Daily Archives: April 24, 2010

Chilean Abuse Case Tests Loyalty of a Parish

The Rev. Fernando Karadima is one of Chile’s most respected and influential priests. Some go so far as to call him a “living saint,” who for half a century trained dozens of priests and helped mold thousands of young Catholics from Santiago’s elite.

Now four men who were once devoted followers have filed a criminal complaint alleging that Father Karadima, now 80, sexually abused them in secret for years.

One man said he had reported the abuse to Father Karadima’s superiors in the archdiocese of Santiago as many as seven years ago, but they took no action. All four men filed formal complaints last year with the archdiocesan tribunal and, receiving no response, spoke publicly for the first time this week.

But the allegations have been largely met not with anger at Father Karadima but with outrage at the accusers by many of his parishioners, a prominent conservative politician and church officials. They say a man so respected over so much time could not possibly have abused his followers, though as the news broke this week, a cardinal here confirmed that the church has been secretly investigating claims of sexual abuse leveled against the priest.

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

Religion and Ethics Newsweekly: Laity and the Catholic Sex Abuse Scandal

[BOB] ABERNETHY: The church is a very top-down organization. Are there things that Catholics in the pews can do from the bottom up that might be helpful?

[MARGARET] STEINFELS: Of course it’s top-down, but it’s not the Marine Corps, and I do think that at the parish level, and my own parish, for example, the pastor has dealt with this forthrightly and directly, and I think the people in our pews anyway have a feeling, well, here’s somebody who really understands the problem and who’s prepared to talk about it from the pulpit. I think that is a great benefit to those Catholics who actually still go to Mass. Of course, those who don’t don’t hear that message.

ABERNETHY: So what should Pope Benedict do?

STEINFELS: Well, I think the whole Vatican needs to come to grips with this. They need to get the truth out insofar as they know it. They should get it out quickly, and I guess they should stop blaming the messengers, whoever they may be.

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

Too Young? 10-Year-Old Hoops Star Catches Eyes

[University of Illinois basketball coach Bruce] Weber says college coaches are getting involved with possible recruits at an ever-earlier age. “So if it means going to seventh- and eighth-grade games, we are starting to do that,” he says.

But it wasn’t always this way. “I’ve been involved in Division I basketball for 31 years now, and when I first started, we were worried about seniors in high school and that was it,” he says.

“Now there’s the early signing period. It went to juniors, then sophomores — we’ve even had a commitment from a freshman in the last four years, so everything’s accelerated.”

No school wants to lose out on recruits. “I’m not sure it’s good, but it is there,” Weber says. “If you don’t do it, it’s going to hurt you.”

Listen to it all from NPR.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Sports, Theology

Howard Bryant:Ben Roethlisberger and societal change

For the first time, in a meaningful way, the wink-wink, nudge-nudge acceptance of the professional athlete and his murky late-night encounters with women has been replaced by a demand for maturity and accountability. In a shift, it appears that if the boys club is not completely closed, its existence is far less reputable than it once was.

Roethlisberger’s employers, the Steelers, reacted to the incident in Georgia with displeasure even though no criminal charges were filed. Roethlisberger was in the clear legally, but with an organization-wide grimness that underscored the anger of owner Dan Rooney and Art Rooney II. The Steelers acknowledged that the star quarterback had embarrassed the organization. The Rooneys said his behavior would not be tolerated; escaping an arrest did not mean Roethlisberger would escape punishment.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell handed that down Wednesday. Roethlisberger will be suspended without pay for the first six games and will be required to undergo a comprehensive behavioral evaluation by medical professionals, something that announced publicly should embarrass him to no end.

In the past, players could rely both on their reputations, earned or not, and the reflex of their employers and the public to think the worst of the women involved. It is an advantage players have counted on for years that seems to be diminishing.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Ethics / Moral Theology, Sports, Theology

David Brooks: The Cultural War over the size and Role of Government

One of the odd features of the Democratic Party is its inability to learn what politics is about. It’s not about winning arguments. It’s about deciding which arguments you are going to have. In the first year of the Obama administration, the Democrats, either wittingly or unwittingly, decided to put the big government-versus-small government debate at the center of American life.

Just as America was leaving the culture war and the war war, the Democrats thrust it back into the government war, only this time nastier and with higher stakes.

This war is like a social script. Once it was activated, everybody fell into their preassigned roles.

As government grew, the antigovernment right mobilized. This produced the Tea Party Movement ”” a characteristically raw but authentically American revolt led by members of the yeoman enterprising class.

As government grew, many moderates and independents (not always the same thing) recoiled in alarm. In 2008, the country was evenly split on whether there should be bigger government with more services or smaller government with fewer services. Now, according to a Pew Research Center poll, the smaller government side has a 10-point edge. Since President Obama’s inauguration, the share of Americans who call themselves liberals (24 percent) has remained flat, but the share who call themselves conservatives (42 percent) has risen by as much as 10 percentage points, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll, as former moderates have shifted to the antigovernment side.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Politics in General

A pastor’s job offers become a curse

Luis Malagon felt blessed when he, his wife and their daughter were offered $11,000 a month to work at a new religious social service agency being planned in Brooklyn. He quit his job as a building inspector in South Carolina in February, put his house up for sale and borrowed money to move to Sunset Park.

Settling into a cramped apartment, they waited for the project to begin on March 1. When it did not, they said, they were summoned to daylong religious services presided over by its leader, the Rev. Isidro Bolaños, who offered harangues and excuses.

Today, the Malagons are out of work, money and time. The paychecks they had been assured were in the mail never arrived, putting them on the verge of eviction. Their New York sojourn has gone from blessing to curse, and they are moving to a relative’s apartment in Florida.

“I have nothing,” said Mr. Malagon, 61. “I feel like an ant. Look at everything we gave up to come here.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Diarmaid MacCulloch–Christian love and sex

What constitutes Christian love amid the sweaty delights of sex? Organized religion always takes an interest in sex, usually so it can tidy people’s sexual lives into some easily-managed pattern. The Vatican’s traditional emphasis is that God commands humans to procreate. Good sex has the potential to produce children; bad sex is everything else. Bad sex includes heterosexual acts involving contraceptives; masturbation; gay sex acts of all sorts. The equation of sex and procreation remained convincing for centuries because contraceptive devices were expensive, unreliable and even more comic in appearance than they are now. Now, however, readily available contraception has transformed the way in which human beings use and experience sex. Sex has always been fun: contraception has shown that the fun can be detached from the possibility of having children. The Christian tradition is now faced with the reality that pleasure and procreation are two separate purposes of sexuality, and many parts of the Christian Church, especially the Vatican, are baffled and angry.

How can Christianity cope? A first step would be to recognize that its traditional views on sexual intercourse were filched from non-Christian sources. Christianity is a complex system with two main strands: Jewish and Greek. Of the two, the Greek has made the running for nearly two thousand years. Even though Jesus was a Galilean Jew and probably had little contact with Greeks, the enthusiasts who wrote up his life and discussed his ideas took Christianity far from its Jewish roots. Most of their potential audience had a Greek cultural background, and in trying to make Greeks understand the message, Christianity absorbed the culture which it was trying to capture.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;

To the end that [my] glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.

–Psalm 30:11-12 (KJV)

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer of Thanksgiving for the Easter Season

Thanks be unto thee, O Christ, because thou hast broken for us the bonds of sin and brought us into fellowship with the Father.

Thanks be unto thee, O Christ, because thou hast overcome death and opened to us the gates of eternal life.

Thanks be unto thee, O Christ, because where two or three are gathered together in thy Name there art thou in the midst of them.

Thanks be unto thee, O Christ, because thou ever livest to make intercession for us.

For these and all other benefits of thy mighty resurrection, thanks be unto thee O Christ.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Spirituality/Prayer

Cherie Wetzel from GSE4–Reflections from invited guests, Singapore, Friday April 23

Abp. Peter Jensen, Sydney. I want to begin with a special thanks to our host, Archbishop John Chew. Our thanks for your graciousness in inviting us. The Trumpet Sounds of the Global South have been one of the most significant elements in the Communion in the last 20 years. I trust this trumpet sound will be the same.

Remarkable moments for me came in my fellowship group. People from all over the world. To share with brothers and sisters in depth from their own life story. It was extraordinary . We were talking about covenant, quietly, gently, in a Global South way when one person mentioned the fact that whereas most people feel a covenant is a pretty significant and sacred thing, when dealing with people of the West, you are not sure that they mean what they say. We are so infected by postmodernism that our word cannot be trusted. It is true and creates a tension that lies between us, usually unspoken. We who have been infected by this need to repent. The beating heart of the Global South is that you say exactly what you mean.

I see something else about you that you take for granted. This conference was unremorsefully Scriptural. Every talk, every presentation, came straight out of scripture and expound the scriptures for us. The commitment of the Global South to Scripture is no platitude. That is a striking thing. You take it for granted. You keep saying to the West, “You have to live under the Scriptures.” I’m not sure they even know what that means.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Global South Churches & Primates, Global South to South Encounter 4 in Singapore April 2010

An ENS article on the GSE4 Meeting in Singapore

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Global South Churches & Primates, Global South to South Encounter 4 in Singapore April 2010

Christian Post–Global South Anglicans Reconsider Communion with Western Counterparts

Anglican leaders in the Global South have been encouraged to reconsider their relationships with The Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada “until it becomes clear that there is genuine repentance.”

“Some of our Provinces are already in a state of broken and impaired Communion with The Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada. Their continued refusal to honor the many requests made of them … have brought discredit to our witness,” said some 130 Anglicans from 20 provinces at the conclusion of the Fourth Global South to South Encounter in Singapore.

They condemned the two western bodies for their continued “defiance” of Scripture and the rest of the global Anglican Communion with their pro-gay actions.

Specifically, the Global South leaders pointed to the upcoming consecration of the Rev. Mary Glasspool, a partnered lesbian, in Los Angeles. Despite calls by Anglican leaders worldwide to practice gracious restraint in regards to the ordination of partnered gays, Glasspool was confirmed to become the second openly gay bishop in The Episcopal Church. Her ordination is scheduled for May.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Global South Churches & Primates, Global South to South Encounter 4 in Singapore April 2010