Friday, October 31, 2008

Priests land Sony/BMG Record Contract

How cool is this:

NEW YORK (CNN) -- You could call them New Clergymen on the Block: three Roman Catholic priests from Northern Ireland who on occasion swap their rosary beads for microphones and their parishes for studio time.
The Priests' debut CD -- part of a major record deal -- includes versions of spiritual songs and Irish tunes.

The Priests' debut CD -- part of a major record deal -- includes versions of spiritual songs and Irish tunes.

Fathers Eugene O'Hagan and Martin O'Hagan, who are brothers, and David Delargy have been in the priesthood for some 20 years. But they've been singing together since their early teens.

In February they recorded a demo in Belfast which they sent off -- as Eugene O'Hagan puts it -- to "the powers that be." Sony BMG responded almost instantly with a very nice offering indeed, a record deal reportedly to the tune of somewhere north of $2 million.

The Priests' debut album will be released on November 18 and was produced by Mike Hedges, known for his work with U2 and -- ironically -- Manic Street Preachers (who, of course, are not clergy but punky Welshmen). Some recording took place in St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, and the priests maintain they'd like some of the profits from their music endeavors donated to a charity of their choice.

These priests aren't metalheads; you won't find "Stairway to Heaven" or "Highway to Hell" in the Priests' repertoire. Rather, you'll hear their spine-tingling harmonies applied to spiritual songs like "Panis Angelicus" and "Ave Maria," as well as some traditional Irish tunes.

If that doesn't sound hip enough, know that all three clergymen own iPods (two admit to using BlackBerries). And Delargy claims that the first album he ever bought was Blondie's "Parallel Lines."

The Priests caught up with CNN while on a quick trip to New York and talked about balancing their newfound fame with the church.

CNN: How do you manage your priestly duties while embarking on a recording career?

Martin O'Hagan: It's tricky. It's like spinning plates in many respects. We do have in the contract a specific indication that our duties in the parish won't be in any way compromised and we're delighted about that, and most grateful.

CNN: Is it fair to say you consider yourselves priests first and musicians second?
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Eugene O'Hagan: Well, we've always been singing, even before we became priests. So in a sense entering into the musical life of the church has brought us into priesthood. It's a happy fusion of two gifts, really -- priesthood and music.

CNN: How did you enjoy the recording process?

Eugene O'Hagan: It's been hard work. It's been tough work. We've never worked with "cans" (headphones) before. And the whole technological side of recording has been an eye-opener. And for those of us who have never been exposed to that kind of technological world and the advances of science and mixing and recording, it's been a really fantastic experience.

CNN: Which of you has the biggest rock star attitude?

(The three priests point to each other and laugh.)

CNN: Well, what's it like getting all this attention?

Eugene O'Hagan: Well, it's unusual, needless to say. I suppose all priests are at the center of their communities and parishes. We are used to being in the public eye, especially on a Sunday morning or when you're celebrating maybe a wedding or [at] a funeral, a baptism. So that has helped us maybe cope with the growing interest and media interest and what we do and what we sing and who we are.

CNN: Do you expect to offer help to wayward musicians?

David Delargy: Well, we wouldn't be setting out to be the answer to people's needs in that respect. But it's interesting that in the course of the work we've been doing through this recording, we have met people who come from different backgrounds, people who have faith, some people who have no faith, some people who are searching. Other people who have various dilemmas they're working through in their own lives. And perhaps there may be an opportunity just through ordinary interaction and contact to do a little bit of good, but certainly we aren't setting out with that in mind.

CNN: Is there going to be a tour?

Eugene O'Hagan: At the moment it's hard to see into the future in that respect, but I'd imagine that all three of us would certainly like to do that. And whatever's practically possible we'll certainly consider.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Archeologists report finding oldest Hebrew Text

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Archaeologists in Israel said on Thursday they had unearthed the oldest Hebrew text ever found, while excavating a fortress city overlooking a valley where the Bible says David slew Goliath.

Experts have not yet been able to decipher fully the five lines of text written in black ink on a shard of pottery dug up at a five-acre (two-hectare) archaeological site called Elah Fortress, or Khirbet Qeiyafa.

The Bible says David, later to become the famed Jewish king, killed Goliath, a Philistine warrior, in a battle in the Valley of Elah, now the site of wineries and an Israeli satellite station.

Archaeologists at Hebrew University said carbon dating of artifacts found at the fortress site, about 20 km (12 miles) southwest of Jerusalem, indicate the Hebrew inscription was written some 3,000 years ago, predating the Dead Sea Scrolls by 1,000 years.

They have been able to make out some of its words, including "judge," "slave" and "king."

Yosef Garfinkel, the lead archaeologist at the site, said the findings could shed significant light on the period of King David's rule over the Israelites.

"The chronology and geography of Khirbet Qeiyafa create a unique meeting point between the mythology, history, historiography and archaeology of King David," Garfinkel said.

(Writing by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Sami Aboudi)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Catholic Answers Voters Guide to be in USA TODAY

Huge applause for Karl Keating and all who supported C.A. in getting their Voters Guide as a Full Page ad in the USA Today on Oct. 30th, 2008.

Catholic Carnival #196 is up

This weeks Carnival can be found here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Voting Obligation Revisited

How self-righteous would I be to make a conscious decision to avoid a scriptural instruction?

I read a friends Blog about not voting for President, specifically due to the precarious and morally flawed Candidates put in front of us. I pondered his post and logic for a good week, and while I have met others (RC and Protestants) who are taking the same position, and I myself cannot intellectually embrace either Candidate fully, I have to vote.

It is a scriptural instruction from Christ.

Whether its a perceived forgone conclusion or not...futile or of 2 evils or not.

I am 99.999% with his feeling on both candidates, truly, we are in sync...except for the voting part. I sincerely believe the intentional "act" of voting in accordance with your developed Catholic or Christian Conscience, in any best case or worst case scenario, is deserving of merit.

Look at last Sundays reading from Mt 22:21 = "....Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar
and to God what belongs to God."

In context, when amplified, He is telling us to perform our Citizenship obligations, period. And perform our Holy Obligations, period.

Nothing less.

Do you think that the last 4 Sunday Gospel Readings, (all of them were Jesus narrated Parables/Analogies), are "coincidentally" aligned with this Election decision process? I don't. I see the Fairness doctrine, Social responsibility of Exodus and Thes., and Christs instructions to carry out our moral and political duties in all of those scriptures as immaculately timed prior to this Election event. Imperfect candidates are no excuse for avoiding the obligation for me, (although it is convenient, I must admit).

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Security Zone of Matthew 6

I remain in perpetual amazement of how densely packed the first few pages of Matthew is with soul food. While in Ch. 5 the Sermon on the Mount begins with all its gravity, then 6:9 giving us the Our Father prayer instruction... its Matthew 6:25-34 that feeds me the staple of security to be discovered in the Word, Jesus and the Father.

Imagine the wind of freedom felt by the disciples as these words penetrated:

"...27 and which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life (or to his stature)..."

Here is God made man, conveying how to live entirely fearless, by following his word. Ch 5 through 7 has more spiritual tools than any human can perfect...yet we get a glimpse, a flash of the gift of attainable joy from this obedience. The Father in his will choosing to support us in every way an earthly Father must and more, by articulating loud and clear....follow Him and be not afraid. Is there a price? Only a perceived one. It is, in all actuality, how we were made to live, once our Conscience is formed and refined.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Protestant Pastors Self Deception

So, the a-C has a weekly 9-hole evening golf outing on a weeknight during the summer. He covertly pairs me with a man who I will refer to as "Pastor Smith". I thought "this ought to be interesting...."

After some small talk through the first hole, I find out this man was a practicing Attorney for 20 some years and now moonlights as an Assistant Pastor at an Evangelical Bible Church. Once I let that sink in, I knew what territory to cover in discussing theology with him.

I asked him what denomination he was a part of and got no eye contact. He seemed a bit agitated so I volunteered I was Catholic. Here's how it went from there:

PS - That's nice....
CJ - So whats your view of Catholicism Pastor?
PS - Are you a practicing Catholic?
CJ - Fully...and so is my entire family.
PS - Its fundamentally flawed.
CJ - Hows that?
PS - Well, there is so much reliance on extra-biblical material...
CJ - Like what?
PS - Mary.
CJ - Mary is extra- biblical?
PS - I mean the rituals performed and worship of things that are stated in the bible emphatically NOT to be worshipped.
CJ - Counselor...have you ever been to a Catholic Mass?
PS - Uh, yea long time ago
CJ - Probably celebrated in Counselor, have you any witness evidence or testimony from Catholics that we worship things that are extra-biblical?
PS - Its rather obvious isn't it?
CJ - That would be fact every Mass I attended in the last few years of recent memory, Mary's name is stated liturgically only the Creed compared to Jesus who is named or referred to over 30 times.
PS - You cant tell me Catholics don't worship Mary...
CJ - I certainly can...unless Counselor you are clairvoyant of other Christians motives of prayer.
PS - Praying is Worship.
CJ - If that's true...that would limit our ability to be justified, Counselor, if all we could convey to our Savior is worship. So your evidence to support Catholics worship of Mary is visual. Have you heard the words of a Catholic in prayer stating "we worship you Mary"?
PS - Its implied.
CJ - You have a weak case here Counselor.

I stopped pushing hard at that point and allowed the golf to dominate our conversation. He did not return to any religious talk from that point on. I imagine my taking the courtroom approach for case building lead to a more adversarial and less ecumenical mood. My motive for that was driven by knowing this Pastors Church hands out Anti-Catholic attack literature by James McCarthy. Hope he has more to think about at a minimum.

Friday, October 3, 2008

We Interupt this Blogcast #3

This Blog has little political content, while I do follow the state of our political and economic planet, the personal context of Catholicism and Life is pre-dominant here.

Unless both subjects cannot avoid each other effectively. Enter Robert Baer.

I heard this interview on NPR’s Fresh Air this morning and understood his non-partisan insight and potential prediction of the reality of what may effect our American lives in and after the November Election, regarding Mid-East Oil, Energy, Credit, Isreal and Palestine.

While I see one Presidential Candidate advocating straight diplomacy with Iran, and anothers cautioning that would be courting the insane, Ex CIA operative Robert Baer lays out why the U.S. needs to sit down with our enemies, or potential enemies, and hear the signals of their intent inside their messages of deception. Or, if not, listen to our recent intelligence on Irans plan to dominate the mid-east and why we know it. While no one is 100% right on this complex situation, I believe Robert Baer has a warning and strategy and multiple scenarios of the future that are all dependant on this mid-east pivotal country of Iran. Whether or not the U.S. views this reality though Isreals lens of understanding, this issue is volatile enough to be a priority of Diplomacy or Intelligence or both. Check out the interview.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Catholic Carnival #192


Check it out...lots of providential conversion themes this week.