Daily Archives: January 2, 2012

(NC Reporter) U.S. Catholic ordinariate for former Anglicans formed

Pope Benedict XVI established a new nationwide U.S. ordinariate Jan. 1 for U.S. Anglicans (Episcopalians) who wish to become Catholic. He named Fr. Jeffrey N. Steenson, a Catholic theology professor in Houston and former Episcopal bishop, as its first head.

The new Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter will be based in Houston, according to Jan. 1 announcements released in Rome and Washington.

In a news release on its new Web site http://www.usordinariate.org/index.html the ordinariate said that more than 100 Anglican priests in the United States and nearly 1,400 individuals from 22 communities are seeking to enter the Catholic Church as part of the ordinariate. Two of those communities entered into full communion with the Catholic Church this past fall after a period of preparation.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Ecumenical Relations, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, TEC Bishops

On a Personal Note–Up in New York State seeing my Dad

The whole family (two parents, three children) is gathering with my father for New Years, along with my brother and his wife.

I am keeping blogging on the light side with a Christmas focus, tentatively planning to return to “normal” blogging around Epiphany. The exception I am making is for major news, such as the Nigerian church bombings earlier in Christmas, or the Ordinariate news in the last two days–KSH.

Posted in * By Kendall, Harmon Family

The Archbishop of Canterbury's BBC New Year Message

We have to ask, what kind of society is it that lets down so many of its young people? That doesn’t provide enough good role models and drives youngsters further into unhappiness and anxiety by only showing them suspicion and negativity. When you see the gifts they can offer, the energy that can be released when they feel safe and loved, you see what a tragedy we so often allow to happen. Look at the work done by groups like the Children’s Society or by the astonishing network of Kids Company here in London, and you see what can be done to wake up that energy and let it flourish for everyone’s good.

One of the unique things in the Christian faith, one of its great contributions to our moral vision, is the way it has spoken about children and young people. Whether it’s Jesus blessing children, or St Paul encouraging a young church leader, saying, ‘Don’t let people look down on you because you’re young’, or St Benedict in his rule for monks saying that you need to pay attention to the youngest as well as the oldest ”“ Christian faith has underlined the essential importance of giving young people the respect they deserve.

Read it all or if you like you can watch the youtube video.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, England / UK, Religion & Culture

(OSV) Nativity tales and traditions–Christmas Past, Christmas Poetry and Christmas in Uniform

Read it all–it is well worth the time.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Pope's New Year's Angelus: “It's necessary and urgent to educate new generations”

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(WSJ) Premier League Enters the Twilight Zone

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson celebrated his 70th birthday at Old Trafford on Saturday. A choir of young ladies dressed in United garb serenaded him before kickoff, and the calendar had served up what looked to be the ultimate cream puff for the Red Devils to devour: Blackburn Rovers, dead last in the Premier League, a club that had not won on the road since last season. The script called for a thumping to welcome in a New Year in which United would have ended 2011 in first place.

Talk about spoiling the party.

Blackburn won, 3-2, thanks to two goals from Yakubu””a chunky, globe-trotting Nigerian forward who made a name for himself in the Israeli league and spent most of last year on loan in the second flight””and one from Grant Hanley, one of six players on the pitch younger than 20.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Sports

Another Prayer for the Feast of the Circumcision of our Lord

O God, who hast made the most glorious name of our Lord Jesus Christ, thine only-begotten Son, to be exceeding sweet and supremely lovable to thy faithful servants: Mercifully grant that all who devoutly venerate this name of Jesus on earth may in this life receive thy holy comfort, and in the life to come attain thine unending joy; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

More Music for Christmas–In Dulci Jubilo from the King's College, Cambridge Choir

Watch and listen to it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Music

Another Prayer for the Christmas Season

O Holy Jesus, who to deliver us from the power of darkness didst deign to be born as a child and laid in a manger: Let the light of thy love shine evermore in our hearts, and make us an offering meet for thine honour; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Ahab told Jez’ebel all that Eli’jah had done, and how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. Then Jez’ebel sent a messenger to Eli’jah, saying, “So may the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.” Then he was afraid, and he arose and went for his life, and came to Beer-sheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree; and he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am no better than my fathers.” And he lay down and slept under a broom tree; and behold, an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.” And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank, and lay down again. And the angel of the LORD came again a second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, else the journey will be too great for you.” And he arose, and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mount of God.

–1 Kings 19:1-8

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Timothy Dolan on Christmas 2011–We may be Safe as American Christians, but many worldwide are not

If recent ominous events are predictors, Christians in Egypt, China, Iraq, India, parts of Africa and Indonesia ”” just to name a few places ”” will keep to the shadows this holy day as they leave for church, avoiding people, walking to church by a back route, hurrying into a darkened church, with their prayers hardly of joy over the birth of the Prince of Peace.

Many will hope that no bomb will go off during worship, that no terrorists or hostile police will barge in, and that they’ll make it back home safely for a quiet, secluded Christmas celebration with scared family and friends.

According to the International Conference on the Freedom of Religion, which took place earlier this month, bringing together leaders of Orthodox, Protestant, Catholic, Jewish and Islamic communities, Christians have become the most persecuted followers of any religion in the world today.

This hatred and bigotry even has a title: Christophobia….

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Violence

Tom Wright–Christmas from John's Gospel

Out of the thousand things which follow directly from this reading of John, I choose three as particularly urgent.

First, John’s view of the incarnation, of the Word becoming flesh, strikes at the very root of that liberal denial which characterised mainstream theology thirty years ago and whose long-term effects are with us still. I grew up hearing lectures and sermons which declared that the idea of God becoming human was a category mistake. No human being could actually be divine; Jesus must therefore have been simply a human being, albeit no doubt (the wonderful patronizing pat on the head of the headmaster to the little boy) a very brilliant one. Phew; that’s all right then; he points to God but he isn’t actually God. And a generation later, but growing straight out of that school of thought, I have had a clergyman writing to me this week to say that the church doesn’t know anything for certain, so what’s all the fuss about? Remove the enfleshed and speaking Word from the centre of your theology, and gradually the whole thing will unravel until all you’re left with is the theological equivalent of the grin on the Cheshire Cat, a relativism whose only moral principle is that there are no moral principles; no words of judgment because nothing is really wrong except saying that things are wrong, no words of mercy because, if you’re all right as you are, you don’t need mercy, merely ”˜affirmation’….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Christmas, Christology, Church of England (CoE), Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, CoE Bishops, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Nigel M. de S. Cameron: Bethlehem’s Bioethics”“Christmas in the early 21st century

Behind Christmas lies what Christians in churches that still dare use long words know as the annunciation””the announcement of Gabriel to Mary that she would be with child of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:26-31).

While Christmas reveals the Incarnation to the rest of us, it had already happened back then. Mary was the first to know; and her cousin Elizabeth’s unborn baby John (the Baptist) was the first to bear witness. His leaping in the womb was the first act of Christian testimony, a fetal response to a gospel first preached by an embryonic Jesus (perhaps two or three weeks old). As we read this narrative of theology from the womb, our minds turn to a near contemporary who would in due time electrify the ancient pagan world and lay the foundations of its collapse: Saul of Tarsus, also set apart from his mother’s womb (Galatians 1:15). Three unborn children in whose hands lay the destiny of humankind. And one of them was not merely the tiniest of humans, he was the cosmic creator, the Word by whom the Godhead has spoken into existence the vastness of time and space. And the One who will one day be our Judge.

I often wonder how many people who hear the famous Bible text that begins “In the sixth month” are aware of what is going on (Luke 1:26). It does not refer to the month of June, or for that matter to Elul, the Hebrew sixth month of the year. The reference is gynecological: the dating is by Elizabeth’s pregnancy. And it focuses us on the design of God to use the weak things of the world to confound the strong. The divine conspiracy is hatched within the walls of the womb.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

Mark Shea on Christmas–The Gospel According to Steve Martin

It’s Christmas, that joyous time of year when the Mainstream Media (MSM) goes in search of apostate scholars to re-assure them that the gospel is all a bunch of hooey. Here’s a recent piece that appeared on MSNBC.com called “What is the Real Christmas Story?” It’s a roundtable discussion featuring a number of biblical scholars that looks at the tale of the Nativity as told by Matthew and Luke….

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Archbishop Peter Jensen–The Christmas gift that breaks the curse

In CS Lewis’s story, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which will be on our movie screens from Boxing Day, the land of Narnia is under a curse that means that it is always winter but never Christmas. Of course, it is never winter at Christmas time in Australia, but we can nevertheless understand what a terrible curse this is! Narnia is stuck in hard times, with no cause for celebration. Its creatures are suffering, with no highlight to look forward to.

Like the Narnians, many Australians will be doing it tough this Christmas. For some, it is a time when relationships are strained to the limit, when the cracks in our marriages, our families and our friendships seem to widen. For others, the strain is financial, as we see what the neighbours have and we don’t. Yet others find it difficult to join in the festivities because the world just doesn’t seem like somewhere worth celebrating. Wars, hurricanes and child poverty press in on our hearts and minds, refusing to be pushed aside, even for a day.

My challenge to you this Christmas is to lift your eyes from your daily struggles and see what lies around the corner. To the great surprise of the children in CS Lewis’s story, Father Christmas turns up in Narnia to hand out gifts. His appearance is a sign that the curse on the land is breaking, and a better world is on its way.
Of course, this is just a story, but it points to an event in history that we must understand in order to have any hope at Christmas time. The birth of Jesus around 2000 years ago was the beginning of a new hope for the people of the world. It was like the first spring flower pushing through the winter snow””the first sign that things were looking up.
Christians believe that Jesus was a gift to the world from God himself, to give us hope.
When Father Christmas handed out gifts in Narnia, he didn’t indulge the children with toys they didn’t need or appreciate. Rather, his gifts prepared them for the battle ahead with the dark forces they would confront.
In the same way, the Bible tells us that in Jesus God gave us a gift we desperately need. The Gospel of Luke records for us the words of one man called Simeon, who saw the young Jesus, took him in his arms and said “My eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people”.
Jesus was sent to rescue us from sin and judgement (that’s what salvation means), to make God known to us, and to assure us that God is not off in his heaven ignoring us, but is closely involved with our world and our troubles.
But the gift must be acknowledged””if you ignore God’s gift, you do so at your peril, for without Jesus there is no clear hope to see you through the wintry days.
Christmas should focus our thoughts on where we are headed. I urge you to take time this Christmas to acknowledge God’s gift of Jesus, to read about him in the New Testament, and to understand how he has broken the curse of sin and guaranteed those who trust him a better future.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons

More Music for Christmas–the Amazing William Dutton

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Music