Monthly Archives: January 2009

A.S. Haley: Episcopal Church Asked to Pay for San Joaquin Lawsuit

The litigation in San Joaquin has entered a new phase with the filing of a cross-complaint against the Episcopal Church (USA) by the parties it initially sued last April. The cross-complaint, brought by Bishop Schofield and two diocesan investment entities which he heads (the Episcopal Foundation and the Diocesan Investment Trust), seeks an award against ECUSA for the amount of attorneys’ fees those defendants are being called upon to expend in defending the suit instigated by Bishop Jerry A. Lamb and a group calling itself the “Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin”, and joined in by ECUSA.

The cross-complaint states two claims for relief. The first asserts that ECUSA in effect put Bishop Lamb and his followers up to bringing the lawsuit that was filed in Fresno County Superior Court on April 24, 2008, by making false representations to them that they could be plaintiffs because they were now a genuine diocese of the Episcopal Church who had met in a legitimate “special convention” the previous month and elected a bishop. The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, convened the special convention herself, and proposed the Rt. Rev. Jerry A. Lamb, the resigned (retired) bishop of the Diocese of Northern California, to be its “provisional bishop”. After it concurred, the convention proceeded to adopt resolutions authorizing him to claim ownership of the corporation sole that holds title to diocesan real property, and to file the present lawsuit against Bishop Schofield and the investment entities, which manage the funds belonging to the diocese.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

Andrew Carey: A dangerous move by the Americans

Defenders of the Presiding Bishop claim that by her actions she has merely deprived him of a licence in the Episcopal Church. But surely the whole point is that after the deposition of Bob Duncan last September, Bishop Scriven’s ”˜licence’ was revoked. No, in fact it looks like Presiding Bishop Schori is attempting something much more sweeping here.

The Anglican Communion Institute again comments: “The Presiding Bishop’s action has profound consequences for TEC’s status as a constituent member of the Anglican Communion and its communion with the Church of England.” Her Declaration of Removal touches upon the ”˜ordinations’ conferred on him by the Church of England, not by The Episcopal Church, and therefore she is going down a very dangerous road by pretending to have the authority to pronounce on them. Furthermore, by prohibiting a bishop in good standing within the Church of England from ministering in The Episcopal Church, Presiding Bishop Schori is opening up the way for a diplomatic row.

Bishop Scriven, no doubt, will be laughing about this bizarre overstep by the Presiding Bishop, but the ramifications of this move should be examined further by English canon lawyers. It seems that The Episcopal Church is claiming to have an authority that it does not. And that, after all, is the root of the problem in the Anglican Communion.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh, TEC Polity & Canons

Obama pledges mortgage help with new financial plan

President Barack Obama promised on Saturday to help lower Americans’ mortgage costs with a new plan, coming soon, that would revive the financial system and “get credit flowing again.”

Obama, who has made fighting the country’s economic and financial crises the top priority of his young administration, called on the U.S. Senate to approve an economic stimulus bill that the House of Representatives passed this week.

But as economic conditions get worse the president said new strategies were coming to address the country’s ills.

“Soon my Treasury secretary, Tim Geithner, will announce a new strategy for reviving our financial system that gets credit flowing to businesses and families,” Obama, a Democrat, said in his weekly radio address.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The Fiscal Stimulus Package of 2009

In the South Carolina Lowcountry, More find themselves in Financial Vise

Water pipes will burst and fires will ravage homes. Which is why Brad Hager thought his job as a damage assessor at an insurance company was secure, even in a nasty recession.

But executives at his small company decided to cut back as a precaution, leaving Hager unemployed and worried about making mortgage payments on the Summerville home where he and his wife, Melissa, are raising two young girls and a teen-age foster son.

The Hagers had prepared to wait out the tough economic times. Brad, a painter who saw business slow last summer, took the job at the insurance firm after intentionally seeking out an industry he thought was recession-proof.

“This is all so surreal. I still don’t believe it,” said Melissa while attending a recent foreclosure prevention seminar in North Charleston. “If it’s happening to us, it’s really bad.”

Read it all from the front page of the local paper.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Notable and Quotable

At a dinner with business and political officials to examine the U.S. financial meltdown, Morgan Stanley’s chairman for Asia, Stephen Roach, responded to the question, “How could bankers be so stupid?” by posing his own questions: “How could regulators be so stupid? How could borrowers be so stupid? How could politicians be so stupid? C’mon guys, how could all you been so stupid?”

–From “Sign of the Times: CEOs Play ‘Refugees’ at Davos” in Friday’s Wall Street Journal, page A6

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Nationwide strike delays traffic, chokes public services, disrupts classes across France

A nationwide strike Thursday by French public and private sector workers fearful about the global economic crisis shut down rail and subway lines, choked public services and left millions of schoolchildren without their teachers across the country.

In Paris, commuters braved freezing temperatures and biked, walked and even took boats to work. But a 2007 law ensuring minimal transport service meant that some subways, buses and suburban rail lines were operating ”” and they were stuffed full of passengers.

Railway workers led the walkout that the French already are calling “Black Thursday.” Commuters, however, appeared resigned to the year’s first big strike.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, Europe, France, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General

Europe Basks as U.S.-Style Capitalism Draws Fire

For years, Europe’s more-regulated model of capitalism has been maligned by many economists as a study in second-rate market economics. Now, as world leaders seek a way out of the crisis — and aim to avoid repeating it — U.S.-style capitalism is under siege and the European model is getting another look.

America may be stealing a glance across the Atlantic. In Washington, the Senate is gearing up for a debate next week on its version of the $819 billion economic stimulus package the House passed Wednesday.

“President Obama,” Mr. Barroso said, “is moving toward a European-style model.” Mr. Barroso, who runs the executive arm of the 27-nation European Union, cited the new administration’s aim to boost health-care coverage, access to student loans and public-infrastructure spending as examples of the U.S’s emerging European tilt.

Read it all from yesterday’s Wall Street Journal.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Europe, Politics in General, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

An ABC News Nightline Profile of Mark Driscoll

The facilities may be cutting edge and the topics might appear liberal but [Mark] Driscoll points out that his beliefs are strict. He is a Calvinist, and believes that people’s fates are predetermined.

“I believe that Jesus is God, I believe the Bible is true, I believe people are really going to hell,” he said. “Those things in our culture are seen as crazy.

“If you are not a Christian then you do not have eternal life,” he implored in a sermon, although it’s not all fire and brimstone.

From his home office, filled with an impressive library, he showed some of his most cherished possessions, including a game-used Reggie Jackson baseball bat and a hand-written letter from Charles Haddon Spurgeon in 1873.

“He’s kind of one of my heroes,” Driscoll said of the influential British Reformed Baptist preacher known as the “Prince of Preachers.”

“He had the first mega-church in the history of the world. Five thousand people.”

Another one I caught when running this week. You may remember that Mr. Driscoll was recently featured in the New York Times magazine (that blog thread is there). I recommend the video version but if you do not have the capability to view it, then do read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Parish Ministry

U.S. Eyes Two-Part Bailout for Banks

The central question facing policy makers: How does the government help banks exorcise their bad bets? For many of these assets, there is no current market price. If the government buys the assets for more than they are ultimately worth, taxpayers will take the hit. If the government pays too little, banks will have to record losses on other similar assets, exacerbating the problem.

Read it all from the front page of today’s Wall Street Journal.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Credit Markets, Economy, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The Fiscal Stimulus Package of 2009, The September 2008 Proposed Henry Paulson 700 Billion Bailout Package

David Brooks on the Fiscal Stimulus Bill: a sprawling, undisciplined smorgasbord

Throughout 2008, Larry Summers, the Harvard economist, built the case for a big but surgical stimulus package. Summers warned that a “poorly provided fiscal stimulus can have worse side effects than the disease that is to be cured.” So his proposal had three clear guidelines.

First, the stimulus should be timely. The money should go out “almost immediately.” Second, it should be targeted. It should help low- and middle-income people. Third, it should be temporary. Stimulus measures should not raise the deficits “beyond a short horizon of a year or at most two.”

Summers was proposing bold action, but his concept came with safeguards: focus on the task at hand, prevent the usual Washington splurge and limit long-term fiscal damage.

Now Barack Obama is president, and Summers has become a top economic adviser. Yet the stimulus approach that has emerged on Capitol Hill abandoned the Summers parameters.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The Fiscal Stimulus Package of 2009

Church of England attacks Government Gambling Law

Desperate poor people will be fleeced by new gambling laws aimed at recovering the Government’s own losses, says the Church’s Mission and Public Affairs Council (MPA).

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Second Consultation proposes to double the stakes and prizes for fruit machines and even larger increases for ‘crane-grab’ machines. Together with the Methodist Church, the Quakers, the Salvation Army and the Evangelical Alliance, the MPA has criticised the Government for giving in to industry pressure, instead of defending desperately poor people.

In the MPA’s response to the consultation, it said: “While it is tempting to justify socially harmful policies by pointing to their economic benefits, it is wrong that people who are liable to engage in problem gambling should be made to pay the price of protecting businesses from financial pressures.”

An insider at the department confirmed that after the first consultation on the gambling regulations “the majority of respondents were from the gambling industry.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Gambling

Paul Richardson: The Church and the Recession

In his Smith Institute lecture Archbishop John Sentamu detected a loss of nerve in the Church of England. I believe it is not so much loss of nerve as faulty analysis that bedevils the church’s role in public life at the moment. However the archbishop is right to argue that communities, including faith communities, have a major role to play in promoting fraternity and delivering many important services. To the dismay of secularists, Obama has argued strongly for this.

But if the churches are going to run services then should insist on two conditions. In the first place, they should resist any attempt to make them compromise on those beliefs and values that are the very factors that make them effective.

In the second place they should link their contribution to a campaign for greater devolution to local communities across the board that would see charities or companies, for example, rather than local authorities, running schools. The kind of radical agenda being proposed by Alan Milburn with community groups running parks, housing estates and childcare centres, is the kind of policy to which the churches should be giving their backing.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Economy, England / UK, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Muslim population 'rising 10 times faster than rest of society' in Britain

The Muslim population in Britain has grown by more than 500,000 to 2.4 million in just four years, according to official research collated for The Times.

The population multiplied 10 times faster than the rest of society, the research by the Office for National Statistics reveals. In the same period the number of Christians in the country fell by more than 2 million.

Experts said that the increase was attributable to immigration, a higher birthrate and conversions to Islam during the period of 2004-2008, when the data was gathered. They said that it also suggested a growing willingness among believers to describe themselves as Muslims because the western reaction to war and terrorism had strengthened their sense of identity.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Islam, Other Faiths

Edward Oakes: Surveying the Damage Schismatics Do

On the 21st of this month, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops at the Holy See, issued a decree in the name of Pope Benedict XVI lifting the excommunication imposed on Bishops Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson and Alfonso de Galarreta, which they had incurred when, on June 30, 1988, they let themselves be ordained as schismatic bishops by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in Écône, Switzerland.

Lefebvre, although himself a voting participant at the Second Vatican Council from 1962 to 1965, had come to believe that Vatican II had deviated so fundamentally from the received tradition of the Catholic faith as to be heretical. At first, his movement — although often disobedient — was only a form of protest inside the precincts of the Catholic Church. As long as he did not ordain bishops, his protest would remain an intra-Catholic affair, and it would probably have died out after his death. Fearing just such an eventuality, he finally went ahead and ordained, without permission, the four men named above, who by that act incurred automatic excommunication along, of course, with Archbishop Lefebvre himself (he died an excommunicate on March 25, 1991). At that moment, protest became schism.

Read it all.

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

Church Times: ”˜Really weird’, but Henry Scriven bears no ill will on orders

Bishop Scriven remained as a bishop in good standing in the Episcopal Church after Pittsburgh diocese realigned with the Southern Cone in November last year. He believed the diocese had democratically made its decision and ”” in a response to the Church Times which came too late for publication ”” described the Convention’s vote as conducted “in a very fair and grace-filled way”. He made himself available as a bishop to all congregations who invited him, regardless of how they had voted.

He said at that time: “We still pray sincerely that further lawsuits can be avoided, and I certainly intend to maintain all my close friendships with the vast majority of those who have chosen not to stay with the diocese.”

Bishop Scriven described the letter he received in November releasing him from his orders as “really weird”. He retained it but did not respond to it. The promised certificate releasing Bishop Scriven from his orders did not reach him personally, “though, to be fair, she might have tried as I was wandering round the world,” he said on Wednesday.

The correspondence is now in the public domain. “I had no desire to publish these letters until the thing was announced but was then very happy for them to be released,” Bishop Scriven said. “Hers was a very gracious letter but I was kind of boggled by the language really….”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh, TEC Polity & Canons