Daily Archives: September 16, 2010

The Pope’s homily at Bellahouston Park today ”“ full text

The preaching of the Gospel has always been accompanied by concern for the word: the inspired word of God and the culture in which that word takes root and flourishes. Here in Scotland, I think of the three medieval universities founded here by the popes, including that of Saint Andrews which is beginning to mark the 600th anniversary of its foundation. In the last 30 years and with the assistance of civil authorities, Scottish Catholic schools have taken up the challenge of providing an integral education to greater numbers of students, and this has helped young people not only along the path of spiritual and human growth, but also in entering the professions and public life. This is a sign of great hope for the Church, and I encourage the Catholic professionals, politicians and teachers of Scotland never to lose sight of their calling to use their talents and experience in the service of the faith, engaging contemporary Scottish culture at every level. The evangelization of culture is all the more important in our times, when a “dictatorship of relativism” threatens to obscure the unchanging truth about man’s nature, his destiny and his ultimate good. There are some who now seek to exclude religious belief from public discourse, to privatize it or even to paint it as a threat to equality and liberty. Yet religion is in fact a guarantee of authentic liberty and respect, leading us to look upon every person as a brother or sister.

For this reason I appeal in particular to you, the lay faithful, in accordance with your baptismal calling and mission, not only to be examples of faith in public, but also to put the case for the promotion of faith’s wisdom and vision in the public forum. Society today needs clear voices which propose our right to live, not in a jungle of self-destructive and arbitrary freedoms, but in a society which works for the true welfare of its citizens and offers them guidance and protection in the face of their weakness and fragility. Do not be afraid to take up this service to your brothers and sisters, and to the future of your beloved nation.

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

From the Do Not Take Yourself Too Seriously Department: A Dictionary of the Near Future

AIRPORT-INDUCED IDENTITY DYSPHORIA Describes the extent to which modern travel strips the traveler of just enough sense of identity so as to create a need to purchase stickers and gift knick-knacks that bolster their sense of slightly eroded personhood: flags of the world, family crests, school and university merchandise…..

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Posted in * General Interest, Humor / Trivia

Crime Blotter Has a Regular: Yankees Caps

A curious phenomenon has emerged at the intersection of fashion, sports and crime: dozens of men and women who have robbed, beaten, stabbed and shot at their fellow New Yorkers have done so while wearing Yankees caps or clothing.

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

John Allen–Pope on crisis: 'We weren't fast enough'

The pattern of the pope cleaning up a mess created by other top church officials was first glimpsed in Portugal, after senior Vatican personnel had publicly compared criticism of the pope to anti-Semitism and “petty gossip.” Benedict XVI changed the tone by insisting, in comments to reporters aboard the papal plane, that the real problem was not outside attacks but sin inside the church.

That papal course correction continued on day one of his four-day trip to the United Kingdom, which got off to an inauspicious start as British papers played up a comment by German Cardinal Walter Kasper, recently retired as the Vatican’s top ecumenical official, that landing at Heathrow Airport, one has the sense of arriving in a “third world country.”

Kasper, who is not on the U.K. trip due to illness, also complained that an “aggressive atheism” is speaking in Britain.

That might have been the dominant day one story, had it not been for Pope Benedict XVI’s comments aboard the papal plane on the sexual abuse crisis. The pontiff candidly acknowledged that the church was “not sufficiently vigilant and not sufficiently quick and decisive to take the necessary measures” to combat the crisis.

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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

Video–Queen Elizabeth greets the Pope in Holyrood Palace

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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, Scotland

Excerpts from Greeting Speeches by the Pope and the Queen in Edinburgh

From the Queen:

Your Holiness, your presence here today reminds us of our common Christian heritage, and of the Christian contribution to the encouragement of world peace, and to the economic and social development of the less prosperous countries of the world. We are all aware of the special contribution of the Roman Catholic Church particularly in its ministry to the poorest and most deprived members of society, its care for the homeless and for the education provided by its extensive network of schools.

Religion has always been a crucial element in national identity and historical self-consciousness. This has made the relationship between the different faiths a fundamental factor in the necessary cooperation within and between nation states. It is, therefore, vital to encourage a greater mutual, and respectful understanding. We know from experience that through committed dialogue, old suspicions can be transcended and a greater mutual trust established.

I know that reconciliation was a central theme in the life of Cardinal John Henry Newman, for whom you will be holding a Mass of Beatification on Sunday. A man who struggled with doubt and uncertainty, his contribution to the understanding of Christianity continues to influence many.

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Update: The full text of the Pope’s speech is here.

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

(The Tablet) Rupert Shortt on the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury–So far and yet so near

One is the ruler of a global congregation recently put at nearly 1.2 billion, the other a nominal head of a worldwide communion of some 80 million….Joseph Ratzinger and Rowan Williams will [soon] meet during the papal visit to Britain. There is much to unite these seemingly disparate figures

It is common to describe Pope Benedict XVI and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, as the two most distinguished thinkers to hold their respective posts for several centuries. Both are former professors steeped in the classical Christian tradition, but share a gift for recasting apparently dusty or arcane material in up-to-date language. Both are excellent preachers, lucid as well as learned.

It is equally common to point up big differences between the two leaders, starting with the most divisive internal questions of our times: women bishops and homosexuality. The Pope’s conservatism on both matters is implacable. The archbishop thinks that all levels of ordained ministry should be open to candidates of both sexes; and he made several weighty pro-gay statements before his translation to Canterbury ”“ even though he now feels bound to defer to the conservative majority in worldwide Anglicanism on this subject….

Look a bit closer, though, and an apparently ill-matched pair seem a lot less different than at first sight.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, England / UK, Europe, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Vatican Radio Interviews Benedictine Father Christopher Jamison on the Pope's U.K. Visit

Herewith the introductory blurb:

Benedictine Father Christopher Jamison is the former Abbot of Worth Abbey in West Sussex, England. He is also very well known for the making – together with the BBC – of a television series entitled “The Monastery”. Vatican Radio’s Philippa Hitchen asked Father Jamison what kind of reception is Pope Benedict XVIth going to receive when he touches down in the UK …
“The Prime Minster, David Cameron, has today posted on the official “N. 10 Downing Street” website a message of welcome from the PM to his Holiness (…) the fact that the government is so positive about it is really important…”
“…the government is clear that they would like him to explain how a faith community can be a positive contributer to the wellbeing of the United Kingdom and to the wellbeing of the world…”
“when you have a country which has turned its back on religion, you will immediately have an upsurge in spirituality because that dimension of humanity cannot be suppressed. So, while Britain may be the least religious country in Europe, it is also the most likely population to say: “I’m spiritual but not religious”, and so there is that spirituality – whatever we mean by that term – which is a fruitful field in which to plant the words of a truly humane religious understanding…”

Listen to it all (Both MP3 and Realplayer audio available, lasts just over 10 minutes).

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

(Telegraph) Michael Burleigh–The Pope deserves better from Britain

In choosing the name Benedict, the Pope linked himself with Benedict XV, the pope who tried to halt the carnage of the Great War, and, in a much longer frame of reference, St Benedict of Nursia, whose rule is the basis of the entire Western monastic tradition which preserved Europe’s culture through the Dark Ages. The universities can no longer be trusted to perform this function since they have become both beacons of relativism and cash-and-carries. Whereas his predecessor identified Marxist materialism as the greatest threat to human freedom, Benedict is so concerned about the condition of contemporary Europe that in June he established a pontifical office to help re-evangelise it.

Secularism is at the heart of Benedict’s concerns. By this the Pope does not mean the delimitation of Church and State, the sacred and profane ”“ which is intrinsic to Christian culture as well as political society since the Reformation ”“ but the amnesiac eradication of one of the principal roots of Western civilisation and the deliberate marginalisation of all religion to the private sphere. In its stead has come a society that thinks its existential despairs can be ameliorated by limitless consumer goods, or worse, by a state that racks up fathomless amounts of debt so as to throw money at problems that may have no material resolution.

While truly sinister philosophies and technologies, all camouflaged with the rhetoric of choice and freedom, infiltrate how we regard and treat the old or sick, or play around with the building blocks of life itself, the public space is dominated by a culture several notches below that of the late Roman empire.

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

(NY Times) Benedict, in Britain, Criticizes Abuse Response

As Pope Benedict XVI arrived here Thursday for the first state visit to Britain by a pope, he offered his strongest criticism yet of the Roman Catholic Church’s handling of the sex abuse crisis, saying it had not been “sufficiently vigilant” or “sufficiently swift and decisive” in cracking down on abusers.

Speaking to reporters on his flight from Rome, Benedict also said that the church’s “first interest is the victims.”

“I must say that these revelations were a shock for me, a great sadness,” he said of the crisis that has undermined the church’s moral authority in many parts of Europe and beyond.

He expressed “sadness also that the authority of the church was not was not sufficiently vigilant and not sufficiently swift and decisive to take the necessary measures.”

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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

Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette: Area Episcopalians consider blessing same-gender relationships

Delegates to the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia’s annual convention voted this week to allow the church to bless same-gender relationships.

The resolution was submitted by the Rev. Ann Lovejoy Johnson, associate rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Charleston. It “urges our Bishop to honor same-gender relationships by supporting public rites for the blessing of same-gender relationships in congregations where such blessings are supported and so desired.”

The final decision rests with the diocese’s bishop, the Rt. Rev. W. Michie Klusmeyer, who responded with a prepared statement when contacted by the Gazette on Tuesday.

“Thank you for your interest, but I wonder where your interest was when wonderful things have happened in the past in the Episcopal Church? And try as you like to make us one, we are not a one issue church,” he said in the statement. He would not comment further, and calls to St. John’s were not returned Tuesday afternoon.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

Proposed Resolutions for the Diocese of West Virginia Diocesan Convention

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

CNN Intl–Pope begins controversial trip to Britain

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II shook hands with Pope Benedict XVI as he arrived Thursday for a historic four-day visit to Britain.

The queen greeted the pope at her Scottish residence near Edinburgh, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, before sitting down with him for a private meeting. A military marching band played the national anthem God Save the Queen, for which the pope removed his white cap.

Earlier, the pope arrived at the Edinburgh airport in an Alitalia plane. A Union Jack and Vatican City flag were flown out of the cockpit windows after it landed.

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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

CNBC–Home Price Double Dip Begins

….given the combination of the expiration of the home buyer tax credit and the increasing number of loans moving to final foreclosure, we knew that home prices overall would take a hit, but it would take a while.

Well we’re here.

Two new reports out today prove the consequences of oversupply of organic inventory (12.5 months on existing homes in July according to the National Association of Realtors) and the shadow inventory of foreclosed properties (estimates vary widely and wildly). CoreLogic’s Home Price Index shows home prices “flat” in July as transaction volume continues to decline. “This was the first time in five months that no year-over-year gains were reported,” according to the release. In June, prices were up 2.4 percent year over year. In addition, “36 states experienced price declines in July, twice the number in May and the highest number since last November when prices nationally were still declining.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance, The 2009 Obama Administration Housing Amelioration Plan, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Women Earn More Doctorates Than Men for First Time in U.S.

Women for the first time earned a majority of U.S. doctoral degrees, building on decades of gains in higher education.

In the 2008-2009 school year, women received just over half of all doctorates, up from 49 percent in 2007-2008 and 44 percent in 2000, according to a report released today by the Washington-based Council of Graduate Schools, which represents more than 500 universities. The report doesn’t include professional degrees in law, business and medicine.

The milestone became inevitable because women have received the majority of bachelor’s and master’s degrees since the 1980s, building a pipeline of doctoral candidates, Nathan Bell, the council’s director of research and policy analysis, said in a telephone interview. Women are building on the gains of an earlier cohort of female scholars who were pioneers, said Elizabeth Sutton, who received her Ph.D. in art history in 2009.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Education, Men, Women