The Pope at Westminster Abbey

Damien Thompson on Pope Benedict XVI’s historic visit to Westminster Abbey:

Even Catholics who would never be so crude as to say “the Abbey belongs to us, not to you” sensed that history was being re-balanced in some way. They realised that the Pope had as much right to sit in that sanctuary as the Archbishop of Canterbury who, to be fair, showed the Holy Father a degree of respect that implied that he, at least, recognises the spiritual primacy of the See of Peter even if he rejects some of its teachings.

The Future of the Catholic Priesthood: Vampire Hunting?

What do you do when vampires turn out to be demonic monsters and not overly-serious teens?  Call in a secret priestly order trained in destroying those pesky little blood suckers, of course.  That’s the central story the upcoming movie “Priest.”

You put all of this in a post-apocalyptic world controlled by the stereotypical fun-hating Church, add a rogue priest, and you have have all the makings for Hollywood gold!  Oh, and there is good news for those of you seeking women’s ordination, too.  Turns out that a massive demonic outbreak changes the Vatican’s mind on that matter.

(Via Creative Minority Report)

A look at the new English translation of the Roman missal

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has posted a side by side comparison of the new English translation of the Novus Ordo1 Mass.  The hope for this translation is that it will be truer to the original Latin.  This is a very good thing as it brings the English words closer to those being said in the many other local languages of the Church.  There will, however, be a great deal of kicking and screaming over this.  Some will scream that this doesn’t go far enough.  Some will see this as going backward, and some will simply oppose change from anything to which they have grown accustomed.  Like seemingly everything in the Church today, there will no doubt be a loud debate once these changes start getting implemented, but in the long run I hope people will cool down after they get used to it.  (h/t American Papist)

1Fancy Latin phrase for “New Order” referring to the liturgical changes to the Mass introduced by Pope Paul VI in 1969 after the Second Vatican Council.

England’s changing religious face

For the first time since the Protestant Reformation hit the British Isles, Catholics are on the verge of becoming the majority religion among Britons. This according to The London Times (and echoed by CWN). A combination of immigration from Catholic countries and a steady decline within the Anglican church has led to this distinction.

An interesting note in the article is that the influx of Catholics has been overwhelming in certain areas. With average Sunday mass attendance up to one million people, the Times describes the situation as both the church’s biggest threat and biggest opportunity. According to the article, the surge of workers from countries like Poland (~95% Catholic) has caused some parishes, especially in London, to offer masses from 8 A.M. to 8 P.M.

The interesting question is what is happening amongst the actual British people. Once a proud society centered around Christian religious life has slowly faded toward atheism. The Anglican Church seems to be gasping for air along with its sister chruches around the world in the Anglican Communion. Catholicism still seems to be a four-letter word considering to this day an English king or queen can neither be Catholic or marry one.

On top of all this is the issue that all of Europe faces, how long before Islam takes over? A challenge that could change the face of Europe is going virtually ignored in religious circles. Thank God for Pope Benedict XVI. Whether or not Catholics, Anglicans, protestants, and evangelicals understand it, Benedict is out in front, putting his life on the line to defend Christianity in relation to Islam. Catholic and non-Catholic alike should applaud and respect him for this.

Top 5 Things To Happen While I Was Gone

Since this site went down in May of 2005, a lot of things have happened. Most of them were good and a few bad. Instead of droning on trying to fill you in on everything, I’ve compiled a top 5 list to get you caught up.

#5 – Getting a real job
This is part of the reason it took me so long to get this site back up, but it has been a really good thing. I’m basically doing what I was doing before (creating and managing Web software projects), but I get paid a lot more when I not doing it on my own.

#4 – Becoming Catholic
This is probably the biggest surprise to those who have known me for a while, especially those familiar with my solid Southern Baptist roots. After about three years of discernment, I finally decided it was the right path for me. I have had zero regrets since, and my relationships with God and others have strengthened.

#3 – Visiting Rome
This was a big deal for many reasons. It was my first trip overseas and because of #4 it was a pilgrimage that has greatly enhanced my faith. I had a chance to see so many historically and religiously significant landmarks. The Coliseum, the Pantheon, and St. Peter’s are just a few places that blew me away.
I had a chance to see the Pope on three different occasions, which was amazing. The whole city has a mystical sense about it. From the history of the Roman gods to being the center of Christianity, it felt very supernatural to be there. It’s definitely a special place where special things happen.
I have a ton of pictures that I’ll be adding to the site soon.

#2 – Losing my grandma
This was the tough event. I can say that my grandmother was the nicest, most giving person in the world, and I don’t know anyone that knew her that would disagree with me. Life is definitely different without her, but to know she has been reunited with my grandpa, brother, and all of our other loved ones who have passed on gives me solace. She is and will continue to be missed here on earth.

#1 – Getting engaged
This is the big one. Numbers five and four on this list paved the way for this to happen and #3 gave me the perfect spot to pop the question (north fountain in St. Peter’s square). So after almost seven years of dating, Juliana and I will be getting married in October. It’s a really exciting time for us. I’m looking forward to what the future holds.