Daily Archives: February 18, 2011

(WSJ) John Allen: The Vatican's Marriage Quandary

Every year, Pope Benedict XVI gives a speech to the judges of the Roman Rota, a Vatican court that mainly handles marriage cases. He usually includes a warning about handing out annulments too easily, and Americans invariably assume that he’s talking about them. On this matter they may have a point: Vatican statistics say that more than 60% of annulments come from the United States.

Official Catholic teaching holds that marriage is for life, and hence divorce is not tolerated. Yet church law provides for an “annulment,” meaning a formal declaration that a marriage never existed, usually on the grounds that at least one of the parties lacked the capacity to give true consent. To secure an annulment, Catholics have to turn to church courts, which can be time-consuming and expensive.

Annulment has drawn a variety of criticisms over the years….

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

Reminder: The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina Convention begins late this Afternoon

You can find basic information and links here and the delegate packet is there.

We would appreciate your prayers.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

(ACNS) Communique from the Anglican-Methodist International Commission for Unity in Mission

The Commission recognises that, if the goal of fuller communion is to be realised, in the course of the next two years significant work will need to be undertaken on some specific areas. These include issues relating to the interchangeability of ordained ministries and the ministry of oversight (episkope). Our hope is to find ways in which, in every place, the churches of our two world families may work as one in the urgent task of mission.

The Commission took careful note of the bilateral conversations between our communions. These are taking place in the United States, England, Ireland, and New Zealand, and in Canada and Australia between Anglicans and the united or uniting churches. In listening to the experience of two United Churches (Church of South India/Church of North India) the Commission has become more aware that questions of identity and belonging to wider Christian fellowships require ongoing attention. The Commission would welcome hearing news of any other bilateral conversations.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Reports & Communiques, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, Methodist, Other Churches

The Archbishop of York speaks about the importance of marriage

During National Marriage Week, I suggest that as a nation we learn from Jewish people and those who have come from places where there are extended families that actually support marriage. When Margaret and I arrived in this country, we did not have children; since then, we have had them. We did not have the joy of grandparents, uncles and aunties, but we were very fortunate to be in a church life in which our children could have that extension of learning from other people. I suggest that we should explore how we can create these extended families in which marriage can be supported. In the home where I was raised, divorce was unheard of, simply because the uncles, aunties and grandparents always tried to help the marriage along the way. It would be a good thing for us to create the possibility of extended families.

Finally, marriage is a good thing. I hope that we can all celebrate the gift of marriage without giving the impression that those who are not married are less loving and less caring. Nevertheless, if you find a good cure it would be quite selfish not to sell the product and not to tell those who need this wonderful product. In England at this particular moment, marriage is one of those good things that is kept a secret because we dare not offend or sound self-righteous or as if we were pushing other things….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture

Church Times–Civil partnerships will not be forced on Church, says Theresa May

The Government announced this week that it plans to allow religious buildings to be used to host the registration of civil partnerships for same-sex couples.

The proposals, from the Govern­ment Equalities Office (GEO), emphasised that any changes would be “entirely voluntary”, and would not “force any religious group to host civil partnership registrations if they do not wish to do so”.
But the announcement received mixed reactions from Churches. The Church of England warned that such changes could lead to “inconsist­encies with civil marriage, have unex­plored impacts, and lead to confu­sion”. The Bishops had “consistent­ly been clear that the Church of En­gland should not provide services of blessing for those who register civil partnerships”.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

(Living Church) Missionaries Rejoice with Egyptians

Episcopal Church missionary Paul-Gordon Chandler is returning to Cairo on Wednesday after a 10-day respite from Egypt’s political uprising.

“Speaking with our friends on the telephone in Cairo, it is clear that they feel empowered, and that the culture of fear that they have lived under within an authoritarian government has disappeared,” Chandler wrote in a letter to friends and supporters. “There is a sense of profound hope in the streets and a common feeling of good will towards each other. Of course the journey to true representative democracy is a long journey.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Egypt, Episcopal Church (TEC), Middle East, Missions

(RNS) When Marriages are Eternal, Single and Divorced Mormons Struggle

To many Americans, religious or not, chastity before marriage is a quaint tradition at best and emotionally damaging at worst.

After all, more than 90 percent of men and women, according to Guttmacher Institute surveys during the past 50 years, have reported engaging in premarital sex. And the older a single person becomes, many people believe, the more ridiculous it seems to forgo physical intimacy.

That’s the perspective of Mormon poet Nicole Hardy, who, in a New York Times essay last month, described her decision to join the rest of the modern world.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Marriage & Family, Mormons, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(Weekly Standard) Professional Islamists

The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, or al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun, is more than a radical network, comparable to al Qaeda; more than an ideological phenomenon, like the followers of Khomeini in the 1979 Iranian Revolution; and more than a political insurgency, similar to Pakistani jihadism. It is an Egyptian Islamist subculture of great depth and influence.

It is therefore also much more than a product of political decisions made by Hosni Mubarak. The Brotherhood was powerful before Mubarak, before his predecessor Anwar Sadat, and before their elder comrade, Gamal Abdel Nasser.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

BBC–Gay church 'weddings' move closer

The government has announced plans to allow churches in England and Wales to host civil partnership ceremonies.

Ministers sought greater “equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people”, but said no religious group would be forced to host the ceremonies.

The Church of England has said it will not do so. Quakers have welcomed the plans, with support also expected from Unitarians and Liberal Jews.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Martin Luther

O God, our refuge and our strength, who didst raise up thy servant Martin Luther to reform and renew thy Church in the light of thy word: Defend and purify the Church in our own day and grant that, through faith, we may boldly proclaim the riches of thy grace, which thou hast made known in Jesus Christ our Savior, who, with thee and the Holy Spirit, liveth and reigneth, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Lutheran, Other Churches, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty God, whose sovereign purpose none can make void: Give us faith to stand calm and undismayed amid the tumults of the world, knowing that thy kingdom shall come and thy will be done; to the eternal glory of thy name, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

My days are like an evening shadow; I wither away like grass. But thou, O LORD, art enthroned for ever; thy name endures to all generations. Thou wilt arise and have pity on Zion; it is the time to favor her; the appointed time has come.

–Psalm 102:11-13

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(RNS) Vatican Allows Three Massachusetts Churches to Stay Open

In what one expert is calling a landmark decision, three closed Catholic churches in the Diocese of Springfield, Mass., have been given at least a partial reprieve.

St. Patrick’s and St. George churches in Chicopee and St. Stanislaus Kostka Church in Adams each received decisions from the Congregation for the Clergy in Rome which will allow the three churches to reopen.

More than 200 church members have taken turns to occupy St. Stanislaus around-the-clock since Dec. 26, 2008, to try to keep it open.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

(NY Times A Year at War series) Staying in Touch With Home, for Better or Worse

The communication gap that once kept troops from staying looped into the joyful, depressing, prosaic or sordid details of home life has all but disappeared. With advances in cellular technology, wider Internet access and the infectious use of social networking sites like Facebook, troops in combat zones can now communicate with home nearly around the clock.

They can partake in births and birthdays in real time. They can check sports scores, take online college courses and even manage businesses and stock portfolios.

But there is a drawback: they can no longer tune out problems like faulty dishwashers and unpaid electric bills, wayward children and failing relationships, as they once could.

The Pentagon, which for years resisted allowing unfettered Internet access on military computers because of cyber-security concerns, has now embraced the revolution, saying instant communication is a huge morale boost for troops and their families. But military officials quietly acknowledge a downside to the connectivity.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Children, Defense, National Security, Military, Marriage & Family, Military / Armed Forces, Psychology, Science & Technology

Randy Sly–Anglican Ordinariate Needs to be Taken Seriously in America

Did you know there is a Google Map that is tracking Anglican parishes entering the Ordinariate? You can visit it the Ordinariate Google Map [] anytime to look at the latest statistics.

According to the recent count, the United States leads with 36 groups, Canada has 30 and the United Kingdom has 18. The originator, Shane Schaetzel, is currently looking for collaborators in Australia and the United Kingdom to help him keep track of those coming in.

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

(ACNS) Study guide on the Anglican Communion Covenant published

A study guide and a Questions & Answers document was published today to assist people exploring the Anglican Communion Covenant.

The study guide (available as a pdf document) from the Anglican Communion website (www.anglicancommunion.org) is intended for parishes, deaneries, dioceses or groups of individuals wishing to explore the Covenant and the way it describes Anglican identity.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant

(WSJ) A Standard-of-Living Shock Is the Danger

The threat of inflation is real. It is just a different threat than many realize.

For the U.S., the danger isn’t necessarily an inflationary outbreak””marked by an upward wage-price spiral””so much as a standard-of-living shock. Indeed, household income has barely outpaced inflation since 1975, and gains are largely due to women entering the work force. Median income for men was actually higher, in real terms, in 1973 than in 2009.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Globalization, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Psychology, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(WSJ) University of the South Slashes Tuition, Cites Economy

In a move likely to reverberate among America’s top-tier private colleges, the University of the South said Wednesday it will slash tuition and fees for the coming school year by 10%, or about $4,600….

If not the first, Sewanee is the largest private school to institute such price cuts in recent years, said Tony Pals, director of communications for the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.

“It’s a bold move that will have the potential to put competitive pressure on Sewanee’s peer institutions,” said Mr. Pals.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Education, Episcopal Church (TEC), Personal Finance, Young Adults