Thus saith The New York Times: Compassion is the opposite of Catholic doctrine  ✂︎

Terry Mattingly for GetReligion on the New York Times talk with Gerhard Ludwig Cardinal Müller regarding Pope Francis, politics and Church doctrine:

So again: Pope Francis provided no clear wins for the doctrinal right but he also provided no clear wins – on doctrine – for those who want to change church teachings. The Times said so.

Instead, he continued to call for a more pastoral approach to the application of core moral doctrines. Clearly, that equals a lose [sic] for conservatives, because compassion and orthodoxy cannot be combined. Anything that includes an acknowledgement of sin and the need for repentance (followed by forgiveness) is cruel and [must] be changed, even though this pope talks, and talks and talks about the importance of Confession.

(via The Anchoress)

Even the iPhone 6S launch pauses for Pope Francis  ✂︎

UPS is already warning people in New York and Philly that the Papal visit may cause delays in certain deliveries of Apple’s latest flagship device.

The affected areas in New York City are all in Manhattan, including parts of Chelsea, Civic Center, East Harlem, Midtown, Tribeca and the Upper East Side and Upper West Side. Pope Francis will be making appearances in those areas at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, United Nations headquarters, 9/11 Museum, Central Park, Madison Square Garden and elsewhere next Thursday and Friday.

The affected areas in Philadelphia include parts of Bella Vista, Callowhill, Center City, Devil’s Pocket, Fairmount, Grays Ferry, Logan Square, Mantua, Northern Liberties, Passyunk Square, Pennsport, Point Breeze, Poplar, Powelton Village, Rittenhouse Square, Society Hill, Southwark, Spring Garden, Spruce Hill, University City, Washington Square West, West Philadelphia and West Powelton.

All of the so-called “Vatican” Ashley Madison clients are Virginians or Canadians with fat fingers  ✂︎

David Taylor:

One of the characterizations of the data that has been bandied about is the fact that there were numerous e-mail addresses from the Vatican; and indeed, there were 3 from vatican.com and 219 with the .va suffix (as a nation, the Vatican gets its own two-letter top level domain).

However, even a casual perusal of these latter addresses reveals that something isn’t right. Does the Vatican have schools named after cities in Virginia or ISPs with the same names as those in Canada?

The answer is simple: There are plenty of addresses in Virginia that end in .va.us or .va.gov, and the people who signed up left off the end (Ashley Madison never verified e-mails, so people didn’t have to use a real one). And then because C and V are next to each other on the keyboard, some fat-fingered Canadians (a demofraphic to whuch I belomg) simply hit the wrong key.

Kidnapped Priest Killed, Chopped Up by ISIS as ‘Christians Become a Form of Currency’ in Mid-East War, Says Aid to the Church in Need  ✂︎

From The Christian Post, another horrific story of the slaughtering of Christians in the Middle East:

“Christians have become a form [of] currency in this tragedy,” John Newton told The Christian Post. Newton is spokesman for Catholic relief agency Aid to the Church in Need. “I know of one priest who was kidnapped for two months … they asked for a ransom of $120,000, which the family managed to raise and deliver. … But hours later, the priest was killed and his body cut up, with pieces of him sent in a box to the family.”

Churches the new Airbnb as ‘champing’ proves popular  ✂︎

On the heels of the projection of Christianity’s extinction in Britain, comes a story in the Telegraph of how churches are being rented as camping spaces.  “Champing” as they call it is showing how churches in the country are looked at no differently than castles or museums that people pay to visit for historical reasons instead of spiritual.

“As a veteran ‘champer’, I can recommend it without reservation. There’s something so special about the silence and tranquillity of a rural church, and enjoying this over two days is a great way to commune with centuries of history, whilst escaping the push-button trappings of modern life.

“It’s great to be able to give guests the opportunity to be the key holder of one of our churches for a weekend, so they can not only enjoy the interior beauty of these buildings, but also head out and enjoy the natural beauty of rural England in the same way our ancestors would have, travelling on foot, dining at the local pub and soaking up the sights and sounds of the country.”

2067: the end of British Christianity  ✂︎

Damian Thompson writing for The Spectator (UK) on the increasing secularization of Great Britain:

Every ten years the census spells out the situation in detail: between 2001 and 2011 the number of Christians born in Britain fell by 5.3 million — about 10,000 a week. If that rate of decline continues, the mission of St Augustine to the English, together with that of the Irish saints to the Scots, will come to an end in 2067

Saint Paul tells us that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek; the Almighty is not interested in ‘heritage’, the new name for ethnicity. But since Britons with Anglo–Saxon and Celtic ancestors make up 90 per cent of British Christians, that rejection represents a devastating loss of faith.

It has all happened so quickly. Anglicans in particular are abandoning their faith at a rate that (in more ways that one) defies belief. According to the British Social Attitudes surveys, their numbers fell from 40 per cent of the population in 1983 to 29 per cent in 2004 and 17 per cent last year.

And America may be next:

It’s time we abandoned the notion that America is religiously special — living proof that popular Christianity can thrive in an advanced industrial democracy. Last month, Pew Research published a big study about America’s changing religious landscape. Its subtitle was ‘Christians Decline Sharply as Share of Population; Unaffiliated and Other Faiths Continue to Grow’. All of which applies to Britain, too.

Only 57 per cent of Americans born between 1981 and 1996 identify as Christians; 36 per cent of ‘young Millennials’ between the ages of 18 and 24 are the so-called ‘nones’ — they have no religious affiliation at all.

ISIS-supporter confirms the Anchoress’s point: West too hip to deal  ✂︎

The Anchoress, Elizabeth Scalia, on one of the biggest, yet unspoken or unrecognized elements in the war on Islamic extremists:

Everyone wants to possess the thoughts, and the resources, of the young but no one is wooing their souls. Increasingly, the West “does not do God”, does not approve of soul-chasing; it routinely discourages or politicizes soul-talk.

To young people seeking what they have been taught not to learn, secularist indoctrination offers a series of short soundbites, while a theological embrace presents a massive sky-full of thunder. It offers books of fast-burning matches, while religion offers books of sustained lightening.

If ISIS is the only supernatural game in town — the only one they’re hearing anything about and the only one that seems both dynamic and undying — it will attract many into making a grave mistake with their lives.

Why did the world ignore Boko Haram’s Baga attacks?  ✂︎

In Nigeria, another crisis was unfolding, as reports came through of an estimated 2,000 casualties after an attack by Boko Haram militants on the town of Baga in the north-eastern state of Borno. Amnesty International described as the terror group’s “deadliest massacre” to date, and local defence groups said they had given up counting the bodies left lying on the streets.

Reporting in northern Nigeria is notoriously difficult; journalists have been targeted by Boko Haram, and, unlike in Paris, people on the ground are isolated and struggle with access to the internet and other communications. Attacks by Boko Haram have disrupted connections further, meaning that there is an absence of an online community able to share news, photos and video reports of news as it unfolds.

(h/t @newadvent)