Lent fasting & abstinence: do they make sense?

When I was in nursery school the nuns taught us to make some small sacrifices, which were labeled fioretti (literally: small flowers. This word expresses the idea of a small offer to the Virgin Mary). Good deeds, of course, but typically focusing on the effort itself, not on obtaining tangible results.
I have a vivid memory of the small poster on the wall where we glued our tiny paper flowers, regular shapes comprised of a few red petals and a yellow circle in the middle. One flower for each fioretto (sacrifice) made: we felt rewarded for being good. And proud of the accomplishment! I don’t remember instead the specific subject of …

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Palm Sunday Rivulet of Consciousness

At mass

 

We gather in scattered groups; the place isn’t far from our small church. A nice blue sky. Children carry in their hands the traditional braids made of palm fronds. Every adult holds a bunch of olive branches.
I notice -again- a stark contrast with my old parish in Northern Italy: here in the South it seems they love large quantities of stuff. Each of the most resourceful parishioners gathered enough branches to supply the whole congregation back in the North.

 

Odd: people here use to wish a happy Palm Sunday. Never heard of that.
After mass we’ll exchange a olive branch with our friends and acquaintances: a …

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When even the Pope yelds: Euthanasia for a civilization

We are part of a grand scheme

 

The election of Pope Francis was a shock to me, second only to the death of my closest relatives. When I heard the name “Bergoglio” proclaimed from the balcony, I felt like I had been teleported to a parallel universe, to the other side of the mirror; a place where everything seems slightly out of place. Just slightly.

Don’t get me wrong. This event may represent just a step of a wider process: the long and gradual decay of western civilization. But non-Catholics may miss the importance of the Church in Rome as a force capable of halting -or at least slowing down- the fall. The last …

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No one noticed Satan hidden in this pop album

This story challenges your assumptions.

I’ve kept this article on the back-burner for years. Had I published it 10 years ago it’d have had a different, less astonishing ending.
I had many doubts about making my findings public; but I’m convinced that sunlight is always a good thing, especially when dealing with a subject that is distressing and possibly dangerous. Please, read the entire piece before passing a judgment: I’m a rational person, I don’t chase ghosts.

This is the story of a scandal that never erupted.

 

A story from 15 years ago.

First of all, let’s set the stage. The Festival di Sanremo (Sanremo Music Festival) is a …

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What do you think about the Bible?

Scene: Jehova Witnesses trying to convert Muslims (!)

I’ve been asked to give a quick answer to the puzzling question of the title, by a friend who happened to witness a bizarre exchange between J.Witnesses and Muslims.

I needed to write this down to try and prove to myself that I can be concise…

 

Observation #1: Evangelize/proselytize.

Jehova Witnesses represent a case study in naivete. You wonder how could they possibly convert people, since they are found in jokes alongside doorbells, and they rejoice for every piece of news reporting about plagues, deaths, natural disasters and wars, promising you that Armageddon is finally coming.

Come to think of it, it’s a bit …

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Acts of Mercy from the Monkey Church

Uno dei manifesti di contestazione a papa Francesco e al suo operato comparsi a decine in tutta Roma, appesi sui muri della città, 4 febbraio 2017. La foto a tutto campo riporta l'immagine del Pontefice con un'espressione particolarmente rabbuiata e accigliata. In basso, su fondo violaceo, la scritta con venature romanesche: "A France', hai commissariato Congregazioni, rimosso sacerdoti, decapitato l'Ordine di Malta e i Francescani dell'Immacolata, ignorato Cardinali... ma n'do sta la tua misericordia?". ANSA/ FRANCESCO GERACE

If salt loses its taste

There’s a new Catholic Church today. A Church that is behaving like a monkey: aping the majesty and wisdom of God, drifting away from Him.

It’s a significant part of the Catholic Church; you’d easily mistake it for the Church itself. But it’s something different. It’s a sort of gooey blob that took over many positions. But it won’t end like this.

 

For all its blabbering about mercy, this reality is far from the true Mercy that comes from Christ; they are watering down the Church teachings in order to appease everyone. “The pitiful mother causes the wound to fester”, an old Italian saying goes.

Posing …

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The Young Prophet

Mary encounters St.Elizabeth

Today Catholics celebrate the Immaculate Conception: contrary to a popular misconception, this has nothing to do with the idea of Jesus Christ being born from a Virgin. It’s about the Virgin Mary receiving a special Grace from the moment of her conception (inside the womb of her mother, Saint Anne): being preserved free from the stain of original sin.

If you don’t subscribe to popery you may find this concept odd and incomprehensible, but it’s actually profound and liberating, in a way.

I’ve planned to further discuss it on December 8th, 2017. :-P

 

But for now let’s focus on a different topic.

Who’s the greatest prophet ever? And what was …

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Martin Luther a sort of Christian Icon? Not In My Name

What would you say if you were a Lutheran?

Today in Catholic countries we celebrate All Saints’ Day.

Yesterday the Pope went to Sweden to open this ill-fated year of celebrations for the 500th of the so-called Protestant Reformation. As a Catholic representative, of course.

Now, to better grasp how absurd all of this is, try to put yourself in the shoes of a Lutheran (if you are not already a Lutheran, that is).

Please appreciate the behavior of the Pope and his entourage of sycophants/commentators/self-appointed-spokespersons, as seen from the perspective of someone who’s coming from a distance.

Consider the implications of the photo I put here above. This is not …

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The Pope from the end of the world. And a Catholic Church split between doomsayers and downplayers

…But today Catholics are facing a new fear: the idea that there’s no path for resistance, that things have changed so much that this time the Church isn’t gonna make it. This would be a sign of the End of the World; a world so profoundly corrupt it cannot function anymore.

There are two distinct, disturbing trends developing. On opposite sides, and yet showing a striking similarity in a crucial element: fatalism. Two models we could describe as follows:

A. Downplayers: “move on, nothing to see here” types, who insist there’s nothing you should do, beyond praying of course.
B. Doomsayers: those who can find the Antichrist anywhere and …

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Bethlehem: Christians abused by Islamists, but keep it to yourself…

Adorned altar next to graffiti

Here’s a thought-provoking link. (Notice that my original Italian link was from a different source, but it takes literally 0 seconds to find a different independent report that connects the inevitable dots getting to the same conclusion.)

Christians flee from Bethlehem. Media sources will blame Israel again, but they mostly emigrate due to Islamists.

Bethlehem!
This article strikes a chord with me because I was visiting there in September, and I noticed the puzzling zeal with which the Franciscan Friars of the Custody of the Holy Land jumped at the opportunity to blame the Exodus of Christians on the economic crisis (!)

I was appalled at their promptly …

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Brace up, teddy bear

On the very day of the unexpected announcement by Pope Benedict of his retirement, I glance outside my window: a white blanket of snow shrouds the entire landscape.

In a way this recalls me of what I read from of the early Church, who described life in Christian Palestine. He wrote with admiration about how the mother land of Jesus seemed to have been preserved in perfect peace and quiet, receiving a special gift of Grace: even nature, exemplified by small birds tweeting on trees, displayed a serene harmony…

 

I’m the kind of guy who wanted to get (or maybe design) a Ratzinger t-shirt before last conclave even began.

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Good Friday

at the airport

Always a perceivably special day.

Maybe the key to my living it as something special is contrast, for the very reason that we are surrounded by people who ignore it: to them it’s just a day like another.

God is dead, no Eucharist is celebrated today.

The church remains empty, after the triumph of flowers and candles that surrounded the Most Blessed Sacrament since Thursday.

The Via Crucis rite had an attendance of 7, including the priest’s striped cat who sneaked in.

Come on, I’m not that old, when I was a child I remember my village as a place where the principal religious holidays were a big community event.

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