Daily Archives: November 17, 2010

RNS–Catholic Bishops, in surprise move, elect New York's Dolan as president

In a dramatic break with tradition, U.S. Catholic bishops on Tuesday (Nov. 16) elected New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan as their next president, choosing a friendly but assertive leader over the more conciliatory front-runner.

Dolan defeated Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, Ariz., 128 to 111 in the third and final round of voting. Kicanas has been vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, traditionally a stepping stone to the presidency, since 2007, when he defeated Dolan by two votes.

Tuesday’s election marks the first time since the 1960s that a sitting vice president was on the presidential ballot and lost the election, according to church historians.

Noting that two conservative candidates led the voting for vice president, observers said the elections show that the bishops’conference is moving sharply to the right — with consequences not only for Catholics but also for politicians who court a crucial swing vote.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

For California, Another Day, Another Deficit

Five weeks after the Legislature passed a budget that promised to close a $19 billion budget shortfall, California has sunk back into yet another fiscal crisis, this time facing a $26 billion gap that is posing a major new challenge for the incoming governor, Jerry Brown, and seems almost certain to force deep cuts in a state already reeling from three years of financial turmoil.

The departing governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, has called a special session of the Legislature for Dec. 6 to begin dealing with one part of the problem: a projected $6 billion shortfall in the $126 billion budget passed in October, a record 100 days late. Mr. Schwarzenegger’s aides said the governor, a Republican who has fought repeatedly with Democrats in pushing through deep spending cuts, will propose another round of reductions to get the state through the end of this fiscal year in June.

“There’s no more easy stuff to cut,” Susan Kennedy, Mr. Schwarzenegger’s chief of staff, said Monday. “We are cutting into bone now.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pensions, Personal Finance, Politics in General, State Government, Taxes, Theology

Roman Catholics in Belgium Start Parishes of Their Own

Willy Delsaert is a retired railroad employee with dyslexia who practiced intensively before facing the suburban Don Bosco Catholic parish to perform the Sunday Mass rituals he grew up with.

“Who takes this bread and eats,” he murmured, cracking a communion wafer with his wife at his side, “declares a desire for a new world.”

With those words, Mr. Delsaert, 60, and his fellow parishioners are discreetly pioneering a grass-roots movement that defies centuries of Roman Catholic Church doctrine by worshiping and sharing communion without a priest.

Don Bosco is one of about a dozen alternative Catholic churches that have sprouted and grown in the last two years in Dutch-speaking regions of Belgium and the Netherlands. They are an uneasy reaction to a combination of forces: a shortage of priests, the closing of churches, dissatisfaction with Vatican appointments of conservative bishops and, most recently, dismay over cover-ups of sexual abuse by priests.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Belgium, Europe, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Libraries reinvent themselves as they struggle to remain relevant in the digital age

Kathy DeGrego’s T-shirt lets you know right away she isn’t an old-school librarian.

“Shhh,” it says, “is a four-letter word.”

That spirit of bookish defiance has guided the makeover of the suburban Denver library system where DeGrego works. Reference desks and study carrels have been replaced by rooms where kids can play Guitar Hero. Overdue book fines have been eliminated, and the arcane Dewey Decimal System has been scrapped in favor of bookstore-like sections organized by topic.

“It’s very common for people to say, ‘Why do I need a library when I’ve got a computer?’ ” said Pam Sandlian-Smith, director of the seven-branch Rangeview, Colo., Library District. “We have to reframe what the library means to the community.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Books, Education, Science & Technology

(Zenit) Cardinal George's Address to US Bishops' Meeting

As you know, there are three basic issues in the recent public debate. The first is empirical: does the current legislation permit the funding of abortion beyond the restrictions imposed by the Hyde amendment, that testimony to a faithful Catholic politician from Illinois that has been the firewall keeping public money out of funding almost all abortions and out of insurance plans that fund abortion? What we have is legislation that, by vote, first in the Senate and then confirmed in the House, explicitly removed the Hyde amendment restrictions from this federal law. Lay people who carefully analyzed the contents of the legislation as it was being torturously crafted freed us, the bishops, to make the necessary moral judgments. Some have protested that the legislation is complicated and we therefore shouldn’t pretend to judge it. If you will excuse my saying so, this implies either that no one can understand or judge complicated pieces of legislation, in which case it is immoral to act until sufficient clarity is obtained, or it is to say that only bishops are too dense to understand complicated pieces of legislation! In fact, developments since the passage of the legislation have settled the empirical issue: our analysis of what the law itself says was correct, and our moral judgments are secure and correct. Throughout this public debate, the bishops kept the moral and intellectual integrity of the faith intact, and I thank in your name those who helped us in exercising our obligations as moral teachers in the Church.

The second issue is ecclesiological: who speaks for the Catholic Church? We bishops have no illusions about our speaking for everyone who considers himself or herself Catholic; but that is not our job. We speak for the apostolic faith, and those who hold it gather round. We must listen to the sensus fidei, the sense of the faith itself in the lives of our people, but this is different from intellectual trends and public opinion. The faith has its own warrants in Scripture and tradition, and we consult them and listen to the apostolic voices of those who have gone before us as carefully as we must listen to those whom the Lord has given us to govern on our watch, in our day, as they strive to work out their salvation in the midst of contemporary challenges. The bishops in apostolic communion and in union with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome, speak for the Church in matters of faith and in moral issues and the laws surrounding them. All the rest is opinion, often well-considered and important opinion that deserves a careful and respectful hearing, but still opinion.

The third issue is practical: how should faithful Catholics approach political issues that are also moral?

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

Anglican Journal–B.C. Court of Appeal upholds church property decision

The British Columbia Court of Appeal has dismissed appeals of a November 2009 Supreme Court of British Columbia decision. The decision had ruled that the Anglican diocese of New Westminster should retain possession of four church properties in the Vancouver area.

The legal dispute arose after four congregations voted to leave the Anglican Church of Canada to affiliate with the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC). The disagreement was focused on the issue of same-sex blessings, which have been performed in some parishes in the diocese of New Westminster for several years. Churches in ANiC do not allow the blessing of same-sex relationships.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Law & Legal Issues

A Statement from the Diocese of New Westminster – BC Court of Appeal Results

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Law & Legal Issues

Communique: The Anglican-Old Catholic International Co-ordinating Council

(ACNS) The Anglican-Old Catholic International Co-ordinating Council (AOCICC) met in Schloss Beuggen, Germany from 8 to 12 November 2010. The Council welcomed Canon Dr Alyson Barnett-Cowan, Director for Unity Faith and Order at the Anglican Communion Office, as Anglican Co-Secretary.

In its most important piece of work, the Council finalized the text of a common statement on ecclesiology and mission ”˜Belonging Together in Europe’. This version of the text will be the major focus of the International Old Catholic and Anglican Theological Conference to be held in Neustadt, Germany from August 29 to September 2, 2011.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Reports & Communiques, Ecumenical Relations

Vancouver Sun–Anglican priests at odds with Diocese have to move — but not before Christmas

Neither side in a long, bitter war over Anglican Church property in Vancouver and Abbotsford expects any Christmas services will have to be moved elsewhere this December.

But Vancouver-area Anglican Bishop Michael Ingham began moving Tuesday to replace the dissident priests at four congregations that have failed to obtain legal control of Anglican Church properties valued at more than $20 million.

Since the conservative priests have already resigned from the Anglican Church of Canada to work for a breakaway Anglican organization, the diocese said in a statement, those clergy “will need to continue their ministry in other locations.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Law & Legal Issues

Hamish McRae: Sovereign defaults in the eurozone are inevitable

There will be sovereign defaults in the eurozone, with a default by Greece now inevitable. Ultimately the thing that underpins any country’s debts is its ability to raise enough tax to service and eventually repay them. Greece cannot hope to do that. Ireland will be pushed to do so but probably can. I would, however, worry about the long-term credit-worthiness of Portugal, Spain and Italy.

So then you have to ask whether a default of a eurozone state breaks up the eurozone. I don’t think we know the answer to that yet. We do know that the Germans, who hold the cards, will do absolutely everything they can to stop such a default, even if they have to grit their teeth as they do so. My instinct is that a country defaulting would not of itself lead to that country leaving the euro, but if its costs and prices were totally out of line, that probably would be the least painful way of extracting itself. If that is right in the short-term, things will be patched up and the euro will come through this downturn intact. But the next downturn, in five or 10 years’ time? Surely not.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, England / UK, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Globalization, Ireland, Italy, Politics in General, Portugal, Spain, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(Guardian) Alan Wilson on the Anglican Covenant–Sugar and spice, or strychnine?

Niceness may be enough to carry a measure through an inexperienced and supine General Synod, but it can hardly make the covenant a transformative consciousness raiser, let alone the turbine of a more mutually engaged global denomination. However the General Synod votes, the big issue for the covenant process thereafter will be securing buy-in, confronted by zealots’ disappointment and majority indifference.

It is often observed that individual Anglicans around the world recognise, like and enjoy each other’s company. They generally get on like a house on fire at local level. Their institutional quadrille is where the problems lie. Covenant afficionados may hope beefing up the formal denomination will improve informal relationships. Others fear beefier formalities will sour them.

One Conservative blogger announced this week, tongue slightly in cheek perhaps, that he had believed the covenant useless, until it had been drawn to his attention how much it annoyed Liberals. Et voilà. Even as a kicking foetus, the covenant is already annoying people. This doesn’t imply that once born it will only be used only to promote understanding and harmony. Nice people will use it nicely ”“ others won’t. Real copper-bottomed zealots will almost certainly carry on regardless. The god of unintended consequences will stand in the background, smiling.

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

(Guardian) Graham Kings–The Anglican covenant is the only way forward

The covenant has been portrayed, and betrayed, by its detractors as a dangerous, monolithic innovation of regulatory control, which will stifle freedom and diversity. But forced assimilation is not on the table, and it is false witness to dress it up as such. Gregory Cameron (secretary to the group who produced the covenant) and Andrew Goddard (Anglican ethicist) have demonstrated that its detractors have seriously misconstrued the text and its intention.

The model of the covenant is drawn from family ties and kinship and bounded by mutually agreed norms of behaviour which benefit everyone. It is not a document of doctrinal specifications, like the conservative Jerusalem Declaration, drawn up mostly by those who boycotted the Lambeth conference. Nor is it a contract, as feared by its liberal critics. It is truly a covenant.

In his address to the Lambeth conference 2008, the Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, was pithily penetrative and perceptive in drawing out contrasts: “A contract is a transaction. A covenant is a relationship. Or to put it slightly differently: a contract is about interests. A covenant is about identity. It is about you and me coming together to form an ‘us’. That is why contracts benefit, but covenants transform.”

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

An Important Thought to Begin the Day

To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything he has given us ”“ and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him. Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful man or woman knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.

–Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude (New York: Farrar, Straus and Geroux, 1956), p. 33

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Roman Catholic, Stewardship, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Hugh of Lincoln and Robert Grosseteste

Holy God, our greatest treasure, who didst bless Hugh and Robert, Bishops of Lincoln, with wise and cheerful boldness for the proclamation of thy Word to rich and poor alike: Grant that all who minister in thy Name may serve with diligence, discipline and humility, fearing nothing but the loss of thee and drawing all to thee through Jesus Christ our Savior; who liveth and reigneth with thee in the communion of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding and my entire will, all I have and call my own. You have given all to me. To you, Lord, I return it. Everything is yours; do with it what you will. Give me only your love and your grace;
that is enough for me.

–Saint Ignatius of Loyola

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering; for my name is great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts.

–Malachi 1:11

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

RNS–Roman Bishops Defend Opposition to Health Care Reform

The outgoing head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops vigorously defended the bishops’ opposition to the health care reform bill, asserting that only bishops can speak for the church on matters of faith and morals.

“All the rest is opinion,” Cardinal Francis George of Chicago said on Monday (Nov. 15), “often well-considered and important opinion that deserves a careful and respectful hearing, but still opinion.”

George’s three-year presidential term ends Tuesday, when the bishops will elect his successor.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Health & Medicine, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Two Roman Catholic Churches in Brooklyn Will Close

Facing a drop in attendance and a shortage of priests, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn plans to close two churches, fold six parishes into three and impose strict budget constraints on all 198 of its parishes.

The move, announced from pulpits on Sunday, was described by church officials as the first phase of a broad consolidation that will result in further closings or mergers over the next two years, eventually affecting every parish in the diocese, which serves an estimated 1.5 million Catholics in Brooklyn and Queens.

Coming on the heels of the largest school reorganization in the history of the neighboring Archdiocese of New York, which announced provisional plans last week to close 31 parochial schools and one high school, the Brooklyn announcement underscored a sense of urgency in the church hierarchy about the financial impact of long-term population shifts, changing religious routines, aging church properties and a shrinking work force of priests.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

SMH: An ethical debate sure to enlighten

The spirit of Socrates will be evoked tonight in the IQ2 debate at City Recital Hall, where speakers will argue over the teaching of ethics in NSW primary schools.

Parents who believed their children would benefit from the state government’s ethics program at the expense of attending Special Religious Education were the victims of a populist and uninformed debate, the Anglican Bishop of North Sydney, Glenn Davies, told the Herald yesterday. He will speak in the negative to the proposal that special ethics education should be allowed for children not attending scripture classes.
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Simon Longstaff, the executive director of the St James Ethics Centre that devised the now completed pilot program, will step down from his usual position as IQ2 chairman of the debate to argue for the affirmative.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

“Becoming One” gathering planned as face of the US Anglican Ordinarate emerges

A little more than a year ago (Oct. 20, 2009) William Cardinal Levada signaled to the world that Pope Benedict XVI was planning to release an apostolic constitution helping those spiritually disenfranchised Anglicans seeking to reunite with the See of Peter. Less than two weeks later (Nov. 9, 2009) the Vatican published ” Anglicanorum Coetibus “. This paves the way for the eventual establishment of a unique Anglican Ordinariate, for those entering into full communion with the Catholic Church from the Anglican tradition. At the announcement the Anglican world was shaken to its core.

Since that time Anglicans and former Anglicans around the world — including American Episcopalians — have been considering the Pope’s offer to become fully-fledged Catholics and yet retain some of their unique Anglican liturgy, patrimony and ethos in their life and worship as Catholics. Now a year has come and gone. Questions have been raised, meetings have been held, and some answers have been given, well all the while, slowly the face the various proposed national ordinatiates are starting to take shape.

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