Daily Archives: September 17, 2008

An ENS Article: House of Bishops to decide if Pittsburgh bishop abandoned communion

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said she will ask the House of Bishops to decide on September 18 whether Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh has abandoned the communion of the Episcopal Church.

If the bishops, who are meeting September 16-19 in Salt Lake City, agree with the findings of a review panel that he has abandoned communion, their next move would be to depose Duncan.

“I shall present to the House the matter of certification to me by the Title IV Review Committee that Bishop Robert W. Duncan has abandoned the Communion of this Church within the meaning of Canon IV.9,” Jefferts Schori wrote in a September 12 letter to the bishops.

The full text of the Presiding Bishop’s letter may be found here.

Duncan posted a pastoral letter the following day on the Diocese of Pittsburgh website in which he characterized the proceedings as an effort to have him removed from office “before the realignment vote.” He has said he will not attend the meeting. The bishops usually gather in fall and spring.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh

New York Times Letters: Jitters From Wall Street to Main Street

Read them all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

Mark McCall: Do Bishops Deserve Due Process?

1. The process against Bishop Duncan has been flawed from the start.

The Presiding Bishop’s letter of September 12, 2008, to the bishops states that she made a submission to the Title IV Review Committee in November 2007 “suggesting” that Bp. Duncan had abandoned the communion of this Church. She states that the “thrust” of her submission was not that he had already left TEC, but that by claiming that the diocese had a right to do so and should exercise that right he had made an open renunciation of the discipline of TEC. She then states that the Review Committee “evidently” agreed with her analysis because it sent her a certification of abandonment.

The reason for the Presiding bishop’s uncertainty about what the Review Committee concluded is that the Committee did not specify the basis for its certification, which is plainly contrary to the requirement of Canon IV.9 that the certification contain “a statement of the acts or declarations which show such abandonment.” The certification simply referred to voluminous evidence of news clippings and other materials dating back to 2003.

Taking a different approach, a memorandum from the Task Force on Property Disputes, dated September 5, 2008, claims that “Bishop Duncan has conclusively completed his own separation from TEC” and that “there is no doubt that Bishop Duncan has left The Episcopal Church.” (Emphasis supplied.) This submission relies on materials obtained in August 2008 in the civil lawsuit brought against Bp. Duncan, raising the question whether the purpose of that lawsuit was not to use the civil courts to assist in the deposition attempt. In six pages of highlighted documents from the lawsuit, the Task Force memorandum manages only to establish the unsurprising conclusion that Bishop Duncan proposed that the diocese amend its canons to permit re-alignment and supports passage of the canon amendments. And that conclusion is not made any more surprising by attaching the adverb “actively” to every bullet point. Note the inconsistency between the Task Force’s claim that Bp. Duncan “has conclusively completed his
own separation” and the Presiding Bishop’s complaint that “Bishop Duncan has unfortunately announced that he will not attend this meeting of the House.” And not even the Presiding Bishop knows where the Review Committee stands on this issue, but she assumes they “evidently” agree with her.

It is one thing for the Presiding Bishop to speculate as to what the basis of the Review Committee’s certification was, but another thing for the respondent to have to guess….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh, TEC Polity & Canons

Pope Thanks France for Warm Welcome

Benedict XVI sent a message to the president of France thanking him for the country’s warm welcome this weekend.

The Pope returned to Castel Gandolfo today, after a four-day trip to Paris and Lourdes.

The Holy Father arrived in Paris on Friday, and met with political, religious and cultural leaders before meeting with France’s youth in front of the Notre-Dame cathedral. On Saturday the Holy Father celebrated a Mass at the Esplanade des Invalides, which was attended by 260,000 people.

He traveled to Lourdes in the afternoon to participate in the celebrations surrounding the 150th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady to St. Bernadette Soubirous.

In Lourdes the Pope visited all the stages of the Jubilee Way: the parish church where Bernadette was baptized, the abandoned prison known as the “Cachot” where the Soubirous family lived, the grotto of the apparitions and hospital oratory where Bernadette made her first Communion.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, France, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

In Nigeria Anglican Primate Faults Creation of N’Delta Ministry

Primate of the Anglican Church in Nigeria, Archbishop Peter Akinola, has stated that the recent creation of Ministry of Niger- Delta by the Federal Governemnt is a show of the country’s lack of political will to implement government decisions.

“I do not think our problems require more ministries. What this country lacks is the political will to implement decisions. As for me, it is the issue; it is not the creation of more ministries. We have the NDDC. What are they doing? I know where the problem is; evil of corruption, that’s the issue”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria

South Carolina Seeks to Bolster Black Parishes

During the past 10 years, the Diocese of South Carolina has experienced one of the highest rates of growth in baptized members and attendance in The Episcopal Church, but to the consternation of Bishop Mark Lawrence the diocese’s African American congregations and clergy have not shown abundant growth.

The realization of this disparity came to light during a meeting on Sept. 6 involving Bishop Lawrence, members of the clergy and lay leadership of the diocese’s African American congregations, as well as other African American clergy. This was Bishop Lawrence’s first opportunity to meet and greet many of these individuals since he was consecrated bishop last January. In all, about 85 persons attended and have agreed to work together to strengthen the diocese’s African American congregations.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Parish Ministry

Reserve Primary Money market Fund Falls Below $1 a Share

Reserve Primary Fund became the first money-market fund in 14 years to expose investors to losses after writing off $785 million of debt issued by bankrupt Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.

The fund, whose assets plunged more than 60 percent to $23 billion in the past two days, said the Lehman losses forced the net value of its assets below $1 a share, known as breaking the buck. Reserve Primary, the oldest money fund in the nation, fell to 97 cents a share and redemptions were suspended for as long as seven days.

Money-market funds are considered the safest investments after cash and bank deposits, and Reserve Primary’s losses come as confidence in financial markets has been shaken by the collapse of subprime mortgages, the failure of 11 U.S. commercial banks and Lehman’s bankruptcy yesterday. The only other money- market fund to break the buck was the $82.2 million Community Bankers Mutual Fund in Denver, which liquidated in 1994 because of investments in interest-rate derivatives.

“This is uncharted territory,” said Peter Crane, president of Crane Data LLC in Westborough, Massachusetts, which tracks money-market funds. “That’s certainly a stunner.”

Read it all.

Update: More on this here.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Stock Market

Wales: The new Bishop of St Davids speaks out

FORMER archaeologist John Wyn Evans has been flung into the frontline of the Anglican Communion as the new Bishop of St Davids.

The 61-year-old was shocked at his elevation, which followed the resignation of Carl Cooper after intense speculation about his personal life.

He takes the helm of the ancient diocese at a time when the future of Anglicanism is shrouded in uncertainty.

Disputes over scriptural authority and sexuality have sparked fierce confrontations between traditionalists and liberals.

The Governing Body of the Church in Wales meets today in Lampeter. Every member knows the Church in Wales has the potential to trigger an earthquake in the Communion next month if high-profile celibate gay Dean of St Albans Jeffrey John is named as the next Bishop of Bangor.

But while the crises in Angli-canism have made headlines, churches face the deeper challenge of connecting with an increasingly secular society.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Wales

Gallup Daily: Presidential Contest Remains a Dead Heat

Check it out.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

David Brooks: Experience matters

Philosophical debates arise at the oddest times, and in the heat of this election season, one is now rising in Republican ranks.

The narrow question is this: Is Sarah Palin qualified to be vice president?

Most conservatives say yes, on the grounds that something that feels so good could not possibly be wrong. But a few commentators, like George Will, Charles Krauthammer, David Frum and Ross Douthat demur, suggesting in different ways that she is unready.

The issue starts with an evaluation of Palin, but does not end there. This argument also is over what qualities the country needs in a leader and what are the ultimate sources of wisdom.

There was a time when conservatives did not argue about this….

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Julia Duin: Episcopal blood-letting

Where it gets interesting is that Presiding Episcopal Bishop Katharine Jefforts Schori has been gunning for Bishop Duncan’s ouster for almost a year. She tried to get three senior bishops – including Virginia’s Peter J. Lee, to sign onto this but not all three would do so. Here is a copy of the letter she wrote explaining her legal reasons for getting around this requirement to place a vote to oust Bishop Duncan on the agenda of this Thursday’s Episcopal House of Bishops meeting.

And here is Bishop Duncan’s response. He is refusing to attend the HOB meeting in Salt Lake City and say a vote to oust him is violating the church’s constitution and canons. One major reason is that a vote to kick out a bishop must be assented to by the majority of the church’s bishops – and it’s commonly known that a majority don’t attend the HOB meetings. Bishop Jefferts Schori says the vote shall happen nonetheless and “the discipline of the church shall not be stymied.”

If the HOB decides Bishop Duncan has “abandoned the Communion” of the Episcopal Church (that is the wording of the charge), he would be the latest of several bishops so removed. Usually most of these bishops have already removed themselves by the time there’s a vote to expel them. This time is different as Robert Duncan is still a sitting bishop.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh

Fed to loan AIG $85 billion and take 80% stake in rescue

Acting to avert a possible financial crisis worldwide, the U.S. Federal Reserve Board reversed course Tuesday and agreed to an $85 billion bailout that would give the U.S. government an ownership stake in the troubled insurance giant American International Group.

The decision, announced by the Fed only two weeks after the Treasury Department took over the quasi-government mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, is the most radical intervention in private business in the central bank’s history.

With time running out after AIG failed to get a bank loan to avoid bankruptcy, Treasury Secterary Henry Paulson Jr. and the Fed chairman, Ben Bernanke convened a meeting with House and Senate leaders on Capitol Hill at about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday to explain the rescue plan.

They emerged just after 7:30 p.m. with Paulson and Bernanke looking grim but top lawmakers generally expressing support for the plan. But the bailout is likely to prove controversial, because it effectively puts taxpayer money at risk while protecting bad investments made by AIG and other institutions does business with.

What frightened Fed and Treasury officials was not simply the prospect of another giant corporate bankruptcy, but AIG’s its role as an enormous provider of financial insurance, which effectively requires it cover losses suffered by other institutions in the instance of defaults of securities that they have purchased. That means AIG is potentially on the hook for securities that were once considered safe.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Stock Market

Ted Olsen: Joe Carter wonders about the future of standalone blogs

A few days ago, I received a press release for GodblogCon, the annual gathering of Christian bloggers. The September 20-21 meeting in Las Vegas (it is scheduled to coincide with the mainstream BlogWorld and the New Media Expo) will feature several prominent Christian bloggers, like Tall Skinny Kiwi’s Andrew Jones, La Shawn Barber, and ScrappleFace satirist Scott Ott.

But at the top of the list, the press release mentioned that a key speaker would be “Joe Carter, the Christian blogosphere’s very own Bono.” Carter, formerly of Family Research Council, World Magazine, The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity, the Mike Huckabee campaign, The East Texas Tribune, and the U.S. Marine Corps, is perhaps best known as the creator of EvangelicalOutpost.com.

The five-year-old site became one of the most prominent evangelical blogs and was in many ways was as influential on its own as several of the organizations on Carter’s resume. (Not too many Christian bloggers’ views on bioethics have been profiled by The Washington Post.)

But there’s a new wrinkle. Carter is no longer speaking at GodBlogCon, and is no longer blogging at EvangelicalOutpost.com.

And according to a farewell post on Evangelical Outpost, Carter wonders about the future of independent sites like his.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Blogging & the Internet, Evangelicals, Other Churches

Michael Lewitt: Wall Street’s Next Big Problem

When I drove to the Beverly Hills offices of Drexel Burnham Lambert on Feb. 13, 1990, the last thing I expected to hear was that the investment bank where I worked was going under. Yet early that morning, we were told that the company was filing for bankruptcy. I was, to put it mildly, blown away. At the time, Drexel had $3.5 billion in assets and was the biggest underwriter of junk bonds.

It all seemed like a very big deal at the time. But what’s happening this week makes me pine for the good old days.

When Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy on Monday, it became the latest but surely not the last victim of the subprime mortgage collapse. Lehman owned more than $600 billion in assets. Financial institutions around the world have already reported more than half a trillion dollars of mortgage-related losses and that figure will most likely double or triple before the crisis exhausts itself.

But there is a bigger potential failure lurking: the American International Group, the insurance giant. It poses a much larger threat to the financial system than Lehman Brothers ever did because it plays an integral role in several key markets: credit derivatives, mortgages, corporate loans and hedge funds.

Read it all from the op-ed page of today’s New York Times.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Stock Market

Bishop Ackerman Warns Of Anglicanism’s Deteriorating Ecumenical Relations

Revisionism within the Anglican Communion has caused a serious decline in ecumenical relations with Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox and a range of other Christian bodies, Quincy Bishop Keith Ackerman told a gathering of conservative Anglicans on September 13.

Comments from ecumenical partners at the 2008 Lambeth Conference made it “obvious the ecumenical relationships are eroding rapidly in many places,” Ackerman told some 100 persons attending the Festival of Faith at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Bladensburg, Maryland.

The Quincy prelate, who leads Forward in Faith, North America, was joined at the day-long event by West Indies Archbishop Drexel Gomez, chairman of the panel that is formulating an Anglican Covenant designed to help ensure greater unity among historically autonomous Anglican provinces. (See a separate VOL/TCC story on Archbishop Gomez’s remarks.)

Ackerman said Anglican ecumenical relations have been impacted in part by the fact that, increasingly, there are people who call themselves Anglican who share very little, if anything, with traditional Anglicanism.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Ecumenical Relations, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops