Tag Archives: Roman

‘Give Roman justice’: Neighbors relieved after father, stepmom arrested in Placerville boy’s death


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Archaeologists to excavate ancient beach at Herculaneum, Roman town destroyed by Vesuvius eruption


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Alexei Navalny calls for sanctions against ‘enablers’ of Putin regime including Roman Abramovich


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Belarus allows Roman Catholic archbishop to return


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A mystery woman dressed in silk and gold found buried under the London streets was from the elite of the Roman Empire, researchers say


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Roman Empire did not fall because of plague, study claims

Roman Empire did not fall because of plague, study claimsA bubonic plague which was thought to have wiped out half of the world’s population and helped topple the Roman Empire was far exaggerated by scholars, a new study claims. The Justinianic Plague which preceded the Black Death by more than 800 years plague was thought to have killed around 50 million people across the Roman and Byzantine Empires between 541-750 AD. The plague, spread in part by rats along trade routes, was believed to leave the Roman Empire vulnerable after the population loss hit its trade and military might across the Medeteranian, Africa and the East. An international team of scholars led by researchers from the University of Maryland have now called into question the scale of the plague, as the available evidence paints a different picture. Lead author, Lee Mordechai, from of Princeton's Climate Change and History Research Initiative, said: "If this plague was a key moment in human history that killed between a third and half the population of the Mediterranean world in just a few years, as is often claimed, we should have evidence for it but our survey of datasets found none." The researchers analysis ancient texts alongside, pollen samples, plague genomes and the archeology around graves to debunk previous consensus around the scale of the outbreak. At a glance | Plague facts Several sources across antiquity that had attributed important world events to the outbreak of the plague, such as the fall of the Roman Empire. However, the researchers found that previous scholars had focused on evocative written accounts, ignoring hundreds of contemporary texts that did not mention the outbreak. “We found no reason to argue that the plague killed tens of millions of people as many have claimed," said co-author Timothy Newfield.  "Plague is often construed as shifting the course of history. It's an easy explanation, too easy. It's essential to establish a causal connection,” he said. Analysis of evidence such as pollen samples and burial sites also found that the millions of supposed deaths did not quite add up. Where there should be more mass graves and less pollen from the lack of farming as a result, the researcher’s findings showed no evidence of the mass deaths. Co-author of the study, Janet Kay, said: "We investigated a large dataset of human burials from before and after the plague outbreak, and the plague did not result in a significant change whether people buried the dead alone or with many others. "The Black Death killed vast numbers of people and did change how people disposed of corpses."



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Roman Catholic Priests Will Not Break Confession to Report Child Abuse, U.K. Inquiry Told

Roman Catholic Priests Will Not Break Confession to Report Child Abuse, U.K. Inquiry ToldThe Roman Catholic Church says it would reject any recommendation that would require priests to break confession to report child sexual abuse.



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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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