Daily Archives: November 16, 2008

Star Telegram: Fort Worth Episcopal Diocese votes to dissociate from national church

“We’re delighted, we’re ecstatic, we’re so excited to move forward now,” said Cora Werley, spokeswoman for Remain Faithful, a local orthodox laity group that supported Iker’s stance. “We have an incredible gospel to spread. Now we can do it without all this hanging over us.”

Others, saying they will remain with the Episcopal Church, expressed resignation and sorrow.

“It’s certainly no surprise,” said Walter Cabe, president of the Steering Committee North Texas Episcopalians, an umbrella group of conservatives and liberals who opposed the split. “But more than ever, we have a great deal of respect for rectors and parishes who have identified themselves loyal to the Episcopal Church regardless of pressure.”

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

NY Times: Diocese in Texas Leaves Episcopal Church

The Fort Worth diocese amended its constitution to shift allegiance from the Episcopal Church to the Anglican Communion, its parent body. The measure passed by a vote of 72 to 19 among the clergy and 102 to 25 among the laity, at the diocese’s 26th annual convention at St. Vincent’s Cathedral in Bedford, Tex.

The diocese was welcomed Saturday into the Province of the Southern Cone, based in Argentina, but the realignment is expected to be temporary while the diocese works to establish a conservative province of the Anglican Communion in the United States, diocese leaders said.

Bishop Jack L. Iker laid blame for the split on what he described as “a church that is increasingly unfaithful and disobedient to the word of God, a church that has caused division and dissension both at home and abroad, a church that has torn the fabric of the communion at its deepest level, a church that acts more and more like a rebellious protestant sect and less and less like an integral part of the one holy catholic and apostolic church. It is time to say enough is enough.”

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

David Brooks: Bailout to Nowhere

Not so long ago, corporate giants with names like PanAm, ITT and Montgomery Ward roamed the earth. They faded and were replaced by new companies with names like Microsoft, Southwest Airlines and Target. The U.S. became famous for this pattern of decay and new growth. Over time, American government built a bigger safety net so workers could survive the vicissitudes of this creative destruction ”” with unemployment insurance and soon, one hopes, health care security. But the government has generally not interfered in the dynamic process itself, which is the source of the country’s prosperity.

But this, apparently, is about to change. Democrats from Barack Obama to Nancy Pelosi want to grant immortality to General Motors, Chrysler and Ford. They have decided to follow an earlier $25 billion loan with a $50 billion bailout, which would inevitably be followed by more billions later, because if these companies are not permitted to go bankrupt now, they never will be.

This is a different sort of endeavor than the $750 billion bailout of Wall Street. That money was used to save the financial system itself. It was used to save the capital markets on which the process of creative destruction depends.

Granting immortality to Detroit’s Big Three does not enhance creative destruction. It retards it. It crosses a line, a bright line.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Globalization, Politics in General, Science & Technology, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The September 2008 Proposed Henry Paulson 700 Billion Bailout Package

Say Goodbye to BlackBerry? Yes He Can, Maybe

Sorry, Mr. President. Please surrender your BlackBerry.

Those are seven words President-elect Barack Obama is dreading but expecting to hear, friends and advisers say, when he takes office in 65 days.

For years, like legions of other professionals, Mr. Obama has been all but addicted to his BlackBerry. The device has rarely been far from his side ”” on most days, it was fastened to his belt ”” to provide a singular conduit to the outside world as the bubble around him grew tighter and tighter throughout his campaign.

“How about that?” Mr. Obama replied to a friend’s congratulatory e-mail message on the night of his victory.

But before he arrives at the White House, he will probably be forced to sign off. In addition to concerns about e-mail security, he faces the Presidential Records Act, which puts his correspondence in the official record and ultimately up for public review, and the threat of subpoenas. A decision has not been made on whether he could become the first e-mailing president, but aides said that seemed doubtful.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Law & Legal Issues, Science & Technology, US Presidential Election 2008

Downturn Drags More People Into Bankruptcy

Filings totaled 108,595, surpassing 100,000 for the first time since a law that made it more difficult ”” and often twice as expensive ”” to file for bankruptcy took effect in 2005. That translated to an average of 4,936 bankruptcies filed each business day last month, up nearly 34 percent from October 2007.

Robert M. Lawless, a professor at the University of Illinois College of Law, pointed to the tightening of credit by banks as a significant factor in the increase in October. As banks have pulled back on lending, he said, consumers have been finding it more difficult, and in many cases impossible, to use credit cards, refinance their home mortgages or fall back on their home equity lines to get them through a rough period.

“A credit crunch can drive people into bankruptcy today rather than later as sources of lending dry up,” Professor Lawless said. “With the consumer credit tightening and the economy in a nosedive, this pop could just be the beginning of a long-term rise in the bankruptcy filing rate to levels that are even higher than we had before the 2005 bankruptcy law.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Personal Finance, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Michael Paulsen: Cardinal O'Malley on Obama and abortion

Q: There’s been a lot of discussion about whether the bishops’ teaching on voting is too nuanced, because it was used in all kinds of ways by all kinds of groups during this election, because it said Catholics are not single-issue voters. What do you think?

A: I think that most Catholics understand what the church’s teachings are and those voter guide things are always problematic but I think in general people understand. It was interesting, if one considers Massachusetts, which is so overwhelmingly Democratic, and 8 years ago Gore got 75 percent of the Catholic vote and four years ago, Kerry, who is Catholic and from Massachusetts, got 50 percent of it, so they lost 25 percent of the vote in four years, and I think a lot of that was the influence of people’s concerns about life issues and things like that. And obviously when you look at the differential between the way that Catholics who are church-going Catholics vote and those who are not church going Catholics, I think that the Catholics reflect the church’s teaching. Not as much as we’d like them to, but certainly this last election there were many other factors that intervened.

Q: You just alluded to the fact that many of the people in your archdiocese are Catholics who support abortion rights, including leading politicians, and both US senators. What is your position on whether they should present themselves for Communion, and whether you should be giving it to them?

A: The church’s teaching on worthiness for Communion and proper disposition is in the Catholic catechism, and it’s no secret, and I support that. There is perhaps a teaching where we have not done as good a job of late as we used to. When I was growing up, we would go to confession every Saturday, we would fast from midnight, there was much more of an awareness of the need to be spiritually prepared and in communion with the church and in a state of grace. Today I think we need to reinforce that teaching a lot. And once that teaching is better understood, then, I think, it will be obvious as to who should be coming to Communion and who shouldn’t. But until there’s a decision of the church to formally excommunicate people, I don’t think we’re going to be denying Communion to the people. However, whatever the church’s decision is, we will certainly enforce.

Q: Your position four years ago was that you did not want confrontations at the altar rail.

A: That’s right. We do not want to make a battleground out of the Eucharist.

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

World Leaders Agree to Act Together on Financial Crisis

In a five-page communiqué that mixed broad principles with specific steps to be tackled in the next three months, the Group of 20 pledged to bolster supervision of banks and credit-rating agencies, to scrutinize executive pay at firms, and to use fiscal and monetary policies to cushion the blow of a downturn that is hitting countries around the world.

Pushed by President Bush, who convened the gathering at the suggestion of President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to free markets and trade.

But the statement also laid blame for the crisis at the doorstep of the United States, saying governments “in some advanced countries” had taken inadequate steps to prevent a buildup of risk.

The meeting laid out a roadmap for overhauling financial regulations that would postpone most of the difficult decisions until Mr. Obama is in office.

Those measures include setting up a so-called college of supervisors, which would share information about global financial institutions, and a plan to harmonize accounting standards. Mr. Bush cited a proposal to move the trading of credit-default swaps, a financial instrument that has been blamed for some of the recent upheaval, into a central clearinghouse, which would allow regulators to monitor risk.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Globalization, Politics in General, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Statement of Forth Worth delegates who will remain in TEC

Specifically we will vote against, and we urge you all to vote against, the propositions which purport to amend our diocesan constitution and canons and the resolution regarding membership in the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. Those of us who will remain in the Episcopal Church respectfully but profoundly disagree that passage of these propositions will in fact “remove” the Diocese itself, as well as church property in the diocese, from the Episcopal Church.
1. The propositions are invalid because they are inconsistent with the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church, such as the requirements that each diocese maintain an unqualified accession to the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church and for church officials to act consistently with their fiduciary duty to the Episcopal Church, including recognition of the express trust interest of the Episcopal Church in church property.

2. The propositions violate the fundamental conditions under which the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth was created from within the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas and by which the new diocese assumed the use of and control over Episcopal Church property. These conditions include conformity with the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church, as our diocesan officials expressly acknowledged in the primary convention of the diocese in 1982 and as they have judicially admitted on behalf of the Diocese in the declaratory judgment entered in 1984 and again in the Holy Apostles litigation in the mid 1990s.

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

The Barna Group: How People of Faith Voted in the 2008 Presidential Race

“Senator Obama built a substantial lead early and was able to maintain it throughout the race,” Barna explained. “Just when it appeared that he might win in a landslide, Senator McCain chose Governor Palin as his running mate, and that at least got the unmotivated conservative Christian vote on board. But the election clearly showed that a winning coalition requires more than just evangelical voters. George W. Bush rode to victory twice on the backs of the born again population. But Sen. McCain fared relatively poorly among the non-evangelical born again segment and was unable to compensate by replacing them with a large enough group of ideological moderates.”

Barna noted that in 2008, traditional issues did not energize the right. “There was substantial issue fatigue related to the moral issues that usually rev up the troops on the right. Although the candidates had very distinct and dissimilar views on moral issues such as abortion and gay marriage, those differences were not deal breakers for most voters. Voters are tired of fighting battles that seem interminable. And in a year when there were so many other significant crises and conflicts to consider, people’s focus shifted away from the usual throat-wringing issues.”

This may also have been a turning point for future elections. “It’s possible that the Catholic vote has now returned to the Democratic fold until another Ronald Reagan emerges to lead the Republicans. And ethnic voters flexed their muscle and came away with a win. Who would have suspected that African-Americans and Hispanics would have forged a bulletproof alliance? But they did this time around, and if Senator Obama fulfills his promise and his promises, then 2008 might have birthed a very significant new voting bloc for the future – one that is already 30% of the population and growing.”

Some different material here than that found elsewhere, so worth perusing.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Religion & Culture, US Presidential Election 2008

Star-Telegram: Fort Worth Episcopal Diocese votes to leave Episcopal Church

Clergy and lay delegates of the Fort Worth Episcopal Diocese, which is theologically conservative, voted overwhelmingly Saturday to leave the Episcopal Church, which is more liberal.

The vote by 219 valid delegates was nearly 80 percent in favor of leaving. The vote was taken at St. Vincent’s Episcopal Cathedral in Bedford, where a vote also is scheduled on whether to temporarily align with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, a conservative entity that includes parts of South America.

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

ENS: Fort Worth delegates vote to leave Episcopal Church, realign with Southern Cone

Delegates to the 26th annual diocesan convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth voted Saturday to realign the diocese with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone.

With little debate or emotion, delegates voted by order, 73 votes in favor, 20 against, among clergy and 98-28 among the laity for realignment. After the vote Bishop Jack Iker read a letter from Archbishop Gregory Venables, welcoming Fort Worth into the Southern Cone.

In a statement, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said after the vote that the church “grieves the departures of a number of persons from the Diocese of Fort Worth. We remind those former Episcopalians that the door is open if they wish to return.

“We will work with Episcopalians in the Diocese of Fort Worth to elect new leadership and continue the work of the gospel in that part of Texas. The gospel work to which Jesus calls us demands the best efforts of faithful people from many theological and social perspectives, and The Episcopal Church will continue to welcome that diversity.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

The Bishop of Fort Worth’s Convention Address

I realize that for some of you this means that at the conclusion of this Convention, you will no longer recognize me as your Bishop and that the House of Bishops of TEC will initiate plans to depose me as a Bishop of TEC. However, it is important to understand what such an action can do and what it cannot do. I cannot be un-ordained any more than I can be un-baptized. Holy Orders, like Holy Baptism, bestows an indelible character and imparts a grace that is irrevocable. A deacon, priest or bishop who is deposed may be deprived of exercising his ordained ministry in congregations of The Episcopal Church, but he is not thereby un-ordained or removed from Holy Orders. The clergy of this Diocese were ordained not just for The Episcopal Church, but for the one holy catholic and apostolic church. We are deacons, priests and bishops of the Church of God, not an American denomination. As the Preface to the Ordination Rites says on page 510 of the Prayer Book, “The threefold ministry is not the exclusive property of this portion of Christ’s catholic Church.” I can assure you that all the clergy of this Diocese, under the authority and protection of the Province of the Southern Cone, will continue to exercise our ordained ministry as deacons, priests and bishops in good standing in the worldwide Anglican Communion. Our Province will change, but the validity of our sacred orders will remain unchanged.

I am certain that in the months ahead, leaders of TEC will move to depose not only me, but every deacon and priest here present who votes for realignment at this Convention. Sad to say, some of you here in this Convention hall will cooperate with and facilitate those plans. It is my belief that such a course of action is not only unreasonable and uncharitable, but violates our ecclesiological understanding of what the Anglican Communion claims to be. If we are a worldwide Communion of Provinces who share a common faith, practice and ministry, then it does not make sense to depose clergy who move from one Province to another. No one is abandoning the Communion of the Church by realigning with another Province. The far better way to proceed would be for TEC to accept the fact that a realignment has occurred, to recognize the transfer of this Diocese to another Province of the Anglican Communion, and to wish us well in the name of the Lord. There is something deeply disturbing about a Church that would prefer to litigate and depose rather than to negotiate a peaceful, amicable separation among brothers and sisters in Christ who can no longer walk together.

I call upon the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church and her colleagues to halt the litigation, to stop the depositions, and to cease the intimidation of traditional believers. Instead, let us pursue a mediated settlement, a negotiated agreement that provides for a fair and equitable solution for all parties, and let us resist taking punitive actions against our opponents. Christians are called to work out our differences with one another, not sue one another in secular courts.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Identity, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils, Theology

Episcopal Church Departures Accelerate with Loss of Fort Worth Diocese

The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth follows the California-based Diocese of San Joaquin as well as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Quincy, Illinois, in disassociating itself from the Episcopal Church.

IRD Religious Liberty Director Faith J.H. McDonnell commented:

“Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has stated that the worst is behind the denomination. Saying so ignores the continued departure of parishes, and even more so, the decline in Sunday attendance.

“Suing four different dioceses simultaneously is going to be the least of Jefferts Schori’s problems if Episcopalians continue to die off, stop going to church or leave for more vibrant communities of worship.

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

Vatican official: No nation fully observes human rights declaration

Sixty years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the landmark U.N. document still is not respected fully around the world, said a top Vatican official.

“Unfortunately nowhere in the world, even among (countries) that have embraced, promoted and highlighted this declaration,” are all its articles observed, said Cardinal Renato Martino, head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

The cardinal spoke Nov. 13 at a Vatican press conference detailing events the Vatican will sponsor Dec. 10 to commemorate the anniversary of the U.N. General Assembly’s adoption of the declaration in 1948.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Theology

LA Times: Is the federal government hitting the target with billions to ease the financial crisis?

[Henry] Paulson says the department plans to expand its efforts to ease the credit crunch, but his strategy for the remaining $400 billion or so in TARP may not do the trick either. In particular, we’re skeptical of Paulson’s plans to invest in credit-supplying institutions that aren’t banks — for example, giant insurance company American International Group received a $40-billion investment from TARP — and to address problems in more types of debt markets, including credit card and student-loan debt. As the Center for American Progress points out, the biggest issuers of credit card debt are bank holding companies that have already dined at the TARP trough. And the U.S. Department of Education has already agreed to provide a secondary market for student loans.

The most welcome change that Paulson promised was to use a portion of TARP to avert foreclosures in some unspecified way. That effort may prove to be as weak as the administration’s other initiatives to help homeowners, but at least it’s aimed at the root of the credit crisis.

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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