Daily Archives: July 8, 2009

Massachusetts sues feds over definition of marriage

Massachusetts, the first state to legalize gay marriage, sued the U.S. government Wednesday over a federal law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

The federal Defense of Marriage Act interferes with the right of Massachusetts to define and regulate marriage as it sees fit, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said. The 1996 law denies federal recognition of gay marriage and gives states the right to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

Read it all.

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

TEC Denies Media Credentials for Matt Kennedy

I find this very strange.

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

The General Convention 2009 Intercessors Blog

Check it out.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Spirituality/Prayer

Lionel Deimel Offers some Thoughts on General Convention 2009

But the Church must change if it is to survive, adapting its understanding and message so that it remains compelling in changed circumstances to modern people. I actually believe that lack of central authority in the Anglican Communion is one of its strengths, as the autonomy of individual churches provides the freedom to experiment with doctrine and liturgy without the entire Communion’s having to endorse it. (A loose Communion structure also gives churches unsympathetic to innovation credible deniability when confronted with complaints about innovations elsewhere in the communion.) As I said in “Saving Anglicanism,”

Is it not as likely that catastrophic conflict can be avoided””as it has been avoided for the past three centuries””not by getting more engaged in one another’s business, but by becoming more tolerant and less engaged? To interpret the current conflict in psychological terms, the Episcopal Church did not make traditionalists unhappy, they chose to be unhappy. They could have made a different choice. Perhaps the salvation of the Anglican Communion lies in less communication, less consultation, and less caring for one another.

This is really the only way forward that I can see if both the Anglican Communion and the integrity of the churches of the Communion are to be preserved.

I hope, then, that the General Convention will adopt a strategy that preserves the ability of The Episcopal Church to live out the Gospel as we understand God’s call to us in 21st-century America. This is a higher goal than preserving peace within the Anglican Communion or even than preserving the Anglican Communion itself.

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

Nicholas Knisely on the First full day of General Convention 2009

In terms of the mood of Convention – I have no idea. Things are spinning up so fast I’ve not really had time to have more than briefest of conversations with folks about anything other than the weather. The one thing I’m hearing from folks is that they are recognizing the crisis moment facing the Episcopal Church. (In terms of membership and money.) What I’ve not heard is any coherent response. Hopefully that will emerge.

But I’m not particularly worried. If it doesn’t emerge from General Convention (and I’m not optimisitic), I think is emerging now from the grassroots of the Church.

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

Kendall Harmon on General Convention 2009 (I): Watch the Distance Between the Two Houses

I think the most interesting dynamic heading in to this General Convention is the distance between the two Houses. In the House of Deputies, there is little question of the majority’s desire to overturn B033 (the restraint resolution) and pass a resolution placing the blessing of same sex unions in the Book of Occasional Services. I say this based on the tragic departures of numerous reasserters as well as the shifts in deputations like those from the TEC remnant dioceses of Fort Worth and San Joaquin. I also base it on my overall feel of the deputations.

The Bishops is another matter altogether. Many of them got an earful at Lambeth 2008 about the damage they have caused around the communion. Even more important in my view, the bishops are presiding over many dioceses in which there is much conflict, financial struggle, membership loss, morale depletion, and on and on. The Bishops as a whole do not want to provide a further explicit means for even more controversy. I think they want to bypass B033 and pass a resolution with some kind of circuitous wording trying to state where TEC is now. They also seem to wish to pass a resolution on the same sex blessing matter which allows the current situation of the increasing embrace of the practice to continue, without explicitly adding more fuel to the divisive fires.

That’s a pretty big gap between the two Houses. We’ll see how and if it can be bridged. Right now, based on where things are, I think the institutional reappraisers among the bishops have the upper hand in the very short term. Therefore a more probable outcome is for the overall desire of the bishops to prevail.

But this is the General Convention of the Episcopal Church we are speaking about. Anything can happen. You can only speak in terms of probabilities.

If I were there, I would definitely want B033 on the floor of the House of deputies so it can be overturned. B033 is one of the sadder chapters in the recent history of the Episcopal Church. The way it was handled was shameful in both Houses, in Deputies where at a minimum the spirit of the House was trampled upon, and in the House of bishops where both the spirit and the letter of the law of that House were sacrificed on the altar of expediency. B033 never was even an accurate view of where the Episcopal Church stood, and it misled many in the Anglican Communion to think the situation was other than it was (in other words it was a lie). Many of us””both reasserters and reappraisers by the way””were maligned for voting against B033 at the time, but in retrospect I believe our concerns have been more than vindicated–KSH.

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

Lent and Beyond: A Confessions

O Lord,

We stand in Manasseh! We have forgotten You.

We have cast aside Your truths for The-Right-to-Choose truths.

The-Right-to-Choose has distracted us with distractions upon distractions. Our schedules are oppressed under its yoke. The-Right-to-Choose has appropriated our Sabbaths.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Spirituality/Prayer

Assisted dying plea is turned down by Lords after emotional speech from disabled peer

The Lords last night rejected a bid to allow relatives to help terminally ill people travel abroad to die, following an impassioned plea by a severely disabled peer.

Baroness Campbell of Surbiton, who was born with the wasting disease spinal muscular atrophy, told how doctors had persuaded her her life was at an end.

She said many would come under similar pressure from loved ones if the law was relaxed.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics, Parish Ministry, Theology

In Russia, Obama’s Star Power Does Not Translate

Let other capitals go all weak-kneed when President Obama visits. Moscow has greeted Mr. Obama, who on Tuesday night concluded a two-day Russian-American summit meeting, as if he were just another dignitary passing through.

Crowds did not clamor for a glimpse of him. Headlines offered only glancing or flippant notice of his activities. Television programming was uninterrupted; devotees of the Russian Judge Judy had nothing to fear. Even many students and alumni of the Western-oriented business school where Mr. Obama gave the graduation address on Tuesday seemed merely respectful, but hardly enthralled.

“We don’t really understand why Obama is such a star,” said Kirill Zagorodnov, 25, one of the graduates. “It’s a question of trust, how he behaves, how he positions himself, that typical charisma, which in Russia is often parodied. Russians really are not accustomed to it. It is like he is trying to manipulate the public.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Europe, Foreign Relations, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Russia

John Samways Chimes in

For more than ten years the Church has argued for “a period of silence” to enable complex theological and biblical issues to be weighed and resolved, but sadly this “mind of the Church” has been ignored by those pressing for a revision of orthodoxy. Time and again, unilateral decisions have been taken by the revisionists and those seeking to uphold orthodoxy have been marginalised. In consequence, the Church is in turmoil ”” no longer is it a light to the communities it is called to serve; it has largely lost its confidence in the Gospel it is called to proclaim.

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

Toronto Star: Pontiff proposes 'ethics' for economy

As leaders of the world’s industrialized nations gather in Italy, the Pope is calling on them to reject the mantra of deregulation that has guided economic policy and bring in new rules to temper the excesses of the past.

“The economy needs ethics in order to function correctly,” the Pope wrote in his encyclical Charity in Truth released this week.

It’s a point Benedict XVI is expected to stress in meetings with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama after the G8 summit, which begins today.

“The conviction that the economy must be autonomous, that it must be shielded from ‘influences’ of a moral character, has led man to abuse the economic process in a thoroughly destructive way,” he wrote.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Theology

Benedict XVI's New Encyclical: "Caritas in Veritate" (Charity in truth)

A vocation is a call that requires a free and responsible answer. Integral human development presupposes the responsible freedom of the individual and of peoples: no structure can guarantee this development over and above human responsibility. The “types of messianism which give promises but create illusions” always build their case on a denial of the transcendent dimension of development, in the conviction that it lies entirely at their disposal. This false security becomes a weakness, because it involves reducing man to subservience, to a mere means for development, while the humility of those who accept a vocation is transformed into true autonomy, because it sets them free.

Hmm. Transcendence, autonomy, false security and humility. Interesting timing don’t you think? It is not short but you need to take the time to read it all–KSH.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Theology

Carl Anderson on the new Papal Encyclical: It's a Moral Document, not a Political One

We might sum up the Pope’s thinking on the economy this way: Each of us must answer Christ’s question, “Who do you say that I am?” If we, with Peter, answer “The Messiah,” then that should direct the axis of our life. Our most important reality must be the truth of our relationships. In this way, we can understand how the law and prophets could be summed up in Christ’s two commandments: That we love God totally, and love our neighbors as ourselves. Thus we are able to speak of “caritas in veritate.”

Once we accept Christ and these two commandments, we can no longer ask Cain’s question: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Instead, we must realize that our exercise of freedom cannot take the form of simply amassing the most wealth that we can. Rather, all that we do in freedom must reflect that reality and all our actions must take into account the effects of those actions on others….

The Pope’s thesis makes clear that an ethical foundation must transcend politics, and as the document makes explicit, the technical solutions belong to policy makers.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Theology

CIEF's Official Message to ACNA

Greetings to the Anglican Church in North America
the Church of Ireland Evangelical Fellowship

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

The Church of Ireland Evangelical Fellowship includes in its membership lay people, clergy and bishops in the Church of Ireland. Our committee, meeting on 28th May 2009, unanimously resolved that we should write to encourage you in the formation of the Anglican Church in North America.

We have followed with sadness the unfolding developments in The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada. We know that many of you have suffered great loss (personal, parochial and diocesan) for upholding the orthodox faith in the face of radical innovation, and we want you to know that you have our full support.

We are glad to affirm you fully as fellow-Anglicans and we hope and pray that your new Province will be officially recognised by the Anglican Communion before long. We would like to share with you some words of the hymn known as St Patrick’s Breastplate*:

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One, and One in Three.
Of whom all nature hath creation;
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

We assure you of our love and prayers in these times of testing.

Yours sincerely in Christ

Dermot O’Callaghan
(Chair of the Church of Ireland Evangelical Fellowship)

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

Phil Ashey of the AAC on General Convention Day One

He didn’t like the Presiding Bishop’s address–find out why.

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