Daily Archives: May 6, 2011

David Gibson–Opus Dei, in Hollywood and Rome

When the wartime epic “There Be Dragons” opens in theaters today, it will cap a remarkable evolution in the popular representation of Opus Dei, the conservative Catholic society whose founder, Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, is the hero of the new film.

Set during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, when Escrivá was a young man (he died in 1975 and was canonized Saint Josemaría in 2002), “There Be Dragons” was conceived by Roland Joffé, the Oscar-nominated English director and self-described “wobbly agnostic,” who is hardly one to carry water for a group like Opus Dei. But Mr. Joffé offers a human and sympathetic portrait of Escrivá and, by extension, of Opus Dei.

That is quite a change from the sinister portrayal of Opus Dei in the 2006 film adaptation of Dan Brown’s thriller, “The Da Vinci Code,” which included a murderous albino monk in its cast of caricatures. Yet the cinematic shift is more than an artistic choice. At a deeper level it symbolizes a genuine evolution for Opus Dei, an often insular movement that many in the church once considered the bogeyman of the right.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Movies & Television, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Jeff Marx has a Blog

I have been a priest in the Episcopal church since March of 1999. I was introduced to a new word by Epsicopalians, “low Sunday” years ago. Low Sunday is the Sunday after Easter. While it is not on the calendar, it is engraved in the heart of many people. It is a long standing tradition that you simply blow off the Sunday after Easter.

This year we had some 450 attend Easter services. This weekend we probably saw less than 200. That makes me sick. Easter is a fifty day celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It ends on Pentecost. We Christians struggle to make it last for a week.

Check it out.

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

Michael Nazir-Ali–Freedom in the Face of Resurgent Islam

There are two false ideas from which we must guard ourselves. The first, prevalent among some diplomats and politicians, is that an improved economic situation will deal with extreme forms of Islamism. While it is true that an adverse economic situation affects the recruitment of the young to radical causes, we must not ignore the ideological bases of such movements. It can also be shown that these arise and flourish as much in oil-rich states as in poorer ones. We need to engage with ideologies themselves in terms of their relationship to Islam’s foundational texts, to history, to traditional forms of decision-making and governance and to the present beliefs and values of the international community of nations.

The second false idea, espoused by most Muslims and some Christian leaders involved in dialogue with Islam, is that a true Islamic state will, by its very nature, “protect” non-Muslims. I am sorry to have to say that history does not suggest that such will be the case. There have, undoubtedly, been periods of tolerance when Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians and others have been able to contribute to the Islamic societies in which they have lived. The structured discrimination and injustice of the dhimma, however, has always prevented their full participation and has, indeed, led to periodic persecution and violence. We must be very careful about using terms like “protection” in this context as it can be seen as a translation of dhimma. Whatever the history, non-Muslims in the Islamic world today wish to be free citizens with equal rights under the law and not dhimmas.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(CEN) Bin Laden death sparks security alerts world wide

On 1 May, US Navy SEAL commandos assaulted the al-Qaeda leader’s walled compound in Abbottabad and killed bin Laden in a gun battle. While speculation that bin Laden was hiding in Pakistan had been rife for several years, most experts believed he was holed up in the rugged tribal areas near the border with Afghanistan, not in a former British hill station living in a luxury compound.

“The world would not wish Osama was alive,” Bishop Julius Kalu of Mombasa told reporters after bin Laden’s death was announced by US President Barack Obama. “We hope this is the first step to wiping out terrorism,” the Bishop said.

The killing of the terrorist leader has led to heightened security round the world. In Nairobi, scene of a 1998 al-Qaeda attack, security around government buildings and commercial centres has been raised and police spot checks introduced.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Pakistan, Terrorism

Church Times–Cathedral attendances continue upward trend

Cathedral attendance rose again in 2010, main­taining the upward trend of the past decade, figures re­leased by the Archbishops’ Council this week suggest.

Attendance at Sunday and mid-week services increased by seven per cent in 2010. An average of 35,000 people attended services at Church of England cathedrals each week, up from 32,700 in 2009.

The figures suggest that in the past decade numbers have steadily in­creased by a total of 37 per cent for both Sunday and mid-week services, up from an average of 25,500 in 2000.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry

Diocese of Fort Worth files response in 5th suit Against it

On May 4, in response to a Complaint filed April 25 in federal district court by the Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Company [PIIC], the Diocese filed a Motion to Stay the suit pending the results of an arbitration which had already commenced between the parties.

The suit, which is the fifth action against the Diocese and its elected leaders in the last 24 months, was announced on the Web site of the local TEC-affiliated congregations, led by Bishop Wallis Ohl.

Read it all and follow the links to the two documents.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth

A.S. Haley –California Supreme Court Gives St. James Its Day in Court

The decision by a two-justice majority on the Court of Appeals, which the Supreme Court has now reversed, will go down in the annals as a monument to result-oriented judicial reasoning. Even though the two justices did not entirely agree on how to get there, they both knew where they wanted to come out, and they did not care how much bending of due process it took to get there. Indeed, in any future appeal of the case, they ought to be disqualified from hearing it, since their bias against letting St. James have its day in court was so manifest from their opinions. To conclude on the basis of some verbiage that the California Supreme Court has the power to end a case completely and finally, before even an answer to the complaint is filed, is a proposition so preposterous that it deserves to be forever preserved in the scroll of infamy.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles

Episcopal Diocese of LA Story on the Supreme Court decision

A California Supreme Court opinion released today “does not detract at all” from the high court’s 2009 opinion affirming that property occupied by local parishes is held in trust for the general church, said John R. Shiner, lead attorney for the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.

“All the Supreme Court has done is send the case back for further proceedings consistent with its earlier opinion,” Shiner said of today’s 6-1 opinion concluding that a lower court should address contentions made by St. James’ Church, Newport Beach. These arguments include the statement that a 1991 letter may influence the issue of property ownership. The property dispute began in 2004 when a majority of members of the parish voted to disaffiliate from the Episcopal Church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles

St. James Anglican Church Can Pursue Its Property Ownership Rights in California Court

The California Supreme Court today held that St. James Anglican Church can defend its property rights against the claims of the Episcopal Church with evidence in a court of law. The Court confirmed that its 2009 Episcopal Church Cases decision did not end the property dispute in the Episcopal Church’s favor as it had claimed. “Further proceedings are still necessary to finally decide the dispute,” said the Court.

Today’s decision, titled Rasmussen v. Superior Court (Bunyan), returns the case to the Orange County Superior Court where St. James will now have the right to defend itself with evidence before a court of law, including having motions heard to dismiss church volunteers who have been sued by the Episcopal Church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles

Local paper–Lowcountry South Carolina Shooting death a mystery

A 51-year-old Summerville man described as an avid gun collector was found dead of a gunshot wound at a shooting range Thursday morning and investigators are trying to determine what happened.

William M. Rust, who lived in the Ashborough subdivision, was found dead about 7 a.m., but he probably died Wednesday night, Dorchester County Coroner Christopher D. Nisbet said.

Read it all and please continue to pray for the family and the four children.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord, who by triumphing over the power of darkness, didst Prepare our place in the New Jerusalem: Grant that I, who has this day given thanks for thy resurrection, may praise thee in that city whereof thou art the light; where with the Father and the Holy Spirit thou livest and reignest, world without end.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Nebuchadnez’zar said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed’nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image which I have set up? Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image which I have made, well and good; but if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace; and who is the god that will deliver you out of my hands?” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed’nego answered the king, “O Nebuchadnez’zar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace; and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up.”

–Daniel 3:14-18

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

St. James vs. L.A. Diocese property fight back on

Lower courts disagreed over whether that opinion constituted a final ruling; the trial court thought it had a trial to hear, the appeals court said no, it was over, and Thursday, the Supreme Court reversed the appeals court.

In its ruling, the high court said that it never meant to establish ownership of the property two years ago.

“Based on the arguments the parties presented, we did conclude ‘on this record,’ that the general church owns the disputed property.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, TEC Departing Parishes

Tom Wright on the Killing of Osama Bin Laden

Consider the following scenario. A group of IRA terrorists carry out a bombing raid in London. People are killed and wounded. The group escapes, first to Ireland, then to the United States, where they disappear into the sympathetic hinterland of a country where IRA leaders have in the past been welcomed at the White House. Britain cannot extradite them, because of the gross imbalance of the relevant treaty. So far, this is not far from the truth.

But now imagine that the British government, seeing the murderers escape justice, sends an aircraft carrier (always supposing we’ve still got any) to the Nova Scotia coast. From there, unannounced, two helicopters fly in under the radar to the Boston suburb where the terrorists are holed up. They carry out a daring raid, killing the (unarmed) leaders and making their escape. Westminster celebrates; Washington is furious.

What’s the difference between this and the recent events in Pakistan? Answer: American exceptionalism. America is allowed to do it, but the rest of us are not. By what right? Who says?…

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology

Archbishop Rowan Williams on the Killing of Osama Bin Laden

A: I think that the killing of an unarmed man is always going to leave a very uncomfortable feeling because it doesn’t look as if justice is seen to be done, in those circumstances. I think it is also true that the different versions of events that have emerged in recent days have not done a great deal to help here. I don’t know the full details anymore than anyone else does but I do believe that in such circumstance when we are faced with someone who was manifestly a ‘war criminal’ as you might say in terms of the atrocities inflicted, it is important that justice is seen to be observed.

Read it all and you can see a video of his remarks here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, Archbishop of Canterbury, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Terrorism, Theology