Daily Archives: November 10, 2010

Baghdad Attacks Fuel Christian Fears

A spate of bombs exploded outside the homes of several Christian families across Baghdad early Wednesday, compounding a sense of fear and vulnerability among Iraqi Christians 10 days after a bloody siege at a church here.

Three people were reported killed and about 25 wounded in several bombings and mortar blasts.

At least some of the casualties were not Christians. Residents of the Kamsara neighborhood, where a car bomb blew up outside a Christian family’s house, said one of the dead included a Muslim man who had run outside to offer help and was killed in a secondary blast.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Iraq, Middle East, Religion & Culture, Violence

A Pastoral Letter from the Bishop of Richborough

I imagine most of you will already know that I have resigned as Bishop of Richborough as from 31st December and will not be conducting any public episcopal services between now and then. I will, in due course, be received into full communion with the Catholic Church and join the Ordinariate when one is erected in England, which I hope will happen early next year. This has been a very difficult decision and has not been taken without much thought and prayer over the last year. For more than 8 years I have enjoyed being Bishop of Richborough; I have particularly valued the many visits to parishes for confirmations and other occasions. I am more grateful than I can say for the warmth, friendship and support I have experienced from so many priests and faithful lay people. I did not deserve it but I thank God for all I have received from you.

I am sure it will be said that I am leaving because of the issue of the ordination of women to the episcopate. While it is true that this has been an important factor in my thinking it is not the most significant factor. The publication of the Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum Coetibus, just one year ago, came as a surprise and has completely changed the landscape for Anglo Catholics. Since the inception of the ARCIC process, set up by Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Michael Ramsey in the 1960s, most of us have longed and prayed for corporate union with the Catholic Church; union which in our own time has seemed less likely because of the new difficulties concerning the ordination of women and other doctrinal and moral issues affecting the Anglican Communion.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

The New Georgia Encyclopedia Entry on the Episcopal Church

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC)

NPR–Chris Hedges Laments The 'Death Of The Liberal Class'

From organizing workers to preventing war to making the economy more green, journalist Chris Hedges argues that, for decades, liberals have surrendered the good fights to corporations and ruling powers.

In his new book, Death of the Liberal Class, Hedges slams five specific groups and institutions ”” the Democratic Party, churches, unions, the media and academia ”” for failing Americans and allowing for the creation of a “permanent underclass.”

Hedges says that, for motives ranging from self-preservation to careerism, the “liberal establishment” purged radicals from its own ranks and, as a result, lost its checks on capitalism and corporate power.

“For millions of Americans, including the 15 million unemployed Americans,” Hedges tells NPR’S Neal Conan, “the suffering is becoming acute.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Education, History, Media, Politics in General, Poverty, Religion & Culture, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Ireland's crisis flares as investors dump bonds

Ireland’s financial troubles loomed large Wednesday as investors – betting that the country soon could join Greece in seeking an EU bailout – drove the interest rate on the country’s 10-year borrowing to a new high.

The yield on 10-year bonds rose above 8 percent for the first time since the launch of the euro, the European Union’s common currency, 11 years ago.

The cost of funding Irish debt has risen steadily since September, when the government admitted its bailout efforts of five banks would cost at least euro45 billion, equivalent to euro10,000 for every man, woman and child in Ireland. That gargantuan bill, in turn, has made the projected 2010 deficit rise to 32 percent of GDP, the highest in post-war Europe.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, England / UK, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Ireland, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector

David Brooks: The Crossroads Nation

Bill Clinton used to talk about building a bridge to the 21st century. President Obama talks about laying down a “new foundation.” But Clinton was always vague about what the land on the other side of that bridge was going to look like, and Obama is vague about what edifice is going to go on top of that foundation.

They are vague because nobody is clear about what sort of country America is going to be in 2030 or 2050. Nobody has quite defined America’s coming economic identity….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, History, Politics in General, Psychology

Reuters–For U.S. veterans, the war after the wars

Surrounded by red, white and blue Americana in their powder blue Midwestern home, family matriarch Rhonda Jordal says she can deal with most of the fallout of her son Steven’s two tours in Iraq.

Rhonda says she can handle his damaged memory — Steven nearly started a fire recently when he forgot his breakfast on the stove and wandered off to feed the family’s two border collies — his daily headaches, his irritability, the 635 days it took to get him out of jail in Oklahoma City and the mountain of debt the family faces because of legal fees.

But what breaks her heart is that he will not let her hug or kiss him like he did before he went to war. “All the time he was in Iraq all I wanted was to get my baby back home,” Rhonda said, breaking down for the first time in nearly five hours of talking about her son. “But I know now he’s never really coming back.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Defense, National Security, Military, Health & Medicine, Iraq War, Marriage & Family, Military / Armed Forces, Psychology, War in Afghanistan

Company Accused of Firing Over Facebook Post

In what labor officials and lawyers view as a ground-breaking case involving workers and social media, the National Labor Relations Board has accused a company of illegally firing an employee after she criticized her supervisor on her Facebook page.

This is the first case in which the labor board has stepped in to argue that workers’ criticisms of their bosses or companies on a social networking site are generally a protected activity and that employers would be violating the law by punishing workers for such statements.

The labor relations board announced last week that it had filed a complaint against an ambulance service, American Medical Response of Connecticut, that fired an emergency medical technician, accusing her, among other things, of violating a policy that bars employees from depicting the company “in any way” on Facebook or other social media sites in which they post pictures of themselves.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues

Challenges Await U.S. at Group of 20 Meeting

Anyone wondering what President Obama will face when he arrives in South Korea on Wednesday for a global financial summit meeting need look no further than an announcement by China’s leading state-endorsed rating agency, which downgraded the United States’ credit rating on Tuesday ”” and provocatively questioned American leadership of the global economy.

The agency cited the Federal Reserve’s decision to pump more money into the United States economy and warned of Washington’s “deteriorating debt repayment capability” and “the serious defects in the United States economic development and management model,” which it predicted would lead to “fundamentally lowering the national solvency.”

In the rest of the world, the United States is still the gold standard of credit risks, and the Chinese downgrade is not expected to have much real impact. But the sharply worded attack from the country that is buying billions of dollars in American debt each month was just the latest rhetorical assault on the United States, as officials from China to Germany to Brazil suggest that Washington’s addiction to debt has greatly diminished its credibility.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Budget, China, Economy, Europe, Federal Reserve, G20, Globalization, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc), Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

China and Germany slam U.S. policy before G20 summit

China kept up a drumbeat of criticism of U.S. easy money policies on Tuesday, warning two days before a G20 world economic summit that Washington could destabilize the global economy and inflate asset bubbles.

Nearly a week after the Federal Reserve announced it was going pump as much as $600 billion into the economy, world leaders continue to bash the plan, saying it will flood global markets with cash without doing much for the U.S. recovery.

President Barack Obama acknowledged in Jakarta that the Group of 20 rich and developing nations “still have a lot of work to do” to ensure balanced global growth.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Budget, China, Economy, Europe, Federal Reserve, Foreign Relations, G20, Germany, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc), Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

LA Times–Gene Robinson says he isn't being 'run off'

Robinson’s election as bishop in 2003 was a seismic event in the worldwide Anglican Communion, whose U.S. branch is the Episcopal Church. It prompted dozens of U.S. congregations and several dioceses to leave the church and affiliate with more conservative Anglican churches overseas.

Christopher Sugden, a British Anglican who is executive secretary of Anglican Mainstream, a group that promotes orthodox teachings, said the communion remained divided by the decision to consecrate gay bishops.

“His retirement doesn’t change anything,” Sugden said. “The issue is the refusal of the Episcopal Church to adhere to the agreed doctrinal standards of the communion, and their leadership’s determination to promote, and in North America to enforce, ethical and doctrinal standards that are contrary to the clear teaching of Scripture as received by the universal church. They have chosen to walk apart.”

To Robinson’s supporters, that break is a badge of courage. Margaret Porter, moderator of New Hampshire’s Episcopal Diocesan Council, said there had been little regret over Robinson’s selection and much sadness over his early departure.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

Tribune Bureau–Investigators see 'culture of complacency' behind gulf oil spill

A stream of evidence shows that “a culture of complacency” rather than a “culture of safety” prevailed at BP, Transocean Ltd. and Halliburton as they worked on the ill-fated Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, according to the chairmen of the presidential commission investigating the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The panel’s investigators uncovered “a suite of bad decisions,” many still inexplicable, involving tests that were poorly run, alarming results that were ignored, proper equipment that was sidelined and safety barriers that were removed prematurely at the high-pressure well, said William K. Reilly, who is co-chairman of the commission with former Democratic Sen. Bob Graham of Florida.

“Each company is responsible for one or more egregiously bad decisions,” said Reilly, who was an administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under President George W. Bush.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, --The 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill, Energy, Natural Resources

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Leo the Great

O Lord our God, grant that thy Church, following the teaching of thy servant Leo of Rome, may hold fast the great mystery of our redemption, and adore the one Christ, true God and true Man, neither divided from our human nature nor separate from thy divine Being; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Set our hearts, O God, at liberty from ourselves, and let it be our meat and drink to do thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

–Luke 15:8-10

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Churches to Mark 100th Anniversary of Ecumenical Movement in New Orleans

Leaders of the nation’s largest coalition of Christian churches will gather here this week (Nov. 9-11) to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ecumenical movement.

Members of the National Council of Churches, representing 100,000 congregations and 45 million people in 35 Protestant, Anglican and Orthodox denominations, will also discuss and how to fight poverty, war and environmental degradation””while trying to bring down barriers dividing denominations.

The group will hold its annual General Assembly alongside its global humanitarian arm, Church World Service.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Ecumenical Relations

Forward in Faith UK–A Statement from Catholic Group in General Synod

The Catholic Group in General Synod is sorry to hear of the five bishops’ intention to join the Anglican Ordinariate; we would like to thank them all for their ministry in the Church of England, and to assure them of our prayers and good wishes for their future. Bishops John Broadhurst, Andrew Burnham and David Silk have all been prominent members of the Catholic Group, and we thank them for their leadership of the Group in the past.

The Catholic Group remains determined to do all it can to ensure that the promises made by the Church of England to traditionalists at the time of the passing of legislation to permit the ordination of women to the priesthood are honoured by the General Synod as it now considers draft legislation to permit the consecration of women as bishops; significant amendment of the current draft will be required to enable this to happen.

We are heartened by the news that new appointments will be made for the Bishops of Ebbsfleet, Fulham and Richborough, and assure the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London of our prayers and good wishes at this time.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Living Church–Five Bishops Form Caravan to Rome

An announcement confirmed the much-anticipated resignations of Burnham and the Church of England’s other Provincial Episcopal Visitors (PEVs), colloquially known as flying bishops: the Rt. Rev. John Broadhurst, Bishop of Fulham, and the Rt. Rev. Keith Newton, Bishop of Richborough. Joining them are two retired bishops: the Rt. Rev. Edwin Barnes, honorary assistant bishop of Winchester, and the Rt. Rev. David Silk, honorary assistant bishop of Exeter. The journey of the Ordinariate “caravan company” is underway.

“We have been dismayed, over the last thirty years, to see Anglicans and Catholics move further apart on some of the issues of the day, and particularly we have been distressed by developments in Faith and Order in Anglicanism which we believe to be incompatible with the historic vocation of Anglicanism and the tradition of the Church for nearly two thousand years,” said the bishops’ statement.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

A Response to the “Pastoral Guidelines” and the September Ordination in the Diocese of Toronto

The bishops have described both actions as pastoral. But in fact they affect the doctrine of the church. The ordination of a person in a same-sex marriage hallows that marriage and names it the ideal, a worthy example for all to follow, properly belonging within the Christian definition of marriage. This is to challenge the marriage canon of the Anglican Church of Canada. This is an act, that is, with concrete legal and doctrinal implications.

Likewise, to bless a civil same-sex marriage in a service complete with scripture readings, hymns of the church, and (if the couple wishes) a Eucharist, is to declare this a Christian marriage. There is no distinction between a civil same-sex marriage blessed in a church and a civil heterosexual marriage blessed in a church. To be sure, the guidelines prohibit the exchange of marriage vows and rings; but the couple has already exchanged vows and rings before a magistrate. If the nuptial blessings currently printed in the prayer books cannot be used, what of that? A new blessing can be written.

If the couple is not civilly married, then we are blessing sex outside of marriage. Whatever the current social mores regarding sex, this is a formal innovation in the church’s ethical teaching and practice.

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