Daily Archives: April 5, 2010

Henry G. Brinton: InterFaith Cooperation can be a Force for Good

The challenge for religious leaders is to work for change in a non-partisan way, navigating the no-man’s land between the extreme right and the far left ”” and between Republicans and Democrats. It’s a minefield, because when clergy work to secure funding for free dental clinics and affordable housing, they run into conservatives who want lower taxes and smaller government. Yet when clergy takes action to move parishioners through the current immigration system, they face criticism from progressives who insist on amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants. Because congregations are intimately involved with the poor, interfaith action will always be focused on issues of social justice ”” or if those two words offend, let’s go with the less-controversial “uplifting the needy.” But clergy and laypeople know how difficult ”” and even dangerous this work can be. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his life for this cause.

And Jesus? He was nailed to the cross because he was considered to be a political ”” not theological ”” threat to the power of Rome. That’s a Holy Week message that all faiths can embrace.

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

Archbishop Rowan Williams calls Irish Archbishop to say sorry for BBC Interview remarks

(For important background on this which broke when we were taking a news break on the blog, please follow all the links here).

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams expressed his “deep sorrow and regret” after saying the Catholic Church in Ireland had lost “all credibility”.

In Dublin’s Pro-Cathedral, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said Archbishop Williams had spoken with him by phone explaining his “sadness” regarding some “unfortunate words” in his interview.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, England / UK, Europe, Ireland, Media, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

The Anglican Communion Institute: Communion With Autonomy And Accountability

… this leads to our final point. It is the preservation of this catholicity, the relationship of bishop to the college of bishops, and these finally understood to include some kind of universal college, that is most important. In the past, TEC has exercised its autonomy with accountability in communion with the other Anglican churches. Anyone familiar with the formation of TEC will know that this accountability, although voluntary, was expressed in very concrete ways, including in the formulation of our Book of Common Prayer and the consecration of our first bishops. And within TEC, its autonomous dioceses were able to exercise their autonomy with accountability both to the other dioceses of TEC and to the Anglican college of bishops. But TEC has now repudiated any accountability to the larger communion. This presents TEC’s dioceses with an awful choice. How will they exercise their autonomy? To whom will they be accountable? To no one but themselves? To an isolated and declining body that itself rejects accountability to the church catholic? Or, through the Anglican Covenant, to the wider Communion?

Autonomy without accountability leads to denominationalism and isolation. Accountability without autonomy leads to authoritarian structures. Communion with both autonomy and accountability is the Anglican hope manifested in the Covenant. For us the choice is obvious, but we recognize that it is not without cost.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Identity, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts, Theology

Joseph Bottum: 'Every Catholic is now paying' But that’s not enough for critics

Some of this came from the shortsighted and anti-theological advice of the lawyers and psychologists who dominated Catholic institutional thinking in that era. But much came simply from a desire to avoid bad publicity. And for the bishops’ failures, every Catholic is now paying ”” in a hundred years’ worth of donations lost to court judgments, in suspicious faith and in deep shame.

But that’s not enough for those who want to destroy the Catholic Church. And so the call has gone out to implicate the pope. European publications have offered rewards for documents that mention him. American newspapers ran as a front-page story the old story of a corrupt Wisconsin priest ”” only because, for a moment, it looked as though it might touch the pope. Benedict XVI has proved a weak administrator, devoting his pontificate mostly to writing theological encyclicals. But evidence of his involvement has been tangential in a few cases and non-existent in the others.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

USA Today Editorial: Lingering failures reignite Catholic child abuse scandal

The Catholic Church, again reeling from child sexual abuse scandals, has had more chances than most institutions to come clean, purge its problems and make amends.

Yet it has failed repeatedly to do so, leaving a scandal that might have been ended in the 1980s to fester for a quarter century. Priests who molested children and bishops who covered up the crimes ”” and, in doing so, enabled the abuse of more children ”” have betrayed victims and parishioners alike.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Easter Support for Pope, and Some Apologies

A prominent cardinal, in a marked departure from tradition, stood near Pope Benedict XVI at Easter Mass in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday and delivered pointedly public support in the face of growing anger over the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal ”” a topic untouched by the pope in his Easter appearances.

The remarks on Easter Sunday, the day Christians celebrate the joy of Jesus’ resurrection, came among a chorus of denunciations by church officials of what they have framed as a campaign of denigration of the church and its pontiff.

There were some expressions of remorse over the abuse scandal from church pulpits in Europe. But the ferocity of the mainstream response defending the pope speaks to the nature of the papacy: its occupant inherits the throne of Peter and plays a unique role as a religious figure and secular leader. And so, some churchmen and lay Catholics are interpreting questions about Benedict’s role in the scandal as an attack on the faith.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Spud Allen's Good Friday Sermon 2010

Something more than 1,600 years ago while instructing catechumens who hoped to be baptized at the Easter Vigil, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, looked at them and said, “The dragon sits by the side of the road, watching those who pass. Beware lest he devour you. We go to the Father of Souls, but it is necessary to pass by the dragon.”

Today, Good Friday, we pass by the dragon, and it is necessary that we take a good hard look as we do so.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Episcopal Church (TEC), Holy Week, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, TEC Parishes

Four Anglican Bishops Speaking in Beaufort, South Carolina this Wednesday

From here:

The Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali, recently retired 106th Bishop of the Church of England/Diocese of Rochester, will be a guest at St. Helena’s, Beaufort, from April 5-14.

On Wednesday, April 7, Bishop Nazir-Ali will be joined by Bishop Mark Lawrence, Bishop FitzSimons Allison, and Bishop Alden Hathaway. Together, they will engage a conversation about the Anglican Communion and its emerging global biblical mission. All are invited to this special event.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

Benedict XVI's "Urbi et Orbi" Message and Blessing for Easter 2010

The Gospel has revealed to us the fulfilment of the ancient figures: in his death and resurrection, Jesus Christ has freed us from the radical slavery of sin and opened for us the way towards the promised land, the Kingdom of God, the universal Kingdom of justice, love and peace. This “exodus” takes place first of all within man himself, and it consists in a new birth in the Holy Spirit, the effect of the baptism that Christ has given us in his Paschal Mystery. The old man yields his place to the new man; the old life is left behind, and a new life can begin (cf. Rom 6:4). But this spiritual “exodus” is the beginning of an integral liberation, capable of renewing us in every dimension ”“ human, personal and social.

Yes, my brothers and sisters, Easter is the true salvation of humanity! If Christ ”“ the Lamb of God ”“ had not poured out his blood for us, we would be without hope, our destiny and the destiny of the whole world would inevitably be death. But Easter has reversed that trend: Christ’s resurrection is a new creation, like a graft that can regenerate the whole plant. It is an event that has profoundly changed the course of history, tipping the scales once and for all on the side of good, of life, of pardon. We are free, we are saved! Hence from deep within our hearts we cry out: “Let us sing to the Lord: glorious his triumph!”

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Posted in Uncategorized

Notable and Quotable

Where do we go from here? Nearly everyone agrees that we are standing at the end of an age, perhaps at a new axial period. We have left modernity behind almost as surely as we have left antiquity behind. We are “postmodern”. But we do not yet know what that means.

From our unique experiment in living without a set of objective values, only two roads lie open: return or destruction. Once the sled is on the slippery slope leading to the abyss, we either brake or break; and no amount of rhetoric about “progress” can alter that fact. Crying “progress” as we die will not raise us from death.

–Peter Kreeft

Posted in * Culture-Watch, History, Philosophy

Walter Kirn on the Way we live now with Easter and Expectations

Ten years ago, during a time of steady churchgoing that followed the birth of my daughter, my first child, I made friends with a gruff old… [Episcopal] priest to whom I confessed my perennial difficulties with the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, Easter’s for-me elusive main event. He listened with a big fist propped under his chin as I listed my doubts and puzzlements, which went back to childhood. More troubling for me than the supposed miracle’s scientific implausibility, I said, was its murky dramatic character. In what sort of shape was the Savior’s body once it was reanimated? I asked. Pierced and bleeding or intact and shining? And why did Our Lord not fly straight up into the sky rather than hanging around down on the ground? I went on like this for half an hour, until the old man raised his square gray head and stopped me. “Walter, here’s the important thing,” he said. “It either happened or it didn’t, and if it didn’t, if it’s all a lie, neither of us should be in church today. But we are,” he said, “aren’t we? Yes, indeed, we are.”

I’ve come to call this thoroughly circular argument for Easter’s significance the “Presence Principle.” It implies, in a way that my intellect resists but my heart is willing to entertain, that the terrific annual to-do involving lilies, hymns and dexterous rabbits is, just by virtue of its continued existence, not an absurd, unwarranted phenomenon. A celebration, by my old priest’s reasoning, means that its celebrants must have something to celebrate, and the bigger the celebration, the bigger the something. Because I suspect that no man will ever succeed in satisfying me further on this matter, I’ve stopped asking questions; I take Easter as a fact now. And Passover too, for the people who observe it. I’ve decided that faith is what some facts are made of and that the true meaning of Easter isn’t just the escape from sin and death but, in part, the escape from thought itself, one of humanity’s direst oppressors and, perhaps, the hardest to shake off.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

The Anglican Communion Institute: Statement On the Diocese of South Carolina

We conclude with these observations about the fundamental facts of our polity:

1. The Presiding Bishop’s office is regulated by the constitution and canons and exists historically for the good order of the church. It is not a metropolitical office. The title ”˜presiding Bishop’ was chosen with care and inheres with the notion of good order when the wider church gathers. It is not an office with independent political authority.
2. The existence of diocesan canons in The Episcopal Church is a departure from the model typically followed in the polity of other provinces of the Anglican Communion. The existence of these canons goes hand in hand with the history and sovereignty of the diocese in The Episcopal Church as the basic ecclesial unit of catholic Anglicanism.
3. That no mandate exists that can be enforced by canon law for dioceses to pay assessments beyond the good operating of their own affairs is likewise evidence of the catholic and missionary integrity of the dioceses of this church.
4. Diocesan Chancellors exist to assist the Bishop and Standing Committee of the Diocese in maintaining the legal good operating of the Diocese and the undertaking of its internal affairs.
5. General Convention resolutions as such have no canonical force. They represent the mind of those gathered and are not legislative in character.
6. As a province, The Episcopal Church has no single authoritative voice, but exists with a dispersed character at the provincial level, involving individual diocesan Bishops, diocesan conventions, a triennial General Convention, House of Bishops meetings, and the office of Presiding Bishop.

We fully support Bishop Lawrence and the diocese of South Carolina in their defense of these principles.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, TEC Conflicts, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils, TEC Polity & Canons

Local Paper: Q&A with the new Roman Catholic Bishop of Charleston, Robert E. Guglielmone

Q: The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist finally got its new bells and steeple, growing in height and volume. Looking at the downtown Charleston skyline from the Cooper River Bridge, one sees three steeples in close proximity, not just two. The landscape has changed. Do you think this is a symbolic reflection of changes in the diocese?

A: It is symbolic in that the Catholic presence in Charleston is visibly presented in this wonderful addition to the Cathedral. Catholics are an important part of South Carolina, and we do a lot in terms of faith, education, health care and outreach to the poor, elderly and lonely. I wish we could do more, and I hope to expand our ministries if we can build sufficient resources to do so.

Q: Who’s your favorite saint, and why?

A: Francis of Assisi. He was focused on the mission given him by God and came to appreciate all that God has given us: This beautiful world, all of creation which inhabits it. (He was not interested) in any materialistic goal.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Helping Patients Face Death, She Fought to Live

Dr. [Betty] Lim said doctors at Massachusetts General might have been right in offering palliative care a year earlier. “She passed away in unfortunately quite a painful scenario,” she said. “Many people would not have chosen that route.”

Yet she respected Dr. [Desiree] Pardi’s choice and was not ready to write off her stubbornness as denial. “She was very much in control of the situation,” Dr. Lim said.

Dr. Lim attempted, in her own mind, to reconcile Desiree Pardi the palliative care doctor who believed in a peaceful death, with Desiree Pardi the patient who wanted to keep fighting.

Dr. Lim said she believed that “somewhere deep inside, she knew this was not fixable.” But Dr. Pardi “knew exactly how much she was willing to endure,” Dr. Lim added. “And she was able to endure a lot.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

Michael J. Burry: I Saw the Crisis Coming. Why Didn’t the Fed?

By December 2005, subprime mortgages that had been issued just six months earlier were already showing atypically high delinquency rates. (It’s worth noting that even though most of these mortgages had a low two-year teaser rate, the borrowers still had early difficulty making payments.)

The market for subprime mortgages and the derivatives thereof would not begin its spectacular collapse until roughly two years after Mr. Greenspan’s speech. But the signs were all there in 2005, when a bursting of the bubble would have had far less dire consequences, and when the government could have acted to minimize the fallout.

Instead, our leaders in Washington either willfully or ignorantly aided and abetted the bubble. And even when the full extent of the financial crisis became painfully clear early in 2007, the Federal Reserve chairman, the Treasury secretary, the president and senior members of Congress repeatedly underestimated the severity of the problem, ultimately leaving themselves with only one policy tool ”” the epic and unfair taxpayer-financed bailouts. Now, in exchange for that extra year or two of consumer bliss we all enjoyed, our children and our children’s children will suffer terrible financial consequences.

It did not have to be this way. And at this point there is no reason to reflexively dismiss the analysis of those who foresaw the crisis. Mr. Greenspan should use his substantial intellect and unsurpassed knowledge of government to ascertain and explain exactly how he and other officials missed the boat. If the mistakes were properly outlined, that might both inform Congress’s efforts to improve financial regulation and help keep future Fed chairmen from making the same errors again.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Federal Reserve, History, Housing/Real Estate Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government