Daily Archives: December 7, 2010

Jared C. Cramer on the Roman Catholic Ordinariate, Anglican Christianity, and Ecumenism

What is lost in the midst of all the opinion and statements offered by various groups in the church is the ecumenical and ecclesiological implications of this movement. In particular, it may be helpful for a moment to consider this development in light of the approach to Anglicanism articulated by Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1961 to 1973. Ramsey is not only well-respected by both liberals and conservatives within contemporary Anglicanism, he likely has had more significance than any other person on modern ecumenical relations between Anglicanism and other Christian traditions. It was Ramsey who oversaw the creation of the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC). It was Ramsey who had fought so mightily for the union of English Methodism with the Church of England. And it was to Ramsey that Pope Paul VI gave his own episcopal ring, back in days when relations between the two traditions were somewhat warmer.

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

John Martin–The Covenant is good news for Anglicanism

A Covenant will yield a stronger, more coherent and unified Anglicanism. It may mean that some Provinces such as TEC and some of the GAFCON Provinces will opt out both from the Covenant and attendance at inter-Anglican meetings.

That does not mean a complete break-up of Anglicanism – participation in the “instruments of communion” is important but not the only expression of being Anglican. The liturgies of Anglican Provinces bear a strong family resemblance. The mission societies, the Mother’s Unions, diocesan links, fraternal links among cathedrals and schools will not cease to operate.

Meanwhile as the Archbishop of Canterbury has made clear, work will be done on reforming the “instruments” because it is largely their failure to be effective that has triggered the crisis in Anglicanism.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Covenant

Montreal Gazette: A church 'brought to its knees'

Deep in the woods of the lower Laurentians, tucked into one corner of a gravel road that goes nowhere in particular, in a place so remote as to be without power lines, there is a church. Rather, there was a church.

St. John’s Shrewsbury, built in 1858 and the last remaining building of a village that vanished decades ago, was an Anglican church until Saturday.

Shortly before noon that day in what is now part of the municipality of Gore, St. John’s was deconsecrated in a ceremony that also involved the sprinkling of holy water in its cemetery to cleanse the grounds of all traces of “the craft of Satan” or human malice.

Witches, waves of misguided ghost-hunters and self-proclaimed spiritualists, along with common vandals, have swarmed the church in recent years.

“This is the only church that I know of that has been brought to its knees by people … pursuing some sort of desire for supernatural experiences,” Archdeacon Edward Simonton said during the deconsecration service.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Parish Ministry

CP–Calgary Anglicans first congregation in Canada to join Catholic Church

A congregation of conservative Anglicans in Calgary has become the first in Canada to accept an offer from the Pope to rejoin the Catholic Church.

Members of the St. John the Evangelist Anglican parish voted in November in favour of the change after a year of talks with Catholic Church officials.

“We accept, unreservedly and with humility and gratitude, the invitation of His Holiness Pope Benedict to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church,” reads the motion the congregation approved.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

St. Joseph's University Panel Speakers say Catholic laypersons are key

With American Roman Catholics leaving their church in record numbers, it will be up to laypersons – not just bishops and priests – to revitalize the faith, a panel of speakers told an overflow audience Sunday at St. Joseph’s University.

“The church has acted like a lazy monopoly,” the Rev. Thomas Reese told the crowd at Mandeville Hall, noting that one in three baptized Catholics now leaves the church in adulthood.

Reese, a senior fellow at Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University and former editor of the Jesuit magazine America, was one of three panelists invited by the university to discuss “The Future of the Church.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Ministry of the Laity, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic

Iran’s Divorce Rate Stirs Fears of a Society in Crisis

The wedding nearly 1,400 years ago of Imam Ali, Shiite Islam’s most revered figure, and Fatemeh al-Zahra, the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad, is commemorated in Iran’s packed political calendar as a day to celebrate family values.

But in a sign of the Iranian authorities’ increasing concern about Iran’s shifting social landscape, Marriage Day, as it is usually known in Iran, this year was renamed No Divorce Day. Iran’s justice minister decreed that no divorce permits would be issued.

Whether the switch was effective or not, the officials’ concerns are understandable. Divorce is skyrocketing in Iran. Over a decade, the number each year has roughly tripled to a little more than 150,000 in 2010 from around 50,000 in 2000, according to official figures. Nationwide, there is one divorce for every seven marriages; in Tehran, the ratio is 1 divorce for every 3.76 marriages, the government has reported.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Iran, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Middle East

Britain Arrests WikiLeaks Founder in Sex Inquiry

In the latest twist in the drama swirling around the WikiLeaks anti-secrecy group, British police officials said on Tuesday they had arrested Julian Assange, its beleaguered founder, on a warrant issued in Sweden in connection with alleged sex offenses.

Mr. Assange, a 39-year-old Australian, was arrested by officers from Scotland Yard’s extradition unit when he went to a central London police station by prior agreement with the authorities, the police said. A court hearing was expected later.

In a statement, the police said: “Officers from the Metropolitan Police extradition unit have this morning arrested Julian Assange on behalf of the Swedish authorities on suspicion of rape.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Blogging & the Internet, Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, Europe, Foreign Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Science & Technology, Sweden

Boston Globe–Gene Robinson not seeking a quiet retirement

In addition to continuing his ministry to people who grew up without religion or who have had bad experiences with church, [Gene] Robinson said he plans to become more involved in public policy issues. Religious people on the political left, he said, need to speak more loudly ”” and provocatively ”” on behalf of the poor and vulnerable.

“Jesus was constantly upsetting people,’’ he said in an interview at the diocesan offices in Concord last week. “If we started proclaiming what Jesus did, which is our love for the marginalized and the outcast, and started demanding legislation and money that helped these people, there would be hell to pay. And that’s exactly the kind of Gospel trouble I think we should be in.’’

Robinson, whose election seven years ago created a rift in the Anglican Communion, surprised many when he announced last month that he would retire in early 2013, more than six years before he will reach the mandatory retirement age of 72. His mention of death threats among the many reasons he cited for leaving led to speculation that he felt chased out.

But Robinson said that is not true. Being the focal point of so much controversy has been stressful, he acknowledged, on top of a job that is fast-paced and demanding. But he said most Episcopal bishops retire in their mid-60s, and by 2013 he will have served as bishop for nine years. It seemed, he said, like a reasonable time to pursue other interests.

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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to at KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

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

Top Test Scores From Shanghai Stun Educators

With China’s debut in international standardized testing, students in Shanghai have surprised experts by outscoring their counterparts in dozens of other countries, in reading as well as in math and science, according to the results of a respected exam.

American officials and Europeans involved in administering the test in about 65 countries acknowledged that the scores from Shanghai ”” an industrial powerhouse with some 20 million residents and scores of modern universities that is a magnet for the best students in the country ”” are by no means representative of all of China.

About 5,100 15-year-olds in Shanghai were chosen as a representative cross-section of students in that city. In the United States, a similar number of students from across the country were selected as a representative sample for the test.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Education, Teens / Youth

(London) Times Editorial: WikiLeaks’ latest revelation is an invitation to kill

Is WikiLeaks a serious journalistic enterprise or a wrecking party? The organisation had given the impression that it had been trying to be more responsible in the past month, after having been accused of endangering the lives of US troops and their helpers by releasing the Afghanistan war logs. But yesterday’s publication of a list of facilities deemed vital to US national security is a step back in the wrong direction. There is a dangerous nihilism in the refusal to distinguish between information that embarasses the powerful, and information that potentially puts lives at risk.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Blogging & the Internet, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Science & Technology, Terrorism, The U.S. Government

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Ambrose

O God, who didst give to thy servant Ambrose grace eloquently to declare thy righteousness in the great congregation, and fearlessly to bear reproach for the honor of thy Name: Mercifully grant to all bishops and pastors such excellency in preaching, and fidelity in ministering thy Word, that thy people may be partakers with them of the glory that shall be revealed; through 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

Stir up our hearts, O Lord, we beseech thee, to prepare the way of thine only begotten Son; so that when he cometh we may be found watching, and serve thee with a pure and ready will; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Advent, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

–1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

WikiLeaks: Julian Assange to hand himself in to police after arrest warrant issued

Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, will hand himself in to police – possibly as early as Tuesday – after a fresh European Arrest Warrant was issued by the Swedish authorities.

Mr Assange is expected to voluntarily attend a police station within the next 24 hours, and will then appear in a magistrates’ court. He is wanted over allegations of sexual assault in Sweden.

He is currently in hiding in the south-east of England but police are understood to have the necessary paperwork to arrest him.

Mark Stephens, Mr Assange’s British lawyer, said: “We are in discussions about him going to the police by consent.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Blogging & the Internet, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, England / UK, Europe, Law & Legal Issues, Science & Technology, Sweden, The U.S. Government

Washington Post–Tax-cut deal reached between Obama, Republicans

President Obama and congressional Republicans agreed Monday to a tentative deal that would extend for two years all the Bush-era income tax breaks set to expire on Dec. 31, continue unemployment benefits for an additional 13 months and cut payroll taxes for workers to encourage employers to start hiring.

The deal has been in the works for more than a week and represents a concession by Obama to political reality: Democrats don’t have the votes in Congress to extend only the expiring income tax breaks that benefit the middle class. The White House estimates that the proposed agreement would prevent typical families from facing annual tax increases of about $3,000, starting Jan. 1.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, President George Bush, Senate, Taxes, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

(TMA) Loss of religious values threatens West, says former Deputy PM John Anderson

Mr Anderson said people often sought someone commonly referred to as “a new messiah” and expressed sympathy for US President Barack Obama because of the expectations put on him. He said all the great leaders with whom he had worked closely ”“ John Howard, Peter Costello and even his political opponent, former Labor leader Kim Beazley ”“ “all of them know their history, all of them read voraciously, all of them reflected on our society in order to give them a reference point”. But there was no leader providing a vision in the West.

Economists had identified trends similar to those that had led to the Great Depression of the 1930s ”“ protectionism and the beginnings of a trade war.

“At the very least, we are undoubtedly [witnessing] the absolute and relative decline of the West and particularly of the English-speaking world,” Mr Anderson said.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, Religion & Culture

ENS–Episcopal Church Pension Fund will skip 2001 cost-of-living increase, special supplement

The trustees of the Church Pension Fund have decided not to grant a cost-of-living-related increase for retirees and surviving spouses in 2011, according to fund president Dennis T. Sullivan.

In a letter posted here on the Fund’s website, Sullivan added that the trustees will not make a “one-time special supplement” benefit payment as they did in 2010.

“I know this decision will be a disappointment to many of you,” Sullivan wrote.

This will be the second year in a row that the Fund has not made a cost-of-living-related increase.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Pensions, Personal Finance

(Bloomberg) Payroll Tax Holiday Discussed in Talks on Bush Rates

The Obama administration proposed a year-long reduction in payroll taxes of 2 percentage points as part of a broader compromise to extend Bush-era tax cuts temporarily, a congressional aide said.

The proposed reduction was offered as an alternative to renewing the “Making Work Pay” tax credit, a creation of President Barack Obama that expires Dec. 31 along with lower income-tax rates enacted in 2001 and 2003, the aide said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Some Senate Republicans oppose the credit.

Negotiators also are discussing including Obama’s proposal to allow a full deduction for equipment purchases that currently must be deducted over time, an administration official said. The proposal would accelerate $200 billion in tax savings for companies in the first year and benefit 1.5 million companies and several million individuals who run businesses, according to White House estimates.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Economy, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, Taxes, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

George Sumner–A liturgical truth

It is a given of our time that every parish should aim to celebrate the Eucharist every Sunday. This in significant measure grows out of the liturgical movement of the latter half of the 20th century, of which the Book of Alternatives Services is a fruit. We should be grateful for this witness that the Supper celebrating the Lord’s death and resurrection is paramount for a Christian congregation, especially on the weekly day of His resurrection.

Still, it is worth recalling how recently, namely a generation ago, communion once or twice a month was the practice in many parishes. We do well to note some of the unforeseen consequences of that custom’s eclipse. The disappearance of Sunday Morning Prayer means a greater clericalization. Every congregation needs a priest every Sunday. We might offer, by way of contrast, the example of the Anglican Church in the rapidly growing parts of Africa, where a parish priest might oversee a dozen congregations with catechists leading Morning Prayer on Sundays. To be sure, communion usually is celebrated somewhere in an African parish every Sunday. But the priest might not arrive for communion in any particular village more than once every couple of months. Such occasions are filled with anticipation and excitement. Their ministry is more weighted toward lay leadership and catechesis. What if we, like they, had an order of catechists? How might this help us to know our faith better, and help some struggling missions to survive?

There are other unforeseen consequences….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces