Daily Archives: June 13, 2010

Religion and Ethics Newsweekly: Catholic Charities and the Gulf Oil Disaster

KIM LAWTON, host: Repercussions from the Gulf Coast oil spill dominated the news again this week. President Obama pushed BP to do a better job of resolving the crisis and taking responsibility for the damages. Meanwhile, religious groups have been holding a series of prayer vigils across the country. Participants are praying for an end to the environmental disaster. They are also offering prayers for those who have been most severely affected. The crisis has taken a devastating toll on people involved directly and indirectly in the fishing industry. Several faith-based groups have been mobilizing to provide assistance. Joining me now is Margaret Dubuisson of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New Orleans. Margaret, thanks for being here. Tell us a little about the needs you’re serving right now.

MARGARET DUBUISSON (Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New Orleans): Well, Kim, we have five centers set up in the fishing villages in the archdiocese of New Orleans. We’ve seen about 8,000 people so far, fishermen and their families who’ve come in just looking for help, looking for support, looking for financial assistance in some way. The BP claims process is a little cumbersome, and it is going to take some time. So Catholic Charities has been able to provide direct assistance and food much more quickly and put that in the hands of the fishermen through these five emergency relief centers.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, --The 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill, Energy, Natural Resources, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Long Road to Adulthood Is Growing Even Longer

Baby boomers have long been considered the generation that did not want to grow up, perpetual adolescents even as they become eligible for Social Security. Now, a growing body of research shows that the real Peter Pans are not the boomers, but the generations that have followed. For many, by choice or circumstance, independence no longer begins at 21.

From the Obama administration’s new rule that allows children up to age 26 to remain on their parents’ health insurance to the large increase in the number of women older than 35 who have become first-time mothers, social scientists say young adulthood has undergone a profound shift.

People between 20 and 34 are taking longer to finish their educations, establish themselves in careers, marry, have children and become financially independent, said Frank F. Furstenberg, who leads the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Transitions to Adulthood, a team of scholars who have been studying this transformation.

“A new period of life is emerging in which young people are no longer adolescents but not yet adults,” Mr. Furstenberg said.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Young Adults

LA Times–Pope Benedict rejects calls to end celibacy rule

Standing before more than 10,000 Roman Catholic priests, Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday strongly reaffirmed the Vatican’s commitment to priestly vows of celibacy, cutting off speculation that he might reconsider the issue in light of the church’s sexual abuse scandal.

At an outdoor vigil in St. Peter’s Square that veered between moments of deep reverence and outbursts of enthusiasm more characteristic of a soccer game, the pope told the gathering of priests, believed to be the largest in history, that celibacy “is made possible by the grace of God ”¦ who asks us to transcend ourselves.” Celibacy would be a “scandal,” he said, only in “a world in which God is not there.”

Some critics have suggested that the vow of celibacy may at least be partly responsible for the sex abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church, either because it is so difficult to uphold, or because it may discourage men with normal sex drives from becoming priests. In recent months, as the abuse scandal has widened in Europe, an Austrian bishop urged the Vatican to drop celibacy, which he said should be voluntary.

Benedict’s remarks came in response to a question posed by a Slovakian priest, and he made it clear that he supported continuing the practice of celibacy under his pontificate. He compared it to heterosexual marriage, which he called “the foundation of the Christian culture.”

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

NPR–Recruiting For The Priesthood A Hard Sell In France

In the 1960s, there were about 41,000 priests in France. Today, there are around 15,000. About 800 priests die each year, and only 100 are ordained.

Frederic Fonfroide de Lafon is the head of the firm that the church has hired to run its public relations campaign. He says to attract new priests the church must first improve the image of the priest in France.

“Priests suffer from a low social status, so we’re trying to change that by showing what being a priest really means. A priest has extensive training in philosophy and the humanities. He is not someone who lives apart from society in his own world, but someone who participates,” Fonfroide de Lafon says.

“A priest accompanies people in the most important moments of their lives,” he adds.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, France, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Anglican Diocese of Quincy Elects a New Bishop

(Via email):

The Diocese of Quincy, a member of the Anglican Church in North America, has elected The Rt. Rev. Alberto Morales to be the 9th bishop of the diocese. Abbot Morales was elected on the 2nd ballot at a special session diocesan Synod which met Saturday at Grace Anglican Church in Galesburg, Illinois.

Bishop-elect Morales is the Abbot and spiritual leader of St. Benedicts Abbey, an ecumenical abbey in Bartonville, Illinois near Peoria. He was one of three candidates nominated for bishop by a special committee formed in 2009 to guide the selection process.

Abbot Morales founded St. Benedict’s Abbey in 1985 in Puerto Rico and moved the community to Illinois in 1996 after suffering religious persecution in Puerto Rico. Upon arrival in Illinois, the Abbot opened not only a monastery, but also a church for the people of the local community. Additionally, he started the local ministerial association along with other pastors of the Bartonville area and established St. Benedict’s Charities. He has been involved in helping the Church worldwide through his work in missions, spiritual direction, and conducting conferences and clergy retreats.

The other two nominees considered by the Synod were the Very Rev. Canon Edward den Blaauwen, Dean and Rector of Christ Church Cathedral (pro-tem) in Moline, Illinois, and Canon Liturgist of the diocese; and the Rev. Canon Michael Brooks, Rector at St. Peter’s Church in Canton, Illinois, and the administrator and Canon Missioner of the diocese.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Quincy

Notable and Quotable

“We have embarrassment fatigue here….If there is an embarrassment equivalent of post-traumatic stress disorder, South Carolina has it.”

–Dick Harpootlian, the former Democratic chairman of the state in the New York Times

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Politics in General, Senate

Daily Mail: Fans' disappointment as England's World Cup campaign begins

After 44 years of hurt, England fans should by now be familiar with the feeling of crushing disappointment with which they awoke this morning.

Following months of hype and anticipation, fans’ hopes were dashed yet again last night after goalkeeper Robert Green wrecked his team’s bid for a winning start.

Green – whose schoolboy error handed U.S.A. an equaliser in the 1-1 draw – was today facing the national backlash endured by so many of his England’s predecessors.

The goalkeeper’s humiliating clanger drew groans of disbelief from millions watching the game on screens across the country.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Sports

Sunday (London) Times Editorial: The Archbishop should shake it all about

Whenever the issue of declining church attendance is raised, somebody always claims that more people attend services in this country than football matches (partly because tickets to holy communion don’t cost £60 a time, plus programme, plus a fiver to the curate for “guarding your car”). But if the Church of England is serious about making itself more attractive, it could do worse than seek inspiration in the World Cup. The answer is simple: sign up Desmond Tutu.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE)

A Decade Later, Human Gene Map Yields Few New Cures

Ten years after President Bill Clinton announced that the first draft of the human genome was complete, medicine has yet to see any large part of the promised benefits.

For biologists, the genome has yielded one insightful surprise after another. But the primary goal of the $3 billion Human Genome Project ”” to ferret out the genetic roots of common diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s and then generate treatments ”” remains largely elusive. Indeed, after 10 years of effort, geneticists are almost back to square one in knowing where to look for the roots of common disease.

One sign of the genome’s limited use for medicine so far was a recent test of genetic predictions for heart disease. A medical team led by Nina P. Paynter of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston collected 101 genetic variants that had been statistically linked to heart disease in various genome-scanning studies. But the variants turned out to have no value in forecasting disease among 19,000 women who had been followed for 12 years.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology

England 1, USA 1

Poor Robert Green.

Some lovely pictures here.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports