People everywhere are either fired up in favor of Hairy Potter or strongly against him — not much middle ground on this issue, it would seem. Some say the whole Hairy Potter phenomenon is a crock. Others glaze over at the mere mention of the subject. Many like throwing it out there just to provoke a reaction. Some insist that the casting would have been more effective had it been in China. Everyone’s got an opinion. What’s yours? Discuss amongst yourselves.
Last night, as Nancy and I were watching the news and seeing the report of this hefty dust storm rolling over Phoenix, I started texting a few close Phoenix-area friends of mine to see what they were experiencing. One of them, a priest, said basically, “Myeh. Nothing unusual. Happens here a lot.” Today, he called me and said, “Well, it was somewhat bigger than what we’ve seen here before. Another friend told me that everything is “really dusty” today. I can only imagine.
Kindly watch this video all the way to the end. Something striking is happening here and I will admit that (assuming the video isn’t a hoax along the lines of the countless bogus UFO videos out there) whatever it is looks very much like the traditional Catholic image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It appears to have been recorded with a smartphone. There is no descriptive information associated with the video except for that it is purported to have been taken in April of this year somewhere in “Africa.” Not much to go on. Whoever posted this on Youtube asks whether it’s really Our Lady appearing or a technology-driven light show courtesy of “Project Bluebeam” — something that I’d never known anything about till I Googled it just now. It’s possible, too, if this isn’t a hoax, that a demonic spirit could be masquerading as the Blessed Virgin Mary (Galatians 1:8).
The people are quite agitated by whatever it is they are seeing in the sky. Occasionally, their excitement spikes with startled cries and what sound to me like prayers being shouted. They are obviously seeing something unusual and startling. What do you think it is? Do any of you have any info on where and when this happened? Is it a hoax? Is it possibly an actual apparition captured on a smart phone in a way similar to how images of the Miracle of the Sun during Our Lady’s apparition in Fatima, Portugal, in October, 1917, were photographed?
The last part of the video shows what appears to be a hologram of Christ crucified in the sky somewhere over Russia. I’ll admit, it is quite astonishing, if it’s not some kind of hoax. Not sure what to make of these.
This tidbit was posted on the Vatican Radio website in early May, but I did not see it till recently:
The recent priestly ordinations celebrated by the Fraternity of Saint Pius X are to be considered “illegitimate”, confirmed Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican Press Office Director, responding to journalists’ questions on Tuesday. Father Lombardi repeated what was affirmed by Pope Benedict XVI in his Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church of March 10, 2009:
“As long as the Society [of Saint Pius X] does not have a canonical status in the Church, its ministers do not exercise legitimate ministries in the Church (…). Until the doctrinal questions are clarified, the Society has no canonical status in the Church, and its ministers (…) do not legitimately exercise any ministry in the Church.”
In a 2008 edition of Homiletic and Pastoral review Fr. Michael P. Orsi pinpoints one of the serious sins that is, sadly, rampant these days: Calumny. He reminds us point-blank that “Calumnious blogging is a serious offense against God’s law. Those who engage in it are jeopardizing their immortal souls and the souls of others.” As an (intermittent) blogger myself, I know I need to take these words to heart. I think we all do, don’t you?
I sincerely hope that I have not been personally guilty of this sin in anything I have written on my blog (or anywhere else, for that matter). If I have been, I ask forgiveness from God and for anyone whom I may have wounded. As St. Paul said, “I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me” (1 Cor. 4:4).
Let’s consider Fr. Orsi’s admonishment, especially given the tumult of today’s new announcement about Fr. Corapi . . .
Calumny and its close relative detraction (derogatory comments that reveal the hidden faults or sins of another without reason) have been part of life since the dawn of time. But opportunities for breaking the Eighth Commandment have proliferated with the advent of the Internet, especially since the rise of the phenomenon known as “blogging.”
“Blog” is one of those punchy little contractions we live with today, an example of the technological shorthand so beloved in our culture of email and text messaging. A blog (short for “weblog”) is a personal website or online journal. Blogs perform a variety of communication functions, combining elements of both private conversation and broadcasting, usually incorporating a forum for interactive discussion.
Blogs are vehicles of global self-expression, something unprecedented in the history of human discourse. They are a means by which the average person—with creativity, initiative and the investment of time—can reach limitless numbers of readers anywhere in the world. They elevate the marketing presence of entrepreneurs and small companies to levels that used to be attainable only by major corporations. And they have transformed journalism, breaking the monopolies of resource and licensure that once restricted entry into the world of mass communications.
There are tens of thousands of blogs today: personal, educational, commercial, political, philosophical, religious—you name it. In fact, the presence of Catholics in what has come to be called the “blogosphere” is one of the great untold stories of modern evangelism and religious communication.
An especially compelling element of blogging is the ability to project one’s ideas, observations and opinions with near-complete anonymity. It is common blogger practice to adopt an online persona—usually some cute name or title with relevance to the main focus of the blog. Likewise, readers who comment on blog postings or participate in discussions can set their views before the world without revealing themselves. Service providers that host blogs routinely permit such anonymity, and the law has upheld the practice (in only a handful of court cases have providers been forced to unmask their blogging clients).
But the power to reach a wide audience while remaining in the shadows has proven a source of great temptation. All too many online commentators have been dazzled by this technology that magnifies personal identity and stokes the ego while providing a shield from the consequences of their words. Whole new avenues of calumny have been the result.
Let nothing disturb you.
Let nothing dismay you.
All thing are passing.
God never changes.
Patience attains all that it strives for.
He who has God finds he lacks nothing.
God alone suffices.
— St. Teresa of Avila
Back in 1996, you were hot stuff if you logged on to the Internet using 56K dial-up modem. It was, for a time, the fastest “onramp” to the World Wide Interwebs. We’re all familiar with the quaint, old-fashioned sound of a dial-up modem.
Hearing that old familiar electronic melody again now, in the era of Broadband, may trigger in some of you a Pavlovian drool response that coincides with a subconscious expectation of hearing “You’ve got mail!” bleated at the end of it.
Anyway, you might find this audio clip interesting. It’s a recording of the sounds produced by a dial-up modem, sounds you’ve heard countless times before in your life, though never like this. It’s been slowed wayyyyy down and sounds both dreamily futuristic, fascinating, and darkly ominous as it progresses. You know, kind of like the Internet.