5 Minutes, 17 British Accents

Do you know what separates the accents of Bilbo, the Dowager Countess, and Eddard Stark? Well, watch this and you will.H/T Open Culture … [Read More...]


Piercing the Unicorn

Now here's as elegant a visual metaphor for the loss of virginity as you could want. The unicorn (a symbol of virginity) is resting on the maiden's lap. The knight has pierced it with his spear (of obvious symbolism, as is the horn of the unicorn). Blood flows from the wound (also of obvious symbolism) as the maiden comforts the dying beast and mourns the loss of her purity. (Image from the British Library blog,  Harley MS 3244.) It's a recurring motif in medieval art: … [Read More...]

Paul, from "Desire of the Everlasting Hills"

‘Desire of the Everlasting Hills’: A Powerful Witness to Catholic Teachings on Same-Sex Attraction

Last Saturday, I spent the evening at Villanova speaking with three impressive and eloquent people. Paul, Dan, and Rilene all have same-sex attraction, and all have embraced the Church's teaching on chastity.Their stories are told in Desire of the Everlasting Hills, a new documentary from Courage International. The approach is powerful and effective because it completely avoids buzzwords and polemic. It tells three very human, very moving stories.My article on the film is up now at the … [Read More...]


Muslim Professor Murdered for Supporting Christians

Christians and Muslims lived side-by-side for centuries before the ISIS hoards descended upon Mosul.  Mahmoud Al ‘Asali, a law professor from the University of Mosul, knew this well, and spoke out against the persecutions of Christians. He paid for his principled stand with his life when ISIS forces killed him.From Vatican Insider: Chaldean website - one of the news sources that offers the promptest updates on the inferno Christians are experiencing in Iraq – announced the news. A … [Read More...]


German Government Returning to Manual Typewriters?

More fruits of our despicable surveillance culture: The head of the Bundestag's parliamentary inquiry into NSA activity in Germany said in an interview with the Morgenmagazin TV programme that he and his colleagues were seriously thinking of ditching email completely.Asked "Are you considering typewriters" by the interviewer on Monday night, the Christian Democrat politician Patrick Sensburg said: "As a matter of fact, we have – and not electronic models either". "Really?" the surprised i … [Read More...]

Monastry of St Behnan ad Sarah at Iraq

After 1600 Years, Monks Ejected From Mar Behnam by Islamists

The Mar Behnam Monastery (The Monastery of the Martyrs Saint Behnam and his Sister Sarah) was built in the 4th century as an act of penance by Sennacherib II. The Assyrian king had Behnam and Sarah, his son and daughter, executed for converting to Christianity, but later converted and repented.From that time until this month, the site in Bakhdida has been maintained and expanded by monks of the Syriac faith, which was brought into the Catholic Church in the 18th century.That has all end … [Read More...]


Cumberbatch As Alan Turing

Here's the first trailer for The Imitation Game, about building the machine that breaks the German Enigma cipher. It looks like it's focused on Turing the Quirky Genius, not Turing the Gay Martyr, which is a good thing. He should be remembered for his important work, not his tragic end.Related: Turing at 100 … [Read More...]


Islamists Marking Christian Homes for Targeting/Confiscation

Christians in Mosul had until Saturday to “accept Islam, pay extra taxes to Islamic Sharia courts or face ‘death by the sword,'" according to a message distributed by ISIS.Christians are fleeing, of course, and ISIS thugs are marking Christian homes in order to take care of them later. If the people have not left, they will face the Sharia courts or death. In any event, their homes are forfeit to ISIS forces.Twitter is filling up with images of homes being marked with the letter "Nun" (ن) … [Read More...]


More of The Pill’s Glorious Legacy: Widespread Animal Mutation

from the Times of Trenton'Intersex' fish found in Delaware, other rivers a result of hormone-disrupting chemicals At first glance, most fish caught in the Delaware River look perfectly normal. But scientists who investigated further discovered something very unusual.A sampling of certain male fish were found to be carrying female eggs.These “intersex” fish were not only in the Delaware but in two other Pennsylvania river systems, according to a study done by the U.S. Geological Sur … [Read More...]


Ministering to People With Same-Sex Attraction: An Interview With Fr. Paul Check of Courage

I had the great pleasure of interviewing Fr. Paul Check, Executive Director of Courage International, for the National Catholic Register. The conversation ranged from natural law and moral theology to the challenge of ministering to people with same-sex attraction in our crazy times.Here's a little section in which we spoke about Pope Francis: For a year now, we’ve heard Pope Francis’ words — “Who am I to judge?”— taken out of context and thrown back in the face of anyone talking about tradi … [Read More...]


Satan is Just a Little Blond Girl in Pigtails Handing Out Fruit

The Temptation is much easier to understand when you look at it this way:Although, yeah: the snake body thing should have been a dead giveaway. Think about it, though: we have nasty visual images of Satan in our mind because artists need to convey evil visually, but Paul tells us that Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. Or, as Frodo observed, "I would think that a servant of the Enemy would look fairer and feel fouler." H/T Eric Kwakkel … [Read More...]


More Creepy Robots In Your Near Future

Jibo is being pitched as a new member of the family: the robot slave we all need and want! The first step towards Rosie!Jibo's creator is Dr. Cynthia Breazeal, director of MIT's Personal Robots Group. She describes the 6 pound, 11 inch bouncing baby Terminator spy as something that will "support, complement and extend what we need from others in an affordable, effective and delightful way so that we can succeed, thrive and grow." And if you don't think that statement was massaged by the … [Read More...]


Two Parenting Stories From the Country That Used to Be America

Hardened Criminal #1: Stay-at-home suburban mom lets kids ride scooters on her cul-de-sac. Pain-in-the-ass neighbor calls to complain. Idiot cops fail to tell neighbor to get bent, and instead arrest the mother for child endangerment: overnight in jail, orange jumpsuit, 18 hours behind bars and all.Hardened Criminal #2: Working, lower-income mom gets daughter a laptop so the daughter has something to do while she waits in McDonald's for mom to finish her shift. Laptop gets stolen. … [Read More...]


St. Swithun: Weather Man

Happy St. Swithun's Day! Is it raining today? Then according to old British lore, it will rain for the next 40 days. We know this is true because a poem says so:St. Swithun's day if thou dost rain, For forty days it will remain, St. Swithun's day if thou be fair, For forty days 'twill rain nae mare.Makes about as much sense as waiting for an overgrown weasel to see its shadow.Swithun was Bishop of Winchester in the 9th century, and much of what we know of him comes from later … [Read More...]


Philadelphia Gets a Visit From a First-Class Relic of St. John Paul II

The first-class relic of St. John Paul II touring the US is stopping in Phillie this weekend. I hope to make it there, if time allows. Here's the press release from the Diocese:A precious Relic of the recently canonized Pope Saint John Paul II will be exposed for public veneration between all of the Masses at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul 18th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19103.Schedule:Saturday-Sunday, July 19-20, 20145:15 p.m. … [Read More...]