Mar 16, 2023


John Paul II Allegedly Knew About Priestly Sexual Abuse While Archbishop In Poland

St. John Paul II knew about sexual abuse of children by priests under his authority and sought to conceal it when he was an archbishop in his native Poland, a television news report has alleged.

In a story that aired late Monday, Polish channel TVN24 named three priests whom the future pope then known as Archbishop Karol Wojtyla had moved among parishes or sent to a cloister during the 1970s, including one who was sent to Austria, after they were accused of abusing minors.

Two of the priests, Eugeniusz Surgent and Jozef Loranc, eventually served short prison terms for the abuse, TVN24 said its 2 and 1/2 year-long investigation found. Wojtyla served as archbishop of Krakow from 1964 to 1978, when he became Pope John Paul II. He died in 2005 and was declared a saint in 2014 following a fast-tracked process.

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The findings will gradually lead to a “deconstruction of the image of John Paul II that we have been using so far,” Dominican friar Paweł Gużyński said Tuesday on TVN24, noting that some people may not be prepared to cope with the new facts.

'Crippled with fear': Duggar daughter reveals how she escaped 'unhealthy version' of Christianity

In a new book one of the 19 children who were the center of the popular Christian reality show which eventually was rebranded as "19 and Counting," recounts growing up in the highly restrictive home of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and how she has made a major move to separate herself from what she called an "unhealthy version" of Christianity.

In an interview with the New York Times to discuss her book "Becoming Free Indeed: My Story of Disentangling Faith from Fear," Jinger Vuolo describes what the Times calls the "darker side" of growing up Duggar.

According to the now 29-year-old whose family's world was rocked when brother Josh was accused of molesting his sisters and then later sent to jail for possession of child pornography, she lived in fear of doing anything outside the lines of what the family permitted in their tightly orchestrated world that was shared with their fans.

As the Times Ruth Graham wrote, "Even after the image began to crumble, the family has maintained a largely united front. No other siblings have spoken as critically about the family’s theology and values as Mrs. Vuolo. With an online following that includes 1.4 million followers on Instagram, her declaration of independence is being closely watched as a high-profile example of re-examining one’s own religious upbringing."

Robots Are Performing Hindu Rituals – Some Devotees Fear They’ll Replace Worshippers

It isn’t just artists and teachers who are losing sleep over advances in automation and artificial intelligence. Robots are being brought into Hinduism’s holiest rituals – and not all worshippers are happy about it.

In 2017, a technology firm in India introduced a robotic arm to perform “aarti,” a ritual in which a devotee offers an oil lamp to the deity to symbolize the removal of darkness. This particular robot was unveiled at the Ganpati festival, a yearly gathering of millions of people in which an icon of Ganesha, the elephant-headed god, is taken out in a procession and immersed in the Mula-Mutha river in Pune in central India.

Ever since, that robotic aarti arm has inspired several prototypes, a few of which continue to regularly perform the ritual across India today, along with a variety of other religious robots throughout East Asia and South Asia. Robotic rituals even now include an animatronic temple elephant in Kerala on India’s southern coast.

Yet this kind of religious robotic usage has led to increasing debates about the use of AI and robotic technology in devotion and worship. Some devotees and priests feel that this represents a new horizon in human innovation that will lead to the betterment of society, while others worry that using robots to replace practitioners is a bad omen for the future.

Religious leaders experiment with ChatGPT sermons

Religious leaders are dabbling in ChatGPT for sermon writing, and largely reaching the same conclusion: It's great for plucking Bible verses and concocting nice-sounding sentiments but lacks the human warmth that congregants crave.

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Case study: Rabbi Joshua Franklin, of the Jewish Center of the Hamptons in East Hampton, New York, delivered what he warned his flock was a "plagiarized" sermon about the theme of vulnerability in a story from Genesis — and was shocked when congregants guessed that it had been written by his father or a famous rabbi rather than AI.

  • "The more I was able to prompt [ChatGPT] and tell it what I was looking for and describe the style of how I wanted it to write, the better it got," Franklin said.

  • One notable missing piece: the rabbi's own perspective and anecdotes. Had he written the sermon himself, "I would have told a story — something about me that modeled my own vulnerability and showed how it was a strength," he said.

Reality check: While the technology "is extraordinarily intelligent," it's "missing the ability to show empathy," Franklin tells Axios.

Nasa tracking asteroid that could ruin Valentine’s Day in 2046

Space experts predict a large asteroid could hit Earth just in time to ruin Valentine’s Day – in 2046.

The 50-metre wide asteroid, known as 2023 DW, is forecast to take more than two decades to reach us, perhaps almost three.

The European Space Agency discovered 2023 DW on 26 February and has estimated it has a one-in-607 chance of affecting Earth. The agency also predicted the asteroid could potentially hit on 14 February 2046.

The asteroid is projected to be the length of an Olympic swimming pool, CBS News reported, though its “size uncertainty could be large”.

Scientists have added 2023 DW to the so-called “risk list”, which details objects floating through space that have the potential to affect Earth. They have ranked it a one on the Torino scale, a method developed in 1999 that rates space objects’ risk of colliding with Earth.

NASA confirms a satellite could have hit the International Space Station

The International Space Station was potentially on route for a collision course with an Earth-observing satellite, confirms NASA in a new blog post.

The space agency took to its website to give an update on the happenings of the International Space Station (ISS), and according to NASA, there was a risk of collision between the floating laboratory and an Earth-observing satellite. Officials were required to engage thrusters on the Progress 83 resupply vessel at approximately 7:42 am to raise the orbit of the entire outpost in order to prevent any chance for a collision.

NASA writes in its blog post that thrusters were engaged for just over six minutes and that the maneuver won't impact the upcoming departure of the Crew-5 mission. So, whose satellite almost smacked into the ISS? According to reports, the satellite that the ISS had to dodge appears to be an Argentinian Earth-observation satellite that was launched back in 2020. This factoid comes from Sandra Jones of NASA's Johnson Space Center.

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This isn't the first time the ISS has had to perform a maneuver to dodge an object, as NASA's 2022 report states the floating laboratory made 32 course corrections over the course of the year, each were to avoid satellites and space debris. Notably, two maneuvers performed last year were to dodge space debris spawned from a defunct Russian satellite that became the target of an anti-satellite weapon test by the Russian military.

Archeologists announce discovery of 4,500 year-old Temple to Ninĝirsu

“History begins at Sumer” wrote the late Dr. Samuel Noah Kramer, one of the world’s foremost authorities on Sumerian history, language, and literature. Last week, the British Museum added even more weight to Dr. Kramer’s pronouncement by announcing that archaeologists in Iraq had unearthed the remains of a 4,500-year-old Sumerian temple dedicated to Ninĝirsu, the Mesopotamian god of thunder associated with farming, healing, hunting, law, scribes, and war.

Ninĝirsu cured humans and released demons. He was regarded as the son of the supreme Sumerian god, Enlil. Ninĝirsu is one of the earliest attested deities in the region and was worshipped throughout Mesopotamia from the middle of the third millennium BCE. His cult thrived across the region over two thousand years and appeared in more myths than any other deity, save the goddess Inanna.

Ninĝirsu is believed to have inspired the story of the “mighty hunter,” Nimrod the grandson of Noah mentioned in the Book of Genesis (10:8-12).

The temple dedicated to Ninĝirsu is the centerpiece of the ancient city of Girsu, located about 16 mi (25 km) northwest of Lagash, at the site of modern Tell Telloh in Iraq. The site is northwest of the junction of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and east of the ancient Sumerian city of Uruk ruled by the legendary king Gilgamesh and mentioned in the eponymous Epic.

Oldest reference to Norse god Odin found in Danish treasure

Scandinavian scientists said Wednesday that they have identified the oldest-known inscription referencing the Norse god Odin on part of a gold disc unearthed in western Denmark in 2020.

Lisbeth Imer, a runologist with the National Museum in Copenhagen, said the inscription represented the first solid evidence of Odin being worshipped as early as the 5th century — at least 150 years earlier than the previous oldest known reference, which was on a brooch found in southern Germany and dated to the second half of the 6th century.

The disc discovered in Denmark was part of a trove containing about a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of gold, including large medallions the size of saucers and Roman coins made into jewelry. It was unearthed in the village of Vindelev, central Jutland, and dubbed the Vindelev Hoard.

Experts think the cache was buried 1,500 years ago, either to hide it from enemies or as a tribute to appease the gods. A golden bracteate — a kind of thin, ornamental pendant — carried an inscription that read, “He is Odin’s man,” likely referring to an unknown king or overlord.

Scientists reveal hidden corridor in Great Pyramid of Giza

A hidden corridor nine metres (30 feet) long has been discovered close to the main entrance of the 4,500-year-old Great Pyramid of Giza, and this could lead to further findings, Egyptian antiquities officials said on Thursday.

The discovery within the pyramid, the last of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still standing, was made under the Scan Pyramids project that since 2015 has been using non-invasive technology including infrared thermography, 3D simulations and cosmic-ray imaging to peer inside the structure.

An article published in the journal Nature on Thursday said the discovery could contribute to knowledge about the construction of the pyramid and the purpose of a gabled limestone structure that sits in front of the corridor.

The Great Pyramid was constructed as a monumental tomb around 2560 BC during the reign of the Pharaoh Khufu, or Cheops, to a height of 146 metres (479 feet). With much of its white limestone casing removed, it now stands at 139 metres.

Who Is Really Buried in Egypt’s Most Mysterious Tomb?

There were four magic mudbricks. Three were in their niches in the burial chamber, and one apparently displaced in the little annexe. Akhenaten’s throne name Neferkheperure was still visible on two of the bricks, most clearly on the ‘northern’ brick. Such bricks were a common inclusion in New Kingdom tombs and carried protective spells connected to birth, and thus the rebirth of the deceased. The spells resemble, for example, those found in the tomb of Thutmose IV.

The tomb contained a royal coffin with a badly preserved mummy of an adult male reduced to a skeleton. The only names still visible on gold foil with the body were those of the Aten. Anything that might have identified the man had been carefully removed. There were also four canopic jars, each bearing portrait bust stoppers of a royal woman wearing the ‘Nubian wig’, popular towards the end of the 18th Dynasty. Each bust had been modified by adding the cobra uraeus symbol of royalty, subsequently removed. The inscriptions on the jars had been deliberately rubbed off, with only traces remaining. There were other items, but few were inscribed. Those that were mostly carried the names of Tiye and/or Amenhotep III. The sole exceptions were a collection of clay seals carrying Tutankhamun’s throne name Nebkheperure. There were no objects that carried Smenkhkare’s or Nefertiti’s names, or their shared throne name Ankhkheperure. Nor was there anything that could be linked to Meryetaten or other members of the Amarna royal family.

So much for what we know. What we can infer takes the story a little further. The battered shrine panels were of dimensions compatible with a restoration of Tiye’s sarcophagus from fragments found in the Royal Tomb at Amarna. It seems Tiye’s body had been removed along with the shrine and her other burial goods and taken to Thebes for reburial in KV55. Tutankhamun’s seals make it likely this was his decision; it certainly took place in his name.

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