Century Marks

Century Marks

Sermon starter

A group of seminarians, a seminary professor and a pastor have issued a call to preachers to address the atrocities that have occurred in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars—especially in light of reports by WikiLeaks about deaths of civilians in Iraq, some through torture. The preaching effort is labeled the Proper 29 Project, which refers to the liturgical designation for the Reign of Christ Sunday, the culmination of the liturgical year (on November 21 this year). The organizers suggest that we are all complicit in the civilian deaths that have occurred in violation of the jus in bello criteria of the just war tradition (proper29.wordpress.com).

Church mice, church cat

The newest employee at Washington National Cathedral is Carmina, a friendly feline with black and tortoise-shell fur. "She likes to bring gifts from her adventures," said Jean Jawdat, deputy director of the Cathedral Choral Society. "She presents us with mice." Carmina, who's named after Carl Orff's opera Carmina Burana, replaces Catherine of Tarragon, who retired to a home in North Carolina at age 16 with a bad case of asthma (RNS).

Anonymous Catholic

The Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano recently published an article lauding The Simpsons television show. Noting the show's recurrent attention to faith, religion and God, the article concludes that "few people know it, and he does everything he can to hide it, but it is true: Homer J. Simpson is a Catholic" (Telegraph, October 17).

Agreeable paradox

Although wine has been produced in the Champagne region of France since Roman times, it wasn't until the end of the 17th century that the drink known as champagne was created. It was the brainchild of Dom Pierre Pérignon, a teetotaling Benedictine monk. Although he didn't imbibe himself, he was fanatical about producing the best wine, seeing his work as an expression of his devotion to God. By severely pruning and sparingly fertilizing the vines, he developed a grape that yielded less juice but produced a highly concentrated wine. One wine expert, reflecting on the irony of a teetotaler producing champagne, refers to it as "an agreeable paradox" (David Robinson, Ancient Paths: Discover Christian Formation the Benedictine Way, Paraclete).

Faux news

 Fox News watchers are more likely than other Americans to believe dubious claims about the proposed Islamic community center near Ground Zero, according to a study done at Ohio State University. "The more people use Fox News, the more rumors they have heard and believe," researchers said. People who follow CNN or NPR believed fewer of the rumors. Newspapers were the source of the most accurate information (RNS).