were allowed to consume chicken during their fasts, selective pressures on chickens who were easy to breed and not aggressive to humans rapidly caused them to shift towards carrying the TSHR gene. As the TSHR gene become predominant, the modern chicken of today appeared and the billions of people around the globe have monks to thank for it.”
✣ Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli prayed for peace at the River Jordan, the traditional site of Jesus’s baptism, during a pilgrimage last week.
Bocelli, who is blind, was guided by a priest who poured water on his hands. The singer made the Sign of the Cross as the priest recited a Hail Mary.
Bocelli told the Associated Press that the spot represented “the roots of my faith”. “For this reason, it is a very special place. I am very happy to be here. I prayed for peace in the world.”
Bocelli, who was accompanied by Jordan’s tourism minister, later performed at a Roman amphitheatre in the city of Jerash.
✣ Pope Francis has made his screen debut in a feature film – playing himself.
The film, entitled Beyond the Sun, about children searching for God, had its premiere at the Vatican last week. The Pope is on screen for about six minutes. In unscripted remarks he urges a group of children to talk to Jesus and read the Gospels. “Tell [Jesus] what’s happening to you,” he says.
“Tell him the things you saw and you disliked, or in the school or out in the streets, or in your family … Jesus is waiting for you, and he is looking for you, and you don’t realise … Look for him, and that’s how you will find each other.”
✣The week in quotations
He is always at the door, waiting for me to open it a tiny bit Pope Francis on God’s untiring love Morning Mass homily
The Mystical Body of Christ has lots of warts Cardinal Dolan urging the Church to be open about its flaws Speech at Louisiana Priests’ Convention
I am not sanguine about the number of souls lost Bishop Gracida on the Amoris Laetitia crisis CatholicHerald.co.uk
The shepherd cannot run The martyr Blessed Stanley Rother Letter to Oklahoma Catholics from Guatemala
✣Statistic of the week
11 The number of family members killed in Mexico’s earthquake while at a baptism Source: AP
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