Daily Archives: January 4, 2011

Canadian Primate outlines church’s priorities in New Year’s Day address

On New Year’s Day, the primate of the Anglican Church of Canada outlined the church’s priorities for 2011. They include enlivened worship, biblical literacy, renewed commitment to indigenous ministries and strong leadership in environmental advocacy.

“I envision a Church in which worship, while grounded and rooted in tradition, will be enlivened to meet the needs of our diverse membership,” said Archbishop Fred Hiltz in his traditional New Year’s Day address at Christ Church Cathedral, in Ottawa. Texts will be revised, he said, but they will be “in accord with sound liturgical principles, sensitivity to the many languages and cultures within our Church, and an unabashed drawing of resources from around the Anglican Communion and the ecumenical world.”

The Gospel will be proclaimed in various media, including drama, while Anglicanism’s choral tradition “will be complemented by the simplicity of Taize and spaces for deep silence before God,” said Archbishop Hiltz.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces

(BBC) The business of death

Dominic McGuire, from the Funeral Directors Association, explains that while in the past, most people wouldn’t even spot the funeral director’s shop front on their local high street, the relationship between the sector and the public is changing due in part to the introduction of pre-paid funeral plans.

He estimates that that these plans, which mean the funeral can be paid for and planned down to the detail of hymns and transport in one go or in instalments, will account for much of the industry’s future market share, and change the make up of the sector itself.

He explains: “I think it’s fair to say that the major players in the funeral planning business will increase their market share in due course, as a result of vigorous selling of that product.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Death / Burial / Funerals, Economy, England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

First female Episcopal priest in Florida celebrates 25 years

By her own and others’ accounts, the Rev. Davette Turk has always had a thing for ruffling feathers.

“I believe in shaking things up,” said Turk, 75, of Jacksonville. “Jesus shook a lot of people up, and I believe in shaking people up for the sake of love.”

Today is the 25th anniversary of one major way in which Turk did just that: Becoming a priest in the Jacksonville-based Episcopal Diocese of Florida. That made her the state’s first female Episcopal priest, a fact that didn’t sit well with many.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes, Women

Church of England General Synod officers elected

Read it all and note the link for the voting figures as well.

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

Atheists Declare Religions as 'Scams' in New Ad

American Atheists erected a billboard over the weekend in Huntsville, Ala., that claims all religions are scams.

The ad reads, “You know they’re all scams” and pictures some religious symbols including the cross, the Jewish star, and Islam’s crescent moon and star.

The billboard further claims that the group American Atheists has been “telling the truth since 1963.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Atheism, Media, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Pope Benedict XVI's Address for the celebration of the 2011 World Day of Peace

5. It could be said that among the fundamental rights and freedoms rooted in the dignity of the person, religious freedom enjoys a special status. When religious freedom is acknowledged, the dignity of the human person is respected at its root, and the ethos and institutions of peoples are strengthened. On the other hand, whenever religious freedom is denied, and attempts are made to hinder people from professing their religion or faith and living accordingly, human dignity is offended, with a resulting threat to justice and peace, which are grounded in that right social order established in the light of Supreme Truth and Supreme Goodness.

Religious freedom is, in this sense, also an achievement of a sound political and juridical culture. It is an essential good: each person must be able freely to exercise the right to profess and manifest, individually or in community, his or her own religion or faith, in public and in private, in teaching, in practice, in publications, in worship and in ritual observances. There should be no obstacles should he or she eventually wish to belong to another religion or profess none at all. In this context, international law is a model and an essential point of reference for states, insofar as it allows no derogation from religious freedom, as long as the just requirements of public order are observed. The international order thus recognizes that rights of a religious nature have the same status as the right to life and to personal freedom, as proof of the fact that they belong to the essential core of human rights, to those universal and natural rights which human law can never deny.

Religious freedom is not the exclusive patrimony of believers, but of the whole family of the earth’s peoples….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Politics in General, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

Sunday (London) Times: Atheists a dying breed as nature ”˜favours faithful’

Atheists, watch out. Religious people have evolved to produce more children than non-believers, researchers claim, while societies dominated by non-believers are doomed to die out.

A study of 82 countries has found that those whose inhabitants worship at least once a week have 2.5 children each, while those who never do so have just 1.7 ”” below the number needed to replace themselves.

The academic who led the study argues that evolution, credited by atheist biologists such as Richard Dawkins as the process solely responsible for creating humanity, favours the faithful because they are encouraged to breed as a religious duty.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Atheism, Children, Marriage & Family, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(BBC) Punjab governor Salman Taseer assassinated in Islamabad

The governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province, Salman Taseer, has died after being shot in the Pakistani capital Islamabad.

Mr Taseer, a senior member of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), was shot in a popular shopping distrinct of the city by a member of his own security detail.

He was taken to hospital where he died from his injuries.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Pakistan, Politics in General, Violence

(CNS) Belgians 'scandalized' by archbishop's remarks

In response to questions by commission members, Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard of Mechelen-Brussels, president of the Belgian bishops’ conference, said he feared the consequences of compensating victims, because payments could also be demanded for “unhappy children born via artificial insemination” or facing the “psychological impact” of being raised by same-sex couples.

He also said he favored a “solidarity fund” for abuse victims when courts were unable to establish “direct responsibility” by institutions and said the church would contribute to the fund “in the same way that it already intervenes for victims of natural catastrophes or for the poor.”

Toon Osaer, editor of the church’s Kerk en Leven weekly and spokesman for Cardinal Godfried Danneels, Archbishop Leonard’s predecessor, said all nine serving bishops had been asked to testify to the commission, and “each has done in his own name. Archbishop Leonard wasn’t representing the Belgian church at that moment, only himself.”

However, he added that the “vast majority of people” had been “quite scandalized” by the archbishop’s manner of speaking, especially in response to questions at the Dec. 22 hearing.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Belgium, Europe, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(AP) Tibetan monks turn to USA to train minds in science

Munching on pizza. Posting on Facebook. Hanging out with friends on weekends.

Some of the newest students at Emory University’s student body may act like typical college kids, but there’s a key difference: They’re Tibetan monks sent by the Dalai Lama to the United States to learn science.

Wearing the traditional crimson robes and closely shorn heads of Tibetan monastics, the six men ”” most in their 30s ”” are taking physics, biology and chemistry classes with hopes of returning to Tibetan monasteries in India to teach science to other monks and nuns.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Tibet

(USA Today) Tom Krattenmaker: Why Roman Catholicism is good for America

Even in the midst of easing its long-criticized opposition to condoms as measures against AIDS, the Vatican seemed to set off as much head-scratching as applause at year’s end. Were Pope Benedict XVI’s quotes in the new Light of the World book really the best way for him to reveal such a momentous shift? Couldn’t the Vatican have better clarified the portentous implications for health workers, priests and others tasked with implementing Catholic teaching on contraception?

Under the weight of these problems and others, some are probably more convinced than ever that it’s time for the Catholic Church to fade into history. But as a non-Catholic paying attention to the church’s travails, I am struck, too, by the steadfast faith of the Catholics I know, and the principled public witness of the Catholics on the ground ”” the nuns, community activists, volunteers and everyday parishioners who keep on keeping on in the face of adversity.

Because of them and the principles that inspire them, count me as one rooting not for the church’s decline and death, but for its recovery and renaissance. May Catholicism’s best days lie ahead.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

A Prayer for the Provisional Feast day of Elizabeth Seton

Holy God, who didst bless Elizabeth Seton with thy grace as wife, mother, educator and founder, that she might spend her life in service to thy people: Help us, by her example, to express our love for thee in love of others; through Jesus Christ our Redeemer, who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer, Women

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Almighty God, we beseech thee, give us grace to receive thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ, and to believe on his name, whose birth we celebrate in this sacred season; and grant that abiding steadfast in thy faith, we may evermore rejoice in thy salvation; through the merits of the same thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to share ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered abuse suffered for the Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he looked to the reward.

–Hebrews 11:24-26

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Egypt Orders Tighter Security After Church Bombing

“If this happened in a mosque, the government would be doing something,” yelled one parishioner in an angry street protest after Sunday morning Mass at Saints Church, the site of the bombing, where a crucifix wrapped in a blood-stained sheet stood sentinel. “But this happens to us every year, and every day, and they do nothing.”

The bombing early on Saturday morning climaxed the bloodiest year in four decades of sectarian tensions in Egypt, beginning with a Muslim gunman’s killings of nine people outside another midnight Mass, at a church in the city of Nag Hammadi on Jan. 6, the Coptic Christmas.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Coptic Church, Egypt, Islam, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Violence