Daily Archives: February 15, 2009

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor: recession may be jolt that selfish Britain needs

According to the Archbishop of Westminster, the economic downturn could be the very thing that brings us to our senses. “It’s the end of a certain kind of selfish capitalism,” Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor said. “This particular recession is a moment – a kairos – when we have to reflect as a country on what are the things that nourish the values, the virtues, we want to have … Capitalism needs to be underpinned with regulation and a moral purpose.”

He will stand down soon as the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Britain, which he has been for nine years, but before he goes he wants to make one final plea to Britons to change their ways. He told The Times that he had advised Gordon Brown to complement his National Economic Council with a moral one, to “rediscover the things that make for a healthy society”.

He said: “One feels very sorry for those losing their jobs but in times of recession people have to rely on friends and neighbours and families and things that really matter to them. That may be a good thing. I think people did lose their way a bit. It has been difficult to bring up children with the kind of values we want. Let’s face it, we now have a ”˜me, me’ society, a more consumerist society, a utilitarian society, and our values and virtues have become diminished.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Economy, England / UK, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

BBC: Synod struggles on women bishops

The Church of England is the broadest of churches. It has a reputation for carrying out an exhaustive search for compromise even if that means fudging difficult issues.

That’s what made the Synod’s substantial vote last summer to press ahead with the ordination of women bishops seem all the more decisive.

Traditionalists were left disappointed and angry when they were denied the legal right they had wanted to opt out of the control of women bishops.

The Synod clearly felt that ordaining women to the most senior posts was too important a principle to allow the pain of a minority of traditionalists to send it off course.

But when the Synod met this week for a passionate debate about the exact circumstances under which women were to be made bishops, determination seemed to have given way once again to an anxious search for the middle ground – and pessimism about the likelihood of finding it.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

Richard Florida in an Atlantic Cover Story: How the Crash Will Reshape America

Finally, we need to be clear that ultimately, we can’t stop the decline of some places, and that we would be foolish to try. Places like Pittsburgh have shown that a city can stay vibrant as it shrinks, by redeveloping its core to attract young professionals and creative types, and by cultivating high-growth services and industries. And in limited ways, we can help faltering cities to manage their decline better, and to sustain better lives for the people who stay in them.

But different eras favor different places, along with the industries and lifestyles those places embody. Band-Aids and bailouts cannot change that. Neither auto-company rescue packages nor policies designed to artificially prop up housing prices will position the country for renewed growth, at least not of the sustainable variety. We need to let demand for the key products and lifestyles of the old order fall, and begin building a new economy, based on a new geography.

What will this geography look like? It will likely be sparser in the Midwest and also, ultimately, in those parts of the Southeast that are dependent on manufacturing. Its suburbs will be thinner and its houses, perhaps, smaller. Some of its southwestern cities will grow less quickly. Its great mega-regions will rise farther upward and extend farther outward. It will feature a lower rate of homeownership, and a more mobile population of renters. In short, it will be a more concentrated geography, one that allows more people to mix more freely and interact more efficiently in a discrete number of dense, innovative mega-regions and creative cities. Serendipitously, it will be a landscape suited to a world in which petroleum is no longer cheap by any measure. But most of all, it will be a landscape that can accommodate and accelerate invention, innovation, and creation””the activities in which the U.S. still holds a big competitive advantage.

The Stanford economist Paul Romer famously said, “A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.” The United States, whatever its flaws, has seldom wasted its crises in the past. On the contrary, it has used them, time and again, to reinvent itself, clearing away the old and making way for the new. Throughout U.S. history, adaptability has been perhaps the best and most quintessential of American attributes. Over the course of the 19th century’s Long Depression, the country remade itself from an agricultural power into an industrial one. After the Great Depression, it discovered a new way of living, working, and producing, which contributed to an unprecedented period of mass prosperity. At critical moments, Americans have always looked forward, not back, and surprised the world with our resilience. Can we do it again?

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A.

Mike Tomlin, Steelers head coach, talks about his faith

Until this week’s Super Bowl XLIII between the Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals, Tomlin had never had the international platform to follow his mentor Dungy and speak about his faith in Jesus Christ. But that’s exactly what he did before hundreds of reporters in Tampa.

“First and foremost, I want people to know who I am and what the most important thing is in my life, my relationship with Jesus Christ,” Tomlin said in response to a Baptist Press question about his personal faith.

“Football is what we do; faith is who we are all the time.”

Tomlin, who attends Pittsburgh’s Allegheny Center Alliance Church, was mentored by Dungy, who hired him as a defensive backs coach with Tampa Bay before Dungy moved on to Indianapolis.

When then-Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher retired, Tomlin was ready for the promotion, stemming from his time with Dungy, leading men onto the football field and leading men’s hearts off the field.

“I want to lead with a servant’s heart,” Tomlin stated to media members who will be covering Sunday’s Super Bowl.

Read it all.

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

Newsweek Interviews Martyn Minns

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, CANA

Christ Church members overwhelmed by pastor's affair, resignation

To Christ Church officials, the Rev. Lorne Coyle was a guiding light in their quest for adherence to conservative Biblical views, church leaders say.

Then two weeks ago came the married minister’s admission of an affair ”” prompted by an out-of-state woman going to Coyle’s Anglican bishop in Virginia.

“It is a shock,” said Christ Church’s lay leader, senior warden Jim Reamy III.

The bishop suspended Coyle, effective Feb. 1, quickly followed by Coyle’s resignation from the church.

Makes the heart very sad. Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Parish Ministry

The Tablet: SSPX and German bishops square up for battle over Vatican II reforms

The superior of the Society of St Pius X (SSPX), Bishop Bernard Fellay, has apparently ruled out the possibility of his fraternity complying with conditions laid down by the Vatican for them to exercise ministry in the Church.

Last week, following an outcry over the lifting of the excommunications of four SSPX bishops by Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican Secretariat of State issued a statement saying that “full recognition of the Second Vatican Council” was an “indispensable condition for any future recognition of the SSPX” by the Church.

However, in an interview with the German weekly Der Spiegel published on Tuesday, Bishop Fellay said the Second Vatican Council was responsible for the “deplorable state of affairs in the Catholic Church today”. The SSPX particularly rejected three points in the council declarations, he said, “namely the ecumenical initiatives, the declaration on religious liberty and the introduction of the vernacular in the liturgy”. “Since these changes in the Church, we have experienced a unique collapse of church life unlike anything in the entire history of the Church,” he added.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Germany, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

President Barack Obama's abortion reform agenda may be slowed unless states rights is faced

When Barack Obama was campaigning for president, he promised to enact legislation to prohibit states from limiting the right to abortion. Now that Obama is in the White House and solid Democratic majorities are ensconced in Congress, opponents of abortion rights have been bracing for that and other major changes to abortion laws.

But there are indications that what those groups dread most and what some liberal voters eagerly anticipate as the rewards of victory may not come to pass””at least not yet. Democrats on Capitol Hill say that while they are committed to reversing several Bush administration policies with regard to abortion rights and family planning, they may hold off on pursuing the kind of expansive agenda feared by social conservatives.

Despite gains in the House and Senate in last year’s elections, there are still significant numbers of moderate Democrats””particularly in the House””who either oppose abortion altogether or are not in favor of sweeping changes and favor a more incremental approach. And any large-scale effort involving something as polarizing as abortion necessitates spending political capital, something the Obama White House needs in abundance to ensure the survival of its economic policies.

“We deal in reality,” said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “You have to be pragmatic, realistic and, in the end, strategic.”

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama

ENS: Dioceses send resolutions to General Convention

Six months before General Convention, it is already clear that dioceses want the triennial gathering to tackle a range of issues including same-gender relationships, criteria for consenting to episcopal consecrations, the environment, the economy, financing theological education and liturgical change.

In the run-up to the convention, which will take place July 8-17 in Anaheim, Calif., two issues in the debate over homosexuality have seen the most reaction from diocesan conventions. One involves blessing same-gender relationships, especially in states that grant some legal status to those relationships. The other centers on consenting to the episcopal election of individuals “whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion,” as stated in Resolution B033 from the 2006 General Convention.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

An La Times Editorial: Israel's identity crisis

These developments present very basic and very obvious civil rights concerns. But they also raise a deeper, fundamental question that Israelis generally prefer to avoid: Is it possible to be both a Jewish state and a democratic state? Or, put another way: Can a nation founded as a Jewish homeland — with a “right of return” for diaspora Jews but no one else, a Star of David on the flag and a national anthem that evokes the “yearning” of Jews for Zion — ever treat non-Jews as true, equal citizens?

Israel has tried to balance these conflicting ideas since the state was created. Its Declaration of Statehood, issued on May 14, 1948, asserted the “right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate … in their own sovereign state,” while also promising “complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex.” But today, although Israel has a vibrant democracy in many ways, that tension remains, especially as the Arab population grows faster than the Jewish population. What would happen to the Jewish state, Israeli leaders worry, if Arabs outnumbered Jews?

These are complicated questions that go to the heart of Israel’s very identity….

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, Israel, Middle East

The Worst Misstep: Geithner Added to the Doubt

Timothy Geithner, the brand new Treasury secretary, was panned last week for how he unveiled the Obama administration’s plan to rescue the financial system from the bankers who broke it.

Mr. Geithner was not especially articulate, his critics said, and he provided only an outline of an outline, not the detailed blueprint people anticipated and wanted.

To a degree, one of Mr. Geithner’s biggest problems was not of his own making. His boss, President Obama, had fanned expectations for his debut as Mr. Fix-It, leaving the impression that it would be boffo. It wasn’t.

Why is anyone surprised that Mr. Geithner’s Financial Stability Plan lacked details? We are still in sugar-coating mode ”” yes, we have a problem, government officials contend. But they can handle it. Don’t you sweat the details, dear taxpayers.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, The Banking System/Sector

9/11 widow, hero dies in crash

Deeply moving–watch it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

Devastation Follows Australian Fires

The death count is expected to surpass 200 in the aftermath of the most devastating wildfires in Australia’s history. More than 1,800 homes have been destroyed, and now a man has been charged with arson in one fire that killed 21 people.

Host Scott Simon speaks with Richard Glover from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation for an update on the devastating wildfires.

This is a fantastic interview. I still casn’t wrap my mind around the scale of the problem. Listen to it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Australia / NZ

Southern Virginia diocese to install bishop

A Williamsburg priest who says homosexuality should not exclude people from full involvement in the Episcopal Church will be consecrated this week as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia.

The Rev. Herman “Holly” Hollerith IV said he supports the church leadership’s position that all baptized Christians should have equal rights to a full life in the church. But full life in the church doesn’t guarantee ordination, he added.

Hollerith will receive the title “right reverend” on Friday during a 7 p.m. service at William and Mary Hall. The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the New York-based Episcopal Church, will lead the consecration, to be held in conjunction with the diocese’s Annual Council meeting Saturday and Sunday at the Williamsburg Lodge.

“Full membership in the church is not confined to heterosexuals,“ added Hollerith, 53, who has spent almost half his life in ministry. He will be the 10th bishop of the diocese.

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