Daily Archives: October 12, 2012

Samuel Tardos–The Christian Exodus From Egypt

Westerners may debate how moderate Egypt’s Islamists are, but for Copts the questioning is futile. Their options are limited. While Copts are the largest Christian community in the Middle East, they’re too small to play a role in deciding the fate of the country. They are not geographically concentrated in one area that could become a safe zone. The only option is to leave, putting an end to 2,000 years of Christianity in Egypt.

The sad truth is that not all will be able to flee. Those with money, English skills and the like will get out. Their poorer brethren will be left behind.

What can be done to save them? Egypt receives $1.5 billion in U.S. aid each year, and Washington has various means to make Egypt’s new leaders listen. Islamist attempts to enshrine second-class status for Copts in Egypt’s new constitution should be stopped. Outsiders should also keep an eye on Muslim Brotherhood politicians who are planning to take control of Coptic Church finances. At a minimum, donors should demand that attacks on Copts be met with punishment as well as condemnation.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Egypt, History, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

American R.C. Bishops Observations on the Synod regarding the New Evangelization

Perhaps because of our youth, we have many reasons for hope and promise as we consider the New Evangelization and the Transmission of the Faith in North America.

Here are some of those reasons:

For one, the United States is actually very religious, contrary to the caricature that it is a pagan, secular, materialistic country. Not at all! As Chesterton, the acclaimed British apologist, wrote, America “is a nation with the soul of a church.” The very foundation of American life is the Jewish-Christian tradition. Over 50% of Americans take the Sabbath seriously; over 90% of us believe in God, and consider the Bible a source of God’s wisdom and teaching; and over 80% believe Jesus to be divine. As a recent poll demonstrated, the overwhelming majority of American citizens would have no problem voting for an evangelical, a Catholic, a Jew, a Protestant, a Mormon, a Hindu, or a Buddhist as president ”“ but never for an atheist!….
Three, the Church in America is vigorous with sacred enterprises of charity and education, especially in care for the sick and our elders, in schools, and in agencies of service. These apostolates are ambassadors of evangelization. Pope Paul VI remarked that men and women today learn more from witness than from words. We attract folks to Jesus and His Church by radiating love. Just look at the witness of our soon-to-be canonized Kateri Tekakwitha and Mother Mary Anne Cope.

Four, the clear, consistent teaching of the Catholic Church is well known, if at times misunderstood or attacked. Even those who disagree with these teachings of the Church ”“ and “their name is legion” ”“ usually, at least, grudgingly admire the Church for her tenacious preaching on the dignity of human life; peace, justice, and charity; solicitude for the suffering of the world; and defense of marriage and the family.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Evangelism and Church Growth, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(Telegraph) Death did them part: Church (of England) refuses right for couple to be buried together

The Church of England has refused a family’s pleas to have their late father exhumed from a “bleak and dangerous” cemetery and reunited in death with his wife in a more peaceful setting.

Geoffrey Tattersall QC, an eclestiastical judge, said that while he had sympathy with the request, it was not exceptional enough to depart from the principle that a Christian burial should be final.

Sylvia Hill and her two brothers Carl and Andrew Corry wanted to have their father John Corry’s remains exhumed from Southern Cemetery in Manchester after 19 years and re-interred in Mill Lane Cemetery, Stockport, in a joint grave with their mother, Elizabeth Corry….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

Human Rights Watch–Boko Haram Attacks Likely Crimes Against Humanity

Widespread and systematic murder and persecution by Boko Haram, a militant Islamist group in northern Nigeria, likely amount to crimes against humanity, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Government security forces have also engaged in numerous abuses, including extrajudicial killings, Human Rights Watch said.

The 98-page report, “Spiraling Violence: Boko Haram Attacks and Security Force Abuses in Nigeria,” catalogues atrocities for which Boko Haram has claimed responsibility. It also explores the role of Nigeria’s security forces, whose own alleged abuses contravene international human rights law and might also constitute crimes against humanity. The violence, which first erupted in 2009, has claimed more than 2,800 lives.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Muslim-Christian relations, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

Hardy and the Orioles Beat the Yankees in the 13th inning, and all four series go to game five

Just maybe the Baltimore Orioles’ remarkable run into October is not so improbable after all.

Seventeen wins in extra innings, 31 victories in one-run games. Staving off elimination from the postseason twice already.

They’ve done all that, and might not be done yet.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

The Greeting by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I at the Opening Mass of the Year of Faith

As Christ prepared for His Gethsemane experience, He prayed a prayer for unity which is recorded in the Gospel of Saint John Chapter 17 verse 11: “ … keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are”(All scripture from English translation of the Holy Bible, New King James Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1982.). Through the centuries we have, indeed, been kept in the power and love of Christ, and in the proper moment in history the Holy Spirit moved upon us and we began the long journey towards the visible unity that Christ desires. This has been confirmed in Unitatis Redintegratio § 1:

Everywhere large numbers have felt the impulse of this grace, and among our separated brethren also there increases from day to day the movement, fostered by the grace of the Holy Spirit, for the restoration of unity among all Christians.

Fifty years ago in this very square, a powerful and pivotal celebration captured the heart and mind of the Roman Catholic Church, transporting it across the centuries into the contemporary world.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Ecumenical Relations, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Theology

The full transcript of Archbishop Rowan Williams' interview with Vatican Radio is now available

[On Vatican II] Sometimes of course, yes, I feel that disappointment. But on the other hand, I look back at the ”˜60s and remember, of course, we believed anything was possible in the ”˜60s, whether in church, or in politics, or in international relations. There was a certain haste and a certain naivety about all that…The gain in terms of simply understanding ourselves as in some way belonging together, that’s irreversible. Of course, it would’ve been wonderful if we’d been able to take rather more steps towards something really visible, really concrete, in terms of mutual recognition.

But both the Roman Catholic and the Anglican families have changed, have developed in that period, in ways that have sometimes made that more difficult, and that’s reality. We don’t, when we change, always wait for one another. That’s a fact of our community life, I think.

The audio was posted earlier, but a bunch of you either can’t or didn’t listen, please take the time to read it all. [/i]

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, --Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church History, Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Roman Catholic, Theology

Fertilisation and embryology services at risk: C of E responds to Department of Health consultation

[/i] Proposals to absorb the services of two specialist health watchdogs into the Care Quality Commission to save half a million pounds per year have been criticised by the Mission and Public Affairs (MPA) Council.

In its response to a Department of Health Consultation, the MPA Council warns that “there are operational risks involved in transferring the functions” from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) and the Human Tissue Authority (HTA) as “theses functions require both considerable executive expertise and detailed non-executive scrutiny”.

Read it all and follow the link to the full response.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics, Science & Technology, Theology

(Church Times Leader) Continuing the work of Vatican II

The Roman Catholic Church is currently celebrating the 50th anniversary of the start of the Second Vatican Council, in October 1962; but the 47 years since its close have been riven with controversy about its application. Has the Roman Catholic Church gone far enough in pursuing the spirit of openness that was experienced in Rome during the Council’s three years of debate? Or does the cultural and social revolution since the mid-’60s require an approach more deeply rooted in the certainties of the past? The former is the question asked by most lay Roman Catholics, and, indeed, most in the hierarchy, when talking in general terms; the latter question tends to be expressed when it comes to putting any reforms into practice.

The vernacular liturgy is the most obvious change brought about by the Council, but more significant, perhaps, has been a thorough change of attitude….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, Media, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

(Living Church) New US Postal Stamp, unveiled at National Cathedral, Depicts Flight into Egypt

The United States Postal Service chose Washington National Cathedral’s Bethlehem Chapel to issue its Holy Family Forever stamp on Oct. 10. The stamp depicts the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt after Christ’s birth. The family appears in silhouette against a deep orange sky with the brightly shining Christmas star ahead of them. Joseph leads a donkey on which Mary and the infant Jesus ride.

The contemporary artwork on the stamp, now available nationwide, is a departure from some of previous Christmas stamps featuring traditional artwork of Mary and Jesus. Indeed, the 1980 USPS Christmas stamp showed the Madonna and Child in Bethlehem Chapel’s Epiphany stained-glass window.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Israel, Middle East, Religion & Culture, TEC Parishes, The U.S. Government

(On the Square) Joshua Gonnerman–Why Matthew Vines Is Wrong About the Bible and Same Sex Relations

…the cracks in Vines’ message run far deeper than his arguments; his hermeneutical approach to the whole question is deeply flawed. Vines is approaching Scripture as though it were a puzzle to be solved. His impassioned plea that we not declare good what Genesis declares evil, that man should be alone, raises serious questions about the role of gay people in the Church, but the answer he seeks has clearly determined his engagement with the text.

If Scripture is merely a code to be broken, then we can enter into it by ourselves, armed with lexicons and concordances, to declare its true meaning. But a deeper reflection will reveal that this leaves us with no defense against our own prejudices and the ways in which we have been shaped by our culture. It would seem that Vines has absorbed the problematic attitudes of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

C. S. Lewis, in his introduction to St. Athanasius’ De Incarnatione, offers words Vines would do well to heed: “Every age has its own outlook. It is specially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means the old books.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(ENS) Fleeing from Genocide to South Sudan

Yida, the largest refugee camp in South Sudan, stretches for miles. It is home to more than 64,000 of the 206,000 refugees from the Republic of Sudan who have fled the bombing and violent attacks against civilians by the Khartoum government since June 2011. Yida camp itself was bombed Nov. 10, 2011, killing 12 refugees.

Only 20 kilometers from the volatile border between Sudan and South Sudan, Yida camp sees a constant stream of nearly 200 new refugees a day, coming from the Nuba Mountains region (South Kordofan State) in Sudan. Rebel groups in Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile states have united against the Khartoum government’s army, Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), which indiscriminately attacks rebels and civilians in those areas.

“They kill everybody, Christians and Muslims. They burn houses, churches, and schools. They kill people. They drop bombs. Just two days ago soldiers came to my area [in the Nuba Mountains] and killed one person and burned houses,” said the Rev. Ameka Yousif, a pastor who has lived in Yida camp since February. “[In the Nuba Mountains] when people see the planes, they run and hide. Bombing is happening almost every day.”

Read it all and do not miss the picture.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --North Sudan, --South Sudan, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Episcopal Church of the Sudan, Poverty, Sudan, Violence

([London] Times) Abdulateef al-Mulhim–Forget Israel. Arabs are their own worst enemy

I was recently struck by some photos and reports I saw on the al-Arabiya network, the most respected news outlet in the Middle East. There was a starving child in Yemen, a burnt-out ancient souk in Aleppo, Syria, car bombs in Iraq and destroyed buildings in Libya.

What links all these images is that the destruction and the atrocities were not perpetrated by an outside enemy. The starvation, the killings and the destruction in these Arab countries were carried out by the same hands that are supposed to protect and build the unity of these countries and safeguard their people. Who, therefore, is the real enemy of the Arab world?

Many Arabs would say it is Israel ”” their sworn enemy, an enemy whose existence they have never recognised. From 1948 to today there have been three full-scale wars and many confrontations. But what was the real cost of these wars to the Arab world and its people? The harder question that no Arab wants to ask is: what was the real cost of not recognising Israel in 1948 and why didn’t the Arab states spend their assets on education, healthcare and infrastructure instead of wars? But the very hardest question of all is whether Israel is the real enemy of the Arab world and the Arab people.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Egypt, History, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Middle East, Politics in General, Poverty, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, The Palestinian/Israeli Struggle, UAE (United Arab Emirates), Violence

John O’Malley on Vatican II–Opening the Church to the World

What has been less appreciated about Vatican II, though it is as significant as the halting steps on governance, is that it took account of the world outside the church. The church validated for the first time the principle of religious freedom and rejected all forms of civil discrimination based on religious grounds. Thus ended an era of cozy church-state relations that began in the fourth century with Emperor Constantine.

Before the council, Catholics were not only forbidden to pray with those of other faiths but also indoctrinated into a disdain or even contempt for them. (This was, of course, a two-way street.) Now, for the first time, Catholics were encouraged to foster friendly relations with Orthodox and Protestant Christians, as well as Jews and Muslims, and even to pray with them. The council condemned all forms of anti-Semitism and insisted on respect for Judaism and Islam as Abrahamic faiths, like Christianity.

These epochal decisions have been carried out imperfectly, not surprising for an institution as large, lumbering and complex as the Catholic Church….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, History, Inter-Faith Relations, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(BBC) Bishop of Chelmsford calls on Cadbury to 'relax' on the Color purple

A legal row between Cadbury and a small confectioner over the use of the colour purple on packaging was “demeaning”, a senior Essex church figure has said.

The Meaningful Chocolate Company redesigned its purple advent box after a warning from its lawyers.

The advice followed Cadbury’s victory in a dispute with rival Nestle over its rights to purple packaging….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture