Daily Archives: September 19, 2010

The Pope's Address at the Meeting with the Bishops of England, Wales and Scotland Today

As we reflect on the human frailty that these tragic events so starkly reveal, we are reminded that, if we are to be effective Christian leaders, we must live lives of the utmost integrity, humility and holiness. As Blessed John Henry Newman once wrote, “O that God would grant the clergy to feel their weakness as sinful men, and the people to sympathize with them and love them and pray for their increase in all good gifts of grace” (Sermon, 22 March 1829). I pray that among the graces of this visit will be a renewed dedication on the part of Christian leaders to the prophetic vocation they have received, and a new appreciation on the part of the people for the great gift of the ordained ministry. Prayer for vocations will then arise spontaneously, and we may be confident that the Lord will respond by sending labourers to bring in the plentiful harvest that he has prepared throughout the United Kingdom (cf. Mt 9:37-38).

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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, Wales

Kevin D. Williamson–The Entitlement Bubble: The Bust Is Going to Be a Nightmare

The problem with the business cycle under this analysis, you’ll notice, is not the bust ”” it’s the boom. That’s when the bad investment decisions are made, largely because political influence in the markets (housing policy, tax breaks, artificially cheap money and other interest-rate subsidies, risk subsidies, etc.) distorts economic calculation.

Which brings us back to the entitlements. It’s easy to say: Well, we’ll just raise the retirement age, or cut benefits, or means-test them, or raise taxes on the wealthy who receive them (which amounts to means-testing, but Democrats like that version better). And, yes, that probably is what we will do, eventually. But that does not get us out of the economic pickle: People have been making decisions for years and years ”” decisions about saving, investing, consuming, working, and retiring ”” based at least in some part on what are almost certainly faulty assumptions about what sort of Social Security, Medicare, and other benefits they will receive when they retire. When those disappear, a lot of consumption is going to have to be forgone ”” and a lot of capital dedicated to producing those goods and services for consumption will be massively devalued. Businesses will have to retrench, probably in a way that is more disruptive and more expensive than the housing-bubble recession necessitated.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Pensions, Personal Finance, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, Social Security, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

In Cheshire, An Anglican call to try church again

The Bishop of Warrington has issued a rallying call to the town’s community ahead of Back to Church day next Sunday, September 26.

Bishop Richard Blackburn is hoping people who have not been to church for weeks, months, or years will try the modern church.

Congregations have been handing out invitations to friends and family, and the bishop wants to further extend this invitation to the whole of Warrington.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Evangelism and Church Growth, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry

ENS–House of Bishops Daily Account for Saturday, Sept. 18

(Please note that the ENS accounts for the two first days are here and there).

Bishop Tom Ely of the Diocese of Vermont presented a meditation on “What is God up to in our midst concerning same-sex blessings.” Noting Vermont was the first state to recognize civil unions, an event that happened prior to his consecration, he never knew a time as bishop when blessings were not permitted. Not all were comfortable but the diocese has maintained mutual respect, education and pastoral care. “If we live in the spirit, let us walk in the spirit,” he cited.

Bishop John Bauerschmidt of the Diocese of Tennessee pointed out that Nashville is sometimes called “the buckle in the bible belt.” Nonetheless, the diocese is comprised of a diverse population, with support as well as concern about same-sex blessings. In Tennessee there is awareness that no consensus is apparent in society. Most pressing to most people in Diocese of Tennessee, he said, is the need to remain together in common life in the midst of difference, realizing it will be hard work, “but the commitment is made.”

The Rev. Dr. Ruth Meyers, chair of the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, spoke of [General Convention Resolution] C056, which directs SCLM to consult with the HOB as it collects and develops resources for same-sex blessings. A report on resources gathered will be presented at General Convention 2012. SCLM is working on four areas: Theological resources; Liturgical resources; Pastoral and Teaching resources; and Canonical and Legal considerations.

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

An ENS Article on the Proposed Resolutions for the upcoming South Carolina Diocesan Covnention

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

John Allen (NC Reporter): Benedict finds unlikely ally in British PM

All indications are that the message Benedict XVI came to the U.K. to deliver has been music in the ears of the Cameron government.

In remarks today in Birmingham, where Benedict XVI will beatify Cardinal John Henry Newman, Cameron is planning to thank the pontiff for compelling the British people to “sit up and think,” according to extracts of his speech provided to reporters.

“Faith is part of the fabric of our country. It always has been and it always will be,” Cameron will say, according to those extracts.

“As you, your Holiness, have said … faith is not a problem for legislators to solve … but rather a vital part of our national conversation. And we are proud of that,” Cameron will say.

In reality, a meeting of the minds between Cameron and Benedict should not be terribly surprising, given that the “Big Society” has a Catholic pedigree.

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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

Papal Visit 2010: Pope’s homily at Cofton Park ”“ full text

Cardinal Newman’s motto, cor ad cor loquitur, or “Heart speaks unto heart”, gives us an insight into his understanding of the Christian life as a call to holiness, experienced as the profound desire of the human heart to enter into intimate communion with the Heart of God. He reminds us that faithfulness to prayer gradually transforms us into the divine likeness. As he wrote in one of his many fine sermons, “A habit of prayer, the practice of turning to God and the unseen world in every season, in every place, in every emergency ”“ prayer, I say, has what may be called a natural effect in spiritualising and elevating the soul. A man is no longer what he was before; gradually”¦ he has imbibed a new set of ideas, and become imbued with fresh principles” (Parochial and Plain Sermons, iv, 230-231). Today’s Gospel tells us that no one can be the servant of two masters (cf Lk 16:13), and Blessed John Henry’s teaching on prayer explains how the faithful Christian is definitely taken into the service of the one true Master, who alone has a claim to our unconditional devotion (cf Mt 23:10). Newman helps us to understand what this means for our daily lives: he tells us that our divine Master has assigned a specific task to each one of us, a “definite service”, committed uniquely to every single person: “I have my mission,” he wrote, “I am a link in a chain, a bond of connexion between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good, I shall do his work; I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place”¦ if I do but keep his commandments and serve him in my calling” (Meditations and Devotions, 301-2).

The definite service to which Blessed John Henry was called involved applying his keen intellect and his prolific pen to many of the most pressing “subjects of the day”. His insights into the relationship between faith and reason, into the vital place of revealed religion in civilised society, and into the need for a broadly based and wide-ranging approach to education were not only of profound importance for Victorian England, but continue today to inspire and enlighten many all over the world.

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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

The Sun comes out as the Pope appears for the Newman beatification this Morning

Watch it all from Ruth Gledhill, religion correspondent for the (London) Times.

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

(NY Times) Facing Protests, Pope Expresses Sorrow Over Abuse

On a day when he faced by far the largest protests of his four-day state visit to Britain, Pope Benedict XVI used an address at a Mass in Westminster Cathedral on Saturday to reiterate his “deep sorrow” for the “unspeakable crimes” of child abuse within the Roman Catholic Church.

His remarks followed other recent comments in which he has struck an increasingly remorseful tone about the abuse scandal. But they took on added weight for the fact that they were made before 2,000 worshipers in the cathedral that is the seat of Catholicism in England, and ahead of a protest march on a scale rare in the recent history of the papacy.

“Here, too, I think of the immense suffering caused by the abuse of children, especially within the church and by her ministers,” Benedict said at the Mass, which was attended by hundreds of clergy members and prominent Catholics, including former Prime Minister Tony Blair, a convert to Catholicism.

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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

(Zenit) Pontiff Underlines Christian Roots of Wales

The Pontiff was unable to travel to Wales during this four-day state visit to the United Kingdom; thus, he addressed a particular greeting to the pilgrims who came to see him, led by Bishop Edwin Regan of Wrexham, Wales.

The Holy Father said, “I am happy to have this opportunity to honor the nation and its ancient Christian traditions by blessing a mosaic of St. David, the patron saint of the Welsh people, and by lighting the candle of the statue of Our Lady of Cardigan.”

He continued: “St. David was one of the great saints of the sixth century, that golden age of saints and missionaries in these isles, and he was thus a founder of the Christian culture which lies at the root of modern Europe.

“David’s preaching was simple yet profound: His dying words to his monks were, ‘Be joyful, keep the faith, and do the little things.'”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, England / UK, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Wales

(BBC) Papal visit: Pictures of Pope Benedict in London

There is a slideshow here of 21 pictures–check them out.

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

A prayer to Begin the Day

O Thou, from whom to be turned is to fall, to whom to be turned is to rise, and in whom to stand is to abide for ever: Grant us in all our duties thy help, in all our perplexities thy guidance, in all our dangers thy protection, and in all our sorrows thy peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Saint Augustine

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

The LORD reigns; he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed, he is girded with strength. Yea, the world is established; it shall never be moved; thy throne is established from of old; thou art from everlasting. The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice, the floods lift up their roaring. Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the LORD on high is mighty! Thy decrees are very sure; holiness befits thy house, O LORD, for evermore.

–Psalm 93

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Jewish Prayers Are Modernized in New Book

During the Jewish “Days of Awe,” culminating with Yom Kippur, many Conservative Jews will be turning the pages of a prayer book that no longer regards God as “awesome.”

The word, which has become an all-purpose exclamation that spread from Valley Girls to much of American teenagerdom, has lost its spiritual punch and dignity, say the authors of a new book for the High Holy Days that tries to bring the prayers in tune with contemporary times.

The authors prefer “awe-inspiring.”

“If you say God is awesome, you are immediately in street language, rather than inspiring language,” said Rabbi Edward Feld, who headed the committee that over 12 years wrote and translated the new book.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, History, Judaism, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer

(NY Times) The Illusion of Pension Savings

Earlier this year, Illinois said it had found a way to save billions of dollars. It would slash the pensions of workers it had not yet hired. The real-world savings would not materialize for decades, of course, but thanks to an actuarial trick, the state could start counting the savings this year and use it to help balance its budget.

Actuaries, including some who serve on the profession’s governing boards, got wind of what Illinois was doing and began to look more closely. Many thought Illinois was using an unorthodox maneuver to starve its pension fund of billions of dollars, while papering over a widening gap between what it owed and how much it had. Alarmed, they began looking for a way to discourage Illinois’s method before other states could adopt it.

They are too late. The maneuver, and techniques that have similar effects, are already in use in Rhode Island, Texas, Ohio, Arkansas and a number of other places, allowing those states to harvest savings today by imposing cuts on workers in the future.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Pensions, Personal Finance, Politics in General, State Government, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--