Daily Archives: April 10, 2010

CNS–Vatican spokesman says pope has been rigorous leader on sex abuse

The Vatican spokesman strongly defended Pope Benedict XVI as a credible leader on the issue of priestly sex abuse, saying the pope’s respect for truth and transparency stand against the “criticism and unfounded insinuations” of recent weeks.

The spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, said in a lengthy commentary April 9 that the recent disclosures of past cases of abuse of minors by priests had demonstrated that the wounds in the church run deep, and require greater pastoral attention.

But he said the church was taking the correct approach by reaching out to victims, strengthening its own procedures against offenders, encouraging cooperation with civil authorities and improving the screening of priesthood candidates.

Read it all.

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

Philip Lawler–'Journalists abandon standards to attack the Pope'

From Damian Thompson–read it all.

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

Pope Handled Priest Case Quickly, Lawyer Says

The future Pope Benedict XVI, dealing with a request to defrock a child-molesting priest in California, was handling it as a dismissal from the priesthood ”” not an abuse case ”” and acted “expeditiously” by the standards of the time, a Vatican lawyer said in a statement released Saturday.

The Vatican issued the remarks a day after reports emerged that Benedict, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, signed a letter to the priest’s bishop saying the matter needed more time and that the “good of the Universal Church” had to be taken into account. It took two years for the man, the Rev. Stephen Kiesle, to be removed from the priesthood.

The bishop, John S. Cummins, wrote to Pope John Paul II in 1981, saying that the priest had been criminally charged with molesting six boys ages 11 to 13 several years earlier and that he was asking to be dismissed. He wrote to Cardinal Ratzinger at least three more times, to provide information and check on the case’s status.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

SF Chronicle–Future pope slow to act on defrocking priest

When he was in charge of the office of church discipline, the future Pope Benedict XVI was slow to respond to a request to be defrocked by an East Bay priest who had pleaded no contest to lewd conduct charges.

In 1985, four years after the Vatican learned of Stephen Kiesle’s request to leave the priesthood, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger wrote to Oakland Bishop John Cummins asking for more time to consider the matter.

Kiesle, who had served in several East Bay parishes, pleaded no contest in 1978 to lewd conduct for tying up and molesting two boys at Our Lady of the Rosary parish in Union City, where he was a teacher and priest.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Theology

NY Times–Pope Put Off Punishing Abusive Priest

The priest, convicted of tying up and abusing two young boys in a California church rectory, wanted to leave the ministry.

But in 1985, four years after the priest and his bishop first asked that he be defrocked, the future Pope Benedict XVI, then a top Vatican official, signed a letter saying that the case needed more time and that “the good of the Universal Church” had to be considered in the final decision, according to church documents released through lawsuits.

That decision did not come for two more years, the sort of delay that is fueling a renewed sexual abuse scandal in the church that has focused on whether the future pope moved quickly enough to remove known pedophiles from the priesthood, despite pleas from American bishops.

As the scandal has deepened, the pope’s defenders have said that, well before he was elected pope in 2005, he grew ever more concerned about sexual abuse and weeding out pedophile priests. But the case of the California priest, the Rev. Stephen Kiesle, and the trail of documents first reported on Friday by The Associated Press, shows, in this period at least, little urgency.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Theology

AP Exclusive: Future pope stalled pedophile case

The future Pope Benedict XVI resisted pleas to defrock a California priest with a record of sexually molesting children, citing concerns including “the good of the universal church,” according to a 1985 letter bearing his signature.

The correspondence, obtained by The Associated Press, is the strongest challenge yet to the Vatican’s insistence that Benedict played no role in blocking the removal of pedophile priests during his years as head of the Catholic Church’s doctrinal watchdog office. The letter, signed by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was typed in Latin and is part of years of correspondence between the diocese of Oakland and the Vatican about the proposed defrocking of the Rev. Stephen Kiesle, who pleaded no contest to misdemeanors involving child molestation in 1978.

Read it all. This one ran on the front page of the local paper here this morning; I would be interested if that also happened with your local paper if you know–KSH..

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Theology

David Brooks Reflects on Leadership–The Humble Hound

Jim Collins, the author of “Good to Great” and “How the Mighty Fall,” celebrates a different sort of leader. He’s found that many of the reliably successful leaders combine “extreme personal humility with intense professional will.”

Alongside the boardroom lion model of leadership, you can imagine a humble hound model. The humble hound leader thinks less about her mental strengths than about her weaknesses. She knows her performance slips when she has to handle more than one problem at a time, so she turns off her phone and e-mail while making decisions. She knows she has a bias for caution, so she writes a memo advocating the more daring option before writing another advocating the most safe. She knows she is bad at prediction, so she follows Peter Drucker’s old advice: After each decision, she writes a memo about what she expects to happen. Nine months later, she’ll read it to discover how far off she was.

In short, she spends a lot of time on metacognition ”” thinking about her thinking ”” and then building external scaffolding devices to compensate for her weaknesses.

She believes we only progress through a series of regulated errors. Every move is a partial failure, to be corrected by the next one. Even walking involves shifting your weight off-balance and then compensating with the next step.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Psychology, Theology

The Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio: The Blessing of same-gender unions

From here:

At our convention in November 2009, I announced my intention to permit the blessing of same-gender unions in the Diocese of Southern Ohio, beginning in Easter of 2010. At that time, I named a task force of clergy and laity whom I asked to assist me in working out the procedures and requirements related to this policy. Here, once again, are the members of the task force: The Rev, Douglas Argue, The Rev. Trevor Babb, The Rev. William Carroll, Joe Dehner, Esq., The Rev. Pam Elwell, The Rev. George Hill, Nanci Koepke, The Rev. Eileen O’Reilly, Dr. Gail Payne, Dr. Don Reed, Dr. Marti Rideout, A. J Stack, and Lisa Wharton, Esq.

As I said at the time, this was not a collection of people who were necessarily eager to see Southern Ohio move in the direction of same-gender unions. Some were; some weren’t. Once gathered, however, they dug into the hard questions with great courage and mutual respect.

This group has gone far beyond my initial request in stating the theological convictions that underlie the policy, in developing a rite of blessing for trial use, and in providing web and print resources for congregational and individual study. I am extremely grateful for their work ”“ not only for its outcome, which will contribute significantly to the Episcopal Church’s reflection on same-gender unions, but also for the charity, honesty and devotion to the Gospel that was so beautifully modeled in their conversations with one another.

The Rt. Rev. Thomas E. Breidenthal
Bishop, Diocese of Southern Ohio

Read it all and follow all the links–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Episcopal Church (TEC), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops

Roger Cohen: Season of Renewal

In “Two Lives,” his memoir of his great uncle and aunt, Vikram Seth reproduces extracts from the 1893 Jewish Prayer Book of a Berlin synagogue, at the end of which is a brief appendix on fundamentals of Jewish morality.

This says that “Judaism teaches: the Unity of Mankind. It commands us therefore to love our neighbor, to protect our neighbor and his rights, to be aware of his honor, to honor his beliefs, and to assuage his sorrow. Judaism calls upon us through work, through the love of truth, through modesty, through amicability, through moral rectitude, and through obedience to authority, to further the wellbeing of our neighbors, to seek the good of our fatherland, and to bring about the loving fellowship of all mankind.”

Given what would happen in that German fatherland within a half-century, the reference to “obedience to authority” makes painful reading. Assimilated Berlin Jews of this period were patriotic to a fault. A happier phrasing would have been, “through questioning of authority.” Truth and questioning are inseparable, as the terrible price of German obedience showed.

But taken as a whole, these reflections on the contribution of Jewish ethics to the “loving fellowship of mankind” make uplifting reading at a time of renewal. Amicability, for one, is a neglected virtue.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Iran, Judaism, Middle East, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Theology

From the Morning Scripture Readings

I will extol thee, my God and King, and bless thy name for ever and ever. Every day I will bless thee, and praise thy name for ever and ever. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall laud thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts. On the glorious splendor of thy majesty, and on thy wondrous works, I will meditate.

–Psalm 145:1-5

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Clarification From The Archbishop of Kenya

Via email from someone with the Archbishop at a meeting–KSH:

Archbishop Eliud Wabukala…would like to make… [the following] absolutely clear.

1. The news report about Abp Wabukala’s “break” from other Christian leaders on Kenya is not accurate
2. Abp Wabukala is unalterably opposed to abortion
3. The Anglican Church of Kenya will be meeting later this month to consult together to articulate their position on the new Constitution.

He is deeply concerned that the “experts” who drafted the constitution did not listen to the voice of the people of Kenya. Abp Wabukala believes that a Constitution is desperately needed in Kenya, but it must also be consistent with ethical and moral foundations of our faith.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Provinces

Uganda Archbishop Henry Orombi Writes the Acbp of Canterbury and his Fellow Primates

Via email–KSH.

The Most Rev. Rowan Williams
Archbishop of Canterbury
Lambeth Palace

Your Grace,

Easter greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

In February I read with great interest Bishop Mouneer Anis’ letter of resignation from the Joint Standing Committee. I am grateful for his clarity and honesty. He has verbalized very well what many of us have thought and felt, and inspired me to write, as well.

As you know from our private conversations, I have absented myself for principled reasons from all meetings of the Joint Standing Committee since our Primates meeting in Dar es Salaam in 2007.

The first meeting of the Joint Standing Committee was later that year in New Orleans. At our Primates meeting in February 2007, we made certain requests of the Episcopal Church. In our Dar es Salaam communiqué we did not envision interference in the American House of Bishops while they were considering our requests. For me to participate in a meeting in New Orleans before the 30th September deadline would have violated our hard-won agreement in Dar es Salaam and would have been another case of undermining our instruments of communion. My desire to uphold our Dar es Salaam communiqué was intended to strengthen our instruments of communion so we would be able to mature into an even more effective global communion of the Church of Jesus Christ than in the past.
Subsequent meetings of the Joint Standing Committee have included the Primate of the Episcopal Church (TEC) and other members of TEC, who are the very ones who have pushed the Anglican Communion into this sustained crisis. How can we expect the gross violators of Biblical Truth to sanction their own discipline when they believe they have done nothing wrong and further insist that their revisionist theology is actually the substance of Anglicanism?

We have only to note the recent election and confirmation of an active Lesbian as a Suffragan Bishop in the Diocese of Los Angeles to realize that TEC has no interest in “gracious restraint,” let alone a moratorium on the things that have brought us to this point of collapse. It is now impossible to regard their earlier words of “regret” as a serious gesture of reconciliation with the rest of the Communion.

Together with Bishop Mouneer, I am equally concerned, as you know, about the shift in the balance of powers among the Instruments of Communion. It was the Primates in 2003 who requested the Lambeth Commission on Communion that ultimately produced the Windsor Report. It was the Primates who received the Windsor Report at our meeting in Dromantine in 2005. It was the Primates, through our Dromantine Communique, who presented the appropriate “hermeneutic” through which to read the Windsor Report. That “hermeneutic,” however, has been obscured by the leadership at St. Andrew’s House who somehow created something we never envisioned called the “Windsor Process.”

The Windsor Report was not a “process.” It was a Report, commissioned by the Primates and received by the Primates. The Primates made specific and clear requests of TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada. When TEC, particularly, did not clearly answer our questions, we gave them more time in 2007 to clarify their position.

Suddenly, though, after the 2007 Primates Meeting in Dar es Salaam, the Primates no longer had a role to play in the very process they had begun. The process was mysteriously transferred to the Anglican Consultative Council and, more particularly, to the Joint Standing Committee. The Joint Standing Committee has now evolved into the “Standing Committee.” Some suggest that it is the Standing Committee “of the Anglican Communion.”

There is, however, no “Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion” The Standing Committee has never been approved in its present form by the Primates Meeting or the Lambeth Conference. Rather, it was adopted by itself, with your approval and the approval of the ACC. The fact that five Primates are included in no way represents our Anglican understanding of the role of Primates as metropolitan bishops of their provinces.

Anglicanism is a church of Bishops and, at its best, is conciliar in its governance. The grave crisis before us as a Communion is both a matter of faith as well as order. Matters of faith and order are the domain of Bishops. In a Communion the size of the Anglican Communion, it is unwieldy to think of gathering all the Bishops of the Communion together more frequently than the current pattern of every ten years. That is why the Lambeth Conference in 1998 resolved that the Primates Meeting should be able to “exercise an enhanced responsibility in offering guidance on doctrinal, moral and pastoral matters.” (Resolution III.6).

What has emerged, however, is the Standing Committee being given “enhanced responsibility” and the Primates being given “diminished responsibility,” even in regard to a process begun by them. Indeed, this Standing Committee has granted itself supreme authority over Covenant discipline in the latest draft. Under these circumstances, it has not been possible for me to participate in meetings of the Joint Standing Committee that has taken upon itself authority it has not been given.

Accordingly, I stand with my brother Primate, Bishop Mouneer Anis, in his courageous decision to resign from the Standing Committee. Many of us are in a state of resignation as we see how the Communion is moving away further and further into darkness, especially since the Primates’ meeting in Dar es Salaam.

Your Grace, I have urged you in the past, and I will urge you again. There is an urgent need for a meeting of the Primates to continue sorting out the crisis that is before us, especially given the upcoming consecration of a Lesbian as Bishop in America. The Primates Meeting is the only Instrument that has been given authority to act, and it can act if you will call us together.

The agenda for that meeting should be set by the Primates themselves at the meeting, and not by any other staff in advance of the meeting. I reiterate this point because you will recall our cordial December 2008 meeting with you, Chris Smith, and the other GAFCON Primates in Canterbury where we discussed the agenda for the Primates meeting to take place in Alexandria the following month. None of our submissions were included in the agenda. Likewise, at the beginning of the January 2009 Primates meeting I was asked to present a position paper on the effect of the crisis in the Communion from our perspective, but I was not informed in advance, so I did not come prepared. Yet, other presenters, including TEC and Canada, were given prior information and came very prepared. I have never received a formal written apology about that incident, and it has caused me to wonder if there are two standards at work in how a Primate is treated.

Finally, the meeting should not include the Primates of TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada who are proceeding with unbiblical practices that contradict the faith of Anglicanism. We cannot carry on with business as usual until order is brought out of this chaos.

Yours, in Christ,

–(The Most Rev. ) Henry Luke Orombi is Archbishop of Uganda

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Instruments of Unity, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)