Daily Archives: January 11, 2009

Raymond Arroyo–Father Richard John Neuhaus: A Man Animated by His Faith

On April 11, 2005, I entered St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome with my friend Father Richard John Neuhaus to pay our respects to the recently deceased Pope John Paul II. After kneeling before the pontiff’s body, I remarked at how small the pope appeared. “That wasn’t him. He isn’t there,” I said. “No,” Father Neuhaus said. “He is there. These are the remains, what is left behind of a life such as we are not likely to see again, waiting with all of us for the Resurrection of the dead, the final vindication of the hope he proclaimed.”

As was his wont, Father Neuhaus was capable of delivering impromptu corrections with an eloquence and precision that would elude the best of us. When I learned of his passing yesterday at the age of 72, his words echoed in my memory. He was not only a great intellectual and an exemplary man of letters but, as his remark to me illustrates, he was a man who put his mind and his literary skill at the service of his church and the truths it protected. He was first and last a man animated by his faith.

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

Press Release from the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado on Yesterday's Action

On Saturday, Jan. 10, The Right Rev. Robert O’Neill ordained Mary Catherine Volland to the sacred order of priests, along with Heather Leigh Payton, Michael David Scott Demmon and Bret Bowie Hayes. All four ordinands will be serving congregations in Colorado.

Volland, a long-time resident of Colorado, was a candidate for ordination from the Diocese of Minnesota where she was ordained to the transitional diaconate this summer. She has been called to serve as an assistant priest at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Denver, and was ordained here by Bishop O’Neill on behalf of the Bishop of Minnesota, the Right Rev. James Jelinek. (Hayes, a candidate for ordination from the Diocese of Connecticut, is serving as a curate at St. John’s Cathedral, and was also ordained here by Bishop O’Neill on behalf of the Bishop of Connecticut, the Right Rev. Andrew Smith.)

Volland is a partnered lesbian. The Episcopal Church does ordain partnered gay and lesbian persons. Several Colorado congregations have been and are served faithfully by gay and lesbian clergy. Although there is a clearly range of opinion among clergy and lay people of the diocese about the ministry of partnered gay and lesbian clergy, one of the gifts of Anglican Christianity is its tradition of holding widely divergent points of view in a context of orthodox Christian faith.

“The Diocese of Colorado is perhaps the most politically and theologically diverse diocese in The Episcopal Church,” says Bishop O’Neill. “Our faithful walking together as sisters and brothers in Christ is at once challenging and a great gift that we have to offer to a broken and divided world. I am grateful to all in this diocese who faithfully come to the table to offer their many gifts to God’s service, including the gay and lesbian Christians among us who so generously contribute to our common life and ministry.”

I tried in vain to find this on the Diocesan Wesbite, if anyone else can help with this please let me know–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Colorado, Windsor Report / Process

Religious Intelligence: Colorado poses new crisis for Anglican Communion

The Anglican world is about to be plunged into a new crisis over sexuality as the American Diocese of Colorado ordained an openly gay and partnered priest yesterday.

Under terms agreed between member Churches of the Anglican Communion, there is a moratorium on ordaining further openly gay people, but Bishop Robert O’Neill (pictured) ordained Mary Catherine Volland, along with three others, to the priesthood at St. John’s Cathedral on Saturday.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Colorado, Windsor Report / Process

Denver Post: Episcopal Diocese ordains Partnered Lesbian to serve Denver church

Mary Catherine Volland, a longtime resident of Colorado and a partnered lesbian, was ordained Saturday at St. John’s Cathedral in Denver, as the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado ended its moratorium on ordaining gay priests.

Volland had been a candidate for ordination by the Diocese of Minnesota. She will serve as an assistant priest at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Denver.

Nationally, the issue of ordaining gay priests has caused division within the church.

Read it all.

Update: There is also a Rocky Mountain News story here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Colorado, Windsor Report / Process

Michael Symmons Roberts: Dream songs of faith, doubt and the God of rescue

In a recent poem the US poet Mark Doty sees an apparition “in the window/ of the Eros Diner, corner/ of 21st Street”. The ghost is a bespectacled figure, heavy-bearded, eating alone. In the poem Doty swears the apparition is John Berryman, the US poet who committed suicide at the age of 57 in January 1972, jumping from the Washington Bridge in Minneapolis on to the frozen banks of the Mississippi.

Doty is not the only one to be haunted by Berryman. Anyone who dips into his extraordinary poems is likely to find his voice, and his presence, hard to shake off. Berryman is often described as one of the founders of “confessional poetry”, part of that brilliant but doomed generation (Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, Theodore Roethke, Anne Sexton) who made searing poetry from the intimate details of their lives, and paid a high price for doing so. Berryman, however, dismissed the term: “The word doesn’t mean anything. I understand the confessional to be a place where you go and talk with a priest. I personally haven’t been to confession since I was 12 years old.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Poetry & Literature

Pauline Chen: In Search of a Good Doctor

In response to my recent column on patients trusting doctors too much, several readers wrote in about the difficulty of finding or sifting through information on doctors and diseases. Many asked for suggestions, so a couple of weeks ago I contacted several nationally respected leaders in family medicine, pediatrics, internal medicine, oncology, surgery and anesthesia and asked them to share their advice on researching doctors and diseases.

Many of the doctors I spoke to or exchanged e-mail with made commonsense suggestions that were not unexpected. They urged patients to find out which doctors their closest friends really like, to ask a prospective doctor questions like how much experience he or she has with a specific condition or operation, and to make sure that as a patient you feel part of a shared decision-making process and comfortable saying how you feel, or that you don’t understand or that you respectfully disagree.

But many of the physicians also shared links to valuable Web sites, several of which I was unfamiliar with. All the sites are free to the public and accessible to anyone with an Internet connection. When I looked at these sites while writing this column, I became really excited as a patient about the amount of information available. For example, one site from the Department of Health and Human Services called Hospital Compare (www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov) allows you to select three hospitals within a 25-mile radius of your home. It also lets you compare a wide variety of quality indicators, like the percentage of heart failure patients who were given discharge instructions, the percentage of surgery patients given prophylactic antibiotics at the right time, or the percentage of hospitalized patients who felt that doctors or nurses “always” communicated well (the differences among hospitals surprised me).

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine

Fierce Fighting in Gaza City

Israeli troops pushed into a heavily populated area of Gaza City from the south early on Sunday in what the army and locals described as fierce fighting. In Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told the nation that Israel is “getting close to achieving the goals it set for itself,” but that “more patience, determination and effort is still demanded.”

Mr. Olmert was speaking in the public part of the regular Sunday cabinet meeting, and his words were broadcast to an Israeli public that supports the war against Hamas in Gaza but is unquiet about how and when it will end.

In his remarks, Mr. Olmert gave no time frame for the conflict, but said that Israel “must not miss out, at the last moment, on what has been achieved through an unprecedented national effort.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Israel, Middle East, Terrorism, Violence

Cary McMullen: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

[Central Florida Bishop John] Howe has told me that he would not be part of any group that is cut off from the Archbishop of Canterbury, the main symbol of unity in the Anglican Communion. In an interview with his diocese’s newspaper recently, Howe said, “I share many if not most of (the dissenters’) theological commitments and concerns. … But God has called me to be a bishop in The Episcopal Church … and I have no intention of leaving it.”

All this may seem like a lot of to-do about technicalities, but there is an important principle at stake in these disputes, and that is the nature of the church. The dissidents – those who are going – believe they are upholding its purity. The ones who are staying believe they are upholding its unity. Which is the more important?

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, --Proposed Formation of a new North American Province, Common Cause Partnership, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Central Florida, Theology

Bishop Harry Shipps: Tradition, reason set Episcopalians apart

Now retired, the 82-year-old New Jersey native marks the debate over the ordination of women as one of the most significant moments of his lifetime in the Episcopal Church.

“I’m very happy it has come about. The church has been blessed with all these additional priests and bishops,” he said.

This week, Shipps marked the 50th anniversary of his own ordination as a priest and 25 years since the day he was consecrated as a bishop with a Tuesday worship service at the Episcopal Church of St. Paul the Apostle.

New and equally weighty issues have followed the debate around women, such as homosexuality and evolution.

Shipps has welcomed them as opportunities to discuss and explore the meaning of faith.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

Episcopal Church leader visits Jackson

Katharine Jefferts Schori spent much of her life with her head in the clouds or under water, but this week, “She’s got her boots on the ground in Mississippi.”

On Wednesday, the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi welcomed the oceanographer/pilot whose third and most important title is the 26th presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church in the United States.

Known formally as The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, the 54-year-old Episcopal leader will tour the state through Monday. The visit marks her first official visit to meet members of the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi but not her first state visit.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop

Modesto Bee: Presbyterian splits lack Episcopalian litigiousness

The Episcopal Church isn’t the only denomination facing a split between liberal and conservative interpretations of Scripture. The Presbyterian Church USA also has seen individual churches leave the national church.

First Presbyterian Church in Fresno and Trinity Presbyterian Church in Clovis are two. The congregational votes in November were overwhelming: 543-10 at First Presbyterian; 264-7 at Trinity.

There are similarities between the denominations: Both have had more than 100 churches leave the national churches, mainly over differences about the authority of Scripture and the ordination of gay clergy. Both national churches claim more than 2 million members.

But there are differences: The Fresno and Clovis churches have asked to be reassigned to the more conservative Evangelical Presbyterian Church, based in Livonia, Mich. The Episcopal Church, so far, is the only approved Anglican body with oversight in the United States.

And many of the Presbyterian churches have been allowed to leave “with grace” and their property, as opposed to the…[Episcopal] parishes and dioceses that have been sued across the country.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Presbyterian, TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes

The Aussie saving lost souls on Wall Street

He’s been described by an admiring New Yorker as “God’s go-to man on Wall Street”, an energetic Australian churchman ministering to the fallen financial gurus once considered masters of the universe.

That, the Reverend John Mason says modestly, is an exaggeration. His Wall Street ministry attracts more middle-managers than corporate masters, and its reach extends to the arts, legal, media and other professions.

But, yes, it is being increasingly sought out by people who have lost well-paid jobs and, with them, financial security, status and self-esteem.

“Over and over again, I’m hearing phrases like ‘I feel such a loser’ or ‘I feel a nobody’; that’s especially true among guys who’ve lost their jobs,” said MrMason, Anglican rector of StClement’s, Mosman, for 16 years before he accepted an invitation from the Redeemer Church in New York to set up new ministries in lower Manhattan.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

RNS: Anglican priest banned; left wife for his deputy

The Church of England has banned a married priest from the priesthood for life after he left his wife and set up a home with his female deputy, who is also an ordained priest.

A disciplinary tribunal for the Diocese of Rochester ruled that the Rev. Canon James Tipp’s relationship with the Rev. Elaine Northern was “inappropriate” and the cause of “a major public scandal.”

Tipp was rector of Snodland with Lower Birling, in southeast England. Northern, who was ordained as a priest six years ago, joined him as associate rector in 2007.

Read the whole article.

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

Global Financial Crisis Upends the Plans of Many South Koreans to Study Abroad

Seo Ji-won was supposed to have been in Sydney, Australia, by now, pursuing her dream of a doctoral degree and higher-paying jobs. Instead, the 26-year-old South Korean engineering graduate remains home in Seoul, working part time at a coffee shop, largely because of forces beyond her control.

The global financial crisis has hammered confidence in South Korea’s once-booming economy, decimating the value of its currency, the won, and forcing tens of thousands of students to alter their study plans, or cancel them altogether.

For Ms. Seo, the won’s plunge in value by a third just in the last few months drove up the cost of her four-year degree program by $10,000, far beyond her savings.

“I like to say that I’m in pause mode,” Ms. Seo said. “My future depends on the won going back up.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Economy, Education, Korea, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Israel tells Gazans to brace for war escalation

Israeli forces pounded rocket-launching sites and smuggling tunnels in Gaza Saturday and planes dropped leaflets warning of an escalation in attacks, as Palestinian militants fired at least 10 more rockets at Israel.

Egypt hosted talks aimed at ending the violence.

Flames and smoke rose over Gaza City amid the heavy fighting. The Israeli threat to launch a “new phase” in its two-week-old offensive that has already killed more than 800 Palestinians came in defiance of international calls for a cease-fire.

“The IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) will escalate the operation in the Gaza Strip,” the leaflets said in Arabic. “The IDF is not working against the people of Gaza but against Hamas and the terrorists only. Stay safe by following our orders.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Israel, Middle East, Terrorism, Violence