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AN ETIQUETTE TIP from the "Quick Takes" column in the Chicago Sun-Times, courtesy of Martin Marty's newsletter Context (Jan. 15, 2000):

"The proper closing for a letter to the pope is: `Prostrate at the feet of Your Holiness and imploring the favor of its apostolic benediction, I have the honor to be, Very Holy Father, with the deepest veneration of Your Holiness, the most humble and most obedient servant and son [daughter].'"

Comments the columnist: "Which is why he gets so few postcards."

WHEN THE SAINTS GO MARCHING IN

Father Tom Hartman, cohost of the cable-TV show God Squad, was asked by Time magazine (Nov. 29, 1999) what sports team God roots for.

His answer: "Obviously, the New Orleans Saints. It's hard to imagine that God would choose men who jump on each other, grunt at each other, and curse at each other as his agents. But the fact that they have lost so many games shows they are truly men of prayer rather than men of football talent."

I WANNA HOLD YOUR TOE The pages of the Denver Catholic Register recently featured a discussion on whether church authority should make a ruling that holding hands during the Our Father is inappropriate because it "may interfere with the proper focus of that moment in the Mass."

"If they do rule against hand holding," Archie Lower writes in the Leaven (October/November 1999), "I have a slightly devious suggestion: Let's touch toes, or at least shoes. No one will be able to see, so we could get away with it. What great conspiracy! O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! Take that, you big, bad controllers of the Spirit. And just think of summertime--with open-toed shoes--the delicious possibilities of a secret sandal scandal. My, my, my."

COOL CONFESSIONS In an attempt to minimize discomfort during the uncomfortable act of Confession, the Venice-based firm Genuflex recently unveiled a spacious, new, top-of-the-line confessional. At a price of about $6,250, the walnut-finished confessional offers air conditioning and heating, black leather seats, soft lighting, full soundproofing, green and red lights to indicate vacancy, and optional hygienic filters for the confessional screen.

According to Reuters (Nov. 26, 1999), penitents in the hot seat will be able to regulate the temperature at which they confess. With its new product, Genuflex hopes to help Rome's churches meet the expected increase in demands for Confessions as some 26 million pilgrims are forecast to visit Rome during the Jubilee year.

I KNOW, IT'S ONLY ROCK `N' ROLL ... always thought that I would have made a great archbishop in Salzburg during the time of Mozart. But instead I'm the archbishop of Milwaukee in the time of rock `n' roll. That's the way life turns out. --Archbishop Rembert Weakland, a Juilliard-trained classical pianist, in an interview with St. Anthony Messenger (quoted in Context, Dec. 1, 1999)

PRECIOUS LORD "I had thought $2 million was a good figure. But when I saw the masses that [Brazilian charismatic pop star] Father Marcello Rossi attracts ... when speaking to 600,000 people, I was convinced, that the attraction of Jesus' name is beyond pricing." --Brazilian entrepeneur Ricardo Amaral, who has received offers worth millions of dollars to sell the Web site name www.jesus.com.br, which he had registered--along with pizza.com.br and others--two years ago (ZENIT, Nov. 19, 1999)
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Publication:U.S. Catholic
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2000
Words:555
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