Daily Archives: October 11, 2012

Pope Benedict XVI's Homily at the Opening of the Year of Faith

Today, fifty years from the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, we begin with great joy the Year of Faith. I am delighted to greet all of you, particularly His Holiness Bartholomaois I, Patriarch of Constantinople, and His Grace Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury. A special greeting goes to the Patriarchs and Major Archbishops of the Eastern Catholic Churches, and to the Presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences. In order to evoke the Council, which some present had the grace to experience for themselves – and I greet them with particular affection – this celebration has been enriched by several special signs: the opening procession, intended to recall the memorable one of the Council Fathers when they entered this Basilica; the enthronement of a copy of the Book of the Gospels used at the Council; the consignment of the seven final Messages of the Council, and of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which I will do before the final blessing. These signs help us not only to remember, they also offer us the possibility of going beyond commemorating. They invite us to enter more deeply into the spiritual movement which characterized Vatican II, to make it ours and to develop it according to its true meaning. And its true meaning was and remains faith in Christ, the apostolic faith, animated by the inner desire to communicate Christ to individuals and all people, in the Church’s pilgrimage along the pathways of history.

The Year of Faith which we launch today is linked harmoniously with the Church’s whole path over the last fifty years: from the Council, through the Magisterium of the Servant of God Paul VI, who proclaimed a Year of Faith in 1967, up to the Great Jubilee of the year 2000, with which Blessed John Paul II re-proposed to all humanity Jesus Christ as the one Saviour, yesterday, today and forever. Between these two Popes, Paul VI and John Paul II, there was a deep and profound convergence, precisely upon Christ as the centre of the cosmos and of history, and upon the apostolic eagerness to announce him to the world. Jesus is the centre of the Christian faith. The Christian believes in God whose face was revealed by Jesus Christ. He is the fulfilment of the Scriptures and their definitive interpreter. Jesus Christ is not only the object of the faith but, as it says in the Letter to the Hebrews, he is “the pioneer and the perfecter of our faith” (12:2).

Today’s Gospel tells us that Jesus Christ, consecrated by the Father in the Holy Spirit, is the true and perennial subject of evangelization.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Preaching / Homiletics, Roman Catholic

Powerful Wisdom on the Nature of the Church by J.F. Powers on the 50th Anniversary of Vatican II

“This is a big old ship, Bill. She creaks, she rocks, she rolls, and at times she makes you want to throw up. But she gets where she’s going. Always has, always will, until the end of time. With or without you.”

–J.F. Powers’ Wheat that Springeth Green (New York: New York Review Books Classics edition of the 1988 original, 2000), p. 170

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Books, Ecclesiology, Notable & Quotable, Theology

From the Do Not Take Yourself too Seriously Department on the Election–A Tom Toles Cartoon

Check it out. Lol.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, Humor / Trivia, Office of the President, Politics in General

(NPR) As the 2012 Presidential Race Tightens, the Electoral Map Still Favors Obama

Mitt Romney may have seized the advantage in terms of poll numbers and momentum, but there’s one area where President Obama enjoys the upper hand.

In the end, it’s the only area that counts: the Electoral College. Over the past 20 years, Republicans have had a much lower ceiling when it comes to electoral support, while Democrats have had a significantly higher floor.

“The Democrats start with a larger number of electoral votes in the bank,” says Daron Shaw, author of The Race to 270, a book about electoral strategy. That’s because while the election is still very much in the air, Obama can count on a larger store of electoral votes that are all but guaranteed to him than Romney can.

Read or listen to it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to at KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Office of the President, Politics in General

Pope Benedict XVI pens a rare article on his inside view of Vatican II

It was a splendid day on 11 October 1962 when the Second Vatican Council opened with the solemn procession into St Peter’s Basilica in Rome of more than two thousand Council Fathers. In 1931 Pius XI had dedicated this day to the feast of the Divine Motherhood of Mary, mindful that 1,500 years earlier, in 431, the Council of Ephesus had solemnly recognized this title for Mary in order to express God’s indissoluble union with man in Christ. Pope John XXIII had chosen this day for the beginning of the Council so as to entrust the great ecclesial assembly, which he had convoked, to the motherly goodness of Mary and to anchor the Council’s work firmly in the mystery of Jesus Christ. It was impressive to see in the entrance procession bishops from all over the world, from all peoples and all races: an image of the Church of Jesus Christ which embraces the whole world, in which the peoples of the earth know they are united in his peace.

It was a moment of extraordinary expectation. Great things were about to happen. The previous Councils had almost always been convoked for a precise question to which they were to provide an answer. This time there was no specific problem to resolve. But precisely because of this, a general sense of expectation hovered in the air: Christianity, which had built and formed the Western world, seemed more and more to be losing its power to shape society. It appeared weary and it looked as if the future would be determined by other spiritual forces. The sense of this loss of the present on the part of Christianity, and of the task following on from that, was well summed up in the word “aggiornamento” (updating). Christianity must be in the present if it is to be able to form the future. So that it might once again be a force to shape the future, John XXIII had convoked the Council without indicating to it any specific problems or programmes. This was the greatness and at the same time the difficulty of the task that was set before the ecclesial assembly….

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Europe, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Theology

Vatican Radio's Philippa Hitchen Talks to Archbishop Rowan Williams

Here is today’s introductory text from VR:

The Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, addressed the Synod of Bishops in the Vatican on Wednesday about the central role of contemplation in helping people rediscover the beauty of the Christian faith.
Drawing deeply on the writings of some of the great Catholic authors and theologians from the time of the Second Vatican Council, the archbishop said contemplation is the only real “answer to the unreal and insane world that our financial systems and advertising culture”¦..encourage us to inhabit”. Those who “know little and care less about the institutions and hierarchies of the Church” today, he continued, are often attracted and challenged by lives that show justice and love reflected in the face of God. In particular he pointed to the crucial work and witness of communities like Taizé and Bose, or networks like St Egidio, the Focolare or Communion and Liberation, who bring fresh expressions of faith and transcend the historic divisions between Christians.
Vatican Radio’s Philippa Hitchen talked to Dr Williams about his address to the Synod, about his advise to his successor (expected to be announced over the coming weeks) and his message to Pope Benedict XVI”¦.

You can find the link the part one of the interview here and part two is here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, --Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church History, Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Theology

(AP) Pope hopes latest book brings people to Jesus

Pope Benedict XVI says he hopes his latest book on Jesus ”” about his infancy ”” will help bring people closer to Christ.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Christology, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

Archbishop of Canterbury urges help for Sudanese caught up in conflict

Speaking after a meeting with the Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail, Bishop of Kadugli in the Nuba Mountains, the Archbishop urged attention to be given to the plight of the affected population of these areas, both Muslim and Christian alike.

“Food and basic essentials are urgently needed by the displaced population. The international community needs to wake up to the gravity of the situation. All parties need to work together to find practical ways to get help to those most in need.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --North Sudan, --Rowan Williams, --South Sudan, Africa, Archbishop of Canterbury, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Sudan, Violence

California TEC Bishops release statement supporting initiative to abolish the death penalty

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Capital Punishment, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, State Government, TEC Bishops, Theology

[Mail on Sunday] Lord (George) Carey–The Challenge of Immigration

Why should a former Church of England leader like myself intervene now? After all, the Christian faith emphasizes the need to welcome the stranger. Jesus and his family were themselves refugees fleeing to Egypt to escape the wrath of King Herod. The Church has rightly and repeatedly given sanctuary to many genuine asylum-seekers over the years. This compassionate Christian tradition has contributed to the British reputation for tolerance and a very proud history of welcoming successive waves of immigrants.

We have successfully integrated many communities from the Commonwealth.But there comes a point when we have to reconsider policy and, without backing away from a commitment to those who need asylum, find ways to limit the scale of immigration which is disturbing our way of life.

The stark fact is that our proud heritage of welcoming strangers is threatened by the breakdown of our border control during the past 15 years. Net migration was allowed to increase from 50,000 a year in 1997 to a record level of 250,000 in 2010. The growth in population during the last ten years was the largest recorded since the very first census in 1801.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Immigration, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

David Finch on his wife, Asperger's Syndrome and their Marriage being saved

It wasn’t working, any of it. Our third year of marriage threatened to be our last. I’d become cynical and withdrawn, obsessive and preoccupied, dismissive and unhelpful.

“I don’t know when things got bad,” Kristen said, wiping away tears. “I feel like I’ve lost you and I don’t know what will bring you back.”

In reality she hadn’t lost me. She’d found me. The facade of semi-normalcy I’d struggled to maintain was falling away, revealing the person I’d been since childhood. I didn’t even know what was wrong with me, though my wife, a speech pathologist who works with autistic children, had her suspicions. Even so, it would be another two years before she would put all the pieces together and attach a name to what was ruining our marriage: Asperger’s syndrome….

Read it all. Some of you may recognize that this was used by yours truly in a recent sermon–a great story–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology

(Charisma) Spirit-Filled Immigrants Bring Revival to Germany

Ulf Bastian tramped into Christengemeinde Elim Pentecostal church in Hamburg, Germany, parading his punk-rocker duds: hair dyed a shocking bright color, black leather jacket, torn jeans and a T-shirt screaming the angry message, “Hate Mankind.” His ex-girlfriend, who had become a born-again Christian (and is now his wife), urged him to attend.

“I thought she was crazy,” he says. “I did not want to be part of Christian people.”

Still, the Holy Spirit coaxed him to return a second time. Arriving late, he grabbed a chair in the last row. The worship music and pastor’s preaching about sin and the cross of Christ hit home. Weeping, he rushed to the altar at the end of the service and told the pastor, “I need forgiveness.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Greece, Immigration, Religion & Culture

(WSJ) Moderate Islamic Preachers Gain Followers in Indonesia

When protests against the low-budget, anti-Islam “Innocence of Muslims” video flared across the Islamic world last month, Indonesia’s Habib Munzir Almusawa preached a different message to his tens of thousands of followers in Jakarta: Just ignore it.

“If we react so emotionally, then how can we show the good side of Islam?” Mr. Almusawa told worshipers at the al-Munawwar mosque here….

Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, is seeing a wave of new, more moderate Muslim preachers, among them Mr. Almusawa. They represent a balancing of the more militant strains of Islam that have proliferated here. Ten years ago this week, Muslim extremists bombed nightclubs on the resort island of Bali, killing 202 people in the single biggest terror attack since Sept. 11, 2001, in the U.S.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Indonesia, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(RNS) Religious leaders respond to the rise of the “Nones”

One in five adults does not belong to an organized religion. Nearly a third of Americans age 18-29 don’t have a spiritual home.

“I think it goes without saying these are pretty significant changes in the American religious landscape,” said Greg Smith, a lead researcher on the Pew study.

Needless to say, this study hits home for religious leaders. So we asked a number of them why they thought so many Americans were walking away from organized religion. Their fascinating responses are below. We’ll keep adding perspectives as they come in, so return here for updates, and please feel free to suggest additional sources.

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

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s address to the Synod of Bishops in Rome

But one of the most important aspects of the theology of the second Vaticanum was a renewal of Christian anthropology. In place of an often strained and artificial neo-scholastic account of how grace and nature were related in the constitution of human beings, the Council built on the greatest insights of a theology that had returned to earlier and richer sources ”“ the theology of spiritual geniuses like Henri de Lubac, who reminded us of what it meant for early and mediaeval Christianity to speak of humanity as made in God’s image and of grace as perfecting and transfiguring that image so long overlaid by our habitual ”˜inhumanity’. In such a light, to proclaim the Gospel is to proclaim that it is at last possible to be properly human: the Catholic and Christian faith is a ”˜true humanism’, to borrow a phrase from another genius of the last century, Jacques Maritain.

Yet de Lubac is clear what this does not mean. We do not replace the evangelistic task by a campaign of ”˜humanization’. ”˜Humanize before Christianizing?’ he asks ”“ ”˜If the enterprise succeeds, Christianity will come too late: its place will be taken. And who thinks that Christianity has no humanizing value?’ So de Lubac writes in his wonderful collection of aphorisms, Paradoxes of Faith. It is the faith itself that shapes the work of humanizing and the humanizing enterprise will be empty without the definition of humanity given in the Second Adam. Evangelization, old or new, must be rooted in a profound confidence that we have a distinctive human destiny to show and share with the world.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, --Rowan Williams, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church History, Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Theology