Daily Archives: May 3, 2012

(RNS) Vatican issues new guidelines for Catholic charities

Under new rules announced on Wednesday (May 2), the Vatican will more closely oversee the operations of Caritas Internationalis, a global confederation of 162 national Catholic charities. The decision comes after the Vatican last year vetoed the re-election of the organization’s then-secretary general, Lesley-Anne Knight, complaining of a lack of coordination with Vatican officials.

The new rules issued by the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, will require all Caritas Internationalis officials make a formal promise of fidelity to church teachings and leaders.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Ethics / Moral Theology, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

(SHNS) Terry Mattingly–Tensions building between women, Vatican leaders

…”it doesn’t withstand scrutiny for anyone to say that this conflict is about the bishops and Rome being upset about the sisters, (President Barack) Obama and birth control,” said [National Catholic Report’s John] Allen, in a telephone interview from Rome. Also, “no one is upset about all the sisters have done to abolish the death penalty, stand up for immigrants, care for the sick and help the poor. Rome praised them for that. … Frankly, his report could have been written 20 years ago. The real issues in this case are that old.”

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

Lauren Winner on Fleming Rutledge and Preaching the Old Testament

For Christians, says [Fleming] Rutledge, there can be no speaking of “the God of the Old Testament” as though that God is somehow different from “the God of the New Testament.” In a sermon on Isaiah 28, she reminds us that “There is just as much good news in the Old Testament as in the New Testament, and a lot of it has the additional advantage of being written in poetry.” In another sermon on the same text, (Rutledge admits to “being fascinated” by the prophet’s words about evil and suffering), she insists that “a wrathful Old Testament God has not been replaced by a loving New Testament God.” Jesus, after all, was known to strike the occasional note of judgment””and God is seen doing much loving in the Old Testament. The God of the Old Testament, Rutledge makes plain, is not the God of caricatures of the Old Testament. Rather, it is precisely “the Old Testament God” who has “come down from his throne on high into the world of sinful human flesh and of his own free will and decision has come under his own judgment in order to deliver us from everlasting condemnation and bring us into eternal life.” Since the God of Abraham is the Father of Jesus Christ, “the witness of the entire Scripture is a seamless garment. No change within God occurred in the intertestamental period; there is no break in the revelation of God’s self, as though there had been an alteration in God.”

At the same time, “there are intrinsic, inalienable features of God in the Old Testament which we would not be able to extract from the New Testament taken by itself.” Without Old Testament preaching, how will we know about the election of Israel, “the righteousness of God as both noun and verb,” God’s jealousy, and God’s “aseity (being-from himself)”?

If you, like me, have a nagging feeling that you are not paying enough attention to the Old Testament””if you, like me, feel inadequately acquainted with the biblical testimony to God’s jealousy; God’s righteousness; God’s freedom, testified to in election; or indeed God’s love””consider taking up Rutledge’s sermons. (They are not an endpoint; as Rutledge surely hopes they will do, these sermons will likely inspire you to further reading””including, I dare suggest, reading more of the Old Testament itself.)

Books and Culture, May/June 2012, page 12

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Books, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology, Theology: Scripture

U.S. Charges 107 With Defrauding Medicare

Federal officials said Wednesday they had charged 107 people across the country in recent days for allegedly running a string of unrelated Medicare fraud schemes involving a total of $452 million in false claims….

Among those arrested were seven people in Baton Rouge, La., who were accused of recruiting elderly, mentally ill and drug-addicted patients from nursing homes and homeless shelters. The suspects allegedly signed up the recruits for mental-health services billed at $225 million over six years that never were given or were medically inappropriate, according to officials.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Medicare, The U.S. Government, Theology

Violence in Nigeria: Breaking the Country's Fatal Deadlock

When a suicide bomber drove an explosives-packed car into the flagship church of one of Nigeria’s largest denominations, angry Christian youth retaliated by burning Muslim shops and killing nearby motorcycle riders.

The February incident, which killed 12 and injured 40 at the Church of Christ in Nigeria’s Jos headquarters, fueled the global debate over whether Nigeria will erupt into a religious civil war. Christmas Day bombings of northern churches by Islamist extremists, which killed 44, also fueled such fears. The headlines haven’t stopped since. On Sunday, gunmen attacked church services in Kano and in Maiduguri, killing at least 21 people, including a pastor preparing for Communion.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Violence

Incredible Chicago Tribune Exposé on Former Mayor Rich Daley's Pension Deal

The city of Chicago is near insolvency. City workers are bracing for pay and benefit cuts. And Rich Daley, the former mayor who had his behind kissed by the powerful in this town and by much of the media for two decades, has an inside deal that should make sane people sick to their stomachs:

An eventual pension of more than $180,000 for life, according to a Tribune/WGN-TV investigation.

Daley did it on the sneak, our reporters found….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, City Government, Economy, Pensions, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Urban/City Life and Issues

Muslim, Mormon growth spurts found

Mormonism and Islam are among the fastest growing religions in America, while just over half of all Americans are unaffiliated with any denomination, according to a major census of the country’s religious congregations published Wednesday.

The decennial census, released by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies in Chicago, found that the U.S. Muslim community had increased 160 percent from approximately 1 million in 2000 to 2.6 million in 2010.

There are 6.1 million U.S. members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, more commonly known as the Mormons, up 45 percent for the same period….

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

Cute Video of Dog Bike Hugging and then Riding with his master on it!

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Posted in * General Interest, Animals

(USA Today) After Afghan deal is struck, Taliban issues a deadly strike

Taliban attackers Wednesday targeted a heavily fortified, private compound in eastern Afghanistan that is mostly occupied by international workers with a car bomb about two hours after Obama delivered a speech at Bagram Air Base about the pact. Three bystanders were killed besides the four terrorists.

“With this attack, we want to send a message to Obama that the Afghans will welcome you with attacks. You don’t need to sign agreements, you need to focus on how to get out of this country,” said Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman.

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

(Telegraph) Sarkozy fails to land killer blow in presidential debate

At least twenty million French ”“ around half of the French electorate ”“ tuned in to watch Mr Sarkozy fight for his political life and see whether he would make good his pledge to “atomise” his left-wing rival during the almost three-hour clash.

Trailing Mr Hollande in the polls by at least seven points ahead of Sunday’s presidential runoff, this was the Right-winger’s best hope of catching up to defy the odds.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Europe, France, Politics in General

Gen. Conf. 2012 articles on the Discussion of relationships of homosexual persons among Methodists

The titles are:

Holy conversations have unintended effect

Attempt at ”˜Holy Conversation’ also brings pain

Stop living in denial

The Theology of Glee: A General Conference “Gleetup”

Read them all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Media, Methodist, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)

Diamond Jubilee New Testament a 'bestseller'

Since going on sale in the first week of April, more than 400,000 copies of the Diamond Jubilee New Testament have been ordered by churches of all denominations around the UK and other countries too ”“ more than double the expected amount.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Books, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Lord Jesus, my Saviour, let me now come to thee:

My heart is cold; O Lord, warm it with thy selfless love.
My heart is sinful; cleanse it by thy precious blood.
My heart is weak; strengthen it by thy joyous Spirit.
My heart is empty; fill it with thy divine presence.

Lord Jesus, my heart is thine; possess it always and only for thyself.

–M.A.P. Wood (from Saint Augustine)

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

“You have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison; truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny.

–Matthew 5:21-26

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Six army battalions called up under emergency orders to meet growing threat on Egypt, Syria borders

The IDF has issued emergency call up orders to six reserve battalions in light of new dangers on the Egyptian and Syrian borders. And the Knesset has given the IDF permission to summon a further 16 reserve battalions if necessary, Israeli media reported on Wednesday.

An IDF spokesperson said intelligence assessments called for the deployment of more soldiers.

Ugh–read it all

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Egypt, Israel, Middle East, Syria