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22nd January, 2019. Fill the gap in the liturgical story

Austrian theologian urges the Vatican to bring back the Feast of the Circumcision

Luke's Gospel, chapter 2 verse 21, tells the story of the circumcision and naming of Christ. As Jewish law reqires, it took place on the 8th day after his birth (7 days later in more modern reckoning). This puts it on the 1st of January, and for centuries Christian churches have celebrated this occasion. Most still do, but for some reason in 1969 the Catholic Church renamed the day the Solemnity of the Mother of God. Now Viennese theologian Jan-Heiner Tück, writing in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (the premier Swiss quality newspaper) urges the Church to reinstate the original name and "fill the gap" in the Church's commemoration of the life of Christ. He also points out that by reminding us that Jesus was Jewish it represents a stand against racist extremists on both sides of politics.

Will Tück get his way? He refers in the article to the visit of Pope Francis to the Roman Synagogue in 2016. The Pope was asked "didn't he want to reintroduce the feast of the Circumcision of the Lord", and answered: "A good idea". So maybe it will happen.

Read the story in the Vatican News (in German, but a nice photo of the Pope in the Great Synagogue). If someone with better German than mine cares to track down the story in Neue Zürcher Zeitung I'll add the link. Note that Vatican News spells the newspaper's name incorrectly.

Thanks to Tom for the story.

21st January, 2019. Hebrew Dogs, anyone?

Wrap up your kosher sausage in a nice blanket.

Hebrew Dogs OK, I thought that this was a joke but regular correspondent JH assures me that this is a real product and available at his local Wal-Mart. Maybe US readers can check to see if I'm having my third leg pulled here!

11th January, 2019. Making replacement foreskins for circumcised men from ...

... er, circumcised foreskins.

They say when the going gets weird the weird get going and you really can't get weirder than this. You already know you are in fruit-loop territory with their depiction of the (detached) foreskin which includes the 'ridged band', a structure which is only visible to anti-circumcision activists. (It was invented by Cold and Taylor in 1999 based on a Japanese ritual drawing and, well, subsequent dealers in fake news don't need to look for themselves, do they?)

The entire paper is full of alt-facts, but the basis of it is the idea of stripping a human foreskin of its cells, leaving just a scaffold of connective tissue. This can then be repopulated with cells from the recipient (actually they didn't get that far, in fact nowhere near) and used to provide a replacement foreskin for a circumcised male. So you are circumcising one man to give a foreskin to another. I don't get it - if circumcision destroys sexual satisfaction, as they claim, where does this get you?

The paper is open access at Pub Med Central.

Thanks to JH for the link.

1st January, 2019. When the circumcision rate reaches 180%, what do you say?

Circumcised ghosts stalk Kenya.

It would seem that the VMMC program in Kenya is being rorted, and more circumcisions are being carried out than there are men and boys available. That way the clinics get more money. At least ghost circumcisions don't injure anyone!

Read the story in the Kenyan Standard.

Thanks to Tom for the story.

1st January, 2019. Gomco or Mogen?

Seems there's nothing to choose between them.

It appears that virtually all hospital neonatal circumcisions in the US are done either with the Mogen or the Gomco clamp, and both are roughly equal in popularity. (Curiously, it was reported that a 2010 lawsuit had led the Mogen company to be wound up - see our Instruments and Techniques page. Presumably someone else has taken over manufacture. Two consecutive short papers in Hospital Pediatrics present results from thousands of neonatal circumcisions. Both are free downloads. There is also a summary in Medscape - this is free but requires you to sign up.

With both devices, the only complication reported was bleeding and in almost all cases this was controlled either by pressure or a topical anti-bleeding agent. (Bear in mind here that with most other circumcision techniques bleeding is not a complication but inevitable). 0.47% of circumcisions required revision, either for excess prepuce remaining or adhesions - many adhesions were resolved non-surgically. Conclusions - circumcision in the US is a safe procedure whichever device is used.

Thanks to Tom for the story.

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