Daily Archives: March 23, 2011

(Zenit) Vatican: Priests Can't Skip Metaphysics

With the human ability to think under fire from relativism, priests and theologians need to study more philosophy, the Vatican says.This was one of the main points of the “Decree on the Reform of Ecclesiastical Studies of Philosophy,” which Benedict XVI approved Jan. 28 (the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas), and Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, presented Tuesday.

The cardinal explained that the Church is always adapting to respond to the needs of changing historical-cultural circumstances, and that many ecclesial institutions today are lacking in philosophical formation.

This absence is particularly noteworthy at a time “in which reason itself is menaced by utilitarianism, skepticism, relativism and distrust of reason’s ability to know the truth regarding the fundamental problems of life,” he reflected.

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

(Living Church) 20 Bishops Gather for Springfield Consecration

Twenty bishops from such far-flung dioceses as Albany, Hawai”˜i, South Carolina, Utah, and Qu’Appelle participated in the consecration of Daniel H. Martins as the 11th Bishop of Springfield. The service, held March 19 at First United Methodist Church west of downtown Springfield, attracted about 800 people.

The Rev. Anthony F.M. Clavier, a fellow priest in the Diocese of Northern Indiana when Martins served there from May 2007 until December 2010, preached the consecration sermon. Clavier, onetime archbishop of what is now the Anglican Province of America, sometimes turned toward the gathered bishops when joking about the episcopate.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

Thomas Friedman on Libya–Tribes With Flags

David Kirkpatrick, the Cairo bureau chief for The Times, wrote an article from Libya on Monday that posed the key question, not only about Libya but about all the new revolutions brewing in the Arab world: “The question has hovered over the Libyan uprising from the moment the first tank commander defected to join his cousins protesting in the streets of Benghazi: Is the battle for Libya the clash of a brutal dictator against a democratic opposition, or is it fundamentally a tribal civil war?”

This is the question because there are two kinds of states in the Middle East: “real countries” with long histories in their territory and strong national identities (Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Iran); and those that might be called “tribes with flags,” or more artificial states with boundaries drawn in sharp straight lines by pens of colonial powers that have trapped inside their borders myriad tribes and sects who not only never volunteered to live together but have never fully melded into a unified family of citizens. They are Libya, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Bahrain, Yemen, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The tribes and sects that make up these more artificial states have long been held together by the iron fist of colonial powers, kings or military dictators. They have no real “citizens” in the modern sense. Democratic rotations in power are impossible because each tribe lives by the motto “rule or die” ”” either my tribe or sect is in power or we’re dead.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Libya, Middle East

(BBC) Catholics and Anglicans come together for Lent study

Roman Catholics and Anglicans in West Yorkshire have joined together to share Bible studies.

Members of churches in Wakefield and Leeds designed the study course together in what they have called a “groundbreaking” move.

It follows a commitment made two years ago to work together.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, England / UK, Other Churches, Roman Catholic, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(WSJ) Egypt Vote Shows Islamist Influence

Egyptians’ embrace of a set of proposed constitutional amendments in this weekend’s referendum is the clearest sign yet that leadership of the country’s revolution may be passing from youthful activists to Islamist religious leaders, according to analysts.

Electoral officials said 77% of Egyptians voted to accept a set of proposed amendments to Egypt’s constitution that will, among other changes, limit the presidency to two four-year terms and ease restrictions on independent political participation, according to results announced Sunday.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Egypt, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(USA Today) Charitable giving lags economic growth

Charities are seeing improvements in fundraising, but progress is slow, a report out today says.

Fewer charities reported declines in fundraising last year compared with 2009.

But a larger percentage of organizations reported bringing in about the same amount of revenue both years, says the report by the Nonprofit Research Collaborative, a coalition of six organizations that focus on philanthropy.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Personal Finance, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Justice Department sues on behalf of Muslim teacher, triggering debate

Safoorah Khan had taught middle school math for only nine months in this tiny Chicago suburb when she made an unusual request. She wanted three weeks off for a pilgrimage to Mecca.

The school district, faced with losing its only math lab instructor during the critical end-of-semester marking period, said no. Khan, a devout Muslim, resigned and made the trip anyway.

Justice Department lawyers examined the same set of facts and reached a different conclusion: that the school district’s decision amounted to outright discrimination against Khan. They filed an unusual lawsuit, accusing the district of violating her civil rights by forcing her to choose between her job and her faith.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Education, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Girl, 17, goes public after someone posts her picture and claim she is someone else

High school junior Kelsey Upton was puzzled….

Without her knowledge, someone had placed her name and phone number on the site next to a photo of a naked woman, in an explicit position, who somewhat resembled her.

How could that be?

Read it all from the front page of the local paper.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Law & Legal Issues, Pornography, Science & Technology

Allies' war options may be limited in Libya

Bombing Gadhafi’s forces in cities would likely cause civilian casualties, precisely what the allies are charged with preventing, said Stephen Biddle, a military analyst with the Council on Foreign Relations.

“If they start firing artillery from (within) cities, they’re hard to reach with airstrikes,” Biddle said. “If your mandate is to avoid civilian casualties, that leaves us thwarted.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Libya

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Gregory the Illuminator

Almighty God, who willest to be glorified in thy saints, and didst raise up thy servant Gregory the Illuminator to be a light in the world, and to preach the Gospel to the people of Armenia: Shine, we pray thee, in our hearts, that we also in our generation may show forth thy praise, who hast called us out of darkness into thy marvelous light; 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

Grant, O Lord, that we may cleave to thee without parting, worship thee without wearying, serve thee without failing; faithfully seek thee, happily find thee, and for ever possess thee, the one only God, blessed, world without end.

–Saint Anselm (1033-1109)

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Hebrew called Beth-za’tha, which has five porticoes. In these lay a multitude of invalids, blind, lame, paralyzed. One man was there, who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew that he had been lying there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?”

–John 5:1-6

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NPR) Getting To Chicago's Boys Before Gangs Do

In some of Chicago’s troubled neighborhoods, it’s not unusual for boys to join gangs at a young age. For many, it’s a road fraught with violence.

But a group called Becoming a Man (BAM) is working on getting to those youngsters before they’re drawn into gang life or drop out of school.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, City Government, Men, Politics in General, Teens / Youth, Violence

Steve LeVine–Back to Saudi's fault lines

The oil balance is back on precarious footing. The shift of events in Yemen — President Ali Abdullah Saleh seems to be spending his final hours or days in office (see defectors above) — returns instability to Saudi Arabia’s doorstep, and with it may push oil prices higher.

It’s not that Yemen itself produces much oil or natural gas – its production volumes are modest. But its northern border with Saudi is porous, and as we’ve discussed previously, any flow of Yemeni refugees, including armed ones, could destabilize Saudi Arabia. To the east of the kingdom, Saudi forces are helping to tamp down unrest in neighboring Bahrain, but meanwhile face new protests from sympathetic fellow Shias in the city of Qatif, in Saudi’s oil-rich Eastern Province. All of this will tempt the trigger fingers of intrepid traders in London and New York.

Oil prices have been relatively calm considering the upheavals in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain and Yemen, not to mention the nuclear crisis in Japan, moving up and down just a few dollars when traders decide they’d like to earn a little money. When prices have moved the most, it has been with an eye on Saudi Arabia, whose massive oil reserves and production underpin global price stability.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Globalization, Middle East

France Says New Non-Nato Body To Lead Action in Libya

France has proposed that a new political steering committee outside Nato be responsible for overseeing military operations over Libya.

The proposal comes just a day after Prime Minister David Cameron told the House of Commons that Nato would be in charge of enforcing UN Security Council resolution 1973.

But on Tuesday Nato secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that it would only “help enforce” the no-fly zone, not lead it.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Europe, France, Libya