Daily Archives: June 19, 2007

David Suchet's Act of Faith

From this is London:

Perhaps it’s the Da Vinci Code or Dan Brown or a fascination with Opus Dei, but I’ve been stunned by the amazing response,” says David Suchet, star of a gripping mystery thriller about to open in the West End following rave reviews at its Chichester premiere last month. “Letters and messages have been pouring in. It’s touched a nerve.”

A pontiff found unexpectedly dead in bed, a crisis of faith and a nest of vipers in the Vatican – these are the fantastical true-life ingredients for Roger Crane’s new play The Last Confession, about Pope John Paul I (Albino Luciano), the “smiling” Italian who occupied St Peter’s throne in 1978 for only 33 days. Just weeks after his triumph as a burly, gravel-voiced Robert Maxwell in the BBC2 drama about the late tycoon, Suchet is tackling another fact-based role that once again centres around a sudden, unexplained death.

Swathed in gorgeous scarlet, crucifix swinging, this brilliantly versatile actor plays Cardinal Benelli, who persuaded the reluctant John Paul to accept the Papacy then felt responsible for his early demise.

“At the simplest level,” Suchet explains, “this is a dark thriller about who murdered John Paul I, the Church’s only really liberal, reforming and modernising Pope – if, indeed, he was murdered. On another, it’s about one man’s loss of faith, his bitterness and confusion, and a power struggle at the heart of the Catholic Church.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture

From the Anglican Church of Canada General Synod 2007: Synod on Demand Report 1

Check it out.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canadian General Synod 2007

From the CBC: Anglicans face divisive vote on gay unions

Most of the world’s Anglican churches have openly opposed sanctifying same-sex marriages, arguing that such blessings defy scripture.

“If we go through with this, we’re going to be tearing the fabric of the Anglican community worldwide at its deepest level,” Calgary-based delegate Sheila Vanderputten told CBC News.

“The primates have really been strong in telling us that we may have to choose to walk apart if we go against our 2000 years plus of history of Christianity according to scripture.”

On Saturday, delegates will vote on a “local parish” option. If it passes, Anglican priests would be allowed to choose whether their individual parish will bless a same-sex couple.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

A Statement of the Bishop and Standing Committee of the Diocese of Fort Worth

The adversarial relationship between this Diocese and the leadership of The Episcopal Church was
exacerbated by two decisions made by the Executive Council of TEC at its meeting last week.

I. The Council’s refusal to participate in the Pastoral Scheme developed by the Dar es Salaam Primates’
Meeting has deepened our sense of alienation from TEC. Instead of “waging reconciliation,” the Council
has failed to respond to the expressed needs of those dioceses appealing for Alternative Primatial
Oversight, pushing us further apart from TEC. They have claimed that the Pastoral Council proposal
violates the polity of TEC, but they have been unable to substantiate this by citing any constitutional or
canonical provisions to that effect.

II. Claiming an authority that our polity does not give, the Council has declared certain amendments to
our Diocesan Constitution “null and void.” To this, we respond, first, that it is not within the scope of
duties assigned to the Executive Council to render findings as to the legality or constitutionality of
actions by the several dioceses of The Episcopal Church; and second, that resolutions adopted by the
Council, or even by the General Convention, are non-binding. Therefore, this resolution is nothing more
than an opinion expressed by those individuals who issued the statement. It is itself “null and void“ ”“
unenforceable and of no effect. This action is another example of the heavy-handed tactics being used by
those who do not have the right to interfere in the internal constitutional process of the dioceses.
While the Council’s resolutions on a range of subjects may excite debate, that does not guarantee their
opinions are consistent with the Faith, the law of the land, or the Constitution of The Episcopal Church,
much less that they establish precedent. That the Council would attempt to interfere now, nearly 20 years
after this diocese first amended its Constitution, is evidence of an illegitimate magisterial attitude that
has emerged in the legislative function of TEC. Sadly, the one thing the resolution does show is that there
is no desire on the part of the Council for reconciliation with those alienated by the recent actions of
General Convention.

The Council’s threats may continue, but we will continue to stand for the historic biblical faith and our
Lord Jesus Christ’s call to extend His Kingdom. We regret that a further deterioration in our relationship
with TEC has been effected by these decisions.

The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker
Bishop of Fort Worth

The Very Rev. Ryan S. Reed
President, Standing Committee
June 19, 2007

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Polity & Canons

Say What?

“Paying taxes, according to the brain, can bring satisfaction.”

Read it all from the NY Times.

Posted in * Economics, Politics

Nine firefighters killed in massive blaze; fire consumes Sofa Superstore near Charleston, S.C.

From the front page of the local paper:

Nine firefighters died Monday night in a fire that destroyed the Sofa Super Store in West Ashley.

It was the single-worse loss off firefighters since 9/11, according to a spokesman from the U.S. Fire Administration, which tracks fire deaths and injuries.

“Nine brave, heroic, courageous firefighters of the city of Charleston have perished fighting fire in a most courageous and fearless manner, carrying out their duties,” Charleston Mayor Joe Riley said at a news conference this morning. “To all of their loved ones, our heart goes out to them.”

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina

Strategy Page on Iran

From here:

The government is blaming unrest on the United States. Most people know better, but reading about American spy rings, and U.S. financed rebel groups makes for entertaining reading. There’s not much other entertainment allowed in Iran.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Middle East

More from Cherie Wetzel on Executive Council

Here is an excerpt from one:

One resolution dealt with the dioceses that have changed their constitution and canons and limited their full accession to the national constitution and canons. The council made it clear that Pittsburgh (Bishop Bob Duncan), San Joaquin (Bishop John-David Schofield), Quincy (Bishop Keith Ackerman) and Fort Worth (Bishop Jack Iker), “will live by the rules we have agreed upon at General Convention this will be enforced.” The four dioceses are named in the resolution. The council member from San Joaquin asked that, “you (the Council) treat it as an opportunity not to punish but to enact reconciliation.” I believe this fell on deaf ears.

In discussion, David Booth Beers, the national chancellor stated, “I have written to 2 of the chancellors, if they decline to roll back these canonical and constitutional amendments, the Presiding Bishop will have to consider what action to take. We can sue them. These are recalcitrant dioceses. What did they actually do? Those dioceses have said that they don’t like what we are doing and they won’t go along with it. We will frame our litigation in reference to that.”

The vote was called. There was 1 abstention, and 1 no. The resolution passed by voice vote.

Read them all here, there, and here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts

ABC News The Blotter: Suicide Bomb Teams Sent to U.S., Europe

Large teams of newly trained suicide bombers are being sent to the United States and Europe, according to evidence contained on a new videotape obtained by the Blotter on ABCNews.com.

Teams assigned to carry out attacks in the United States, Canada, Great Britain and Germany were introduced at an al Qaeda/Taliban training camp graduation ceremony held June 9.

A Pakistani journalist was invited to attend and take pictures as some 300 recruits, including boys as young as 12, were supposedly sent off on their suicide missions.

The tape shows Taliban military commander Mansoor Dadullah, whose brother was killed by the U.S. last month, introducing and congratulating each team as they stood.

“These Americans, Canadians, British and Germans come here to Afghanistan from faraway places,” Dadullah says on the tape. “Why shouldn’t we go after them?”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Terrorism

Diocese on Vancouver Island votes in favor of same sex blessings

From the diocese of New Westminster:

A special Synod of the Diocese of British Columbia has told its delegates to the national Church’s General Synod this month that about two-thirds of its members approve of same sex blessings now or sometime in the future.

A slight majority of the 197-member Diocesan Synod, 102 or 51.7 per cent, voted to tell the delegates on Saturday, June 2, that they felt a resolution coming before General Synod to “affirm the authority and jusisdiction” of diocesan bishops and synods to authorize same sex blessings should be approved by the national Church.

Another 13.7 per cent were in favour of the motion in principle, but said that now was not the time the Canadian Church should take action.

And some 22.8 per cent said the Anglican Church of Canada should never approve same sex blessings. The rest were undecided or expressed no opinion.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Jonathan Petre: Changing the way the Church of England chooses bishops

From Religious Intelligence:

Under legislation expected to receive Parliamentary approval and Royal assent this summer, a national body will be given sweeping powers to recommend the closure or reorganisation of dioceses and the scrapping of suffragan or assistant bishop posts.

The legislation was initially drawn up three years ago, partly in response to criticism that the Church was becoming increasingly top-heavy, stifling grass-roots growth.

With many parts of the Church shedding staff — and the numbers of stipendiary clergy shrinking at a rate of about 100 a year — critics have long complained that dioceses and episcopal posts appear almost immune from such cuts.

This is primarily because the only people who can permit them are the bishops themselves — the ecclesiastical equivalent of turkeys voting for Christmas.

The newly-constituted Dioceses Commission will, however, be able to initiate reforms, though the final decision will be left in the hands of the General Synod.

Read it all.

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

Same-sex blessings at Holy Trinity Toronto

From the Toronto Star:

Toronto’s historic Church of the Holy Trinity says it will defy any attempt by the Anglican Church of Canada to stop the blessing of same sex unions, and may even start performing the wedding ceremonies themselves.

In a resolution released late Sunday, members of the activist downtown church voted to “continue to exercise its conscience and bless same-sex unions and marry same-sex couples.”

Rev. Jim Ferry, fired by the Anglican Church 15 years ago for being gay but since given limited duties at Holy Trinity, says the parish has long supported same sex blessings, and predicted it will soon take the next step of performing a gay marriage ceremony.

“I think we’re going to be consistent and move in that direction,” Ferry told the Star. “Our parish is not about to go backwards.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

US News and World Report: A Return to the Latin Mass

Nearly two generations of Catholics now have grown up in a post-Vatican II world, worshipping in a church that celebrates mass in their local languages and, at least to some extent, embraces modern customs as much as it once rejected them.

So it seemed anathema when the Vatican confirmed recently that Pope Benedict XVI would relax restrictions on celebrating the 16th-century Tridentin Mass, citing “a new and renewed” interest in the ancient Latin liturgy, especially among younger Catholics.

Given the fierce fight that preceded Vatican II””the liturgical and doctrinal reforms of the mid-1960s that sought to make the church more accessible””a similar war would seem needed to overturn them. But a movement is building at seminaries nationwide to do just that: In addition to restoring the Latin mass, young priests are calling for greater devotion to the Virgin Mary, more frequent praying of the rosary, and priests turning away from the congregation as they once did. Perhaps most controversially, they also advocate a dimished role for women, who since Vatican II have been allowed to participate in the mass as lay altar servers and readers.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Steve Andrews: Core doctrine and Adiaphora – What's the difference?

For my part, I do wish that the PTC had done more work on the definition of doctrine and the nature of doctrinal development. Nevertheless, I want to reflect a little bit on where the issue of same-sex blessings fits in this spectrum between core doctrine and adiaphora, leaving aside the question of whether or not same-sex blessings are “commanded or forbidden by God’s word.”

There are many beliefs that are rightly ”Žunderstood as “doctrinal” in that they represent the ”Žacknowledged teaching of the Anglican Church and are essential to its identity, polity (that is, structure and organisation) and mission.

The SMR rightly observes that an issue like same-sex unions, while not itself a matter of core doctrine, carries strong implications for central doctrines such as what it means for human beings to be made in the image of God, salvation and marriage. So it would be a serious misreading of the intent of the report to isolate the category of “core doctrine” and claim that because same-sex unions are not to be categorized as such, they are not important enough to require greater consensus in the Anglican Church’s deliberations.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Ethics / Moral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

Diocesan Chancellors Reject Attempted Interference by Executive Council

From the diocese of Pittsburgh:

Calling a recent resolution by the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church a failed attempt to interfere in the internal constitutional processes of their dioceses, the chancellors of the Episcopal Dioceses of Fort Worth, Quincy, Pittsburgh and San Joaquin rejected claims that changes the dioceses had made to their accession clauses over the last fifteen years were null and void.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Polity & Canons

Anglican Church of Canada General Synod: Q and A on the blessing of same-sex relationships

From the ACC News:

What is the situation now in the church with same-blessings? With same-sex marriage?
Same Sex Blessings: Officially the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada has requested that all dioceses refrain from permission for the blessing of same-sex unions until General Synod 2007. The Diocese of New Westminster has permitted those parishes that had been granted permission up to that point to continue to do so but has granted no new permissions. The Diocese of Niagara voted at its Synod in 2004 to permit the blessing of same-sex unions in parishes that had approved ”“ however, the Bishop (as is the Bishop’s right) withheld permission at this time.

Same ”“Sex Marriage: The Anglican Church of Canada has not, in any diocese, granted permission for clergy to perform same-sex marriages.

What is the situation now in New Westminster?
After 3 successive Synods requesting permission for same-sex blessings by increasing majorities, BishopMichael Ingham granted permission in 2002 for blessings to occur in parishes where the membership of the parish has studied and voted to permit them to occur in that parish. When the House of Bishops requested a moratorium on permission for same-sex blessings the Bishop of New Westminster withheld any further parish permissions but allowed those previously granted to continue.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canadian General Synod 2007, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Australians Flock to Embrace Buddhism

The Dalai Lama has just completed a tour of Australia, boosting what is the country’s fastest-growing religion. Australia has more Buddhists per capita than anywhere else in the Western world. From Sydney, Phil Mercer reports on how this religion has moved beyond Asian immigrant communities and into the mainstream.

Tibetan nuns chant traditional prayers – an increasingly common sight in Australia.

There are about 350 thousand Buddhists in the country in this mainly Christian nation, and government census data indicate that number is up almost 80 percent from 1996. The Buddhist population eclipses the size of Australia’s Muslim population.

Mark Allon an expert on Buddhism from the University of Sydney says the faith’s roots here were established by settlers from Asia.

“We have many immigrants from Buddhist countries. Many Asian immigrants recently and even historically – they brought with them Buddhism,” Allon said. “So among those communities you have an interest in Buddhism, a preservation of their religion and culture. Then you also have an interest among the wider Australian community, non-Asian community, resident community, in Buddhism and that has been going on now for almost 100 years.”

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, Buddhism, Other Faiths