Daily Archives: April 16, 2010

U.S. Accuses Goldman Sachs of Fraud in Mortgage Deals

Goldman Sachs, which emerged relatively unscathed from the financial crisis, was accused of securities fraud in a civil suit filed Friday by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which claims the bank created and sold a mortgage investment that was secretly devised to fail.

The move marks the first time that regulators have taken action against a Wall Street deal that helped investors capitalize on the collapse of the housing market. Goldman itself profited by betting against the very mortgage investments that it sold to its customers.

The suit also named Fabrice Tourre, a vice president at Goldman who helped create and sell the investment.

In a statement, Goldman called the S.E.C. accusations “completely unfounded in law and fact” and said the firm would “vigorously contest them and defend the firm and its reputation.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Stock Market, The U.S. Government, Theology

African leaders urged to resort to the Bible

The Reverend Justice Akrofi, President of the Bible Society of Ghana (BSG) has called on African leaders to turn to the Bible as a source of strength and wisdom as they strived to find solutions to the continent’s problems.

He said “The Bible has been a transformer and a unifying force bringing people of different races, colour, profession among other things together in mutual respect”, a condition necessary for overall development of the continent.

He said about 300,000 books are printed yearly, but all of them only inform, adding that “it is only the Bible that transforms”.

The Reverend Akrofi, who is also the Archbishop of the West Africa Province of the Anglican Church, said this when he opened a four-day conference organized by the African Bible Society in Accra on Wednesday to discuss contemporary religious, political and economic issues and to see how best to address them.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Central Africa, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Anglican Diocese of Montreal Statement on Bill 94

The Diocesan Council of the Anglican Diocese of Montreal expresses its grave concern about Bill 94, recently introduced by the Government of Quebec to prohibit the wearing of the niqab or other face-covering religious garb by members of the public who are seeking government services.

The Bill represents an erosion of the human rights guaranteed by both the Quebec and Canadian Charters of Rights and by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Women

New bishop for Anglican Church in Auckland

The Anglican church welcomes a new Bishop of Auckland tomorrow when the Very Reverend Ross Bay is ordained at the Cathedral of Holy Trinity in Parnell.

The ordination was expected to attract Anglican church representatives from throughout the country.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces

NPR–The Viral Adventures of Bob The Baby Screech Owl

For a strange two weeks, a newspaper photographer in Miami was taking some pretty unique pictures. But they weren’t coming from her day job; they were from her backyard.

At work, Emily Michot and her husband, Walt, are photojournalists for the Miami Herald. At home, they’re parents with two sons: Michael’s 8, and Ryan is 10. And their Miami Shores house can get a bit rowdy.

But a few weeks ago, when Walt Michot was picking up the boys from karate class, Emily Michot was home alone, and the house was uncommonly quiet.

“That’s when I noticed that there was this — this odd noise,” she says. “I can’t even describe it. It was alive. I knew it was alive.”

Caught this one on the morning run–simply wonderful. Read or listen to it all and make sure to check out the pictures.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Animals, Children, Marriage & Family

The Economist–In Africa religious war is neither inevitable nor impossible

In almost any discussion of religion and Africa, stereotypes recur. Depending on where they have been, outsiders portray the continent either as an arena of looming conflict between rival faiths””or else as a happy-go-lucky world where different beliefs can easily co-exist, sometimes in the same person’s head.

Neither notion is completely true nor completely false, according to a survey of religion in sub-Saharan Africa by the Pew Research Centre, a polling outfit based in Washington, DC. After interviewing 25,000 people in 19 countries, the pollsters found that in certain ways Africa’s Christians and Muslims view one another with respect. Most Muslims saw Christians as tolerant, honest, and decent to women; in most countries, a majority of Christians returned the compliment. But many Christians (among the countries surveyed, the median level was 43%) saw in Islam a potential for violence; fewer Muslims (the median was 20%) saw Christianity in a similar light. In almost all countries where Muslims are at least 10% of the population they seem more concerned about extremism among their co-religionists than among Christians. In a few mainly Christian countries, including South Africa, people were worried by Christian extremism.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Religion & Culture

RNS: Survey finds Africa is most religious part of world

According to the survey, 98 percent of respondents in Senegal say religion is very important, following by 93 percent in Mali. The lowest percentage was reported in Botswana, 69 percent, which is still a healthy majority.

“That begins to paint a picture of how religious sub-Saharan Africans are,” Lugo said.

The study is part of the Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures Project. More than 25,000 sub-Saharan Africans responded in face-to-face interviews in more than 60 languages.

While the study confirms that Africans are, indeed, morally conservative and religiously pious, researchers explored a variety of topics, including religious tolerance, polygamy, the role of women in society, and political and economic satisfaction.

Islam and Christianity dominate as the most popular religions in the region — a stark reversal from a century ago when Muslims and Christians were outnumbered by followers of traditional indigenous religions.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Religion & Culture

Church Times: Anglicanism has lost its integrity, conservatives say

The Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) Primates Council has bracketed the UK with Kenya and Uganda as nations “where Christian views are marginalised and ignored”.

England is also defined as an “Associate Par­ticipant”, along with Australia, New Zealand, the Anglican Church in North America, and the Communion Partners of the Episcopal Church in the United States, in the “Fourth Global South to South Encounter” to be held in Singapore later this month.

The Council, which constitutes the Primates of Nigeria, West Africa, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and the Southern Cone, to­gether with the Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Peter Jensen, and the leader of the Anglican Church in North America, Archbishop Robert Duncan, was meeting in Bermuda as guests of the American businessman Emmanuel Kam­pouris.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Archbishop of Canterbury, Global South Churches & Primates

RNS: Judge Says Father Can Take Daughter to Catholic Mass

A Chicago man will be allowed to take his 3-year-old daughter to Catholic Mass, despite protests from the girl’s Jewish mother, a Chicago judge ruled Tuesday (April 13).

The girl’s parents, Joseph Reyes and Rebecca Reyes, were married for six years before their marriage fell apart. Joseph Reyes had converted to Judaism when the child was born, and the parents agreed to raise the girl Jewish….

The judge ruled that evidence did not support the mother’s claim that “doctrinal differences” would confuse or harm her daughter.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture

USA Today–'Life's Purpose' author Eckhart Tolle is serene, critics less so

Are you weighted down by your past? Anxious about tomorrow? Stewing over how to face today?

Stop. Drop those thoughts. Breathe. Be still. Just be.

Spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle will tell you this is the ultimate path to inner peace, available to you any time. All you have to do is let go of all your thoughts.

Of course, that’s a lot trickier than it sounds. Hence, Tolle’s soaring popularity as a guide to living in the present un-tense.

His most recent book, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, a sequel to his earlier best seller, The Power of Now, has sold 6 million copies. When Oprah Winfrey read it, she was so inspired that she invited him to co-host a 10-week set of Internet seminars on how to simply be. So far, 35 million people worldwide have viewed these “webinars.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer

Notable and Quotable

Let us sum up what we have reached so far. In the case of stones and trees and things of that sort, what we call the Laws of Nature may not be anything except a way of speaking. When you say that nature is governed by certain laws, this may only mean that nature does, in fact, behave in a certain way. The so-called laws may not be anything real-anything above and beyond the actual facts which we observe. But in the case of Man, we saw that this will not do. The Law of Human Nature, or of Right and Wrong, must be something above and beyond the actual facts of human behaviour. In this case, besides the actual facts, you have something else-a real law which we did not invent and which we know we ought to obey.

–C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Posted in Apologetics, Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology

From the Morning Scripture Readings

But even if you do suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence.

–1 Peter 3: 14-15

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Prayer Guide Lists Challenges in Global South

Persecution, political instability, secularism and violence are some of the challenges facing provinces in the Global South, according to a prayer guide prepared for the fourth Global South Encounter.

The Church of Uganda compiled the prayer guide for participants in the international gathering, scheduled for April 19-23 at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Singapore.

Each of the 21 provinces lists items under the categories of “give thanks,” “commit to” or “pray for.” Even some of the “give thanks” items speak to struggles faced within the provinces.

Bishop Lawrence left for the meeting today–yours prayers are encouraged. Also, please read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Global South Churches & Primates, Spirituality/Prayer

Edward T. Oakes: The Moral Consequences of Episcopal Sin

I have long felt that we Catholics will know that this crisis has finally been put behind us, at least in the United States, when the bishops, in one of their collective annual meetings, passes a resolution actually thanking those newspapers who revealed the slime and filth lurking inside the presbyterate of too many dioceses and the attempted cover-ups by too many chanceries. Please understand: I am not naïve about the secular media. But if the Hebrew prophets could see the hand of God at work in the attacks on ancient Israel from the Assyrian empire, then Catholics ought to be able to espy the workings of divine providence when the media bring to light crimes that should have been made public from the beginning.

I am of course referring to the revelations of the Long Lent of 2002. Recent reports by the U.S. media rehearsing those same and other American stories of the distant past in the wake of truly new revelations in Ireland and Germany, all in an effort to try to bring Pope Benedict down, are a different matter. But to explain this second wave of reports for what it is””fundamentally an anti-Catholic campaign””requires that we first recognize some fundamental rules for discerning spirits.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Media, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

Pat Archbold on Media Coverage on the New L.A. Archbishop

The media is alternately ecstatic and apoplectic over Pope Benedict’s choice for the city of Angels. Several news outlets, notably the LA Times, have already written several articles about what to expect from Archbishop Gomez and have even tried to send thinly-veiled warnings. But in most of the coverage, the media makes the same mistake that it always makes when it tries to cover religion like politics. They attempt to view all matters through the lens of politics and feel compelled to attempt to classify everything in terms of the modern political definitions of ”˜progressive’ or ”˜conservative.’…

They are perplexed. How can a Bishop be ”˜orthodox’””which in the mind of the media means ”˜conservative’ and uncaring””and still dedicated to the poor and the defenseless?

A one word answer: Catholic. What the media consistently does not get is that ”˜orthodoxy’ in a truly Catholic sense entails love for all the teachings of Jesus, as handed down through the Church including the command to love.

Read it all.

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