It probably says something about the low-key nature of a papal trip when its biggest news flash involves the shooting off of an air gun – not even a real gun, mind you – two hours before the pontiff’s arrival, in the vague direction of two security agents stationed in the central square of Erfurt in advance of an open-air Mass.
Sr. Rose Pacatte has a funny story to tell about the interviews she did before writing about the new film "Machine Gun Preacher." Pacatte had gone to a screening of the film and met Sam Childers and publicity agents. The publicist, Pacatte told me, were somewhat taken aback when she called a few days later with serious questions about the film and Childers' methods and motives. "The publicist was uneasy. Childers wasn’t nervous — but he was hard to pin down," she said.
I bet those guys thought they had a softball review in the bag from Sister Rose. What they got instead was a thoughtful look at a troubling dilemma.
On day two of his Sept. 22-25 trip to Germany, Pope Benedict XVI met a small group of victims of clerical sexual abuse. It was the pope’s sixth such meeting, after encountering victims during previous trips to the United States, Australia, Malta and the United Kingdom, as well as a meeting with Canadian "first nations" victims in Rome.
Can you make it through the month?
Jenny Nicholson is tired of hearing how the poor are poor because they make poor choices. Let’s see what kind of choices you make when it’s your turn to be flattened by the economy.
According to The New York Times, Pope Benedict's third visit to his native Germany this week drew a crowd of 60,000 for his celebration of Mass.
But it also drew at least 9,000 protestors, according to police estimates. Many of the protestors were no doubt members of Wir sind Kirche (We Are Church), a church reform organization very much like the Call to Action group in the United States.
According to The Arizona Republic:
A diocesan statement said the change was being made based on Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted's understanding of the church's new translation of the Mass, called the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, and other church documents.
However, no other diocese in the country is known to be following suit, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops told The Arizona Republic.
An effective date has not been announced.
Read more of the story here.
On this day we celebrate the feast of St. Linus, who, according to tradition, was the first Pope after the Apostles.
"Irenaeus thought that the Church had been 'founded and organized at Rome by the two glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul,' and that its faith had been reliably passed down to posterity by an unbroken succession of bishops, the first of them chosen and consecrated by the Apostles themselves. He named the bishops who had succeeded the Apostles, in the process providing us with the earliest surviving list of the popes--Linus, Anacletus, Clement, Evaristus, Alexander, Sixtus, and so on down to Irenaeus' contemporary and friend Eleutherius, Bishop of Rome from AD 174 to 189."
--Saints and Sinners: A History of the Popes, by Eamon Duffy, Yale University Press, Third Edition, 2006, page 2.
Late last night, I stayed up to watch Democracy Now!’s live feed of the news conference held outside the Georgia Diagnostic Prison just minutes after the execution of Troy Davis.
At the mike were three media observers who witnessed Davis’ killing inside the prison. Perhaps in an attempt to appear professional, the journalists described with clinical precision the details of his killing.
"Tonight the state of Georgia legally lynched an innocent man," Troy Davis' lawyer Thomas Ruffin Jr. said. "Tonight I witnessed something tragic."
Davis, whose case drew international attention, is now dead, executed for the 1989 killing of an off-duty police officer in Savannah, Georgia, a crime he quite likely did not commit, a crime riddled with grave doubt.
Until the very end, he maintained his innocence. After being strapped to the death gurney, he lifted his head to address the family of the slain officer, once again saying he was not responsible for the officer's death and did not have a gun at the time, according to execution witnesses.
The pleas of Pope Benedict XVI and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and a host of other well-known and lesser known human rights and justice advocates were to no avail.