Daily Archives: June 29, 2009

Pope Says Tests ”˜Seem to Conclude’ Bones Are the Apostle Paul’s

The first scientific tests on what are believed to be the remains of the Apostle Paul, the Roman Catholic saint, “seem to conclude” that they belong to him, Pope Benedict XVI said Sunday.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Pastor Urges His Flock to Bring Guns to Church

Ken Pagano, the pastor of the New Bethel Church here, is passionate about gun rights. He shoots regularly at the local firing range, and his sermon two weeks ago was on “God, Guns, Gospel and Geometry.” And on Saturday night, he is inviting his congregation of 150 and others to wear or carry their firearms into the sanctuary to “celebrate our rights as Americans!” as a promotional flier for the “open carry celebration” puts it.

“God and guns were part of the foundation of this country,” Mr. Pagano, 49, said Wednesday in the small brick Assembly of God church, where a large wooden cross hung over the altar and two American flags jutted from side walls. “I don’t see any contradiction in this. Not every Christian denomination is pacifist.”

The bring-your-gun-to-church day, which will include a $1 raffle of a handgun, firearms safety lessons and a picnic, is another sign that the gun culture in the United States is thriving despite, or perhaps because of, President Obama’s election in November.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Religion & Culture

Madoff Sentenced to 150 Years in Prison for Ponzi Scheme

A federal judge sentenced Bernard L. Madoff to 150 years in prison on Monday for operating a huge Ponzi scheme that devastated thousands of people, calling his crimes “extraordinarily evil.”

In pronouncing the sentence ”” the maximum he could have handed down ”” Judge Denny Chin turned aside Mr. Madoff’s own assertions of remorse and rejected the suggestion from Mr. Madoff’s lawyers that there was a sense of “mob vengeance” surrounding calls for a long prison term.

“Objectively speaking, the fraud here was staggering,” the judge said. “It spanned more than 20 years.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Stock Market, Theology

Thomas Friedman: Invent, Invent, Invent

We should be taking advantage. Now is when we should be stapling a green card to the diploma of any foreign student who earns an advanced degree at any U.S. university, and we should be ending all H-1B visa restrictions on knowledge workers who want to come here. They would invent many more jobs than they would supplant. The world’s best brains are on sale. Let’s buy more!

Barrett argues that we should also use this crisis to: 1) require every state to benchmark their education standards against the best in the world, not the state next door; 2) double the budgets for basic scientific research at the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and the National Institute of Standards and Technology; 3) lower the corporate tax rate; 4) revamp Sarbanes-Oxley so that it is easier to start a small business; 5) find a cost-effective way to extend health care to every American.

We need to do all we can now to get more brains connected to more capital to spawn more new companies faster. As Jeff Immelt, the chief of General Electric, put it in a speech on Friday, this moment is “an opportunity to turn financial adversity into national advantage, to launch innovations of lasting value to our country.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Education, Energy, Natural Resources, Science & Technology

USA Today: Rising national debt raises prospects of eventual inflation

Inflation is as dead as the Wicked Witch of the West in a waterfall. The consumer price index has actually fallen 1.3% in the past 12 months. So why is everyone so worried about soaring prices?

In a word: debt. The government owes the world $11.4 trillion ”” $37,000 for every person in the U.S. In the next fiscal year, the government will add $1.8 trillion to the deficit.

The government could simply print more dollars to pay off our debts with cheap currency ”” a tempting but inflationary solution. Politicians wouldn’t have to ask citizens to pay for the government’s services, and citizens wouldn’t have to think about the actual cost of what they demand ”” until, of course, the currency collapses, interest rates soar and the economy craters. Some on Wall Street are betting on just that scenario. Universa Investments ”” linked to Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of Wall Street’s biggest book, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable”” is adding strategies that will soar if inflation takes off. Respected hedge fund adviser 36 South Investment Managers is raising $100 million for a fund that will bet on soaring price increases. And Marc Faber, editor of the Gloom Boom & Doom Report, a newsletter, predicts that U.S. inflation will someday match Zimbabwe’s ”” that would be 236 million percent a year.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Economy, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

Religion and Ethics Newsweekly: Religion and Health Care Reform

BOB ABERNETHY, anchor: As President Obama pushed health care reform a coalition of religious leaders joined the effort with a rally and interfaith prayer service in Washington. The event brought together Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and others who called for universal and affordable health care. The group said health care is a moral issue and called the nation’s current situation too immoral to tolerate. One of the participants in that interfaith coalition is Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK, a national Catholic social justice lobby. Her order is the Sisters of Social Service. She is also a lawyer. Sister, welcome.

Sister SIMONE CAMPBELL (Executive Director, NETWORK): Thank you.

ABERNETHY: In that coalition, your number one priority is expanding health care for everyone. Talk about that.

Sr. CAMPBELL: It’s a shocking outrage in our country. It’s a moral outrage that we have almost 50 million people without coverage, without access to a doctor, and we have even hundreds of thousands more that can’t even use the coverage that they have. That’s wrong. We have to change it.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Religion & Culture

French Village Life Blog: An Anglican church in France

Let me tell you a little about our Anglican Church here in France. I should begin by saying that it is a privilege to have such a Church, as of course France is a Roman Catholic country and does not need to permit other religions to have a base here. However, the Anglican Church has good relationships with the Catholic church, and we are always aware of our standing in the country.

Our church comes under the Diocese of Europe, overseen by the Bishop of Gibraltar, as do all other Anglican churches in Europe.

Ten years ago an English vicar and his wife felt called to come to Brittany to start a centre for worship. All the legalities complied with , they opened their own home, with a group of half a dozen people , for Sunday worship. Contacts were made during the next year with a Catholic teaching monastery , who kindly offered a set of rooms to be used on a Sunday. Set in their beautiful gardens, it was a wonderful place to worship at the weekly services….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Europe, France, Parish Ministry

Some GOP lawmakers await Sanford resignation

Some Republican state lawmakers are privately saying they want Republican Gov. Mark Sanford to step down ”” of his own volition ”” this week.

Meanwhile, Sanford has spent portions of the last few days phoning key lawmakers and Republican Party activists, apologizing for his affair with an Argentinian woman that left him out of touch with his staff and other state leaders for the better part of a week.

On another note, a source close to Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer said Sunday that Bauer has approached members of the Senate to discuss the possibility that, if Sanford resigns, Bauer would only serve the remainder of the governor’s term, focusing on job creation, and would not run for governor in 2010 as Bauer had originally intended.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Politics in General, State Government

Archdeacon calls for ”˜new parish model’

An Archdeacon in the Church of England is calling for a “new parish model” which would engage with what he sees as “the need for non-geographical ministries”.

Such a structure need not lose sight of the “best of local, incarnational ministry,” argues the Ven Paul Slater, Archdeacon of Craven, diocese of Bradford.

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

Religious Intelligence: Presiding Bishop deposes bishops

US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has deposed two more retired American bishops, announcing on June 12 that she had accepted the voluntary renunciation of ministry of the retired Bishop of Quincy the Rt Rev Edward MacBurney and the retired Bishop of Southern Virginia the Rt Rev David Bane.

However, the two bishops have stated they have not renounced their orders, but were being accepted into the House of Bishops of the Province of the Southern Cone under Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Polity & Canons

Press-Enterprise: Harmony exists among Inland Episcopalians in fractious times

As the Episcopal Church prepares to hold its triennial convention in Anaheim next month, most of the media focus has been on continuing divisions over the role of gays and lesbians in the church.

Delegates are expected to vote whether to develop formal marriage rites or blessings for same-sex couples, and on reversing a 2006 moratorium on the consecration of bishops who are in same-sex relationships.

Yet, in most Episcopal parishes throughout the Inland area, the divisions over homosexuality rarely come up in conversation, priests and parishioners said. Theologically conservative and liberal members worship and volunteer side by side, disagreeing on issues such as gay bishops but united by the combination of a Catholic liturgical tradition and a Protestant belief in letting non-clergy interpret the Bible.

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

In Nigeria Gospel Anglicans celebrate new ministers

Recently, it was celebration galore at the Gospel Anglican Church, Ajagbadi, Lagos. The occasion was the ordination service for new ministers of the church. The new clerics were resplendent in their white robes which, according to them, stood for purity.

The ordination service commenced at 9.am when the bishop and other ministers walked in amid songs of praise by the choristers and the entire congregation.

The church wore a solemn look as the candidates to be ordained were presented at the altar by the Gospel Anglican Bishop of Lagos, Rt. Rev. Chukwuereka Iheanachor. The man of God prayed for the glory of God to overwhelm the new ministers of the gospel and for them to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria

Creation of second Anglican church for conservative Episcopalians Supported in Vero Beach

The creation of a second Anglican church in America for conservative Episcopalians angered by the liberal drift of their denomination has drawn high praise from the members of a Vero Beach church who attended the new denomination’s founding convocation in Texas this week.

“I’ve been waiting 30 years for this moment,” said Judy Stull of Christ Church in Vero Beach, one of ten members of the church’s delegation to the Anglican Church in North America founding convocation held June 22-25 at St. Vincent’s Cathedral in Bedford, Texas.

Formed in 2007 after the clergy and a majority of the members of Trinity Episcopal Church in Vero Beach withdrew from the Diocese of Central Florida, the new church meets in the former Indian River County Tax Assessor’s Office in Majestic Plaza off U.S. 1 in Vero Beach. The 500-member church is one of 700 congregations comprising 100,000 former Episcopalians in the U.S. and Canada that make up the ACNA.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, ACNA Inaugural Assembly June 2009, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA)

James Stockton: Consider facts about proposed covenant, not myths

The rest of the world does not care if Anglicans cannot play nicely with others who like to identify themselves as fellow Anglicans. What the world around us cares about is whether or not we care about the world around us.

The proposed covenant does pay lip service to rightful concern for the needs of the wider world. But it is preoccupied with encouraging, then enforcing, uniformity. It’s time we refuse to be distracted with this covenant nonsense. The Church of England seems constitutionally incapable of leading on this edge; but the Episcopal Church can and should set the pace and lead the way back to mission.

The Episcopal Church, as well as the Anglican Church of Canada, is capable of leading the communion back to its roots, its “Anglican roots” if you must: a collegial fellowship of independent churches, working and praying interdependently to bring Christ to the wider world around us, and to find Christ there waiting for us.

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

Post-Gazette: Archbishop Duncan shepherds Episcopal spinoff

In a Texas cathedral where the liturgical nuances of Anglo-Catholicism mingled with the joyous shouts of Pentecostalism, Archbishop-elect Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh called together a body representing 100,000 people who had left the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada.

Yesterday they adopted the constitution of the new Anglican Church in North America, which they hope will eventually be recognized as a province of the 80 million-member global Anglican Communion. The 2.1 million-member Episcopal Church is the U.S. province of the communion.

“There is a great reformation of the Christian Church under way. We North American Anglicans are in the midst of it,” their new archbishop told a standing-room only crowd gathered in St. Vincent Cathedral in Bedford, Texas. It was the cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth which, like the Diocese of Pittsburgh, had broken with the Episcopal Church, taking the majority of its parishes with it.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, ACNA Inaugural Assembly June 2009, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA)