January 26, 2021

Saturday Ramblings 8.20.11

It’s that time of week again, time to do some light housekeeping here at the iMonastery. There are brooms and rags and mops aplenty if you want to pitch in and help. Or, if you prefer, you can simply sit back and ramble…

Ok, let’s start with the most important story of the week. The economy? No. Who is and who isn’t running for president? Oh my, no. The surfboard-like confessionals being used in Madrid at the World Youth Day? No, although we will get to that. This week’s most pressing news is that beings from other galaxies may be upset with us earthlings for spreading greenhouses gases into space. “Green” aliens might object to the environmental damage humans have caused on Earth and wipe us out to save the planet. Well, why not? I can’t tell you how much I love this job…

Now it’s time to go to Madrid for World Youth Day. I don’t know who came up with the design for these confessionals, but I like them. And there may be more confessions than expected as the Catholic Church has extended authority to priests to offer absolution to women who confess to having had abortions. We will be waiting for Martha to weigh in on this as usual.

Let’s give St. James’ church in Reading, England a hand. The hand of St. James the Great, to be exact. Yes, Martha is working on an essay about relics.

It’s Back To School time! And if you are wondering what college to attend, and want to attend a very religious school, here is your list. Oh—and you will learn the least-religious schools as well. Perhaps our resident educator Damaris will have some insight into these lists. All I know is another list was released recently ranking the top college football teams at the beginning of the season. Boomer. Sooner.

Need a reason to waste more time on Facebook? Now you can take the Journey of Moses. It’s creator says it is like Zelda with elements of the story of Moses. Ok then.

I cannot make this stuff up. I mean, not even Conan could make this up. The sad thing is there are people who will hand over good money for this crap all day long. Sigh…But if it’s all the same to you, I think I will stick with Corn Chex.

If you are done laughing or crying or both over that last story, let us be birthday well-wishers to Bert “The Cowardly Lion” Lahr; Alfred Hitchcock; Fidel Castro; Dan Fogelberg; Gary “Far Side” Larson; David Crosby; Steve Martin; Earvin “Magic” Johnson; Julia Child; Madonna (no, not that Madonna—the other Madonna); Robert DeNiro; Sean Penn; Robert Redford; Ed Norton; Ogden Nash; Ginger Baker; and Bill Clinton.

Dan Fogelberg died way too young. I hope he can be the leader of the band for at least one song in heaven. Enjoy.


[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYFVEB4j6zI’]


  1. I miss Fogelberg. Definitely part of the soundtrack of my life.

    • Saw Fogelberg in concert and was expecting a very calm, mellow show. It turned out to be pretty lively. It still was great.

  2. when will the Catholic Church has extend authority for the women to hear the confessions of the priest’s sins?

    • HA briank ~ AT LAST!! Dream on!! I could give Scripture here but why bother – believer priests and all that.

    • excellent question!

    • I left a ‘has’ in my question.

    • If you are asking do priests have to confess their sins like the laity do, yes. Even the Pope goes to confession.

      If you are asking when will the Roman Catholic Church ordain women priests, the answer is simple: the same time the Eastern Orthodox do. If you want to know when that will be, ask Fr. Ernesto, I’m sure he’d be glad to give you an exact timetable (sometime between “Hell freezing over” and “the Second Coming” but I can’t pin it down any more definitively than that).

      If you want to cut a big stick to beat us over the head with, thump away! Why should you be any different from the rest of the world?

      If you want to accuse us of being conservative, why yes, yes we are. Sorry, WomynPriests movement, Call to Action, Voice of the Faithful, and all the rest of you – not moving on this one. Conservative is indeed not exactly the same thing as orthodox, but mistaking outright heresy for the work of the Spirit doesn’t work either.

      If you want to say “You’re not Protestant!”, no, indeed we’re not.

      Any other points?

      Oh, I forgot the whole misogyny/sexism/patriarchy is to blame for the ills of the world/anti-sex/anti-fun bits, but come on: we’ve just celebrated on 15th August the Feast of the Assumption, which gets us hammered for giving way too much honour to an ordinary woman, then we get hammered for not giving enough honour to ordinary women?

      • my point…..If i have one.
        is that it appears that the Church is saying the sins of the women laity are worse than the sins of the priest.
        I think the Priests need to show more humility as a body. There are good priests ……many good priests, but as a body they seem to be pretty judgemental.

        • Yeah, briank, that whole Ten Commandments thing is pretty judgemental.

          Secondly, when anyone goes to confession, it’s for the very reason that they’re a sinner. I don’t know if my confessor is a sinner, or a “worse” sinner than I am; what I do know is that if I’m going to confession, it’s because I want to confess the sins I myself personally have really committed. I don’t get to say, before I step into the box, “Okay, I want a guarantee that Fr. Smith is not an embezzler/having an affair/a child molester (that’s what you were getting at here, is it not, about the sins of priests)/whatever” before I go to confession.

          I’m pretty sure the priests I’ve confessed to have not been worse sinners than me, but that’s not the point. Do you, on the same grounds, declare that a policeman can’t arrest a robber because there are corrupt cops and we all know about egregrious examples of corruption from the top down?

          Okay, the way the news reports have worded it isn’t very helpful in this context; to put it simply, the archbishop of Madrid has given all those priests hearing confessions at the World Youth Day events the authority to revoke the automatic excommunication occurred by anyone (and please remember, excommunication is automatic for all those who help or participate or perform or enable or send others to have abortions, not just the woman who terminates her pregnancy) who has been involved with an abortion – not absolution (all priests can give absolution for a valid confession).

          It’s to make it easier for those who may regret their abortions or their involvement with abortion (e.g. the boyfriend who got a girl pregnant and refused to have anything more to do with her, the parent or friend who pressured the girl to have an abortion, and so on) to go to confession, not to make anyone ashamed or guilty (above the shame or guilt they already feel).

          But yeah – how dare we mean ol’ Catholics make people feel bad about abortions! When it’s perfectly acceptable in the finest medical ethics quarters to <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/14/magazine/the-two-minus-one-pregnancy.html?_r=4&partner=rss&emc=rss&pagewanted=all"<reduce pregnancies down to singletons! You’d think deliberately killing a life in the womb was a bad thing or something!

          • -Judgement should be in God’s hands
            -confession is for sinners (we both agree)
            -if someone confesses to you – you should forgive (God does) – you can give advise,guidence, & accountability. (judge not less you be judged)
            -if you (even as a body of people) hear others confessions, you should be honest (as a body of people) that you are the cheif of all sinners (see Paul)

            These are my rules. enjoy.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            You forgot the Numbah One Rule, BrianK: NO POPERY!

        • My wife’s ministry is Rachel’s Vineyards – an offshoot of Project Rachel which is a ministry that reaches out to those women who’ve had abortions. These women carry this emotional scar for years and it affects their relationship with others. One of the biggest issues for these women is for them to forgive themselves. What my wife has found is that by going through this process, culminating with confession, actually helps immensley for these women to move forward again. So what I see here is compassion by the Church – to say ‘don’t carry the pain and the shame and the burden of a sin that is forgiven…. of course there has to be other work done as well but it is a step in the right direction.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        WomynPriests movement…

        English already HAS a feminine form of the noun “Priest”: PRIESTESS.

  3. “A spokesman for the Catholic Church in Spain said that the extension of priestly authority around abortion applies only to priests who are in the Madrid archdiocese for World Youth Day festivities.”

    I don’t understand. If a woman is remorseful about an abortion, it seems to me that any priest anywhere and anytime should be able to offer absolution. Besides, if there is this rule about abortion, why don’t we have that rule about people who admit to murders? Or maybe we do and I don’t know about it. But it throws out the whole idea that in the confessional the priest always offers absolution if the person is sorry because they don’t. In reality, though, I bet many priests DO offer the women absoluation even though the Pope has told them not to. Years ago the priests were told to stop having girls assisting during mass. My local priest kept right on having the girls there.

    • Isaac (the poster occasionally still known as Obed) says

      I had thought the same thing. How did abortion become a non-absolution item?

      • It’s not a non-absolution item; the priests (any priests) can hear the confession and absolve the person (and this isn’t just a woman who has had an abortion, it’s the doctor, or the technician, or the secretary who worked in the clinic, or the social worker who arranged it, or the politician who pushed for it to be made into law etc. etc., so we’re clear that it’s not just women with crisis pregnancies who are being blamed) who was involved, but to lift the excommunication requires the bishop or those licensed by him to lift the ban and restore to the common life of the Church.

        I suppose nobody learns anymore about “the sins which cry out to heaven for vengeance”?

        Catechism of the Catholic Church:

        “1867 The catechetical tradition also recalls that there are “sins that cry to heaven”: the blood of Abel, the sin of the Sodomites, the cry of the people oppressed in Egypt, the cry of the foreigner, the widow, and the orphan, injustice to the wage earner.”

        Or, as we dinosaurs may vaguely remember it:

        What are the sins that cry out to Heaven for vengeance?

        Murder (the shedding of innocent blood), sodomy, oppressing the poor and defrauding the labourer of his wages.

        So, why does abortion merit automatic excommunication but murder doesn’t? If I’m reading the rationale behind it correctly, it’s because murder may be done in hot blood and instantaneously (not saying murder is right, just that it may not be premeditated) whereas in abortion, it is planned, decided upon, and is always the taking of an innocent life; because although we still (to date, anyway) have laws against murder, abortion has been made legal and is portrayed as ‘a right to choose’ and a human right in itself (but we are not yet at the point of saying that other forms of killing are a human right); that abortion can be a private sin unlike the very public fact of murder; that so many are involved in the abortion industry; that a great deal of hard work is being done to remove the stigma from abortion and so an equally grave example on the part of the Church to reinforce the message that this is a wrong must be made.

        • Martha…so where do the priests who engaged in pedophilia fit into this? What about the Catholic leadership that protected some of those priests? Do you understand what I am saying?

          • Ah, I must have missed that part in the news report, Eagle.

            Where all the priests selected to hear confessions are specially picked from the massive ranks of Spanish paedophiles and come to the event fresh from their latest bout of raping and abusing.

            Yeah, I’m just a little big angry about this, particularly when no-one seems to be banging the heads of the American psychiatriac associations :

            “If a small group of psychiatrists and other mental health professionals have their way at a conference this week, pedophiles themselves could play a role in removing pedophilia from the American Psychiatric Association’s bible of mental illnesses — the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), set to undergo a significant revision by 2013. Critics warn that their success could lead to the decriminalization of pedophilia.

            The August 17 Baltimore conference is sponsored by B4U-ACT, a group of pro-pedophile mental health professionals and sympathetic activists. According to the conference brochure, the event will examine “ways in which minor-attracted persons [pedophiles] can be involved in the DSM 5 revision process” and how the popular perceptions of pedophiles can be reframed to encourage tolerance.”

            If the only people in the entire world who were abusing children and youths were Catholic priests, I’d take that bargain, Eagle, because then it could be stamped out. But that’s not the whole of it.

          • Eagle-
            You remind me of all those people who reduce 1000 years of German history to 12 years of Hitler. You compress 2000 years of complex Catholicism into pedophilia. Real nuanced, buddy.

        • This is good because every once in a while I start feeling vaguely positive about the catholic church. But oh yea they have Terrible views about women.

    • David Cornwell says

      “Years ago the priests were told to stop having girls assisting during mass. My local priest kept right on having the girls there.”

      He probably went right around the chain of command straight to the boss!

    • I think you’re supposed to go to the bishop for big ones? (Though I think that includes murder–it’s not like a priest can absolve murder, but not abortion.) Regardless, I agree with you, JoanieD. It seems to me that if the priest stands in persona Christi, he ought to be able to absolve pretty much anything.

    • Because assisting in or procuring an abortion incurs automatic excommunication (excommunication latæ sententiæ) and these are what come under the heading of “reserved sins” (i.e. sins that can only be absolved by the bishop – because bishops possess the fullness of the priesthood, and these sins are of exceptional gravity – or those licensed by the bishop).

      Story covering this here and excerpt to follow:

      “Normally, only certain priests have the power to lift such an excommunication, but the local diocese has decided to give all the priests taking confession at the event this power,” said the pope’s spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi.

      …Madrid has been labeled the “abortion Mecca” of Europe by local pro-life leaders because of the skyrocketing rate of abortions, which grew from 51,000 in 1996 to 120,000 in 2007. As many as 1 out of 5 of its pregnancies now end in abortion.”

      The Pope himself heard some confessions today (three, I believe) at the ‘surfboard’ confessionals 🙂


      • Argh – should have made that clearer. Any priest can hear the confession, but to lift the excommunication, only the bishop or those he has deputed must do so.

        • Martha, that article said, “Typically, only certain priests have the power to grant absolution for the sin of abortion.” Is that not correct? Are you saying that any priest can offer the person who was involved in an abortion absolution (basically…saying “God has forgiven you”) but the person remains excommunicated unless a bishop lifts the excommunication? It seems a little odd that we would tell a person “God has forgiven you” but then tell them, “But we won’t let you receive the Holy Eucharist with the rest of us.” The thing is…some other people in the parish may have done just as serious things but they are not excommunicated only because the Bishop does not know about their sin or maybe they would not be excommunicated anyway because only a few things (like being involved in abortions) get you excommunicated. If a woman knew she would be excommunicated if she told a priest she had an abortion, why would she ever confess? It is sort of like the conversation we had about why murderers would confess to a priest if they knew that a priest had to report that to the police.

  4. “I cannot make this stuff up…”

    Is that THE Jim Bakker of PTL infamy? I thought he repented and all that. Sure looks like he’s back to shellacked imagery and dubious fund-raising scams. It makes me wonder what we really learn from trials. A true change of heart is a miraculous thing, because the human heart is so deceptively wicked that we often fool ourselves into believing we’ve changed. “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” – Romans 7:24.

    • Huckster is as huckster does. Besides, all those whole grains would give me a massive case of indigestion …

    • I caught a few minutes of Bakker’s show whilst channel surfing. He and Tammy Faye 2.0 were selling emergency water using disaster scriptures from Ezekiel, Revelation, etc. to back up their claims. Same Jim Bakker, different year. This leopard cannot change his spots.

    • *sigh* And I had hoped Jim Bakker had learned his lesson. Apparently not. He’s still the same old huckster and con artist he always was. And with a new Tammy Faye by his side. The sin of Simony is still alive and well today. 🙁

    • What a sham this guy is, Marc I noticed the new Tammy Faye as well, not quite as scary as the old model. I still snicker at SNL take on those two!!!

      I’m not sure I can repeat what came to mind when I saw that video, but let’s just say if I ate that stuff, I’d be in the throne room for a long long time 🙂


      • As a dog returns to its vomit, or in this case…

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          “The dog returns to his vomit,
          The sow returns to her mire,
          And the burnt fool’s bandaged finger
          Goes wobbling back into the fire…”
          — Rudyard Kipling


  5. Scientists need to stick with the “what” questions in research so my kids don’t have to giggle and snicker; it gets breakfast milk all over.

  6. “there are people who will hand over good money for this crap all day long.”

    Interesting choice of words given that said product is “rich in fiber”.

    • well played

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      “Colon Blow! Ten Times the Fiber of Raw Twine!”

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Wait a minute — Jim Bakker of Jim & Tammy fame is shilling it?

      That must mean it’s “Just like Colon Blow, Except CHRISTIAN (TM)! Don’t eat the HEATHEN’s High-Fiber Colon Blow!” Wonder how many are going to fall for it this time?

      Doesn’t mention if there’s an Indulgence included in every box.
      When coin in Bakker’s coffer rings…

      “Quit spending your bread
      Keeping the Heathen well-fed —
      Line Christian pockets instead!”
      — Steve Taylor, “Guilty by Association”

  7. Oral Roberts and Liberty aren’t in on the leader board for “Most Relgious”? Of course, around here we can spot the Liberty students by their “Student” parking decals….and the can of beer in their hand while they speed around town picking up chicks!

    • Is there hope for our state of Virginia Pattie? Is the religious right relinquishing control and can this state and its religious scene be “normal?” 😯 (Eagle prays this may the be the case…)

  8. Yesss!! Grove City made the top 5!

    • Ever read Warren Throckmorton? I’ve looked at his blog from time to time. He says some interesting things about mental health, sex and homosexuality on his blog.

      • I have actually, and I agree with your assessment. Didn’t get to meet him while I was in school, unfortunately…finance majors don’t get much interaction with psych profs.

    • Ah, Grove City. I lasted two years, then I had to get out.

  9. The earth today is the same as when I went to sleep.”Life is a comedy to those who think too much and a tragedy to those who feel too much, or vice versa.”PTL

  10. Jeff I hope Oklahoma does well this year. I looked at the religious school list and was stunned not to see a single school from my backayrd. No Patrick Henry..No Regent..No Liberty University. Is there hope…?

    I’m looking forward to the relics article. No offense Martha but that seems almost sick and twisted. With the way relics were treated, and dare I say worshipped it’s one of the weirdest parts of the Catholic faith. Plus I’m also waiting for someone to say, “I’ve got Saint xyz foreskin!!” or pubic hair, or nail clippings, etc.. Sorry I’m not trying to be offensive but the relice issue can get pretty perverse in my books. I always thought we bury deceased people for a reason.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      The history of Relics is Wild, Weird, and Wonderful. Including the traffic in counterfeit relics to further confuse the issue — remember “The Pardoner” from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales?

      Plus I’m also waiting for someone to say, “I’ve got Saint xyz foreskin!!” or pubic hair, or nail clippings, etc.

      I’ve known someone who knew someone who did. Except their relics weren’t foreskins or pubes, but bone chips the size of a grain of sand or a few strands of scalp hair, sealed and provenanced.

      For foreskin relics, I read in a Church history book about one Cardinal around the time of Vatican II who was obsessed with finding “Christ’s Sacred Prepuce” (which I think means “Holy Foreskin” from when Jesus got brissed), “The only part of Our Lord’s body left on Earth after He ascended to Heaven.” The implication was this Cardinal was kinda flaky.

      • Headless, I’ve got a great new revelation (or maybe you knew this already) for you:

        Martyr paste.

        Think about it, go “Nah – no way anyone ever did anything as nutty as t hat” and then find out “Oh, yes, they did!”


        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          No, that’s a new one on me.

          “Because people are people and the world is full of tricks and twistiness yet undreamed of.”
          — One of The Whole Earth Catalogs

    • Funny you should mention foreskins, Eagle…

      Yup, I’m seriously debating with myself whether to go there or not. There are some gorgeous pictures of bones and skulls and the like which I’m hoping Jeff will link to when he puts the post up, the more gruesome, the better!

      I don’t know when this staggering work of literary genius will appear, however, so don’t be getting too excited waiting.


    • Hey, you can go to Holy Virgin Cathedral in San Francisco and see the incorrupt/mummified body of St. John Maximovitch the Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco on display under glass. His face is covered with a cloth, but his black and shriveled hands are visible. Altars in Orthodox churches have at least one relic placed in them during their construction.

    • MelissaTheRagamuffin says

      Hey Eagle – we must be neighbors since Patrick Henry, Liberty, and Regent are all nearish to me. Is Patrick Henry even accredited by any reputable organization?

  11. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    This week’s most pressing news is that beings from other galaxies may be upset with us earthlings for spreading greenhouses gases into space. “Green” aliens might object to the environmental damage humans have caused on Earth and wipe us out to save the planet. Well, why not?

    I think somebody’s watched Day The Earth Stood Still one time too many.

    Long before Captain Planet, this was the teaching of the various Space Brothers UFO Cults of the Fifties. Except then the Space Brothers (and all the Galaxy) were concerned about Nuclear Weapons instead of Greenhouse Gases/Global Warming.

  12. I think Bob Jones, Liberty U, Oral Roberts U, The Master’s College, and Westmont College probably should have all topped the list of most religious colleges.

    The Bakker website is proof that some things never really change. Well, except maybe that has a new wife, not just a Tammy Faye makeover as someone earlier seemed to think. As for products high in fiber and nutrition, I’ll continue to give my money to that heathen enterprise called Trader Joe’s. 🙂

  13. Richard McNeeley says

    Just got back from (sorry Jeff) Texas where my daughter decided to transfer. I had hoped she would go to Point Loma in San Diego or any University in a beach city.

  14. Did anyone see (video or live) the Cream Reunion concert at the Albert Hall in 2005? Ginger was a little more sedate than he was 35 years ago, but lively none the less. Jack and Eric continue to improve with age.


    • I have the CD. Awesome recording. I think Eric was getting on Jack’s nerves a little. PBS used to broadcast a recording of the concert during fund-raising week, but I haven’t seen it again for a few years. Still probably one of the greatest power-trios of all times, and that’s coming from a rabid Rush fan.

  15. I went to a college on one of those lists. I’ll leave it to people who have seen my past postings to try to figure out which list it is. (I’ll give you a hint- the Intervarsity group was called “Oh, for Christ’s Sake,” a name I still think is one of the most clever things I have encountered.)

  16. Wow! Quite a few people on steroids this week!

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