Daily Archives: May 30, 2014

Bartholomew: With Francis, we invite all Christians to celebrate the first synod of Nicaea in 2025

On his return from Jerusalem , where he met with Pope Francis at the Holy Sepulchre, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, has revealed an important appointment for unity between Catholics and Orthodox: a gathering at Nicaea in 2025, where the first real ecumenical council of the undivided Church was celebrated.

Speaking exclusively with AsiaNews, Bartholomew says that together with Pope Francis “we agreed to leave as a legacy to ourselves and our successors a gathering in Nicaea in 2025, to celebrate together, after 17 centuries , the first truly ecumenical synod, where the Creed was first promulgated”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Ecclesiology, Ecumenical Relations, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic, Theology

(NPR) Today's Heroin Addict Is Young, White And Suburban

Heroin was once the scourge of the urban poor, but today the typical user is a young, white suburbanite, a study finds. And the path to addiction usually starts with prescription painkillers.

A survey of 9,000 patients at treatment centers around the country found that 90 percent of heroin users were white men and women. Most were relatively young ”” their average age was 23. And three-quarters said they first started not with heroin but with prescription opioids like OxyContin.

In contrast, when heroin first became popular in the ’60s and ’70s, most users were young minority men who lived in cities. “Heroin is not an inner-city problem anymore,” says , a psychiatrist at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis who led the study.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Drugs/Drug Addiction, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Psychology, Teens / Youth, Theology, Young Adults

(WSJ) Shmuly Yanklowitz: Why This Rabbi Is Swearing Off Kosher Meat

As an Orthodox Jewish rabbi, I am deeply committed to keeping kosher. Even as a teenager, I took pride in the strict rules governing food preparation in the kashrut tradition””like the separating of milk and meat, and the strict supervision preventing the consumption of such things as blood or bugs””thinking it raised simple consumption to a higher ethical and spiritual plane.

Many have also long believed that kosher certification conveys greater healthfulness. That was especially the case in the era before government food inspection. During the period of the “New Immigration” (1880-1920), when East European Jews were crowded into neighborhoods such as New York City’s Lower East Side, kosher laws were seen as preventing illness, in contrast with nonkosher food such as pork, which was often contaminated with trichinosis, and other foods that were prepared without supervision. But the most important aspect of keeping kosher is that for centuries it has helped the Jewish people remain spiritually alive.

It pains me to say this, but given what I have learned in recent years, I cannot pretend anymore that kosher meat, poultry and dairy is any healthier or ethical than nonkosher food. I still promote how kashrut in its pure form aims to morally and spiritually elevate us, but the authentic realization of this timeless ritual is vanishingly rare.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Judaism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(WSJ) More and More homeowners are borrowing against their properties

A rebound in house prices and near-record-low interest rates are prompting homeowners to borrow against their properties, marking the return of a practice that was all the rage before the financial crisis.

Home-equity lines of credit, or Helocs, and home-equity loans jumped 8% in the first quarter from a year earlier, industry newsletter Inside Mortgage Finance said Thursday. The $13 billion extended was the most for the start of a year since 2009. Inside Mortgage Finance noted the bulk of the home-equity originations were Helocs.

While that is still far below the peak of $113 billion during the third quarter of 2006, this year’s gains are the latest evidence that the tight credit conditions that have defined mortgage lending in recent years are starting to loosen. Some lenders are even reviving old loan products that haven’t been seen in years in an attempt to gain market share.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Personal Finance, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology

(L Times) Meriam determined to stay a Christian, says her husband Daniel Wani

Mr Wani, 27, said his wife was “frustrated” by her situation but was committed to maintaining that she was Christian.

He told CNN: “There is pressure on her from Muslim religious leaders that she should return to the faith. She said, ”˜How can I return when I never was a Muslim? Yes my father was a Muslim, but I was brought up by my mother.’

” I know my wife. She’s committed. Even last week, they brought in sheikhs and she told them, ”˜I’m pretty sure I’m not going to change my mind’….I’m standing by her to the end. Whatever she wants, I’ll stand by her.”

Read it all (requires subscription) and a picture is there.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --South Sudan, Africa, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sudan, Theology, Violence

3 other Key Stand Firm Leaders respond to Greg Griffith's Decision to Become a Roman Catholic

We respect and love Greg dearly. We recognize all too well the emotions and felt needs that led him to seek peace for his family, and a stable church situation. Those of us with children recognize the need to avoid non-Christian expressions of false gospels, as are found among so many leaders of The Episcopal Church; we also recognize the desire to find a sane and functional entity to join, and grant that currently Roman Catholicism provides structures that are sane and functional even as Anglican entities in the US do not. Those of us in Episcopal dioceses led by bishops who do not share the same faith also recognize the deep division that exists between layperson and clergy or bishop when the two do not share the same faith or preach the same gospel; it is a very challenging place to be as an Anglican.

Greg’s heartfelt statement of explanation as to how he came to make such a decision is a devastating indictment both on his former Episcopal bishop, Duncan Gray, as well as on conservative Anglicans throughout the US….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Blogging & the Internet, Children, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Media, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

(L Times) Woman on death row in Sudan for being a Christian–Religious intolerance is rising

The courts have judged that she was born a Muslim (because her absent father was one) and therefore that her claim to be a Christian, following marriage to a Christian man, meets the criteria under Sudan’s version of Sharia for the death penalty. The hanging will not, however, be carried out if she renounces her faith and embraces Islam. This she refuses to do. The sentence of 100 lashes for adultery remains to be carried out some time before her execution.

Pinch yourself. This is 2014 not 1014. Meriam’s imprisonment is an offence against basic human rights. Under any civilised code her crime would be no crime at all, but her murder by the Sudanese state most certainly would be a terrible one. A campaign by Amnesty International for Meriam’s release has already received the support of 147,000 people and we hope that many more will sign up.

But such private pressure, while admirable and necessary, is not enough. It is clear that in many countries of the world archaic religious laws or cultural practices are increasingly becoming a major threat to women and religious minorities.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --South Sudan, Africa, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sudan, Theology, Violence, Women

(Mail Online) Sudanese woman sentenced to death was forced to give birth with her legs shackled

A Sudanese woman sentenced to death for marrying a Christian was forced to give birth with her legs chained, it has been revealed today.

Meriam Ibrahim was shackled as her baby daughter was born in jail in Sudan where she is awaiting execution for marrying a Christian U.S. citizen.

Amid the joy of seeing his child for the first time, her husband Daniel Wani has spoken of his anger at the treatment she received during labour.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --South Sudan, Africa, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sudan, Theology, Violence

RC Bishops in Eng+Wales: Don’t convert same-sex civil partnerships automatically into marriages

The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has said it opposes a proposal to automatically convert same-sex civil partnerships into marriages.

A submission to the Civil Partnership Review consultation, signed by Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark, said: “Now that same-sex marriage exists in law, a new issue is being raised. There are those lesbian and gay Catholics who have entered into civil partnerships in order to secure important and necessary legal rights, but who do not wish either to become married in the eyes of the state, or to have their civil partnership automatically ”˜converted’ into a marriage. To remove the legal right of these same-sex couples, who do not wish to ”˜marry’, to enter into a civil partnership would mean removing legal rights for such people in future.

“We have received representations from some lesbian and gay Catholics stating that they would not wish to enter into a same-sex marriage, and who fear that their legal rights will be removed if civil partnerships are abolished.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Theology

(Reuters) Anglican leader says minorities in Pakistan "under siege"

“There is a considerable sense of anxiety, of being under siege,” Justin Welby, a former oil executive, told Reuters outside a church in the eastern city of Lahore.

“There was a very clear sense that people were nervous about the misuse of the blasphemy law, as a sort of a tool of politics, a way of gaining attention, or as a mob thing,” he added, flanked by two Pakistani bishops.

He earlier told reporters: “Equality under the law is very important.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ethics / Moral Theology, Inter-Faith Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Lambeth Palace PR) Archbishop Welby joins calls for protection of Pakistan’s Christians

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has said the Christians of Pakistan are a people under siege and joined calls for their churches to be protected and for them to be able to worship in safety.

“Freedom of worship is a universal human right around the world, and all countries need to pay attention to that,” he said.

Meanwhile, condemning the “revolting lynching” of a pregnant Pakistani woman who was stoned to death by her family in front of hundreds of people outside the Lahore high court, the Archbishop told the Times: “I was utterly horrified and every Pakistani I have spoken to is also horrified. It (the stoning) was in no sense a punishment, but but a revolting lynching.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Asia, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Inter-Faith Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Pakistan, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Church Times) Tight security for Archbishop Welby in Pakistan

The threat facing minorities in Pakistan was laid bare on Monday, the day of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s arrival in the country, when an American doctor was shot dead in the Punjab province.

Mehdi Ali, a volunteer cardiologist born in Pakistan, was a member of the minority Ahmadi community, which faces persecution in the country.

Security is tight for Archbishop Welby’s visit to the country. On Tuesday, he met the diocesan bishops of the Church of Pakistan, the Governor of Punjab, and leaders from a range of faith communities.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Asia, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Inter-Faith Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Pakistan, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(RNS) Africa’s Islamic extremist groups are on the rise

In the days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, al-Qaida became a household name. But today, other extremist Islamist groups, many in Africa, are vying for headlines.

Recently, the group Boko Haram gained international infamy after it abducted more than 250 schoolgirls. Since 2009, Christians in northern Nigeria have borne the brunt of Boko Haram violence, which has included attacks on churches, schools and government installations.

Now Libyan Christian leaders fear Boko Haram could spread its influence into their country as a result of a renegade former general’s campaign to purge the chaotic country of Islamist militants.

Read it all.

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

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Joan of Arc

Holy God, whose power is made perfect in weakness: we honor thy calling of Jeanne d’Arc, who, though young, rose up in valor to bear thy standard for her country, and endured with grace and fortitude both victory and defeat; and we pray that we, like Jeanne, may bear witness to the truth that is in us to friends and enemies alike, and, encouraged by the companionship of thy saints, give ourselves bravely to the struggle for justice in our time; through Christ our Savior, who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Church History, Europe, France, Spirituality/Prayer, Women

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Grant, O Lord Christ, that as we rejoice in thy finished work on earth, in virtue of which thou hast ascended victoriously to the throne of heaven, so we may dedicate ourselves anew to the unfinished task of preaching the gospel to every creature, that all may learn of thy redeeming grace and power, and acknowledge thee to be the Lord; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Ascension, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer