Daily Archives: August 18, 2010

Father Federico Lombardi: Great Expectations for Popes UK Trip

A. ”“ It is a very rich, intense and articulate program. Of course there is great expectation and excitement in the lead up to the first day, which immediately sees the Pope’s meeting with Her Majesty, the Queen. It is also the day when he will meet with Scotland, which is a very important part of this journey. I would like to remind people that the Pope’s visit to Scotland coincides with the Feast of St. Ninian, who is the patron saint and evangeliser of Scotland. As such it is a very important day for Scottish people. We think it will be a great celebration, a very beautiful moment. Then, I would highlight the Pope’s great address in Westminster Hall, his meeting with civil society, the world of culture, with all the most active and influential members of English society. This certainly will be a closely watched moment. The Pope will address, on a very broad level, the problems facing society in the United Kingdom and in the world today. Then there is the ecumenical dimension, in his meeting with the Anglican Primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury: the ecumenical celebration is certainly of great significance. We also know that it is a delicate moment for Anglicanism, because of internal debates. It is also a delicate time in relations with the Catholic Church, because these debates also reflect on the relationship between Anglicans and Catholics. Then, obviously, we come to the culminating moment which takes place in two stages, if you will: the vigil in Hyde Park in London and the Beatification in Birmingham dedicated to the figure of Newman. So with this great figure, who is almost “the spiritual heart of this visit”, the journey ends. We know that the Pope accepted the invitation for this visit because of the occasion of Newman’s Beatification.

Q. – Many have pointed to a special bond between Newman, this great nineteenth century pastor and intellectual and Joseph Ratzinger, Benedict XVI. What are your thoughts?

A. ”“ It’s not unfounded[”¦] because in the person of the Pope, Benedict XVI, we have a profound synthesis between faith and reason, and I would add, even spirituality. There is a connection between living the Christian witness in today’s world, in the modern world, giving all the reasons of Christian faith for those who seek it, giving the reason for our hope in the world today, and displaying a deep faith, a very careful, very great, vibrant spirituality as well as a very broad pastoral sensibility. The figure of Newman is complete, he is a fascinating character because of his depth, not only for his intellectual dimension, but also his cultural and pastoral dimension. His ability to convey the completeness of the cultural commitment to the world of today is captivating. He is certainly the perfect figure to present the dignity of Christian witness as capable of addressing the problems and the biggest questions of modern man, to modern society.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

NPR–India's Mentally Ill Turn To Faith, Not Medicine

In India, there is only 1 psychiatrist for every 400,000 people, according to a recent study by the Indian government. It is one of the lowest ratios anywhere in the world.

It means that most people in India go untreated for substance abuse problems, severe depression and psychotic disorders. Or rather, they go untreated by doctors. Instead, they turn to the gods.

Many people believe one particular South Indian temple can heal the mentally ill.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Health & Medicine, India, Mental Illness, Psychology, Religion & Culture

Georgia Anglican Fellowship Has Been Granted Mission Church Status and New Name

St. Andrew’s Anglican Church is the new name for the former Word and Table Anglican Fellowship in Rome. The Standing Committee of the Anglican Diocese of the South on Saturday approved the group’s request to affiliate with the diocese, which is part of the Anglican Church in North America.

“We are very pleased that the diocese’s newest mission church is in Northwest Georgia,” said diocesan bishop-elect Foley Beach. “We received many requests from the Rome area to assist with starting an orthodox Anglican church there, and have been delighted with the groundwork laid already by the new St. Andrew’s Anglican Church. The church is ideally located to serve Rome, Calhoun, Cedartown, Rockmart, Cartersville, and other nearby communities in Georgia and Alabama.”

Beach, the rector of Loganville’s Holy Cross Anglican Church, will be consecrated bishop on October 9 at Atlanta’s Church of the Apostles. A graduate of Sewanee’s School of Theology and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, he was formerly a priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. A delegation from the Rome church will participate in his consecration service.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Parish Ministry

Suspended Philadelphia Area Episcopal bishop resumes work

Although Episcopal leaders in the Philadelphia region are urging him to resign, long-suspended Bishop Charles E. Bennison Jr. told them Tuesday that he intended to stay at the helm of the five-county Diocese of Pennsylvania.

At a meeting at Episcopal Church House in Society Hill, “he made it clear to us he would resume his responsibilities,” said the Rev. Glenn Matis, president of the standing committee that has run the 55,000-member diocese during Bennison’s nearly three-year absence.

It was the 66-year-old bishop’s second day at work since the Episcopal Church charged him in October 2007 with mishandling and concealing his brother’s sexual abuse of a minor three decades earlier.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pennsylvania

James Cooper: The New Pentecost

I will tell you something candidly. As a priest standing before a congregation, it is quite an experience to be mindful not only of those gathered in Trinity Church, but also of those watching from afar: England, Kenya, Australia, Germany, and in towns and cities across the United States…

This is true for people in the pews as well. It is challenging to maintain the intimacy of an in-person parish setting when the world is watching. Part of the story of Trinity’s near ten years of webcasting its 11:15 a.m. Sunday service is this congregation’s ability to say of its liturgical tradition, yes, this is worth sharing. On the other hand, there are times when our connectivity creates intimacy that would not have existed otherwise, or enhances that which was already there.

I’m thinking now of the time recently when the Very Rev. Robert Osborne, Dean of St. John’s Cathedral in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, read the Prayers of the People for the opening Eucharist of Trinity Institute. There he was with his flock, in Winnipeg, and here he was as a presence in Trinity Church, connecting two congregations in the same spiritual place.

Read it all–and I love the Georgia story–KSH!

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Globalization, TEC Parishes

WSJ–New York Mosque Debate Grows, Splinters

Politicians beyond New York continued to stake out positions Tuesday on the controversy over plans to build an Islamic center and mosque near the site of the World Trade Center, but divisions emerged within each party over what has become a surprise issue in the 2010 elections.

In Pennsylvania’s closely contested Senate race, the Democratic candidate, Rep. Joe Sestak, appeared with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and endorsed the rights of project organizers to construct the Islamic center at its proposed location. Mr. Sestak’s position put him at odds with several other candidates in his own party, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who on Monday announced his opposition to the mosque’s being built near the site of the destroyed towers in Manhattan.

The issue dominated a news conference Tuesday in which Mr. Bloomberg endorsed Mr. Sestak’s Senate bid. Mr. Sestak, who had won the Democratic nomination over the opposition of Senate leaders and the White House, appeared pleased to once again highlight a difference between himself and Mr. Reid.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, City Government, House of Representatives, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Office of the President, Other Faiths, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Religion & Culture, Senate

Barry Ritholtz–Imagining if the Financial Fiasco had been Handled Properly

We don’t have alternative universe laboratories to run control bailout experiments, but we can imagine the alternative outcomes if different actions were taken.

So let’s do just that. Imagine a nation in the midst of an economic crisis, circa September-December 2008. Only this time, there are key differences: 1) A President who understood Capitalism requires insolvent firms to suffer failure (as opposed to a lame duck running out the clock); 2) A Treasury Secretary who was not a former Goldman Sachs CEO, with a misguided sympathy for Wall Street firms at risk of failure (as opposed to overseeing the greatest wealth transfer in human history); 3) A Federal Reserve Chairman who understood the limits of the Federal Reserve (versus a massive expansion of its power and balance sheet).

In my counter factual, the bailouts did not occur. Instead of the Japanese model, the US government went the Swedish route of banking crises: They stepped in with temporary nationalizations, prepackaged bankruptcies, and financial reorganizations; banks write down all of their bad debt, they sell off the paper. Int he end, the goal is to spin out clean, well financed, toxic-asset-free banks into the public markets.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Federal Reserve, History, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, The 2009 Obama Administration Bank Bailout Plan, The 2009 Obama Administration Housing Amelioration Plan, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The Fiscal Stimulus Package of 2009, The Possibility of a Bailout for the U.S. Auto Industry, The September 2008 Proposed Henry Paulson 700 Billion Bailout Package, The U.S. Government, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

Time Magazine Cover Story–Jonathan Franzen: Great American Novelist

[Jonathan] Franzen is a member of another perennially threatened species, the American literary novelist. But he’s not as cool about it as the otters. He’s uneasy. He’s a physically solid guy, 6 ft. 2 in., with significant shoulders, but his posture is not so much hunched as flinched. At 50 (he turns 51 on Aug. 17), Franzen is pleasantly boyish-looking, with permanently tousled hair. But his hair is now heavily salted, and there are crow’s-feet behind his thick-framed nerd glasses.

Franzen isn’t the richest or most famous living American novelist, but you could argue ”” I would argue ”” that he is the most ambitious and also one of the best. His third book, The Corrections, published in 2001, was the literary phenomenon of the decade. His fourth novel, Freedom, will arrive at the end of August. Like The Corrections, it’s the story of an American family, told with extraordinary power and richness.

The trend in fiction over the past decade has been toward specialization: the closeup, the miniature, the microcosm. After the literary megafauna of the 1990s ”” like Infinite Jest by the late David Foster Wallace, who was a close friend of Franzen’s ”” the novels of the aughts embraced quirkiness and uniqueness. Franzen skipped that trend. He remains a devotee of the wide shot, the all-embracing, way-we-live-now novel.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Poetry & Literature

RNS: Atheist group to raise funds for religious charity

An atheist foundation that seeks to foster charitable giving among nonbelievers is encouraging members to donate to a religious charity — and the move is stirring mixed feelings among members.

Foundation Beyond Belief, a nonprofit headquartered in Georgia, has designated London-based Quaker Peace & Social Witness as one of 10 charities its members will support this quarter.

“Reactions in the nontheist community have ranged from applause to gasps of dismay,” said secular humanist Dale McGowan, executive director of the foundation, in a statement.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Atheism, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

BBC–Tapes show interrogation of 9/11 suspect Binalshibh, US says

US officials have confirmed the existence of videotapes of the 2002 interrogation of an alleged 9/11 plotter, reportedly at a secret prison.

The tapes, which the Associated Press said were found under a CIA desk, are said to show Ramzi Binalshibh at a Moroccan-run jail once used by the CIA.

But a US official downplayed their significance, saying they “show a guy sitting at a desk answering questions”.

They are said to be the only recordings from a defunct CIA secret jail network.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Terrorism

A Prayer for the Feast Day of William Porcher DuBose

Almighty God, who didst give to thy servant William Porcher DuBose special gifts of grace to understand the Scriptures and to teach the truth as it is in Christ Jesus: Grant, we beseech thee, that by this teaching we may know thee, the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to begin the Day

O God, who art Spirit, and wiliest to be worshipped in spirit and in truth: Grant to us that, loving thee in all things and above all things, we may please thee by our prayers and by our lives this day; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–William Bright (slightly edited)

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten. When the people saw the sign which he had done, they said, “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world!” Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.

–John 6:11-15

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Post-Gazette Editorial: Money for nothing?: Freebies for state lawmakers remain a problem

“It’s a nice job if you can get it” ought to be the official motto of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Although the gravy train has slowed down since 2005 when public revulsion greeted lawmakers who had given themselves a big pay raise in a late-night vote, the freebies have not dried up.

That is depressingly clear from filings with the state Ethics Commission. As reported by the Post-Gazette’s Tracie Mauriello on Sunday, 38 of the state’s 253 legislators shared in at least $67,000 worth of goodies last year.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, State Government, Theology

ENS–Pennsylvania bishop returns to divided diocese

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pennsylvania