Daily Archives: June 5, 2013

(NCR) John Allen–Francis and the perils of an improv pope

Famously, Francis has adopted the custom of celebrating his daily 7 a.m. Mass not in the private confines of the Apostolic Palace, where the goings-on can be kept under wraps, but in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta, the hotel on Vatican grounds where he’s taken up residence. Each morning, he delivers a largely off-the-cuff homily for a group of around 50 people, excerpts from which are later provided by Vatican Radio and Vatican TV as well as the daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

The homilies are pastoral in nature, often using homespun language to make his points. On May 10, for instance, Francis compared overly grim Christians to “pickled peppers.” On May 18, he said gossip in the church is like eating honey — it tastes sweet at first, but too much gives you a stomachache.

There’s no ghostwriter penning these homilies, nor do they reflect a script worked out in a Vatican war room. They’re highly personal reflections from the pope himself, tied to the day’s Scripture readings.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic

(ACNS) "MPs elected for public service, not personal gain" ”“ Kenya Primate

The leader of Kenya’s Anglican Church has reprimanded the country’s parliamentarians for demanding a pay increase 100 times the minimum wage.

In a statement, Primate of the Anglican Church of Kenya and Bishop of All Saints Cathedral Diocese the Most Revd Dr Eliud Wabukala expressed his disappointment over the MPs’ demands. He said, “We are aggrieved that MPs on both sides of the house found common ground to overwhelmingly vote for the salary increment, yet positions on national priorities like security, health, education and poverty alleviation are not assured of such prompt response.

“The MPs’ move to determine their pay is unconstitutional and is a direct conflict of interest,” said the Archbishop. “We urge [them] to pursue dialogue with the Salaries and Remuneration Commission as opposed to [engaging in such] rebellious acts as attempting to repeal acts of parliament to work in their favour.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Provinces, Ethics / Moral Theology, Kenya, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

Archbishop Justin Welby's speech for the Queen's coronation 60th anniversary

We do not know what was prayed. Her Majesty knelt at the beginning of a path of demanding devotion and utter self-sacrifice, a path she did not choose, yet to which she was called by God. Today we celebrate sixty years since that moment, sixty years of commitment.

There was a trumpet fanfare as today as the Queen arrived with her supporters, but let us resist the splendour of the spectacle for a moment, and focus on what was meant: “Not my will, Lord, but yours be done.”

And following her giving of allegiance to God, others – especially, with such equal and dedicated commitment, the Duke of Edinburgh – pledged their allegiance to her.

And here, in the grace and providence of God, is the model of liberty and authority which our country enjoys. Liberty is only real when it exists under authority. Liberty under authority begins, as the Book of Common Prayer puts it, with our duty to God, “whose service is perfect freedom”.

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, History, Parish Ministry, Politics in General

Queen Elizabeth Celebrates 60 Years on the Throne

Watch it all. She is simply remarkable.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, History, Politics in General

(Christian Today) Campaigners still optimistic despite House of Lords vote on same sex marriage

Colin Hart, Campaign Director for the Coalition for Marriage, said that although the Government had won the vote today, the debate had revealed the strength of opposition to the bill.

He remained optimistic that better safeguards for those with a traditional understanding of marriage would be introduced to the bill.

He said: “We will continue to campaign to save traditional marriage and today’s vote and the concerns expressed by many peers mean we will be able to introduce safeguards that will protect teachers, registrars, chaplains and anyone who works in the public sector. And if the Government refuse to accept these changes, they risk losing the legislation at third reading.”

Read it all.

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

(O.C. Register) In Africa, evangelicals join war against AIDS

“The church was really quite judgmental in the early part of HIV and AIDS,” [the Rev. Pukuta] Mwanza explained. “It was the source of stigma and discrimination because without sufficient information about HIV and AIDS, initially it was perceived as being solely linked to promiscuity, sinful behavior and so on.”

By the late 1980s, though, the church started to change its message and become “a very strong contributor to preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS ”“ caring for the people who had AIDS and for orphans,” Mwanza said. “In fact, some of the best practices that have been used in this country are those that the church has been able to adopt, such as home-based care system.

“The church,” he added, “…(is) now much more caring, more loving.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Religion & Culture, Theology, Zambia

David Brooks–The Way to Produce a Person

We live in a relentlessly commercial culture, so it’s natural that many people would organize their lives in utilitarian and consequentialist terms. But it’s possible to get carried away with this kind of thinking ”” to have logic but no wisdom, to become a specialist without spirit.

Making yourself is different than producing a product or an external outcome, requiring different logic and different means. I’d think you would be more likely to cultivate a deep soul if you put yourself in the middle of the things that engaged you most seriously. If your profoundest interest is dying children in Africa or Bangladesh, it’s probably best to go to Africa or Bangladesh, not to Wall Street.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Globalization, Philosophy, Psychology, Theology

Governor's veto keeps Missouri from becoming seventh state to ban foreign laws from state courts

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed a bill that would have made his state the seventh in the nation to prohibit judges from considering Shari’ah, or Islamic law, and other “foreign laws” in their decisions.

But rather than citing the usual arguments about anti-Muslim discrimination and the freedom of religion, Nixon introduced a new argument against such legislation, asserting it would make it harder for Missouri families to adopt children from overseas.

Nixon said if state judges would not be able to consider foreign decrees that are sometimes required to finalize adoptions, adoptive families and children would be left stranded.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, State Government, Theology

(CSM Editor's Blog) Are Massive Open Online Courses making education a monoculture?

Education is forever balancing and rebalancing uniformity and creativity. Basic competence has to be mastered. But innovative thinking must be encouraged. Read the canon of great literature, but don’t be afraid to demolish conventional wisdom. Students and their parents seek out the best school and best teachers, hoping for the best education. But students can flourish at middling colleges and with average teachers if their reading is inspiring, their lab work intriguing, their thinking encouraged.

When you read Laura Pappano’s cover story on the huge stir being caused by Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs, pronounced “mooks”), you may at first think that there’s nothing new under the sun. Correspondence courses, after all, began in the 19th century. Over the decades, educational institutions have experimented with teaching via radio, television, closed-circuit video, and the Internet. And each new distance-learning technology has prompted predictions of the demise of ivy-clad campuses, the loss of mentoring by belovedly quirky profs, and the end of fond memories of college life. Fifteen years ago, a reporter from The Boston Globe marveled at how 1990s cutting-edge technology ”“ “a two-way PictureTel compressed-video system linked by high-speed phone lines” ”“ was connecting a classroom on Martha’s Vineyard with a university on the Massachusetts mainland. As one university official told him (well, actually, told me): “What is better in terms of quality ”“ a dull, boring, standard lecture, or a penetrating lecture by a great teacher, backed up with all the best video props…?”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Education, Globalization, Science & Technology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Boniface

Almighty God, who didst call thy faithful servant Boniface to be a witness and martyr in the lands of Germany and Friesland, and by his labor and suffering didst raise up a people for thine own possession: Pour forth thy Holy Spirit upon thy Church in every land, that by the service and sacrifice of many thy holy Name may be glorified and thy kingdom enlarged; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Church History, Europe, Germany, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Thou who art the sun of righteousness, the eternal source of light and life: Shine upon us, we beseech thee, with the beams of thy mercy, that we may rejoice and be glad in thee all the days of our life; for the praise and glory of thy holy name.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

The LORD is my portion; I promise to keep thy words.

I entreat thy favor with all my heart; be gracious to me according to thy promise.

–Psalm 119: 57-58

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(CT) Timothy George–Why Evangelicals can enthusiastically join arms with the new R. Catholic leader

Early on, in a radical act of dispossession, Francis broke decisively with his former life as a soldier and playboy. He stripped off his clothes and ran out of the bishop’s palace stark naked, saying, “I will no longer be called the son of Pietro Bernardone. From now on I shall say simply, ‘Our Father, who art in heaven.’ ”

We see already an intimation of Saint Francis in Pope Francis. There is his simple apparel: black street shoes instead of the calfskin red of his predecessors, simple white cassock minus gold-embroidered accessories. In addition, a pope who lives in a modest guest house (versus the spacious papal apartments), worships on Maundy Thursday with young prisoners, and who embraces hiv/aids patients in a hospice follows in the steps of il poverello, “the poor one,” as Saint Francis was called.

Since the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision of 1973, Catholics and evangelicals in the United States have worked side by side to advocate for the sanctity of life. The pro-life community will have a strong ally in the new pope. He has referred to abortion as the “death penalty” for the unborn.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Theology

(CNS) Roman Catholic leaders emind G-8 leaders to protect poor, help developing countries

In their letter, the church leaders commended the G-8 officials for focusing on agriculture and nutrition ahead of the summit and called for particular emphasis to be placed on Africa, where the need to improve local agriculture is great and, according to the World Food Program, 23 million primary-school-age children attend classes hungry.

The church leaders cited G-8 plans to address tax evasion by wealthy individuals and large corporations in a world facing severe financial shortfalls to address poverty.

Citing the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, the prelates wrote that “it is a moral obligation for citizens to pay their fair share of taxes for the common good, including the good of poor and vulnerable communities.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Poverty, Roman Catholic, Theology

(Independent) Peers vote convincingly FOR same-sex marriage Bill Today

Plans to legalise gay marriage cleared their crucial hurdle in the House of Lords tonight when peers rejected a move to “kill the Bill” which will implement the move.

The first gay weddings are expected in July of next year after the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill survived an attempt to wreck it following a heated two-day debate in the Lords. A wrecking amendment was defeated by 390 votes to 148 and the measure was then given a second reading.

Opponents of the move will table amendments during the Bill’s committee stage in the Lords, in the hope of winning further safeguards for churches and public servants such as teachers and registrars who oppose same-sex marriage. But tonight’s big majority will reduce the prospects of them succeeding and jubilant supporters hope the Bill will now survive largely intact.

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

Green Carpet Launch for environmental film entitled ”˜Our Hope for God’s Creation’

The environmental film entitled ”˜Our Hope for God’s Creation’ shows how churches across Yorkshire and the North East are responding to environmental challenges and global warming. The film is to be viewed in northern parishes ahead of World Environment Day on 5th June 2013.

”˜Our Hope for God’s Creation’, produced by the Church of England in Yorkshire and the North East, illustrates how very different parishes are responding to the threats posed by climate change as we are called to steward God’s creation. It features the solar panels on Bradford Cathedral’s roof, and churches of various traditions in Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield, Wakefield and York, as well as featuring a vicarage in Durham diocese with air-source heat pumps.

Read it all and see what you think of the film.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

Lord (George) Carey of Clifton in the House of Lords Debate

Those of us who were married according to the Book of Common Prayer will recall the preface to the wedding service:

“And therefore is not by any to be enterprised, nor taken in hand, unadvisedly, lightly or wantonly”.

Although addressed to the couple, the words can bear the broader meaning that nobody should take marriage lightly or indifferently. It is the view of many people that, sadly, this has happened and is happening. The noble Lord, Lord Dear, in his brave speech, gave voice to that. We are treating it all too lightly.

The Conservative Party knows that if the intention to widen marriage to include same-sex couples had been put in its manifesto, it would not have been in a position to form a coalition. Discussion of this fundamental building block of society””we have all described it as that””has been thwarted at every turn. There has not been a proper debate, and the consultative process has been a shambles because, right from the outset, the Government have made it clear that the consultation has never been about whether same sex couples should marry, but how it might be achieved.

Read it all.

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

(Vatican Radio) UN Report says Social and economic costs of global malnutrition unacceptable

wenty six percent of all children under five are stunted, according to the annual “State of Food and Agriculture” (SOFA) report, issued by the UN’s Food and Agriculture organization.
The report “Food systems for better nutrition” notes that although some 870 million people were still hungry in the world in 2010-2012, this is just a fraction of the billions of people whose health, wellbeing and lives are blighted by malnutrition.
Two billion people suffer from one or more micronutrient deficiencies, while 1.4 billion are overweight, of whom 500 million are obese, according to SOFA. Twenty six percent of all children under five are stunted and 31 percent suffer from Vitamin A deficiency.

The cost of malnutrition to the global economy in lost productivity and health care costs are “unacceptably high” and could account for as much as 5 percent of the global gross domestic product.
Making food systems enhance nutrition is a complex task requiring strong political commitment and leadership at the highest levels, broad-based partnerships and coordinated approaches with other important sectors such as health and education, according to SOFA.

“A great many actors and institutions must work together across sectors to more effectively reduce undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies and overweight and obesity,” the report says.

Listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Globalization, Poverty