Clerics brawl with broomsticks at the site where Jesus is believed to have been born. (BBC image)
Two days after the world celebrated the birth of the Prince of Peace, things weren’t so peaceful at the Bethlehem church built on what is believed to be the site of Jesus’ nativity.
Brandishing brooms, 100 black-robed Greek Orthodox and Armenian clerics fought one another inside the Basilica of the Nativity after a dispute broke out during the cleaning of the church. Palestinian police broke up the fray.
Tensions have long been high at the 1,700-year-old church, as different Christian denominations continually squabble over the administration of the holy site.
The BBC has the story, along with the sad video here.
Retired Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick recently sat down with David Gregory of Meet the Press to talk Christmas and politics. The cardinal noted that Christmas comes to “remind us that there is a God and this is a God who loves us.” He also asserted that the more a voter understands about the issues, the more he or she will understand a candidate.
“We have to say,” Cardinal McCarrick said, “‘What is that man teaching – what is that woman teaching? How will it affect me, how will it affect my family, how will it affect my country?'”
Check out the extended interview here.
Ever since she appeared in a BBC documentary on the National Gallery 19 years ago, Sister Wendy Beckett has taken the art world by storm. A familiar face on PBS, the surprisingly straight-talking contemplative nun is well-known for her unique insights into art and art history.
Sister Wendy is the author of more than 25 books, including one on the Nativity containing more than 40 paintings that illustrate events leading up to and including the birth of Jesus. The book also highlights moments from Christ’s life, death and resurrection.
The Telegraph has an interesting Q&A with the 80-year-old nun.
Solitary life: This is the greatest imaginable bliss. It wasn’t only that I wanted a contemplative life; I needed it. I am one of those inadequate people who can’t sustain the level of prayer and self-sacrifice that religious life asks, unless I have hours alone with God. But I am not totally alone. Once a day the sister who looks after me brings my post and gives me any messages. If there are practical matters to be seen to (I am a sadly impractical woman), she solves them. The day is surely coming when age and infirmity will make it impossible to live alone. I don’t worry about this because it’s all part of God’s plan.
Television career: Nuns have to earn their living and I earned mine by doing medieval Latin translation. But I became unwell and asked the Mother Prioress if I could look at art until I felt better. Then I realised there are no livings to be earned by merely looking, so I decided to write a book, which drew the attention of the BBC. This is how my television career began.
Christmas: My Christmas is a deeply privileged one and I spend it in silence marvelling at God’s goodness. I don’t put up decorations, wrap presents or attend a Christmas dinner (though I delight in giving and receiving cards). The high point is the high point of every day – attending Mass and receiving the Eucharist. This sacrament is Christmas in essence: God giving Himself, us receiving Him and being changed.
Read more here.
Mercy Medical Center’s impressive new hospital tower in downtown Baltimore is all set to open
tomorrow, Dec. 19. Amid the fanfare, hospital leaders have added a nice Christmas touch that hearkens back to the days when Mercy’s “old tower” first opened nearly five decades ago.
Back when the 1963 building was the new kid on the block, Mercy employees placed stencils in the lighted windows of patient rooms — spelling out “A CHILD IS BORN” on the side of the tower.
If you take a close look near the top of today’s $400 million Mary Catherine Bunting Center, you’ll see that Mercy has posted the same lighted message.
Very cool idea, Mercy!
Baltimore News-Post Photo/Courtesy Mercy Medical Center
Mercy Medical Center Photo/Kevin Parks
No Charm City Christmas is complete without this classic!
When you’re sending your Christmas cards this year, don’t forget the pope.
A website sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications has a link where users can write a Christmas message or share a photo with the Holy Father. The greetings will also be shared at the Pope2You website.
What would you say to the pope this Christmas season?
12/10/2010 – Update: Lots of folks are taking a look at this post! Be sure to visit www.catholicreview.org/matysekblog for similar posts.
Handel’s Messiah is always big this time of the year and choirs around the archdiocese are probably working on “For Unto Us a Child is Born” and the “Hallelujah Chorus” for Christmas.
Here’s what can happen when the organist accidentally hits the transpose button at a most unfortunate moment.
By the way, Ed Polochick and The Concert of Artists of Baltimore will perform a much better version next Friday at the Meyerhoff in Baltimore. Their performances are outstanding. You won’t want to miss it.
Catholic News Service photo/Giancarlo Giuliani, Catholic Press Photo
A few days before Christmas in the first year of his papacy, Pope Benedict XVI sported a red velvet cap trimmed with ermine.
Known as a “camauro,” the old-fashioned headwear promptly earned the nickname “Santa hat” among some. Others questioned why the German pontiff seemed to be reviving a papal fashion not seen in many decades.
The pope answers the questions in his new book.
Catholic News Service has the story:
“I wore it only once,” (the pope said). “I was just cold, and I happen to have a sensitive head. And I said, since the camauro is there, let’s put it on. But I was really just trying to fight off the cold,” he said.
The pope’s appearance in the cap caused a minor uproar in the media, which saw it as a kind of pre-Vatican II fashion statement. In the book, the pope said he hasn’t put it on since that day, “in order to forestall over-interpretation.”