Odds & Ends
Dateline: Italy—According to a report in the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper, the Pope has evicted about 20 “loose living” monks from Rome’s Santa Croce monastery, home to some of the Catholic Church’s holiest relics. “An inquiry found evidence of liturgical and financial irregularities as well as lifestyles that were not in keeping with that of a monk,” said Father Ciro Benedettini, a Vatican spokesperson. The Basilica di Santa Croce in Gerusalemme—which houses relics said to include nails and splinters from the cross, thorns from Jesus’ crown, and a bone from the finger of St. Thomas—remains open, but its monks are in the process of being transferred. Back in 2009, the Vatican fired the monastery’s flamboyant abbot, Father Simone Fioraso, a former fashion designer. Fioraso attracted a cult following among Rome’s aristocratic crowd and even prompted a visit from Madonna in 2008. The church has also hosted lavish parties and a performance by Anna Nobili, a stripper-turned-nun famous for her “holy dance.”
Dateline: England—Governors at The Quest Academy in Croydon, South London, have banned students from engaging in any form of physical contact with one another—including high fives, handshakes and hugs. The Sun newspaper reports that the “no contact” rule was imposed to prevent fighting or bullying. Several students have already run afoul of the new restrictions. Dayna Chong, 15, was sent to detention for hugging a female friend. “I was just hugging my friend in the morning to say hello and I had to sit on my own and miss out on break because of it,” said Chong. Chong’s mother called the policy “extreme” and “ludicrous.” Sarah Hope, whose 15-year-old daughter got busted for a high-five, told the newspaper, “It’s a very, very cold policy. I think it’s sad that the children are missing out on this sort of closeness.” A Quest Academy spokesperson told the press, “Physical contact between students is not allowed because it is often associated with poor behavior or bullying and can lead to fighting.”
Dateline: England—Meanwhile, over in Warwickshire, teachers at Nathaniel Newton Infant School have been slammed for reprimanding two boys after they were caught playing “soldier.” The primary school, which serves around 180 students ages 4 through 7, said the boys were caught making pistol shapes with their fingers. Officials called the role-play “unacceptable” and branded it threatening behavior. Parents, in turn, have called the school’s reaction “outrageous.” In defending the policy, a school spokesperson told London’s Daily Mail, “Far from stopping children from playing, we actively encourage it. However, a judgment call has to be made if playing turns into unacceptable behavior.” The father of one of the two boys was quoted as saying, “It’s ridiculous. How can you tell a 7-year-old boy he cannot play guns and armies with his friends?”
Dateline: Florida—Around 2 a.m. on Saturday, May 28, a car plowed completely through the Port Richey home of John Rauchbauer. The car, driven by 32-year-old Crystal Leija, came through the front wall of the home, passed through the living room, the dining room and the bedroom of Rauchbauer’s two sons before penetrating the back wall. According to the St. Petersburg Times, Rauchbauer was unable to locate his sons Tyler, 10, and Hayden, 4, who were asleep in their bedroom at the time. He shouted for them amid the dust and debris, at which point Leija reportedly emerged from her 1998 Honda and offered to help. “If you give me $1,000, I’ll help you find your kids,” Rauchbauer reported her saying. He ordered her back into her car and told her to wait for the police. Tyler was found inside the house, covered in debris. Hayden, meanwhile, had been carried out into the back yard on his bed by the car’s front grill. Fortunately, neither boy was seriously injured. “I don’t know how those boys made it,” Rauchbauer told the Times. Authorities later determined Leija left the Lane Glo bowling alley in Port Richey earlier in the evening, hitting a parked car as she left and running over two fences and striking several mailboxes along Sterling Lane before ramming her vehicle through the Rauchbauer house. Rauchbauer’s brother-in-law, who was sleeping in the living room at the time of the crash, suffered multiple cuts and scratches. Leija was arrested and charged with driving under the influence, causing serious bodily injury, DUI causing personal injury, DUI causing damage to property or person, and leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage.