Daily Archives: November 19, 2010
(We first posted on Sister Rose Ann Fleming back in March–KSH).
I’ve written much on these pages about the often problematic nexus of collegiate academics and athletics. Over the years, I’ve pilloried Kentucky and Memphis and their 30% graduation rates. By contrast, I’ve held up Catholic colleges like Notre Dame””one of the few schools where athletes have a higher graduation rate than the general student body””as examples of schools that refuse to accept academically unqualified students simply because they have good jump shots.
My faith was shaken earlier this year when the New York Times interviewed Sister Rose Ann Fleming. She’s the feisty 5- foot-4-inch, 78-year-old nun who makes sure that the basketball players at Xavier University, a Jesuit Catholic college in Cincinnati, spend as much time in class as they do in the gym. Terrell Holloway, a sophomore guard at Xavier, praised Sister Rose in the Times article for keeping on him when he fell behind in a reading class during summer school.
Reading? Summer school?
It forced me to ask myself: Are the Catholic schools, after all, the same as Michigan or Temple when it comes to what kind of athletes they admit? The short answer seems to be yes. The critical difference is that schools like Xavier are making sure that their players receive diplomas.
Many of you know about our son, Alex, who accidentally drowned and went to heaven on August 8, 2009. We want to thank you for your prayers, cards, gifts, and loving support this past year. We tangibly felt your prayers lifting us and bringing us into the loving arms of Jesus. Your kindness helped us to come through this first year with an even stronger faith and closer relationship to our Lord.
Another source of hope that has helped us in this challenging time is the Word of Life, the Scriptures.
Much has been achieved over many years as a result of the dialogue and the fruitful ecumenical relations which have developed between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. Obedient to the prayer of the Lord Jesus Christ to His Heavenly Father, the unity of the Church remains a constant desire in the vision and life of Anglicans and Catholics. The prayer for Christian Unity is the prayer for the gift of full communion with each other. We must never tire of praying and working for this goal.
During his visit to the United Kingdom in September, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI was therefore keen to stress that the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus: “”¦should be seen as a prophetic gesture that can contribute positively to the developing relations between Anglicans and Catholics. It helps us to set our sights on the ultimate goal of all ecumenical activity: the restoration of full ecclesial communion in the context of which the mutual exchange of gifts from our respective spiritual patrimonies serves as an enrichment to us all.”i
It is now just over one year since the Apostolic Constitution was published. The Pope’s initiative provided for the establishment of personal Ordinariates as one of the ways in which members of the Anglican tradition may seek to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. As the Holy Father stated at that time, he was responding to petitions received “repeatedly and insistently”ii by him from groups of Anglicans wishing “to be received into full communion individually as well as corporately.”iii Since then, it has become clear that a number of Anglican clergy and their faithful do indeed wish to bring their desire for full ecclesial communion with the Catholic Church to realisation within an Ordinariate structure.
Perhaps because they were making so much money out of it, Americans were slow to notice something peculiar about the American dream, and potentially divisive. The ideal of living “unhampered,” as Adams put it, by the barriers to social mobility erected in other countries is meaningful most of all to those familiar with other countries. The American dream is more evident to elites (including well-traveled historians like Adams) and to immigrants than it is to others. It is cosmopolitanism masquerading as American exceptionalism. When the billionaire Peter Peterson announced this year that he would join an initiative launched by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett and use at least half his wealth for philanthropy, he referred to himself as “the son of poor Greek immigrants who has certainly lived the American dream.” Paradoxically, it is Peterson’s Greekness rather than his Americanness that gives him the bona fides to pronounce on the subject.
Optimism in the face of hardship is, of course, one of the glories of America’s immigrant history. A 75-minute bus commute to a job at Wal-Mart, which looks like wage-slavery to the son of a unionized industrial worker, might be a dream come true for an immigrant from a poor country, or even for that immigrant’s son. So it should not surprise us that polling results released by Xavier University last winter showed new immigrants to be among the biggest believers in the American dream. But it ought to worry us more than it does that middle-aged Midwestern white women, according to Xavier, are among the most skeptical about it. Confronted with the economy we are now living through, such people are unlikely to be comforted by assurances that their circumstances beat those of mid-20th-century Greece.
Most of the time we do not realize that what we are dreaming is the American dream, any more than we realize that what we are speaking is prose. World travelers, politicians and self-made men are not wrong to see the promise of American life as a stirring and romantic tale. To the median, native-born American with no other frame of reference but his life’s span in this country, however, it is not a dream. It is simply the social contract. We are increasingly discovering that there are rational, nononeiric ways to measure when that contract is being broken.
In the 1960s, when a young Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz embarked on the mammoth task of translating the ancient Jewish texts of the Talmud into modern Hebrew and, even more daringly, providing his own commentary alongside those of the classical sages, the state of Israel was still in its teens, there were no home computers, and man had not yet landed on the moon.
The monumental work took 45 years. But this month in his hometown, Jerusalem, Rabbi Steinsaltz, now 73, marked the end of the endeavor, as the last of the 45 volumes of his edition of the Babylonian Talmud, originally completed 1,500 years ago, rolled off the press.
“When I began it I did not think it would be so difficult or so long,” the rabbi said in a meandering interview that went late into the night at his Steinsaltz Center for religious studies in the city’s historic Nahlaot neighborhood. “I thought it would take maybe half the time.”
The five pages of guidelines advise clergy on how to plan an act of worship, including offering those in “stable committed same-gender relationships” the option of a euÂcharist. The guidelines specify that there should be no exchange of consents, or signing of a register, and that no prayers of nuptial blessing from any marriage liturgy used anyÂwhere in the Anglican ComÂmunion should be said over the couple.
The Archbishop of Toronto, the Most Revd Colin Johnson, said that he expects that between five and ten parishes will wish to move towards using the guidelines for same-sex blessings. Consensus will need to have been reached in the parishes before permission to carry out blessÂings will be granted.
The Archbishop said: “Not all will welcome this development: some because it goes too far, some because it is not nearly enough. You will note that there are strong affirmations in these guidelines assuring a conÂtinued and honoured place in all aspects of diocesan life for those who do not agree with this resÂponse.”
America’s strapped states and cities took another hit Wednesday, with California seeing tepid demand for its latest bond sale and other governments pulling about $700 million worth of borrowing deals this week as investors continued stepping away from the municipal bond market.
The normally staid market has grown volatile the past week, posting its sharpest selloff in nearly two years, as investors demand higher interest rates to buy paper issued by states, cities and counties to finance their operations. Localities have been hammered by a drop in tax revenue amid the downturn””and unlike the federal government, most are barred constitutionally from running deficits.
“The tax-exempt municipal bond market is a cold, cold world right now for issuers and taxpayers,” Tom Dresslar, a spokesman for the California State Treasurer, said late Wednesday. He added that the state decided to cancel another $267.3 million bond sale it planned to price next week “in light of market conditions.”
The legal battle between the U.S. Episcopal Church and the breakaway Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin over who owns church property will return to Fresno County Superior Court, the 5th District Court of Appeal ruled Thursday.
The appellate justices tossed out a Superior Court judge’s decision that the breakaway diocese couldn’t claim a right to the property in a jury trial. The judge essentially had decided that it was a church matter, not a matter for the civil courts.
What does this decision signify for the other nine cases pending in various local courts in the Diocese of San Joaquin? (These are the ones filed, since the Fresno trial court’s decision in this case, by Bishop Lamb and the Episcopal Diocese against the individual incorporated parishes within the Anglican Diocese.) It is probably too early too tell. More skirmishes will have to occur, and the facts become clearer, before that question may be definitively answered. For each of the parishes in question did not leave the Diocese to which they have always belonged; instead, the Diocese in question left the Church to which it belonged, and the parishes came along with the Diocese. Now that the Court of Appeal has, in effect, ruled that state courts cannot inquire into the ecclesiastical legalities of that departure (which would require them at the same time to decide who is the proper Bishop of San Joaquin), it would appear that the local courts might be equally well precluded from inquiring whether the parishes correctly followed the Diocese.
Once again, if we take the present opinion as our guide, it would seem to say that the ownership of the individual parishes’ property will have to be decided based on neutral principles of property law — the deeds and the parish articles will be examined, as well as the diocesan and the national constitution and canons. And here is where the parishes have some breathing room. For the Dennis Canon was never adopted as such in the Diocese of San Joaquin, from the time it was enacted at the national level in 1979 until the date the Diocese withdrew from the national Church in December 2007. When it was admitted as a Diocese in 1961, San Joaquin acceded only to ECUSA’s Constitution, and said nothing about acceding to its canons; its diocesan Constitution still reads the same way today, under Bishop Lamb. Indeed, the Diocese enacted in 2005 a type of anti-Dennis Canon, which negated any trust interest in diocesan or parish property for the benefit of the national Church:
No ownership or proprietary interest in any real or personal property in which title and/or ownership is held by the Diocese of San Joaquin, its churches, congregations, or institutions, shall be imputed to any party other than the Bishop as Corporation Sole (including a trust, express or implied) without the express written consent of the Bishop and the Standing Committee of the Diocese.
Given these circumstances, therefore, the most important language in the Court’s opinion may well be in its final three sentences, directed to the trial court (emphasis added):
Other neutral principles of civil law may be relevant; and the governing documents of the diocese and the national church, to the extent those documents may establish trust relationships and limit or expand corporate powers. (See Episcopal Church Cases, supra, 45 Cal.4th at p. 485.) Thus, the trial court may be required to determine whether properties claimed by both plaintiffs and defendants were actually transferred by their legal owners under California law, and whether otherwise-valid transfers violated the provisions of a valid express or implied trust imposed on the property. But we emphasize that in resolution of, for example, trust issues, the court is required to determine the terms of the trust based on the applicable documents and the civil law, not on the basis of religious doctrine. (See Jones v. Wolf, supra, 443 U.S. at p. 604.)
Read it all (an eleven page pdf).
A.S. Haley offers this preliminary comment:
The ground upon which the reversal is ordered is that the case as presented by the plaintiffs Lamb and ECUSA in their first cause of action is not properly decidable by the secular courts without their becoming too entangled in First Amendment issues, such as who is the proper Bishop of San Joaquin. It holds that ECUSA’s recognition of Bishop Lamb is conclusive as to his position as Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, and to the continuity of that entity “for ecclesiastical purposes”, but it goes on to hold that the validity of the transfers of title to diocesan property by Bishop Schofield while he was still the Episcopal Bishop will have to be decided upon neutral principles of state corporate law, and also any relevant governing documents of the Diocese and the national Church.
CEN-ACC Sec. General and Staff Seek to offer Clarification on the Upcoming Anglican Primates Meeting
….behind the scenes conversations between Dr. Williams and the primates remain on-going, CEN has been told. While reservations and supplies have been laid on by the ACC staff for the 38 primates and the Archbishop of York to meet at the Emmaus Conference Centre outside of Dublin, it is not clear how many primates will attend the gathering.
In 2008 Dr. Williams called the bluff of the Global South bishops and declined to honour their request to postpone the Lambeth Conference, due to their objections to the presence of the US and Canadian bishops. As a result a majority of African bishops sat out the every ten year meeting of the communion’s bishops.
In his Oct 7 letter, Dr. Williams warned the primates of the substantial “damage” to the communion a boycott of the meeting would entail. Whether he can find a synthesis between the opposing camps within the communion, offering suggestions as to ways the primates could meet together without actually having to meet together, remains unclear.
Watch Jennifer Arnold of the Canine Assistants Program give a wonderful description of the amazing connection between a person and a dog in this ministry.
Watch it all–are those puppies cute or what?
Almighty God, by whose grace thy servant Elizabeth of Hungary recognized and honored Jesus in the poor of this world: Grant that we, following her example, may with love and gladness serve those in any need or trouble, in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt;
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low by thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things
to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.
–John Wesley (1703-1791)
And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God vindicate his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will vindicate them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
A state-owned Chinese telecommunications firm re-routed around 15 per cent of all web traffic through its own servers during a brief period on April 8, the report said.
The incident has raised fears that China may have harvested highly-sensitive information from re-routed emails.
Another theory is that it could be testing a cyberweapon that could disrupt internet traffic from foreign servers.
Dr Williams acknowledged that traditionalists who cannot accept Church of England plans to ordain women bishops were in “considerable confusion and distress”.
But the Pope’s offer to accommodate disaffected Anglicans would leave the Church with “practical challenges” as vicars resign and churches lose worshippers, he said.
Dr Williams’s comments came in his first media interview since The Daily Telegraph disclosed that five Anglican bishops were to join a new section of the Roman Catholic Church established by Pope Benedict XVI.
The fact that nearly 20% of Americans say that President Obama is a Muslim has certainly not kept him from talking to Muslims. Just in the past week, the president gave his second major address to the Muslim world, and issued greetings to Muslims for Eid-ul-Adha, the celebration of Abraham’s “willingness to sacrifice his son.” Even in this small act of presidential courtesy, however, Obama had to tread very carefully. Note that the administration did not include the name of Abraham’s son. Muslims believe that Abraham was willing to sacrifice Ishmael, while the Jewish and Christian Scriptures contend that it was Isaac ”” indeed, this is one of the most fundamental divergences between these religious traditions. The president wants to acknowledge the Muslim holiday, without exacerbating religious tensions.
In matters large and small, Obama has to strike a delicate balance regarding Islam. It is not that he has taken an unprecedented interest in Islam: President Thomas Jefferson had his copy of the Quran, and President George W. Bush discussed Islam just as much as Obama. But because of the ongoing war against jihadist terror, the controversy about the Ground Zero mosque, and especially because of persistent (if absurd) rumors about the president’s own faith, Obama has a special burden to carry about Islam. He must communicate that America’s millions of Muslims are fully welcome here, and that America is not at war with the Muslim community at large. Yet he must also maintain moral clarity about the menace of jihadist terrorism.
Marriage is increasingly optional and could be on its way to obsolescence, according to a survey of more than 2,600 Americans that examines changing attitudes about relationships today.
Among the 2,691 adults surveyed by the Pew Research Center last month, 39% say marriage is becoming obsolete, up from 28% who responded to the same question posed by Time magazine in 1978.
“If four in 10 are saying it’s becoming obsolete, they’re registering an awareness of a very important social change,” says Paul Taylor of Pew. “It doesn’t necessarily mean marriage is about to disappear or has disappeared.”