Daily Archives: October 28, 2009

Holman Jenkins: The real problem is Washington's riverboat gamble on saving the economy with free $

Yet the urgent problem now isn’t TBTF [too big to fail], or even banker bonuses. These are distractions. The urgent problem is the giant riverboat gamble that Washington can save the economy by doing what comes naturally””spending money carelessly, creating massive new entitlements without funding them, dishing out cheap credit to politically favored sectors, telling business people where and how to invest.

Mr. Feinberg is an apt symbol indeed, for this gamble is built on the conceit that Washington can hector the recipients, whether auto companies, banks or homeowners, into behaving in ways that are “responsible.” So far, however, human nature is proving a disappointment: Take the outbreak of tax fraud related to the government’s emergency home-buyer’s credit.

Nor is the larger gamble looking so good either. Banks continue to fail at an alarming rate, the dollar is under assault, and Washington is looking at a future of trillion-dollar deficits. One might have guessed it would take a decade of Obamanomics to produce European welfare state levels of youth unemployment, but at 18.5% we’re there.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Economy, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The 2009 Obama Administration Bank Bailout Plan, The 2009 Obama Administration Housing Amelioration Plan, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The Fiscal Stimulus Package of 2009, The National Deficit, The Possibility of a Bailout for the U.S. Auto Industry, The September 2008 Proposed Henry Paulson 700 Billion Bailout Package, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc), Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

RNS: Congregations Keep on Giving, Despite the Recession

Despite the economic recession, a plurality of congregations reported an increase in donations in the first half of 2009, according to a new study.

More than two-thirds of 1,500 congregations surveyed said fundraising has increased (37 percent) or held steady (34 percent), according to the study.

Nearly 30 percent said giving had decreased in 2009, a significant uptick since 2008, when only 22 percent said giving had declined.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

Globally, Religion Defies Easily Identified Patterns

The world is growing more religious. Or maybe it’s not.

On [last] Friday, the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago released what it described as “the most comprehensive analysis to date of global religious trends.” Anyone studying its 9,000-word analysis and perusing 330 additional pages of references and tables will be quickly disabused of the idea that the currents of religious belief and practice are flowing in one or two or even a half-dozen clear directions.

“Religious change around the world is a complex phenomenon,” the report begins, in an almost comic understatement. “No simple description such as secularization, religious revival, or believing without belonging captures the complexity of the process.”

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

Massachusetts professor new bishop of Connecticut diocese

The Rt. Rev. Jim Curry, who will continue to hold the post of the diocesan bishop suffragan, was expected by many to prevail in Saturday’s election.

“I’m still a little stunned,” said the Rev. Jim Bradley of St. John’s Church on the Waterbury Green, moments after the historic vote. “I really thought that Bishop Curry would win handily … it certainly was a vote for change.”

[Ian] Douglas, reached by telephone in Massachusetts soon after the results of the second ballot were announced at Christ Church Cathedral, said Smith, Curry and other current leaders have brought the diocese “to a place of new energy, new commitment.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Seminary / Theological Education, TEC Bishops, Theology

TEC affiliated Diocese of Fort Worth to have its first ordination of woman to priesthood

The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth was long known as one of the most conservative in the Episcopal Church, and one measure was the refusal by its bishops to ordain women to the priesthood.

When a large majority of clergy and lay delegates of the diocese voted to follow Bishop Jack Iker’s recommendation and leave the Episcopal Church, that split the diocese into churches leaving the denomination (most of them) and those choosing to stay.

The group choosing to stay has long wanted to ordain women to the priesthood – and that will finally happen in Fort Worth this Sunday. Deacon Susan Slaughter will be the history-maker.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth, Women

Zenit: Anglicans Weighing Response to Vatican Invite

The chairman of Forward in Faith, Bishop John Broadhurst, gave the closing remarks and blessing.

“This is a struggle for the truths of the Gospel,” the bishop summarized.

He noted the dismay of members of the Anglican Communion when the church decided that it was possible to ordain women. He said that while bishops of the Church of England were deaf to these concerns, the Bishop of Rome has heard them.

“Rome thinks differently about us than we’ve thought it thought for the last 40 years,” he said.

Bishop Broadhurst characterized the move to accept Anglicans in groups as an “ecclesial answer” to an “ecclesial problem” — in contrast to the individual conversions of Anglicans to Catholicism that has been frequent since the Communion’s move to ordain women.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Brisbane Gothic cathedral to be consecrated

The world’s last Gothic cathedral to be completed will be consecrated in Brisbane on Thursday.

St John’s Anglican Cathedral was designed by English Victorian Gothic architect John Pearson in 1889.

But it was not until 2009 that the third and final stage of its construction was completed – at a cost of almost $40 million.

The medieval-style construction began in 1906, with the first stage completed in 1910.

The second stage ran from 1964-68 and the third and final stage was kicked off in 1989, along with a massive fundraising campaign which attracted federal and Queensland government support.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Parish Ministry

The Full Text of the Georgia Episcopal Church Legal Ruling

It is a 22 page pdf–read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Georgia

Judge rules against Christ Church in Savannah

A two-year legal battle over ownership of the 276-year-old Christ Church came to a close in Chatham County court Tuesday with a judge ruling in favor of the national Episcopal Church’s claims to the historic property.

Superior Court Judge Michael Karpf rejected the argument of former members and clergy who broke away from the Episcopal Church in 2007 that the church belonged to them.

The ruling grants “immediate possession” of Christ Church Savannah and its property in the city’s historic district to the Right Rev. Henry I. Louttit, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Georgia

Women clergy now make up 15 per cent of Anglican clerics

Women vicars comprised 15 per cent of the parochial-incumbent status clergy of the Church of England at the close of 2007, the Second Church Estates Commissioner told Parliament last week. “

At the end of 1997, six per cent of parochial-incumbent status clergy ”” or 426 overall ”” were women, whereas in 2007, 15 per cent, or 974, were women,” Sir Stuart Bell said on Oct 15. However, the number of full-time parochial clergy had also fallen over the past 10 years, from 7,471 at the end of 1997 to 6,450 on Dec 31, 2007.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Women

Living Church–Hopeful Signs in Canterbury-Rome Relationship

The Rev. William Franklin sees the humor in a headline like The Times’ “Desperate Bishops Invited Rome to Park its Tanks on Archbishop’s Lawn,” but he considers it one of the exaggerations in coverage of the Vatican’s plans regarding disaffected Anglicans.

“It doesn’t feel like warring armies here in Rome,” said Fr. Franklin, who has worked at the Anglican Center in Rome since 2005.

Fr. Franklin, an academic fellow at the center and associate director of the American Academy in Rome, also does not see the Vatican’s announcement as fishing for new clergy or trying to poach another communion’s members.

“It is an attempt to respond to questions from former Anglican groups, and maybe some current Anglican groups,” he said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

ENS: Vatican proposal to welcome former Anglicans generates mixed reactions, commentary

Daniel Herzog, who converted to Roman Catholicism after retiring as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Albany, said in a telephone interview that he viewed the pope’s offer as extending to Anglican clergy elsewhere in the world the option, previously available to U.S. Episcopal clergy, to become Catholic priests if they convert.

In the past, “Some Episcopalians who came in groups were allowed to retain a significant part of the Anglican liturgy and, except for the use of Roman eucharistic prayers, they would be able to use the bulk of the prayer book,” he said, adding that he thought Anglican worship traditions would be “a great contribution to the life of the Catholic Church.”

Herzog, who is a lay Catholic, said he expected former Episcopal clergy would be welcomed under the same process as the 1980 “pastoral provision.”

“I think it’s an openness to people who are already predisposed toward the holy see,” said Herzog, noting that switching from being an Episcopal priest to a Roman Catholic priest is “not like changing a New York driver’s license for a Connecticut driver’s license.

“They’re not just looking for people who are angry or unhappy,” he said. “I think they’re looking for people who are personally convinced of the primacy of the Holy Father and believe that ultimately for all Christians the center of unity is the see of Peter.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecumenical Relations, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, TEC Bishops

Church of England bishop says 'Anglican experiment is over'

Bishop [John] Broadhurst said that Pope Benedict has made his offer in response to the pleas of Anglicans who despair at the disintegration of their Church. “Anglicanism has become a joke because it has singularly failed to deal with any of its contentious issues,” said the bishop.

“There is widespread dissent across the [Anglican] Communion. We are divided in major ways on major issues and the Communion has unraveled. I believed in the Church I joined, but it has been revealed to have no doctrine of its own. I personally think it has gone past the point of no return. The Anglican experiment is over.”

In an emotional closing speech on Saturday, Bishop Broadhurst used the metaphor of the frog and the boiling pot to describe the current Anglican status.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Gloom Spreads on Economy, WSJ/NBC News Poll Finds

Americans are growing increasingly pessimistic about the economy after a mild upswing of attitudes in September. But Republicans haven’t been able to profit politically from the economic gloom, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.

The survey found a country in a decidedly negative mood, nearly a year after the election of President Obama. For the first time during the Obama presidency, a majority of Americans sees the country as being on the wrong track.

Fifty-eight percent of those polled say the economic slide still has a ways to go, up from 52% in September and back to the level of pessimism expressed in July. Only 29% said the economy had “pretty much hit bottom,” down from 35% last month.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance

Western Kansas Bishop Plans Return to Parish Ministry

The Rt. Rev. James M. Adams Jr. says he has a ready answer when people ask why he would return to parish ministry after only seven years as a bishop.

“If you’ve ever been a bishop, you would know,” he said.

“In 20 some-odd years as a parish priest, I never missed a day of God’s joy,” he said. “Being a bishop today is not what it once was. It’s more of being an administrator.”

Still, Bishop Adams, who has served the Diocese of Western Kansas since 2002, also speaks with clear affection for the Episcopalians he will leave behind in March 2010, when he moves to Lecanto, Fla.

“I have a lot of respect for these people. They have endured and survived every situation that has come their way,” he said. “They have survived, despite everything that has happened in the church, everything that has happened in the economy and everything that has happened in the world. That says a lot about them and their love of their Lord.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops, TEC Parishes