It's Halloween, and we love ghost stories. Word On Fire Research Assistant Jack Thornton reveals our top ten favorite rumored Catholic hauntings in the U.S.
Well, it’s Halloween: a time when folks dress up in all manner of costumes while enjoying candy, parties, scary movies and ghost stories. The ghost stories in particular arouse the interest and wonder of many a lively imagination at this time of year. All over the world, stories of hauntings, spirits and monsters, including some supposed hauntings of Catholic locations, frighten and delight believers everywhere, especially during the Halloween season. Some rumors are scary and mysterious. Others, not so much.
In the spirit of Halloween, and in no apparent order, here are our ten favorite rumors of Catholic hauntings in the U.S.
1) Our Lady Queen of Peace Cemetery
Royal Palm Beach, FL
The ghosts of those buried there supposedly haunt this Catholic cemetery. One account says, “Strange fogs have been reported, described as looking like individual strands of something moving within the fog. Appearing and disappearing. The mist seems to form in to something, very dense. You could see it moving all different directions. Noticeable temperature change, uneasy feelings, and feelings of felt like someone was right behind you. Then it feels like whatever it this is trying to grab your arm.”
Or, to be more accurate and realistic, “I was in a cemetery one night and it was foggy. The End...”
St. Hildegard von Bingen and St. John of Avila were recently named the 34th and 35th Doctors of the Church. Word On Fire Research Assistant Jack Thornton discusses Pope Benedict XVI's announcement.
On October 7th, Pope Benedict XVI marked the beginning of the Synod on the New Evangelization by declaring St. Hildegard von Bingen and St. John of Avila as the 34th and 35th Doctors of the Church. The fact that only 35 figures have been named as Doctors of the Church indicates how significant this announcement is. The title of Doctor of the Church is bestowed on those whose writings the Church recognizes as particularly important in the development of doctrine and theology.
St. Hildegard was born the tenth child in a noble family in what is now Germany around the year 1098. From a very early age she experienced mystical visions, which continued throughout her life. She became an anchorite nun at a young age where she learned Latin, and studied Scripture, music and natural science. She eventually became the prioress of her community and, from all accounts, managed her community with grace and wisdom. She wrote extensively on natural science and medicine, composed poetry, morality plays and some of the more influential musical pieces of the early classical tradition, in addition to eventually writing accounts of her visions, Scriptural exegesis and theological treatises.
At first she was reluctant speak of or write about her visions since she worried that they were illusions or did not come from God, but eventually she dictated some of them to her confidants. Later she received encouragement to write from St. Bernard of Clairvaux and Pope Eugenius III, and, out of humble respect for their approval and support, she wrote several great theological works, spoke publicly on a number of topics all over Germany, and corresponded with many of the most important clergy and political figures in Europe. One topic of particular interest, that was especially evident in her lectures and letters, was her call for a reform of the clergy...
"Babel," the new Mumford & Sons album, was released this week to much anticipation. Word On Fire Research Assistant Jack Thornton reviews the album and discusses what it has to say about grace and redemption.
It’s hard to imagine any real problems or hardships that result from creating a critically acclaimed hit record that catapults a band from obscurity into immense popularity. One issue that certainly accompanies such success, however, is the question of how to adequately follow that album with other valuable records. When a debut album appears that everyone knows, most people like, and many love, there is a lot pressure on the musicians to produce a record that can live up to the quality of the previous one.
You can feel that pressure when listening to Mumford & Sons’ second record, "Babel." The London group’s debut, "Sigh No More," skyrocketed them to the forefront of the indie rock scene, and the folksy bluegrass style they used to get there only made them all the more appealing to the masses starving for quality music in an age where Auto-Tune and bubblegum party anthems rule the pop charts. Mumford & Sons stay within their comfort zone in "Babel," and reuse the formula that made their debut such a success: lyrics about love, grace and flaws, with a fair amount of religious and literary references thrown in, sung with throaty soul by singer-songwriter Marcus Mumford over a popping, bouncing medley of bass thumps, ferocious acoustic guitar strums and dancing banjos.
The group has taken some critical heat for essentially repeating the sound of "Sigh No More," and it’s easy to see why. "Babel" is a perfect example of the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mentality, and every track sounds like a slightly more polished version of hits from their debut. It would have been nice to see where these talented young men can go creatively, but ultimately Mumford & Sons didn’t need to drastically change their sound. They didn’t need to make their "Kid A" or their "Sgt. Pepper." Not yet. They’re a young band just discovering success, and their decision to take a little bit more time to hone their current sound is just fine — as long as the songs hold up. And they do. Even though the album isn’t groundbreaking or experimental — and perhaps not quite as good as some of the highlights from "Sigh No More" — the melodies are often lovely and always exciting...