Daily Archives: July 11, 2011

New Ohio Roman Catholic Bishop tackles big Catholic issues

Bishop Joe Binzer worked in the business world for a decade before entering the seminary and in June became the region’s highest-ranking Catholic leader behind Archbishop Dennis Schnurr.

The former accountant, whose style is a combination of good-natured priest and meticulous organizer, has for years relied on his analytical skills, as well as his faith, to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing the church.

His business now is saving souls, but Binzer remains a clear-eyed pragmatist when it comes to doing his job and solving tough problems.

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

As Government Aid Fades, so may the recovery

An extraordinary amount of personal income is coming directly from the government.

Close to $2 of every $10 that went into Americans’ wallets last year were payments like jobless benefits, food stamps, Social Security and disability, according to an analysis by Moody’s Analytics. In states hit hard by the downturn, like Arizona, Florida, Michigan and Ohio, residents derived even more of their income from the government.

By the end of this year, however, many of those dollars are going to disappear, with the expiration of extended benefits intended to help people cope with the lingering effects of the recession.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Personal Finance, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

Benedict XVI–We need to be Called Back to justice and the common good.

“Caritas in veritate” is the principle around which the Church’s social doctrine turns, a principle that takes on practical form in the criteria that govern moral action. I would like to consider two of these in particular, of special relevance to the commitment to development in an increasingly globalized society: justice and the common good.

First of all, justice. Ubi societas, ibi ius: every society draws up its own system of justice. Charity goes beyond justice, because to love is to give, to offer what is “mine” to the other; but it never lacks justice, which prompts us to give the other what is “his”, what is due to him by reason of his being or his acting. I cannot “give” what is mine to the other, without first giving him what pertains to him in justice. If we love others with charity, then first of all we are just towards them. Not only is justice not extraneous to charity, not only is it not an alternative or parallel path to charity: justice is inseparable from charity[1], and intrinsic to it. Justice is the primary way of charity or, in Paul VI’s words, “the minimum measure” of it[2], an integral part of the love “in deed and in truth” (1 Jn 3:18), to which Saint John exhorts us. On the one hand, charity demands justice: recognition and respect for the legitimate rights of individuals and peoples. It strives to build the earthly city according to law and justice. On the other hand, charity transcends justice and completes it in the logic of giving and forgiving[3]. The earthly city is promoted not merely by relationships of rights and duties, but to an even greater and more fundamental extent by relationships of gratuitousness, mercy and communion. Charity always manifests God’s love in human relationships as well, it gives theological and salvific value to all commitment for justice in the world.

Another important consideration is the common good.
To love someone is to desire that person’s good and to take effective steps to secure it. Besides the good of the individual, there is a good that is linked to living in society: the common good. It is the good of “all of us”, made up of individuals, families and intermediate groups who together constitute society[4]. It is a good that is sought not for its own sake, but for the people who belong to the social community and who can only really and effectively pursue their good within it. To desire the common good and strive towards it is a requirement of justice and charity. To take a stand for the common good is on the one hand to be solicitous for, and on the other hand to avail oneself of, that complex of institutions that give structure to the life of society, juridically, civilly, politically and culturally, making it the pólis, or “city”. The more we strive to secure a common good corresponding to the real needs of our neighbours, the more effectively we love them. Every Christian is called to practise this charity, in a manner corresponding to his vocation and according to the degree of influence he wields in the pólis. This is the institutional path ”” we might also call it the political path ”” of charity, no less excellent and effective than the kind of charity which encounters the neighbour directly, outside the institutional mediation of the pólis. When animated by charity, commitment to the common good has greater worth than a merely secular and political stand would have. Like all commitment to justice, it has a place within the testimony of divine charity that paves the way for eternity through temporal action. Man’s earthly activity, when inspired and sustained by charity, contributes to the building of the universal city of God, which is the goal of the history of the human family. In an increasingly globalized society, the common good and the effort to obtain it cannot fail to assume the dimensions of the whole human family, that is to say, the community of peoples and nations[5], in such a way as to shape the earthly city in unity and peace, rendering it to some degree an anticipation and a prefiguration of the undivided city of God.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Theology

BBC Clip where the Bishop of Rochester Explains Why He sought changes in Wedding/Funeral Fees

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

The Bishop of Copenhagen’s sermon at C of E General Synod

The Russian writer, Dostoyevsky, was sometimes very critical of western culture, of our attempt to secure ourselves behind our knowledge, behind our technology, and we could add another word, that Dostoyevsky didn’t know: behind our ”˜growth’ ”“ are we planting seeds for growth or merely weeds? He thought that we had lost our feeling for Christ. He claimed that we no longer, as he put it, ’asked the heart for advice’.

Here at the start of the 21st century we should listen to that criticism. There is no doubt that even only 30 years ago many people thought that religion would soon be a thing of the past ”“ we would outgrow it. Like a scorched plant it would wither and die as we moved into a post-secular existence. There are many things on the move at present in the thoughts and lives of modern man. But we must also acknowledge and accept our history ”“ as well as one another’s histories, for then the walls come tumbling down, as we learn to listen and live alongside our neighbours ”“ including our new, strange, neighbours.

Not for one second do I believe that there is any point in going back and finding cover behind the thick walls of dogmatic church teachings. Nor can we further any understanding of faith or the church by hiding behind an anxious defence of the Bible, and outdated view of gender roles or an unrealistic view of freer sexual morals. We must not make faith into a ghetto. We must not withdraw and just sit and talk among ourselves! We must be the seed that falls on fertile ground. not the seed that has no root and lasts only a short time.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Denmark, Europe, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

Georgia Episcopal Church Rector Values Relationships, Relevance

Jamie Stutler grew up in a very traditional church background ”“ a formal worship experience typical among Episcopalians. Quiet and contemplative, he enjoys retreating with members of the Cistercian monastic order, taking walks, hiking and spending time outdoors.

Yet inspiration to start a contemporary service at St. Clement’s Episcopal in Canton, where he’s been the rector since 2004, came from a rather lively group: the 50-70 kids who attend Vacation Bible School each year.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes

With U.S. military aid cut, Pakistan eyes China

Pakistan’s increasingly “close and effective defense ties” established with China during the past decade will allow Islamabad to “fill the gap” arising from the prospect of reduced military aid from the United States, a senior Pakistani official said on Sunday after reports emerged of cuts of up to $800 million in U.S. aid.

Amid tense relations with the United States, Pakistan officials have increasingly pointed towards Beijing as the country’s natural ally, offering the possibility of becoming at least a half-substitute to ties with the U.S.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, China, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Pakistan

(BBC) Why do Americans die younger than Britons?

While life expectancy in the US continues to improve, says the report by researchers at University of Washington in Seattle and Imperial College, London, it is not increasing as quickly as in other Western countries, so the gap is widening.

“The researchers suggest that the relatively low life expectancies in the US cannot be explained by the size of the nation, racial diversity, or economics,” says the document, which ranks the US 38th in the world for life expectancy overall.

“Instead, the authors point to high rates of obesity, tobacco use and other preventable risk factors for an early death as the leading drivers of the gap between the US and other nations.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, America/U.S.A., Globalization, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology

We're All Hoping With the South Sudanese, Says Federico Lombardi

Father Lombardi noted how John Paul II “addressed, with his typical extraordinary courage in the face of rulers, the dramatic themes of justice and freedom” and was “welcomed with incredible enthusiasm by an immense crowd of Sudanese Catholics, mostly refugees from the south, who had fled from the violence of an endless civil war.”

“Eighteen years have passed,” the spokesman reflected. “It is estimated that 2 million have died and 4 million have been displaced, but now we hope that the war is truly over and that the new republic of South Sudan, desired by the majority of its inhabitants, might begin a new history of peace.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --South Sudan, Africa, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sudan

Hindu and Episcopal leaders engage in dialogue in Utah

In a remarkable interfaith gesture, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed and Episcopal Bishop of Utah Rt. Rev. Scott B. Hayashi met in Salt Lake City (Utah, USA) on July 7 and had a dialogue.

Meeting in Episcopal Diocese of Utah, two leaders discussed various topics, including harmonious living, dialogue, overcoming prejudices, love-compassion-respect-trust, finding common ground, etc. Executive Director of Salt Lake Interfaith Roundtable Dr. Rev. Canon W. Ivan Cendese also participated.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Hinduism, Inter-Faith Relations, Other Faiths, TEC Bishops

A Pastoral Letter to the Diocese from the Episcopal Bishop of Utah

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Bishops, TEC Parishes, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Rowan Williams reviews Conor Cunningham's "Darwin's Pious Idea"

We need to recognise that, if intelligible structure, developing and ordered complexity, is the story we have to tell, if the point of genes is to carry information, then the reality of the universe as we know it is suffused with the possibility of mind. Matter itself is pregnant with meanings, we might say – in the sense that the complexification of matter over the ages ends up in the phenomenon of consciousness.

And a scheme that regards consciousness as a purely contingent thing – as it were, an accidental by-product of material processes with which it is essentially unconnected – has a lot of explaining to do; as Cunningham says, it begins to sound like the nineteenth-century zealots who believed that fossils were placed in the soil by the Devil to test our faith.

The possibility of a first-person perspective, if it truly emerges from the unfolding logic of material combination and recombination, simply tells us that the notion of a necessarily “mindless” matter is not sustainable. If the nature of a gene is to carry a message, it is the nature of the recipient vehicle in a new generation to be able to “understand” it. To adapt a famous remark about one mythological cosmology, it’s mind all the way down. Intelligence as we define it entails self-consciousness, the first-person perspective; but something seriously analogous to intelligence has to be presupposed in matter for the entire system of transmitted patterns and “instructions” to be possible.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Archbishop of Canterbury, Books, History, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Benedict of Nursia

Almighty and everlasting God, whose precepts are the wisdom of a loving Father: Give us grace, following the teaching and example of thy servant Benedict, to walk with loving and willing hearts in the school of the Lord’s service; let thine ears be open unto our prayers; and prosper with thy blessing the work of our hands; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Church History, Europe, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord God, who never failest both to hear and to answer the prayer that is sincere: Let not our hearts be upon the world when our hands are lifted up to pray, nor our prayers end upon our lips, but go forth with power to work thy will in the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

And the whole city was gathered together about the door. And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. And in the morning, a great while before day, he rose and went out to a lonely place, and there he prayed.

–Mark 1:33-35

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Where Worship Never Pauses–a profile of the International House of Prayer

Founded 12 years ago by Mike Bickle, a self-trained evangelical pastor, with a group of 20, the International House of Prayer, in a former strip mall, now draws tens of thousands of worshipers to its revival meetings. A wholly devoted cadre of 1,000 staff members, labeled missionaries, have given up careers to move here, living off donations and spending several hours a day in the prayer hall to revel in what they describe as direct communication with God. Another thousand students attend the adjacent Bible college, preparing to spread this fervent brand of Christianity.

The well-populated prayer room and the devout community growing up around it are at the epicenter of a little known but expanding national network: dozens of groups that are stressing perpetual prayer in a way seldom seen in modern America, said Marcus Yoars, the editor of Charisma, an evangelical magazine. Many of them were inspired by the operation here, though none have maintained such an elaborate 24-hour system of worship, seen around the world on a live webcast.

Mr. Bickle has won praise from many evangelicals, but he has also been criticized by some pastors for what they describe as unorthodox theology and a cultish atmosphere, charges that Mr. Bickle rejects.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer

(NY Times On Religion) Ministering to Soldiers, and Facing Their Struggles

Major [David] Bowlus is part of a cohort of military chaplains who have gone through the same kind of multiple deployments as American soldiers in nearly a decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, and suffered similar emotional aftershocks.

“I found myself at a crossroads of giving and pouring out and having to find a way to refill my reservoir,” Major Bowlus said in an interview last month, recalling his lowest ebb. He continued a few moments later: “I realized my passion for God and my love for people was waning. I cared, but I didn’t care as much as when I first went in. I was lovingly going through the motions.”

Major Bowlus’s challenges, his struggle and his ultimate recovery ”” to the point that he now instructs chaplains at the military’s school for them at Fort Jackson ”” exemplify the experiences of his peers. And it sets this group of military chaplains apart from their predecessors in the Vietnam War era, the last period of sustained American combat overseas.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Iraq War, Military / Armed Forces, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, War in Afghanistan

(ENS) South Sudan Episcopalians celebrate birth of their new nation

In an exuberant and joyous three-and-a-half hour service here July 10, South Sudanese Episcopalians celebrated the birth of their new nation, even as they looked towards the difficult future of their country.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, --South Sudan, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Episcopal Church of the Sudan, Sudan

Rhode Island's Bishop Wolf heads to D.C. to solicit support for South Sudan

With South Sudan set to become an independent nation Saturday, Rhode Island Episcopal Bishop Geralyn Wolf will go to Washington in coming days to advocate for a renewed effort by the United States to secure peace and security in the troubled region.

Bishop Wolf noted that she has been invited by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse to lead the U.S. Senate in prayer at its July 14 session. Following that, she said, she and her husband, Thomas Bair Jr., plan to meet the other members of Rhode Island’s congressional delegation, Sen. Jack Reed and Representatives David N. Cicilline and James R. Langevin, about the problems facing the people of South Sudan.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --South Sudan, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Episcopal Church of the Sudan, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Sudan, TEC Bishops, The U.S. Government

(BBC) Bishop of Sherborne sees 'jubilant' birth of South Sudan

A Dorset bishop who was invited to South Sudan to see the country celebrate its independence said it was a “jubilant” occasion.

The Diocese of Salisbury has had links with the region for 39 years and has sent several figures to the region.

Bishop of Sherborne, Dr Graham Kings, said it was important to show support for the new nation.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --South Sudan, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, History, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sudan

(Reuters) EU calls emergency meeting as crisis stalks Italy

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy has called an emergency meeting of top officials dealing with the euro zone debt crisis for Monday morning, reflecting concern that the crisis could spread to Italy, the region’s third largest economy.

European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet will attend the meeting along with Jean-Claude Juncker, chairman of the region’s finance ministers, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Olli Rehn, the economic and monetary affairs commissioner, three official sources told Reuters.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, England / UK, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Politics in General, Spain, The Banking System/Sector

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

(Please note that parts one and two were posted earlier on the blog–KSH).

There can be little doubt that the Order of Holy Communion in the English Prayer Book tradition ”“ starting with 1549, and moving through 1552 to 1559 where some slight recovery of Catholic ground was modestly extended in 1662 ”“ is hostile to ideas of Eucharistic Sacrifice and even Eucharistic Presence. At the high point of radical Protestant influence, under Edward VI, it appears to have been because Bishop Stephen Gardiner of Winchester, a conservative on the Edwardine bench of bishops, argued that the First Prayer Book was susceptible of a Catholic interpretation that Cranmer determined to embark on making a more thorough job of it in 1552. The great Anglo-Catholic liturgiologist Dom Gregory Dix describes in the final chapter of his The Shape of the Liturgy his own dismay on looking into the context of the two Edwardine Prayer Books in Cranmer’s other theological writings. ”˜[I]t is only painfully and with reluctance that have brought myself to face candidly some of the facts here set out, and I cannot but fear that they will bring equal distress to others’.[1] The benign view of Cranmer’s liturgical revision taken by most High Churchmen (though isolated critical voices had never been completely lacking), and, after the Oxford Movement, by ”˜Prayer Book Catholics’, was, so Dix concluded, historically unsustainable. For Cranmer the Eucharist was instituted by Christ not so that his death might be offered to the Father but with the simple aim of its being remembered by us. The Second Prayer Book is the Eucharistic counterpart of the magisterial Protestant doctrine of justification by faith alone: in Dix’s words ”˜the only effective attempt ever made to give liturgical expression to [that] doctrine’.[2] Or as the then bishop of Ebbsfleet, Andrew Burnham, writes in his highly appealing study of the Liturgy, Heaven and Earth in Little Space, Cranmer was concerned to ”˜consecrate the congregation and not the eucharistic elements’.[3]

All this explains the rise of the Anglo-Catholic demand for the supplementation of the English Prayer Book and indeed its quasi-replacement by some version of the Western Missal. As to its content, the demand was doctrinally motivated, though it often took the form of a legal argument ”“ namely, that the proper authorities of the two provinces of the mediaeval Church which formed the Ecclesia anglicana, the Convocations of Canterbury and York, had neither initiated the Prayer Books nor even authorized them except in the sense that they advised the clergy to make use of what was sometimes referred to as ”˜the Parliamentary book’.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Eucharist, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Other Churches, Roman Catholic, Sacramental Theology, Theology