Tag Archives: Roman

The Roman Farce

The Roman FarcePope Francis is conducting his extraordinary summit with cardinals on the problem of sexual abuse in the Church. And we can expect it will go nowhere.The summit is happening in light of two events outside of it. The first was Pope Francis’s recent laicization of the former cardinal archbishop of Washington, D.C., Theodore McCarrick, a man who was notorious for his sexual abuse of seminarians and other priests, while at the same time he was the public-relations face of the Church’s response to sexual abuse and cover-up in the early 2000s. McCarrick was finally publicly exposed when an investigation into his abuse of a minor became public last year.The second is the publication of a sensationalist book by sociologist Frédéric Martel, In the Closet of the Vatican, which claims to document the sexual hypocrisy at the top of the Roman Catholic Church. The book is fascinating because it relies on scores of interviews with cardinals and is written in a loose, gossipy style. Some of the pope’s trusted confidantes were sources for the book. We’ll come back to that in a minute.These two events also reveal the problems inherent to Pope Francis’s summit. The laicization of McCarrick is held up as a victory of accountability, even justice, but actually amounts to a public-relations move. McCarrick was not afforded the normal forms of defense given to men in his position. And far from solving the McCarrick issue, his laicization avoids the main question: How did McCarrick rise to his position while “everyone knew” of his sordid reputation? Why was he able to maneuver around the restrictions put on him by Benedict XVI? Why did Francis make him an informal adviser in his anxious desire to reshape the American episcopate? And how is it that his associates (co-conspirators?) continue to rise in the Church? Cardinal Kevin Farrell, who lived and worked with McCarrick for years (and claims to have noticed nothing unusual), was recently appointed cardinal camerlengo, who will govern the Vatican during the next interregnum.Francis’s preferred bishops have also been promoting their own line on the abuse crisis at the summit. In their eyes, the problem is not rampant immorality, a network of moral blackmail, and moral conspiracy but what they call “clericalism.” The term is used in two senses. The first, the one that makes it plausible to some as a problem, is the idea that bishops and priests protect each other. That’s true. But what Francis’s men mean by clericalism is the idea of a Church where a hierarchical priesthood plays a role in safeguarding the Church’s traditional doctrine. They believe that this conception of the priesthood, as having real moral responsibility for handing on the faith as they received it, makes priests irresponsible. It is in this way that they transmute the failure of bishops to exercise authority to remove abusive priests into a problem of “excessive authority.” And thus sexual immorality is blamed, not just on moral and doctrinal conservatives, but on moral and doctrinal conservatism itself.Then there is the matter of the book, which replicates the same error. Martel’s methodology for determining whether certain churchmen are gay is to stereotype them. Churchmen whom he deems to oppose homosexuality too much are deemed homosexual themselves. This logic does not apply, however, to Pope Francis, who has occasionally urged gay men to leave the priesthood or not enter it at all. Francis is held up as a hero to Martel. But the influence of Francis’s inner circle is evident in the choice of targets.Martel meets with the German conservative cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller and insinuates that the cardinal’s “perfumed voice” gives him away as a homosexual. Pope Benedict XVI is deemed a homosexual because he likes opera. The traditionalist cardinal Raymond Leo Burke is deemed homosexual or even transsexual because he prefers the Church’s most elaborate vestments. Just as the Vatican summit limits its scope to avoid addressing the culture of abuse in seminaries, so Martel avoids discussing the documented abuse at the seminary of the so-called “vice pope,” Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga.Martel’s preferred story is one of moral hypocrisy. That may be a real moral problem for some churchmen. But because this is Martel’s bias, he is incapable of looking at the crisis through the lens of moral indifference, moral lassitude, and moral cronyism, which are the major factors in the crisis of sexual abuse and predation in the Church.That Martel was helped in this sordid endeavor of cover-up and baseless accusation by the pope’s closest advisers should be a source of immense scandal to those in the Church and outside it. He likes opera. He must be gay. He likes vestments. Must be gay. He has a pleasant voice. Gay. This is the kind of moral enlightenment that Pope Francis’s allies have brought to the Church? The only stereotype that Martel doesn’t use is the one about men who engage in constant salacious sexual gossip and speculation, as it would indict all his sources.The book is trash. The supposed justice meted to McCarrick amounts to a cover-up. The pope’s summit is trash and a coverup. These men do not fear the justice of God or men. All their training in theology, and their great insight about man’s depravity, is the schoolyard taunt “Whoever smelt it, dealt it.” To hell with them all.



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Nancy Grace Roman, ‘mother’ of the Hubble telescope, dies at 93

Nancy Grace Roman, ‘mother’ of the Hubble telescope, dies at 93Nancy Grace Roman, who began working with NASA in 1959 and is credited as a major force behind the effort fund and deploy the Hubble Space Telescope, passed away on December 25th at the age of 93. She was a pioneer in science and the space industry, becoming the very first woman executive within NASA as well as the agency's first chief of astronomy.

Roman's incredible efforts to push NASA to new frontiers is still felt today, and even though Hubble launched over a decade after she retired from her post, it almost certainly wouldn't have existed without her.

The Hubble Space Telescope has wowed generations of science fans for nearly three decades now, and while the spacecraft is showing its age it continues to deliver breathtaking glimpses of space that simply wouldn't be possible without it.

With that kind of a legacy it's sometimes easy to forget the people who actually contributed to its existence in the first place. That isn't the case with Roman, who has long been hailed as a major reason why NASA has been a leader in astronomy for decades.

twitter.com/JimBridenstine/status/1078764642732830720

As a woman in science, her road wasn't always easy. In an industry dominated by men, Roman carved a legacy that will live on long after the Hubble is eventually retired. In an interview with NASA celebrating her 90th birthday she said it was her parents that sparked her love of science and started her on the path that became her career.

"My father was a scientist and answered my scientific questions while my mother took me on walks and showed me birds and plants," Roman said. "She also took me out at night and showed me the constellations and the aurora."

She will be sorely missed. Any time you see a gorgeous Hubble photo or new star or galaxy discovery, remember that Nancy Grace Roman is a major reason why.



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Heads up: Israeli woman stumbles upon Roman busts

Heads up: Israeli woman stumbles upon Roman bustsAn Israeli woman walking near ancient ruins noticed a head sticking out of the ground, leading to the uncovering of two Roman-era busts, archaeologists said Sunday. The life-size sculptures, carved in limestone, were found in the northern city of Beit Shean earlier this month, with the Israel Antiquities Authority dating them to the late Roman period, some 1,700 years ago. The well-preserved busts are of men, one of them bearded, sculpted in the Oriental style that was becoming fashionable at the end of the Roman period, according to Eitan Klein, deputy head of the IAA’s theft prevention unit.



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Skeleton of Roman beheaded by giant flying rock slab found at Pompeii

Skeleton of Roman beheaded by giant flying rock slab found at PompeiiThe skeleton of a Roman man who was decapitated by a giant slab of rock has been discovered by archeologists in Pompeii. They believe the man, aged in his thirties, was attempting to flee the eruption of Mt Vesuvius when the 300kg rock slammed into him, beheading him and killing him instantly. He had struggled to escape the doomed city because he had an infection in his leg. Archeologists found the rock sticking out of the ground at an angle, with the remains of the man protruding and intact from the chest down. The rock, which they think may have been part of a stone doorway, was hurled into the air by the force of the eruption, which devastated Pompeii in AD79. Archeologists say the man was fleeing the eruption but was impeded by a leg bone infection Credit: Pompeii archeological site The skeleton was uncovered in an area of new excavations, close to a newly-discovered alleyway of houses with balconies. Massimo Osanna, the director general of the archaeological site, called the discovery "dramatic and exceptional". “A formidable stone block (perhaps a door jamb), violently thrown by the volcanic cloud, collided with his upper body, crushing the highest part of the thorax and yet-to-be-identified head, which probably lies under the stone block,” archeologists said in a statement. The experts found lesions on his tibia which indicate a serious bone infection. That “could have caused significant walking difficulties, enough to impede the man's escape at the first dramatic signs which preceded the eruption,” they said. Earlier this month, archeologists made another unusual discovery – the carbonised remains of a horse which died during the eruption of Vesuvius. The remains of a Roman horse were found earlier this month Credit: Pompeii archeological site The horse was found in the remains of a large Roman villa, which tomb raiders had been excavating illegally in search of artefacts and valuables. By pumping plaster into the space where the horse was found, experts produced an accurate cast of the animal. It was the first time that a cast was made of a horse at Pompeii – the technique has previously been used for the human victims of the cataclysmic eruption. Experts believe the horse was used in military parades and ceremonies. It was found in the remains of a stable attached to the villa.



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Kremlin says it is Roman Abramovich's right to take Israeli citizenship

Kremlin says it is Roman Abramovich's right to take Israeli citizenshipThe Kremlin said on Tuesday that Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich had every right to take Israeli citizenship, saying his choice to acquire another passport was no big deal. Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea soccer club who has found himself without a visa to Britain, took Israeli citizenship on Monday and will move to Tel Aviv where he has bought a property, the Israeli news website Ynet said. Abramovich, 51 has traditionally enjoyed good relations with the Kremlin and served as a regional governor in a remote Russian region from 2000-2008.



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Roman Abramovich becomes an Israeli citizen a month after his UK visa was delayed

Roman Abramovich becomes an Israeli citizen a month after his UK visa was delayedRoman Abramovish has become an Israeli citizen a month after the UK delayed renewing his visa in a move that could allow him to return without one. The Chelsea FC owner, who is Jewish, exercised his right under Israel’s Law of Return, which states that Jews from anywhere in the world can become citizens of Israel. The oligarch, worth an estimated £8.6 billion, instantly became Israel’s wealthiest person after receiving his citizenship yesterday.  The 51-year-old had been travelling in and out of the UK for years on a Tier-1 investor visa, designed for wealthy foreigners who invest at least £2 million in Britain. He applied to renew the visa in April but did not immediately receive approval from the Home Office amid diplomatic tension between London and Moscow. It is unclear if the UK decided to reject his application permanently but a source familiar with the matter told The Daily Telegraph that the renewal process seemed to be taking an unusually long time. Amber Rudd ordered a review of the visa status of wealthy Russians after the Salisbury nerve agent attack Credit:  Jack Taylor/Getty Images Europe Mr Abramovich is believed to have returned to Russia after his visa expired. He did not attend Chelsea’s 1-0 win over Manchester United in the FA Cup at Wembley on May 19. Israeli passport holders can travel to Britain without a visa for short periods of time, and can stay as long as six months. Russians must apply for a visa from the British Embassy in Moscow if they wish to travel to Britain. Mr Abramovich's decision comes after the Government suggested it would take a harder line on Russian oligarchs in Britain following the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury in March. Q&A | Roman Abramovich’s visa His private G650 jet touched down at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport on Monday and he was immediately granted Israeli citizenship.  A spokesman for the Israeli interior ministry said he applied at the Israeli embassy in Moscow and was found eligible for citizenship after proving his Jewish heritage.  “He filed a request to receive an immigration permit, his documents were checked according to the Law of Return, and he was indeed found eligible,” the spokesman told Israel’s Channel 10 news.  Mr Abramovich previously purchased a £17.1 mansion in Tel Aviv’s upmarket Neve Tzedek neighbourhood. The house was a former hotel and Mr Abramovich bought it from the husband of Gal Gadot, the Israeli actress who starred in Wonderwoman. 



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Israel uncovers Roman structure at foot of Jerusalem's Western Wall

Israel uncovers Roman structure at foot of Jerusalem's Western WallIsraeli archaeologists in Jerusalem’s Old City on Monday unveiled a newly unearthed section of the Western Wall and the first Roman public structure ever discovered in the city, they said. Archaeologist Joe Uziel said he and his colleagues knew the wall section was there and had expected to find a Roman street at its base. The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), which conducted the two-year dig, said that historical sources mentioned such structures but in 150 years of modern archaeological research in the city none had been found.



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Roman theater uncovered at base of Jerusalem's Western Wall

Roman theater uncovered at base of Jerusalem's Western WallJERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli archaeologists on Monday announced the discovery of the first known Roman-era theater in Jerusalem's Old City, a unique structure around 1,800 years old that abuts the Western Wall and may have been built during Roman Emperor Hadrian's reign.



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Israel uncovers Roman structure at foot of Jerusalem's Western Wall

Israel uncovers Roman structure at foot of Jerusalem's Western WallIsraeli archaeologists in Jerusalem’s Old City on Monday unveiled a newly unearthed section of the Western Wall and the first Roman public structure ever discovered in the city, they said. Archaeologist Joe Uziel said he and his colleagues knew the wall section was there and had expected to find a Roman street at its base. The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), which conducted the two-year dig, said that historical sources mentioned such structures but in 150 years of modern archaeological research in the city none had been found.



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Elaborate Mosaics Unearthed in 'Lost' Roman City

Elaborate Mosaics Unearthed in 'Lost' Roman CityHidden for centuries, mosaic floors from the lost Roman city of Ucetia have been uncovered in France. A large excavation is underway in the town of Uzès in southern France to unearth more of the remains of this ancient Roman settlement, the existence of which archaeologists had only hints of until the dig. The nearby city of Nîmes is more famous for its Roman history, largely thanks to the A.D. 70 amphitheater, where events, including bullfights, still take place.



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