Daily Archives: February 9, 2010

Sybil D. Smith–When Burial's Unaffordable, Grief Compounds

I have been exploring the funeral and burial customs of impoverished people in the Latino community of upstate South Carolina. I began doing this recently after considering the high cost of funerals in general.

Some impoverished Latinos could not claim the bodies of their deceased because they could not pay for a burial or have the loved one returned to the home country.

Horror stories from the field made me uncomfortable. As an educator, my mind scanned “disenfranchised grief” sections of my textbooks and workshop handouts.

Not being able to grieve and mourn according to custom is a great loss to bear. The mourning is made worse in environments where the grievers are not recognized by the larger society as people entitled to experience their grief.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, City Government, Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Poverty, Theology

Beneath the Two Arches in Utah

This is great.

Posted in Uncategorized

New Oxford Review on the Pope's recent offer to Anglicans–Which Side Are You On?

When the Vatican announced its new canonical structure that will allow Anglicans to enter en masse into the Holy Catholic Church, clerical ecumenists on both sides of the fence scrambled to make sense of Pope Benedict XVI’s monumental gesture on their own terms. Ecumenical dialogue partners Vincent Nichols, the Catholic archbishop of Westminster, and Rowan Williams, the Anglican archbishop of Canterbury, the de facto leader of worldwide Anglicanism, in a joint press release, described the impending publication of the apostolic constitution that would formalize the new structure as “further recognition of the substantial overlap in faith, doctrine and spirituality between the Catholic Church and the Anglican tradition.”

It is true that there is significant overlap in many areas ”” the Anglican Communion, after all, split off from the Catholic Church in the 1500s but retained a greater sense of Catholicity than the other Protestant sects that developed out of the Reformation on the Continent. But the practical effect of the Pope’s apostolic constitution, Anglicanorum Coetibus (“Groups of Anglicans,” released by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on Nov. 9, complete with complementary norms), has been to crystallize the significant differences between modern Anglicanism and Holy Mother Church.

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

Looking at Another Blog's Comment Policy

From the CNS blog here:

Our standards….are simple: We expect you to comment with Christian charity toward your fellow readers and to those whose causes are mentioned in the blog. This means that we will not permit comments which advocate physical or spiritual harm to an individual (i.e., wishing someone would soon “meet his maker” or burn in hell). Comments that include slanderous or abusive name-calling will be edited or deleted. You can disagree with someone’s point of view, but you cannot ”” to give one recent, extreme submission that got cut ”” call someone “a disobedient, self-willed sociopath.” Even milder forms of name-calling, such as questioning someone’s intelligence, likely will be excised.

And it goes without saying that foul language will not be permitted. Also, hyperlinks to outside Internet sites within a comment will only be allowed when judged to be crucial to the commenter’s point.

How can you meet these standards? Just stick to the issue being discussed and leave out the personalities. Back up your argument, telling why you disagree instead of saying that someone’s suggestion is stupid. Remember, Jesus had strong views, but he didn’t tear us down to illustrate his points or bring us salvation.

A salutary reminder to commenters here I think–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Theology

Pope Benedict XVI's Address to the Pontifical Council for the Family

The tenderness and teaching of Jesus, who regarded children as a model to imitate to enter the Kingdom of God (cf. Matthew 18:1-6; 19:13-14), has always constituted a strong appeal to nourish profound respect and concern for them. Jesus’ harsh words against those who scandalize one of these little ones (cf. Mark 9:42) commit all to never lower the level of this respect and love. That is why the Convention on the Rights of Children was also received favorably by the Holy See, in as much as it contains positive principles on adoption, health care, education, the protection of the disabled and of little ones against violence, abandonment and sexual and labor exploitation.

In the preamble, the convention indicates the family as “the natural environment for the growth and well-being of all its members, especially children.” Certainly, it is precisely the family, founded on marriage between a man and a woman, which is the greatest help that can be given to children. They want to be loved by a mother and a father who love one another, and they need to dwell, grow and live together with both parents, because the maternal and paternal figure are complementary in the education of children and in the construction of their personality and their identity. Hence, it is important that everything possible is done to make them grow in a united and stable family.

To this end, it is necessary to exhort the spouses never to lose sight of the profound reasons and sacredness of the conjugal pact and to reinforce it with listening to the Word of God, prayer, constant dialogue, mutual acceptance and mutual forgiveness. A family environment that is not serene, the division of the couple and, in particular, separation with divorce do not fail to have consequences for the children, whereas supporting the family and promoting its good, its rights, its unity and stability, is the best way of protecting the rights and the genuine needs of minors.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Children, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Theology

CNS–Cardinal: Group's support of gay marriage not authentic church teaching

The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has denounced a Maryland-based organization for its criticism of Catholic efforts to defend marriage as the union of one man and one woman and said it does not offer “an authentic interpretation of Catholic teaching.”

Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago said that since the founding of New Ways Ministry in 1977, “serious questions have been raised about the group’s adherence to church teaching on homosexuality.”

“No one should be misled by the claim that New Ways Ministry provides an authentic interpretation of Catholic teaching and an authentic Catholic pastoral practice,” Cardinal George said in a Feb. 5 statement.

“Like other groups that claim to be Catholic but deny central aspects of church teaching, New Ways Ministry has no approval or recognition from the Catholic Church and … cannot speak on behalf of the Catholic faithful in the United States,” he added.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology

Reuters: Proctor and Gamble Chief more worried about U.S. than ever

“I am really worried about the United States … more worried than I’ve ever been in my career,” McDonald, chairman and chief executive of the world’s largest household products maker, told Reuters in an interview at his company’s Cincinnati headquarters. “I worry about the deficit, I worry about an uncertain future.”

McDonald, a member of the U.S. Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations who visited Washington, D.C. last weekend, said he has told government officials that they must “create greater certainty for business.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Law & Legal Issues, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Taxes, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

C of E Gen. Synod–Dr Rowan Williams to challenge infighting over gays and women bishops

The Archbishop of Canterbury will fight threats of disintegration in the Church of England with what is expected to be a forceful intervention at the General Synod today.

Dr Rowan Williams is determined to challenge the increasingly bitter infighting sparked by disagreements over women bishops in England and gay ordinations in the US.

In one of the most important presidential addresses of his seven-year archiepiscopacy, described by one insider as a “brilliant piece of work”, the Archbishop is expected to salvage hope from the despair felt by many Anglicans over pressure brought by the liberal, evangelical and Catholic wings of the established Church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Women

A Church of England Newspaper Interview with Bishop Graham Kings about the ACNA Motion

CEN: We are still awaiting how many bishops and standing committees will consent to the election of Mary Glasspool as a suffragan bishop in the Diocese of Los Angeles. What do you think is likely to happen?

GK: Well, the trajectory of the TEC since General Convention last year implies that autonomy will again trump interdependence in the Communion and that the House of Bishops and the standing committees will give enough consents. However, you never know about the bishops. There are a few hints that some who are liberal on sexual issues, but value the Communion more highly, may not give their consent. If the percentage of bishops (‘Ordinaries with jurisdiction’) who consent in the House of Bishops is below 50%, then consent is not given.

CEN: And the Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori?

GK: Her response will be very significant. If sufficient consents are given and she goes ahead with the consecration, as scheduled on 15 May 2010, then it is difficult to see how she could, with integrity, still be a member of the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion. Even if she insisted, then the Primates’ Meeting in January 2011 would not be likely to vote for her membership again.

CEN: Mouneer Anis has resigned from that Standing Committee. What do you make of that?

GK: I understand his reasons for resigning and those do relate, partly, to the presence of the Presiding Bishop of TEC on that committee. Ironically, that may be solved if the consecration goes ahead on 15 May as I mentioned just now. He is also concerned with the balance of participation of the Primates’ representatives on that new committee ”“ the balance of ”˜bishop-in-synod’ does not seem right at the moment.

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

Thomas Friedman: Postcard From Yemen

Al Qaeda is like a virus. When it appears en masse, it indicates something is wrong with a country’s immune system. And something is wrong with Yemen’s. A weak central government in Sana rules over a patchwork of rural tribes, using an ad hoc system of patronage, co-optation, corruption and force. Vast areas of the countryside remain outside government control, particularly in the south and east, where 300 to 500 Qaeda fighters have found sanctuary. This “Yemeni Way” has managed to hold the country together and glacially nudge it forward, despite separatist movements in the North and the South. But that old way and pace of doing things can no longer keep pace with the negative trends.

Consider a few numbers: Yemen’s population growth rate is close to 3.5 percent, one of the highest in the world, with 50 percent of Yemen’s 23 million people under the age of 15 and 75 percent under 29. Unemployment is 35 to 40 percent, in part because Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states booted out a million Yemeni workers after Yemen backed Saddam Hussein in the 1990 gulf war.

Thanks to bad planning and population growth, Yemen could be the first country to run out of water in 10 to 15 years. Already many Yemenis experience interrupted water service, like electricity blackouts, which they also have constantly. In the countryside today, women sometimes walk up to four hours a day to find a working well. The water table has fallen so low in Sana that you need oil-drilling equipment to find it. This isn’t helped by the Yemeni tradition of chewing qat, a mild hallucinogenic leaf drug, the cultivation of which consumes 40 percent of Yemen’s water supply each year.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Education, Politics in General, Terrorism, Yemen

NPR–Jenny Sanford Details Tumult In 'Staying True'

Sanford tells NPR’s Renee Montagne that she did not attend her husband’s news conference for two reasons.

“One, he didn’t ask me,” she said, “but if he had asked me, I would’ve said no. Two, we were separated. I don’t know what I would have stood by him about….”

“Talk about another gut punch,” Sanford tells Montagne. “I said, ‘gee whiz. He saw me as an adviser and wanted me to give him political advice about how he was received.'”

Asked what she told her husband, Sanford recalls saying, “‘Are you kidding? You cried for your lover and said very little of me or the boys.”

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, State Government, Theology

In Toyota Mess, Lesson for Japan

When Toyota’s president, Akio Toyoda, apologized for the recalls that have marred Toyota’s reputation, he talked not just about his company’s fate, but also his nation’s.

“I hope to return Toyota to profit and contribute to the revitalization of Japan,” he said.

Once a leading symbol of Japan’s rise to global economic might, Toyota has become one of the most visible signs of its decline. And even before the recalls, Japan’s rivals from South Korea and China had started overtaking Japan in key industries from semiconductors to flat-panel televisions.

“At this rate, Japan will sink into the sea,” said Masatomo Tanaka, a professor at the Institute of Technologists, a university that specializes in training engineers. “If Toyota is not healthy, then Japan is not healthy.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Japan

BBC–Making women bishops 'a mistake', Church of England General Synod warned

Ordaining women as bishops would be “a mistake”, a group of 50 clergy has warned in a letter to the Church of England General Synod.

The clergy, linked to the evangelical group Reform, say adequate safeguards for objectors to the plan are needed.

If not, the Church could see a drastic cut in the number of men training for the priesthood and a multi-million pound drop in funding, they warn.

The General Synod began its week-long meeting on Monday.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Women

Damian Thompson–The Pope's offer to Anglicans: the moving testimony of an Anglo-Catholic priest

1) Some of you insist this provision is not for England. Then why did the Pope specifically request the English hierarchy to welcome us, stating that we have something to offer as well as receive?

2) Might this distinct gift we bring with us be the reason for not simply being subsumed into the larger body? Certainly my church would offer a very distinct Eastward facing, biretta-wearing Solemn Mass which is very different to the modern rite at the other end of town.

3) Many of us have not already come accross because we were tending to our flock. I could never have individually converted as it felt like an act of escape. This however feels like an act of exodus which allows me to prepare the people and bring them with me, should we decide to accept the offer. That is tremendously exciting but also very, very scary. Rejection on the other side would be hugely damaging ”“please welcome us. We have not been loved for a very long time and may need some TLC and patience.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Ecumenical Relations, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Theology

Eric Lax: Have Faith in Love since " the idea that Scripture is…clear is wishful thinking"

Love. Treat others as you would have them treat you. If you feel you are a child of God, then honor your common and equal status with others as children of God. Except (and there are always exceptions with sibling rivalry) if they are women and therefore not qualified to perform the holiest sacraments of the church. Except if two members of the same sex engage in long, committed and faithful love; God may be love, but this love is ungodly.

Just look, some vigilant Christians say, at the “clear teaching” in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (“Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers ”” none of these will inherit the kingdom of God.”); in 1 Timothy 1:9-11 (“The law is laid down … for the unholy and profane … for murderers, fornicators, sodomites, slave traders, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to the sound teaching that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God.”); and especially in Romans 1:26b-27 (“Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error.”)

I know that this will offend some Christians, but the notion that Scripture is perfectly clear is wishful thinking, as a recent white paper prepared by the All Saints’ clergy demonstrates. The writers of the four Gospels don’t agree on even so simple a thing as which people were present at Christ’s empty tomb. Considering that, over the centuries, the Bible has been translated into and out of multiple languages, it only makes sense to consider the context of what’s written rather than believe that every word is literal divine revelation.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, Theology, Theology: Scripture