Insuring a Virgin Birth

Plus: 1,000 skeletons found in catacombs, paying for church attendees, and more articles from online sources around the world.

1. Immaculate Conception insurance

Three British women are going to be pinching their pennies if they have the (un)fortunate surprise of giving birth to the Messiah, the BBC reports.

Uproar from the Catholic church convinced to end an unusual insurance policy—the women, who have each been paying 100 euros a year since 2000, would receive 1,000,000 euros if one of them was to have a virgin birth.

The company matter-of-factly explains: "The people were concerned about having sufficient funds if they immaculately conceived. It was for caring for and bringing up the Christ."

When will Las Vegas start accepting bets on the date of the Second Coming?

2. Bring out your dead

1,000 skeletons were found buried together in one of Rome's oldest catacombs. "Mystery surrounds why so many bodies were neatly piled together in the complex network of underground burial chambers, which stretch for miles under the city," reports the Scotsman.

Raffaella Giuliani, chief inspector of the Vatican's Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology, who is overseeing the dig, said: "What we have discovered is very exciting. Usually, two or three bodies were put into holes dug out of the rock in the catacombs. But we have several rooms filled with skeletons." The skeletons were dressed in fine robes, many of which had gold thread in them, and they were wrapped in sheets and covered with lime.
"This was quite common with early Christian burials, as it was a form of hygiene, and the corpses were also anointed with balsamic spices. Again, this all shows a great amount of dignity and respect given to the dead."
There are several catacombs beneath Rome dating back 2,000 years and they were used as burial places by early Christians. They were ...
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