Church all steamed up over sauna confessional

Vienna’s archdiocese has ruled that a confessional — the box-like structure where Catholic believers confess their sins — cannot be turned into a sauna.

Bidding on a confessional described on eBay as ideal for conversion into a one-person sauna, a small bar or a children’s playhouse was ended when the archdiocese stepped in, AP reports. [Read more...]

Catholics angry as celebrities hijack rosary beads as a fashion statement

Catholics are outraged after discovering rosary beads – sacred jewellery used in prayer – are being flaunted as a fashion statement.

The strings of beads with a cross are now as likely to be found in cheap jewellery stores as they are in a church, with fashion franchise Diva selling three styles of a rosary necklace with a silver cross pendant for $14.99 each.

The beads are a hit with teenagers, but national president for the Catholic Women’s League Australia, Madge Fahy, said it was inappropriate for people to wear them as jewellery. [Read more...]

Real exorcist tells congregation he’s like a prosecutor

As a fully authorized exorcist of the Catholic Church, Fr. Thomas Euteneuer has performed dozens of full exorcisms over the last seven years.

He recently told a congregation in Florida the ritual is methodical and precise: The demon is required to name itself, indicate the sign of its departure and state what retains it in the possessed body.

“It’s kind of like a prosecution in a courtroom a criminal interrogated in the name of Jesus,” he said. “You work patiently and undo whatever has been done one by one.” [Read more...]

Married father of four ordained as Catholic priest

A married man was ordained as a Catholic priest in the southern German city of Regensburg this week in a rare exception to the church’s rules of celibacy for men of the cloth, the diocese reported.

Peter Kemmether, a 62-year-old father of four children, took part in the ceremony led by Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller on Tuesday evening in the Bavarian city.

He had been a protestant pastor, but converted to Catholicism, The Local reports. [Read more...]

Police: Conn. priest stole $1M for male escorts

A Roman Catholic priest in Connecticut was charged Tuesday with stealing $1.3 million in church money over seven years to use for male escorts, expensive clothing and luxury hotels and restaurants.

The Rev. Kevin J. Gray, former pastor at Sacred Heart/Sagrado Corazon Parish in Waterbury, was arrested and charged with first-degree larceny. [Read more...]