Daily Archives: October 30, 2008

The Connecticut Catholic Conference Statement in response to the Conn. Supreme Court decision

The Catholic Bishops of Connecticut and the Connecticut Catholic Conference are extremely disappointed in this close 4-3 decision by the Connecticut Supreme Court which imposes the recognition of same-sex marriage upon the people of Connecticut. This decision is in direct conflict with the position of our state legislature and courts of other states and is a terribly regrettable exercise in judicial activism.

Four people have not just extended a supposed civil right to a particular class of individuals, but have chosen to redefine the institution of marriage. The Connecticut Supreme Court has taken upon itself to make a determination that other courts throughout our nation have felt should be made through the political process.

Courts in other states, with the exception of Massachusetts and California, have ruled that marriage is a special institution in our society, not a civil right, and chose not to redefine it. Those courts felt that altering this historical and special institution was a legislative matter, and should be left to elected officials and the people they represent.

It appears our State Supreme Court has forgotten that courts should interpret laws and legislatures should make laws. In its decision today, the Connecticut Supreme Court stated again their philosophy that “as we engage over time in the interpretation of our State Constitution, we must consider the changing needs and expectations of the citizens of our State.” Determining the “contemporary” views of the public is the responsibility of the legislature, not the judiciary.

In his dissent, Justice Peter Zarella makes the important and obvious point that “the majority fails, during the entire course of ”¦. (this) ”¦ opinion, even to identify, much less to discuss, the actual purpose of the marriage laws, even though this is the first, critical step in any equal protection analysis.” The majority utterly failed to consider the relationship between the laws of marriage and family. As Justice Zarella maintains, “The ancient definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman has its basis in biology, not bigotry.”

The Supreme Court of Connecticut has chosen to ignore the wisdom of our elected officials, the will of the people, and historical social and religious traditions spanning thousands of years by imposing a social experiment upon the people of our state.

In 2005, the Connecticut General Assembly, while enacting civil union legislation to expand certain rights to same-sex couples, recognized the social importance and uniqueness of traditional marriage through their action of specifically defining marriage in statute as a relationship between one man and one woman. Our elected officials recognized that the people of Connecticut did not want the institution of marriage redefined in our state. This position is also reflected in federal law, which defines marriage as being between one man and one woman.

This decision of the Connecticut Supreme Court also raises a very real concern about the infringement on religious liberty and freedom of speech with the judicial imposition of same-sex marriage. The real battle in this court case was not about rights, since civil unions provide a vast number of legal rights to same-sex couples, but about conferring and enforcing social acceptance of a particular lifestyle; a lifestyle many people of faith and advocates of the natural law refuse to accept.

This ruling creates an inevitable conflict between people of faith, the natural law and the authority of the State.

Therefore, we will be calling on the Catholic people of our state to vote “Yes” for a Constitutional Convention and the right of referendum on Election Day.

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

It's a boom time for lawyers

The loose-leaf binders on Beverly Hills attorney Paul Kiesel’s blond wood shelves contain hundreds of stories alleging deception, loss and heartache.

Kiesel is representing struggling homeowners who contend they were misled about the terms of their mortgages. He is far from the only lawyer finding himself busy these days as a result of the hard economic times.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Law & Legal Issues, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

AP: Gene Robinson led retreat for gay Catholic priests

Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson said he led a confidential retreat a few years ago for gay Roman Catholic priests.

Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church and world Anglican Communion, said the Catholic priest group that organized the meeting had invited him to attend.

About 75 Catholic clergy from around the U.S. participated without notifying their bishops or provincial leaders, Robinson said.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to at KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Roman Catholic, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Globe and Mail: Same-sex blessings split Canadian Anglicans

The Anglican bishops of Ottawa and Montreal have taken decisive steps toward allowing the blessing of same-sex unions in their dioceses, a move certain to further undermine the fragile cohesion of the world’s third-largest Christian denomination.

The two bishops have made known their intention to proceed, despite a moratorium on the blessings agreed to at last summer’s Lambeth Conference in England, the decennial gathering of bishops of the nearly 80-million-member Anglican Communion.

The Canadian church already is further along the road to authorizing same-sex blessings than any other branch of the communion, a decentralized body of 38 national and regional autonomous churches, or provinces.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Credit crunch is 'God's punishment' for nations 'consumed with materialism', says Bishop

The Bishop of Lewes, the Rt Rev Wallace Benn, has written in a church newsletter that materialism has a “stranglehold over our lives” and that some good may therefore emerge from the crisis.

In the November 2008 newsletter the bishop said: “I believe that God ultimately has allowed this crisis for good.

“Our nation, like all the western nations, has become consumed with materialism. It has a stranglehold on our lives.

“We have found our security in ‘securities’ and have failed to grasp that nothing is permanent other than God.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Economy, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Bishop Robert Duncan: An Emerging North American Province

The twin trajectories of The Episcopal Church and of the Anglican Church of Canada away from any Communion-requested restraint on matters of moral order and legal prosecution have made permanent a widespread separation of parishes from their historic geographical dioceses in the United States and Canada. Now these alienated parishes representing the moral (and theological) mainstream of global Anglicanism are being joined (or are about to be joined) by the majorities of four former Episcopal Church dioceses: San Joaquin in California, Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, Quincy in Illinois and Fort Worth in Texas. The reality of a significantly disintegrated North American Anglicanism now stretches from coast to coast and from the Arctic to the Rio Grande.

Given the ruthlessness with which those who have stood against the progressive agenda of TEC and the ACC have been treated ”“ lately symbolized by the deposition of the Bishop of Pittsburgh ”“ the possibility of achieving the Windsor Continuation Group’s goal of “holding” for eventual reunion is remote indeed.. Moreover, there is scarcely a parish or diocese that has endured the travail of separation (whether forced or chosen) that would not describe the North American Anglican scene as characterized by “two irreconcilable religions.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Common Cause Partnership, Episcopal Church (TEC), GAFCON I 2008, Global South Churches & Primates, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh

'Personhood' Amendment On Colorado Ballot

Colorado is one of several states facing a controversial ballot measure this fall that could have far-reaching impacts on abortion law. Amendment 48 would define “personhood” as beginning at the moment of conception, giving fertilized human eggs the same constitutional rights as a person.

The first of its kind in the U.S., the amendment is the brainchild of 21-year-old Kristi Burton, who says she wants to establish a concrete definition of when life begins to protect unborn children. On a Sunday in October, Burton drove three hours from her home near Colorado Springs to speak at Life Church, an evangelical congregation in Fort Collins.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Politics in General

From the Morning Scripture readings

Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth. Our God comes, he does not keep silence, before him is a devouring fire, round about him a mighty tempest.

–Psalm 50: 2,3

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

AP: Churches are looking at hard times

However, many churches rely on income from investments for their financial health and are already slashing their 2009 budgets.

Kurt Barnes, treasurer of the 2.2 million-member Episcopal Church, said the value of the denomination’s endowment funds, which cover 5 percent of the annual budget, have declined by 30 percent this year. Some staff at Episcopal headquarters in New York offered to take a pay freeze, but church administrators declined, saying it wouldn’t be fair to the employees.

The United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries, which oversees humanitarian aid and evangelizing for the 11 million-member denomination, has cut next year’s budget by $2 million, reducing it to $58 million, because of a decline in investment income.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches

ENS: Executive Council promises support, money to continuing Episcopalians

The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council October 23 renewed its ongoing support of dioceses in which the leadership has left or plans to leave the church, and pledged the church to seek reconciliation “without precondition on our part.”

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told council members that she appreciated their sense that irreconcilable differences are inconsistent with the gospel. “It is profoundly unchristian and unhopeful to say that differences can be irreconcilable,” she said.

House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson echoed that sentiment during a post-meeting news conference, noting that the remaining members of the Diocese of San Joaquin “have done some very, very hard work ”¦ in reconciliation in trying to draw in people who were, shall we say, on the fence.” Executive Council said October 23 that “it stands ready to help,” Anderson added.

During the closing sessions of its four-day meeting in Helena, the seat of the Diocese of Montana, the council passed four resolutions that speak to various aspects of its commitment to the new leadership of the dioceses of Pittsburgh and San Joaquin, as well as to other “similarly situated dioceses.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

Terry Mattingly: Interfaith coalition misunderstood by most journalists

The interfaith coalition that formed in the 1990s to lobby for religious liberty in China was so large and so diverse that even the New York Times noticed it.

One petition included two Catholic cardinals and a dozen bishops, Evangelical broadcasters, Eastern Orthodox bishops, Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists, Baha’is, Orthodox and liberal rabbis, Scientologists and Protestant clergy of a various and sundry races and traditions. One Times article noted that these were signatures that “rarely appear on the same page.”

But there’s the rub. This was already old news.

Many of these religious leaders had already been working for a year or more on what became the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, landmark legislation that made religious freedom a “core objective” in all U.S. foreign policy, noted political scientist Allen Hertzke of the University of Oklahoma, speaking at a conference called “The Politics of Faith — Religion in America.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Media, Religion & Culture

Government Said to Be Discussing Plan to Aid Homeowners

The initiative could be the most sweeping government effort directed at mortgage borrowers since the financial crisis began last year. Under the plan, the government would agree to shoulder half of the losses on home loans if mortgage companies agreed to lower borrowers’ monthly payments for at least five years, according to the people briefed on the plan who asked not to be named because details were still being negotiated.

Officials from the Treasury Department and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation are working on the proposal and an announcement may come soon. Sheila C. Bair, the chairwoman of the F.D.I.C., has been the leading proponent of the plan and first discussed the idea publicly a week ago.

The plan could cost $40 billion to $50 billion and would be part of the $700 billion financial bailout package that Congress approved earlier this month. The money would go toward covering future losses on loans that are modified according to standards established by the government.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Politics in General, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The September 2008 Proposed Henry Paulson 700 Billion Bailout Package

Congratulations to the Philadelphia Phillies

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

Tim Rutten: The end of the Catholic vote

It’s an article of faith in U.S. politics that, when it comes to the popular vote at least, Catholics determine the winners in our presidential contests.

In fact, with the notable exception of George W. Bush eight years ago, no candidate in recent memory has entered the White House without securing a majority of the votes cast by Catholics, who now make up more than a fourth of the U.S. population….

That approach isn’t working for John McCain, particularly in Pennsylvania, where strategists in both parties seem to agree the Republican nominee’s chances will rise or fall.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, US Presidential Election 2008

Quincy Standing Committee Announces Bishop's Retirement

(Via email–KSH).

The Right Reverend Keith L. Ackerman, VIIIth Bishop of Quincy, has announced to the Standing Committee his retirement as Diocesan Bishop effective November 1st, 2008. Bishop Ackerman has reached this decision after much thought and prayer. The Bishop and his wife Jo conferred with his physicians, many trusted friends, and the Standing Committee before making this decision.

While Bishop Ackerman is retiring from his administrative duties as executive officer of the Diocese, he plans to remain in the area of the Diocese for some time and will make himself available, under arrangement with the Standing Committee, to perform Episcopal acts and provide spiritual counsel to members of the Diocese, as have Bishop Donald Parsons and Bishop Edward MacBurney, the VIth and VIIth Bishops of Quincy.

Under diocesan canons, the Standing Committee will continue to act as the ecclesiastical authority of the diocese, as they have since the Bishop’s sabbatical began in late August. Day to day operations of the diocese will continue to be handled by the various officers and department heads.

Bishop Ackerman wants to assure everyone that he has no intention of abandoning the diocese but will continue to provide spiritual and pastoral support as asked by the Standing Committee.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops