Defect in form

A Vatican Secretariat of State press release came out over the weekend. It’s a policy statement about a relatively minor matter: organizations named after Popes.

Recent years have witnessed a great increase of affection and esteem for the person of the Holy Father. There has also been a desire to use the Pope’s name in the title of universities, schools or cultural institutions, as well as associations, foundations and other groups.
In light of this fact, the Holy See hereby declares that it alone has the right to ensure the respect due to the Successors of Peter, and, therefore, to protect the figure and personal identity of the Pope from the unauthorized use of his name and/or the papal coat of arms for ends and activities which have little or nothing to do with the Catholic Church. Occasionally, in fact, attempts have been made to attribute credibility and authority to initiatives by using ecclesiastical or papal symbols and logos.
Consequently, the use of anything referring directly to the person or office of the Supreme Pontiff (his name, his picture or his coat of arms), and/or the use of the title “Pontifical”, must receive previous and express authorization from the Holy See.

(emphasis added)
Here’s what I find odd: that a statement from the Vatican is using a modern word such as “logo”. I feel as if the word were invented practically yesterday. As it happens, “logo” only dates to 1937, which seems way too recent for an institution with 2000 years behind it.
Surely there should be some rule that the Vatican doesn’t use words that aren’t at least 100 years old.

Only $280,000 per member of the community

Kathy Shaidle blogs about the Sisters Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a washed-up teaching order whose 200 remaining members have an average age of 86. They haven’t let that statistic stop them from undertaking a $56 million eco-renovation on their headquarters near Detroit.
At this point, they owe $37 mil on the construction costs, and Heaven knows if they can ever foot the bill. I certainly wouldn’t want to be their creditor.
The sisters seem to be very progressive-minded, but may have overlooked a possible justice issue somewhere: taking on debts that you know you can never repay. Or is this a sort of reverse mortgage, where the sisters get to enjoy the loan now and pledge to give up the property later?
Eventually the building can be sold and converted into a Museum of Dead Religious Movements or a John Cardinal Dearden Cultural Center. (Oh; same thing.)
Update: Here’s another angle on this: if you have $56M to spend, consider the option of not spending it. Conservatively invested, it would generate about 10% a year, or $5.6M. You can do a lot of building maintenance with that, and still have money left to buy some carbon-credit indulgences.

Categorized as Odds & Ends

Priest drives a fast car

A motorists’ association in Portugal is writing to the Pope to complain about a priest with a souped-up Fiesta. Offhand, I doubt the letter will get much sympathy in Rome. Isn’t driving fast practically mandatory in Italy?

LISBON (Reuters) – A Portuguese group campaigning for safe roads has asked the
Vatican to ensure that a priest who owns a souped-up Ford Fiesta “resist the temptations of speed.”
Father Antonio Rodrigues, Portugal’s only owner of a 150-horse-power Ford Fiesta 2000 ST, has boasted of his car’s rapid acceleration to 130 miles per hour and “thanked God” for never being fined, the Association of Motorist Citizens said in a letter to the Pope.
“I am no speed freak,” daily Correio de Manha quoted Rodrigues as saying Monday. “I have a car that I like but I drive with prudence.”
The association’s letter, which was published on its Web site (, cited the priest as saying he uses the car to take youngsters for spins and to zip around to “arrive on time to the three parish churches.”
“We ask Your Holiness to help this unfortunate priest to ponder the gravity of his acts and the immodesty of his words and to resist the temptations of speed and boasting,” the letter to the Pope said.