Daily Archives: November 28, 2012

An Organ Transplant Pioneer Talks About Risks and Rewards

When you were studying medicine in early-1950s Britain, what was the prevailing attitude toward organ transplantation?

It didn’t exist! While a medical student, I recall being presented with a young patient with kidney failure. I was told to make him as comfortable as possible because he would die in two weeks.

This troubled me. Some of our patients were very young, very deserving. Aside from their kidney disease, there was nothing else wrong with them. I wondered then if it might be possible to do organ transplants, because kidneys are fairly simple in terms of their plumbing. I thought in gardening terms. Might it not be possible to do an organ graft, replacing a malfunctioning organ with a healthy one? I was told, “No, that’s impossible.”

Well, I’ve always tended to dislike being told that something can’t be done. I’ve always had a somewhat rebellious nature. Just ask my wife.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Health & Medicine, History

CofE: Joint Press Statement From The Chairmen Of The Catholic Group And Reform

Women Bishops – The Way Ahead

The Chairmen of the Catholic Group in General Synod and the conservative Evangelical group Reform, who called for talks to break the deadlock over legislation to enable the consecration of women as bishops, have received acknowledgement of their request from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York.

Canon Simon Killwick (Catholic Group) and Prebendary Rod Thomas (Reform) have today further pledged themselves to do everything they can to ensure the speedy and safe passage of fresh legislation through the General Synod.

They said, “If agreement can be reached at round-table talks on fresh legislation which provides clearly and fairly for all members of the Church of England, there is no reason why fresh legislation should not be fast-tracked through the Synod before the next elections in 2015.”

The Synod’s Standing Orders only prevent the reconsideration of the same legislation during this period.

“It has never been our intention to prevent the consecration of women as bishops; our concern has always been for legislation which also made clear and fair provision for the substantial minority,” the Chairmen concluded.

The legislation which failed last week in the Synod would have had devastating consequences for the diversity and mission of the Church of England, had it been passed. We want the Church of England to continue to be a broad and comprehensive national Church.

Canon Simon Killwick

Prebendary Rod Thomas

(Chairman of the Catholic Group in General Synod)
(Chairman of Reform)

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

CofE: Statement on the Conclusion of the Meeting of the Archbishops’ Council November 2012

“In its discussions the Council decided that a process to admit women to the episcopate needed to be restarted at the next meeting of the General Synod in July 2013. There was agreement that the Church of England had to resolve this matter through its own processes as a matter of urgency. The Council therefore recommended that the House of Bishops, during its meeting in a fortnight’s time, put in place a clear process for discussions in the New Year with a view to bringing legislative proposals before the Synod in July.”

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

(CNA) Leader of Anglican ordinariate, former TEC Bishop, recalls the joy of his first year

Almost a year after being appointed to shepherd Anglican communities seeking to join the Catholic Church, Monsignor Jeffrey N. Steenson says the past months have been showered with blessings.

“I think the real joys have been to see communities that have struggled with the decision of discerning whether to become Catholic and have made that choice, and they have come in,” he told CNA in a November interview.

He described “the joy on their faces” as they enter the Catholic Church and said, “That’s the thing that sticks in my mind the most.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Ecclesiology, Ecumenical Relations, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, TEC Bishops, Theology

(RNS) Charitable giving up, but Sandy and tax changes expected to impact year-end donations

The recession continued to affect how much Americans gave to charity last year, and the triple whammy of Superstorm Sandy, a national election and the looming fiscal cliff may cut how much we donate in the crucial final month of 2012, experts say.

Charitable giving overall increased by $6 billion in 2011, an increase of almost 4 percent from 2010, according to the 2012 report by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. Individuals gave $217 billion, compared with $209 billion in 2010.

“A little less than two years out from the end of the Great Recession, we’re starting to see charitable giving increase modestly each year,” said Geoffrey Brown, executive director of the Giving USA Foundation, which publishes the report.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Ethics / Moral Theology, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Theology

Notable and Quotable

“We have this myth that if you work hard, you can accomplish anything. It’s not a very American thing to say, but I don’t think that’s true. It’s true for a lot of people, but you need other things to succeed. You need luck, you need opportunity, and you need the life skills to recognize what an opportunity is.”

–Playright David Lindsay-Abaire.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Psychology, Theatre/Drama/Plays, Theology

Anglican Communion Institute–An Open Letter to the Bishops of The Episcopal Church

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This is a painful letter. It is painful because it concerns un-canonical (and perhaps even unlawful) actions on the part of our Presiding Bishop and her associates. These actions, detailed in the attached appendix and summarized in the bullet points below, have already undermined the good order and spiritual health of our church. We write to you our Bishops because of your responsibility for that good order. We write as Presbyters who have in one way or another faithfully served our church for over half a century. We pray that, despite the painful nature of the story we place before you, you will listen to what we have to say with a clear and open mind.

We urge you, therefore, to take careful note of the following points that are more fully spelled out in our appendix. We urge you further to take the necessary steps to restore the good order of our church.

– Three years ago, the Presiding Bishop began an extraordinary and unconstitutional intervention in the internal affairs of the Diocese of South Carolina….

Read it all and be sure to read the timeline attached. There is a printable pdf here

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Presiding Bishop, TEC Bishops, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

(Economist) Ex-Muslim atheists are becoming more outspoken, but tolerance is still rare

In a handful of majority-Muslim countries atheists can live safely, if quietly; Turkey is one example, Lebanon another. None makes atheism a specific crime. But none gives atheists legal protection or recognition. Indonesia, for example, demands that people declare themselves as one of six religions; atheism and agnosticism do not count. Egypt’s draft constitution makes room for only three faiths: Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

Sharia law, which covers only Muslims unless incorporated into national law, assumes people are born into their parents’ religion. Thus ex-Muslim atheists are guilty of apostasy””a hudud crime against God, like adultery and drinking alcohol. Potential sanctions can be severe: eight states, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Mauritania and Sudan have the death penalty on their statute books for such offences.

In reality such punishments are rarely meted out. Most atheists are prosecuted for blasphemy or for inciting hatred….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Atheism, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(Reuters) Egypt protests continue in deadlock over Mursi powers

Hundreds of protesters were in Cairo’s Tahrir Square for a sixth day on Wednesday, demanding that Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi rescind a decree they say gives him dictatorial powers.

Five months into the Islamist leader’s term, and in scenes reminiscent of the popular uprising that unseated predecessor Hosni Mubarak last year, police fired teargas at stone-throwers following protests by tens of thousands on Tuesday against the declaration that expanded Mursi’s powers and put his decisions beyond legal challenge.

Protesters say they will stay in Tahrir until the decree is withdrawn, bringing fresh turmoil to a nation at the heart of the Arab Spring and delivering a new blow to an economy already on the ropes….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Egypt, Foreign Relations, History, Middle East, Politics in General

Silver separation–Increasingly, older couples are bucking the divorce trend and splitting up

Nowadays we do everything later, be it prancing shamelessly across a stage in front of thousands, à la Sir Michael Jagger, or conquering Mount Everest for a second time, like 73-year-old Tamae Watanabe. As we live longer, humanity is increasingly refusing to sit back, put its feet up and settle for a quiet old age.
Nowhere is this phenomenon of age aping youth more noticeable than in the field of divorce. So-called ”silver separation’’, the parting of couples in their sixties after as many as 40 years of marriage, is on the rise, bucking the general downward trend in divorce.
The actress Diana Quick was 61 when she separated from her actor partner, Bill Nighy, after 27 years. As she said in an interview with the Telegraph this week: “There are far more couples splitting up in their sixties now and one reason is that they can. Economically, they have more independence.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

UK Poll Reveals Widespread Support for Teaching Children Christianity

There is widespread support in England for teaching Christianity in schools, according to a YouGov poll released by Oxford University.

Almost two-thirds (64%) of the more than 1,800 people questioned said that children need to learn about Christianity to understand English history, while more than half (57%) said it was important if pupils are to understand the English culture and way of life….

Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of Christian Concern, welcomed the findings: “It is striking that so much of the public sees the need for Christianity to be taught properly. We are often given the impression that teaching about Jesus and His message is old-fashioned and irrelevant to a modern generation. But this survey shows that many people value the Christian framework.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Children, England / UK, Religion & Culture

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard–Francois Hollande shows true colours with ArcelorMittal natnalisn threat

Thirty years have passed since French president François Mitterrand launched Europe’s last great wave of nationalisation, seizing the banks, insurance groups, arms makers and steel industry in the culminating debacle of the Collectivist era.

The whole world has been living in an era of privatisation ever since.

So it seems like a strange step back in time to hear France’s minister of industrial renewal, Arnaud Montebourg, threatening a “temporary public takeover” of ArcelorMittal’s steel operations in the Lorraine plateau ”“ purportedly to save the blast furnaces of Florange and their 2,500 workers, so sacred in the Socialist Party catechism.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Europe, France, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General

(CSM) In world's most religious country, humanists rally for secular space

In Ghana, where deeply held religious beliefs unite much of the population, a new group has formed around a shared disbelief in religion.

The Humanist Association of Ghana practices a philosophy that is mostly unheard-of in Ghana, which a recent survey ranked as the most religious country in the world. Nonetheless, the group has already made waves in West Africa.

Last weekend, the association hosted humanists from across the region for a conference in the capital of Accra, where attendees listened as speakers discussed the impact humanists could make on West African society. Lecturers talked about how humanists can stand up for gay and lesbian rights and against traditional practices like witch hunts. One talk dealt with whether humanism is compatible with belief in God.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Ghana, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Secularism

(BBC) Risk of robot uprising wiping out human race to be studied

Cambridge researchers are to assess whether technology could end up destroying human civilisation.

The Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) will study dangers posed by biotechnology, artificial life, nanotechnology and climate change.

The scientists said that to dismiss concerns of a potential robot uprising would be “dangerous”.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Science & Technology, Theology

US 17th In Global Education Ranking; Finland, South Korea Claim Top Spots

The U.S. was ranked 17th in an assessment of the education systems of 50 countries, behind several Scandinavian and Asian nations, which claimed the top spots.

Finland and South Korea grabbed first and second places, respectively, in a global league table published by the education firm Pearson, while Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore ranked third, fourth and fifth, respectively.

The study, carried out by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), combines international test results and data such as literacy rates and graduation rates between 2006 and 2010.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Globalization