Daily Archives: February 9, 2012

(Globe and Mail) Religion and the parental prerogative

What are the limits to raising our children as we see fit? Every parent, child, teacher and neighbour can relate to the question. It’s by no means a religious issue alone, but Canadians have seen it in the news lately with strong links to faith….

[For example], in Quebec, parents of various stripes have revolted against the province’s mandatory “ethics and religious culture” school course, which is seen as either too respectful of religion or not respectful enough….

Almost every Canadian would agree that parental rights stop short of killing one’s children, no matter what the creed. But clearly there are many grey areas in this debate, which Faith Exchange panelists have convened to discuss.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Canada, Children, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(BBC) Pakistan al-Qaeda chief 'killed' in US drone attack

One of the most senior al-Qaeda militants in Pakistan, Badar Mansoor, has been killed in a US drone strike, local officials say.

The attack took place in Miranshah in North Waziristan tribal area, close to the border with Afghanistan.

Badar Mansoor is suspected of killing dozens of people in attacks in Pakistan and further afield.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Pakistan, Science & Technology, Terrorism

(Globe and Mail) Timothy Garton Ash–Germans squirm in the European driver’s seat

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Berlin republic is a European Germany, in the rich, positive sense in which the great novelist had come to use the term. It is free, civilized, democratic, law-bound, socially and environmentally conscious.

It’s far from perfect, obviously, but as good as any other big country in Europe ”“ and the best Germany we’ve ever had.

Yet because of the crisis of the euro zone this European Germany finds itself, unwillingly, at the centre of a German Europe. No one can seriously doubt that Germany is calling the shots in the euro zone. The reason there is a fiscal compact treaty agreed by 25 European Union member states is that Berlin wanted it. Desperate, impoverished Greeks are being told “do their homework” by Germans. More extraordinary still, the German Chancellor is now telling French voters who to vote for in their own presidential election, through a series of campaign appearances with President Nicolas Sarkozy. Everyone says Europe is being led by “Merkozy” but the reality is more like “Merkelzy.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Germany, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

([London] Times) Women bishops to be in sole charge of their diocese

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York suffered a humiliating defeat yesterday when the Church of England’s governing body rejected moves to create male “co-bishops” to work alongside female bishops in an effort to placate traditionalists.
Women bishops will now be given total authority in their dioceses when they begin to be consecrated from 2014, against the wishes of the Archbishops who had wanted traditionalist male bishops to rule alongside them with equal authority.
The vote increases the chances of further defections by dozens of Anglo-Catholic clergy and laity to the Ordinariate, the branch of the Roman Catholic Church created for defecting Anglicans who wish to retain both their Catholic and Anglican identities in the face of the growing liberalisation of the established Church.

Read it all (subscription required).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Women

(Reuters) Chuch of England takes step towards allowing women bishops

The Church of England moved closer to the consecration of women bishops Wednesday when it voted against giving strengthened legal protection to traditionalists who favour an all-male clergy, a decision that could lead more to switch to Rome.

The vote was the last chance for the church’s parliament, or synod, to influence the draft legislation in its long legislative process before it heads to the House of Bishops for consideration in May.

The draft will return to synod in July for a final vote – 20 years after it voted in favour of women priests.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Women

C of E General Synod – Summary of business conducted on Wednesday 8th February 2012

The morning session report is here and the afternoon session is there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture

Pope Benedict XVI's Message for Lent 2012

“Being concerned for each other” also entails being concerned for their spiritual well-being. Here I would like to mention an aspect of the Christian life, which I believe has been quite forgotten:fraternal correction in view of eternal salvation. Today, in general, we are very sensitive to the idea of charity and caring about the physical and material well-being of others, but almost completely silent about our spiritual responsibility towards our brothers and sisters. This was not the case in the early Church or in those communities that are truly mature in faith, those which are concerned not only for the physical health of their brothers and sisters, but also for their spiritual health and ultimate destiny. The Scriptures tell us: “Rebuke the wise and he will love you for it. Be open with the wise, he grows wiser still, teach the upright, he will gain yet more” (Prov 9:8ff). Christ himself commands us to admonish a brother who is committing a sin (cf. Mt 18:15). The verb used to express fraternal correction – elenchein ”“ is the same used to indicate the prophetic mission of Christians to speak out against a generation indulging in evil (cf. Eph 5:11). The Church’s tradition has included “admonishing sinners” among the spiritual works of mercy. It is important to recover this dimension of Christian charity. We must not remain silent before evil. I am thinking of all those Christians who, out of human regard or purely personal convenience, adapt to the prevailing mentality, rather than warning their brothers and sisters against ways of thinking and acting that are contrary to the truth and that do not follow the path of goodness. Christian admonishment, for its part, is never motivated by a spirit of accusation or recrimination. It is always moved by love and mercy, and springs from genuine concern for the good of the other.

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Lent, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

(BBC) Nigeria: Boko Haram claims Kaduna army suicide attack

Nigeria’s militant Islamists have said they carried out Tuesday’s suicide bombing at the army headquarters in the northern city of Kaduna.

A man wearing a military uniform blew himself up outside the barracks – one of Nigeria’s most fortified complexes.

A spokesperson for the Boko Haram group also claimed responsibility for an attempted attack on an air force base.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Nigeria, Terrorism, Violence

(Detroit Free Press) Judges to decide: Can religious confessions be used against you?

Michigan Court of Appeals judges will hear arguments Thursday on a case that could have serious repercussions for church members: Can what you confess to your pastor be used against you in a court of law?

A three-judge panel of the court is being asked to decide whether a Baptist pastor in Belleville violated Michigan’s priest-penitent privilege by testifying against a church member in a rape case.

“This is a very dangerous case because it could have very serious repercussions for religion,” the rape suspect’s lawyer, Raymond Cassar of Farmington Hills, said Tuesday. “If a pastor is allowed to testify against a member of his church about privileged communications, no one will want to confess their sins to their pastors anymore.”

Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Toni Odette argued in court documents that the privilege doesn’t apply in this case.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Washington Post) White House seeks to soothe concerns over contraception rule

The administration’s response Tuesday came on two tracks ”” with officials telling liberal groups and lawmakers that they were not backing down, while trying to assure religious groups that a phase-in period will allow the two sides to agree on an approach to putting the rule into practice.

“There are conversations right now to arrange a meeting to talk with folks about how this policy can be nuanced,” said Joel C. Hunter, a Florida megachurch pastor who has grown personally close to Obama and advised his White House on religious issues. “This is so fixable, and we just want to get into the conversation.”

White House press secretary Jay Carney said Obama is taking the objections of the Catholic leaders “seriously” and will seek to implement the policy in a way that “allays some of those concerns.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics, Office of the President, Other Churches, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

(RNS) White House Signals Backtrack on Contraception Rule

White House advisors, including one of President Obama’s top faith consultants, are signaling a potential compromise on a controversial new mandate that requires some religious institutions to cover contraception costs for employees.

David Axelrod, a senior campaign adviser for the Obama reelection campaign, said Tuesday that Obama may be open to a compromise that would expand a religious exemption in the new Health & Human Services mandate to satisfy religious groups.

“We certainly don’t want to abridge anyone’s religious freedoms,” Axelrod said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “So we’re going to look for a way to move forward that both provides women with the preventive care that they need and respects the prerogatives of religious institutions.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics, Office of the President, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

(NPR) Roger Boisjoly, Engineer who tried to Stop the Shuttle Challenger Launch, RIP

Bulky, bald and tall, Boisjoly was an imposing figure, especially when armed with data. He found disturbing the data he reviewed about the booster rockets that would lift Challenger into space. Six months before the Challenger explosion, he predicted “a catastrophe of the highest order” involving “loss of human life” in a memo to managers at Thiokol.

The problem, Boisjoly wrote, was the elastic seals at the joints of the multi-stage booster rockets. They tended to stiffen and unseal in cold weather and NASA’s ambitious shuttle launch schedule included winter lift-offs with risky temperatures, even in Florida.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Corporations/Corporate Life, Death / Burial / Funerals, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Science & Technology, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord, who alone canst cast out the evil passions and desires of the soul: Come among us, we pray thee, and by thy mighty power subdue our spiritual enemies, and set us free from the tyranny of sin. We ask it in thy name and for thy glory.

–Henry Alford

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; never be conceited. Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” No, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

–Romans 12:9-21

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

The Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa Communique

5. We are concerned about the persistent fragile nature of many of the states in our continent ”“ the rise in post-election violence, deep-seated corruption, dysfunctional economies, all affecting economic, political and social development. We urge our political leaders to create frameworks for national multi-stakeholder dialogue as a means of responding to the growing discontent.

6. We are deeply disturbed by the growing tension between Muslims and Christians, resulting in unnecessary loss of lives and property. We offer ourselves to work in collaboration with leaders of other faith communities to lobby respective governments on greater civilian protection towards stabilizing our communities. We call for solidarity with Christians in the Sudan, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Egypt.

7. We are concerned with the destructive impact that small arms in the hands of civilians has on the welfare of people in our communities and sustainable development. We join other stakeholders in a campaign against their proliferation.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Reports & Communiques, Africa, Anglican Church of Burundi, Anglican Provinces, Global South Churches & Primates

Archbishop Rowan Williams speaks in C of E General Synod on the debate on women bishops

The difficulty many feel is that to leave the phrase ”˜male bishop’ in the draft Measure insufficiently recognises where that particular point comes in the argument people are trying to make. It doesn’t go to the root of it. In other words the theological conviction is not about male bishops as such: it arises from certain other convictions. And one of my questions about the draft Measure is whether anything can be done there, and / or in the Code of Practice, to overcome the resistance that is felt to that phrase, and to do better justice to what it rests upon. If I’m right about the two fundamental principles, that’s not a substantial change in the Measure. But it does of course then raise the question of how, whether in Measure or in Code, we do proper justice to this second point about theological integrity and pastoral continuity and ecclesial integrity; how we do that without over-legislating, over-prescribing in way that creates parallel church identities by default. And that I suppose is what a couple of years ago the Archbishop of York and myself were feeling our way for in the now notorious ”˜archbishops’ amendment’. If you look at some of the background literature that was provided at the time with that amendment, precisely the two principles with which I began were enunciated as the principles on which that amendment was based. Whether we were right or not to cast it in that form, I’m not at all sure. But looking forward to the debate later today, I would quite like Synod””no, I’d very much like Synod””to consider whether leaving a door open for the bishops to revisit some of those questions in the light of where we have got to might not a good idea at this juncture.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Women

In Santorum’s Sweep, Sign of G.O.P. Unease With Romney

Rick Santorum’s sweep of Mitt Romney in Tuesday’s three Republican presidential contests sets the stage for a new and bitter round of intraparty acrimony as Mr. Romney once again faces a surging conservative challenge to his claim on the party’s nomination.

Mr. Santorum’s rebuke of Mr. Romney could scramble the dynamics of the Republican race even as many in the party’s establishment were urging its most committed activists to finally fall in line behind Mr. Romney, a former Massachusetts governor. Voters in three disparate states forcefully refused to do that on Tuesday.

Instead, the most conservative elements of the Republican Party’s base expressed their unease with Mr. Romney by sending a resounding message that they preferred someone else. And they collectively revived the candidacy of Mr. Santorum, who has been languishing in the background since a narrow victory in Iowa’s caucuses at the beginning of the year.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Office of the President, Politics in General