Daily Archives: October 24, 2011

(RNS) Pope Appoints a New Ambassador to the U.S.

Pope Benedict XVI has named Italian Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano as the Vatican’s next ambassador to the United States.

The widely expected appointment was announced on Wednesday (Oct. 19).

Vigano, 70, has served since July 2009 as the No. 2 official at the Governorate of Vatican City State, which oversees the 108-acre sovereign territory with 1,900 employees and an annual budget of $350 million.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Foreign Relations, Other Churches, Politics in General, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

The New Anglican bishop of San Joaquin Conducts his First Service

On Sunday, the day after he was enthroned in Fresno as the new Anglican bishop of the San Joaquin Diocese, the Rev. Eric Menees conducted his first services at St. Matthias Anglican Church in Oakdale.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

Services set for Episcopal Bishop Bertram Herlong

When Bertram Herlong was just a boy, the bishop of the Episcopal church in his native Florida laid his hands on him and predicted his future. “Boy, you’re going to go to seminary someday,” the wise bishop told the surprised and skeptical Mr. Herlong. The man was right. Not only did Mr. Herlong become a minister of the Episcopal church, he led Tennessee as the church’s bishop for 13 years before retiring in 2006.

Mr. Herlong died Friday evening at a local hospital after a six-year illness. He was 77.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Death / Burial / Funerals, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops

Note on financial reform from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace

Under the current uncertainties, in a society capable of mobilizing immense means but whose cultural and moral reflection is still inadequate with regard to their use in achieving the appropriate ends, we are invited to not give in and to build above all a meaningful future for the generations to come. We should not be afraid to propose new ideas, even if they might destabilize pre-existing balances of power that prevail over the weakest. They are a seed thrown to the ground that will sprout and hurry towards bearing fruit.

As Benedict XVI exhorts us, agents on all levels ”“ social, political, economic, professional ”“ are urgently needed who have the courage to serve and to promote the common good through an upright life. Only they will succeed in living and seeing beyond the appearances of things and perceiving the gap between existing reality and untried possibilities.

Paul VI emphasized the revolutionary power of “forward-looking imagination” that can perceive the possibilities inscribed in the present and guide people towards a new future. By freeing his imagination, man frees his existence. Through an effort of community imagination, it is possible to transform not only institutions but also lifestyles and encourage a better future for all peoples.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology

The Presidential Address to Diocesan Synod by the Bishop of Ely

There is a great deal which I hope to say about a range of issues which concern our flourishing life as a diocese. It would be absurd not to start with what is occupying all of our minds, hearts and prayers today around the debate and vote on the Draft Legislation to enable the ordination and consecration of women as bishops in the Church of England. What we are doing today is of great significance because we are contributing to the discernment process of the whole Church. I remind us all that we are not voting on whether women can be bishops: the Church has already decided this point in the affirmative.

We are seeking to discern whether this legislation, which is already a compromise, should be supported. If it is passed by us, then we are likely to move to a following motion. What I both expect and commend to you as those who may speak in the debate, as well as those who listen carefully to all the arguments and contributions, is serious and adult listening to one another, properly seeking to persuade but also alert to the impact of what we say on others because the issues are so deeply felt as well as believed. I want no one to leave this hall today feeling that they have been demonised or written out of the book of life. Even when we do not accord integrity to a specific point or argument, we must respect the integrity of the person who makes that argument on whatever side of the debate. I am not going to speak in the debate. I shall vote on the main motion. If we get to the following motion, I shall abstain on the grounds that I am not prepared to vote against a desire for recognition and protection, even if I do not agree with the approach….

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

(SMH) Dick Gross–Steve Jobs and the marking of death

The traditional model for the mourning of the dead has been set in concrete for millennia. The Anglican model was described 250 years ago in Thomas Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard. Here he describes death in a small village community where the burial ground is at the centre of village life and where every death has meaning for the community. Ceremonies honed by time helped family members and the community to acknowledge the death and start the process of recovery.

Fast forward a quarter of a millennium and the shape of society is so different. Our communities are huge and contain unknowable amounts of people whose lives and deaths are inconsequential to us. We couldn’t give a tinker’s cuss about the thousands of Australians who die weekly. As the life expectancy has rocked up into the eighties, most of us who die in the affluent west will do so at a great age in care, invisible to the outside world. We have become less practised at mourning (which is not bad thing). This deskilling of ritual and mourning has been exacerbated as faith has moved from the centre of Australian life. So death is now less frequent and less mourned, for the death of the aged inspires far less grief than the death of the young and the old rituals are now forgotten and seldom rehearsed.

There is a ritualistic vacuum that calls forth both uncertainty and innovation.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Secularism

Newcastle Anglicans return to where it all began for 50th synod

In a return to where it all began in 1865, the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle’s annual meeting in Maitland at the weekend looked beyond the church to social issues affecting the community.

The first year of the 50th synod held at Maitland Town Hall on Saturday attracted 300 delegates from Anglican parishes across the region to the city where the first Bishop of Newcastle, Bishop William Tyrell, held the first synod of the fledgling diocese at Morpeth.

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

Local Paper front page–Economy presents unique challenges to Town Police

Wearing a bulletproof vest and a ball cap marked “POLICE,” Rich Riney grabbed a ringing phone off a wood-paneled wall in the squat, cinder-block building where he works.

“Cottageville Police Department,” he said in a perfect, customer-service tone of voice.

Not only is Riney an on-duty patrolman and a lieutenant in this three-man department, he’s the receptionist, too. And, thanks to budget cuts, he and the other guys also are part-time housekeepers these days. “We had to get rid of the cleaning crew,” Riney said. “And we cut back on landscaping to two times a month instead of every week.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Economy, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Rural/Town Life, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(LA Times) Praying perpetually to save society

In 12 years, the music has never stopped at the International House of Prayer – a leader in a small but growing movement dedicated to perpetual prayer.

Young people have flocked here from as far away as Britain and South Korea, convinced that their prayers, joined in a never-ceasing stream, can push back evil forces that threaten to overwhelm society.

“It’s probably one of the fastest-growing movements within the broad evangelicalism,” said Brad Christerson, a professor of sociology at Biola University who studies charismatic Christianity. “They’re really engaging a new generation of young evangelicals.”

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

Economist Leader on Occupy Wall Street–Rage against the machine

The protesters have different aims in different countries. Higher taxes for the rich and a loathing of financiers is the closest thing to a common denominator, though in America polls show that popular rage against government eclipses that against Wall Street.

Yet even if the protests are small and muddled, it is dangerous to dismiss the broader rage that exists across the West. There are legitimate deep-seated grievances. Young people””and not just those on the streets””are likely to face higher taxes, less generous benefits and longer working lives than their parents. More immediately, houses are expensive, credit hard to get and jobs scarce””not just in old manufacturing industries but in the ritzier services that attract increasingly debt-laden graduates. In America 17.1% of those below 25 are out of work. Across the European Union, youth unemployment averages 20.9%. In Spain it is a staggering 46.2%. Only in Germany, the Netherlands and Austria is the rate in single digits.

It is not just the young who feel squeezed. The middle-aged face falling real wages and diminished pension rights….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Globalization, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, Psychology, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, Young Adults

PBS' Religion and Ethics Weekly: Advance Directives

[LUCKY] SEVERSON: In La Crosse, Wisconsin, 96 percent of the patients who die have gone through these advance directive discussions and designated how they would prefer to spend their last days.

[BERNARD] HAMMES (lecturing): This program is not trying to talk people out of treatment. This program is trying to help patients make informed decisions so that we know what they would want even in a crisis, and we can deliver the services that match their preferences.

SEVERSON: The program has been so successful representatives from around the country now attend seminars at Gundersen Lutheran. The success is due, in part, to the backing of the Catholic and Lutheran churches. A similar program is underway in Minneapolis-St. Paul, which is supported by the head of the National Association of Evangelicals, Pastor Leith Anderson of the Wooddale Church outside Minneapolis. He says he witnessed too many families going through emotional turmoil when their loved one was dying.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Time Magazine) Latchkey Parents

When Jon Marden and Ana Elizabeth decided to split in 2005 after 13 years of marriage, they both moved out of the house they shared in the woods near Santa Cruz, Calif. Their three children, however, stayed put. When it was Elizabeth’s turn to look after the kids, she stayed with them. When it was their father’s turn, she left and he took over.

This arrangement, sometimes known as nesting, has emerged over the past decade as an offshoot of the equal-custody, or co-parenting, trend. It requires what would seem to many splitting couples to be a mind-bogglingly amicable relationship and, usually, a robust pot of marital funds, since the number of homes expands from one to three: his, hers and the children’s….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Psychology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint James of Jerusalem

Grant, we beseech thee, O God, that after the example of thy servant James the Just, brother of our Lord, thy Church may give itself continually to prayer and to the reconciliation of all who are at variance and enmity; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who dost feed the birds and clothe the flowers, and who carest for us as a father for his children: We beseech thee of thy tender goodness to save us from distrust and vain self-concern; that with unwavering faith we may cast our every care on thee, and live in daily obedience to thy will; through thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

–Matthew 12:46-50

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Bishop Bert Herlong RIP

From here:

HERLONG, The Right Reverend Doctor Bertram N. Age 77 of Nashville. Oct. 21, 2011.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Death / Burial / Funerals, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops

(Bloomberg) Berlusconi Pressed by EU Leaders on Deficit

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was put on the defensive at a crisis summit over the country’s finances and appointments at the European Central Bank.

Before the leaders convened yesterday in Brussels, Berlusconi held face-to-face talks yesterday with European Union President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Barroso and then with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

“I never flunked” an exam in my life, Berlusconi told reporters when asked if he was concerned over the push to cut Italy’s debt load, the biggest in the world after the U.S. and Japan.

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

Daniel Peterson with an Inadvertently Revealing Try to Defend Mormons as Christians

A common argument runs this way:

Mormons aren’t Christians. Why? Because Mormons differ dramatically from the Christian mainstream, rejecting major doctrines (for example, the Nicene Trinity) that developed in the centuries after Christ.

Critics often accuse us of deceptively claiming to be traditional Christians, and puzzled outsiders sometimes ask why we claim to be Christians while rejecting certain doctrines and traditional creeds.

But we don’t claim to be mainstream Christians, and these objections conflate or confuse “mainstream Christianity” or “traditional Christianity” or “historical Christian orthodoxy” with “Christianity” as a whole. They mistakenly assume that “Christianity” and “mainstream Christianity” are synonyms.

Make sure to read that last statement again several times (my emphasis). Then take the time to read it all–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Mormons, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Theology

(Christian Century) Thomas G. Long–What is it With Men and Attending Worship Services?

Still, the numbers don’t lie. Men are staying away from church. The reasons are undoubtedly complex, but perhaps a clue can be found in a Christian group that attracts men and women in roughly equal numbers: Eastern Orthodoxy. A cynic might say that men are attracted to Orthodoxy because it is conservative, with an all-male clergy, many of them sporting beards. The finding of religion journalist Frederica Mathewes-Green, however, is closer to the truth. She surveyed male adult converts and discovered that Orthodoxy’s main appeal is that it’s “challenging.” One convert said, “Orthodoxy is serious. It is difficult. It is demanding. It is about mercy, but it is also about overcoming myself.” Another said that he was sick of “bourgeois, feel-good American Christianity.”

Yes, some churchgoers are satisfied with feel-good Christianity, but I think many Christians””women and men””yearn for a more costly, demanding, life-changing discipleship. Perhaps women are more patient when they don’t find it, or more discerning of the deeper cross-bearing opportunities that lie beneath the candied surface. Men take a walk or hang around the church coffeepot talking in jargon about football: another disciplined and costly arena of life in which people sacrifice their bodies and their individual desires for a larger cause that matters to them, at least for the moment. Near transcendence is preferable to no transcendence at all.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Men, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(Reuters) Rapid growth is dream, nightmare for Berlin suburb church

Pastor Elke Rosenthal has a problem that Christian clergy elsewhere in Europe can only dream of.

While pews across the continent are emptying, her Lutheran congregation in this leafy suburb of Berlin has tripled in size in recent years, outgrowing its two small churches and eager to break ground for a much larger structure.

But the dream sometimes seems like a nightmare for the Resurrection Church parish, which has hit barriers every time it tries to expand.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Evangelism and Church Growth, Germany, Lutheran, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

U.S. rating likely to be downgraded again: Merrill

The United States will likely suffer the loss of its triple-A credit rating from another major rating agency by the end of this year due to concerns over the deficit, Bank of America Merrill Lynch forecasts.

The trigger would be a likely failure by Congress to agree on a credible long-term plan to cut the U.S. deficit, the bank said in a research note published on Friday.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Federal Reserve, 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, The United States Currency (Dollar etc)

Rhode Island–The Little State With a Big Mess

After decades of drift, denial and inaction, Rhode Island’s $14.8 billion pension system is in crisis. Ten cents of every state tax dollar now goes to retired public workers. Before long, Ms. Raimondo has been cautioning in whistle-stops here and across the state, that figure will climb perilously toward 20 cents. But the scary thing is that no one really knows. The Providence Journal recently tried to count all the municipal pension plans outside the state system and stopped at 155, conceding that it might have missed some. Even the Securities and Exchange Commission is asking questions, including the big one: Are these numbers for real?

“We’re in the fight of our lives for the future of this state,” Ms. Raimondo said in a recent interview. And if the fight is lost? “Either the pension fund runs out of money or cities go bankrupt.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Pensions, Personal Finance, Politics in General, State Government, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--