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Posts Tagged ‘catholic Church

“In the beginning was the Word”*…

Pope Francis has been widely lauded in the media for his focus on serving as an example of Christian humility and engaging the marginalized and poor. His decision to live in the the Vatican guesthouse rather than in the Apostolic Palace, his handling of extreme opulence within the Catholic Church, and his priority for frequent, visible acts of charity all point to the direction Pope Francis wishes to guide the Church… Since the beginning of his papacy both the pope’s actions and his words have suggested a shift in focus as compared to his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI…

In order to glean more clues about Pope Francis’ philosophy and how he will communicate it, I analyzed word frequencies in the first 104 official speeches given by Pope Francis, from March 2013 to November 2013. For comparison, I did the same analysis for the first 102 official speeches of Pope Benedict XVI, given between April 2005 and November 2005. For both popes I used only speeches that had English translations. To visualize the results I created word clouds below, where the sizes of words are proportional to their usage (the differences in color are meaningless and intended to help the reader focus on specific words). Finally, I removed the top five words used by both popes, to better discern differences in word usage. These top five words were: God, Jesus, Lord, Christ, and Church…

Read more of Chris Walker‘s analysis on his site, Vizynary.

*John 1:1

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As we ponder pontiffs, we might spare a thought for a saint; it was on this day in 1431 that investigations began for the trial of Joan of Arc.  Joan had entered history in spectacular fashion during the spring of 1429: following what she maintained was the command of God, Joan led the French Dauphin’s armies in a series of stunning military victories over the English, effectively reversing the course of the Hundred Years’ War.  But she was captured in 1430 by the Burgundians, a faction (led by the Duke of Burgundy) allied with the English.  The French King, Charles VII, declined to ransom her from the Burgundians who then “sold” her to the English. In December of that year, she was transferred to Rouen, the military headquarters and administrative capital in France of King Henry VI of England, and placed on trial for heresy before a Church court headed by a Bishop loyal to the English.

Joan was convicted and executed in May of 1431.  She was exonerated in 1456 when the verdict was reversed on appeal by the Inquisitor-General. She became a French national heroine, and in 1920 was canonized a saint of the Roman Catholic Church.

Joan of Arc interrogated by The Cardinal of Winchester in her prison 1431. Painting by Paul Delaroche (1797-1856).

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In praise of obsession… er, enthusiasm…

 

from Coppola’s The Conversation

Plumbing is a way of expressing or confronting humanity’s “anatomical bottom-line.”
– Peter Greenaway

I found by staging scenes (in A Nightmare on Elm Street) in the bathroom, that it took on a whole other meaning, because that’s so much, for a child, the private room — the room where you explore your body and all the mysteries of the body. It’s also the only room in the house that has a lock. And a lot of tremendous things happen in there — bathing, the sort of baptism, all those things…
– Wes Craven

“Plumbing. Can’t beat it. Helps any movie”
– Ethan Coen

Jim Emerson, the founding editor-in-chief of RogerEbert.com, is a man of deep enthusiasms…  He’s written elegant and enlightening criticism and film history (along with screenplays, dramas, and essays on a panoply of topics) for a couple of decades.  But he soars when he’s addressing his passions: film noir, Frank Sinatra, Buster Keaton, Barbara Stanwyck, Twin Peaks— and the history of plumbing in cinema.

from the Coen Brothers’ Blood Simple

 

As we ruminate on the real “intertubes,” we might recall that it was on this date in 1973 that the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the Roe vs. Wade decision, decriminalizing abortion in the U.S.

Abortion had not been illegal (nor widely considered immoral) for the nation’s first hundred years; terminating pregnancies before “quickening” (the time when the fetus first began to make noticeable movements) was common practice.

Abortion became a serious criminal offense in many states in the 1860s.  The new laws were fueled not by moral concern, but by a new trade association, the American Medical Association– the emerging “union” of doctors– for whom abortion practitioners were unwanted competition.  The doctors were able to recruit the Catholic Church, which had until then accepted abortion before quickening; and by the turn of the century, most states had anti-abortion laws.  Even then, it wasn’t until the 30s that they were at all aggressively enforced.

Since then, of course, the issue has grown in valence and become, at once, a polarizing element in civic discourse and a vector along which religion and government have co-mingled.

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Written by LW

January 22, 2012 at 1:01 am

The eyes have it…

Two extraordinary repositories; two extraordinary new web visualization tools…

From The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, the 3D Collection:

Amud
Date of Discovery: 1961
Discovered by: Hisashi Suzuki
Age: About 41,000 years old
Fossil Name: Amud
Location of Discovery: Wadi Amud, Israel

The purpose of this collection [of 3D fossils and artifacts] is to allow you to view your favorite objects from our David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins and to help you share your museum experience with your friends and family. Before our exhibit opened, the objects on display were either CT or laser scanned. The scanning process enabled Human Origins Progam staff to generate 3D models of each object that you can view, rotate, and interact with online. It may take a minute or two to load depending on your computer, but after it is loaded you will be able to move the 3D object around by holding down the left-click button and moving your mouse.

And from the Vatican, the Virtual Reality Tour of the Sistine Chapel:

A virtual tour of Michelangelo’s masterwork — move around the space and inspect from any angle, using your mouse– designed by the Augustinian computer scientists at Villanova University.

As we marvel at time, at space, and at the technology that aims to tame them, we might recall that it was on this date in 1979 that operators failed to notice that a relief valve was stuck open in the primary coolant system of Three Mile Island’s Unit 2 nuclear reactor following an unexpected shutdown. Consequently, enough coolant drained out of the system to allow the core to overheat and partially melt down– the worst commercial nuclear accident in American history.

Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant, near Harrisburg, PA

182 years earlier, on this date in 1797, Nathaniel Briggs (of New Hampshire) patented the first “washing machine,” known as the Box Mangler– a heavy frame containing a large box filled with rocks, resting on a series of long wooden rollers. Washing was laid flat on a sheet and wound round one of the rollers, then two people pulled on levers to move the heavy box back and forth over the rollers.  While it was expensive, heavy, difficult to operate, and even then, jammed often, its failures never led to the evacuation of major population centers.

Box Mangler

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