Daily Archives: June 14, 2013

(WSJ) Francis X. Rocca: Pope Francis Is Good for the Jews

….given the rising urgency of pursuing a dialogue with Islam, it was hardly obvious that Benedict’s successor in Rome would promote the church’s relationship with Judaism with the same focus and zeal, especially if the new pope came from outside Europe.

As it turned out, the College of Cardinals could not have elected a man with a clearer commitment to Catholic-Jewish relations than Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio. As archbishop of Buenos Aires, he had celebrated Rosh Hashanah and Hannukah in local synagogues, voiced solidarity with Jewish victims of terrorism, and co-written a book with a prominent rabbi. Touching on one of the most sensitive points in the relationship between Catholics and Jews, Bergoglio had called for the Vatican to open its archives from the pontificate of Pius XII, who reigned from 1939 to 1958, to address lingering questions about whether the wartime pope had done or said enough to oppose the Nazi genocide.

It is relevant in this connection that the new pope comes from Buenos Aires, the city with the largest Jewish community in the Southern Hemisphere. No pope since the church’s early centuries has come from a society as culturally diverse as modern Argentina, which Francis has celebrated for its blend of ethnicities and religions.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Inter-Faith Relations, Judaism, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic

David Brooks–Religion and Inequality

About a century ago…the moral status system was likely to be the inverse of the worldly status system. The working classes were self-controlled, while the rich and the professionals could get away with things.

These mores, among other things, had biblical roots. In the Torah, God didn’t pick out the most powerful or notable or populous nation to be his chosen people. He chose a small, lowly band. The Torah is filled with characters who are exiles or from the lower reaches of society who are, nonetheless, chosen for pivotal moments: Moses, Joseph, Saul, David and Esther….

Over the years, religion has played a less dominant role in public culture. Meanwhile, the rival status hierarchies have fallen away. The meritocratic hierarchy of professional success is pretty much the only one left standing.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Religion & Culture, Theology

After Supreme Court Patent Ruling, Availability of Gene Tests Could Broaden

Almost immediately after the Supreme Court ruled that human genes could not be patented, several laboratories announced they, too, would begin offering genetic testing for breast cancer risk, making it likely that that test and others could become more affordable and more widely available.

The ruling in effect ends a nearly two-decade monopoly by Myriad Genetics, the company at the center of the case.

“It levels the playing field; we can all go out and compete,” said Sherri Bale, managing director of GeneDx, a testing company, which plans to offer a test for breast cancer risk. “This is going to make a lot more genetic tests available, especially for rare diseases.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Science & Technology, Theology

Charleston, South Carolina, restaurants brace for Affordable Care Act

The price of the Charleston Crab House’s $26.99 “World Famous Crab House Crab Pot” could go up next year, but not because of the price of crabs or a potential seafood shortage. It’s about health care.

John Keener, who owns both Charleston Crab House locations, on James Island and on Meeting Street, is one of many Charleston restaurateurs trying to make sense of the federal Affordable Care Act and how his business will be affected.

Two things are certain: Keener will need to offer his employees health insurance starting in 2014, and he will likely pass the associated costs of that coverage onto his customers.

Read it all from the local paper.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Health & Medicine

(CEN) Europe facing a “crisis of values” José Manuel Barroso tells religious leaders

The Bishop of Exeter, the Rt Rev. Michael Langrish, represented the Anglican Communion last month at a gathering of faith leaders in Brussels. Bishop Langrish along with 19 representatives from the Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Buddhist faiths were invited to voice their ideas about the future of Europe, about the European values, social issues and questions of solidarity with leaders of the EU.

On 30 May 2013 they joined José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC, Herman van Rompuy, President of the European Council, and László Surján, Vice-President of the EP to discuss the theme “Putting citizens at the heart of the European project in times of change”.

Read it all (requires subscription).

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

The Full Text of the Bishop of London's Premiere Lecture

Barely twenty years ago, serious commentators, like Francis Fukuyama in his book The End of History, were able to argue that liberal democracy and market economics may constitute the term of mankind’s ideological evolution and the final form of human government, and thus the end-point of history. History, however, has moved on in the intervening years, not least in the new prominence of religious convictions and institutions.

In these circumstances, it has proved harder to craft a political rhetoric and a convincing narrative pointing to a better material future, which many citizens have begun to suspect actually lies behind us. Hope is on the wing while some of the strongest political passions seem to be engaged, not by a vision of a better future but by a rather narrow nationalism which exalts our tribe against the others.

Is a renewed Christian vision in these circumstances possible? It may be, but I wonder whether the Christian community is ready for it?

Read it all.

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

(Church Times) Summer goes indoors at Winchester Cathedral

Summer broke into a damp and cloudy June evening on Tuesday at a gala opening for Winchester Cathedral’s “Symphony of Flowers”.

Standing under an arcade of miniature daisies that led down the nave to a breathtaking wildflower meadow, rippling in a cool breeze that replicated the weather outside, the actress Patricia Routledge congratulated the design team for enabling such humble flowers to shine amid a display of traditional and contemporary floral exhibits.

Elsewhere, 52 large-scale exhibits, created in two days by 300 flower arrangers from the Wessex and Jersey area of the National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies (NAFAS), interpret musical genres or hymns, each in relation to their cathedral surroundings.

Read it all and make sure to enjoy the slideshow.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Energy, Natural Resources, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(NC Register) Request Denied: Philadelphia Won’t Let Church Bury Gosnell Babies

The city of Philadelphia has rejected overtures made by Archbishop Charles Chaput and others to give the babies killed by notorious “House of Horrors” abortionist Kermit Gosnell a fitting burial.

For now, the unclaimed fetal remains of Gosnell’s victims, once stored in the abortionist’s freezer, will have their final resting place at the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office.

At the close of the trial that resulted in Gosnell’s conviction on three charges of first-degree murder, Archbishop Chaput renewed the archdiocese’s request made back in 2011 to gain custody of the bodies of Gosnell’s fetal victims and bury them.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

Dave Manuel–A Look at Current Economic Employment Numbers vs Those of 28 Years Ago

Next up, the employment population ratio:

June 1985 – 59.8%
May 2013 – 58.6%

Many economists consider the employment population ratio to be THE most important indicator for the labor market, and it’s interesting to note that we are currently 1.2% under the rate posted in June of 1985, which is quite a difference.

Next up – the labor force participation rate:

June 1985 – 64.6%
May 2013 – 63.4%

Again, another significant difference.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, History, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(SMH) Google uncovers Iranian spy campaign

Google says it has uncovered a vast Iranian spy campaign that had been targeting tens of thousands of Iranian citizens over the past three weeks.

“These campaigns, which originate from within Iran, represent a significant jump in the overall volume of phishing activity in the region,” the company said in a blog post. “The timing and targeting of the campaigns suggest that the attacks are politically motivated in connection with the Iranian presidential election on Friday.”

The company said that thousands of its users inside Iran had been the targets of a sophisticated email phishing campaign in which attackers sent users a link that, when clicked, sent them to a fake Google sign-in page where the attackers could steal login credentials.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/it-pro/security-it/google-uncovers-iranian-spy-campaign-20130614-2o7rh.html#ixzz2W8gG8bct

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Globalization, Iran, Middle East, Science & Technology

(Scotsman) Michael Kelly: Little charity shown to the religious

More equality, less diversity and no justice ”“ that’s where our bold, independent, socially-concerned Scotland is headed. No other conclusion can be drawn from the decision of the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) that the St Margaret’s Children and Family Care Society fails the charity test because it unlawfully discriminates against same-sex couples.

Not that any discrimination has taken place. No same-sex couple has been turned away for adoption for the simple reason that no homosexual couple has sought to make use of the society’s services. Sensibly, such couples recognise the society’s adherence to the traditional Catholic principles of marriage and seek advice from the many other organisations happy to deal with their inquiries. This is a hypothetical case arising from a complaint, not from the gay lobby, but from secularists pursing an agenda to remove any vestiges of religious belief from public life.

Does the raising of children by same-sex couples produce equal outcomes for the children as the traditional heterosexual environment is a question that has long been claimed as being settled in favour of those who see no distinction between the two. Tim Hopkins, of the Equality Network, who this week agreed that the interests of children must come first, went on to argue that “research evidence shows clearly that children do as well with same-sex parents as they do with mixed-sex parents”. He might like to update his reading. Recent work by social scientists, such as American Mark Regnerus, throws doubt on this conclusion.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Scotland

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Basil the Great

Almighty God, who hast revealed to thy Church thine eternal Being of glorious majesty and perfect love as one God in Trinity of Persons: Give us grace that, like thy bishop Basil of Caesarea, we may continue steadfast in the confession of this faith, and constant in our worship of thee, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; who livest and reignest for ever and ever.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

As he was now drawing near, at the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” And some of the Pharisees in the multitude said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”

–Luke 19:37-40

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Gallup) Fewer Americans Expect to Be Better Off in a Year

Fewer Americans are now optimistic about their future personal financial situations, with 57% saying they will be better off in a year, down from 66% who said so last October. Optimism still surpasses pessimism, as 29% expect to be worse off a year from now — although that is up from 11% who said so last fall.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, Psychology, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

New website for Anglican Communion News Service

Check it out and see what you think.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Media

(Today Moms) A. Pawlowski– 'Pregnant' boys star in Chicago's campaign to reduce teen births

Oh boy, he’s having a baby.

It’s hard to ignore these images of teenage boys sporting “pregnant” bellies and that’s exactly the intent of Chicago’s new eye-catching teen pregnancy prevention campaign.

Launched last month, it aims to “spark conversations among adolescents and adults on the issue of teen pregnancy and to make the case that teen parenthood is more than just a girl’s responsibility,” according to the Chicago Department of Public Health….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

Tim Keller–More Reflections on Sin, Change and Grace

We need to go deeper to the only lasting way to change our hearts””take them to the radical, costly grace of God in Christ on the cross. You show your heart the infinite depths to which he went so that you would be free from sin and its condemnation. This fills you with a sense not just of the danger or sin, but also of its grievousness. Think about how ungrateful it is, think of how your sin is not just against God’s law but also against his heart. Melt your heart with the knowledge of what he’s done for you. Tremble before the knowledge of what he is worth””he is worthy of all glory.

A second powerful thought from Newton is this: we sin not simply out of a rebellious desire to be our own masters, but also because we are looking to things besides God to satisfy and fulfill us. While Newton was good at pointing out the danger of having too low or light a view of one’s sin, he was also good at pointing out the opposite problem””too light a grasp of what Jesus has done for us.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Soteriology, Theology

(CSM) Supreme Court rules that Human Genes cannot be patented

The US Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that human genes and the information they contain cannot be patented by medical researchers, a holding that is expected to make it easier to engage in genetic research and cheaper for medical patients to obtain genetic testing.

The unanimous decision came in a case involving patents protecting genes with certain genetic mutations that scientists say can signal a higher risk of breast and ovarian cancer in women.

The genetic testing issue has been in the news recently with the disclosure that actress Angelina Jolie consented to a double mastectomy after undergoing a genetic test from the same company involved in the Supreme Court case that showed she had a high risk of ovarian and breast cancer.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Science & Technology

(NPR) A Meeting On Muslims, Christians and Civility Turns Into A Shouting Match

The public meeting in Manchester, Tenn., about 70 miles from Nashville, was supposed to address and tamp down discrimination toward Muslims there.

But instead it turned into a shouting match.

Bill Killian, the local U.S. attorney who organized the meeting, told the people in attendance that hate speech was not protected by the First Amendment. Over the last few years, there have been tensions between Muslims and many Christians in Tennessee. A Coffee County commissioner recently posted a picture on Facebook of a man with one eye looking down the sights of a shotgun, with the caption: “how to wink at a Muslim.” The photo went viral.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture