Catholic Mass – Obotafumeiro Fri, 14 Jan 2022 14:44:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Catholic Mass – Obotafumeiro 32 32 Steven Gahagan Obituary (1965 – 2022) – Davenport, IA Fri, 14 Jan 2022 14:23:24 +0000

Steven J. Gahagan

July 22, 1965 – January 15, 2022

DAVENPORT-A Memorial Mass to celebrate the life of Steven J. Gahagan, 56, of Davenport, will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, January 15, 2022 at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Davenport. The family will welcome friends on Saturday from 10 a.m. until mass time in the assembly area at the church. To honor Steve’s wishes, the cremation rite has been granted and burial will take place at a later date. Memorials can be returned to his family. Halligan-McCabe-DeVries Funeral Home is helping the family make arrangements.

Steve passed away suddenly on Sunday, January 9, 2022 at his residence in Davenport.

Steven John Gahagan was born July 22, 1965 in Davenport, the son of James J. and Barbara (Coughlin) Gahagan, Sr. He was married to Christine Zaerr. She preceded him in death on April 28, 2003.

Steve had worked for many years at the Downtown Deli. He enjoyed reading, cooking, and was an avid Cubs and Notre Dame fan. He enjoyed spending time with his family and friends and camping at Scott County Park all the time.

Survivors include her children: Shawn (Amanda VanSant) Gahagan, Davenport, Kelly (Tirrany) Gahagan, Bettendorf and Kali (Garrett) Wright, Lone Tree; granddaughters: Sophia, Natalie, Madalynn and Olivia; his siblings: Deb Behan, Cynthia (JB) Bromwell, Michael Gahagan and Alan (Sherry) Gahagan, David Gahagan and Elizabeth (Artez) Craig, all of Davenport, and James (Robin) Gahagan, LeClaire; and many loving nieces, nephews and extended family.

Steve was predeceased by his parents, wife and sister-in-law, Jennifer Jones-Gahagan.

Online condolences can be expressed by visiting

Published by Quad-City Times on January 14, 2022.

Funeral mass for the Trappist P. Léandre Dosch Wed, 12 Jan 2022 18:36:52 +0000

Friday, January 14, 2022

By Marie Mischel

Intermountain Catholic

A Christian burial mass for Father Leander Edward Dosch, OCSO was celebrated on January 7th at Villa St. Joseph. The celebrant was Fr. Lourduraj Gally Gregory. The concelebrants were Mgr. Colin Bircumshaw, vicar general; Father Kenneth Vialpando, vicar of the clergy; Mgr. Michael Winterer, a retired priest from the diocese; and Father Patrick Boyle, OCSO.

Among the participants were Fr Leander’s niece and her husband, Gwen and Gill Fagnou; Father Casimir Bernas, OCSO; and many friends who received from him the sacrament of confession, spiritual direction and other ministries, as Fr. Gally noted in his homily.

One of fr. Leander’s greatest virtue was loyalty, Father dit Gally. “His dedication to his religious life and to the OCSO family through his priesthood, which he cherished so much, was an example that we can all learn from. “

Bro. Leander was born on February 1, 1925 on a farm near Annaheim, Saskatchewan, Canada, the first of seven children to the family of Henry and Mary (Meyer) Dosch.

In her eulogy, Gwen Fagnou said she had a special bond with her uncle as he was ordained a priest on June 3, 1950 and she was born a few weeks later. Twenty-one years later, upon his return from missionary work in Brazil, he presided over the wedding of her and her husband.

A few months before her death, she asked him about her vocation to the priesthood, and he sent her a written answer, which she read at the funeral mass. He says there that he was attracted to the priesthood from his childhood. In fourth grade he memorized the Latin answers to mass so he could be a choir servant. After receiving the sacrament of Confirmation, he attended residential school at St. Peter’s Benedictine Abbey in Muenster, Saskatchewan. After high school, he entered the Benedictine novitiate of the abbey; 12 years later he was sent to St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minn.

After his ordination he taught for 10 years at St. Peter’s College and also participated in parish work. In 1960 he became chaplain at a girls’ academy in Bruno, Saskatchewan. Eight years later he traveled to Maceio, Brazil with a missionary team and worked there for three years. He returned to Canada in 1971 and was posted as a hospital chaplain in Humbolt, Saskatchewan.

He repeatedly asked to be transferred to a Trappist monastery, but his abbot refused his requests. Then, in the early 1970s, he completed a month-long retreat at Holy Trinity Abbey in Huntsville, Utah. [now closed]. Subsequently, he again asked his abbot for permission to transfer. This time his request was granted. In August 1975, at the age of 50, he joined Huntsville Abbey, where he served as novice master for 10 years. In addition to writing and publishing several monographs, he was abbot for five years. Then, at age 70, he became archivist of the abbey. At the age of 90, he moved to St. Joseph Villa in Salt Lake City, where he used a Facebook page to evangelize. He died on January 2, 2022, at the age of 96.

The church is not a museum Mon, 10 Jan 2022 22:00:28 +0000


I recently had the chance to take an after Christmas trip to France, a place that I have long admired for its Catholic culture and intellectual heritage. Although most of my time was spent among the museums, gardens and boulevards of Paris, a priority destination for me was the city of Lisieux, where the very famous Saint Thérèse had spent most of her childhood, lived as a Carmelite before dying. in 1897 in her twenties, and is buried today.

I have had a devotion to Thérèse for several years and I felt that I had come to know her personally by prayerfully reading her spiritual writings and asking her to pray for me. So naturally, it was a great thrill to be in the physical places where the “Little Flower” had lived her life and put into practice her “Little Way”: Les Buissonnets, her childhood home, the site of so many. important events for her. young life as described in his “Story of a Soul”; Saint-Pierre de Lisieux Cathedral, where Thérèse and her family went to mass and where she went to confession for the first time; and even the enormous and ornate basilica built in her honor on a hill overlooking the city, where a large relic of her is on display and the remains of her parents (Saints Louis and Zellie Martin) are buried.

But at the Carmel of Lisieux, the convent where Thérèse had lived, I was certainly disappointed. On the one hand, the chapel where Thérèse is said to have participated in mass and where most of her remains are buried today has been considerably modernized, looking nothing like what she had during her lifetime. Another disappointment: you can’t even access the cloister where she lived to see these pivotal places in her life as a Carmelite sister, such as her cell, the infirmary where she died, or the laundry room where she charmingly wrote her words. splashing. face with dirty water by another sister and enduring it all with joy, an example of her “Little Way” in action.

In a sense, I felt like I was deprived of access to an important historical and spiritual place. I had spent hours walking through the Louvre in Paris looking at incredible works of art and artefacts from the Persian, Egyptian and Greek empires, so why couldn’t I walk into the places where this saint who means so much to me had lived a life of holiness?

It turns out that the Carmel of Lisieux has nothing to do with the Louvre. It is not a space for the exhibition of inert artefacts, but a living and active Carmelite community. As the convent says on its website, “The Carmel of Lisieux is not a museum, but the place of life, silence, prayer of a community, which explains why the interior cannot be visited” (although a virtual tour of the important places of La vie de Thérèse is available on the Carmel website).

The fact that pilgrims cannot enter the place where Saint Teresa lived as a cloistered nun is in fact a good thing, an affirmation that the life she lived over 100 years ago is still alive today. ‘hui. After all, only a dead thing can be exhibited; a living being is active, and cannot be confined to a case. Even the fact that the chapel has been modified (but perhaps according to questionable aesthetic and liturgical preferences!) Is also a sign that life in Carmel of Lisieux did not stop at the last breath of Thérèse.

These factors are also an affirmation that, in the end, what was most significant about Saint Thérèse of Lisieux was not Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, but the Holy Spirit that she allowed to act so powerfully in her. She allowed the Lord to enter her life in the highest degree, and through this act of littleness, Jesus was able to reach so many people. The same Lord is alive and active today, in the Carmel of Lisieux, and in his whole Church.

Of course, there is a particular danger in a place like France, the “eldest daughter” of the Church but also a deeply secular place today, that the Church becomes something like a museum, a piece of story that is no longer especially relevant other than giving people a sense of historical identity and grounding. And for many French people, that’s all the Church is. I think that for most Parisians, the Sainte Chapelle church does indeed play the same role as the Medieval History Museum in Cluny.

In the Twin Cities, Catholicism is certainly not as old as it is in France, but I imagine various Catholic churches may appear to be little more than relics of the past, in places like northeast Minneapolis or even our beloved Saint-Paul en Saint-Paul cathedral, to lay passers-by.

But strangely enough, I think even as practicing Catholics there is a danger of having some sort of “museum” relationship with our faith and its physical attributes. The Tradition of our Church – what has been handed down to us by the Apostles and then protected and nurtured by the Church since then – is not primarily a matter of “nostalgia”, of doing things as they were done ago. over 60 years so that we have a “stronger” Catholic identity and a greater sense of historical grounding, adrift as we are in the uprooting of postmodern American life.

Tradition, liturgical or otherwise, consists above all in meeting and being animated by the same Spirit who worked in the life of our Catholic ancestors. As Yves Congar, a 20th century French theologian who wrote the important “Tradition and Traditions,” said, “Tradition (is not) simply transmission followed by passive mechanical reception; it is a question of making present in a human conscience a saving truth. He adds that Tradition is “the continuous presence of the past in the present”, not in the way in which the Louvre presents ancient history to us today, but as “the continuous presence of those events which provoke the religious relationship of ‘a man with God. . “

In other words, Tradition does not root us so much in the past as it brings us today these living events of the past – most notably the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

If a nostalgic recovery of elements of the liturgical and cultural heritage of the Church is not directed towards this real encounter, it risks locking us into the museum. But if our reception of Tradition is based primarily on a desire to meet the living God, then all the beneficial secondary elements – a strong identity, a sense of historical grounding – will come with it.

To conclude, I will briefly share another highlight of my trip to France: my visit to Chartres Cathedral. The 800-year-old Gothic masterpiece houses some of the most impressive stained glass windows in the world. Many writers and artists have spoken of how their lives were transformed upon encountering the beauty of Chartres. It was mind-blowing to see it all alongside other visitors, many of whom I imagine were perhaps not even religious. But the most important and the most invigorating part of my visit to Chartres? To discover that an old somewhat disheveled French priest, who was not even wearing the clerical habit, was available to hear my confession, and to have my sins absolved by Jesus Christ.

Liedl writes from the Twin Cities.

Keywords: Carmelite, The church is not a museum, Lisieux, Petit Chemin, Sainte Thérèse

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Church Basketball League celebrates 76 years of getting kids playing Sun, 09 Jan 2022 01:37:23 +0000

FAIRMONT, W.Va. – The Greater Fairmont Council of Churches celebrates 76e year of their basketball league.

Children playing in the Greater Fairmont Council of Churches basketball league (Image WBOY)

Every Saturday and Sunday, teams representing different churches in the area compete in a friendly basketball game at the Barnes Learning Center. The league has 11 teams made up of boys and girls.

All the players are in high school, and officials have said that the league is a good way to get kids playing.

“Lots of good ball players,” said league referee Reverend James Saunders of the league kids. “A lot of the kids don’t even know the game, so it gives them the opportunity to go out and learn the game and the classmates ship with each other. Kids on the east side Kids on the west side of the North Marion’s kids are all getting together, it’s awesome.

Saunder and fellow umpires Dave Tucker, Cedric Harbert, Charles Echols, and Jim Tobin are all certified and follow WVSSAC rules.

Some of the churches represented in the league are Life United Methodist Church, The Baptist Temple, St. Peter’s Roman Catholic, H&H Chapel in Meadowdale, Valley Chapel United Methodist, Walnut Grove, Central Nazarene, Covenant, and Cornerstone Church.

A free kick at the Greater Fairmont Council of Churches basketball league game (Image WBOY)

The League Co-Directors are Reverend Dr Allan Copenhagen and Reverend James Saunders. Reverend DD Meighen helps them out with special help from Travis Oates, Director of the Barnes Learning Center, Guardian Tiger Price and Marion County Assistant Superintendent Andy Neptune.

The league ends in March with a double knockout round to crown a champion.

There is also a junior league of 4e at 8e students with 4 churches involved.

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Sharon L. Harshberger | News, Sports, Jobs Fri, 07 Jan 2022 07:35:48 +0000


Sharon L. Harshberger, 67, in Altoona, died Wednesday at UPMC Altoona after a long illness. She was born in Cheverly, Maryland, daughter of the late William C. and Anna Marie (Sanker) Allshouse.

Sharon married John G. Harshberger on November 18, 1978 at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church.

Surviving is her loving husband, John; one son, Jason Harshberger; and a daughter, Jackye Garman, both of Altoona; four grandchildren: Darrek, Katalena, Nicholas and Hunter; three brothers: Allen (Leslie) Allshouse of Middletown, Del., Gary (Cindy) Allshouse of Airville, Pa., and Scott Allshouse of Potomac, Maryland; three sisters: Karen (Michael) Williamson of Forest Hill, Maryland, Barbara Allshouse and Amy (Jason) Ebersole, both of Altoona; and several nieces and nephews.

She graduated in 1974 from Bishop Guilfoyle High School and a member of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church.

Sharon enjoyed making crafts and working the parish fish fry dinners. She ultimately enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren and attending their sporting events.

Friends will be received from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, January 9, 2022, at The Stevens Mortuary Inc., 1421 Eighth Ave., Altoona, where a vigil for the deceased will be held.

A funeral mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Monday, January 10, 2022, in the Catholic Church of Our Lady of Lourdes with Father James Dugan, celebrant. Interment will be at the Blair Memorial Cemetery.

Condolences can be presented on or on the Stevens Family Funeral Homes Facebook page.

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Victorian Catholic Diocese Convicted Vicarious Child Sexual Abuse in Landmark Decision | Victoria Wed, 05 Jan 2022 04:32:00 +0000

The Catholic Church’s unsuccessful attempt to argue that it was not responsible for a priest’s abuse of a five-year-old, because it took place during after-hours “social” visits , was described as “ruthless” by the survivor and an “affront to common sense” by a judge.

Last month, the Supreme Court of Victoria rendered a judgment the finding that the current Diocese of Ballarat was vicariously responsible for the mistreatment of the boy, who cannot be named, by Father Bryan Coffey in Port Fairy in the early 1970s.

Lawyers for the survivor, Ken Cush & Associates, say the ruling is a historic victory that will help countless others.

Coffey abused the boy during pastoral visits to his home on two separate occasions in 1971.

The critical question in the case was whether Coffey, a deputy pastor, could be considered an official employee of the diocese at the time, thus making him vicariously liable for his actions.

The church argued that Coffey was not a formal employee and therefore could not be held accountable for his actions.

He also said that Coffey’s home visits were “social outings” unrelated to his work for the church.

The judge in the case, Judge Jack Forrest, called the suggestion “sheer nonsense.”

“It is, in my opinion, both inconceivable and an affront to common sense to suggest (as the diocese has said) that these visits to the houses of parishioners and [the survivor’s] the house had no connection with Coffey’s pastoral role in the Church and were simply social outings separate from his role as an assistant priest, ”he said.

The court found that the abuse had occurred and that the diocese was vicariously liable for Coffey’s actions.

Forrest discovered that Coffey was not a formal employee of the church, given the absence of any formal work contracts or arrangements, and the lack of immediate control or supervision by the diocese of his work.

But he found that the diocese was still vicariously responsible for the abuse due to the close nature of the relationship between the bishop, the diocese, and the Catholic community of Port Fairy; the general control of the diocese over the role and duties of Coffey; and the fact that Coffey had a pastoral role in the town, which included home visitation.

The court concluded that the relationship between the survivor, his family, Coffey and the diocese was one of “intimacy and trust imported into the authority of the representative of Christ, personified by Coffey.”

“I am also pleased that Coffey’s role as a priest under the leadership of the diocese has placed him in a position of power and privacy vis-à-vis [the survivor] which allowed him to benefit [the survivor] when he was alone, as he did with other boys, ”he said.

Forrest concluded that the survivor had not proven negligence on the part of the diocese, as there was no evidence that he had actual knowledge of Coffey’s misconduct or any evidence that would allow inference that the diocese should have known of Coffey’s inclinations.

The court awarded the survivor $ 230,000.

In an interview with Guardian Australia, the survivor said the church’s approach to the case caused him great distress.

“They weren’t giving anything,” he said. “They wanted to drag me through this, and they dragged me through this.”

He had been cross-examined for three days and forced to relive painful memories, including the sudden death of both his parents in a car crash in 1985, in a way he felt was unrelated to the case.

The argument that the home visitations were unrelated to Coffey’s priestly work, the survivor said, was “ruthless.”

“It really upset me, because you know I’ve always learned that a priest is a priest, 24 hours a day,” he said. “We always had priests and nuns visiting the house, and the nuns never went out of their way when they came to the house. The priest was never stripped of his clerical bond when he visited the house.

“They just tried to argue to get by.”

Ken Cush & Associates special advocate Sangeeta Sharmin said the ruling, for the first time, provided binding authority that allowed a diocese to be vicariously liable for abuses committed by its priests.

“This verdict, along with the courage our client has shown in fighting for the rights of this five-year-old version of himself, will help countless more victims of religious abuse in the future,” he said. she declared.

“As it should be, because dioceses must take responsibility for the men they have placed in these communities, have asked their congregations and donors to trust, and whom people have turned to for spiritual guidance.

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“The argument can no longer be used as a shield by Catholic institutions, and our efforts to give a voice to victims of abuse ultimately resulted in this landmark decision.”

The church and office of the current Bishop of Ballarat, Paul Bird, have been contacted for a response.

It is not known if the church will appeal.

In Australia, children, young adults, parents and teachers can contact the Child helpline 1800 55 1800, or Courageous heart at 1 800 272 831, and adult survivors can contact Blue Knot Foundation to 1300 657 380. In the United Kingdom, the NSPCC offers support for children on 0800 1111, and for adults affected by a child on 0808 800 5000. The National Association for People Abused in Childhood (Napac) offers assistance to adult survivors on 0808 801 0331. In the United States, call or text Child welfare anti-abuse hotline at 800-422-4453. You can find other sources of help at International child helplines

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]]> Hilda Marie Gordon | News, Sports, Jobs Mon, 03 Jan 2022 05:09:41 +0000

Hilda Marie Gordon, 92, formerly of Altoona, died at Garvey Manor Nursing Home, Hollidaysburg on Sunday following a brief illness. She was born in Altoona, daughter of the late Rudolf and Anna (Schneider) Vorndran. She married Glenn B. Gordon on July 22, 1950, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Altoona.

She is survived by three sons: James (Lois) Gordon and John (Shelley) Gordon, both of Altoona, and Stanley (Yvonne) Gordon of Johnstown; three daughters: Joyce (Dave) Paul of East Freedom, Sandra (Thomas) Hughes of Duncansville and Deborah (Guy) Parrish of Dysart. Hilda is also survived by 23 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; and 11 great-great-grandchildren; one brother, Thomas (Lisa) Vorndran in Texas; sisters: Pauline Marzo, Catherine Vorndran and Christine Betar, all from Altoona; and many nieces and nephews.

Hilda was predeceased by her husband, Glenn, on July 23, 2015; his son, Dennis, on September 13, 2021; brothers, John and Rudolph Vorndran; one sister, Helen Odrechowski; one grandson, Jeffrey Sunderland; and a great-grandson, Thomas Gvozd.

Hilda graduated from Altoona High School and was a life member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Altoona, where she was the Girl Scout troop leader. She was a member of the Bavarian Aid Society, where she served as a waitress for many years, was the club’s first female member, and served as secretary of many bowling leagues for many years. She was also a member of the Unter Uns Society. She enjoyed bowling, board games and cards, doing puzzles, spending time with her family, where she considered all the spouses of children and grandchildren to be her children and grandchildren. She enjoyed her time at Garvey Manor, especially playing bingo there. She will be missed by all who knew and loved her.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Garvey Manor Nursing Home or St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Altoona, in memory of Hilda.

Friends will be received from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, January 4, 2022 at The Stevens Mortuary Inc., 1421 Eighth Ave., Altoona, where a vigil for the deceased will be held. A funeral mass for Hilda will be celebrated at 10 am on Wednesday January 5, 2022, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Altoona, by Fr. Lubomir Strecok. Interment will be in St. Mary’s Cemetery.

Condolences can be presented on or Stevens Family Funeral Homes Facebook.

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Scotland set to forgive thousands of executed witches, 400 years later Sat, 01 Jan 2022 13:00:00 +0000 NORTH BERWICK, Scotland — The wind blew hard one autumn night here in 1589. So much so that King James VI concluded that the witches must have gathered in this fishing town to recall the storm that delayed the arrival of his new wife, the sister of the Danish king.

Much of Europe had succumbed to a mania for witchcraft, just over a hundred years before a similar frenzy swept through the town of Salem, Massachusetts.

King James, later King James I of England and Ireland, personally interviewed many of those who were rounded up and accused of summoning the storm during a late night mass with the devil in Town’s Auld Kirk. He later wrote a bestselling guide on how to spot a witch. William Shakespeare used some of the details of the trials in “Macbeth”.

“Macbeth and the Witches” by Joseph Anton Koch.



Many of the 19 people executed in Salem were cleared in the years following the witch trials, and another group was cleared 20 years ago.

But it is only now that legislation is passed by the Scottish Parliament to pardon the thousands of women who were trapped in the Great Scottish Purge, including some who were tortured to death in the witch trials from North Berwick.

In total, until the repeal of the Witchcraft Law in 1735, some 3,837 people were charged with the crime, the overwhelming majority of whom were women, and about two-thirds were executed, more per capita than everywhere else in Europe.

For activists scrambling to clear their names, this is an important reckoning with Scotland’s past as they contemplate their future in the UK.

“It’s no different than the way Scotland has to come to terms with its role in the transatlantic slave trade,” says Claire Mitchell, a lawyer who, along with teacher and author Zoe Venditozzi, has been asking for a general pardon since launching their “Witches of Scotland” Podcast inspired by #MeToo.

In Edinburgh and other Scottish cities, the purges became part of a larger power struggle during the Reformation.



More than a third of the land in the West Highlands and Islands has been combined into vast estates with money from the slave trade, history professors Iain MacKinnon and Andrew Mackillop found in a recent study. The matter has received increasing attention in recent years, with the University of Glasgow, which profited from the exchange, led the way in offering reparations through donations to research projects at the University of the West Indies.

The push for forgiveness for women killed in witch trials has also been politicized in some quarters. In supporting the candidacy, some critics say the party of Scottish independence leader Nicola Sturgeon is integrating it into a larger assessment of Scotland’s past and potentially its future.

Its importance, however, has been noted elsewhere.

Leo Igwe, a professor at the University of Cape Town, who has worked for years defending women and children against accusations of witchcraft in his home country of Nigeria, says this could give new impetus to abolish the witchcraft crime in many countries.

He and Scottish activists draw parallels between witch hunts in present-day Africa and 16th-century Scotland, from the upheavals of urbanization to the religious fervor behind them. In Edinburgh and other Scottish towns, the purges became part of a larger power struggle between the Catholic Church and Protestant reformers inspired by Martin Luther and John Calvin, with innocent women targeted as a means to demonstrate the holiness of their cause.

“There was an absolute fever to find out who was closest to God,” says Ms. Venditozzi.

Likewise, Mr Igwe has clashed with evangelical pastors in Nigeria who he says have instigated allegations of witchcraft to increase their numbers, sometimes storming his meetings to warn of purges or taking legal action. to silence him.

“There are many different groups competing for legitimacy and relevance and they do this by identifying people as witches,” he says.

Although the United Nations passed a resolution last year calling for an end to witch trials, they continue in parts of the world, from Nigeria and Tanzania to India and Papua New Guinea. Malawi’s Law Commission last week recommended that witchcraft be added to the country’s penal code, baffling human rights activists. “Not to do it is to not recognize what is going on in society,” he said.

In Scotland, it took decades for the witch hunts to end.

A depiction of Satan attracting John Fian, who will later be burned alive at the stake.



In some cases, people have accused their neighbors of the crime to settle scores. Much of the Scottish aristocracy supported the purges, hoping they would hasten the decline of the Catholic Church and allow them to choose from its land holdings, say academics who have studied the phenomenon.

Others, including King James, believed in witches and developed what they thought were scientific methods to detect them, such as pricking them with long needles to see how much they were bleeding. If there was not enough blood, it was taken as a sure sign that the accused was a wizard.

Usually they got the answers they wanted, as they did in the North Berwick hearings, the first big show trial of the time.

The investigation began with Geillis Duncan, a young woman who worked as a maid in the house of David Seton, an ally of the king.

Remains of the Auld Kirk in North Berwick, Scotland, where witches are said to have caused a storm that delayed the arrival of King James VI’s new wife from Denmark.



After learning that she had secretly left the property at night, Seton began questioning her. Weeks later Duncan broke and admitted to invoking the storms that had delayed the King’s ship from Denmark and was part of a plot to kill him.

She named several accomplices who had supposedly gathered near the port of North Berwick to participate in a satanic rite, including Agnes Sampson and a physician, John Fian. They were arrested and tortured, their fingernails broken and shattered. Sampson’s hair was shaved from her head and she was tied up in an iron cage hung on the wall of her cell in Old Tolbooth in the capital, Edinburgh.

King James himself participated in the interrogation. Accounts from the time claimed that Sampson had accurately recounted a private conversation the king had with his wife on their wedding night, proof, they said, that she was indeed a witch.

Agnes Sampson was then strangled and burned near Edinburgh Castle, along with many others, so there was nothing more to bury. Fian was burned alive at the stake.

Agnes Sampson, John Fian and others are pictured during their trial before King James.



A series of other purges swept the country over the next 150 years before the mania began to abate.

One of the last to suffer was Lilias Adie of Torryburn, who was arrested in 1704 and put on trial after a series of unexplained illnesses near her home. About 60 years old at the time, Adie was interrogated for a month, deprived of sleep, before finally confessing to sleeping with the devil.

She was never convicted and died in custody after hanging herself, it was said, before she could be sentenced or given the names of other women.

Lilias Adie was buried on a beach under a thick slab of sandstone, the tide rising and falling twice a day – a void through which it was believed no spirit could pass.

Write to James Hookway at

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Stolen statues in Woodland Park, nativity scene of the NJ church – CBS New York Thu, 30 Dec 2021 19:55:00 +0000

WOODLAND PARK, NJ (CBSNewYork) – A thief targeted a church in New Jersey, stealing pieces of its nursery.

The crime happened Sunday night outside Holy Cross Catholic Church in Woodland Park.

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(credit: Church of the Holy Cross)

The manger is now empty outside the church. The statues of Mary, Joseph and the Baby Jesus have been stolen after being on display every Christmas season for 25 years, CBS2’s Meg Baker reported Thursday.

“Shocking. Why would anyone do such a thing at such a wonderful time of the year?” Said parishioner Fran Cuccinello.

Cuccinello, who also works at the church, said the entire congregation is praying for the return of the statues.

Baker stressed that the Nativity is an important part of the Christmas celebration and had been with the church.

“Yes, it was donated by one of the church members in memory of his mother, who just passed away herself,” Cuccinello said.

Natalie Cyman is the pastor’s daughter.

“I hope the people who stole him do the right thing and bring him back. That’s honestly all we ask, ”Cyman said.

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The vehicle that stopped at the church was filmed.

“It was filmed, but the glare scrambled the license plate,” Cyman said.

Pastor Joseph Cyman said two of the statues, which weigh more than 50 pounds, were loaded into the back of an SUV around 9 p.m. Sunday.

“This video was watched by Woodland Park Police detectives and to their knowledge it is a 2011 white Mercedes,” said Joseph Cyman.

Police and the pastor are asking residents of the neighborhood to check their doorbell cameras to see if they have recovered the license plate.

“We are forgiving Christians, so this is their mistake. And I don’t think it’s worth it for them. It’s of great value to us, so I think they can recognize their mistake and change their hearts and bring it back, ”said Joseph Cyman.

Each of the statues is handcrafted, and together the nativity scene is worth over $ 3,000.

Anyone with information is asked to call the parish office at (201) 247-4832 or (973) 256-4888, or the Woodland Park Police at (973) 345-8111.

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Meg Baker of CBS2 contributed to this report.

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Pastors in East Germany call for shots despite protests Tue, 28 Dec 2021 20:41:50 +0000

The pastor opened the wrought-iron doors of St. Petri’s Church in the German city of Chemnitz and sighed in relief when he saw the long line of people waiting in the cold for coronavirus vaccines.

Together with the parish council, Reverend Christoph Herbst had invited a relief organization and volunteer doctors to organize a Sunday vaccination clinic at the Lutheran Church. The act of community outreach, the pastor knew, might not go well in a part of Germany prone to vaccine resistance, including sometimes violent protests.

“I was very unsure of how people would react to our offer,” Herbst said, welcoming the crowd who were waiting at his Gothic Revival house of prayer. “In our region, there are very different and very polarized views on the measures against the coronavirus in general, on how to fight the pandemic, and especially on vaccinations.

The state of Saxony, where Chemnitz and the city of Dresden are located, has the lowest vaccination rate of the 16 German federal states and one of the highest numbers of COVID-19 cases. Only 60.1% of residents were fully vaccinated by Christmas, compared to a national average of 70.8%. At times during the pandemic, local hospitals had to transfer patients out of state because all intensive care beds were full.

Lutheran pastors across Saxony have used their sermons to promote immunization as the most effective way to prevent serious illness and end the pandemic. Like Herbst, many have opened their churches for clinics this month, hoping that offering jabs in familiar surroundings and without prior registration might persuade some refractors.

“We believe that we have a responsibility that goes beyond ourselves and that we need to do something for society with the resources we have,” Herbst explained. “We are not doctors and we are not professionals. But we have the space and we have volunteers who can organize something like that.

Chemnitz, a city of around 247,000 inhabitants, was known as Karl-Marx-Stadt when it and the rest of Saxony were part of the former communist East Germany. Many local immunization opponents, Herbst said, are worried about possible side effects, but also feel overwhelmed by what they see as excessive pressure from the authorities or general opposition to any measure approved by the government.

Hannelore and Bernd Hilbert, a retired couple from the nearby village of Amtsberg, were among those who sat patiently on a bench waiting to roll up their sleeves at the church in Herbst. They came to be vaccinated because some of their five grandchildren are too young to be vaccinated, and the Hilberts were hoping to see them for Christmas.

“Last year’s Christmas was really sad. We were all alone, ”said Hannelore Hilbert, 70.

“We are grateful to the church for providing these injections,” added her 72-year-old husband, who said he had waited unsuccessfully for the injections at a hospital a few days earlier.

The vast majority of church’s vaccinated on a recent Sunday turned out to have more in common with the couple looking for a reminder than skeptical or frightened members of the community that pastors in Saxony are trying to reach.

Of the 251 vaccines given during the St. Petri Day Clinic, 18 were given to people receiving their first dose. None of them wanted to speak to The Associated Press about why they had changed their minds and decided to be vaccinated almost a year after the start of the mass vaccination campaign in Germany.

A strong minority in Germany has opposed any kind of anti-virus measures since the start of the pandemic. The resistance has grown angrier and more aggressive in recent weeks after the national parliament this month passed a mandate to vaccinate certain professions and most parts of the country resumed some form of restrictions in response to the latest wave of infections.

With mass protests banned in several parts of the country due to the pandemic, opponents of vaccination have rallied for protest “marches” – unauthorized marches staged swiftly through social media. About 30 protesters showed up with torches outside the home of Saxony State Health Minister Petra Koepping one night, shouting insults until police arrived.

Protests have swelled in recent days, sometimes drawing thousands of people. Police arrested several participants for assaulting officers and journalists. Some Lutheran pastors have received criticism and personal threats for their efforts to encourage vaccination.

Herbst said he believed the majority of Saxons supported the country’s vaccination campaign and that far-right groups keen to undermine democracy had co-opted anti-vaccination sentiment, fueling a sentiment already present among residents of the east of Germany to feel left behind 30 years after the country’s reunification.

When parishioners confront him about their opposition to vaccinations, the parish priest says he is trying to listen instead of judging.

“And I listen to things that are sometimes hard to hear,” he said. “I also listen to things that I think belong in the realm of conspiracy theories. I do not confirm them. But it is important that there is a space where we listen to each other without immediately falling into condemnation.

However, the pastor wonders if at this point all the arguments for and against vaccinations have been exchanged and the decision to get vaccinated or not should no longer be left to personal choice.

“There are people who say what is needed now is a democratically legitimized decision by Parliament on a general vaccine mandate,” Herbst said. “It would be a decision that doesn’t work on moral pressure, but rather on the basis of a set of rules that apply to everyone.”

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