Daily Archives: October 28, 2008

Love, Sex and the Changing Landscape of Infidelity

While infidelity rates do appear to be rising, a vast majority of people still say adultery is wrong, and most men and women do not appear to be unfaithful. Another problem with the data is that it fails to discern when respondents cheat: in a troubled time in the marriage, or at the end of a failing relationship.

“It’s certainly plausible that women might have increased their relative rate of infidelity over time,” said Edward O. Laumann, professor of sociology at the University of Chicago. “But it isn’t going to be a huge number. The real thing to talk about is where are they in terms of their relationship and the marital bond.”

The General Social Survey data also show some encouraging trends, said John P. Robinson, professor of sociology and director of the Americans’ Use of Time project at the University of Maryland. One notable shift is that couples appear to be spending slightly more time together. And married men and women also appear to have the most active sex lives, reporting sex with their spouse 58 times a year, a little more than once a week.

“We’ve looked at that as good news,” Dr. Robinson said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Theology

El Paso Times: St. Francis on the Hill church elects to leave Episcopal Church

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Rio Grande, TEC Departing Parishes

Arthur Middleton: Retrieving riches

Cardinal Kasper, who has given generously of his time to the Church of England recently, spoke for many Anglicans when he said, ‘It occurs to me that at critical moments in the history of the Church of England and subsequently of the Anglican Communion, you have been able to retrieve the strength of the Church of the Fathers when that tradition was in jeopardy. The Caroline divines are an instance of that, and above all, I think of the Oxford Movement. Perhaps in our own day it would be possible too, to think of a new Oxford Movement, a retrieval of riches which lay within your own household.

‘This would be a re-reception, a fresh recourse to the Apostolic Tradition in a new situation. It would not mean a renouncing of your deep attentiveness to human challenges and struggles, your desire for human dignity and justice, your concern with the active role of all women and men in the Church. Rather, it would bring these concerns and the questions that arise from them more directly within the framework shaped by the Gospel and ancient common tradition in which our dialogue is grounded.’
Fr Aidan Nichols has expressed the same sentiments about the need for Anglicans to bring classical Anglicanism into a reunited Church. Thirty years ago Michael Ramsey was advocating the need for a new Oxford Movement. It is an attractive proposition and invites a discerning consideration, not in the sense of replicating a piece of past history, which would be impossible, but in a discernment of what the essence of that Movement was and the underlying principles that motivated it.

The Tractarians’ concern was why the Church was so weak in the face of the dangers which threatened it; dangers not simply from the outside but also in the actual life of the Church of their day. William Palmer said, ‘we felt ourselves assailed by enemies from without and foes within…enemies within the Church seeking the subversion of its essential characteristics and what was worst of all, no principle in the public mind to which we could appeal.’

For such people the Church was no more than an association for the promotion of religion and social virtue. Matters of dogmatic belief, ecclesiastical organization and liturgical observance were only of secondary importance. Hence the Church lacked that clear principle by which it could define its true character and defend itself against the world. So national apostasy and ecclesiastical apostasy were two sides of the same coin.

Our questions are the same. Does the Church have a distinctive and independent witness to the society in which it is set? Is it to be ‘conformed to this world’ or is its purpose to be very much more?

Today’s apostasy is as real as that which Keble preached against. It intrudes itself as a political correctness that is tearing the Anglican Communion apart in the struggle of two incompatible religions. Its aim is to re-interpret biblical and credal orthodoxy and conform it to the secular spirit of the age.

The bishops do not exemplify in their teaching and work their status and function as the apostolic ministry in and to the Church founded by Christ. It is reduced to a functionalism that anyone can do; man or woman. An understanding of the episcopal office is missing in the contemporary Church of England and this is why there is so much confusion over it, not least among bishops themselves; and why it is so difficult to get across its absolute centrality for the Church in reunion discussions.

What stands in the way of this reappraisal of the episcopal order, vital for our Church, is again a want of principle, a principle by which we can assess and reform. For the Tractarians their bishops lacked any understanding of the Episcopal Office and they point us to where we should look for it. They sought to recover it by their emphasis on the Apostolic Succession and the sacramental character of the episcopate. They wanted to revive an awareness of the true character of the bishop, and of the fact that this character was the most important thing about him. It was the symbol of the divine origin of the whole Church.

But the Tractarians were also concerned with the renewal of the priesthood, by their emphasis on sacramental and priestly ideals. This is what changed the whole character of priestly ministry and awakened the parochial clergy with their watch-cry, ‘Stir up the gift that is in you.’

Priests need a true and profound understanding of their calling to receive a ‘divine commission’ that should permeate and inform the whole of their spiritual lives. Only then can genuine and effective priestly action flow and only then will society learn that it needs this distinctive ministry which it can find nowhere else. Renewal in our church must begin, as did the Oxford Movement, though not of course end, with the renewal of the priesthood.

The Tractarians were concerned for a return to the prescriptive sources of Anglicanism. We must make friends with the great Anglican divines of the seventeenth century and the early Christian Fathers that were the bedrock of their theology. This is vital for the renewal of the Church and also for the intellectual and spiritual formation and nourishment of the clergy. For the Tractarians, a priest’s life and work must be grounded in sound doctrine, the traditional and orthodox faith of the Church, which rested for them on the Bible, the early Fathers, the Book of Common Prayer and the Anglican divines of the seventeenth century.

How many priests know the Fathers or anything in their own classical Anglican tradition where there are crucial resources for their intellectual and devotional life? How much is today’s ordinand informed of these resources in theological college? The evidence suggests that emphasis is more heavily weighted on the agenda of politically correct issues than classical Anglican theology.

Our church and its leaders apparently are not presenting a vigorous and reasoned defence of those core doctrines which are the Church’s foundation; doctrines and sacramental life not our own and received from the universal Church. We need to be made aware of the spiritual treasures of the Anglican divines who preserved the Reformed and Catholic heritage of the Church of England; and whose heirs the Tractarians recognized themselves to be.

Once more, Anglican renewal must have its theological side; a re-statement and affirmation of the Church’s historic faith in this twenty-first century. There is little sign of this as yet. These divines have much to say to us of the whole tenor and temper of modern church life. They saw the Christian life in terms of holiness, the sanctity of the individual member and the whole body of the faithful.

Theology is not just a matter of intellectual clarity but the union of human lives with God in the way of holiness. So the Christian life is ‘one of constant discipline where we are immersed in holy things which are to be handled in a spirit of sobriety, austerity and awe.’ This is such a contrast to the loss of dignity in the casualness and laid-back mateyness of much Christian worship today. For these divines the Church is a supernatural body that reflects the divine holiness and this present life is a preparation for the life to come. The ‘life of the world to come’ is not merely in the future but it is a present eternal state that penetrates our earthly life.

After July the outlook looks dark but not hopeless. If it seems that the English Catholic Church is disappearing into sectarianism, remember that it is still present in us. If we are in a New Interregnum then we must realize that we cannot survive by a policy of mere aloofness and obstruction. We must continue to justify our opposition on theological and historical grounds and so inform ourselves to do so.

Our aim and that of our constituency must be to build an edifice of reasoned theology and devotion in support of orthodox Anglican church principles. Not only will this moderate our opponents. It will make these principles intelligible to them. This need is crucially urgent when so many theological schemes for training priests have retreated from theology. We must encourage our young ordinands and laity to engage with us in this endeavour by organizing groups and conferences and providing the necessary resources. From lectures and retreats I am conscious of laity keen to know more about this.

Let us avoid knee-jerk reactions of rushing into the arms of another Communion, or becoming a defeated and bedraggled remnant begging Rome for ecclesiastical asylum. Let us continue to stand firm in our Anglican orthodoxy against the modernism that is doing its worst to conform our Church to secularism. Let us reach out to our Evangelical brethren whose concern is for a biblical and historical Anglican orthodoxy, and then we will have the riches of our Anglican patrimony to bring into a reunited Church when liberalism has withered away.

In this spirit we can take up the challenge of Cardinal Kasper and retrieve the riches which lie within our own household and retrieve the strength of the Church of the Fathers, a fresh recourse to the Apostolic Tradition in a new situation.

–This article appears in the October 2008 edition of New Directions

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE)

Jeffrey Sachs: The best recipe for avoiding a global recession

Before our political leaders get too fancy remaking capitalism next month at the Bretton Woods II summit in Washington, they should attend to urgent business. Since the closure of Lehman Brothers triggered a global banking panic, political leaders in the US and Europe have successfully thrown a cordon round their banks to prevent financial meltdown. What they have not done yet is to co-ordinate macro­economic policies to stop a steep global downturn. This is the urgent agenda.

A US downturn will not be avoided. US households cannot continue to spend more than their income as they have in recent years, even if the credit crunch eases. Household consumption is bound to fall steeply. The writedowns in US household wealth from the reversals in housing and equities will probably reach $15,000bn (€12,000bn, £9,700bn) and the resulting steep decline in private consumption and investment could reach about one-tenth of that amount.

Some”‰other economies will also suffer home-grown recessions because they too allowed a housing bubble to dev­elop,”‰which”‰has”‰now”‰burst. This appears to be the case in Australia, the UK, Ireland and perhaps Spain. This drop in spending outside the US because of capital losses and reversals in housing may add another $300bn-$500bn to first-round decline in global demand.

Yet even a steep recession in the US and in a few other countries need not throw the world into recession….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Globalization, Politics in General, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Mark Silk and Andrew Walsh: Parsing the U.S. Roman Catholic vote

In a recent study of the political behavior of white Catholics, the political scientist Stephen Mockabee, of the University of Cincinnati, controlling for such factors as age, income and education, discovered that the candidates’ position on abortion had no statistically significant effect on the Catholic presidential vote choice in 2004. How could this be? One way to understand it is that while older white Catholics are much more pro-life than younger ones, they tend to be far more loyal Democratic voters. “Post Vatican II” Catholics””those born after 1960””have trended Republican, but only 7 percent share their church’s position on abortion. When it came to the issues, what pushed white Catholics toward George Bush in 2004 was their support for capital punishment and their opposition to gay marriage; it was not John Kerry’s support for abortion rights.

This time around, it is not the Republicans who are working hard for the Catholic vote, but the Democrats. Hillary Clinton’s Catholic outreach was particularly effective during the primary season, putting together the networks of activists and the e-mail lists that enabled her to give Barack Obama more than a run for his money in states like Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, US Presidential Election 2008

The Bishop of Durham urges Vatican not to fear biblical criticism

In his Oct 15 intervention, the Rt Rev N.T. Wright, the Anglican observer to the synod, said the challenges of “secularism and relativism” alongside the problems raised by “postmodernity” faced by the churches had bred an “anxiety” that the “Bible might tell us unwelcome things,” and that “its message might be stifled.” He urged a “balanced” fourfold reading of scripture founded upon the heart, (Lectio Divina, liturgical reading), mind (historical/critical study), soul (church life, tradition, teaching) and strength (mission, kingdom of God).” “In particular, we need fresh mission-oriented engagement with our own culture,” Dr Wright said, according to notes released by the VIS. As Paul confronted paganism “so must we. In particular, we must engage critically with the tools and methods of historical-critical scholarship themselves,” he said. Dr Wright said the “climax” of the canon of Scripture “is Jesus Christ, especially his cross and resurrection. These events are not only salvific, they provide a hermeneutical principle, related to the Jewish tradition of ‘critique from within’.”

Drawing upon the speech of Cardinal Ivan Dias to the Bishops at the 2008 Lambeth Conference, Dr Wright said the church should take Mary as its model and embody “fiat (mind), magnificat (strength), conservabat (heart) — but also stabat, waiting patiently in the soul, the tradition and expectation of the church, for the new, unexpected and perhaps unwelcome, but yet saving, revelation,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Theology, Theology: Scripture

RNS: Pennsylvania College settles free speech lawsuit

Shippensburg University and a religious student group have settled a lawsuit over alleged violations of free speech rights at the state-owned university.

The Christian Fellowship of Shippensburg University asserted in a federal lawsuit filed last May that it had been threatened with being shut down because it requires members to be Christians and its president to be a man.

The group said the school violated a 2004 settlement of a separate lawsuit over the school’s student code of conduct.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

Cardinal Keith O'Brien: Value of Life Further Eroding in the U.K.

The cardinal, who is archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Scotland, said this at a conference Saturday in reference to Wednesday’s approval of the Human Fertilization and Embryology Bill.

With a vote of 355-129, the bill passed through its third reading in the House of Commons. The bill passed through the House of Lords earlier this year. After a debate on the amendments introduced by the House of Commons, the bill could become law by November.

The bill permits the creation of animal-human hybrids for medical research, the creation of “savior siblings” genetically matched to an older sick sibling (meaning that those who do not match are eliminated), and loosens access to in-vitro fertilization for lesbian couples by eliminating the requirement for children to have fathers.

John Smeaton, the national director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said the passage of the bill marks a “tragic date in British history, as Parliament has passed a law extending the lethal abuse of the most vulnerable members of our society. Future generations will look back on this macabre bill and wonder how a supposedly civilized nation could have so devalued human life.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Life Ethics, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Science & Technology

Kurt Luchs: Frodo in a World of Boromirs

The pull of liberty is strong, but only for those who know it and treasure it. After decades of public education designed more to produce compliant subjects and beneficiaries than thinking, self-reliant citizens, there are precious few among us who can even articulate, let alone defend, the principles for which our founders bled and died. There are far more (and especially the well-meaning religious) who say, as Gandalf says of the One Ring, “Yet the way of the Ring to my heart is by pity, pity for weakness and the desire of strength to do good.” In their pity and all too sincere desire to do good, they do not see the end of that road as Gandalf does: “With that power I should have power too great and terrible. And over me the Ring would gain a power still greater and more deadly.”

Is there hope? Yes. There is always hope. Whatever its imperfections and excesses and absurdities, liberty is always better than coercion. Sooner or later this always seems to become apparent. When it does, men and women ready to take a stand for liberty always seem to spring from the earth. Perhaps that moment is again near. If so, it will not be the last. There is no final battle for liberty in a fallen world. As Tolkien reminds us (again in the words of Gandalf), “Always after a defeat and a respite, the Shadow takes another shape and grows again.”

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Poetry & Literature, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology, US Presidential Election 2008

From the Email Bag (II)

From Irenaeus

Dear Kendall:

I’ve been deeply troubled by the extent to which rage drawn from secular politics and culture wars has shaped comment threads on T19 and some other orthodox Anglican blogs.

We dishonor the gospel by conflating it with our own conventional secular politics. We also impair the unity so sorely needed among Anglican reasserters when we treat the theological divide as a subset of a hackneyed secular political divide—as though secular divisions were paramount.

We should take to heart these wise words from Thomas Merton:

In our refusal to accept the partially good intentions of others and work with them (of course prudently and with resignation to the inevitable imperfection of the result) we are unconsciously proclaiming our own malice, our own intolerance, our own lack of realism, our own ethical and political quackery. Perhaps in the end the first real step toward peace would be a realistic acceptance of the fact that our political deals are perhaps to a great extent illusions and fictions to which we cling, out of motives that are not always perfectly honest: that because of this we prevent ourselves from seeing any good or any practicability in the political ideas of our enemies—which may of course be in many ways even more illusory and dishonest than our own. We will never get anywhere unless we can accept the fact that politics is an inextricable tangle of good and evil motives in which, perhaps, the evil predominate but where one must continue to hope doggedly in what little good can still be found.” —New Seeds of Contemplation, ch. 16.

Oswald Chambers sounds a complementary warning about our own cozy ways of thinking:

“Our Lord never tolerates our prejudices [i.e., our preferences or our customary ways of thinking]. He is directly opposed to them and puts them to death. We tend to think that God has some special interest in our particular prejudices, and are very sure that He will never deal with us as He has to deal with others. We even say to ourselves, ”˜God has to deal with other people in a very strict way, but of course He knows that my prejudices are all right.’ But we must learn that God accepts nothing of the old life! Instead of being on the side of our prejudices, He is deliberately removing them from us. It is part of our moral education to see our prejudices put to death by His providence, and to watch how He does it. God pays no respect to anything we bring to Him. There is only one thing God wants of us, and that is our unconditional surrender.” —My Utmost for His Highest, Oct. 23

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

I join with Karen [in the earlier thread] in affirming that “there needs to be some POSITIVE way of using the blogs to build community” and that providing some personal commentary (if you have time) can help counteract the tendency for readers to react to stories with the same old predictable rancor. It is a bad witness. It is also spiritually unhealthy.

We as T19 commenters also need to be mindful of how we represent a narrow and oddly self-selected slice of Anglican Christianity. Most of us are American; most Anglicans are not. Most commenters are politically conservative; most Anglicans, including those in the Global South, hold views well to the left of Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Tony Blair. Most of us feel betrayed by ECUSA. So do many other orthodox Anglicans, but we differ from them in our willingness to spend time keeping informed about ECUSA’s latest misdeeds. A similar self-selection occurs among T19 readers: those of us who comment actively are more likely to be opinionated and even judgmental than those who read without commenting. We are who we are, and I’m part of it.

But we need to make a conscious effort to avoid bitterness, self-righteousness, and xenophobia. We need to take care that we do not confuse the gospel with our own preconceptions, predilections, and affinities. We also need to take care that we do not, in our zeal, drive away gentle commenters with whom we disagree.

I differ from Karen in hoping you won’t curtail T19’s coverage of Anglican developments.

My decision in June also reflected my conclusion that participating in these blog debates was taking a toll on my devotional life and my witness for orthodox Christianity. (For example, one of my brothers said he enjoyed talking with me about anything except current disagreements in the Episcopal Church.)

Posted in Uncategorized

A Motion Passed at the Recent Reformed Episcopal Church Synod

Forasmuch as the Reformed Episcopal Church has affirmed the teaching of God’s Word that abortion is the taking of an unborn human life, and inasmuch as we have recognized the duty of all faithful Christians to work to protect the unborn and restrain the sin of abortion on demand, we hereby move that the General Council of the Reformed Episcopal Church direct the clergy and laity of the Reformed Episcopal Church to make a political candidate’s position on the Sanctity of Human Life the highest priority in discerning for whom to vote regardless of political party represented or office being sought.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Continuum, Life Ethics, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, US Presidential Election 2008

From the Email Bag (I)

I was mortified when, last week or so, I posted a comment on Titus One Nine that had to be edited by the elves. That has never happened to me, and I pray it will never happen again, but in my haste to post something and in my anger and revulsion at a story I made a comparison that I should not have made.

Why does it appear that the vituperation index here and on other orthodox blogs is on the rise? I’ll posit that fear is a prolific generator of venom. And, certainly, there is much for us to fear right now. The economic news gets worse almost daily. Our nation may be poised to elect the most liberal president we have ever had. The Episcopal Church House of Bishops and the Presiding Bishop are actively opposing orthodox bishops and dioceses, and do not seem to be constrained by plain canon language.

How may this cycle of fear and anger be broken? The Scriptures teach us. Perfect love casts out fear. We are forbidden to judge. Worry is sinful, and betrays a lack of faith.

In practical terms, what does that mean for blog stewards and those of us who comment on blogs? I think it means we must encourage and build up one another. We must exhort one another to pray, and to pray particularly for those we perceive as enemies– I would argue strenuously that those we tend to think of as enemies are actually victims of our enemy. And we must pray for ourselves, for mercy and forgiveness for thinking of ourselves as less sinful than our opponents, and for the gifts of faith, hope, and charity. In short, the answer is to turn to God, the only source of true peace, true wisdom, and unconditional love.

Kendall, yours has been a voice of reason, love, and faith. You have an exemplary gentle spirit that provides the rest of us with a great witness. May our Lord richly bless you, and bring you peace.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet

Saint Francis El Paso's Press Release on the parish's Decision

EL PASO, TX ”“ (October 27, 2008) ”“ The vestry of St. Francis on the Hill Episcopal Church, following a vote this week by members of its congregation, has separated from the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande and The Episcopal Church of the USA.

The action to officially separate from The Episcopal Church in the United States (TEC) comes in the wake of over four years of discussions and meetings between St. Francis’s church and The Episcopal Church, as well as with the TEC’s governing body for this Episcopal Church region, the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande. A number of other former Episcopal USA Churches in the U.S. have left the TEC in the past year, including the former St. Clement Episcopal Church in El Paso.

Ron Munden, a St. Francis vestry member who has been involved in the talks since they began, said the separation was mandated by the congregation and ratified by the vestry, “To preserve what the people of St. Francis feel is not only our constitutional freedom but our legal right to worship as true Christians, following the basic tenets and canons on which the original Episcopal Church of the USA was founded, in a church property that we own.”

The Episcopal Church has been in turmoil for a number of years, with what many Episcopalians see as a deviation from the Bible and changes of policies and church laws to fit current cultural moods, rather than holding fast to strong scriptural beliefs. The TEC in the U.S. is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, which remains at odds with the TEC for a number of those changes and other differences. The rift came to a head in 2003, when the Episcopal Church of the USA consecrated an openly gay bishop and sanctioned same-sex marriages.

“Unfortunately, today in our Church,” said Munden, “many Episcopalians believe that the Church’s leadership has wavered from the core values of Christ’s teachings, creating confusion and division among parishes, dioceses, and the Church hierarchy itself.” Munden added, “Many of the churches within the TEC hung on throughout 2008, thinking that the Church would change, or at least allow them to practice their faith in the traditional Anglican manner, which we believe is founded on scripture. It is apparent that is not going to happen, and The Episcopal Church in the USA has firmly stated they are doing what they think is right — they are not changing. As a result, some churches and even whole dioceses are leaving. For us at St. Francis, we feel we cannot worship and pray in an environment that deviates from traditional church teachings, so we have broken away.”

The Rev. Dr. Felix Orji, Rector of St. Francis on the Hill, explained that his church has been concerned for some time that the Episcopal Church has strayed from such core doctrines as, “The uniqueness of Christ as God and the only Savior of the World, the authority and primacy of Scripture, and the death of Jesus Christ as the only path to salvation.” Fr, Orji also said, “What we have seen over the past three years is a concerted, planned effort by the TEC to ”˜go someplace’ that is not in line with our thinking here. The Episcopal Church is in serious transition, and frankly, we believe that no matter how the TEC tries to explain it away, their beliefs today are vastly opposed to long-accepted teachings of the Bible.” Father Orji noted that the controversies surrounding the changes taking place in The Episcopal Church have caused a major decline in church membership. In 1965, the Episcopal Church in the U.S. had 3.5 million members. Today, that’s down to 2.4 million. “We even know of a number of dioceses that are leaving the TEC. What I have feared for some time is becoming a reality,” Fr. Orji said. “The Episcopal Church as we once knew it has changed so drastically to appeal to modern social and cultural trends that it is now unacceptable to many of its core membership.” He added, “If they are striving to become a popular church for today’s trends and culture, they may very well achieve that. But it will be a much smaller church. The Episcopal Church of the USA today has little resemblance remaining to the foundations of the original Episcopal Church in the Anglican Communion.”

St. Francis on the Hill church leaders say The Episcopal Church of the USA and the Rio Grande Diocese may try to claim a right on the St. Francis church and property. “We have the title and deed to our property,” said Munden. Since the Episcopal Church passed a Canon, or church law, in the 1970’s that said all Episcopal churches’ properties were to be held in trust by the Diocese for the U.S. Episcopal Church, St. Francis on the Hill has denied this claim in official notices to the TEC. “As early as 2004, we let it be known that our by-laws clearly outlined how and why we owned our own property,” said Munden. “We built this church with money from our parishioners ”“ not one dime came from the Episcopal Church or from the Diocese. This church and grounds belong to St. Francis on the Hill, and The Episcopal Church clearly knows of our unique situation here and our position on this matter.”

Fr. Orji said that his congregation has a great sense of relief now that the transition away from the Episcopal Church has taken place. “This has been a long ordeal,” said the minister. “After years of debate, communications to and from the Church and Diocese, and waiting, this controversy is finally over. The membership has elected to follow a path they believe in, and the fact that we have taken those positive steps is comforting to us all. I think collectively, as an independent Church, we are more peaceful.” Fr. Orji added that the fight may not be over for the Episcopal Church, but it is for his congregation. “We made our choice. We are a church that will now worship and carry on our ministries without encumbrance. The TEC may not view it that way, but we hope they do. It is time for all of us to get away from politics that don’t belong in our church and back to the real meaning of Christianity and Christ’s teachings.”

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes

RNS: British government sees room for minimal Islamic law

The British government has ruled that some aspects of Islamic sharia law can be accepted into the country’s legal framework, provided they comply with standard practices of jurisprudence.

Bridget Prentice, a justice minister in Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s government, told Parliament that family courts in England and Wales could “rubber stamp” sharia decisions if they decide the Islamic rulings are fair.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

The Latest from Intrade

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008