Daily Archives: May 17, 2011

(Zenit) Pope Encourages Catechesis for Growth in Faith

“Within the Church,” the Pontiff said, “believers’ first steps along the way of Christ must always be accompanied by a sound catechesis that will allow them to flourish in faith, love and service.”

He continued: “Christian revelation, when accepted in freedom and by the working of God’s grace, transforms men and women from within and establishes a wonderful, redemptive relationship with God our heavenly Father, through Christ, in the Holy Spirit.

“This is the heart of the message we teach, this is the great gift we offer in charity to our neighbor: a share in the very life of God.”

Read it all.

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

Study: $2 trillion needed for U.S. infrastructure

The United States is falling dramatically behind much of the world in rebuilding and expanding an overloaded and deteriorating transportation network it needs to remain competitive in the global marketplace, according to a new study by the Urban Land Institute.

Burdened with soaring deficits and with long-term transportation plans stalled in Congress, the United States has fallen behind three emerging economic competitors ”” Brazil, China and India, the institute said.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., City Government, Economy, Education, Politics in General, State Government, Travel

CBO says taxing cars by the mile could raise money for highways

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on Tuesday said the imposition of a new tax on cars and trucks based on how many miles they drive would be one way of generating revenues for the federal Highway Trust Fund.

Joseph Kile, CBO’s assistant director for microeconomic studies, told the Senate Finance Committee that a tax on vehicle miles traveled (VMT) would help the Highway Trust Fund meet its spending goals, in particular because the Fund is already spending more than it collects through the federal gas tax.

But he also said the tax would better align highway costs with revenue generation, and promote the more efficient use of the highway system.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Taxes, Travel

Archbishop Bernard Longley–My hopes for ARCIC

What particular areas of work have the Holy Father and Archbishop of Canterbury asked ARCIC III to study?

The Holy Father and the Archbishop asked ARCIC III to “address the important issues involved in the emerging ecclesiological and ethical factors making that journey more difficult and arduous”.

In other words ARCIC III is being asked to reflect on the nature of the Church as understood by Anglicans and Catholics and to consider the way that the Church arrives at authoritative teaching, especially about moral issues.

On that basis ARCIC III will look at two connected areas of theology: the Church as Communion, local and universal and how in communion the local and universal Church come to discern right ethical teaching.

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

William McGurn–Both Sides in Washington Agree There is Huge Revenue Problem

…here’s the question for 2012: If we the people don’t want the higher taxes that are needed to support not only ObamaCare but a growing federal government, are we willing to support the real cuts that go along with that choice? And if we decide we don’t want these programs touched, will we accept the higher taxes that go along with keeping them, including for people making a lot less than $250,000?

This is the heart of the argument shaping up between Mr. Obama and Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee. Manifestly Mr. Obama believes that as much as Americans say they want smaller government, the moment they find one of their favorite programs (e.g., Medicare) up for consideration, they balk.

Mr. Ryan and Republicans make the opposite bet: The president’s spending has made Americans more willing to face up to these choices, especially if the alternative is higher taxes on more people.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Budget, Economy, House of Representatives, Medicare, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, Social Security, Taxes, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

Robert Samuelson–Subsidizing the elderly is the biggest piece of federal spending

The problems of old age (chronic illness, outliving savings, loneliness) are real, but age by itself is not an indicator of need. The blanket defense of existing Social Security and Medicare isn’t “liberal” or “progressive.” It’s simply a political expedient with ruinous consequences. It enlarges budget deficits and forces an unfair share of adjustment ”” higher taxes, lower spending ”” on workers and other government programs. This is the morality of the ballot box.

People do not lose their obligations to the larger society by turning 65. We need to refocus these programs on their original purposes. Social Security was intended to prevent poverty, not finance recipients’ extra cable channels. Medicare provides peace of mind as well as health insurance; wealthier recipients can afford to pay more for their peace of mind. Burden-sharing needs to include the elderly. This is the crux of the budget problem.

Facing it is both a moral and financial imperative. With the 2012 election looming, major overhauls of these programs seem unlikely. Still, more modest changes (slow increases in eligibility ages, added taxation of Social Security benefits, costlier Medicare for upscale beneficiaries) could produce significant savings. If even these are absent, the meaning will be plain: Old stereotypes continue to trump new realities.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Budget, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, House of Representatives, Medicare, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, Social Security, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc)

A Brutal Job Market for Current College Graduates

The brutal job market brought on by the recession has been hard on everyone, but especially devastating on the youngest members of the labor force.

About 60% of recent graduates have not been able to find a full-time job in their chosen profession, according to job placement firm Adecco.

And for those just entering the workplace, a bout of long-term unemployment can affect their career plans for years to come.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Education, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Young Adults

Fun Pictures to Start the Day

Check them out.

Posted in * General Interest, Animals

Eric Menees Elected Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA)

(USA Today) Oliver Thomas–Faith in America: Get ready for change

The tricky thing about present trends is that they never continue. Things change ”” law, politics, medicine, transportation, all of it. Even religions must change. As soon as a religion fails to meet human needs ”” or even to connect with its audience ”” it begins to die. History is strewn with the wreckage of once vibrant faiths that became irrelevant.

So what of today’s religious landscape? And what of America’s dominant faiths? Seismic shifts are already underway that will affect the future of faith in general and of Christianity in particular. The number of nonbelievers, for example, is upwards of 15% in the USA. In Europe, they are the majority. And, here at home, Roman Catholics and Evangelicals have both outgrown their mainline Protestant counterparts.

So what does the future of faith look like? And can parsing the past help us divine the future?

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, who for our redemption didst give thine only begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection hast delivered us from the power of the enemy: Grant that I may die daily to sin, that I may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities–all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in everything he might be pre-eminent.

–Colossians 1:15-18

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

ESPN's Outside the Lines–One Sports Team's Unusual Celebrations

Simply wonderful.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Iceland, Sports

(Irish Times) C of I synod hears concerns over levy on pensions

Strong feelings were expressed at the Church of Ireland General Synod in Armagh over last week’s announcement by the Government that its jobs initiative is to be funded by a levy on private sector pensions.

The synod also agreed to subscribe to, rather than adopt, the Anglican Covenant made necessary by divisions in the worldwide Anglican Communion over gay clergy issues and to include a prayer for Northern Ireland in the Book of Common Prayer.

Sydney Gamble, chairman of the Representative Church Body executive committee, assured delegates “in light of the strength of feeling expressed . . . that we will indeed be taking every opportunity to make strong representations in relation to our specific situation” where the pensions’ levy was concerned.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland

Sherry Heiser–A legal dispute with Episcopal Church hierarchy sends the wrong message

Representatives of the Episcopal Church implied if they were victorious in the lawsuit and St. Vincent’s property was indeed vacated, it would be used for mission work. This was not the case when the building sheltering The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in New York City, valued at $386,400, was forced to be vacated and then sold for $50,000 in order to house the Islamic Awareness Center. Time magazine’s David Van Biema reported that Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of the Episcopal Church “would rather see the churches sold and deconsecrated for secular purposes than passed on to the departing congregations.”

I wonder what kind of message is being sent to the world as ecclesiastical focus shifts from charity to greed. Is it not permissible to just walk away during a disagreement instead of suing one another? I remember those preschoolers in that tiny chapel during the late ’70s settling differences on the playground by a handshake. God bless this grownup mess.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth