Daily Archives: April 12, 2011

For New Mass, Closer to Latin, Critics Voice a Plain Objection

The changes are included in a new English-language translation of the Roman Missal, a translation produced after almost 30 years of labor, intrigue and infighting. The new missal, the book of texts and prayers used in the Mass, is intended to be closer to the liturgical Latin that was used for centuries than the current version. The church officials promoting it say it will bring an elevated reverence and authenticity to the Mass. Many Catholics who prefer a more traditional liturgy are eagerly anticipating the change.

But after getting a glimpse of the texts in recent months, thousands of priests in the United States, Ireland and Australia have publicly objected that the translation is awkward, archaic and inaccessible. Although most are resigned to adopting the new missal, some have mounted campaigns to prevent it from being introduced.

“What we are asking of the bishops is to scrap this text,” said the Rev. Sean McDonagh, a leader of an Irish group, the Association of Catholic Priests, which represents 450 priests ”” about 1 out of 10 ”” in that country. “I know people are not going to use it. I wouldn’t use it, because everything I know in terms of theology and anthropology and linguistics, it breaches every one of those.”

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

Two Planes Collide on Ground at JFK

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Travel

'Rising star' made Bishop of Salisbury

A vicar described as a “rising star” in the Church of England is to become the first clergyman married to a divorcee to be made a bishop, it was announced today.

The Rev Nicholas Holtam, vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square, central London, has been approved by the Queen to take up the post of Bishop of Salisbury.

The clergyman was strongly tipped for promotion after the General Synod of the Church of England paved the way earlier this year for the first divorced and remarried clergy to be consecrated as bishops.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

Burden of College Loans on Graduates Grows

“In the coming years, a lot of people will still be paying off their student loans when it’s time for their kids to go to college,” said Mark Kantrowitz, the publisher of FinAid.org and Fastweb.com, who has compiled the estimates of student debt, including federal and private loans.

Two-thirds of bachelor’s degree recipients graduated with debt in 2008, compared with less than half in 1993. Last year, graduates who took out loans left college with an average of $24,000 in debt. Default rates are rising, especially among those who attended for-profit colleges.

The mountain of debt is likely to grow more quickly with the coming round of budget-slashing. Pell grants for low-income students are expected to be cut and tuition at public universities will probably increase as states with pinched budgets cut back on the money they give to colleges.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Education, Personal Finance, The Banking System/Sector, The U.S. Government, Young Adults

Ken Burns: A Conflict’s Acoustic Shadows

More than once during the Civil War, newspapers reported a strange phenomenon. From only a few miles away, a battle sometimes made no sound ”” despite the flash and smoke of cannon and the fact that more distant observers could hear it clearly.

These eerie silences were called “acoustic shadows.”

Tuesday, the 150th anniversary of the first engagement of the Civil War, the Confederacy’s attack on Fort Sumter, we ask again whether in our supposedly post-racial, globalized, 21st-century world those now seemingly distant battles of the mid-19th century still have any relevance. But it is clear that the further we get from those four horrible years in our national existence ”” when, paradoxically, in order to become one we tore ourselves in two ”” the more central and defining that war becomes.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, History, Military / Armed Forces, Race/Race Relations

(WSJ Front Page) The Federal reserve Plays Down Inflation

Top Federal Reserve officials sent a clear signal that the Fed is unlikely to follow the European Central Bank in lifting interest rates from rock-bottom levels anytime soon, playing down the idea that soaring commodity prices will lead to broader U.S. inflation.

At the Economic Club of New York on Monday, Janet Yellen, the Fed’s vice chairwoman, said U.S. monetary policy “continues to be appropriate.”

Recent increases in prices of oil, grain and other commodities are “unlikely to have persistent effects on consumer inflation or to derail the economic recovery” and are “not likely to warrant any substantial shift in the stance of monetary policy,” she said. The key, Ms. Yellen added, is that households and businesses don’t expect inflation to take off in the long run.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Federal Reserve, Globalization, Personal Finance, The U.S. Government

Thomas Atkinson's sermon at the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland Convention in 1844

The ministers of Christ, then, know their calling: it is high, difficult, dangerous; but most honorable. Earthen vessels as they are, to them is committed the precious treasure of the gospel. Each stands in his lot a prophet of God. Each is clothed with an office which Christ himself disdained not to wear. Each must look to his great Master, not only as the subject of his teaching, the source of his power, the judge of his conduct, the dispenser of his rewards, but likewise as the perfect exemplar and model to which, in all things, he is to strive to conform himself. According to his measure, he is to endeavor faithfully to teach as Christ taught. For a minister, then, to speak with authority, is something more and higher than a talent; it is a clear and solemn duty. To speak thus, not merely gives dignity and efficiency to the ambassador, it reflects honor on the Master that sent him, it brings instruction and edification to the people addressed by him. Although, then, my dear brethren, I am deeply and unaffectedly aware that I am myself deficient in that method of authoritative teaching which a minister of Christ ought to have; yet my sense of the deficiency may make me appreciate more highly the value of the gift. I have consequently hoped that some thoughts which have occurred to me, concerning a remedy for my own infirmity, may, not altogether without profit, be addressed to you; who, perhaps, in a lesser degree, have experienced a like deficiency. For this purpose, I have availed myself of the present occasion, when I have been requested by him that is set over us in the Lord, to offer you something in the way of exhortation or doctrine, concerning our common duties.

I am fully persuaded that there is no man who is heartily engaged in those duties, who has not, day by day, an ever growing sense of their arduousness, and of his own insufficiency for them. I pity that man who finds the ministry of the gospel easy. Never can it be easy to him that is faithful. He must be a witness against the people among whom he lives, and testify to them, privately and publicly, their sins. Many times he must assure them with all plainness that they are evil and have done exceedingly amiss, and deserve the deep and burning indignation of God. He must call them to forsake all that they naturally love, and to look for happiness to a Being they have never seen, and in a world they have never entered. To speak such words is easy, but to speak them with authority, so that they shall pierce, like a sword, the hearts of those we address, oh! how difficult! how rare! How, then, shall we have this authority? If you see any better method than that which I am about to suggest, I pray you communicate it to me, for, on this subject especially, I covet to be instructed. For my own part, I see no certain way, but to look into the sources of that power which the great Prophet of the Church, the exemplar and the model of all who come after him as teachers therein, ever exercised in speaking to men, to see how far these are open to us, and to reduce to practice what we find applicable to our own case.

We cannot fail to observe, then, in the first place, that one ground of that authority with which Christ ever spoke, was His own perfect knowledge that He was commissioned and empowered by God to proclaim His truths to man….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

(Zenit) John Flynn: Europe's Fertility Decline Continues

Low fertility rates and an aging population will present Europe with a big economic challenge. This was one of the points made in a study published by the European Commission at the start of the month.

The “Third Demography Report” found that the number of children per woman has increased from 1.45 children, at the time of the last report in 2008, to 1.6. Nonetheless, this is still substantially below the level of 2.1 children that is required to maintain a stable population.

As well, life expectancy is increasing, which will push the trend to an aging population. Already in 4 countries — Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia and Romania — the population is decreasing due to a combination of more people dying than are born and emigration.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Children, Europe, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family

(BBC) Japan: Nuclear crisis raised to Chernobyl level

Japanese authorities have raised the severity rating of their nuclear crisis to the highest level, seven.

The decision reflects the total release of radiation at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi power plant, which is ongoing, rather than a sudden deterioration.

Level seven previously only applied to the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, where 10 times as much radiation was emitted.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Japan, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Science & Technology

Russell Brand–Why Richard Dawkins is the best argument for the existence of God

I’m glad Jemima Khan asked me to contribute to this issue of the New Statesman as it (at last) gives me the opportunity to prove the existence of God. You may think me unqualified for a task that has baffled the finest theologians, philosophers and physicists since the dawn of time but don’t worry, I’ve been unqualified for every job I’ve ever embarked on, from learning to drive to working as a postman for the Royal Mail, and both these quests were successfully completed, aside from a few broken wing mirrors and stolen letters. So, unlike the Christmas money of the residents of Ockendon, Essex, you’re in good hands. Atheists are all about us, sermonising from the godless pulpit on the benefits of their anti-faith with some pretty good arguments like, oh I dunno, “evolution” and oddly, I think, given the stated nature of their motives, being incredibly reductive in their line and manipulative in their targets….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Atheism, England / UK, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(ACNS) First Anglican Alliance consultative conference opens, new mapping tools and logo launched

Delegates from throughout Africa and from all other regions of the world opened the first consultative conference for the Anglican Alliance in Nairobi yesterday (Monday 11 April)

Co-hosting the consultation five-day conference with the Alliance, the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) set out its blueprint for organisation of the church, and its strategy for development, focusing especially on economic empowerment, education and HIV and Aids.

For south east Asia, Ms Elijah Fung from St Johns Cathedral of Hong Kong, set out the development of her region, and her own work on HIV and Aids, focussing especially on services for migrant workers. Fr Alejandro Manzoni of Promocion Humana, the Anglican development agency in Uruguay spoke of the need to get some regional co-ordination to meet the challenges of the region, which were around exploitation of the environment, and increasing inequalities, despite the economic growth.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Economy, Health & Medicine, Poverty

(Independent) Picture of the Day: It's a long, long way down

The Yucatan peninsula in Mexico is estimated to have 6,400 cenotes, or sinkholes, and although they are hardly recommended for amateurs, they make for perfect diving pools for the likes of Orlando Duque.

Check it out.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Mexico

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Holy Father, who hast redeemed us with the precious blood of thy dear Son: Keep us, we beseech thee, steadfast in faith, and enable us no longer to live unto ourselves, but unto him who died for us and rose again, even the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

A Song of Ascents. I lift up my eyes to the hills. From whence does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved, he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not smite you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and for evermore.

–Psalm 121

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Archbishop Sentamu Welcomes Calls To Make St George's Day A Public Holiday

The Archbishop said:

“I continue to back calls for a public holiday to mark St George’s Day. I am delighted that this issue is being raised in the House of Commons ”“ and I hope that the Government will consider giving everyone in England a day off to celebrate this wonderful Patron Saint!

“As someone who is inspired by St George’s refusal to renounce his discipleship of Jesus Christ, I have long campaigned for us to have a special holiday where we can celebrate our patron saint and all that is great about our wonderful nation….”

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

(McClatchy) Housing still can't find a date for economic recovery dance

Even when home prices stop sliding in much of the country, or sales by distressed borrowers level off, there’s a whole other wave of pent-up sellers waiting on the sidelines.

“You’ve had a lot of people who’ve held homes off the market because they don’t want to compete with foreclosures. It’s likely to be a buyer’s market for awhile, mainly because there are so many homes on the market and there is still a limited supply of qualified buyers,” Vitner said. “The supply of buyers is being limited by high unemployment and the large number of people with homes they can’t sell.”

Here’s one grim indication of where housing stands. Before the housing bubble burst, residential investment accounted for about 6.3 percent of the nation’s economic activity. Today, that number has fallen to around 2.4 percent, according to Michael Mussa, a former World Bank chief economist now with the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a research group.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market

Aidan Nichols: The Ordinariates, the Pope, and the Liturgy (Part II)

The affinities between the Pope’s own theological vision and the tradition Anglo-Catholics represent is at its most obvious in his high view of the sacred Liturgy. In counter-distinction to a much publicized thesis of Liberationist exegesis, Pope Benedict holds that in the Exodus from Egypt the Israelites were freed from slavery not so as to construct an ideal society but in order freely to worship in accordance with the divine command.[37] While, to be sure, that divine command extended to all aspects of living, worship was central and paramount, for worship implies right alignment with God leading to union with God and ultimately to the vision of God, itself the goal of all divine involvement in human history. What impedes such union, and therefore such vision, is not only human creatureliness but also, and more especially, human sin. Hence the goal of worship cannot be attained without the coming of the Mediator who in his death and resurrection opens a new and living way into the divine presence. Pope Benedict describes the Liturgy as the continuation of the Paschal Mystery; it is the High Priestly work of the Redeemer, an essentially sacred reality which joins heaven to earth. In his richly rewarding study, The Spirit of the Liturgy, he points out how it is a mistake to say that the Redemption has already taken place in so complete a sense that Christians no longer need sacred time and sacred space: in other words, that the Liturgy can perfectly well make do with commonplace ordinary forms. His argument goes like this: in the age of the New Testament while we are, as compared with the Old Testament, not in the time of mere shadows, nor are we as yet in the period of vision, when the full reality will be disclosed.[38] We are, rather, in the time of the image, and this has considerable implications for ritual. Most notably, it provides the charter for the role of beauty in the Liturgy, for the aim of liturgical beauty is to arouse in us a longing for full vision. It must be, he insists, a beauty tutored by the Paschal mystery. It should not be a beauty that is sensuous in a Dionysian way, for that would be incompatible with the Cross, yet it is ordered to glory, since this is required by the Resurrection.[39] Owing to his adherence to these weighty principles in theological aesthetics, the Pope is aghast, in a manner Anglo-Catholics generally would appreciate, at the present state of much liturgical practice in the West. The Liturgy has been invaded by politicization, as in milieux affected by Liberation Theology; it has suffered banalisation in populist environments where the mantra has it that modern popular culture just has to be followed; and in less ideologically freighted parish practice its manner of expression has been simplified in a well-meaning but misguided attempt to ensure instant intelligibility such that much of its richness has been lost.

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

Aidan Nichols: The Ordinariates, the Pope, and the Liturgy

Dr Sheridan Gilley, formerly Reader in Church History in the University of Durham, somewhere describes the Anglican Church as a Noah’s Ark where all kinds of weird and wonderful species of Christian belief have come on board. The point could perhaps be made more gently than a comparison with an ocean-going menagerie. Certainly there is a variety of currents in the theological history of Anglicanism and it is necessary to discern among them. That was the aim of my 1992 study The Panther and the Hind. A Theological History of Anglicanism, in whose conclusion I floated the notion of an Anglican ”˜Uniate’ Church drawn from particular elements within the wider Anglican patrimony.[2] In the interpretation of the history of Anglican theology which is there laid out ”“ and, as in the present essay, I confined myself almost entirely to the Church of England, which is not only more familiar to me but crucial for Anglicanism at large ”“ I distinguished between three basic currents. There is a Catholic stream; there is a Protestant stream; and there is a stream which is enthusiastic for neither Catholicism nor Protestantism as such and which I generally labelled ”˜Latitudinarian’….

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