Daily Archives: April 13, 2012

Anne Hendershott and Christopher White: Traditional Roman Catholicism Is Winning

While some of the highest numbers of new priests are in the Catholic-majority cities of Newark, N.J., and Philadelphia, ordinations in Washington, D.C. (18 last year) and Chicago (26) also are booming. The biggest gains are not only in traditional Catholic strongholds. In Lincoln, Neb., Catholics constitute only 16% of the population yet have some of the strongest numbers of ordinations. In 2011, there were 10 men ordained as priests in Lincoln.

What explains the trend? Nearly 20 years ago, Archbishop Elden Curtiss, then leader of the Omaha, Neb., diocese, suggested that when dioceses are unambiguous and allow a minimum of dissent about the male, celibate priesthood, more candidates answer the call to the priesthood. Our preliminary research on the correlates of priestly ordinations reveals that the dioceses with the largest numbers of new priests are led by courageous bishops with faithful and inspirational vocations offices.

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Posted in Uncategorized

An RNS Story on the new USCCB Statement–Catholic bishops issue rallying cry for 'religious freedom'

“If we face today the prospect of unjust laws, then Catholics in America, in solidarity with our fellow citizens, must have the courage not to obey them,” the statement says. “No American desires this. No Catholic welcomes it. But if it should fall upon us, we must discharge it as a duty of citizenship and an obligation of faith.”

The document cites a number of other perceived threats to religious freedom besides the contraception policy, such as harsh immigration laws that could impede the church’s social ministry and university policies targeting campus student religious groups.

The statement also makes a concerted effort to portray the Catholic campaign as bound up with the fight to defend American values from an overbearing central government.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, House of Representatives, Law & Legal Issues, Office of the President, Other Churches, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Senate, Theology

USCCB Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty Issues Major Statement on Religious Liberty

We need…to speak frankly with each other when our freedoms are threatened. Now is such a time. As Catholic bishops and American citizens, we address an urgent summons to our fellow Catholics and fellow Americans to be on guard, for religious liberty is under attack, both at home and abroad.

This has been noticed both near and far. Pope Benedict XVI recently spoke about his worry that religious liberty in the United States is being weakened. He called it the “most cherished of American freedoms”””and indeed it is. All the more reason to heed the warning of the Holy Father, a friend of America and an ally in the defense of freedom, in his recent address to American bishops

Read it all and ote there is a PDF version if you prefer that.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

Diamond Jubilee New Testament published

The souvenir Diamond Jubilee edition of the New Testament has been created to be given away by local churches in schools, at street parties and via other Diamond Jubilee events and initiatives. It includes eight pages of images from the Coronation and the Queen’s life, linking her 60-year reign and her Christian faith. There is a suggested reading section with Bible references on various topics and a clear guide to help readers understand the significance of Christ’s birth, life, death and resurrection.

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

(CSM) Why the age of quantum computing is nearer than you think

Tech-buffs, investors, IT industrialists, and boffins alike eagerly await the day when the science of quantum computing yields practical technology. Physicists of the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (MPQ), recently published research that, they believe, has brought that pivotal day closer.

For many years, physicists have sought to create an information network far superior to today’s by exploiting quantum phenomena. The team of German researchers have constructed the first vital component of such a network: a link between two atomic nodes over which information can be received, sent, and stored using a single photon. Successful exchanges of information recently took place in Garching, Germany, between two MPQ labs connected by a 60-meter fiber-optic cable. Though only a prototype, this rudimentary network could be scaled up to more complex and distanced quantum networks. The team reports their research in Nature.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Science & Technology

(WSJ Editorial) Nigeria's Bloody Easter

Boko Haram formed in 2002 as a local Salafist activist group, but evidence suggests that it now collaborates and shares intelligence with al Qaeda affiliates in the region, including al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and al Shabaab in Somalia. The groups have been able to carry out increasingly sophisticated attacks on schools, churches, police stations and military bases.

They may also be working to expand their reach. The Royal United Services Institute, a London-based think tank, published a report this month showing that al Qaeda is using its African partnerships to regroup and extend its propaganda and recruiting efforts, including in Britain. U.S. Congressmen Peter King and Patrick Meehan wrote a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last month urging the State Department to designate Boko Haram as a foreign terrorist organization for legal and intelligence-gathering purposes.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Law & Legal Issues, Nigeria, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

Smithsonian Video Games Exhibit Celebrates Games As Art

Video games are a prevalent and increasingly expressive medium within modern society. In the forty years since the introduction of the first home video game, the field has attracted exceptional artistic talent. An amalgam of traditional art forms””painting, writing, sculpture, music, storytelling, cinematography””video games offer artists a previously unprecedented method of communicating with and engaging audiences.

The Art of Video Games is one of the first exhibitions to explore the forty-year evolution of video games as an artistic medium, with a focus on striking visual effects and the creative use of new technologies. It features some of the most influential artists and designers during five eras of game technology, from early pioneers to contemporary designers. The exhibition focuses on the interplay of graphics, technology and storytelling through some of the best games for twenty gaming systems ranging from the Atari VCS to the PlayStation 3. Eighty games, selected with the help of the public, demonstrate the evolution of the medium. The games are presented through still images and video footage. In addition, the galleries will include video interviews with twenty developers and artists, large prints of in-game screen shots, and historic game consoles. Chris Melissinos, founder of Past Pixels and collector of video games and gaming systems, is the curator of the exhibition.

Read it all and check out the many links. Also, PC World had an article about this there.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Art, History, Science & Technology

In New York City, An Unfinished Cathedral of St. John the Divine

…talk about landmark status for the perpetually unfinished Episcopal church is starting to percolate again, as developers ready plans for a new apartment building on leased cathedral property along 113th Street in Morningside Heights.

Real-estate firm Equity Residential hopes to start construction on the 15-story apartment building next year. The new structure’s footprint would be some 70 feet north of the cathedral itself, replacing large metal sheds and parking spaces in the area now.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), History, Housing/Real Estate Market, TEC Parishes, Urban/City Life and Issues

The Archbishop of York's Easter Op-Ed in The Sun

Nikolai Bukharin’s mistake, and the mistake of many people, then and now, is to treat the Christian faith like an ideology. Looking for Jesus Christ among the dead.

But the truth of Easter is not to be found in the grave of past experience, of pre-conceived expectations, it’s in the joy and constant surprises of new life, which Jesus brings us.

But will we recognise him when he turns up ”“ unexpectedly ”“ drying our tears, as he dried Mary’s in the garden by the tomb; when he breaks through the barriers we – like the frightened disciples – build around ourselves?

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter

Archbishop Williams calls Back to Church Sunday "essential” – as registrations open for 2012

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, says Back to Church Sunday is “essential” in a new videocast going live as registrations open for Back to Church Sunday, 30th September 2012.

In a speech to diocesan and denominational Back to Church Sunday champions at Lambeth Palace, the Archbishop said: “We have been in danger of forgetting just how much we still have in the ‘bank’, just how much”¦ wish there is for connections to be made in the minds and hearts of a lot of people. What Back to Church Sunday has more than anything demonstrated is that you don’t have to dig too far to find that desire for connection.”

Read it all and see what you think of the video and website.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Rowan Williams, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Evangelism and Church Growth, Media, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(Church Times) Attendance rises by a third at cathedrals

Attendance at cathedrals has increased by 30 per cent since 2001, figures released by Church House last week suggest.

In 2001, 21,100 adults and 5700 children attended Sunday and mid-week services at cathedrals. In 2011, 28,000 adults and 6800 children at­ten­ded Sunday and mid-week ser­vices. Attendance has grown on average by three per cent each year.

There was also increased attendance at Easter and Christmas services.

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

(CSM) Iran nuclear talks: Why the trust gap is so great

Any “success” in new nuclear talks between Iran and world powers will depend on bridging a trust gap that has widened since the last round of talks failed 15 months ago.

In that time, Iran has advanced its uranium enrichment expertise and material stockpiles, and not resolved questions about possible past nuclear weapons-related efforts.

Though Iran’s supreme religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declares that having nuclear weapons is a “sin,” and vows that the Islamic Republic will never pursue them, the US and some other nations demand incontrovertible proof.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, Europe, Foreign Relations, Iran, Middle East, Politics in General, Science & Technology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, who by the glorious resurrection of thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ hast destroyed death, and brought life and immortality to light: Grant that we, being raised together with him, may know the comfort and strength of his presence, and rejoice in hope of thy everlasting glory; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom be dominion and praise for ever and ever.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel; and as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise.” And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Mag’dalene and Jo-an’na and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told this to the apostles; but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.

–Luke 24:1-11

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

South Korea: North's launch "failure"

South Korea’s foreign minister says a North Korean long-range rocket launch has been confirmed a “failure.”

Kim Sung-hwan provided no further details about what he said was the North’s failure to launch a rocket the West has condemned as a cover for a missile test.

He told reporters Friday in a nationally televised address that Seoul is “strongly condemning North Korea’s new leadership” for ignoring international warnings to cancel the launch.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Korea, Politics in General, Science & Technology

Father James Martin–Can you Say anything about R. Catholicism on the web without instant criticism?

I wonder if you can say anything about the Catholic faith without people taking offense. No matter how benign, no comment on the web about Catholicism goes unchallenged. That goes for blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and pretty much everything else. Moreover, the idea of trying to understand a person by reading carefully what they’re actually saying, or giving them the benefit of the doubt, is fading quickly from Catholic discourse. No matter what you write, there are Catholics ready to take immediate offense, to explode in righteous anger, to threaten to report you to the proper authorities or, most of all, to correct. The most common responses are these five: 1.) Your soul is in mortal danger. 2.) You’re uneducated and need to be schooled. 3.) I hate the church and so I hate you. 4.) You’re an unthinking tool of the Vatican. 5.) You’re disobedient and must be reported.

Here is a not-so-farfetched exchange, based on some very, very real experiences. Believe me, it would be hard to make this stuff up….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Blogging & the Internet, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Learning About the Episcopal Church of the Ascension, Miami

Our deliberations confirmed the relevance of our mission, yielded possible solutions and strategies to be further explored and also revealed some urgent needs which must be addressed, in order to properly execute The church’s Mission. Three major objectives were identified that need to be immediately pursued:-

1. Greater interaction of the church with the immediate and wider communities, leading to an expansion of the membership of the congregation.
2. Attracting more youth and young adults into the membership of the church and reversing the tendency of our young adults leaving Ascension for membership in other churches.

3. Expansion & enhancement of the physical facilities of the church to adequately meet the needs of the present and future congregation.

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

(CDN) Pakistani Woman Accused of ”˜Blasphemy’ Illegally Held in Jail

The mother of a 6-month-old girl has been wrongly jailed for more than a month, as Pakistani authorities have failed to file a charge sheet within the mandatory 14-day period against the young Christian woman falsely accused of “blaspheming” the prophet of Islam, her attorney said.

Shamim Bibi, 26, of village Chak No. 170/7R Colony, in the Fort Abbas area of Bahawalpur district, was charged under Section 295-C of Pakistan’s “blasphemy” statutes after neighbors accused her of uttering remarks against Muhammad. She was arrested on Feb. 28.

Speaking ill of Muhammad in Pakistan is punishable by life imprisonment or death under Pakistan’s internationally condemned blasphemy laws.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Pakistan, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Islamist sect threatens Nigeria in new video

The leader of a radical Islamist sect in Nigeria has challenged the nation’s president, saying he could never destroy the group blamed for hundreds of killings this year alone, according to an online video posted Thursday.

The video featuring Imam Abubakar Shekau came as authorities blamed gunmen from the sect known as Boko Haram for killing two civilians in northeast Nigeria.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

The Latest Edition of the Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops