This is not the first time such things have been said

Gay “clubs” operate openly in Catholic seminaries, the institutions that prepare men for the priesthood, the late Pope Benedict XVI has claimed in a posthumously published book scathing of Pope Francis’s progressive agenda.

In a blistering attack on the state of the Catholic Church under his successor’s papacy, Benedict, who died on Dec 31 at the age of 95, said that the vocational training of the next generation of priests is on the verge of “collapse”.

He claimed that some bishops allow trainee priests to watch pornographic films as an outlet for their sexual urges.

Benedict gave instructions that the book, What Christianity Is, should be published after his death.

What a super map

For the UK, the Ulster bit is the Presbyterian heartland of the Plantation. Liverpool is the Irish and Catholic immigration. The islands are the Wee Frees (??). France is the Vendee – the Catholic and Royalist anti-revolution so harshly put down by the Jacobins. Andalusia was Muslim until 1492, some hangover there. The N Spain bit is, umm, the Carlists of Navarre? V. Catholic. Romania is Transylvania, presumably the Hungarian speakers holding to religion as well as language. Rome is Vatican, well, D’Oh. S Germany is what, Catholic Bavaria? N Albania is the old Venetian Stato Del Mare (spelling?).

Greece is Salonika and no, I don’t know why there.

However, from those other examples at a guess I’d say there’s some different cultural/effnik grouping which clings to religion as one of the differentiators of that grouping. Because that’s much of what’s happening elsewhere. Dunno why the Tatras are more religious than most of Poland but the Czech bit is Moravia and they’ve long had that Catholic/Protestant thing going on.

Anyone got any better ideas?

The areas that are more religious are those which are effnikly different anyway, religion being a marker of that difference? Not as a proof, a 100%, but as a tendency?

Well now, here’s a thing

A Catholic priest has caused uproar in Ireland after declaring that the deputy prime minister, Leo Varadkar, and other gay politicians will go to hell.

Fr Seán Sheehy, 65, condemned homosexuality, trans rights and abortion rights from the pulpit and in media interviews this week, drawing widespread censure, including from his own bishop.

Some called the comments a throwback to a vanished Ireland, others linked them to Sheehy’s exposure to US culture wars during 42 years serving in US dioceses.

Could actually be just that he’s a Catholic priest who has actually read the stuff about what Catholic priests are expected to believe.

You know, we are indeed all God’s little children and here’re the family rules he’s laid down about how we should live our lives. Obey them and be with him in the next life – don’t and don’t. Hell being the absence of being in God’s presence in that eternity.

Now, we out here don’t have to believe all of that as the majority of humanity doesn’t believe the Catholic Church’s take on these things. Largest centrally organised religion in the world it may be but it’s not dominant nor a majority. But complaining that a Catholic priest actually believes Catholic teaching is a bit much, no?

It’s possibly more about gay than black

Bishop Robert McManus told the Nativity School in Worcester, Massachusetts, that the flags sent a “confusing and scandalous message” and sought to “disrupt the family structure”.

“It is my contention that the Gay Pride flag represents support of gay marriage and actively living a LGBTQ+ lifestyle,” he said. “This is also true of Black Lives Matter.”

School resists removal
After raising the flags in 2021, the school resisted demands by the Diocese of Worcester for them to be removed, despite warnings it would be banned from identifying as a Catholic school if it failed to do so.

Whether the Catholic Church should be against aspects of the LGBT set – the existence ain’t it, it’s the practice – is another matter but it’s fairly well known they are, no?

So we should believe a nutter then, right?

Religious groups that follow Jesus must push to end the exploitation of others for power and profit
Brad Chilcott

Well, alright, maybe:

Recently, my psychologist asked me to consider her assertion that “there is no true altruism” – in other words, no one is truly selfless.

Hmm, maybe we might not gain our ethical guidance from someone in the grip of psychiatric care then, eh?

Well, yes and no, yes and no

A Catholic priest in Arizona has resigned after he was found to have performed baptisms incorrectly throughout his career, rendering the rite invalid for thousands of people.

The Catholic Diocese of Phoenix announced on its website that it determined after careful study that the Rev. Andres Arango had used the wrong wording in baptisms performed up until June 17, 2021. He had been off by a single word.

During baptisms in both English and Spanish, Arango used the phrase “we baptize you in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” He should have said “I baptize,” the diocese explained.

In the strictest sense anyone can baptise using pretty much any damn formulation they like. For God, being omniscient, knows the intent etc. Does actually happen too. Newborn, baptised with mother’s finger dipped in any convenient drop of water. You know, if there’s a fear they won’t survive.

Happened to me after all.

Which way around?

From Matthew T:

In Kirklees borough, where Batley Grammar School is located, the syllabus says children should be “give[n] reasons why visual representation of God and the prophets is forbidden (haram) in Islam,” by the end of Key Stage 2.

Pupils should also understand “key religious values including democracy, human rights, rule of law, secularism, freedom of expression and tolerance” – this is taught in Key Stage 3.

It’s an odd argument

well researched and well argued response to the evidence-free scaremongering and barely laundered antisemitism of cisgender authors who claim to know more about trans people than trans people do. It details the links between UK anti-trans feminism and the US Christian Right,

Quite why antisemitism is in there is unknown. But connecting it with the famously philosemitic US Christian Right is absurd.

Good on Tammy Faye

I’d never heard the story beyond the mockery of the makeup and hair:

Her highly coiffed, heavily made-up persona was mocked and parodied on comedy shows such as Saturday Night Live. She died in 2007 at the age of 65, having remarried.

Pieters never met her in person but is a close friend of her son, Jay Bakker. “He was 10 at the time that I did the interview with her and he said that it changed his whole outlook on his mother and on on all of it. She began taking him and his sister to LGBT-affirming churches. pride parades, Aids hospices and hospitals and had them learn about people with Aids by interacting with them in the hospital.

“She saw that she had a ministry to the LGBTQ community and took great joy in it. She was the grand marshal of a pride parade at one point and she had all the drag queens and the gay people all singing, ‘Jesus loves me this I know / For the Bible tells me so’. She had them all singing along and I would have loved to have seen that.”

Good to find out that televangelist hucksterism does contain at least some Christians. It is, after all, love the sinner, hate the sin.

What fun!

So, the Bishop leaves his job for the erotic novelist. But that’s not the fun part:

His fundamentalist stances included defending gay conversion therapy and he once questioned whether “confusion about sexual orientation” could be linked to the absence of a father figure in the family. He also described abortion and euthanasia as “genocide”.

ultraconservative views

How the world has changed, eh? For such views to be described as ultraconservative, fundamentalist, among Catholic bishops?

So here’s a little historical question

The Last Abbot of Reading

OK, so it’s a play and all that.

But was Hugh Faringdon actually the last abbot of Reading?

It’s not uncommon for distinguished and elderly monks – I think particularly of Benedictines, which the Reading house was – in these days to be awarded an honorary abbacy (abbotcy?). Of one of the houses that was destroyed in the Reformation. I’m really pretty certain there was one at Downside in my time there. Abbot’s ring and all that, but not actually the Abbott at all. Instead, abbot of “somewhere destroyed around 1540” an an honorary title.

A quick look around doesn’t provide me with any listing of houses whose titles are used this way. So, does anyone know?

Is “Abbot of Reading” a title still floating around in the manner that King of Jerusalem still does (although how many claimants to that there are I’ve no idea, at least three royal houses did so in modern times).

There’s sound mind and then there’s sound mind

The film-maker’s murder was discovered in the early hours of Sunday morning. Police were called to the Tehran suburb of Ekbatan after someone spotted human body parts in a bin, local media reported, quoting the judge, Mohammad Shahriari, the head of the Tehran criminal court.

Police found human remains, including two hands, and used fingerprints to identify the victim. They then went to the house of Khorramdin’s parents.

Iran Khorramdin, 74, and Akbar Khorramdin, 81, told police they had used sleeping tablets to knock their son out before suffocating and stabbing him, and cutting up his body, the Hamshahri newspaper reported.


The parents claimed they killed the son-in-law because he was abusive, murdered their daughter because she became addicted to drugs, and targeted their son because he was single and having relationships with students, according to Hussein Rahimi, a Tehran police chief, quoted in newspapers.

Umm, why?

During the court hearing, Akbar told Hamshahri reporters he had no regrets. “I don’t regret what I did with the cooperation of my wife. They were corrupted and I thank God.”

Oh, OK.

Court officials said the parents seemed largely of sound mind but they needed to investigate further.

Well, yeeeees………


The horrific new anti-women legislation in Poland, a near-total ban on abortion, is already harming women. The country already had some of the strongest anti-abortion legislation in Europe, and it has now removed the exception for foetal abnormalities. According to the New York Times, 1,074 of the 1,100 abortions performed in Poland last year were for that reason.

Poland’s right-wing government is not the only evil here. Its bigotry and intolerance has been assisted legally and financially by the US Christian Right.

An overwhelmingly Catholic country elects a political party espousing Catholic values and then enacts policy based upon Catholic moral teaching.

Of course, everyone involved here might be entirely deluded, what ever, but to blame the Americans seems a little odd.


Bishop of Lewes orders churches to shut despite Government lockdown rules saying they can stay open

What bishops are for, taking care of their flock.

The objection is when government says the churches must close. Here, we might even think the bishop is wrong in his decision but this is his job……

Culture matters more than race, eh?

Among Hindus, Sikhs, Jews, Buddhists and people of no religion, the majority felt uncomfortable with the idea of a close relative marrying a Muslim. Among Christians, there was a significant minority.

A majority of Muslims were uncomfortable with the idea of a close relative marrying a Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish or Sikh person, or someone of no religion. Almost four in 10 Muslims were uncomfortable with a close relative marrying a Christian.

Not all that odd really. The colour of your skin is one of those genetic lottery things. What you believe about gender relations, civil liberty and all that is something more changeable. So, believe those things that clash as a result of the Sky Fairy and sure, people should be more interested.