This week’s meeting of the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) has been accompanied by much speculation about possible candidates and the likely timing of an announcement of the name of who will succeed Dr Rowan Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury when he steps down to become Master of Magdalene College.
The CNC is an elected, prayerful body. Its meetings are necessarily confidential to enable members to fulfil their important responsibilities for discerning who should undertake this major national and international role. Previous official briefings have indicated that an announcement is expected during the autumn and that remains the case; the work of the Commission continues. There will be no comment on any speculation about candidates or about the CNC’s deliberations. Dr Williams remains in office until the end of December.
Monthly Archives: September 2012
Liberation is a peculiarly American love. And these days it seems particularly beloved when the liberation is one from the tyranny of faith.
Mainstream culture prizes those who convert to secularism, the side of the thoughtful and the free. We read of their escapes””books in recent years include “The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance,” by Elna Baker, and “Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots,” by Deborah Feldman. And we watch their oppression by religion on movie screens and television”””Jesus Camp,” “Sister Wives,” “Big Love””and are relieved by the distance between their lives and our own.
And now we have TLC’s new series “Breaking Amish,” a reality show that follows the lives of five young Amish and Mennonite men and women as they “forgo horses and buggies for New York City’s taxis and subways.” The Hollywood Reporter lauded TLC for acting “not only as documentarian but as liberator.”
Normally, schools offer scholarships to entice students to enroll. This year, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s business school handed them money to go away.
The Sloan School of Management’s full-time M.B.A. program, usually about 400 students, was oversubscribed by an unusually high number of students this year. Rather than expand the class size, the school asked for volunteers willing to wait a year to enroll, sending out an e-mail just a couple of weeks before the Aug. 23 kickoff barbecue. By that point, many expectant students had quit jobs and secured housing in the Boston area.
How did the math whizzes at MIT get the numbers so wrong?
When Jeanne Majors, 63, took an early retirement in December 2005, she assumed that she would pick up a part-time job and be in good financial shape. She didn’t know that her future would quickly fall apart.
Majors, who is single and lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., learned the hard way about the retirement obstacles that most women face today. When the economy slid into the recession, she lost her part-time job and could not find another.
“They wanted somebody young,” Majors says. “Or if I was a man, somebody would have hired me at my age. I’m not sorry that I retired, but things didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to. Everything went bust.”
Just one week after Pope Benedict XVI ended his successful visit to Lebanon, the country’s most senior Catholic leader called for a United Nations resolution “that will ban denigrating religions.”
Meanwhile in Pakistan, the country’s only Catholic cabinet member, Minister of Harmony Paul Bhatti, this week told an interfaith gathering in Lahore that he will press U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to pass a UN resolution that condemns “defamation and contempt against religions.” Bhatti said “we must not allow anyone to break our harmony” between Christians and Muslims.
Both moves are understandable in light of increasingly popular efforts in predominantly Muslim countries to outlaw blasphemy or defaming religion. But they could prove problematic for the Vatican as it fights to protect the rights of Christian minorities around the world.
An airline says it will offer baby-free “quiet zones” on its flights. Should all planes and trains follow suit, or do adults need to learn to live with child passengers?
At 35,000ft, the klaxon-like howl of a distressed toddler screeches through a pressurised cabin.
For travellers already stressed by lengthy security checks, crammed into cramped seating and unnerved by the very fact of being so high above ground, it’s almost enough to make them shatter the Plexiglas windows and jump.
We start, therefore, with a paradox ”“ the Church of England is deeply rooted in British political life, yet it transcends party politics. [Rowan] Williams has managed this difficult relationship with the nation’s politics remarkably well. With carefully chosen interventions, the outrage of politicians and in some quarters of the media may be seen to have demonstrated that he has got this aspect of his job bang on.
When he suggested in 2008 that our legislature might recognise aspects of sharia in our civil law, some of the more excitable newspaper commentators ranted about tongues being cut out and adulterers being stoned to death. It was left to the Conservative MP Peter Bottomley calmly to point out on BBC radio that, among a Christian, a Jew and a Muslim in the UK, only one person is prevented from marrying according to the rites of his or her own culture ”“ and that this is inequitable.
Since then, Williams may have been more measured in his contributions but he’s hardly been less of a political animal….
The banking sector must show “contrition” for past failures and rediscover “a culture of the virtues”, the Church of England’s Mission and Public Affairs Council has said, in written evidence to the ParliaÂmentary Commission on Banking Standards.
The Commission was set up by MPs in the wake of the Libor scandal in July, to look at the proÂfessional standards and culture of the UK banking sector. The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Justin Welby, is a member of the CommisÂsion, which is composed of five MPs and five peers…
The MPA Council’s submission states: “The question is not whether systems have been adequate to identify and deal with the bad apples, but whether the whole orchard needs replanting.”
The reason given by Christiane Taubira, France’s justice minister: ”Who is to say that a heterosexual couple will bring a child up better than a homosexual couple, that they will guarantee the best conditions for the child’s development?” She then reassured critics of the proposed law, “What is certain is that the interest of the child is a major preoccupation for the government.”
If the law goes through, then all references to “mother” and “father” will be erased from the civil code and replaced with the more abstract, cover-all, cover-anything term “parents.”
Let’s focus on that shift to abstraction. It’s more important than you might think, because, as France is now demonstrating, he (or she) who controls the language controls the fundamentally human ability to speak about reality.
The third section goes awry on the usual special pleading about procreation, including the caveat that it is talking about the “norm” and leaving to one side infertile, elderly, and other couples who do not fit that norm. The problem in this should be obvious, yet it is a logical slip made again and again on that side of the debate: you cannot argue from a norm with exceptions when we are dealing with something exceptional, and when there is an uneven application of the very principle at hand to allow some exceptions and not others. If procreation is essential to marriage, then no one who cannot procreate should be “married” (but allowed to have a “union”).
The final section is the most troubling both theologically and morally. It concludes by asserting, “It is not possible to both affirm the incarnation and assert gay marriage.” On the contrary, it is not only possible, I have seen it; in fact I’ve done it!
Read it all; interesting choices in terms of who and what.
Nigeria’s “robust” approach to neutralizing a threat posed by Islamist sect Boko Haram using military force, holding indirect talks with the group and improving education in the north is paying off, the Nigerian president said on Wednesday.
Boko Haram, which wants to carve out an Islamic state in northern Nigeria, has been blamed for more than 1,000 deaths since its insurgency intensified in 2010. The United States has designated three of Boko Haram’s senior members as terrorists.
In an interview with Reuters on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly’s annual gathering of world leaders, President Goodluck Jonathan also played down the significance of the government forces’ killing of the sect’s spokesman, Abu Qaqa, in a gun battle in Kano on September 16.
Into thy hands, O Lord, I commit myself this day. Give to me a watchful, humble, and diligent spirit, that I may seek in all things to know thy will; and when I know it may gladly perform it, to the honor and glory of thy name.
Dost thou work wonders for the dead? Do the shades rise up to praise thee?…Is thy steadfast love declared in the grave, or thy faithfulness in Abaddon? Are thy wonders known in the darkness, or thy saving help in the land of forgetfulness?
In contrast to past deliberations of the Crown Nominations Committee, the discussion over the selection of a successor to Dr. Rowan Williams have not been leaked to the press or have been the subject of informed “off the record” comment from insiders.
Two names will be presented to Prime Minister David Cameron ”“ the recommended choice and an alternate. Unlike past archiepiscopal appointments, the Prime Minister is not expected to exercise a choice over the names and is likely to submit the recommended name to the Queen for approval.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu drew his “red line” for Iran’s nuclear program on Thursday despite a U.S. refusal to set an ultimatum, saying Tehran will be on the brink of a nuclear weapon in less than a year.
By citing a time frame in an address to the U.N. General Assembly, Netanyahu – who has clashed with President Barack Obama over the urgency of military action against Iran – appeared to suggest no Israeli attack was imminent before the November 6 U.S. presidential election….
Check it out. The order is different now than it was yesterday morning, or last night.
Watch it all (just over one minute).
They walked with heads held high, harboring dreams imagined in black and gold, marching to the peculiar orders of the times.
A movement was beginning. That day, 50,000 people passed through the doors of Three Rivers Stadium, the massive concrete structure looming just west of the infamous Bridge to Nowhere, this time hoping that the Steelers, after 40 irrelevant seasons, were finally taking them somewhere worth going.
Each person in the stadium had his or her own dramas outside of it. There was the war that seemingly would not end, the intensifying of racial tensions across the city and, for those who were paying close enough attention, the fear that those hulking mills that lined the rivers were not going to be needed forever. But, the Steelers were host to the Oakland Raiders in the first round of the NFL playoffs, and such pressing matters could be thrust to the back burner for the good of Pittsburgh.
An absolute must read article for oh-so-many reasons, but perhaps above all for what it teaches about American history. Take the time to peruse it all–KSH.
Germany is set to advance a bill Wednesday imposing a spate of new rules on high-frequency trading, escalating Europe’s sweeping response to concerns that speedy traders have brought instability to the markets.
The measure seeks to require traders to register with Germany’s Federal Financial Supervisory Authority, collect fees from those who use high-speed trading systems excessively, and force stock markets to install circuit breakers that can interrupt trading if a problem is detected.
The new rules, which also grant the regulator the power to compel firms to detail their trading practices, will apply to anyone trading in Germany, no matter where they are based. If it is approved in cabinet, the bill will move to the Bundestag, the lower house of the German Parliament. The bill is widely expected to pass later this year.
When members of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences gather Thursday to begin their plenary assembly, they will be addressing, according to the group’s president, the “greatest evil of our time.”
That evil is a “lack of hope,” according to Cardinal PÃ©ter ErdÅ‘, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary, and CCEE president.
The theme of the bishops’ four-day meeting is the social and spiritual aspects of the challenges of our times. The bishops will consider the topic through three different perspectives.
These three interventions have been entrusted to Archbishop AndrÃ©-Joseph LÃ©onard of Malines-Brussels, president of the Belgian Bishops’ Conference; Professor Marta Cartabia, lecturer in law and judge of the Constitutional Court in Italy; and Professor Kuno Schedler, lecturer in business economics at the University of St Gallen.
For years, Sean McGroarty ignored his mother’s urging to save money.
Then his mother, Karen Zader, 54 years old, lost her job as an administrative assistant. The family home, where Mr. McGroarty grew up, went into foreclosure, and Ms. Zader had to raid her retirement savings to pay bills.
Mr. McGroarty was shocked into action. He signed up for his employer’s 401(k) retirement-savings program last year. “What if life throws me a curve ball like that?” said the 27-year-old radio DJ.
You’ll build a great church, pastor, if you ever learn how to communicate.
Listening to that sermon was like drinking from a fire hydrant.
I’m so disappointed! I wanted you to give God all the glory. And you missed it!
Your preaching is too intellectual.
Your preaching is too practical.
You don’t talk enough about social justice.
You talk about social justice too much.
Your preaching is over people’s heads.
Your preaching isn’t deep enough. Give us meat, not milk.
…Some of these criticisms surprised me. Some felt unfair. A few hurt. Some were well-deserved (especially the “fire hydrant” comment). Occasionally they roll off, but the fact I remember so many of them proves they stick. Every experienced preacher could add to the list. Personal criticism is one of the job hazards of Christian ministry.
It’s also one of the great benefits….
[Finally, let me say a word about]… the wider world. Peter Berger has stated that secularization, far from being an inexorable product of modernity throughout the world, is more or less confined to Western and Central Europe and what he calls “an international cultural elite.” In the rest of the world vibrant religious cultures are the default position, not the exception. I see this gap between secularized cultural elites and global religious traditions as potentially one of the most dangerous things in our world. The consequences need to be thought about, especially since research universities like ours recruit most of our faculty and students from Berger’s secularized minorities. We need to know about this gap, how it works, and what its consequences are.
Stephen Prothero has stated that “The United States is one of the most religious places on earth, but it is also a nation of shocking religious illiteracy”””even among college students. We have already paid a heavy price for this ignorance, and we dare not let it go unattended. We have serious work to do at Harvard and beyond to improve religious literacy in this country and in the wider world.
Finally, a flashback to Northern Ireland in 1969”“70. That was the year I went to Queen’s University Belfast as a young undergraduate. I was a typical child of the 1960s, more interested in sport, music, and girls than understanding the religious and political dynamics of my own culture. All hell broke loose in Northern Ireland in those years, with hundreds of people a year dying in violent incidents in the early 1970s. Like Prothero’s religious illiterates, I really didn’t know what was going on. I should have. I vowed I would find out. That’s why I’m standing here today. Religious illiteracy matters; we ignore it at our peril. Let’s take it on.
Welcome to the Guardian’s interactive guide: for the benefit of the committee which is choosing the next Archbishop of Canterbury today, and for anyone else who wants to play along. Just click on your choices and see who comes out at the end….
So, who will it be?
If the Commission wants to boost Anglican traditionalists, placate Africa, raise St George’s Day to an English national holiday and take a swipe at institutional racism, they’ll appoint John Sentamu, Archbishop of York. If they wish to hold a steady-as-she-goes via media, with interminably tedious increments in an inevitable direction, they’ll appoint Richard Chartres, Bishop of London. If they choose to accelerate the liberal trajectory, with a nod toward North America and an ”˜inclusive’ mission which embraces all sexual proclivities and environmental causes, they could do a lot worse than James Jones, presently Bishop of Liverpool.
These aren’t the only possibilities, of course: while Sentamu is utterly colourful and wonderfully unique, you could replace the authoritative Chartres of London with Graham James of Norwich; and Jones of Liverpool could easily be supplanted by Cocksworth of Coventry. We are talking about the Church of England here: it isn’t going to be suddenly re-reformed or catholicised by anyone overnight.
If, however, the Commission is concerned to appoint God’s choice ”“ a thoughtful and gifted communicator, deeply committed to upholding the orthodoxy of the Christian faith ”“ ”˜the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints’ ”“ in the fraught context of cultural diversity, social upheaval, political cynicism and theological conflict, the lot must fall to Justin Welby, Bishop of Durham….
The Bishop of Norwich has told the BBC he is “hoping and praying” that God does not choose him as the next Archbishop of Canterbury.
Church officials are preparing to make a final decision on who should be the new Archbishop.
Dr Rowan Williams is due to retire in December.
The Rt Rev Graham James, 61, said the role carried “lots of expectation but relatively little power” and was “probably a job for a younger man”.
Despite innovations which included advertising the vacancy rather pointlessly in the Church Times early this year, the process remains rather opaque. There isn’t even an official shortlist. The secrecy encourages feverish speculation, with the leading candidates being debated like authors shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Unlike last time, there’s no obvious front runner. Will the committee go for a safe pair of hands who won’t be around long enough to cause too much trouble – the Bishop of London, for example, one of several candidates who were in the running ten years ago when Rowan Williams was chosen? Or will they choose someone younger and less well-established, but with potential? Justin Welby, the Bishop of Durham, is about the right age at 56 but has been a bishop for less than a year. His background in the City gives him a rare insight into the business world, and he’s well ahead in the current betting, but some would say that there are already quite enough Old Etonians running things.
John Sentamu of York is, by far, the biggest personality and was once seen as the front runner; yet he is also rather divisive, and his appointment would be a surprise. Graham James of Norwich (liberal, catholic) and Coventry’s Christopher Cocksworth (evangelical) both have their supporters but have a low public profile. Liverpool’s James Jones was generally written off as too old until the other week, when his chairmanship of the Hillsborough Commission won him plaudits from around the country. It could be anyone. One bookmaker was even offering odds of 200/1 on Richard Dawkins, though I don’t think so, somehow.
The CNC offers some nods towards ecclessiastical democracy, in that some of its members were elected by the General Synod, but is ultimately beholden to no-one but itself….
No clear front-runner for the post appears to have emerged within the Church of England with a number of senior figures said to be possible contenders including the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, 63, the Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, 65, the Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev James Jones, 64, and the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham James, 61.
The commission is also thought to be considering whether to appoint one of a younger generation of bishops including the Rt Rev Christopher Cocksworth, Bishop of Coventry, who is 53 years old, and the Rt Rev Justin Welby, 56, who was enthroned less than a year ago as Bishop of Durham.