Daily Archives: January 5, 2011

(Catholic Herald) William Oddie–The ordinariate is happening, at an unprecedented pace

The English ordinariate, it seems, will be well on its way by the middle of this month. Three former Anglican bishops were received into full communion with the Catholic Church during a Mass at Westminster
Cathedral on January 1. One of the comments following the Herald online report, noting that they were received in secular clothing, opines that “For Bishops to wear ties is simply saintly and to lose all that prestige they once held is stunning to the mind of a Catholic Bishop”.

Well, indeed. But I think that their former prestige is the least important aspect of what they are giving up: they are abandoning certainty and recognition within an established institution, for uncertainty within an institution ”“ the ordinariate ”“ that doesn’t even exist yet. What this shows is an absolute faith in the Catholic Church of which it will be a part, especially as it is embodied by the present Holy Father.

I last saw the most senior of the three, John Broadhurst, formerly Bishop of Fulham, splendidly caparisoned in full episcopal fig (I have known him, on and off, for over 30 years, and have never seen him except in clericals: I can hardly imagine him in a secular collar and tie) at the 150th anniversary of that great Anglo-Catholic institution, Pusey House, Oxford, just after the publication of Anglicanorum coetibus. I asked him for his reaction to the document (it was pretty clear that most of those present were elated by it): his reply had to do, not with the visionary excitements of the proposed ordinariate, but with its practicability: “it’s doable”, he simply replied.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

(RNS) Poll: Americans See Religion’s Role Declining

Seven in 10 Americans say religion’s influence on the country is waning, and 61 percent say they belong to a church or synagogue, equaling the lowest number since Gallup began asking the question in the 1930s.

Read it all.

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

A Journal-Sentinel Editorial on the Archdiocesan Bankruptcy Filing–Obligations remain

Given its financial constraints, the Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s decision to file for bankruptcy protection was probably its best legal option. But it still has a moral obligation to victims and parishioners to be as forthcoming as possible about what happened.

The financial reorganization of the archdiocese should not preclude a full accounting of the actions of those who molested children and of authorities in the archdiocese who may have covered up for or abetted the molesters. The reorganization also should do what it can to accord victims appropriate compensation.

At the same time, the archdiocese and the courts should do what they can to make sure that Catholic parishes and schools are protected from this decision so that they can continue with their good works. Programs for the needy, teacher pensions and parish ministries should be protected from the consequences of the handful of priests and others who preyed on children.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Economy, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(Journal-Sentinel) Archdiocese of Milwaukee files for bankruptcy protection

The Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee, which faces more than a dozen civil fraud lawsuits over its handling of clergy sex abuse cases, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Tuesday.

Archbishop Jerome Listecki, speaking on the first anniversary of his installation, said the move was necessary to fairly compensate victims and to continue the “essential ministries” of the church.

“As a result of the horrific actions of a few, there are financial claims pending against the archdiocese that exceed our means,” Listecki said at a news conference at the Cousins Center in St. Francis, which houses the archdiocese headquarters.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Nominee by Petition Announced in the Episcopal Election in East Tennessee

From here:

The Rev. Peter Keese, president of the Standing Committee, announced today that the Rev. Joseph R. Parrish, Jr. has been nominated by petition to stand for election as bishop, joining four other nominees, in our diocesan election scheduled for February 12, 2011 at St. John’s Cathedral in Knoxville. Fr. Parish was nominated by three clergy and three lay persons from the diocese and has completed all the background checks that every nominee must undergo. The petition process closed December 3, and no more nominees will be added to the slate.

Some further information about this latest nominee may be found there.

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

Ephraim Radner: How Shall we Hope for the Anglican Communion?

…the issue goes beyond an interchange of views. What has happened is that TEC has demonstrated repeatedly an incapacity or unwillingness to deal with the views of the rest of the Communion with actual Christian responsibility. Such responsibility is assumed in council and by respecting the decisions of council.

TEC will do this on several bases: Communion councils have no legislative authority, she says, and therefore do not require adherence; majority votes by global South patriarchs are intrinsically undemocratic, and so should not be granted power; the Kingdom of God favors diverse viewpoints, and so uniform actions in the Communion are actually unfaithful. But the main reason TEC gives for not deferring to the decisions of the Communion’s representative bodies is that she is being “prophetic”, and therefore is being called by God quite precisely to oppose and subvert these decisions.
The self-given prophetic mantle is a claim that is difficult to argue against, by definition. But it is worth noting that the convenience of this difficulty is itself a major part of the problem in the Communion: TEC has adopted a self-identity that cannot be questioned and overturned, and thereby she has become impervious to all reason. This is not just a matter of style, as though the point is “let’s all tone down our rhetoric” ”“ a suggestion one hears a good bit, as if talking more quietly would solve our problems. No: at issue here is that TEC has laid out a way of approaching disagreement that brooks no compromise, and therefore makes impossible constructive engagement altogether. On this matter, I commend a fine essay by Cathleen Kaveny in the recent volume Intractable Disputes about the Natural Law: Alisdair MacIntyre and his Critics (Notre Dame, 2009). Kaveny, hardly a right-wing shill, ably points out how reasoned moral discourse in America especially has been utterly eviscerated of common avenues of engagement largely because of “prophetic” commitments to ideological fixities that finally amount to self-blinding.

But there is more to this prophetic self-designation: its effect of moral intransigence is simply contrary to the specifically Christian vocation of deferring to the Body, a vocation that asks that we “not insist on our own way” (1 Cor. 13:5), and “count others as better than ourselves” (Philippians 2;3)….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Windsor Report / Process

FT–Rising oil price threatens fragile recovery

High oil prices threaten to derail the fragile economic recovery among developed nations this year, the leading energy watchdog has warned, putting pressure on the Opec oil cartel to increase production.

Over the past year the oil import costs for the 34 mostly rich countries that make up the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development have soared by $200bn to $790bn at the end of 2010, according to an analysis by the International Energy Agency.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Globalization, Middle East, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(AP) Unemployment up in two-thirds of metro areas; Most since June

Unemployment rates rose in more than two-thirds of the nation’s largest metro areas in November, a sharp reversal from the previous month and the most since June.

The Labor Department said Tuesday that unemployment rates rose in 258 of the 372 largest cities, fell in 88 and remained the same in 26. That’s worse than the previous month, when rates fell in 200 areas and rose in 108.

The economy is strengthening, but employers have been reluctant to create jobs. Hiring will pick up in 2011, but not enough to significantly lower the unemployment rate, economists forecast.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, City Government, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Justin Barnard–Designer Genes

… in addition to telling us about science, a new scientific priesthood speaks ex cathedra on the whole range of “questions about the good for man, about justice, and what things are worth having at what price.”

As a recent example of this trend, consider Designer Genes: A New Era in the Evolution of Man, a new book by Dr. Steven Potter, professor of pediatrics in the Division of Developmental Biology at Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati. In his book, Potter not only provides a highly accessible, winsome tour of current genetic biology, he also (as one endorsement puts it) “ventures into morality and religious issues and does this with great capability and sensitivity.” Potter’s credentials in genetic research and developmental biology are noteworthy. In addition to his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School, Potter has published in such journals as Nature, Cell, and Science. However, a careful reading of Designer Genes suggests a healthy measure of skepticism is in order about the credibility of Potter’s priestly pronouncements on how we ought to harness the potential of genetic science.
Designer Genes is a panegyric for eugenics. At times, the tone of Potter’s praise for a genetically orchestrated future is almost ebullient. Potter writes:

But if we know our complete DNA sequences then we can be on our guard for this eventuality [genetically inherited disease], perhaps by restricting who we marry, or perhaps more likely by screening embryos through DNA sequencing when the danger of severe genetic disease is present. And in time, as such genetic screens become more common, it might be possible to completely remove such harmful versions of genes from the human population.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics, Science & Technology, Theology

More churchgoers ditch their denominations

At the same time mainstream denominations lose thousands of members per year, churches such as Crosspoint are growing rapidly ”” 15 percent of all U.S. churches identified themselves as nondenominational this year, up from 5 percent a decade ago. A third dropped out of major denominations at some point.

Their members are attracted by worship style, particular church missions or friends in the congregation.

“They no longer see the denomination as anything that has relevance to them,” said Scott Thumma, a religion sociology professor at Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Conn. He’s compiling a list of nondenominational churches for the 2010 Religious Congregations and Membership Study. “The whole complexion of organized religion is in flux.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Baptists, Disciples of Christ, Evangelicals, Lutheran, Methodist, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, United Church of Christ

Philip Turner–Unity, Order and Dissent: Addressing Dissent Within A Communion of Churches

This is the third in a series of essays on the proposed Anglican Covenant.” The first, entitled “Communion, Order and Dissent,” attempted to present what might be called the inner logic of the covenant”“a logic that rests upon a commitment by all the provinces to “mutual subjection within the body of Christ.” The second had the subtitle “On How To Dissent within a Communion of Churches.” Its purpose was to show that communion, as understood by Anglicans, must have as a part of its ideation an understanding of how to dissent from common belief and practice. Apart from such an understanding communion cannot survive the inevitable disagreements that arise within and between its member churches. This third essay explores ways to address dissent that serve to sustain communion even in the face of actions that plainly are at odds with Christian belief and practice as “recognized” within the Anglican Communion. If an agreed upon understanding of the nature of dissent is necessary to sustain and strengthen communion, so also is an agreed upon understanding of appropriate ways to address dissent. No matter how deep their divisions may be these are questions the Primates dare not ignore if the communion of Anglicans is to be sustained.
In the near term, however, it is a virtual certainty that they will address neither the question of dissent nor that of response to dissent. The Archbishop of Canterbury has invited the Primates to meet in Dublin, but he has done so in a way that guarantees that no significant business will be done. By inviting the Primate of a Church that has acted against the request of all the Instruments of Communion he has called for a meeting a significant number of Primates feel they in good conscience cannot attend. In view of these circumstances, there seems no good reason to call such a meeting. What of any possible value can be achieved?

A primary Instrument of Communion appears to have reached an impasse. The Communion’s mechanisms for sustaining communion have become dysfunctional. A part of the reason for this sad state of affairs is what the Bible calls “hardness of heart.” A part, however, stems from a lack of understanding of how to dissent and how to respond to dissent within a communion of churches.

This essay addresses the question of response to dissent….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Presiding Bishop, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Windsor Report / Process

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who hast given us this season of holy joy: We bow before thee with adoring reverence and lift up our hearts with thankful praise. Fill us, we beseech thee, with the gladness of thy great redemption, and enable us to join in the angels’ song, Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill toward men; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Be strong and of good courage; for you shall cause this people to inherit the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law which Moses my servant commanded you; turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall have good success.

–Joshua 1:6-8

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Dwight Longnecker–Anglican Catholics Then and Now

Last weekend, in London, three Anglican bishops and their families were received into full communion with the Catholic Church in a very public ceremony in Westminster Cathedral. Three Anglican nuns and some laypeople were also received. By Easter it is expected that the Anglican Ordinariate will have been set up, and up to 50 more Anglican priests will be received into the Catholic Church along with a significant number of laypeople.

This public reception is in marked contrast to the manner in which I, and many others were received into the Catholic Church in England in the mid 1990s. At that time “ecumenism” was still the main priority for the Catholic bishops of England and Wales as well as the Anglican establishment. There was a pact between the rulers of both churches that the defections to Rome would be low key. No one wanted to rock the ecumenical boat. Consequently, the publicity machines of both churches went into overdrive to downplay and minimize what was happening. In fact, in the mid 1990s there were not fifty Anglican priests who converted but 500. Some even reckoned the numbers to be between 750 and 1000. The reason it was difficult to establish how many of us converted to the Catholic faith at that time was because certain categories of Anglican priest didn’t register in the official tally….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Theology

Notable and Quotable

I have found many leaders in the church who have reduced [the Baptismal Covenant] to the last question alone: “Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?”

They seem to have forgotten that the Covenant begins with creedal affirmation.

Any reasonable reading of the Baptismal Covenant affirms that the Episcopal Church is at its very core a “creedal church.” It is not correct to make such a broad generalization that “the Episcopal Church is not a church that
readily thinks in terms of ”˜doctrine’” when our Baptismal Covenant starts with a common doctrinal statement.

–(The Very Rev.) Kevin E. Martin of Dallas in The Living Church, January 16, 2011, issue, p. 22

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Theology