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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Sensitive Man Posts Ordered by Wife

By: SCCB Staff

Greg Stevens and his wife sharing a laugh about something
Johnnette Benkovic said on 'Women of Grace.'

Hamilton, Canada - A recent admission has Catholic internet jockeys scratching their heads. It has come to light that our friend, Greg Stevens, the guy who posts all those sensitive posts on your Facebook news feed about wives and daughters, was acting under his wife's orders.

Stevens is well known for having posted the meme, "Men, if you can't control your wife, then you've found a good one," which features the image of the 'world's most interesting man.'

He is also behind the "Share if you are proud of your daughter" post that makes the rounds every few months.

But it was when he started posting inspiring quotes from Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe that his friends began to worry.

Now Stevens is "taking his recovery seriously," he informed SCCB and he hopes that his story will help other men who find themselves in his 'special kind of hell.'

"It all began to fall apart after I went to that Catholic Men's conference, "Strong and Silent Like St. Joseph," he said. "The three hour talk on the 'Feminine Genius' by Simcha Fisher was extremely moving. I don't remember much else about that weekend. It's all a blur to me now... I remember swaying and I remember crying, but not much else."

"My wife made me go on that weekend after I let it slip one day that I kind of like NASCAR."

"Soon after that we decided that it was best if she monitor my internet activity - hence those Facebook posts. Now I cry when I see rainbows, puppies and sunsets.

"But I am slowly starting to regain a sense of self. I know now that it's okay to feel man things, just never to act upon them."

Friday, January 30, 2015

Additional Ecclesiastical Modifications Announced

By: Carlo Guidowendo, SCCB Italy

The 'cleansing ritual' of the mass being performed in front
of the Patriarch of Collegeville, Minn.
Vatican City - Hidden by the interest generated by Pope Francis' announcement that archbishops will henceforth receive their pallia at home at the hands of the papal nuncio rather than in Rome at the Pope's hands, was a whole host of other things which Vatican-watchers are labeling "additional things that Benedict XVII will reverse."

Among the things that will now be handled by papal nuncios or even by the local bishop:

 - canonizations of locals. Families and friends can now nominate their deceased loved ones, who will be summarily examined by the local bishop and rubber-stamped by the nuncio.

- dispensations for striking priests. Formerly reserved to the Holy See. In some dioceses can even be purchased in advance now.

- establishing diplomatic relations with states. For instance, the Diocese of Regina has established relations with Cuba, Iran and Chinese Taipei.

- elevations to Doctor of the Church. For instance, the Archdiocese of Hartford has elevated recently-deceased Notre Dame professor, Richard McBrien. He has been given the title Doctor Heterodoxis.

- establishing liturgical rites. For instance, the 'Dancing Nun Rite' was established at one chapel at St. John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota. The university's chaplain now holds the rank of patriarch.

- declarations of infallibility. Made-man global warming, hugs-not-drugs, first marriage is always annulable - these are now to be held as infallible teachings of the Catholic Church by the judgment of the Supreme Pontiff of Arlington, Virginia.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

End of Summa Found

By: SCCB Staff

Manuscript of completed Summa Theologica, c. 1274,
found in St. Bonaventure's sock drawer.

Burlington, Canada - Yesterday, as Roman Catholics celebrated his feast day, nearly 741 years after his death, it was announced that a completed version of St. Thomas Aquinas' famous Summa Theologica has been found.

The National Center for Thomistic and Astrophysical Research in Ontario made the surprise announcement to a gathering of old men - mostly retired Jesuits, along with a few Dominicans and one grad student trying hard not to look out of place.

It had long been thought that Aquinas died before he could finish his final theological masterpiece, which was why his secretary simply made up for the shortfall by appending to it the relevant parts of his earlier Commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard.

We know now that he had written the ending, which had, evidently, been hidden away by his jealous rival, St. Bonaventure. The Franciscan Director General was to die just a few months after Aquinas. Until now it seemed the completed Summa was fated to die with him.

According to the president of the research center, the biggest surprise in the newly discovered ending was that it does not discuss heaven, hell and judgment at all, as would be expected, but, rather, offers some relativistic observations about the world's religions, marriage and sex. For instance, in one part Aquinas observes that "Religions are just what you make of them; they have no inherent excellence. Even no religion at all can be good."

On the subject of marriage, he observes, "Don't be hasty in making judgments about the life of virtue. If you make a wrong decision about your life partner, try, try again."

Likewise, regarding sex, he says, "Hey, whatever happens when the lights are down low, God don't wanna know."

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Pope Meeting has Bishops Scrambling

By: Carlo Guidowendo, SCCB Italy
John Geoffreys, normal all his life, is elated to be the first normal Catholic
to have the honour of meeting with the Pope.
Vatican City - The 'pope of firsts' has knocked off another one. Global Catholic News Village Zimbabwe, has reported that Pope Francis is to have his first meeting with a Catholic during his pontificate.

When reporters asked what was so special about this specific meeting - was this a 'Catholic' or an actual Catholic? - Msgr. Buzz Gherardi, Acting Undersecretary for Vatican Scheduling said, "No, a bona fide Catholic."

"Oh, you mean one struggling with same-sex attraction?" asked an EWTN reporter.
"No, he's married," answered Msgr. Buzz.
"Like, to another man?"
"No, to a woman. They have seven beautiful children together."
"But, he used to be a woman, though?"
"So he represents a group from Germany that dissents from Church teaching regarding marriage and divorce?"
"No, he is from Calgary and works in real estate. A member of his local Knights of Columbus."
"Just a normal Catholic, faithful, daily communicant," summed up the Monsignor.
"There is no 'so'."

In light of this baffling news, bishops across Europe and North America are scrambling to find normal faithful Catholics to meet with. Cardinal Dolan was said to be scouring New York for one, being quoted as saying, "Oh, so we're doing that now? I mean, Our Holy Father is a prophet. What will he think of next!"

"I guess normal Catholic is the new fringe element."

Experts wonder if actual Catholics would be willing to met with the bishops. Only time will tell.

"They do understand that we still care about things like pro-life and NFP, right?" asked another unnamed normal Catholic. "What would they want to talk to us about?"

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

South American Says Stuff

By: SCCB Staff

A head shot Menendez handed out at the start of his talk.

Toronto, Canada - The Toronto School of Theology is all abuzz after a talk about 'things' was given yesterday by someone representing the poor in South America.

Jorge Menendez has no academic degrees, nor is he a politician or business leader. But he wears an interesting hat and has an interesting accent and makes use of dramatic gestures and pregnant pauses.

The diverse academic crowd was thrilled when he mentioned words like 'liberation' and 'option.' When he employed them in the same sentence his audience gave him a three-minute standing ovation.

No one was quite sure how Menendez was chosen for the talk nor really what it was about. One attendee even said that it was mostly anecdotes about growing up on his father's huge cattle ranch.

Nevertheless, the comment of one of Wycliffe College's seven professors of Womynist Theology, Anne Heffrey, seemed to sum up well the talk's effect: "Ah, the poor," she said to the emphatic head-nodding of her colleagues. "And other miscellaneous marginalized people."

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Convert-Convert Converts

By: SCCB Staff

McGilvery looking somewhat sheepish
after making the sign of the cross in front of
Beth Israel Synagogue.

Oxford, England - Clive Staples McGilvery gained a great deal of attention a few years ago around the Oxford campus when he converted from atheism to Anglicanism, changing his name from Darwin to that of the writer whose books inspired his conversion.

A few years later he converted to Catholicism. A few years after that he converted to Orthodoxy. Now he has his sights on Judaism, because, as he says, "It seems even more ad fonte," meaning even closer to 'the source.'

McGilvery is a PhD student who first fell in love with the writings of C. S. Lewis while working on his undergrad in medieval literature. It was when he began his Master's Degree in philosophy that he fell in love with the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas and G. K. Chesterton. Soon after, he converted to Catholicism and got himself a pipe.

At the beginning of his PhD in theology he was introduced to the thought of St. Gregory Palamas. Conversion and a beard were eventually to follow.

But the years were long and his reading deep. He would eventually discover that Jesus spoke Aramaic, not Latin or Greek, as he had previously supposed.

"I now see my life as unified whole, as a journey to YHWH. Sure, some days on my way to synagogue I find myself pulling into the parking lot of Sacred Heart or of St. George's, but despite these minor things, it all makes sense to me now."

It has been said that the Druids are anticipating hearing from McGilvery any day now.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Parents Confident about Daughter's Choices

By: SCCB Staff

Sally Daugherty trying on dresses.
Victoria, Canada - Betty and Wilfred Daugherty are pretty excited about their daughter's upcoming nuptials.

Sally, age twenty-three, recently announced that she was going to marry her "nice atheist boyfriend" in June on the beach in Hawaii.

"No, they are not getting married in a church, as we had hoped, but still, she will have a wonderful, God-centred marriage anyway. She intends to raise their children in the Faith, she told us," said the dad, a thirty-year member of the Knights of Columbus.

When asked about the grounds of their confidence for this in an overwhelmingly secular age, the Daugherties stated that "She went to catechism every year, and, up until she made her confirmation, would come to mass every Sunday," said Mrs. Daughterty, herself a Third Order Franciscan.

"No, she didn't go to a Catholic college, like OLSWA or Christendom or Steubenville, but we are quite certain that she kept up going to mass while she was working on her degree in Women's Studies with a minor in Sociology."

The Daugherties indicated that their daughter did not meet her boyfriend at her college, but at an anti-Keystone rally.

"She's always cared about her fellow-man - that's very Catholic. And she has been so passionate about the environment. We are certain that she will raise her children with those values. When she was a little girl she told us that the wanted to have ten kids!"

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Salt and Light Makes Innocuous Statement

By: SCCB Staff       January 22, 2015

Salt and Light supporters respond to situation normal with courage.

Toronto, Canada - Jaws were not dropping after Salt and Light Media CEO, Fr. Tommy Rose, made an innocuous statement about Catholicism after an ordinary event that happened. The bishops of Canada are said to be decidedly nonplussed.

When asked what drove the priest to make such a statement, Rose stated that "he felt moved by the Spirit to say it."

"These times call for statements like this," said a bishop somewhere, who thought that his brother bishops would be feeling just as equanimous about it.

"We really don't know where this same perspective will lead us, ultimately," said another figurehead in Canadian Catholic media. "It really settles the boat, doesn't it?"

"I fear that we can expect more equally ordinary platitudes from him and his media outlet in the future. This certainly does not bode well for those who seek things."

Another bishop from another place said that the whole thing reminded him of the recent report on the US Leadership Conference of Women Religious, entitled, "Nothing to See Here. What Culture of Dissent?"

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Pope Francis: Hire an Ugly Person

By: Carlo Guidowendo, SCCB Italy      January 21, 2015

Upon receiving word of the Holy Father's latest statement, 
Archbishop George Ganswein appeared deeply reflective.
Vatican City - Once again, the Holy Pontiff has made some remarkable comments during an interview on an airplane.

"Hire an ugly person!" he said to assembled journalists during his flight back from Manila. The journalists initially assumed he was joking.

"I look around the Vatican and beauty surrounds me - the painting, the sculptures, the buildings, but, you know, also the people. That was not the way of Jesus. He went out to the poor, the shamed, the outcast, and yet we, His followers, surround ourselves with all the right people."

"No, we don't always do this on a conscious level. But we still do it. Our leaders in business and politics, the people we look to for advice and leadership in our everyday lives, these are the beautiful people, but are they the ones we should be looking to?"

The Holy Pontiff then illustrated his point with some examples and statistics: "For every inch taller a man is his salary will be around two percent higher. Ninety percent of CEOs are above average height. Maybe the cardinals are not as bad as some, then: I am only five foot nine, and my predecessor, the Pope Emeritus, is only five foot seven."

"Even our Catholic celebrities are on the whole good looking people. We must search our hearts and see if we would even recognize the one of whom the Prophet Isaiah spoke: "He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him."

"To follow the Lord, you must hire an ugly person. There was this one time when someone would not hire my mother. Was it because she was ugly? I punched him just in case."

"The good looking people come to the fore, while the rest are left behind their computer screens blogging, no matter their gifts."

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Parish Council: Advent Success, 10% More Penitential

By: SCCB Staff                                    January 20, 2015

Sweets seized by St. John the Divine ushers during Advent penitential service. 

Eganville, Canada - Ever since a visiting Polish priest reminded St. John the Divine's congregation that Advent was traditionally considered a penitential season, like Lent, parish staff and committees have been hard at work trying to make Advent less joyful, like Lent.

"Though it's hard to measure such things," said St. John's new pastor, Fr. Mark Gray, "Clearly, there were fewer smiling facing around here, saying things like 'Merry Christmas' during Advent. I think it was a real success."

"We were very clear about what should be done," said parish council chairperson, Sandy Weeks. "During the announcements before mass we reminded people: no 'Merry Christmases' until the 25th, no Christmas carols, no gifts or celebrations..."

"Particularly successful was the 'Smiles of Shame' collection drive where parishioners could put a Loonie in the big bottle for every time they had let a 'Merry Christmas' slip out during the week, or were acting too festive. The money was donated to the most cheerless place we could think of, Iraq - but only after the 25th - we wouldn't want the Iraqi children being un-penitential during Advent," added Mrs. Weeks.

However, the town's shopkeepers who had finally made the crossover from 'Happy Holidays' to 'Merry Christmas,' were somewhat dismayed to hear about this new focus.

"Sure it took some getting used to," said sacristan Helen Waddell. "But, all in all, we were very blessed to find out about the penitential character of Advent in the Early Church."

When asked about the Polish priest who started the drive to make Advent more penitential, Fr. Gray said, "We don't know where he is precisely, but I am sure that wherever he is, he is spreading less Christmas joy there too."

Monday, January 19, 2015

Distinction for Local Church

By: SCCB Staff              January 19, 2015
A congratulatory hug is exchanged after St. Martha's hug award was announced.
There were no survivors.

Toronto, Canada - St. Martha's in Oshawa has received the distinction of being the 'hugging-est church' in the Archdiocese at the annual awards ceremony. The predominantly young, middle class, white parish was said to take the 'ministry of hospitality very seriously.'

"Sometimes the sign of peace can last fifteen minutes," said one parishioner. "It is really the heart of who we are as the people of God."

"We are a very youth- and spirit-centred church," said another.

"When the hugging goes on unusually long we sometimes cut out the Eucharist all together. We can't keep people longer than an hour, obviously."

The pastor of St. Martha's was glad for the accolade and expects that "that is why he was asked to go see the Cardinal first thing on Monday in his office."

Honourable mention for the hugging award was last year's winner, York University Catholic Chaplaincy, which gave up mass altogether for a time last year, putting in its place its famous two hour hug-a-thons .

Sunday, January 18, 2015

US Conference Confronts Possibility of Catholics in Canada

By: SCCB Staff             January 18, 2015

Sr. Mary Rosenblathe, Dominican Sister of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist

Baltimore, USA - Keynote speaker at a conference devoted to the New Evanglization, Sr. Mary Rosenblathe, O.P., shocked many of the participants when she said that "the persecution of Christians in the Middle East should make us sit up and ask the question - are there perhaps Catholics outside of the United States?"

When Scott Hahn, also a presenter at the conference, was asked about Sr. Rosenblathe's conjecture, he stated that "It kind of sounds like a Mormon thirteenth tribe type thing, at least when she talks about the existence of other English-speaking Catholics out there in Canada or some place."

"That theory would not stand up to sound exegetical reasoning," he added, "which I have outlined in my new book, Sound Exegetical Reasoning. On sale now."

A further row was created when one of the attendees, Christendom College student, Marie-Claire DeSouza, stated that there are, in fact, Catholics in Canada. "There are churches and bishops and even schools, sort of."

A discussion panel of National Catholic Register bloggers erupted into laughter when De Souza said, "There are even Catholic bloggers there."

"What do they blog about - how to keep their igloos from melting away from their icon lanterns?" asked Simcha Fisher. "By the way, you can read all about how to properly set up your own icon light in my new book, A Sinner's Guide to Icons Lights. On sale now."

A bishop who was present but who wished to remain anonymous, said "Of course there are Catholics in Canada! But we don't like to talk about it: we feel that it is too much for the simple faithful to come to grips with."

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Pope Condemns Gay Marriage-ish

By: SCCB Staff         January 17, 2015

Pope and Cardinal pushing traditional marriage during Far East tour.

Manila, Philippines - The headlines were clear, the reasoning rich, readers indebted and well-informed.

Not everyone knows how to read a papal statement like veteran vaticanist, John Allen, Jr. "This is why we need actual reporters who know their craft," said an NYT editorial. "Who knew that such a general phrase like 'the ideological colonization of marriage' was the pope coming out clearly against gay marriage and divorce and remarriage? Now we know."

Of equal quality was the title affixed to Whispers in the Loggia writer's, Rocco Palmo's, article by NewAdvent. Although Palmo neither mentions the word 'gay' nor 'homosexual' in his article in the context of the pope's comments on 'ideology,' Kevin Knight, host of the Catholic mega-site, NewAdvent, was able to discern the clues and thusly changed Palmo's original title, "'Protect Your Families!' - Francis on the Domestic 'Dream'... And Its 'Ideological Colonization'" into "'Protect Your Families': Pope Warns Against Contraception and Same-Sex Marriage."

Palmo was said to be grateful to Knight for clearing up the confusion.

"And, no, that's not the sign of the devil or a secret Freemason signal that the pope is making with Cardinal Tagle. That is the age-old Christian symbol that marriage is between one man and one woman," said National Catholic Register blogger, Mark Chea. "Proving that all along Pope Francis has been a very clear and straight-forward teacher of the Faith."

Other Catholic reporters have added the following cipher for papal statements for laymen:

  • "good morning" means "St. Thomas Aquinas is necessary for salvation." 
  • "youth unemployment is the greatest tragedy in the world today," means "the Inquisition needs to be re-established." 
  • "I like the tango," means "commence bombing on Beijing."
  • "I am going to be shaking things up in the Vatican" means "I am highly respectful of everything Benedict XVI has done."
  • "The curia is full of ambition and sinful pride" means "We all have our bad days." 

Both CNN and Bloomberg have indicated that they will be hiring experts on Vatican-speak in the near-future to clear up confusions like these.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Eighteen-Year-Old Confused

By: SCCB Staff       January 16, 2015

Charles LeGrow at St. Mary's Basilica. (Unconfirmed)

Halifax, Canada - Hot on the heels of his confirmation and of his NET circuit, Charles "Francis" LeGrow is ready for his next challenge. But the Church might not be ready for him.

Mr. LeGrow, who prefers to go by his confirmation name, Francis, rather than by his birth name, spent a few weeks in the Nova Scotia Psychiatric Hospital after having stripped down to his boxers at a Sunday mass at St. Mary's Basilica, handing his discarded clothes to his father and offering himself up for a hug to the surprised Archbishop.

The enthusiastic young man had first offered his pants in the collection plate.

In an interview with SCCB, LeGrow indicated that his dramatic act was the fruition of his years of catechetical training, "being inspired by the various saints held out to us as models by our teachers, and by the wonderful program, 'Born of the Spirit.'"

"It all came together for me when the Holy Father chose the name Francis. I was going to become a theologian, and then Benedict retired. This, then, seemed to be the way I should go."

When asked whether his time at the NS Hospital had helped to deter him from his plan, he indicated that he was still discerning.

"The Archbishop said I could do the CCO thing. What's that, I asked? It's a bunch of guys who go to university living together in a house. Do they fast and embrace Lady Poverty? I asked. Do they preach on the street corners and beg for their bread? The Archbishop said no - so I am not really sure how that is the way I am suppose to go."

At the end of the interview he was heard to ask by-standers, "What's a Saracen and where do they live?"

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Cardinal Tries to Return Outfit

Carlo Guidowendo, SCCB Italy      January 15, 2015

Vatican City - Cardinal-elect, John Fitzroy, spent the weekend reading up on cardinals in preparation for his big day in February when he and nineteen other men would be raised to the exalted office.

"I spent like the whole weekend on Wikipedia," he said in an interview with SCCB in front of the locked gate at the Vatican on a rainy night. "And now I just want to unload this thing," he said pointing to what he said was the cardinal's outfit in the paper bag he was carrying.

Fitzroy, a priest who works as a researcher at the Ecumenical Biblical Institute in Bonn, Germany, said that he was curious about what a cardinal really is after receiving word of his appointment by Pope Francis. "I mean, we have all seen the Borgias and the Thorn Birds, but what is a cardinal, really? I wondered." 

The soft spoken, diminutive Englishman stated that he hasn't even celebrated mass in a few years, "I've just been too busy with my research for all of that." His research is focused on third millennium BC Sumerian enchantment texts.

But he said it was the meaning of the red robes that got him "all upset." The red, he said, is meant to symbolize the cardinal's commitment - even to the point of shedding one's blood. "What if they want to send me somewhere dangerous, like Nigeria, or the Middle East, or Paris?"

"Sure," he added, "Dolan and McCarrick said that the bit about shedding blood was merely symbolic and that, personally, they had never paid it any mind. Dolan even added that being a cardinal is cool because you get to be in parades 'n stuff."

Nevertheless, Fitzroy was determined to return the outfit, accompanied by a note of 'best regards and cheers.'

After knocking for a good twenty minutes late Sunday evening on a door near the Vatican, an old monsignor appeared and, though with a rather puzzled look on his face, received the package and said that he would give it to the pope. Fitzroy then shuffled off hurriedly into the Roman night, glancing behind him periodically with a worried look on his face.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

New Program at Catholic University

By: SCCB Staff              January 15, 2015

St. Paul's students are excited about the upcoming course changes.
It has attracted the youngest group in almost thirty years.

Ottawa, Canada - With diminishing enrollment plaguing universities throughout North America, new strategies are required. A new program at the Catholic university in the Nation's capital is doing just that.

Theology Department Chair, Jo-Anne Frank, said "We needed something to attract younger students. So we got rid of the stodgy old doctrine courses of their grandparents' generation, things like Christology and Trinitarian theology, and replaced them with courses that would grab their interest, courses like, 'Environmental Theology: Anticipating an Encyclical,' and 'Pope Francis and the Advent of the Gender-less Church,' and 'Second Pentecost, 1962-1978: When the Spirit was a-Movin'."

Marc Gerund, a professor at St. Paul's, is excited to be offering 'Fifty Years Since Vatican II,' because "the young people will love it - it is about their generation!" Prof. Gerund indicated that he has been offering versions of this course for nearly fifty years.

Another instructor, Henrietta Winslow, said she was excited about her new offering, 'Theology of Openness: Reading Huffington Post/opinion/' "It is essential to be formed in a well-rounded manner."

Winslow indicated that she had intended to teach a course called 'i-Religion: Learning Profound Truths from People in Skinny Jeans with Tattoos on the Internet,' but it had to be cancelled because it failed to attain minimum enrollment.

"But this year things will be different," she said. "Now, we are rappin' in their language."

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Theology of the Body Weekend Well-Received

By: SCCB Staff          January 13, 2015

Calgary TOB Conference Theme: 'Scarves, the Pathway to True Love'

Calgary, Canada - A group of unmarried twenty-something girls were overwhelmingly delighted to hear about the Theology of the Body at a two-day conference in the city.

"It is exactly how my marriage is going to go," said one participant, Mary-Claire Butterfield, who said she doesn't yet have anyone in mind for marriage.

"If a man can't love me like that, well, he's no man for me," said another participant.

"There are good guys out there," said another. "Men who will love you like Christ does His Church, men who will not give into their selfish desires, but who will serve women as they are meant to."

"Men need to overcome their sexual desires," chimed in another. "That was the main theme of the weekend."

"Where are the men like St. Joseph?" asked yet another young woman to the nods of her gathered friends.

"The best thing about a conference like this is getting all the answers up front. Now I know exactly what to tell my future husband."

"Everyone needs to study the Theology of the Body. Its message about marriage and sexuality is perfect and it can aid every couple to love each other completely like Adam and Eve did," said the event's coordinator, Anne Pharrel. "In fact, I would go so far as to say that no one should be allowed to marry until they have taken this course."

Ms. Pharrell indicated that if she ever gets married she will apply its teaching in her marriage.

When asked about the future of TOB, she said that they were planning to have the conference again next year and hope some men will come too.

Monday, January 12, 2015

SCCB Interview: Elton John

By: Editor-in-Chief, SCCB    January 11, 2015

Note: We were grateful for Sir Elton John agreeing to sit down with our editor yesterday for this, hopefully, first of many reflections on the Catholic Faith.

Sir Elton John may be a new Relator in the
Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

London, England - Ed. - Sir John, I want to thank you for providing our world news service with a few minutes to talk to you.

John - More than my pleasure.

Ed. - Our readers want to know why now, on two separate, very public, occasions you have praised Pope Francis. Most recently you noted his efforts to educate about AIDS. You have also said that he wants everyone to be included in the love of God.

John - That's right. He is a fearless leader. Make him a saint already!

Ed. - Well, you understand that that is only done post mortem, right?

John - By post? Well, the Vatican has a postal service, right?

Ed. - No, Sir. Post mortem: after death.

John - Well, sure, but I say make an exception here.

Ed. - May I ask you about his promotion of AIDS education. When, may I ask, has he done that?

John - He has been an outspoken supporter so many times to millions of people.

Ed. - Can you name one such occasion?

John - Oh, just so many times. And with all the ground-breaking changes he has brought in, I am sure that he will also change the Church's teaching on contraception, so that millions of Africans will be protected from AIDS.

Ed. - Do condoms offer 100% protection from AIDS?

John - More or less.

Ed. - Probably less, since more than 100% would be impossible.

John - Sure.

Ed. - Whatever the case, where is it, may we ask, that you have gained the special insight you seem to have on Pope Francis? Are you a practicing Christian?

John - Well, no. But I do read a great deal.

Ed. - May I ask what your educational background is? Where did you go to university?

John - I have been in the music industry since I was sixteen years old. No university.

Ed. - And what have you read on Pope Francis?

John - Papers mostly.

Ed. - Any books?

John - No.

Ed. - What about his Jesuit formation. How do you see that contributing to his spiritual life as a pope?

John - Well, I don't really know what that is.

Ed. - And, how do you see that his long record of priestly and episcopal service has foreshadowed his ministry as pope?

John - Well, I can't really say much specifically about that.

Ed. - Ok. Listen, thank you so much for sharing you deeply grounded insights into a person who has interested and excited so many.

John - Always happy. I have to go now anyway. I am giving a talk on how to resolve the conflict in the Middle East in a few minutes.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Blogger, Theologian Feels Listless, Unappreciated

By: SCCB Staff     January 11, 2015

                               Dr. Colin Kerr  (Photo Source: SCCB file)

Ivoritower, Canada - It's not all fast cars and gala charity events, admits one theologian.

Dr. Colin Kerr, freelance writer and blogger, founder and editor of the Catholic Review of Books, who also writes at "The Theology of Dad," has announced that he is "unsatisfied with the way the world and the Catholic Church are using his gifts... not using them, rather," he said today in an interview with the SCCB.

"When I became Catholic at seventeen I was so excited to learn about the Faith, to use my energy and intelligence to spread the Gospel. Everywhere you heard things like, 'the laity are the future,' and 'everyone has gifts.' And yet now, after fifteen years of university education and trying my hand at different evangelical initiatives, I am starting to feel like the Church just doesn't care about me."

Psychologist, Dr. Henry Sullivan, stated that "It is unusual for an intellectual to feel this way. For one, so many of them have such humble opinions of themselves, and, secondly, success and theology usually go hand in hand. This is the first case I have seen like this. Truly extraordinary."

Dr. Sullivan said that over his thirty years of clinical experience he has seen that, overwhelmingly, academics are highly well-adjusted and happy people. But now he would like people to be aware that this is not always so. "There is a great deal of ignorance out there about the discontentment that intellectuals experience. These people deserve our compassion."

Even so, said Sullivan, he believes that Kerr's case is by no means typical. "I have never met a man more hard done by. It is ironic, isn't it, that such a special man, one with such gifts, could yet feel so isolated as a consequence? These people - people just like him - are the unsung heroes of the modern world. They are our greatest natural resource."

There will be a candlelight vigil for all under-appreciated theologians tonight in Ottawa, before the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

"That so few hang off his words and his profound reflections is appalling," said Tahir Okot, Sudanese genocide survivor and organizer of the vigil.

However, not everyone shares Mr. Okot's view. Dr. Kerr's own brother, Jimmy, had this to say, "Every time I click on the Theology of Dad it's whine, whine, whine. I have no money... the Church this, the Church that... Bishops should be kissing my ring... I mean, come on, dude, get a job and shut up. No one is interested in your observations!"

When informed about his brother's comments, Dr. Kerr said he "needed a moment to collect his thoughts and prepare a heart-felt blog-response for the whole world to see."

Saturday, January 10, 2015

University Increases Free Expression Space After Terror Attack

By: SCCB Staff    January 10, 2015

Carleton Student Council President, bin Drynken, calling for
"death to discrimination" during the university's Hanukkah party.

Ottawa, Canada - In response to the recent horrible events in France that saw 12 people killed by 'a random group of mentally agitated citizens,' Carleton University stated it is going to take a bold approach to assuring that freedom of expression is preserved and strengthened everywhere.

University President, Jill Dunbark, stated that "Starting on Monday, the 'free expression zone" of the campus will be extended by 10%. This will be a real sign to those who would limit our freedoms that this is not going to be tolerated here."

This 10% increase will mean that two people - even two chubby people - can express themselves at the same time on the 'wall of freedom' where students can write their opinions down on a whiteboard next to the garbage cans in the alley behind the cafeteria.

Dunbark indicated that there will be special events to encourage different groups to feel 'at home' at Carleton. "Catholics and other traditional Christians will have the public space in front of the main library in January and February, and feminists and LGBT will have it from September to October and then from April to May."

"But there will be some rules," she added. "There can be nothing said that offends minorities and other persecuted groups as defined by the Carleton University Statutes."

Student Body President, Ahmed Mohammed bin Drynken, was excited by the announcement, adding that "The Student Council has long been encouraging freedom of thought and expression on campus against enemies of freedom like Anne Coulter, Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn."

Friday, January 9, 2015

Historian Converts to Anglicanism

By: SCCB Staff      Januray 9, 2015

An image of the Lord preaching to gathered Anglican Divines.

Fredericton, Canada - An historian at Catholic St. Thomas University in the New Brunswick city has converted to the Anglican Church, "after his long study of history led him to the inevitable conclusion that it was the one founded by Christ."

Although his announcement came as some surprise to his colleagues in the history department, they affirmed his obviously conscience-driven decision.

Prof. Martin Smalley stated that it was his visit to the Middle East last summer that finally convinced him of the truth.

"You walk along the streets of Antioch where the followers of Jesus were first called Anglican... You go to the great Cathedrals in Istanbul, Alexandria and Caesarea, built by the great Ancient Anglican Fathers of the Church... You go into the deserts of Egypt and Syria to see the ruins of monasteries and cells built by the holy Anglican Desert Fathers... Who would not be moved as I have been?"

Prof. Smalley said that he will be officially received into the Anglican Communion on April 12, the 1700 anniversary of the baptism of the first king of England by St. Oliver Cromwell.

The Catholic bishop of the diocese in which Smalley resides said that he does not regret the loss of Prof. Smalley, and said that he could not imagine that the historian's decision would effect his employment at the nominally Catholic university - "although other things might."

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Catholic Organization, COLF Changes Logo

By: SCCB Staff         January 8, 2015

Ottawa, Canada - Due to the widespread criticism from breeders, the Catholic Organization for Life and the Family (COLF), has decided to alter its logo "to more fully reflect Catholic doctrine."

This was welcome news to the Catholic Breeders Alliance (CBA), headquartered in Combermere, Ontario. The CBA has been trying to get the COLF, an organization that is jointly run by the Catholic Bishops and the Knights of Columbus, to reconsider its logo for some time.

"We welcome with sincere gratitude the Catholic sensibility of this organization, specifically its intention to no longer unreflectively perpetuate ideas of family life that are by no means inspired by Catholic doctrine and morals but by the wider secular culture," said CBA President, Claire McDougall, in a hurried reflection offered to SCCB between diaper changes.

Bishop Claude Amaund, Chairman of COLF, stated that "It is the purpose of COLF to reflect and foster Catholic family values. We were happy to re-envision the logo. Of course, this is only a start. As an organization we have also decided to no longer hold meetings during nappy time."

However, not everyone is completely satisfied with the new logo. In an editorial on its website, Tom Walsh of LifeSiteNews remarked, "It's a good start, certainly, but there's a lot more on the page where you could stick more little blue babies."

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Papal Precedent for Environmental Encyclical

By: Carlo Guidowendo, SCCB Italy        Jan. 7, 2015

"The Garden of Earthly Delights" by Hieronymus Bosch,
to appear on the cover of the Paulist Press edition of the encyclical.

Vatican City - It turns out that Pope Francis is not the first pope to have thought about using the keys to the gates of heaven on a mundane cause.
 A newly discovered letter from the famous 5th century pope, Leo the Great, reveals that popes have always been concerned about the environment. "When he wasn't crushing Arians, and risking his life by standing up boldly against over-reaching emperors and Germanic invaders, he was thinking about Mother Earth," said historian Gus Anderson of an Ohio state community college.
Researchers at the Patristic Institute of San Hieronymus in Bratislava, Slovakia, discovered the letter addressed to the bishops of the Roman Province of Illyricum (east coast of the Adriatic). The letter exhorts the bishops to "steer clear of lead-based utensils as well as non-sustainable agrarian practices. For what is salvation if it is only from a bad farm?" asked Leo I.
And yet the bad science of the time comes through in the letter, which shall certainly not afflict that planned by Pope Francis: "We must balance the humors of the body, of the fields and of the soul if we are to reap abundant harvests. And be sure, O fishers of men, to tell those fishers of fish not to fish in bays dedicated to pagan demons."
"The letter looks pretty silly in this day and age when we no longer base our beliefs upon unproven theories," said Guiseppi Gordani, S.J., chief astronomer at the Vatican Academy. "Imagine basing a whole encyclical on something like that!"

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Heresy Hunter's New Year's Resolution

By: Associated Catholic Press of Nunavut      January 5, 2015

Toronto, Canada
- Loquacious and mysterious Canadian blogger who goes by the moniker, 'Heresy Hunter,' had decided to "like something" this year.

In an interview with Canadian Catholic journalist, Deborah Japingpong, behind blurry glass, the unknown blogger stated that he wasn't sure what he was going to like, but it was "going to be something."

"It's important for my spiritual development that I don't only focus on the problems in the Church," he said after an evening of enjoying some Indian films. 

When asked whether he might possibly like something from Salt and Light or the CCCB, he said that that "was not likely."

"And, no, it won't be Simcha Fisher, Mark Shea or Jennifer Fulwiler."

"It would be easy enough to 'like' some bishop's retirement, but that's too easy," he said.

He asked for prayers for what he thought "just might be the hardest thing I ever do." 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Pope to Name Recently Ordained to College

Catholic News Service of Nunavut          January 5, 2015

Sources within the family say that the Cardinal-elect
is not all that keen to leave for Rome.

Yaren, Nauru - In his drive to widen the cultural profile of the College of Cardinals, Pope Francis is determined to appoint newly ordained, Paul-James Waqa, of the tiny island nation of Nauru.

Fr. Waqa is the first native Nauran to be ordained to the priesthood, whose Catholic population is just slightly higher than that of the Vatican.

"Truly this is the papacy of firsts," remarked Vatican-watcher and WSJ correspondent, Henry Lacey. "The second smallest nation state in the world will be sending its native son to the smallest nation state in the world, the Vatican."

Although the young Nauran has not even been a priest for a full year yet, Vatican insiders have indicated that Pope Francis was eager to have the South Pacific better represented.

"Sure, we could have another Australian... or even a New Zealander, but this opportunity seemed to offer even greater novelty," said a member of the Roman Curia on the condition of anonymity.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Theological War Erupts over Poinsettias

By: SCCB Staff         January 4, 2015

The Night of the Burning of the White Poinsettias, Nov. 30, 2014.

Ignacio, Spain - Not since the 18th century has so much theological acrimony over such a seemingly small matter arisen between the 'pope's storm-troopers,' the Jesuits. The Superior General of the order has called on the Holy Father to pronounce on a matter that has almost brought the great Society of Jesus to its knees.

The controversy began on the First Sunday of Advent when the rector, Tomasius Isidorius, S. J., pronounced from his famous pulpit in the Cathedral, "Never a white poinsettia in this holy sanctuary! There has been no more devious device of Satan than that plant invading the holy sanctuaries, perpetuating the Gnostic error which denies the true humanity of the Lord!"

In the middle of the Sunday liturgy Padre Isidorius had the flowers removed from the church and burned in the square in front of the church.

It was Padre Isidorius' vicar, Enrique di Floreres, who had decorated the cathedral with the white flowers, in contravention of the ageless tradition of the cathedral of using red poinsettias.

"I wasn't thinking about the theological meaning of the white versus the red; I just thought they looked nice  - and they were on sale," said di Floreres. "But after the matter had been brought to my attention, I suddenly saw it for what it was: an attack on the divinity of the Lord, which is the real problem in the Church today. I had no choice but to condemn Padre Isidorius for the Arian he is!"

The Cathedral of Sufficient Grace has not been immune to controversy in the past. One notable controversy surrounded the attempt of an eighteenth century bishop of Ignacio to change the church's name to the Cathedral of 'Efficacious Grace.' Thirteen people died in the ensuing violence before the Spanish military intervened to restore order.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

CCCB Speaks out against Inefficiency in Recycling

By: John O'Malley, SCCB Correspondent for the CCCB     January 3, 2015

Kip Tandy, CCCB Ecology Chair, presenting
new recycling strategy.

Ottawa, Canada - Picking up the torch from Pope Francis, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops have dedicated the year to increasing awareness of SPI-7 plastics as an environmental concern.

Kip Tandy, Chairman for the Ecology Commission of the CCCB, stated that "Code 7 plastics are one of the most neglected groups of plastics, and are almost never included in municipality recycling programs. Certainly they don't represent the largest group of plastics used in First World countries, but if we added up all the Code 7 plastics that are disposed of each year in Canada, the space they would take up in the landfill would be the equivalent of one family home, a home for a young family."

Mr. Tandy said that included in this group are "plastic baby bottles, CDs, medical storage containers, among other things."

The President of the CCCB, Msgr. Henri Bouchand, Bishop of Oakville, stated that "We are going to pour all of our resources into this, including three special collections, which will be taken up during Lent, on October 4th (the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi) and Advent. Clearly, this is a priority, our Holy Father is telling us."

In related CCCB news, the Canadian Bishops released their annual report on the state of the Church in Canada for 2014. Highlights of the report include:

- the number of parishes in Canada has decreased by 498.
- baptisms have declined by 20,317
- Catholic marriages have decreased by 14%
- there are now 67 priests in Canada, with 7 seminarians set to join their ranks over the next 4 years
- 3 out of 1000 Catholics know their faith, down from 4 out of 1000 in 2013

Bishop Bouchand said he would address the details of the report "sometime over the next year."

Friday, January 2, 2015

Pope 'Excommunicates' Comet

By: SCCB Science Correspondent Jan Greenspan     January 2, 2015

Ottawa, Canada - In keeping with his push for global warming to be more widely recognized as a threat to all humanity - especially the poor - Pope Francis has solemnly pronounced an ecclesiastical sanction against comet H-3249.

Astronomers associated with the Vatican Academy of Science said that there is a slight chance the comet will come within 100,000 kms of the Earth in early June of 2015. The comet is estimated to be about 5 kms in diameter and were it to impact with Earth might have a significant environmental impact.

"Unless it hits California, in which case the massive ball of ice might actually do some good toward alleviating drought conditions in that state," said Guiseppi Gordani, S.J., chief astronomer at the Vatican Academy.

Although scientists estimate that there is less than a one in one trillion chance that an impact will occur with what journalists have now dubbed 'Helly's Comet,' the pope feels that any threat to the world's ecology should be taken seriously.

"It's time for airport bishops to do their thing and spread the word in their travels: threats to our environment are threats to the people of God" said the Roman Pontiff before an assembly of Third Order Franciscans.

"And that is why I formally declare the sentence of excommunication on comet H-3249."

When asked to comment on precedence for this papal act, first-year canon law student at St. Paul's University in Ottawa, James Stout, said he was "almost sure that Halley's Comet is excommunicated every 76 years."

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Pastor Reassigns Youth Director

BY: John O'Malley, S.J., SCCB American Correspondent       January 1, 2015

Former Youth Minister, Chris Chaney, leading a Bible study.

Providence, RI - Fr. John Drummond has stated that his reassignment of the youth minister was prompted by the need to have a "smart American" clean the church bathrooms.

Former youth minister and now toilet-jockey, Chris Chaney, is a graduate from Steubenville Franciscan University, where he gained an MA in theology. He has been entrusted with many responsibilities and has served in many ministries in the Church since his graduation five years ago, including two years as a missionary in Sudan and as head of the organizing committee of the American contingent at World Youth Day in Sydney. He has been praised by both the Vatican and the USCCB on numerous occasions.

"It is not true that I removed him because of how he behaved in the parish council meeting," added Fr. Drummond, pastor of St. Joseph's Church in Providence. The comments were made to the Argentinian daily, La Nacion.

“After the issue of the bathrooms cropped up, and we needed a smart American who would know how to get around, I thought of him for that position,” Fr. Drummond said.

“He thanked me in very good terms and accepted my offer, I even think he liked it,” the pastor said. “Because he is a man that gets around a lot, he does a lot of traveling, and would surely be busy there.”

Chaney has said that people have told him they feel the parish under Fr. Drummond is like a ship without a rudder, but the priest said he doubts people feel this way.

Mary-Beth Evans, a member of the parish council said that, "Yes, things had gotten heated at the November parish council meeting when Chaney's removal of a few girls from the confirmation program after repeated misconduct was discussed. It turns out that one of the girls was the daughter of a CWL big-wig in the parish." 

Although he winked several times while saying it, Catholic Review of Books editor, Colin Kerr, weighed in on the incident, stating that he had "never heard of a case where a superior felt intimidated by a subordinate. That's certainly not a problem among Catholics! Clearly, it's all about the good of the toilets."