Daily Archives: May 19, 2010

LA Times on the Roman Catholic Crisis–A penitent church

Last week, however, the pope sounded a dramatically different note. He told reporters accompanying him on a pilgrimage to Portugal, “The greatest persecution of the church doesn’t come from enemies on the outside but is born from the sins within the church.” He added, “The church needs to profoundly relearn penitence, accept purification, learn forgiveness but also justice.”

His words have been matched by actions. The Vatican has taken control of the Legion of Christ, an ultraconservative Mexico-based order whose late founder exploited his Vatican connections to escape punishment for molesting seminarians. It also has issued guidelines that for the first time explicitly say that church officials should report instances of sexual abuse to the police. That policy has been in force in the American church for the last eight years.

The pope’s acknowledgment that the church has sinned more than it has been sinned against can’t exorcise its past failures, for which victims continue to seek justice ”” including a lawsuit filed in this country against the Vatican itself. But it is important nonetheless if it signals what in Catholic theology is called the “firm purpose of amendment” that must accompany a confession of sin.

Read it all.

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

Bob Duncan Seeks to Clarify AMIA's Place Within ACNA

(Via email):

The Archbishop’s Cabinet has been working since February with the leadership of the Anglican Mission (theAM) in the Americas to clarify the Anglican Mission’s structural relationship within the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).

This consideration came as a result of a January resolution by the Rwandan House of Bishops objecting to the dual membership of Rwanda’s missionary bishops in the North American College of Bishops.

The Anglican Mission, one of the founding entities of the Anglican Church in North America, was established as a North American missionary outreach of the Province of Rwanda following the consecrations of Bishop Chuck Murphy and John Rodgers in the year 2000.

The Constitution and Canons of the ACNA were written so that theAM might be practically integrated in the structure of the ACNA as a jurisdiction, while sustaining identity as a missionary outreach of Rwanda. The jurisdictional approach has led to a number of areas of confusion for bishops and congregations of the Anglican Mission. Consequently.

It has been agreed by the Executive Committee of the ACNA (presently also the Archbishop’s Cabinet, and formerly the lead bishops of Common Cause) that the Anglican Mission will petition the June meeting of the Provincial Council for status as a Ministry Partner, a status provided for in the Constitution and Canons of the North American Province and agreeable to the Province of Rwanda.

The Ministry Partner option will clarify the existing confusions. The Primatial Vicar of the Anglican Mission, appointed by the Archbishop of Rwanda, serves as chief liaison between the Province of Rwanda and the Anglican Church in North America. Representatives of the Anglican Mission continue to sit in the Provincial Council.

The ACNA and its Ministry Partners remain fervently committed to Anglican 1000 and church-planting. Local congregations continue to work together in ministry, and are free to transfer between the Anglican Mission in the Americas and the Anglican Church in North America (or vice versa) in consultation with the bishops concerned.

Clergy of theAM remain canonically resident in the Province of Rwanda and subject to their Norms, Prescripts, and Disciplines, but Ministry Partner status does provide canonically for clergy of theAM and the ACNA to minister in both ecclesiastical entities provided they are in good standing.

The most significant change brought by Ministry Partner status is that AM Bishops would no longer be regular members of the ACNA College of Bishops. Bishop Chuck Murphy, Primatial Vicar and Bishop Chairman of theAM made the following comment concerning the future of the Anglican Mission as a Ministry Partner within the Anglican Church in North America:

“We are delighted that the Anglican Church in North America is now successfully up and running. As one of the founding members of the ACNA, we in the Anglican Mission have invested significant time and energy into its formation and we remain strongly supportive of the Province and Archbishop Duncan’s leadership of this important new work.” Archbishop Duncan noted,

“The vision of a biblical, missionary and united Anglicanism in North America remains the vision of every North American Anglican. Jurisdictional integration also remains a future hope as Rwandan canons do provide for the transfer of the Anglican Mission to the Anglican Church in North America when the time seems right.”

Update: R.W. Foster has comments on this here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA)

CEN–Battle over American seat on the Anglican Consultative Council looms

Asked whether he would have to step down from the ACC’s Standing Committee due to his change in status from priest to bishop, Dr. [Ian] Douglas told CEN he would remain in place.

“Election to the Standing Committee by the ACC is irrespective of orders. Therefore, if I am elected the episcopal ACC member from TEC by the Executive Council in June, then I remain on the Standing Committee,” he said.

However conservatives have pushed for ACC chairman, Bishop James Tengatenga to replace Dr. Douglas, arguing that under the bylaws of the ACC a church cannot have two episcopal delegates. They state that upon his consecration as a bishop, Dr. Douglas ceased to be a clerical member of the ACC.

Read it all (subscription to CEN needed to do so).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Consultative Council, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, Windsor Report / Process

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to address Christians via Webcast

On June 21 – in the lead up to the federal election ”“ the leaders of Australia’s two major political parties have agreed to speak live to Christians across the nation. We want you to be part of this landmark event.

”˜Make it Count 2010’ will see Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott address Christians and answer questions from Christian leaders in a live webcast to churches throughout Australia from Canberra’s Old Parliament House.

The event follows on from a similar one held prior to the 2007 federal election in which John Howard and Kevin Rudd addressed 100,000 Christians meeting at 846 churches across Australia. This year we are hoping to triple those numbers.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, City Government, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Adam Lowe reviews Tom Wright's new book "Virtue Reborn"

It feels like aeons have passed since I was last able to read books unrelated to work and/or study. Thus it was with great joy that I picked up N. T. Wright’s new book Virtue Reborn (which is published under a different name ”“ After You Believe – in the US) and read it over the last week. Approaching Christian Ethics from a different vantage of the countless tomes that have preceded it, Bishop Wright’s book is not only a significant contribution to the field, but also to individuals and the church (both communities and the church-at-large). A key strength is the manner in which he engages with a wide range of thinkers (e.g., be they philosophers, theologians etc) and presents them within a Biblical, thoughtful, and practical framework. Following the tone of Simply Christian and Surprised by Hope, this latest work is eloquent, compelling, and accessible to a broad scope of readers. But enough of the prologue”¦ (It is probably a good place to note that I have made so many notations on the pages throughout this book ”“ apologies to those who cringe at the thought of marking a book ”“ that it may have been more efficient to only mark the parts that I didn’t anticipate returning to.)

Instead of tackling ethics from a contingent approach, Wright masterfully argues for lives which are characterised by neither ”˜Rules’ or ”˜Going with the Flow’, but instead this ancient ”“ yet reborn ”“ concept of virtue. From a practical perspective, whilst ”˜rules’ and the ability to ”˜listen to one’s self’ can be important and mature aspects of Christian character, they are ultimately inadequate in addressing the myriad of decisions that we are faced with each day. Even when reduced to the ”˜one golden rule’, there is an obvious and extraordinary level of discernment required to apply that to any given scenario. Conversely, when forced to make a decision quickly ”˜following one’s gut’ (for lack of some external ”˜rule’ or simply because that is our ’style’), it can result in a less-than-optimal outcome. What is needed it not necessarily a middle ground, but a dynamic understanding of Christian behaviour (individually and corporately) that is neither limited to rules or ’spontaneity’ per se, but instead a disciplined basis of character that is refined and shaped over a lifetime in the Christian tradition.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Books, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Muslim soldier: Army has not addressed harassment complaints

Two months after a Muslim soldier complained to the Pentagon about being harassed in the wake of the Fort Hood shootings, Spec. Zachari Klawonn said the Army has not followed through on its promises to address problems at the country’s largest military base.

Commanders at Fort Hood, Tex., moved Klawonn, 20, off post for his safety in March after a threatening note with religious slurs was left at his barracks door. But then the military failed to provide him the standard stipend for off-post housing, Klawonn said. In recent weeks, he’s had to take out two loans, borrow an additional $300 from a nonprofit group and pawn his possessions to pay the bills.

Klawonn said he asked for the housing allowance repeatedly, making his appeals up the chain of command. Last week, after a reporter asked about the housing allowance, Klawonn said he was called by his commanders and told he would begin receiving his stipend June 1.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Military / Armed Forces, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

A List of countries by external debt

Take a look–a lot of interesting data to sift through.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Credit Markets, Economy, Politics in General

Specter Defeat Signals a Wave Against Incumbents

Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who left the Republican Party a year ago in hopes of salvaging a 30-year career, was rejected on Tuesday by Democratic primary voters, with Representative Joe Sestak winning the party’s nomination on an anti-incumbent wave that is defining the midterm elections.

In Kentucky, Rand Paul, the most visible symbol of the Tea Party movement, easily won the Republican Senate primary and delivered a significant blow to the Republican establishment. His 24-point victory over Trey Grayson, who was supported by the most powerful Republican on Capitol Hill, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, underscored the anti-Washington sentiment echoing across the country.

The outcomes of both contests, along with a Democratic primary in Arkansas that pushed Senator Blanche Lincoln into a runoff election in June, illustrated anew the serious threats both parties face from candidates who are able to portray themselves as outsiders and eager to shake up the system.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., City Government, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, House of Representatives, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Psychology, Senate, State Government

Time Magazine: Are Marriage Statistics Divorced from Reality?

Do half of all marriages really end in divorce? It’s probably the most often quoted statistic about modern love, and it’s a total buzz kill, in line with saying that half of all new shoes will give you hammertoes or that 50% of babies will grow up to be ugly. Now the divorce stat is coming under scrutiny ”” and not just because of its unromanticity.

“It’s a very murky statistic,” says Jennifer Baker, director of the marriage- and family-therapy programs at Forest Institute, a postgraduate psychology school in Springfield, Mo. She’s often erroneously credited with arriving at the 50% figure; it was around long before she used it. Figuring out divorce rates is tricky. Not all states collect marital data, and the numbers change dramatically depending on the methods and sources that are used. In the end, the best that researchers can do is look for trends within a specific group or cohort (say, all people who married in the 1980s) and project what will happen. As Baker says, “It’s very difficult to know, if a couple gets married today, whether they’ll still be married in 40 years.”

But in an upbeat new guide to marriage, For Better, Tara Parker-Pope, a New York Times reporter (and divorcée), devotes a chapter to debunking the 50% stat, at least among the subset of the population that reads books like hers. Since the 1970s, when more women started going to college and delaying marriage, “marital stability appears to be improving each decade,” she writes. For example, about 23% of college graduates who married in the ’70s split within 10 years. For those who wed in the ’90s, the rate dropped to 16%.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books, Marriage & Family

Different denominations have very different ways of worshipping: drums, dancing, rock guitars

(The) REV. GEOFFREY KERSLAKE is a priest of the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Ottawa.

In order to understand Catholic thinking about music, dance and the liturgy we need to remember that all sacred arts in the liturgy are meant to glorify God and to draw us deeper into the heavenly reality that we experience in our liturgy.

In helping us to discern what expression of music is appropriate for the liturgy we have three criteria: “beauty expressive of prayer, the unanimous participation of the assembly at the designated moments and the solemn character of the celebration” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1157).

Because music is intended to help orient us towards God, if it serves as a distraction or if it becomes the focus itself of the liturgy, it has lost is true purpose. The music that praises God most appropriately is derived from Sacred Scripture and from liturgical sources (CCC1158). These criteria do not mandate any single genre of music, but common sense tells us that some musical genres do not inherently point us to God, but rather focus our attention elsewhere. Conversely, sacred music like Gregorian chant, because it exists solely as sacred music and nowhere else, has a natural or inherent ability to orient us towards God because we associate it only with worshipping God in the liturgy.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Canada, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Cardinal Kasper to visit Liverpool

Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, is to visit Liverpool this coming weekend. On Sunday, 23 May, he will celebrate the Solemn Mass in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King at 11am, after which he will bless with a Prayer of Dedication the two glass steles (columns) newly positioned at the bottom of the steps to the Cathedral, which are the work of German artist, Raphael Seitz, a friend of the Cardinal who will also be present. It is appropriate that the dedication should take place on the Feast of Pentecost as it is the anniversary feast of the consecration of the Metropolitan Cathedral forty-three years ago in 1967.

In the afternoon Cardinal Kasper will preach at the ‘Two Cathedrals Service’ which begins in Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral at 3pm and, following a procession along Hope Street, will conclude in the Metropolitan Cathedral at approximately 4.30pm. Since the visit of Pope John Paul II 28 years ago on the Feast of Pentecost in 1982, the ‘Two Cathedrals Service’ has regularly taken place on Pentecost Sunday with thousands of pilgrims celebrating unity by walking along Hope Street.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic

Technical education must for Nigeria’s development ””Anglican church

The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has said Nigeria’s quest for technological advancement will remain a mirage until technical education is given its pride of place.

The position of the church was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of the third session of its seventh synod in Abuja on Sunday.

The communiqué, which was signed by the Primate of the church, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, and two others, made a case for better attention to be paid to technical education.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Education, Science & Technology

Nouriel Roubini Says U.S. May Face Bond ”˜Vigilantes’ Within Three Years

“Bond market vigilantes have already woken up in Greece, in Spain, in Portugal, in Ireland, in Iceland, and soon enough they could wake up in the U.K., in Japan, in the United States, if we keep on running very large fiscal deficits,” Roubini said at an event at the London School of Economics yesterday. “The chances are, they are going to wake up in the United States in the next three years and say, ”˜this is unsustainable.’”

The euro has touched a four-year low against the dollar on concern nations with the largest budget deficits will struggle to meet the European Union’s austerity requirements. Roubini, speaking in a lecture hall packed with students who then queued to meet him at a book-signing, suggested that the public debt burden incurred after the banking panic of 2008 may now cause the financial crisis to metamorphose.

“There is now a massive re-leveraging of the public sector, with budget deficits on the order of 10 percent” of gross domestic product “in a number of countries,” Roubini said. “History would suggest that maybe this crisis is not really over. We just finished the first stage and there’s a risk of ending up in the second stage of this financial crisis.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Budget, Credit Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Greece, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

David Brooks: Children of the ’70s

As [John] Podhoretz rightly notes, if you grew up in a big city in the ’70s, then life is better for you now in about every respect. Today, most liberals and conservatives have more sophisticated views on how to build and preserve civic order than people did then, and there is more of it.

The Upper West Side is still integrated. And despite all expectations, it’s actually more religious now. For example, there are now 4,000 children attending yeshivas, Jewish schools and Jewish nursery schools in the neighborhood.

The children of the ’70s grew up with both unprecedented freedom and disorder, and have learned, in mostly good ways, from both.

Read the whole thing.

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

Major Powers Have a Deal on Sanctions for Iran, U.S. Says

The Obama administration announced Tuesday a deal with other powers, including Russia and China, to impose a fourth set of sanctions on Iran in as many years, touching off a contest with Tehran to win support in the United Nations Security Council.

The announcement came just a day after Iranian leaders announced a tentative deal with Turkey and Brazil to turn over, for a year, about half of Iran’s stockpile of nuclear fuel, part of an effort to undermine the sanctions resolutions. But even if the new sanctions pass the Security Council it is unclear whether its provisions ”” including a mandate to inspect ships suspected of entering foreign ports with nuclear-related technology or weapons ”” will cause enough pain to force the country to halt uranium enrichment and cooperate with international inspectors.

“We have reached agreement on a strong draft with the cooperation of both Russia and China,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday morning. Later in the day, the American ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, presented the resolution to the Security Council, the first step in what promises to be weeks of debate.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Iran, Middle East, Politics in General