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Culture Clips

When the Pope Met 'Ted'

What do the leader of the Catholic Church and the profane stuffed star of the Ted franchise have to do with each other? Leave it to actor Mark Wahlberg to connect them. Walhberg, the human star of Ted and Ted 2, was emceeing the World Meeting of Families event in Philadelphia, where the Pope was sitting onstage with him. After a 14-year-old singer from the Keystone State Boychoir performed a solo, he hugged Walhberg. The actor then announced, "That was truly the voice of an angel. But then he whispered in my ear that he loved the movie Ted. And I told him that was not appropriate for a boy of his age. Holy Father, please forgive me. I've always hoped that the good Lord has a sense of humor when it comes and pertains to many of the movies that I've made." [usatoday.com, 9/27/15; people.com, 9/27/15]

Seattle QB Still Talking About God and Football

"I know for me, I'm just grateful that God has given me the opportunity to play the great game of football. I'm so grateful. I know that one of the things my parents always taught me is just continue to remain humble in your victories and your losses. And I think that's just the thing that I'm grateful for, just to be able to play the game of football. I love it."

— Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. It's not the first time Wilson has talked about how he thinks God thinks about football. Before the Super Bowl last year, Wilson said, "I think God cares about football. I think God cares about everything He created." [espn.go.com, 9/25/15]

'Marriage is Insane'

When actor Matt Damon (The Martian, Interstellar, The Bourne Identity) was recently asked by Entertainment Tonight to comment on his good friend Ben Affleck's marriage woes, Damon refused to take the bait, saying he "wouldn't give anybody any advice" about relationships. But he was willing to talk about his own matrimonial experience. "I think marriage is insane," he said. "It's a crazy idea but I love being married to my wife. So I wouldn't tell anybody else about their relationship. But I'm lucky I found my wife. And I guess maybe, if there's any secret ... it's to feel lucky." Then he added, "So much of it is out of your hands. I mean, I just had that conversation with my father this weekend. He says the same thing to me. Say it's God's grace, is what he said. Because you just don't get lucky." [etonline, 8/19/15]

Marriage Meets Ashley Madison

The fallout from the Ashley Madison data breach continues to cascade. R.C. Sproul Jr. was suspended from Ligonier Ministries after his name was discovered on the list of users. And John Gibson, pastor for the First Southern Baptist Church in Pearlington, Miss., killed himself after he was similarly exposed.

Still, the infidelity-enabling app has reported that its subscriber base continues to grow. By the end of August, owner Avid Life Media reported "hundreds of thousands" of new members and specifically stated that nearly 90,000 women signed up for the service in a single week after the leak. [salon.com, 9/9/15; nbcnews.com, 9/1/15; msn.com, 8/31/15]

Robots Reinforce Human Objectification

Several companies are on the verge of marketing "sex robots," which will be essentially sex dolls that can interact with their buyers in more humanlike ways. Some observers are alarmed by this new product category. "When I first started looking into the subject I thought, 'Oh, sex robots, that's harmless and perhaps these robots would reduce demand for real women and children,'" said Kathleen Richardson, a robot anthropologist and ethicist at De Montfort University in Leicester, U.K. "But then as I researched the subject more I found that the opposite was true — that rather than reduce the objectification of women, children and also men and transgender people, these robots would contribute and reinforce their position in society [as objects]. ... We have the real use of women and children in the real world [as sex objects], and this kind of paraphernalia reinforces that message." [nbcnews.com, 9/15/15]