Daily Archives: July 24, 2009

Peter Duffy: The Faith of Frank McCourt

Peter Quinn, the novelist and a practicing Catholic, wrote in an email that his friend was neither “contemptuous of believers in general nor Catholics in particular. On a trip we took together in 1998, he went to Mass with me on the Sunday morning that we landed. He respected the fact that I had reached my own peace with the Catholic Church. ”˜It’s a good thing,’ he once told me, ”˜that you’re raising your kids in the Catholic faith. At least they’ll have a map to follow or throw away. In either case, they’ll know where they are.’”‰”

That’s what Mr. McCourt had. Even as he described suffering under its thumb, he developed an unbreakable affinity with the church’s history, traditions and literature. He writes in “Angela’s Ashes” about discovering Butler’s “Lives of the Saints” in the library on a rainy afternoon””“I don’t want to spend my life reading about saints but when I start I wish the rain would last forever.” He told an Irish television host in 1999: “I read the ”˜Lives of the Saints’ all the time. If you poke me in the middle of the night and say what are you reading, I’ll say, the ”˜Lives of the Saints.’”‰”

Readers will long benefit from his ability to evoke a Catholic milieu that will never exist again. To someone like me who grew up in the post-Vatican II church, it’s a fascinating glimpse of a lost world. “The rain dampened the city from the Feast of the Circumcision to New York’s Eve,” he wrote of his childhood home of Limerick, Ireland. In just a few words, we are transported to a time when every schoolchild knew that said feast was celebrated on Jan. 1. The only picture that hung in the McCourt household, he writes, was of Pope Leo XIII in “a yellow skullcap and a black robe with cross on his chest.” How many families have framed portraits of Pope Benedict on the wall?

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Poetry & Literature, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Of Cloned Mice and Men

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Ethics / Moral Theology, Life Ethics, Science & Technology, Theology

ABC Nightline: A World Without Men?

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Men, Science & Technology, Sexuality, Women

Texas Rector Withdraws from Episcopal Election in Malawi

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Posted in Uncategorized

Peter Ould: Waiting for Rowan

I have no idea amidst a flurry of speculation. Let’s see what actually comes out and remain prayerful please.

Posted in Uncategorized

Bishops Lillibridge and Reed (West Texas): Reflections on General Convention 2009

For the above reasons and more, the two of us believed that not moving forward on the issues raised in resolutions DO25 and CO56 would have provided the church with additional space in which to abide with one another as we wrestle with the whole range of views and practices in these matters. We believe that this theological homework needs to be done at this critical time in the life of the Anglican Communion and The Episcopal Church.

Declining to move forward in these matters would have also sent a strong message to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the wider Communion that we know this is a long, difficult road and that we respect our relationships with them enough to continue to offer restraint in these areas. At the same time, we acknowledge the reality that many in this church believe we have already waited long enough and the time to move forward is now. This was reflected in the debate and conversations that the most important thing at this moment was to “state clearly and honestly” where the majority of the Convention believes this church to be.

In all of this, we are hopeful that the work of the Theology Committee, given a fair hearing, will be an important contribution to our walk together, and especially as the Diocese of West Texas continues to have these conversations. As you may remember, we have a Reconciliation Commission developing a framework for discussions in these and other areas.

Clearly, we are living in a time of great change in society and in the Church. Clearly, we have gays and lesbians in the Diocese of West Texas who are hurting because of their experience in the Church, and because we have voted the way we have on these matters. Clearly, we have conservatives in West Texas who continue to be frustrated by the actions of the General Convention. Clearly, your bishops have the pastoral responsibility for all of the members of our diocese as well as a responsibility to and with the wider Church. Clearly, balancing all of this is a challenge for even the most gifted of leaders. We want to assure you all that we are committed to your service in the Name of Christ, our own clay feet notwithstanding.

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

John Kass on the White Sox Perfect Game Yesterday

John Buehrle, Mark’s father, was on Comcast SportsNet later, saying he phoned his son.

“I called him after, just like I have every game since he’s been in baseball, and left him a little personal message,” said Buehrle’s dad, who has a pacemaker in his heart and said he needed it during the ninth inning. “And I said, make sure to give Mr. Wise a hug for me.”

When the game ended, naturally I called my boys.

“Wise should stay on the Sox for the rest of his life,” said the one with the Buehrle poster over his bed.

“That was the greatest catch I’ve ever seen in my life,” said the other.

They’re only in 8th grade. They’ll see other catches, other games. But this one will always be perfect.

Read it all .

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

Massive New Jersey corruption sting targets mayors, legislators, Rabbis

The bribes went down in diners, living rooms and parking lots. New Jersey Assemblymen took them, mayors took them, and so did dozens of others.

Orthodox rabbis, acting more like crime bosses than religious leaders, laundered millions through synagogues and yeshivas in Deal, one of the state’s wealthiest towns. And a Realtor tried to sell an informant a black market kidney for $160,000.

Those were some of the allegations federal prosecutors made today in what could prove to be the biggest New Jersey scandal of them all.

The revelations came after hundreds of federal agents swept across the state, arresting public servants and religious leaders as part of a two-year investigation into corruption and international money-laundering that authorities described as unprecedented – even in a state known for its scandals.

The state in which I grew up. I wish I could say I am surprised but I am not. This makes the heart very sad. Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, State Government, Theology

Terry Mattingly: Why Episcopalians get so much media attention

The bottom line: Episcopalians wear religious garb, work in convenient urban sanctuaries and speak the lingo of progressive politics. Their leaders look like Catholics and think like journalists.

It also helps to remember that the Episcopal Church’s roots connect to the Church of England, which gives it a unique role in American history, noted Bishop William Frey of the Diocese of the Rio Grande, who was a media professional before seeking ordination. This small, well-established denomination has helped shape the lives of 11 presidents, 35 U.S. Supreme Court justices and legions of journalists.

Like it our not, the Episcopal Church occupies its own corner in the public square — which leads to news coverage.

Is that a good thing? Sometimes Frey isn’t sure.

“I can’t understand why some people want the kind of media attention that we get year after year,” he said, during one media storm in the 1980s. “I mean, that’s like coveting another man’s root canal.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Media, Religion & Culture

Cal Thomas: the Church of What's Happenin' Now

In the early ’70s, comedian Flip Wilson created a character for his NBC television program called “Reverend Leroy” of “The Church of What’s Happenin’ Now.” Like some contemporary “reverends,” Reverend Leroy was a con artist who, among other things, once took up an offering to go to Las Vegas, explaining he had to study sin in order to effectively preach against it.

Reverend Leroy would feel right at home in the modern Episcopal Church, which recently voted at its denominational meeting in Anaheim, Calif., to end the ban on the ordination of gay bishops and permit marriage “blessings” for same-sex couples.

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

The Latest Edition of the Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

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

The Bishop of Southwest Florida on General Convention 2009

This convention did recognize the changing circumstances in particular civic jurisdictions regarding “legislation authorizing or forbidding marriage, civil unions or domestic partnerships for gay and lesbian persons.” It called for “a renewed pastoral response” but did not authorize same-sex blessings.

The House of Bishops will be in theological discussion in the coming years regarding this pastoral issue. This is not new. An initial theological study from the Theology Committee of the House of Bishops was expected for Spring 2010 anyway. Resolution C056 expects the theological conversation to be held within the wider context of the Anglican Communion. The discussions in the House of Bishops at this General Convention were honest, caring, prayerful, respectful and thoughtful. Deep listening to one another characterized our time together. This particular focus may continue to unfold in years to come just as the issue of divorce and remarriage did within the church. Changes in the culture forced theological discussion regarding divorce at the Lambeth Conferences in 1920 and 1930. Our own General Convention slightly relaxed our canons regarding divorce and remarriage within the church first in 1946 and then set out current standards in 1973. The reality of faithful homosexual Christians was, to my knowledge, first mentioned at a General Convention in 1976 and at the Lambeth Conference in 1978.

Please note that no church canons regarding marriage were changed, or even debated, at this just concluded General Convention. The conversation is continuing within our church and the Anglican Communion about the pastoral approaches and theological understandings for gay and lesbian Christian’s who are loved by God and respond to God’s call.

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

Last Week's Church Times Leader–Schism must not be allowed to happen

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

InclusiveChurch: The Episcopal Church's new resolutions

Inclusive Church welcomes the clarity of the new resolutions passed at the General Convention of the Episcopal Church of the USA (TEC) in Anaheim. They accurately and honestly describe the current situation, affirming that homosexual orientation should not be a bar to ordination as priest or bishop, and recognising that same sex blessings are being performed in some parishes and dioceses.

It is our wish that such honesty prevail in all current dialogues within the Anglican Communion – for example, recognising that within the Church of England there are a great many gay and lesbian clergy in relationships, and many churches offer blessings of same-sex relationships.

We equally acknowledge the costly lengths to which TEC has gone over many years to encourage the unity of the Anglican Communion, and note that the moratoria previously agreed regarding human sexuality have not been overturned.

We therefore urge members of the Communion to consider carefully what has actually been agreed at Anaheim.

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

Tim Fountain: When just a few people leave a small, aged church

Given those realities (again, from TEC’s own reports and stats), the loss of just a person or two can have a major impact:

* + The loss of one major financial donor, by death or departure, can cripple the budget of a small church. It can be the difference between full- or part-time clergy, paid or volunteer secretary or music leader, hiring staff or keeping a building up to code for use.
* + The loss of one major “doer” in a small or aged congregation means that some ministry will not be done, or not done well. No usher greets the visitors. Nobody makes coffee for fellowship time. Nobody has a strong enough voice to lead the hymns and they are mumbled. Nobody tries to do programs for the few kids or teens who might be left.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Conflicts, TEC Parishes