Friday, May 16

Not inflatable...

...but she's got some impressive doors on her..

Munich's newest RC church building

The present age is volatile, overstimulated, wickedly efficient, technologically afire, religiously competitive yet vigorously secular. Under the circumstances, Munich's newest Catholic church, the Church of the Sacred Heart, with its simplicity, its space, its smooth planes and clean light, is a welcome relief. Within this spare glass cube -- one entire wall of which serves as a mammoth set of doors -- sits a smaller cube of maple slats that houses two columns of unadorned pews and a plain stone altar. One of the few features that distinguish this building as a church is the enormous though not immediately discernible pattern of the cross woven into the wall of metal mesh behind the altar. The cross is not an object but a surface whose texture suggests it. In light both natural and incandescent, it fairly glows, and in its ethereal clarity, it seems to point not just toward Christ's suffering but also toward the hope and redemption that the crucifixion was intended to achieve for us.

Ecclesiastical architects appear to have rediscovered the monastic idea, without any of its harsh austerity, that the soul burgeons best when given a little room. God speaks for himself. In the purity and simplicity of this modern church, his voice is clearly audible.




Bishop's Review Board to send auditors to every diocese

The National Review Board, a panel of lay Catholics headed by former Oklahoma governor Frank Keating, has contracted with a firm headed by William A. Gavin, a former assistant director of the FBI, to audit all 195 dioceses by the end of the year, a spokesman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said yesterday.

Gavin is the fourth former FBI official named to a key role in the church's response to the scandal. Keating, who is himself a former FBI agent and federal prosecutor, acknowledged that there have been some rumblings of discontent among bishops over the board's approach.

"We concluded that to reassure the Catholic lay community, it was important first and foremost to identify this conduct as criminal -- and to send that message with FBI agents at the top, the bottom and the middle of this probe," he said. "If that's hard-edged, so be it."



John Allen's Word from Rome is up and jam-packed as usual. Don't have time to pull quotes, but there's quite a bit on responses to Allen's interview with the outgoing Israeli ambassador, for one.

Those of you interested in our cultural discussion should check out Christianity Today's Film Forum with a variety of answers to the question...Should there be a "Christian Film Industry?

John Sexton spent the last eight years working in Hollywood. He answers the question "Should we have a Christian film industry?" with another question that puts things in a new light: "Should we have a Christian football league?"

Christian journalist Mike Hertenstein wrestled with these issues in 2001 as he charted the course for Cornerstone's film festival Flickerings. He recalls a quote from C.S. Lewis: "Christian literature can exist only in the same sense in which Christian cookery might exist." Most people who prefer Christian films want religious propaganda, he says. "It seems safe to observe that no genius has yet arisen to redeem the genre from its own dubious history. And that [is why] Christian films have been Left Behind."

Will the same people who rent out moonwalks for parties handle these?

World's first inflatable church introduced

"Churches used to be at the centre of our communities and sadly that's not the case anymore," said Mr Gill at the unveiling of the church at the Christian Resources Exhibition in Esher, Surrey. "This is one way to make the Church more accessible and put it back where it belongs."The mobile church was formally dedicated by the Rev Michael Elfred, a Church of England vicar from Tadworth, who led prayers in front of about 50 worshippers, reporters and photographers.

"In the Old Testament we read that God's ancient people worshipped in a tent," Mr Elfred said. "God is on the move and tells us not to be side-tracked by our buildings."At a cost of £21,750 to buy and £2,000 a day to rent, the 47ft high church will be too costly for many parishes.But Mr Gill said that he has had expressions of interest from more than 20 countries and has even been asked to design inflatable mosques and synagogues.



This apparently wasn't the first time for the embezzling, not-in-the-least-celibate Queens priest.

Father John Thompson, the former pastor at St. Elizabeth’s parish in Ozone Park who is on trial for allegedly embezzling thousands of dollars to finance a live-in gay lover at the church, may have done the same thing with a male go-go dancer at a Brooklyn church in the 1980s, according to trial testimony.


Priest arrested in park sting...

Diocese shrugs

If necessary, the diocese will see that he is provided professional counseling, the statement said. Kubista said the charges against McGrath do not fall under the diocesan sexual misconduct policy."This involves his personal life," Kubista said, explaining that this is a civil matter, not involving McGrath's conduct while he was "engaged in the mission of the church."

Wow. Unpack that one for a while. I thought a priest's entire life was supposed to be a living symbol of the "mission of the church." So if a priest robs a convenience store on his day off, it "involves his personal life?" If he calls an African-American or a Latino a deragatory name after he leaves church grounds on his way to the golf course it's okay because it merely "involves his personal life?"

Somehow..I doubt it.


Well....

...he didn't think much of it. He'd read a few reviews and so was prepared, but nonetheless, while he didn't hate it (Matrix:Reloaded) he thought it fell well short. As he discussed it at dinner last night, he said, "And it had some really unnecessary stuff in it..that went on way too long."

"Like what?" I asked innocently.

He tipped his head towards his sister. "I can't say in front of her."

Is that a conscience? I think so...

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