Daily Archives: July 11, 2011

New Ohio Roman Catholic Bishop tackles big Catholic issues

Bishop Joe Binzer worked in the business world for a decade before entering the seminary and in June became the region’s highest-ranking Catholic leader behind Archbishop Dennis Schnurr.

The former accountant, whose style is a combination of good-natured priest and meticulous organizer, has for years relied on his analytical skills, as well as his faith, to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing the church.

His business now is saving souls, but Binzer remains a clear-eyed pragmatist when it comes to doing his job and solving tough problems.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic

As Government Aid Fades, so may the recovery

An extraordinary amount of personal income is coming directly from the government.

Close to $2 of every $10 that went into Americans’ wallets last year were payments like jobless benefits, food stamps, Social Security and disability, according to an analysis by Moody’s Analytics. In states hit hard by the downturn, like Arizona, Florida, Michigan and Ohio, residents derived even more of their income from the government.

By the end of this year, however, many of those dollars are going to disappear, with the expiration of extended benefits intended to help people cope with the lingering effects of the recession.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Personal Finance, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

Benedict XVI–We need to be Called Back to justice and the common good.

“Caritas in veritate” is the principle around which the Church’s social doctrine turns, a principle that takes on practical form in the criteria that govern moral action. I would like to consider two of these in particular, of special relevance to the commitment to development in an increasingly globalized society: justice and the common good.

First of all, justice. Ubi societas, ibi ius: every society draws up its own system of justice. Charity goes beyond justice, because to love is to give, to offer what is “mine” to the other; but it never lacks justice, which prompts us to give the other what is “his”, what is due to him by reason of his being or his acting. I cannot “give” what is mine to the other, without first giving him what pertains to him in justice. If we love others with charity, then first of all we are just towards them. Not only is justice not extraneous to charity, not only is it not an alternative or parallel path to charity: justice is inseparable from charity[1], and intrinsic to it. Justice is the primary way of charity or, in Paul VI’s words, “the minimum measure” of it[2], an integral part of the love “in deed and in truth” (1 Jn 3:18), to which Saint John exhorts us. On the one hand, charity demands justice: recognition and respect for the legitimate rights of individuals and peoples. It strives to build the earthly city according to law and justice. On the other hand, charity transcends justice and completes it in the logic of giving and forgiving[3]. The earthly city is promoted not merely by relationships of rights and duties, but to an even greater and more fundamental extent by relationships of gratuitousness, mercy and communion. Charity always manifests God’s love in human relationships as well, it gives theological and salvific value to all commitment for justice in the world.

Another important consideration is the common good.
To love someone is to desire that person’s good and to take effective steps to secure it. Besides the good of the individual, there is a good that is linked to living in society: the common good. It is the good of “all of us”, made up of individuals, families and intermediate groups who together constitute society[4]. It is a good that is sought not for its own sake, but for the people who belong to the social community and who can only really and effectively pursue their good within it. To desire the common good and strive towards it is a requirement of justice and charity. To take a stand for the common good is on the one hand to be solicitous for, and on the other hand to avail oneself of, that complex of institutions that give structure to the life of society, juridically, civilly, politically and culturally, making it the pólis, or “city”. The more we strive to secure a common good corresponding to the real needs of our neighbours, the more effectively we love them. Every Christian is called to practise this charity, in a manner corresponding to his vocation and according to the degree of influence he wields in the pólis. This is the institutional path ”” we might also call it the political path ”” of charity, no less excellent and effective than the kind of charity which encounters the neighbour directly, outside the institutional mediation of the pólis. When animated by charity, commitment to the common good has greater worth than a merely secular and political stand would have. Like all commitment to justice, it has a place within the testimony of divine charity that paves the way for eternity through temporal action. Man’s earthly activity, when inspired and sustained by charity, contributes to the building of the universal city of God, which is the goal of the history of the human family. In an increasingly globalized society, the common good and the effort to obtain it cannot fail to assume the dimensions of the whole human family, that is to say, the community of peoples and nations[5], in such a way as to shape the earthly city in unity and peace, rendering it to some degree an anticipation and a prefiguration of the undivided city of God.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Theology

BBC Clip where the Bishop of Rochester Explains Why He sought changes in Wedding/Funeral Fees

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

The Bishop of Copenhagen’s sermon at C of E General Synod

The Russian writer, Dostoyevsky, was sometimes very critical of western culture, of our attempt to secure ourselves behind our knowledge, behind our technology, and we could add another word, that Dostoyevsky didn’t know: behind our ”˜growth’ ”“ are we planting seeds for growth or merely weeds? He thought that we had lost our feeling for Christ. He claimed that we no longer, as he put it, ’asked the heart for advice’.

Here at the start of the 21st century we should listen to that criticism. There is no doubt that even only 30 years ago many people thought that religion would soon be a thing of the past ”“ we would outgrow it. Like a scorched plant it would wither and die as we moved into a post-secular existence. There are many things on the move at present in the thoughts and lives of modern man. But we must also acknowledge and accept our history ”“ as well as one another’s histories, for then the walls come tumbling down, as we learn to listen and live alongside our neighbours ”“ including our new, strange, neighbours.

Not for one second do I believe that there is any point in going back and finding cover behind the thick walls of dogmatic church teachings. Nor can we further any understanding of faith or the church by hiding behind an anxious defence of the Bible, and outdated view of gender roles or an unrealistic view of freer sexual morals. We must not make faith into a ghetto. We must not withdraw and just sit and talk among ourselves! We must be the seed that falls on fertile ground. not the seed that has no root and lasts only a short time.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Denmark, Europe, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

Georgia Episcopal Church Rector Values Relationships, Relevance

Jamie Stutler grew up in a very traditional church background ”“ a formal worship experience typical among Episcopalians. Quiet and contemplative, he enjoys retreating with members of the Cistercian monastic order, taking walks, hiking and spending time outdoors.

Yet inspiration to start a contemporary service at St. Clement’s Episcopal in Canton, where he’s been the rector since 2004, came from a rather lively group: the 50-70 kids who attend Vacation Bible School each year.

Read it all.

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

With U.S. military aid cut, Pakistan eyes China

Pakistan’s increasingly “close and effective defense ties” established with China during the past decade will allow Islamabad to “fill the gap” arising from the prospect of reduced military aid from the United States, a senior Pakistani official said on Sunday after reports emerged of cuts of up to $800 million in U.S. aid.

Amid tense relations with the United States, Pakistan officials have increasingly pointed towards Beijing as the country’s natural ally, offering the possibility of becoming at least a half-substitute to ties with the U.S.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, China, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Pakistan

(BBC) Why do Americans die younger than Britons?

While life expectancy in the US continues to improve, says the report by researchers at University of Washington in Seattle and Imperial College, London, it is not increasing as quickly as in other Western countries, so the gap is widening.

“The researchers suggest that the relatively low life expectancies in the US cannot be explained by the size of the nation, racial diversity, or economics,” says the document, which ranks the US 38th in the world for life expectancy overall.

“Instead, the authors point to high rates of obesity, tobacco use and other preventable risk factors for an early death as the leading drivers of the gap between the US and other nations.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, America/U.S.A., Globalization, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology

We're All Hoping With the South Sudanese, Says Federico Lombardi

Father Lombardi noted how John Paul II “addressed, with his typical extraordinary courage in the face of rulers, the dramatic themes of justice and freedom” and was “welcomed with incredible enthusiasm by an immense crowd of Sudanese Catholics, mostly refugees from the south, who had fled from the violence of an endless civil war.”

“Eighteen years have passed,” the spokesman reflected. “It is estimated that 2 million have died and 4 million have been displaced, but now we hope that the war is truly over and that the new republic of South Sudan, desired by the majority of its inhabitants, might begin a new history of peace.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --South Sudan, Africa, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sudan

Hindu and Episcopal leaders engage in dialogue in Utah

In a remarkable interfaith gesture, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed and Episcopal Bishop of Utah Rt. Rev. Scott B. Hayashi met in Salt Lake City (Utah, USA) on July 7 and had a dialogue.

Meeting in Episcopal Diocese of Utah, two leaders discussed various topics, including harmonious living, dialogue, overcoming prejudices, love-compassion-respect-trust, finding common ground, etc. Executive Director of Salt Lake Interfaith Roundtable Dr. Rev. Canon W. Ivan Cendese also participated.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Hinduism, Inter-Faith Relations, Other Faiths, TEC Bishops

A Pastoral Letter to the Diocese from the Episcopal Bishop of Utah

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Bishops, TEC Parishes, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Rowan Williams reviews Conor Cunningham's "Darwin's Pious Idea"

We need to recognise that, if intelligible structure, developing and ordered complexity, is the story we have to tell, if the point of genes is to carry information, then the reality of the universe as we know it is suffused with the possibility of mind. Matter itself is pregnant with meanings, we might say – in the sense that the complexification of matter over the ages ends up in the phenomenon of consciousness.

And a scheme that regards consciousness as a purely contingent thing – as it were, an accidental by-product of material processes with which it is essentially unconnected – has a lot of explaining to do; as Cunningham says, it begins to sound like the nineteenth-century zealots who believed that fossils were placed in the soil by the Devil to test our faith.

The possibility of a first-person perspective, if it truly emerges from the unfolding logic of material combination and recombination, simply tells us that the notion of a necessarily “mindless” matter is not sustainable. If the nature of a gene is to carry a message, it is the nature of the recipient vehicle in a new generation to be able to “understand” it. To adapt a famous remark about one mythological cosmology, it’s mind all the way down. Intelligence as we define it entails self-consciousness, the first-person perspective; but something seriously analogous to intelligence has to be presupposed in matter for the entire system of transmitted patterns and “instructions” to be possible.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Archbishop of Canterbury, Books, History, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Benedict of Nursia

Almighty and everlasting God, whose precepts are the wisdom of a loving Father: Give us grace, following the teaching and example of thy servant Benedict, to walk with loving and willing hearts in the school of the Lord’s service; let thine ears be open unto our prayers; and prosper with thy blessing the work of our hands; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Church History, Europe, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord God, who never failest both to hear and to answer the prayer that is sincere: Let not our hearts be upon the world when our hands are lifted up to pray, nor our prayers end upon our lips, but go forth with power to work thy will in the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

And the whole city was gathered together about the door. And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. And in the morning, a great while before day, he rose and went out to a lonely place, and there he prayed.

–Mark 1:33-35

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture