Catholic Church Brings Back Indulgences

From the NY Times:

The announcement in church bulletins and on Web sites has been greeted with enthusiasm by some and wariness by others. But mainly, it has gone over the heads of a vast generation of Roman Catholics who have no idea what it means: “Bishop Announces Plenary Indulgences.”

In recent months, dioceses around the world have been offering Catholics a spiritual benefit that fell out of favor decades ago — the indulgence, a sort of amnesty from punishment in the afterlife — and reminding them of the church’s clout in mitigating the wages of sin.

The fact that many Catholics under 50 have never sought one, and never heard of indulgences except in high school European history (where Martin Luther denounces the selling of them in 1517 and ignites the Protestant Reformation) simply makes their reintroduction more urgent among church leaders bent on restoring fading traditions of penance in what they see as a self-satisfied world.

“Why are we bringing it back?” asked Bishop Nicholas A. DiMarzio of Brooklyn, who has embraced the move. “Because there is sin in the world.”

Like the Latin Mass and meatless Fridays, the indulgence was one of the traditions decoupled from mainstream Catholic practice in the 1960s by the Second Vatican Council, the gathering of bishops that set a new tone of simplicity and informality for the church. Its revival has been viewed as part of a conservative resurgence that has brought some quiet changes and some highly controversial ones, like Pope Benedict XVI’s recent decision to lift the excommunications of four schismatic bishops who reject the council’s reforms.

The indulgence is among the less-noticed, less-disputed traditions to be restored. But with a thousand-year history and volumes of church law devoted to its intricacies, it is one of the most complicated to explain.

(Thanks RevGeorge)

You Try to Live on 500K in This Town

The NY Times on the sad story on banking executives who will have to take a pay cut in order to get a government bailout.

PRIVATE school: $32,000 a year per student.

Mortgage: $96,000 a year.

Co-op maintenance fee: $96,000 a year.

Nanny: $45,000 a year.

We are already at $269,000, and we haven’t even gotten to taxes yet.

Five hundred thousand dollars — the amount President Obama wants to set as the top pay for banking executives whose firms accept government bailout money — seems like a lot, and it is a lot. To many people in many places, it is a princely sum to live on. But in the neighborhoods of New York City and its suburban enclaves where successful bankers live, half a million a year can go very fast.

“As hard as it is to believe, bankers who are living on the Upper East Side making $2 or $3 million a year have set up a life for themselves in which they are also at zero at the end of the year with credit cards and mortgage bills that are inescapable,” said Holly Peterson, the author of an Upper East Side novel of manners, “The Manny,” and the daughter of Peter G. Peterson, a founder of the equity firm the Blackstone Group. “Five hundred thousand dollars means taking their kids out of private school and selling their home in a fire sale.”

The Asgarda

From Oeil Public:

Katerina Tarnouska looks at me in the eyes. She is a thirty-year-old blonde with a ponytail, wearing a white dress. “Time has come to get separated from the men”, she says. She dreams of a walled world where women would live among themselve. A world like the one of the Amazon tribes.

She founded a movement called Asgarda. 150 women of all age get trained to fight and learn the Amazons’ spirit. “Glory to you, Master, Glory to Asgarda, Glory to the Amazons!”

It is said that the Amazons were tribes of women warriors in the East of Ukraine, in the Donesk area. They are back nowadays in the Carpathian mountains.

Daily Dose of Ingersoll

Thousands of young men are being educated at this moment by the various churches. What for? In order that they may be prepared to investigate the phenomena by which we are surrounded? No! The object, and the only object, is that they may be prepared to defend a creed; that they may learn the arguments of their respective churches, and repeat them in the dull ears of a thoughtless congregation. If one, after being thus trained at the expense of the Methodists, turns Presbyterian or Baptist, he is denounced as an ungrateful wretch. Honest investigation is utterly impossible within the pale of any church, for the reason, that if you think the church is right you will not investigate, and if you think it wrong, the church will investigate you. The consequence of this is, that most of the theological literature is the result of suppression, of fear, tyranny and hypocrisy.

Robert Green Ingersoll – “Individuality” (1873)