Daily Archives: June 5, 2008

Canadian Bishop Threatens David Short

Former Sydney Anglican, the Rev David Short, who has been charged with abandoning Anglican doctrine, has now been threatened with charges of trespassing if he sets foot on the property of St John’s Shaughnessy, in moves which could see more Canadian churches forced from their properties.

Mr Short, who is the rector at St John’s, and all other clergy belonging to the Anglican Network in Canada in the Diocese of New Westminster received letters outlining the charges from Bishop Michael Ingham on Monday.

The letters also advised that the clergy were forbidden to ”˜trespass’ on the church properties, exercise any ministry and remove anything from the properties, including books.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Law & Legal Issues

Pope Benedict XVI on Gregory the Great

In the Homilies on Ezekiel, for example, he energetically underlines this function of the sacred text: To approach Scripture simply to satisfy one’s desire to know, means to give in to the temptation of pride and thus expose oneself to the risk of falling into heresy. Intellectual humility is the main rule for one who seeks to penetrate supernatural realities flowing from the sacred book.

Humility, obviously, does not exclude serious study; but in order to make this result in spiritual profit, consenting to truly enter into the profundity of the text, humility remains indispensable. Only with this interior attitude does one finally truly hear and perceive the voice of God. Moreover, when it is a question of the word of God, understanding is nothing if the comprehension does not lead to action.

Found also in these homilies on Ezekiel is that beautiful expression according to which “the preacher must dip his pen into the blood of his heart; thus he too will be able to reach his neighbor’s ear.” Reading these homilies of his, one sees that Gregory has really written with the blood of his heart and, consequently, speaks to us also today.

Gregory develops this discourse, also, in the Moral Commentary on Job. In keeping with the patristic tradition, he examines the sacred text in the three dimensions of its meaning: the literal dimension, the allegorical dimension and the moral. These are dimensions of the singular meaning of sacred Scripture. But Gregory attributes a clear prevalence to the moral meaning.

In this perspective, he proposes his thought through some significant binomials — know how/do, speak/live, know something/act — in which he evokes the two aspects of human life which should be complementary, but which often end up by being antithetical. The moral ideal, he comments, consists in achieving always a harmonious integration between word and action, thought and commitment, prayer and dedication to the duties of one’s state: This is the road to attain that synthesis thanks to which the divine descends into man and man is raised to identification with God.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Theology

More students borrow from 'bank of family and friends'

The credit crunch has driven dozens of lenders out of the student loan market. But a number of new websites are trying to sidestep the traditional players, facilitating loans between students and anonymous investors or even friends and family members.

The latest start-up player in the so-called “peer-to-peer” student lending market, GreenNote, marks its official launch Wednesday. The timing is intended to attract interest as students piece together financial aid over the summer.

The field is still fairly small but hoping for sharp seasonal increases. Fynanz, a competitor that matches up students anonymously with investors, said it’s seen a big uptick this week, with applications for about $180,000 in loans arriving in just the last three days.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Education, Young Adults

Wider wedding welcome for couples as the Church of England names the day

Thousands of couples dreaming of a wedding will find more churches to choose from 1st October 2008 the day when the new Church of England Marriage Measure comes into effect.

It means that the Church of England’s network of 16,000 churches – ancient or modern, intimate or grand, simple or spectacular – can offer a wider wedding welcome than at any time in the Church’s history.

The Marriage Measure completed its parliamentary process last month. That has made it possible for the Bishops to issue the official guidance to clergy on how the new rules will work, which has been published on the Church of England website today. It means couples planning a wedding for this autumn will be able to make plans now, knowing that the new legislation will be in force. It also gives clergy a few months in order to find out exactly how the changes will take effect.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry

Home foreclosures set record in first quarter

Home foreclosures and late payments set records over the first three months of the year and are expected to keep rising, stark signs of the housing crisis’ mounting damage to homeowners and the economy.

The latest snapshot of the mortgage market showed that the proportion of mortgages that fell into foreclosure soared to 0.99 percent in the January-through-March period. That surpassed the previous high of 0.83 percent over the last three months in 2007.

The report by the Mortgage Bankers Association also found that more homeowners slipped behind on their monthly payments.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market

The Religion Report Down Under Interviews George Conger

Stephen Crittenden: While we have you here, Canon Conger, as well as being one of the senior correspondents for the truly excellent Church of England Newspaper, you have your own very fine blog site on all matters Anglican, and it seems like a good opportunity to catch up on what’s going on in North America in the lead-up to the Lambeth conference. It seems that things are being ramped up to quite a considerable degree in the lead-up to Lambeth. I notice that the church in California is preparing to conduct its first gay marriages, Bishop G. Robinson of New Hampshire who’s the gay bishop at the centre of the whole crisis, has recently announced that he wants to marry. A number of dioceses in Canada seem to be moving in the direction of same sex blessings. It really does look like Lambeth could be a real showdown would you agree? Or is that not how you read the situation?

George Conger: Well the Archbishop of Canterbury is desperate that nothing happen at Lambeth. He wants to prevent any sort of showdown, and so he’s devised a program that minimises any opportunity for collective mass action on particular issues. Using the tool of small groups and face-to-face discussion, a cynic would say that’s the way to prevent real action from taking place. What you’re seeing in the US are people as I say, establishing facts on the ground, going into the conference saying ‘Well this is the situation where I am’, and basically playing a political gamesmanship. ‘This is how far we’re going to go and get what we want, be it same sex blessings, the normalisation of gay clergy, or from the conservative side, we’re going to have parallel churches overseen by African archbishops in the US’, and basically saying, ‘What are you going to do about it?’ It’s a game of brinksmanship right now in the run-up to Lambeth. And there could be an explosion. Neither side is backing away, and for conservatives this is an issue of salvation; that the liberals are teaching a false doctrine, a false Christ; for liberals, the conservatives are blind to the call of justice and the prophetic words of the gospel. There are two religions in one church. There’s no sanction for bad behaviour in the Anglican communion.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Commentary, Africa, Australia / NZ, Lambeth 2008, Zimbabwe

8-foot Jesus statue missing from Detroit's Church of the Messiah

Someone stole Jesus Christ. From the cross.

The 8-foot-statue of Jesus had been on the cross on the side the Church of the Messiah on Detroit’s east side “for as long as anyone can remember,” said the Rev. Barry Randolph.

The weather-beaten statue was made of plaster, and has a green patina the thief or thieves may have mistaken for copper.

A parishioner called church staff Tuesday morning and told them Jesus Christ was gone. It may have been taken late Monday or early Tuesday from the 107-year-old Episcopal church at 231 E. Grand Blvd.

Read it all and join me in praying for the statue’s safe return–any city needs a statue like that, but surely Detroit does given all they are going through in that city right now.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes

The Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin has fully complied with California State Law

All actions taken by the Diocese of San Joaquin were authorized by its governing bodies, namely, its Standing Committee and its Diocesan Council, along with Bishop Schofield. These actions were done in complete compliance with California law and were done to secure the property until a California court can rule on the issue of ownership. One of these actions was to retitle accounts held at Merrill Lynch; assets were not moved from Merrill Lynch. The property in question is owned by the Diocese and its parishes and not the Episcopal Church. The Diocese expects a favorable ruling by the California court on the issues of property ownership.

The Diocese of San Joaquin is a California unincorporated association that is governed by the California Corporations Code and its own internal Constitution and Canons (akin to bylaws). The Diocese is a corporate person; a legal entity recognized by the civil courts. In California, an unincorporated association is governed by majority vote of its members. There is nothing in the governing documents of the Episcopal Church which forbade or limited the right of the Diocese of San Joaquin from withdrawing and taking its property with it.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Cono Sur [formerly Southern Cone], Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

Washington Times: Clinton to concede, loses grasp on No. 2

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is conceding the Democratic presidential nomination to Sen. Barack Obama, as party leaders and strategists began to openly oppose the former first lady’s aggressive efforts to join the ticket.

“Senator Clinton will be hosting an event in Washington, D.C., to thank her supporters and express her support for Senator Obama and party unity,” the Clinton campaign said in a statement Wednesday night. The event is set for Saturday.

A series of other events Wednesday consolidated Mr. Obama’s power over the party as its de facto nominee – a continuing surge of superdelegate endorsements, statements by party elders that the race is over, and his naming of a vice-presidential team, which brought about the inevitable debate over Mrs. Clinton as a running mate.

Former President Jimmy Carter told a British newspaper that choosing the former first lady, who has refused to concede defeat, would be “the worst mistake that could be made.” He told the Guardian that since half of each Democrat’s supporters don’t like the other, Mr. Obama would run the risk of “the worst of both worlds.”

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton addresses a pro-Israel group on Wednesday in Washington. The Democratic presidential hopeful is expected to concede defeat to Mr. Obama later this week.

Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell, a Clinton supporter, disputed the notion that Mrs. Clinton’s strong second-place finish gives her leverage on the all-but-certain nominee.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Outcry after French court rules on virginity

The bride said she was a virgin. When her new husband discovered that was a lie, he went to court to annul the marriage””and a French judge agreed.
The ruling ending the Muslim couple’s union has stunned France and raised concerns the country’s much-cherished secular values are losing ground to religious traditions from its fast-growing immigrant communities.

The decision also exposed the silent shame borne by some Muslim women who transgress long-held religious dictates demanding proof of virginity on the wedding night.

In its ruling, the court concluded the woman had misrepresented herself as a virgin and that, in this particular marriage, virginity was a prerequisite.

But in treating the case as a breach of contract, the ruling was decried by critics who said it undermined decades of progress in women’s rights. Marriage, they said, was reduced to the status of a commercial transaction in which women could be discarded by husbands claiming to have discovered hidden defects in them.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Modesto Bee: Bishop John David Schofield is Alleged to Have Transferred Titles

The Episcopal Church has expanded its lawsuit against a deposed bishop who led a secession movement prompted by the church’s ordination of women and gays.

Church officials say in court documents that John-David Schofield attempted to transfer titles to at least three parishes worth several million dollars to an outside holding company he formed in April.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

Washington Post: Decline in Teen Sex Levels Off, Survey Shows

The nation’s campaign to get more teenagers to delay sex and to use condoms is faltering, threatening to undermine the highly successful effort to reduce teen pregnancy and protect young people from sexually transmitted diseases, federal officials reported yesterday.

New data from a large government survey show that by every measure, a decade-long decline in sexual activity among high school students leveled off between 2001 and 2007, and that the rise in condom use by teens flattened out in 2003.

Moreover, the survey found disturbing hints that teen sexual activity may have begun creeping up and that condom use among high school students might be edging downward, though those trend lines have not yet reached a point where statisticians can be sure, officials said.

“The bottom line is: In all these areas, we don’t seem to be making the progress we were making before,” said Howell Wechsler, acting director of the division of adolescent and school health at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which conducts the survey. “It’s very troubling.”

Coming on the heels of reports that one in four teenage girls has a sexually transmitted disease and that the teen birth rate has increased for the first time in 15 years, the data are triggering alarm across the ideological spectrum.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sexuality, Teens / Youth

Jennifer Roback Morse: Same-Sex ”˜Marriage’ and the Persecution of Civil Society

Advocates of same-sex “marriage” present the idea as a step forward for tolerance and respect. But recent developments place that interpretation very much in doubt.

Legalizing same-sex “marriage” is not a stand-alone policy, independent of all the other activities of the state. Once governments assert that same-sex unions are the equivalent of marriage, those governments must defend and enforce a whole host of other social changes.

Unfortunately, these government-enforced changes conflict with a wide array of ordinary liberties, including religious freedom and ordinary private property rights.

It began with the persecution of Catholic Charities in Boston. The archdiocese eventually closed down its adoption program, because the state of Massachusetts insisted that every adoption agency in the state must allow same-sex couples to adopt.

Recently, a Methodist organization in New Jersey lost part of its tax-exempt status because it refused to allow two lesbian couples to use their facility for a civil union ceremony. In Quebec, a Mennonite school was informed that it must conform to the official provincial curriculum, which includes teaching homosexuality as an acceptable alternative lifestyle.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

Jeffrey Rosen on the California Gay Marriage Ruling

…the Court went further still, holding that the California legislature’s remarkably progressive decision, in 2003, to expand its Domestic Partnership law to give gays and lesbians all the legal benefits of marriage itself represented an unconstitutional effort to demean gays and lesbians, rather than to treat them equally. That’s a possible reading of California’s effort to create a separate but equal category of civil unions, but it’s certainly not the only interpretation. In passing the Domestic Partnership Law, the California legislature said its goal was to provide essential rights to “all caring and committed couples, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation” and to “reduce discrimination on the bases of sex and sexual orientation.” And all three major presidential candidates–Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain–support civil unions but oppose gay marriage. Judicial decisions that blithely pronounce the basic positions of major political parties to be unconstitutional haven’t fared well in American history, as the Dred Scott decision shows. Of course, any pro-gay marriage decision by the California Supreme Court right before a presidential election would have created a firestorm. But by writing the most combative and legally expansive decision possible, the California Court just handed its opponents a golden opportunity.

Read it all as well as Tyrion’s Point’s commentary.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Sexuality

Randy Sly: Anglicans and the Via Media

This new reporting of Alphabet Soup among Anglicans reinforces that, once the via media, this classification of churches is now all over the map. No longer are Anglican aligned on any middle ground, they stand at different places with respect to traditional faith and classical Anglicanism.

The question then comes, what is it that now constitutes an Anglican identity? This will be the work of these churches for decades to come. It would seem that this work would come by making some dramatic shifts in ethos and core identity.

Anglicanism, in terms of a movement, can no longer defined by communion with Canterbury, since all who lay claim to a jurisdiction are not. Further, it cannot be defined by its name alone, since Anglicanism can sweep the breadth of theological conviction, authority of Scripture, and Ecclesiology, along with many other issues.

From the eyes of this commentator, it would seem that the work of Anglicanism is to re-discover its own patrimony. One must gaze far beyond the upheavals of the 20th century, earlier Victorian cultures, or even the Reformation-enhanced antics of Henry VIII and look upon the heritage that is theirs. The English church existed much earlier than any of those epochs in church history and much was established prior to those times.

The Church must also re-engage with the things held in common through Holy Scripture, the Historic Creeds, and Apostolic roots.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Identity, Church History, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Roman Catholic, TEC Conflicts, Theology