Daily Archives: January 13, 2011

(SHNS) Terry Mattingly–The Catholic Church still needs priests

The cultural changes that rocked Catholicism after the 1960s made it even more of a challenge to answer these kinds of questions. [Archbishop Edwin] O’Brien saw this era up close, since he was ordained in 1965 and, as an Army chaplain with the rank of captain, served a tour of duty in Vietnam.

In the “heady years” after the Second Vatican Council, it seemed that Catholics “saw almost everything go up for grabs” in their parishes and “in Western Culture in general.” Priests were “leaving by the droves” and, at times, he noted, it seemed as if “follow your conscience” stood alone as the “only criterion for morality, heedless of any objective moral truth.” Many seminaries lowered their admissions requirements in an attempt to find more priests.

O’Brien offered a blunt analysis of that decision: “Many of the horrendous sexual scandals, I think, can be traced to the breakdown of seminary formation from 1965 to the early 1980s.”

Read it all.

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

Notable and Quotable

…[Timothy] Ferriss offers advice about so many disparate things ”” not simply losing weight and building muscle and improving sex and living forever, but learning to hold your breath longer than Houdini (!) and hit baseballs like Babe Ruth (!!) ”” that paging through “The 4-Hour Body” is like reading the sprawling menu in a dubious diner, quite certain the only thing you’d dare order is the turkey club.

Here’s a better analogy: “The 4-Hour Body” reads as if The New England Journal of Medicine had been hijacked by the editors of the SkyMall catalog. Some of this junk might actually work, but you’re going to be embarrassed doing it or admitting to your friends that you’re trying it. This is a man who, after all,… likes bloodletting as a life-extension strategy and aims a Philips goLite at his body in place of ingesting caffeine.

–Dwight Garner in a review of Timothy Ferris’ new book, “The 4 Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman,” in this past Sunday’s New York Times Book Review

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Books, Psychology

(WSJ) S&P, Moody's Warn On U.S. Credit Rating

Two leading credit rating agencies on Thursday cautioned the U.S. on its credit rating, expressing concern over a deteriorating fiscal situation that they say needs correction.

Moody’s Investors Service said in a report Thursday that the U.S. will need to reverse an upward trajectory in the debt ratios to support its triple-A rating.

“We have become increasingly clear about the fact that if there are not offsetting measures to reverse the deterioration in negative fundamentals in the U.S., the likelihood of a negative outlook over the next two years will increase,” said Sarah Carlson, senior analyst at Moody’s.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Budget, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Globalization, The Banking System/Sector, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc)

Anglican Diocese of Brisbane–Flood Bulletin #4

ABC News has reported: Premier Anna Bligh says Queensland is facing a reconstruction effort of post-war proportions as the state battles possibly the worst natural disaster in the country’s history.

The Brisbane River inundated more than 20,000 homes and businesses across the capital when it peaked this morning at 4.46 metres. More than 100,000 homes are without power across the city and to the west in Ipswich where floodwaters are receding rapidly after yesterday’s peak. The search for missing people continues in earnest across the Lockyer Valley, where this morning the body of a man was found in a field near Grantham, bringing to 13 the number confirmed dead.

Read it all and continue to pray for those in Australian struggling valiantly to shine Christ’s love in this challenging time.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * General Interest, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Spirituality/Prayer, Weather

(ENS) Episcopalians pray for victims of Arizona massacre

The Very Rev. Nicholas Knisely, dean of Trinity Cathedral in Phoenix, said during his sermon Jan. 9 that “if we are to stand against the flames of violence and hatred that even now are licking at the edges of our state, we are going to have to live into our vocation as members of the Body of Christ”

“We are going to have create humanizing relationships with each other that will make it impossible to objectify our sister and brother,” he said. “We are going to have to make our city, our state and our country into our neighborhood. We must build walls of love with each one of us serving as a brick in that wall. And those walls will stand against the flames.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, Violence

(AP) Panera to open its third pay-what-you-wish store in Oregon

Panera Bread will open a nonprofit restaurant Monday in Portland where customers can pay what they wish for food
It’s the third “Panera Cares” community cafe for the company and its first West Coast location.

Panera (PNRA) opened community cafes last year in Clayton, Mo., and Dearborn, Mich. The restaurants are owned and operated by a nonprofit arm of the national restaurant chain, which receives no profit from the business.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, City Government, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Poverty

(NY Times) Even in a "sexually liberal" Culture, revulsion at Adultery in the Marriage Bed

Conventions change. A woman no longer earns a scarlet letter for having a child out of wedlock; divorce is not synonymous with scandal; and it is no surprise to find, when a marriage comes apart, that a third person was involved. But even in a sexually liberal culture, the home is still usually off-limits, as if protected by an invisible force field. And the marriage bed ”” a phrase that in itself seems quaintly out of date ”” remains a sacred object.

All but one of 18 marriage counselors and divorce lawyers interviewed for this article said they saw at-home adultery rarely, if ever, although the divorce lawyers saw it more often than the therapists. When it does happen, however, the consequences are usually dire: affairs are painful in a marriage, but affairs that take place in the marriage bed can be lethal.

In an informal, unscientific survey conducted at the request of The New York Times by the Web site CafeMom.com, which draws young married women, more than half of approximately 500 respondents said their marriages would “definitely not” survive if their partner made love to another person in the marriage bed. By contrast, less than a third of approximately 700 respondents to another question said that their marriages would “definitely not” survive an affair outside the home.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Theology

Sherif Girgis, Ryan Anderson and Robert George: Does Marriage Have Essential Properties?

…in attempting to explain away the parallel Western legal tradition,…[Andrew Koppelman] does concede that the original public purpose of marriage law was not to oppress or exclude anyone, but to ensure that wherever possible children were reared by their father as well as their mother. His contention is simply that we should now expand its purposes to recognize same-sex partnerships.

Note two things about this concession.

First, it shows that when Koppelman insists that “any definition of marriage that excludes same-sex couples strikes [him] as already underinclusive,” he is simply measuring marriage law against a set of purposes that, for whatever reasons, he wishes it served, and not against the purposes that he admits it has served historically. In other words, Koppelman seems implicitly to concede that there is a rational basis for current marriage law””in which case, it passes constitutional muster. He also implicitly concedes that to recognize same-sex partnerships would be not merely to expand but to change the definition and meaning of civil marriage.
Second, while urging that we expand marriage law’s understood purposes, Koppelman says nothing to answer a consideration we raise against doing so: If the law encourages people to see marriage as an essentially emotional union that has no principled connection to organic bodily union or procreation, then marital norms (e.g., permanence, exclusivity, monogamy) will increasingly be treated as optional at best, and groundlessly restrictive at worst””at great cost to children and society generally. (After all, there is no reason that essentially emotional unions like friendships should involve pledges of permanence or exclusivity.) Koppelman also completely sidesteps our specific argument that he has no ground of principle for opposing “open marriages” and legal recognition of polyamorous sexual partnerships as marriages….

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

(Independent) Leading article: Our untamed planet

Like Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, the Australian floods come as a salutary reminder that, for all the technological advances of our time and for all the sophistication of modern urban life, there are many ways in which our civilisation is vulnerable and some elements we are still powerless to control.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Australia / NZ, Psychology, Science & Technology, Theology, Weather

(NPR) Will The Housing Downturn Create New Rust Belts?

A new study released by the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Research Institute for Housing America says the most recent recession may make many regions around the country ”” especially in the South and West ”” the Rust Belts of the 21st century. The burst housing bubble may mean the economy in those places never fully recovers.

“The story’s not over,” cautions study author Jim Follain, an economist and senior fellow at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government at the State University of New York in Albany. “But my sense is the demand drop [for residential housing] is persistent … and for some of these places, it will be a long time before they fully recover.”

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Julia Duin–Arizona shootings: Why did God allow it?

Yesterday, I scanned Twitter, that great marketplace of ideas and current thought, to see what the grassroots are saying. “Stay focused,” one person wrote. “No matter wht comes ur way; opinions, doubt, fear, anxieties, etc. God is in control. Trust .”

Trust is very hard. Then I stumbled across a blog by Orthodox Rabbi Shmuley Boteach (on an unrelated topic) where he asks why some children are abandoned in this world and others are not; why evil falls in one place but not another. Like the rest of us, he doesn’t know.

“The Creator chooses, for reasons unknown to us,” he writes, “to hide behind the veil of nature and it is we humans who must fill in the seemingly empty spaces.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Religion & Culture, Theodicy, Theology, Violence

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Hilary of Poitiers

O Lord our God, who didst raise up thy servant Hilary to be a champion of the catholic faith: Keep us steadfast in that true faith which we professed at our baptism, that we may rejoice in having thee for our Father, and may abide in thy Son, in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit; thou who livest and reignest for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty Lord God, who didst give thy Son Jesus Christ to be the light of the world: We praise and magnify thy holy name that in him thou hast revealed the wonder of thy saving love to men. With those of old who brought their tribute to his feet, confessing him as King of heaven and earth, we now present the worship of our grateful hearts, beseeching thee to give us grace to give ourselves to thee; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your pallet and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins” –he said to the paralytic–“I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home.” And he rose, and immediately took up the pallet and went out before them all; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

–Mark 2:9-12

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(BBC) South Sudan's referendum vote reaches 60%, says SPLM

South Sudan has reached the 60% turnout needed to pass the referendum on secession from the north, the south’s ruling party and ex-rebel group says.

“The 60% threshold has been achieved but we are asking for a 100% (turnout),” the SPLM’s Anne Itto said.

She did not give exact figures, but said it was based on polling centre reports for the first three days of the week-long vote which began on Sunday.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Politics in General, Sudan

SCLM Lists Principles for Same-sex Blessings

The theological principles refer 14 times to the biblical concept of making a covenant. The SCLM offers most of the details about this concept in a bullet-point section called “Renewing the Church’s Theological Reflection”:

Vocation: People are called into long-term committed relationships, as a vocation;
Covenant-making: Loving faithfulness can participate in and reflect God’s own covenantal commitment to God’s creation;
Households: Covenants create households as “schools of virtue” for life-long formation in spiritual discipline nurtured by divine grace….

Read it all.

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

A Chance Meeting Between Two People in New York Leads to….?

What happens when love comes at the wrong time?

Carol Anne Riddell and John Partilla met in 2006 in a pre-kindergarten classroom. They both had children attending the same Upper West Side school. They also both had spouses.

Part “Brady Bunch” and part “The Scarlet Letter,” their story has played out as fodder for neighborhood gossip. But from their perspective, the drama was as unlikely as it was unstoppable.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Theology

(NY Times Magazine) Paul Krugman: Can Europe Be Saved?

Taken as a whole, the European Union, not the United States, is the world’s largest economy; the European Union is fully coequal with America in the running of the global trading system; Europe is the world’s most important source of foreign aid; and Europe is, whatever some Americans may think, a crucial partner in the fight against terrorism. A troubled Europe is bad for everyone else.

In any case, the odds are that the current tough-it-out strategy won’t work even in the narrow sense of avoiding default and devaluation ”” and the fact that it won’t work will become obvious sooner rather than later. At that point, Europe’s stronger nations will have to make a choice.

It has been 60 years since the Schuman declaration started Europe on the road to greater unity. Until now the journey along that road, however slow, has always been in the right direction. But that will no longer be true if the euro project fails. A failed euro wouldn’t send Europe back to the days of minefields and barbed wire ”” but it would represent a possibly irreversible blow to hopes of true European federation.

So will Europe’s strong nations let that happen? Or will they accept the responsibility, and possibly the cost, of being their neighbors’ keepers? The whole world is waiting for the answer.

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized