Daily Archives: January 12, 2011

Illinois Legislators Approve 66% Tax Increase

With only hours left before new state lawmakers were to take over, Illinois’s State Legislature narrowly approved early on Wednesday an increase of about 66 percent in the state’s income tax rate.

The vast size of the increase, the rarity of such increases here ”” the last one came two decades ago ”” and the hour of the vote (in the wee hours of Wednesday) all reflected the urgency and depth of this state’s fiscal crisis.

Even grudging supporters of the tax increase, which won no Republican support in a state capital controlled by Democrats, voiced a desperate sense of regret over the circumstances in which Illinois finds itself. State Representative Elaine Nekritz, a Democrat who voted for the increase, described her decision as an alternative “between bad and worse.” Another Democrat cautioned his colleagues: “We don’t have a better choice today.”

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

(Houston Chronicle) New converts flocking to an ancient church

Like many of his parishioners, Father Richard Petranek came to the Orthodox church in search of the past.

After 30 years as an… [Episcopal] priest, Petranek converted to the Antiochian Orthodox Church and leads a new but growing parish in west Houston, filled almost entirely with converts to the ancient faith.

“Most people come for the stability,” he said. “The same thing that is taught today in the Orthodox church was taught 500 years ago, was taught 1,000 years ago, was taught 1,500 years ago.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Church History, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

(CNS) Faith leaders try to help heal pain, sorrow after Tucson shootings

As Tucsonans continued to reel from the Jan. 8 shooting spree at a shopping center that left six dead and another 14 wounded, religious leaders around the country looked to help heal the emotional pain through prayer and memorial services.

Tucson Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas planned to preside at a public commemoration and healing service Jan. 11 and expected to participate in the funerals later in the week for his friend, Judge John Roll, 63, and 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green, both Catholics.

He also was going to be part of an interfaith memorial service at Catalina United Methodist Church, also Jan. 11, which was organized by United Methodist Bishop Minerva Carcano of Phoenix. She planned to attend a public Mass of commemoration at St. Odilia Catholic Church that evening.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Ecumenical Relations, Inter-Faith Relations, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Religion & Culture, Violence

(Anglican Journal) Haiti one year later: Is recovery possible?

A year after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake reduced Port-au-Prince to rubble, leaving more than 200,000 dead and 1.5 million displaced, questions remain about whether or not recovery is possible, and if so, what that would look like.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, Caribbean, Haiti

Christianity Today interviews Randall Wallace, Director of "Secretariat"

The film opens with a passage from Job, as spoken by Penny in a voiceover. That’s not necessarily a popular decision in secular moviemaking.

We wrestled with that. There was a discussion about whether this movie should be called Secretariat at all. You want the title to be compelling, intriguing, something that draws people in. I consulted some friends and said I’d love a passage like Chariots of Fire, something that feels biblical and powerful and iconic. They came up with that quote from Job, and it works really well. It’s a great setup for the movie.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Movies & Television, Religion & Culture

America's In All Things Blog: An interview with Fr Marcus Stock about the Ordinariate

The jurisdiction of the Ordinariate applies only to England and Wales, so if Scottish Anglicans wanted to enter the Ordinariate they would need to apply to the Scottish bishops’ conference, would they?

Yes, but to establish an ordinariate there has to be capacity within the groups applying for an ordinariate to be self-sustaining, and the indications we received from the Scottish bishops was that there aren’t sufficient groups for there to be an ordinariate there.

Was an ordinariate that included Scotland ever considered, or does an ordinariate always have to correspond to the jurisdiction of a bishops’ conference?

It always has to be within a bishops’ conference. But that doesn’t preclude groups outside that being included in that.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecclesiology, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Theology

The Roman Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales: Establishment of Personal Ordinariate

Will members of the Ordinariate still be Anglicans?

No. Members of the Ordinariate will be Catholics. Their decision is to leave the Anglican Communion and come into the Catholic Church, in full communion with the Pope.

The central purpose of Anglicanorum coetibus is “to maintain the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions of the Anglican Communion within the Catholic Church, as a precious gift nourishing the faith of the members of the Ordinariate and as a treasure to be shared”. Members of the Ordinariate will bring with them, into full communion with the Catholic Church in all its diversity and richness of liturgical rites and traditions, some aspects their own Anglican patrimony and culture.
It is recognised that the term Anglican patrimony is difficult to define but it would include many of the spiritual writings, prayers, hymnody, and pastoral practices distinctive to the Anglican tradition which have sustained the faith and longing of many Anglican faithful for that very unity for which Christ prayed.

The Ordinariate will then bring a mutual enrichment and exchange of gifts, in an authentic and visible form of full communion, between those baptised and nurtured in Anglicanism and the Catholic Church.

Do all Anglicans who wish to become Catholics now have to be members of the Ordinariate?

No. Any individual former Anglican who wishes to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church, may do so without becoming a registered member of the Ordinariate.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

(Independent) US lawyer specialising in lawsuits against Catholic Church sets up UK practice

For much of the past 25-years Jeff Anderson has been the American Catholic Church’s bete noire. Working out of a small office in St Paul, Minnesota, the 63-year-old US attorney has spearheaded more than 1,500 lawsuits against the Catholic Church, winning millions of dollars for his clients whilst forcing open one of the world’s most secretive institutions.

Now the tough-talking American lawyer with a taste for Zen Buddhism has co-founded a London-based law firm to bring sex abuse lawsuits against churches in Britain. The new firm, Jeff Anderson ”“ Ann Olivarius Law, is one the first attempts to create a cross Atlantic practice dedicated to launching legal actions on multiple continents using aggressive litigation tactics that have been honed for over two decades in the United States.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(Telegraph) China: a force fit for a superpower

For now, Beijing wields enough power to keep the US in check in the Pacific and to discourage Taiwan from relying too heavily on American support. In the future, the Pentagon believes that the PLA could extend further into the Pacific, using its fleet to control shipping lines and oil concessions. The “pace and scale” of the PLA’s modernisation has been “broad and sweeping”, the Pentagon said. But, for now, China’s modern army “remains untested”.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, China, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Science & Technology

(Telegraph) Church of England braced for first wave of defections to Catholic Church

John Broadhurst, Andrew Burnham and Keith Newton will be ordained into the priesthood at Westminster Cathedral on Saturday, it was announced yesterday.

The Ordinariate, the group for disaffected Anglican priests and their congregations who seek full communion in the Catholic Church, will also take in its first members.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecumenical Relations, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Aelred of Rievaulx

Almighty God, who didst endow thy abbot Aelred with the gift of Christian friendship and the wisdom to lead others in the way of holiness: Grant to thy people that same spirit of mutual affection, that, in loving one another, we may know the love of Christ and rejoice in the gift of thy eternal goodness; through the same Jesus Christ our Savior, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Almighty God, who by thy holy Apostle hast taught us to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto thee, as our reasonable service: Hear us, we beseech thee, as we now come to thee in the name of Jesus Christ; and give us grace that we may dedicate ourselves wholly to thy service, and henceforth live only to thy glory; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ…

–Ephesians 2:4-5ab

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Australian Cities under siege as flood crisis deepens

Brisbane is facing its worst flooding in more than 100 years, with officials warning almost 20,000 homes in the city will be flooded by early tomorrow morning.

The Queensland capital and the nearby city of Ipswich are bracing for once-in-a-generation flooding which has already claimed the lives of 10 people.

The number of people missing after flash flooding in Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley continues to rise, with more than 90 people unaccounted for this morning.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, Australia / NZ

(LA Times) Egyptian Christian fatally shot, 5 wounded, aboard train

An off-duty policeman opened fire aboard a train Tuesday in southern Egypt, killing one Christian and wounding five less than two weeks after the New Year’s Day bombing at a church in Alexandria that killed 25 Coptic Christians, according to the state news agency.

There were few details on the incident and it was unclear whether the shooting was sectarian related. The state news agency, MENA, quoted an Interior Ministry official as saying a Muslim police officer boarded a Cairo-bound train in the town of Samalut in Minya province and began firing a handgun. The official said a 71-year-old Coptic man was killed and his wife and four other Christians ”” three women and a man ”” were wounded.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Coptic Church, Egypt, Islam, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Violence

(RNS) Arizona Religious leaders call for calm, civility

Tucson Bishop Gerald Kicanas was thousands of miles away from the shooting rampage that rocked his Arizona diocese on Saturday (Jan. 8), but the emotional shock hit him hard.

“It broke me up,” said Kicanas, who was in Jerusalem attending a meeting of Catholic bishops on peace in the Holy Land. “I could not sleep. I just wanted to return home as soon as possible,” the bishop wrote to his spokesman.

The victims of Saturday’s shooting include a federal judge and devout Roman Catholic who attended Mass daily, and a 9-year-old girl who had received her First Communion at St. Odilia Parish in Tucson last year. Four other victims died and 14 were wounded, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., who police believe was the target of accused gunman Jared Lee Loughner.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, State Government, Violence

(Postmedia News) Saskatchewan officials must perform Same Sex Marriages

In giving a resounding “no” to proposed laws that would have allowed Saskatchewan marriage commissioners to opt out of uniting same-sex couples on religious grounds, the province’s top court was very clear about the potential impact of such legislation.

“It would be a significant step backward if, having won the difficult fight for the right to same-sex civil marriages, gay and lesbian couples could be shunned by the very people charged by the province with solemnizing such unions,” Justice Robert Richards said, authoring Monday’s majority decision for the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Canada, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

Breathtaking Video of the Australian Floods–a Tsunami of Water in Murphys Creek

Watch it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Australia / NZ

George Will on the response to the Tucson tragedy

It would be merciful if, when tragedies such as Tucson’s occur, there were a moratorium on sociology. But respites from half-baked explanations, often serving political opportunism, are impossible because of a timeless human craving and a characteristic of many modern minds.

The craving is for banishing randomness and the inexplicable from human experience. Time was, the gods were useful. What is thunder? The gods are angry. Polytheism was explanatory. People postulated causations.

And still do. Hence: The Tucson shooter was (pick your verb) provoked, triggered, unhinged by today’s (pick your noun) rhetoric, vitriol, extremism, “climate of hate….”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, House of Representatives, Media, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Psychology, Senate, Violence

Bishop Edward Neufville RIP

Bishop Neufville was a product of Cuttington College and Divinity School (now Cuttington University), where he took his undergraduate degree and later his Bachelor’s in Sacred Theology.
He served as priest of St. Martin on the Mountain in Yekepa, Nimba County. During his tenure in Yekepa, he had oversight for the construction of St. Valentine Episcopal Church in Sanniquellie, the Nimba capital.
He was later appointed archdeacon of the church’s Northern Archdeaconry, serving Bong, Lofa and Nimba Counties.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, * South Carolina, - Anglican: Latest News, Africa, Death / Burial / Funerals, Liberia, Parish Ministry