Daily Archives: June 26, 2012

Martin Marty–Seeing the Roman Catholic Priest Shortage Through One Man's Story

Surveys, statistics, data, graphs, and trend studies have their place when we look at and analyze the “church life” (and “synagogue life,” and all the rest) that makes up a major part of “public religion,” (our weekly topic) in American life. They tell us how things are, collectively and from a distance. Now and then a reporter and a newspaper present the “up close” view which tells so much. Thus, we can talk about “the priest shortage” in national terms and gain some sense of the unsettlement or crisis. A close-up of one jurisdiction or one archdiocese brings the crisis home, where it is felt most.

So it was when Sharon Otterman focused on a story headlined “For One New Priest, a Lonely Distinction,” and subheaded, “Class of 2012 in New York Archdiocese Consists of the Rev. Patric D’Arcy.” One picture shows a pensive Father D’Arcy in an empty church; a second shows him blessing his brother and sister, and a third has him kneeling in St. Patrick’s Cathedral before Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the most influential Catholic cleric in the nation. The gap between the image of the Cardinal in the Cathedral and the life of the lonely priest may quicken more interest than statistics about the priesthood nationally. In the United States there were 58,909 priests in 1975 and 38,466 last year. There were 994 priestly ordinations in 1965 and there were 467 in 2011. In 1965 there were 549 parishes without a resident priest pastor, and there were 3,249 last year.

See what I mean? Cold statistics impress the mind, but do not move the heart.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Media, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Anglican mission agency USPG announces plans to change its name

At its annual conference this week (25-27 June 2012), the 311-year-old Anglican mission and development agency USPG announced it will be changing its name.
The decision was taken by USPG’s trustees following a lengthy consultation with churches and supporters of the charity.
Delegates attending USPG’s annual conference were given a preview of the new name and logo, which have been designed to reflect the contemporary nature of the work today, and invite many more individuals and churches to find out more and get involved.
The new name ”“ United Society to be known as Us. ”“will be officially adopted at a launch event in November 2012.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, - Anglican: Latest News, Missions

(BBC) Portsmouth nun Sister Elizabeth Pio posts prayers on Twitter

A Portsmouth nun has turned to social media to convey her religious messages in between spending time in silence.

Sister Elizabeth Pio, 41, has begun using Twitter on behalf of the Sisters of Bethany, an Anglican order who spend hours each day in silent reflection.

@bethanysister posts about prayer, saints and current events, including Euro 2012 football matches.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Anglican Provinces, Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE), Spirituality/Prayer, Women

Berkhamsted vicar defies Church to support Same-Sex weddings

A vicar… [has] defended government proposals for same-sex marriage against the official policy of his own Church….

…Michael Bowie, Anglican vicar at St Peter’s Church in Berkhamsted High Street, described the [Church of England] stance as “disappointing and legalistic”.

In an emailed newsletter, he writes: “As usual we are seen to be providing a mean-spirited reaction to something that our society sees as not only acceptable but just.

“It appears to the world that ”˜morality’, for us, is about sex and nothing more….”

Read it all. Also, you may find the parish website there.

Posted in Uncategorized

Two bishops break ranks to speak out against the Church of England’s opposition to same-sex marria

Two weeks ago the Church published its formal response to the Government’s proposal to allow same-sex couples to marry, declaring itself firmly against the move.

The two bishops are the most senior figures to attack the stance. The Rt Rev Alan Wilson, the Bishop of Buckingham, said: “The statement is narrow and legalistic … Jesus didn’t say anything about being gay, but he said a certain amount about loving your neighbour as yourself.”

The Rt Rev Tim Ellis, the Bishop of Grantham, said the official position did not reflect the true “mind” of the Church.

Read it all.

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

Alan Haley Analyzes the Presiding Bishop’s Proposed Budget–Bread and Circuses

So is this a more “Anglican” budget, intended to endear ECUSA to the rest of the Anglican Communion?

Yes and no. For one thing, although the Executive Council had proposed a reduction in the Church’s support for the Anglican Communion Office from the past triennium’s $1,160,000 to $850,000, the PB now proposes to give the ACO just $500,000. At the same time, she proposes to use the savings in what would have been given to the ACO to enlarge the budget of the Church’s own Anglican Communion office by some $500,000 over what the EC had proposed for it (see lines 192-97). This will be touted as “a greater commitment” to the Anglican Communion, but it is all in moneys to be spent by the PB in adding new staff and in entertaining visiting primates and other Communion dignitaries.
Then again, the PB proposes to raise $1.5 million in new funds for the relief of Haiti, by getting “faithful Episcopalians” to donate to match, on a 2 for 1 basis, the $774,000 already budgeted for such relief (lines 18 and 83). This will certainly please the clergy and laity who have been working there to help Haiti recover from its catastrophic earthquake””but should something be budgeted which apparently has not even yet been committed, or pledged?

Other money “found” since the EC met has resulted from a refinancing of the Church’s outstanding debt at a lower interest rate (line 329), but achieved by pledging the Church’s donated stocks and bonds as security. This allows the PB to project a payment on principal of $1.5 million per year for the next three years. Indeed, this successful achievement by her Treasurer and his staff may well have contributed to the impetus for a new draft budget.

However, the PB was not content to book just concrete savings. As noted earlier, she decided to put in phantom pledges in order to redress the budget as “mission-oriented,” and thus in the process to offer bread and circuses to her constituency.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, - Anglican: Analysis, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Presiding Bishop, Stewardship

(BBC) EU unveils its vision for the future of monetary union

European authorities have unveiled their vision for the future of monetary union.

It includes the creation of a European treasury, which would have powers over national budgets.

The document, released ahead of Thursday’s EU summit, says such fiscal union could lead to common debt being issued by eurozone countries.

Read it all.

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, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Supreme Court says states may not impose mandatory life sentences on juvenile murderers

(Assiduous blog readers may remember we took a special interest in this case earlier this year).

A divided Supreme Court on Monday said states may not impose on juvenile murderers mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole.

The 5 to 4 ruling said such mandatory sentences offend the constitution’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, and follow a trend at the court of treating even the worst juvenile offenders differently from adults….

“The court took a significant step forward by recognizing the fundamental unfairness of mandatory death-in-prison sentences that don’t allow sentencers to consider the unique status of children and their potential for change,” said EJI [Equal Justice Initiative]’s Bryan Stevenson. “The court has recognized that children need additional attention and protection in the criminal justice system.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, State Government, Teens / Youth

(CNN) Immigration reform back to square one

After two years of protests, boycotts and lawsuits over Arizona’s immigration law, Monday’s Supreme Court decision leaves the state of immigration reform almost unchanged with states frustrated and Congress avoiding the debate.
“I would guess [Congress] won’t touch this with a 10-foot pole until after they come back after the election,” Charles H. Kuck, managing partner at Kuck Immigration Partners in Atlanta, told CNN.
The court’s 5-3 ruling was a split decision, upholding the law’s most controversial feature — the “show your papers provision” that allows police to check a person’s immigration status while enforcing other laws — but also dismissing the Arizona’s right to regulate immigration at the state level.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Immigration, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General

(Economist) Accounting for time–How Americans spend their days

It is a fascinating chart–read it all (and note the link to the full report).

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

David Blankenhorn's NY Times Op-Ed mentioned in Maggie Gallagher's article

I opposed gay marriage believing that children have the right, insofar as society makes it possible, to know and to be cared for by the two parents who brought them into this world. I didn’t just dream up this notion: the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which came into force in 1990, guarantees children this right.

Marriage is how society recognizes and protects this right. Marriage is the planet’s only institution whose core purpose is to unite the biological, social and legal components of parenthood into one lasting bond. Marriage says to a child: The man and the woman whose sexual union made you will also be there to love and raise you. In this sense, marriage is a gift that society bestows on its children….

Surely we must live together with some degree of mutual acceptance, even if doing so involves compromise. Sticking to one’s position no matter what can be a virtue. But bending the knee a bit, in the name of comity, is not always the same as weakness….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Sexuality

Maggie Gallagher–Bigotry, David Blankenhorn, and the Future of Marriage

David Blankenhorn is my friend and I love him. I also respect him. I understand what he just did and why he did it and I wish him well in his personal fight to somehow square the circle, to combine a culture of gay marriage with a renewed culture of marriage….

…here’s what I want to say to David and to you: a comity that is bought by surrendering principle is submission, not comity at all. The truth about something as important as marriage cannot be the price we pay to live with each other.

The challenge of our time””and it is a deep challenge, not an easy one””is to find new ways to combine truth and love. Giving up marriage is too high a price to pay. And it is not the last good we will be asked to surrender, unless we find the courage to stand.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family

South Carolina is Vanquished by Arizona in the College World Series

South Carolina’s dream of a third consecutive national championship vanished for good Monday night at TD Ameritrade Park when Grayson Greiner’s fly ball fell into the glove of Arizona right fielder Robert Refsnyder.
“As soon as the last out, it sunk in,” USC first baseman Christian Walker said.
There seemed to be a state of disbelief for USC and its fans. This is not the way things have ended for the Gamecocks over the past three seasons. Everyone had come to expect Greiner to deliver a three-run triple, or perhaps a game-winning grand slam.
Not this time.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Education, Men, Sports, Young Adults

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord Jesus Christ, in all the fullness of thy power so gentle, in thine exceeding greatness so humble: Bestow thy mind and spirit upon us, who have nothing whereof to boast; that clothed in true humility, we may be exalted to true greatness. Grant this, O Lord, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God for evermore.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad! Clouds and thick darkness are round about him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. Fire goes before him, and burns up his adversaries round about. His lightnings lighten the world; the earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth. The heavens proclaim his righteousness; and all the peoples behold his glory.

–Psalm 97:1-6

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

The Episcopal Bishop of Arizona writes his Diocese

Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I write to you today regarding two important matters.

The first is the decision of the Supreme Court this morning to overturn much of Arizona’s controversial SB 1070 law. I was asked by Episcopal News Service for a comment, which I now share with you:

As one working and praying for a more just immigration policy, I was guardedly pleased with the Supreme Court ruling. Although much work still needs to be done to insure that law-abiding immigrants in our country are treated in a just and humane manner, the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down much of SB 1070 as unconstitutional is a step in the right direction, though I wish that it had gone further. For example, the “show me your papers” provision of the law, which the Court left standing, still has enormous potential for racial profiling and other abuses. There is still much work that must be done to assure that all our immigration laws respect the dignity of every human being.

At this time, I am unaware if further demonstrations or press conferences are planned by church leaders, but I would expect that no one sees the struggle for human rights in Arizona to be over. No matter what your opinions are in this matter, I would ask that you keep in your prayers those of your fellow Arizona Episcopalians whose lives are affected on a daily basis by the struggle to find a just solution to this problem.

Secondly, as most of you know, the General Convention of the Episcopal Church will begin in one week in Indianapolis. The deputies will be facing tough decisions in a number of areas. At the top of this list are efforts to restructure the larger church in way that will refocus our energy and money on the mission of spreading the Gospel. For those of you interested in learning more about this, I commend to you the series of articles written by one of your own elected deputies, The Rev. Susan Snook, and posted on her blog site: goodandjoyfulthing.blogspot.com.

Other issues to be dealt with include changes in insurance and pension benefits for lay employees, liturgical resources for the blessing of same-sex unions, and our relationship with the wider Anglican Communion. This will be a difficult convention. We are painfully aware of the decline in both membership and giving, and the failure of our current structures to adequately address these problems. There is a need for radical change and the abandonment of old programs and practices that no longer work. This will take both courage and sacrifice. Therefore, I especially ask you to remember the work of the General Convention in your personal prayers and in the public prayers of your parish these next two Sundays. You may either write your own prayers to include in the Prayers of the People or adapt the one provided by The Book of Common Prayer, p. 818.

Please also remember your lay and clerical deputies: Judy Conley (Trinity Cathedral), Matt Hall (St. Matthew’s, Chandler), Barbara Harber (St. Luke’s, Prescott), Diana Moreland (St. John’s, Globe), Pat Thompson (St. George’s, Holbrook), The Rev. Megan Castellan (NAU Canterbury), The Rev. John Kitagawa (St. Philip’s in the Hills, Tucson), The Rev. Susan Snook (Church of the Nativity, Scottsdale), The Rev. Anne Johnson (St. John’s, Williams), The Rev. Jim Fitzsimmons (St. Andrew’s, Nogales), as well as our delegates to the Episcopal Church Women Triennial meeting: Marilyn Hedges, Winnie Follett, Connie Castillo, and Kerry Jo Hanstein. I will be honored and proud to be representing you as your bishop. Please pray for me, too!


–(The Rt. Rev.) Kirk Smith is Bishop of Arizona

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Immigration, Law & Legal Issues, TEC Bishops

Maine Catholic convert, formerly an Episcopal priest, brings wife, children to the priesthood

[David] Affleck, 62, of York, is a former Episcopal priest who took advantage of a 1980 papal provision that allows him and others like him to become priests in the Catholic Church.

Only a handful of such ordinations take place in the U.S. each year. In Maine, it’s happened just three times in 32 years, and Affleck is the only current convert. One died, and the other has left the church.

“It is indeed rare for a pastoral provision to be sought and granted,” Bishop Richard Malone said in a statement. “The Church takes a great deal of time and energy to know that the man in question is truly being called to the priesthood and completely understands the responsibilities and ministry within the Catholic Church.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic

Roman Catholic Bishops Greet Supreme Court Decision On Immigration With Hope, Caution

The U.S. bishops greeted with hope and caution the June 25 Supreme Court decision to strike down provisions of an Arizona immigration law that would have allowed warrantless arrests of people suspected of an offense that is deportable, that would have made it a crime to seek work in the state and that would have made undocumented presence a state crime.

The bishops found hope in the decision in Arizona vs. United States and said it reflects the bishops’ call for humane and just immigration laws and concern for laws that could tear families apart. Their caution lay in the lifting of an injunction against immigrants having to show papers in some circumstances.

The bishops had filed a friend of the court brief in the case.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Immigration, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic