Daily Archives: June 18, 2012

Robert George–Roman Catholics Should Criticize Indiscriminate Drone Use

The use of drones is not, in my opinion, inherently immoral in otherwise justifiable military operations; but the risks of death and other grave harms to noncombatants are substantial and certainly complicate the picture for any policy maker who is serious about the moral requirements for the justified use of military force. Having a valid military target is in itself not a sufficient justification for the use of weapons such as predator drones. Sometimes considerations of justice to noncombatants forbid their use, even if that means that grave risks must be endured by our own forces in the prosecution of a war.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

(CNS) Church bombings, reprisal attacks, claim 45 lives in Nigeria

Bishop George Dodo of Zaria, Nigeria, was in the middle of his homily June 17 “when we heard a loud explosion.” A car bomb had just exploded near the Cathedral of Christ the King, where the bishop was celebrating the second Mass of the day.

“The car bomb created a crater two feet deep; all around there was broken glass, rubble and burning cars,” the bishop told Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. Reuters, the British news agency, reported 10 people were killed at Christ the King.

Bombings also were reported at the Evangelical Church of the Good News in Zaria and at churches in Kaduna. Vatican Radio said June 18 that the total death toll from the Sunday bombings had reached 45 and some 100 people were reported injured, either by the bombings or by reprisal attacks afterward.

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

(RNS) Roman Catholic hospitals reject Obama’s birth control compromise

In an unexpected blow to the Obama administration and a major boon for America’s Catholic bishops, the influential Catholic Health Association on Friday (June 15) rejected White House proposals aimed at easing faith-based objections to the contraception mandate.

“The more we learn, the more it appears that the ”¦ approaches for both insured and self-insured plans would be unduly cumbersome and would be unlikely to adequately meet the religious liberty concerns of all of our members and other Church ministries,” Sister Carol Keehan and leaders of the CHA said in a five-page response to the Department of Health and Human Services.

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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, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Office of the President, Other Churches, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

David Skeel–Clerical Privilege and the Law

By the 1920s, roughly 30 U.S. states had adopted a clergy privilege, often showing as much or more solicitude for the penitent as for the priest or pastor. “Unless the person confessing or confiding waives the privilege,” as the New York provision puts it, “a clergyman, or other minister of any religion or duly accredited Christian Science practitioner, shall not be allowed to disclose a confession or confidence made to him in his professional character as spiritual adviser.”

The privilege comes with the very steep cost that some wrongdoers may go free if their confession can’t be used. But a wrongdoer may be more willing to confess if confessions are protected, in which case the spiritual adviser or the penitent’s own conscience may encourage him to face up to his wrongdoing voluntarily.

Almost the only exception to the clergy-penitent privilege is for child abuse.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

Agenda for July 2012 Church of England General Synod

General Synod meets in July for final stages of women bishops legislation, with an agenda that also includes world mission, church growth, the August 2011 riots, manifesting faith in public life, church schools, Palestine and Israel.

The General Synod will meet at York University from 5.15 p.m. on Friday 6 July until lunchtime on Tuesday 10 July. The meeting will be preceded by meetings of the House of Laity and the Convocations (provincial synods) of Canterbury and York at 2 p.m. on Friday 6 July.

The Agenda provides for the Synod to deal with the final stages of the major legislative process designed to make it possible for women to be bishops in the Church of England while also making some provision for those who, for theological reasons, will not be able to receive their ministry. If the legislation is approved, by simple majorities, by the House of Laity and the Convocations, the way will be clear for it to be presented for final approval on Monday 9 July. As with the women priests legislation in 1992, the whole of the morning and afternoon sittings has been allocated to the Final Approval debates.

Read it all and follow all the links as well.

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

Lord Carey Responds to Nick Herbert in a Letter in today's (London) Times

This debate is not about the dignity and rights of gay and lesbian people, who already have the benefits of marriage through civil partnerships, but about a change in the definition of marriage for everyone.

Read it all (subscription required) and there is also a a Telegraph article about this there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

Nelson Jones–God's Peculiar People, the question of British identity and the established Church

These days relatively few people in the UK, whatever their religious affiliations, feel much attachment to this style of Protestant identity, or if they do it is one of nostalgia rather than of belief. It’s no accident that some of the strongest supporters of the King James Bible are atheists like Richard Dawkins or the late Christopher Hitchens. As for anti-Catholicism, that is going out of fashion even in Northern Ireland. Indeed, the fierce attachment of Ulster unionists to traditional expressions of Protestant British identity have long been a source of bemusement and embarrassment on the mainland. That version of Britishness now seems frankly un-British to most Brits, whose remaining anti-Catholic instincts are sated by laughing at some papal pronouncement on birth control or observing the (let’s face, it, deserved) predicament of the Catholic Church in Ireland.

Modern Britain is, of course, secular (indeed irreligious) in tone and institutionally committed to embracing many different faiths. Indeed, Catholic Emancipation in 1829, when most of the laws discriminating against Catholics were done away with, can be seen as the first of many steps away from a Protestant society and towards a multi-faith one. Only a bare majority of the population now describe themselves as Christian; increasingly “None” has begun to replace “C of E” as the default option of the unsure when asked about their religious affiliation. Millions of us no longer know the words to once-familiar hymns or have more than the basic knowledge of Christian doctrines. It’s unlikely that Michael Gove’s generous gift of a King James Bible to every school in the land will do much to stem the tide of apathy.

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

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard–Greece will have to leave EMU whoever is elected

The fond wish of markets is that the ECB will act once Europe’s leaders have sketched a “road map” for fiscal union at this month’s summit. But it will disappoint.

Token bond purchases by the ECB will not help at this late stage. Half measures will accelerate the crisis by pushing other creditors down the ladder.

It will require monetary stimulus on a crushing scale to restore confidence, and arguably a pledge to do whatever it takes to cap real Italian and Spanish bond yields at 3pc.

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Posted in Uncategorized

(SMH) Keith Mascord–Beliefs must be tempered by facts

Those who, like me, grew up in ”Bible-believing” churches are likely to think they have little choice but to accept what the Bible says (or implies) on same-sex marriage. They may secretly wish it were otherwise. They might acknowledge the strength of arguments in favour of honouring and encouraging long-term homosexual unions. However, they are also likely to believe they have no room to move.

I once thought that way until some surprising implications of the story of Noah’s flood began to dawn on me. I discovered that, as a Christian, it is possible to go back to the relevant biblical texts, to understand again what they are saying in context, and to rethink them in the light of contemporary knowledge and experience.

Indeed, in failing to do this, those Christians who refuse to budge on homosexuality also find themselves locked into unsustainable ways of reading the Bible. Let me explain.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture

(SMH) Churches lay down law on same sex marriage as vote nears

Church heavyweights have been spurred into action by the bills, with the heads of the Catholic, Anglican and Greek Orthodox churches issuing strong statements to their congregations yesterday urging them to oppose any move towards same-sex marriage.

The Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, wrote a letter to parishioners that was then distributed to the rectors of every Anglican church within the diocese. It was up to individual church leaders to decide whether to read the letter to congregations or simply make a copy available to them.

”It is likely that some time in the near future our parliamentary representatives will be asked to vote on a proposal to change the legal definition of marriage,” the letter reads.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Bernard Mizeki

Almighty and everlasting God, who didst enkindle the flame of thy love in the heart of thy holy martyr Bernard Mizeki: Grant to us, thy humble servants, a like faith and power of love, that we who rejoice in his triumph may profit by his example; 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, Africa, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Doxology from Thomas Ken to begin the Day

To God the Father, who first loved us, and made us accepted in the Beloved; to God the Son, who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood; to God the Holy Ghost, who sheddeth the love of God abroad in our hearts: to the one true God be all love and all glory for time and for eternity.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer, The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Theology

From the Morning Bible Readings

Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures, the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and designated Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord…

–Romans 1:1-4

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Reuters) Islamists say they win the Egyptian presidency; army holds power

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood declared on Monday that its candidate Mohamed Morsy won the country’s first free presidential race, beating Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister and ending six decades of rule by presidents plucked from the military.

But shortly before the final result the generals who have run the country since the overthrow of Mubarak issued new rules that made clear real power remains with the army.

“Mohamed Morsy is the first popularly elected civilian president of Egypt,” the official website of Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party announced in a brief message.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Egypt, Middle East, Politics in General

The Eurogroup Statement on the Results of the Greek Elections

The Eurogroup takes note of the provisional results of the Greek elections on 17th June, which should allow for the formation of a government that will carry the support of the electorate to bring Greece back on a path of sustainable growth.

The Eurogroup acknowledges the considerable efforts already made by the Greek citizens and is convinced that continued fiscal and structural reforms are Greece’s best guarantee to overcome the current economic and social challenges and for a more prosperous future of Greece in the euro area.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Economy, Euro, Europe, Foreign Relations, Politics in General

Socialists’ Parliamentary Victory Buttresses Hollande’s Power in France

President François Hollande’s Socialists and their allies won an absolute majority in runoff parliamentary elections on Sunday, strengthening the hand of Mr. Hollande both at home and in Europe, where he is pressing for less austerity and more growth in the face of a deepening recession.

He will travel to the Group of 20 summit meeting in Mexico on Monday with his authority reinforced as a spokesman for the European left and a proponent for economic stimulus and job creation.

Mr. Hollande will also be able to keep a Socialist government and pass legislation with little difficulty, without having to rely on the far left, which is more antagonistic to the European Union. Nor will he need to rely on the support of the Greens.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, Europe, France

(Techcrunch) Crowd-funded Robots Are On Their Way Says ”˜Mr China’

There’s nothing like a good conference to create opportunities for new deals, and F.ounders last week in New York was just such an event. Indeed, on the panel I ran about the international tech scene, Dimitry Grishin, the co-founder and chief executive of Russian e-mail and social networking giant Mail.ru, sat next to Liam Casey, CEO of PCH International, a man described as “Mr China” for his ability to make, ship and deliver just about any piece of hardware, including some for a well known tech brand you’re probably using right now.

This was perhaps more than fortuitous. For Grishin had that day announced his plans to invest in a personal robotics fund. Grishin Robotics will have $25 million to play with, searching for personal robotics technology and startups catering to everyday people.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Globalization, Science & Technology

(WSJ) Pro-Europe Party Wins Greek Vote

Greece’s conservative New Democracy party eked out a slim victory in Sunday’s elections and will seek to form a pro-austerity coalition government with other parties to take the immediate steps needed to comply with strict financial targets set by its international lenders.

The outcome is likely to ease fears””at least temporarily””of a Greek exit from the 17-nation euro zone, but political uncertainty is likely to continue as parties embark on contentious coalition talks, which, even if successful, may not result in a lasting government.

Read it all and there is a lot more .

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Economy, Euro, Europe, Foreign Relations, Greece, Politics in General

Germany and Portugal advance to the Euro 2012 quarterfinals

I tried to watch both at the same time (which was a challenge). These two teams deserved to go through; nice to see Ronaldo have a good game.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Germany, Men, Portugal, Sports

(AP) Unpublished works of early church father Origen found

The Vatican newspaper reported Tuesday that 29 previously unpublished homilies said to be the work of one of the most important and prolific early church fathers have been discovered in a German library.

The 3rd century theologian Origen of Alexandria is considered to have played a critical role in the development of Christian thought. Pope Benedict XVI, himself a theologian, dedicated two of his 2007 weekly church teaching sessions to the importance of Origen’s life and work.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Theology

Billy Graham ministry aims to take revivals online

The remarkable success of evangelist Billy Graham’s Crusades for Christ did not come from his preaching alone, but also the immense amount of preparation and follow-up that went into planning each revival.

Now, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is taking that experience and harnessing it to save souls through the Internet in a way that perhaps only such a large and established organization can.

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