Daily Archives: September 30, 2011

Richard Riordan: Saving Roman Catholic Education

Earlier this week, the Los Angeles Catholic Education Foundation announced a campaign to raise $100 million for Catholic schools in our area.

Catholic education in the United States is in dire straits. A report from Loyola Marymount University in June found that Catholic schools continue to close even though they graduate 98% of their high school students and send almost all of them onto college. In the early 1960s, the U.S. had over 13,000 Catholic schools with 5.5 million students. Today there are 6,900 schools with two million students. In the Los Angeles area, enrollment has fallen by 20% over the past 10 years, to 80,000 students from 100,000. This trend is due not to lack of demand, but to the inability of parents to pay tuition.

The urban poor are more desperate than ever for Catholic education. Urban public schools have failed these families, graduating approximately 30% of Los Angeles high school students in four years. Catholic schools are their best hope””something I know from personal experience.

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

The Bigger Impact of Smaller Paychecks

Households, after all, are far more reliant on paychecks (and government benefits) now than during the credit-fueled boom. Consumer credit as a percentage of personal spending, for example, rose from 18.4% in the early 1990s to a peak of 26.3% in December 2008.

It has since dropped sharply, notes Omair Sharif of RBS Securities. But with the level still at 22.8% as of July, “we’re probably not even halfway through” the household debt-shedding process, he says.

That has two broad implications for consumer spending and, in turn, U.S. growth.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance, Psychology, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Banks to Make Customers Pay Fee for Using Debit Cards

Bank of America, the nation’s biggest bank, said on Thursday that it planned to start charging customers a $5 monthly fee when they used their debit cards for purchases. It was just one of several new charges expected to hit consumers as new regulations crimp banks’ profits.

Wells Fargo and Chase are testing $3 monthly debit card fees. Regions Financial, based in Birmingham, Ala., plans to start charging a $4 fee next month, while SunTrust, another regional powerhouse, is charging a $5 fee.

The round of new charges stems from a rule, which takes effect on Saturday, that limits the fees that banks can levy on merchants every time a consumer uses a debit card to make a purchase. The rule, known as the Durbin amendment, after its sponsor Senator Richard J. Durbin, is a crucial part of the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Personal Finance, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

German bailout vote is 'too little, too late'

Chancellor Angela Merkel won her “own majority” for the bill, narrowly averting the collapse of her government, but only after pledging that there was no grand plan committing Germany to vast and unlimited liabilities.

Horst Seehofer, leader of Bavaria’s Social Christians CSU, said his party would go “this far, and no further”, insisting any expansion of the rescue machinery was out of the question. “The financial markets are beginning to ask whether Germans can afford all this help. We must not risk the creditworthiness of the German state,” he said.

Norbert Lammert, the Bundestag’s president, said lawmakers felt they had been “bounced” into backing far-reaching demands and warned that Germany’s legislature would not give up its fiscal sovereignty to any EU body.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Germany, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Archbishop to South Australia's politicians: "Consider Adelaide's urban ecology"

Speaking at the SA Parliamentary Christian Fellowship Leaders of Christian Churches Dinner at Parliament House on Wednesday night, the Archbishop encouraged our political leaders to dream of a truly human city.

“Adelaide was founded on a bold experiment, a vision for a different sort of human city,” Archbishop [Jeffrey] Driver said. “So many people came here to a new colony because they had been captured by a dream; the dream of a different place where old inequalities and exclusions could be put aside and a new city of human opportunity could be crafted from dream to reality.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Energy, Natural Resources, Urban/City Life and Issues

In Uganda Churches campaign against environmental destruction

As part of efforts to save the environment in the semi-arid Karamoja sub region in northeast Uganda, the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches have launched a campaign to help stop the destruction of vegetation and plant more trees in the vast region.

Rev. John Robert Lorech of Anglican Kotido Diocese on Friday launched a program to encourage the local Karimojong communities to shift from using dry twigs to fence off their traditional homesteads to using live hedges.

Under the new strategy being piloted in Nadunget and Rupa sub counties, Lorech said the church would educate the communities to plant kei-apple shrubs to create protective hedges around their homesteads.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Energy, Natural Resources, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

(CEN) Lord’s Prayer out in Australia

Complaints by devotees of the new atheism in Australia have beaten back the Lord’s Prayer from the public square. A primary school in Perth’s northern suburbs has ended the reciting of the Lord’s Prayer before school assemblies after some parents complained that it violated the law by promoting religious belief over non-belief.

On 20 September, Edgewater Primary School principal Julie Tombs wrote to parents announcing the cessation of prayers after 25 years, after a survey of parents indicated that some were opposed to the practice.

“We acknowledge that of the parents who did respond to the survey, many wanted to retain the Lord’s Prayer and it is right that we continue to recite it at culturally appropriate times such as Christmas and Easter, as part of our educational programme,” Mrs Tombs said in a statement.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer

(Church Times) ”˜God, not you, darling!’ Atkinsons qualify attack on smug clerics

Rowan Atkinson, the comedian famed for his portrayal of comedy vicars, was this week expecting a backlash, after accusing Church of England clergy of being smug, arrogant, and conceited.

In an interview in Saturday’s Times, Mr Atkinson said: “I used to think that the vicars that I played . . . were unreasonable satires on well-meaning individuals but, actually, so many of the clerics that I’ve met, particularly the Church of England clerics, are people of such extra­ordinary smugness and arrogance and conceitedness who are extra­ordin­arily presumptuous about the significance of their position in society. Increasingly, I believe that all the mud that Richard Curtis and I threw at them through endless sketches that we’ve done is more than deserved.”

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

European Banks Chided for Lack of Transparency

The head of Europe’s markets regulator warned banks to be consistent in their valuations of sovereign debt amid concern some lenders have failed to record sufficient losses on Greek bonds.

Steven Maijoor, chairman of the European Securities and Markets Authority, likened the lack of transparency about banks’ individual holdings of government debt to the subprime mortgages that triggered the credit crisis.

“Lack of transparency regarding exposures to subprime mortgages created a situation of uncertainty about the financial positions of banks,” he said in a speech in Vienna today, according to a transcript released by ESMA on its website. Recently, “a lack of transparency from banks on their exposures to sovereign debt and related instruments are generating new suspicions about the conditions of individual banks and this requires similar answers in terms of transparency.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Interview: Douglas Groothuis on Good Apologetics

How do you approach apologetics in the current culture?

I think our culture is very pluralistic in a lot of ways. Different pockets of the culture have different perspectives on truth, knowledge, worldviews, and so on. The savvy apologist needs to understand the basic worldviews and epistemologies, and then get a good read on the approaches taken by individual people. You can only do good apologetics when you have some understanding of the perspective of the person or the group you are addressing. Many people have worldviews that are internally inconsistent. They may have a certain amount of folk Christianity or some Hinduism, so the apologist has to sort things out and expose the inconsistencies. We need a kind of existential engagement with people, whereby we genuinely and humbly interact with them&m;dashnot dump the truth on them or view apologetics as some kind of philosophical game. It is too serious to be anything like that.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Apologetics, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Philosophy, Religion & Culture, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Jerome

O Lord, thou God of truth, whose Word is a lantern to our feet and a light upon our path: We give thee thanks for thy servant Jerome, and those who, following in his steps, have labored to render the Holy Scriptures in the language of the people; and we beseech thee that thy Holy Spirit may overshadow us as we read the written Word, and that Christ, the living Word, may transform us according to thy righteous will; through the same 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, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Keep us, O Lord, from the vain strife of words, and grant us a constant profession of our faith. Preserve us in the way of truth, so that we may ever hold fast that which we professed when we were baptized into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and may give glory to thee, our Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier, now and for evermore.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Well, I do not run aimlessly, I do not box as one beating the air; but I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

–1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Letter from the Bishop of Upper South Carolina about Tommy Tipton's stepping down as Canon

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

A.S. Haley–TEC Executive Council Fires on the Diocese of South Carolina

This is such a crucial preface to what follows that I shall restate it: only dioceses, in their given territories, are legal members of the association which is the Episcopal Church (USA). As such, they are free, under the First Amendment, to join it or to leave it at their pleasure, through duly enacted amendments to their governing documents — which ECUSA is, again under the Constitution’s First Amendment, powerless to annul or forbid.

Now comes an utterly supercilious pronouncement by an official on behalf of ECUSA’s Executive Council (citing the “decision” of one of its joint standing committees) with regard to the Diocese of South Carolina, and which purports to “declare” certain acts taken by a member diocese to be “null and void”. [A tip o’ the Rumpolean bowler to the Rev. Steve Wood’s blog, which in this instance was authored in his temporary absence by Greg Shore.]

Oh, really? And just who, pray tell, is this supra-diocesan “Executive Council”, or its “Joint Standing Committee on Governance and Administration”?

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, * South Carolina, America/U.S.A., Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils, TEC Polity & Canons