Daily Archives: December 3, 2013

(Bloomberg) The Yuan Passes the Euro as the Second-Most Used Trade-Finance Currency

China’s yuan overtook the euro to become the second-most used currency in global trade finance in 2013, according to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication.

The currency had an 8.66 percent share of letters of credit and collections in October, compared with 6.64 percent for the euro, Swift said in a statement today. China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Germany and Australia were the top users of yuan in trade finance, according to the Belgium-based financial-messaging platform. The yuan’s share of global trade finance was 1.89 percent in January 2012, while the euro’s was 7.87 percent, Swift said.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Currency Markets, Economy, Globalization

Polity “Primer”: ACI Response

Written by: The Anglican Communion Institute, Inc.
Friday, November 29th, 2013
An “Ecclesiology Committee” committee advising the House of Bishops has released a “Primer” on polity prepared with the assistance of various consultants identified at the end of the document. The identity of those preparing this document””most have participated as counsel or witnesses or have been listed as potential witnesses in the various lawsuits””makes obvious that the primary purpose of this document is its perceived usefulness in litigation. ACI principals have also appeared as witnesses in this litigation. This is our response to the claims asserted in this Primer.

1. Claim:

“Final authority in matters concerning all was vested in General Convention and, in due course, Executive Council between Conventions [5]”¦. From the beginning until now, [the General Convention] has limited its decisions with respect to specific local situations, but in making decisions for the whole church, its authority is supreme [9]”¦. Episcopalians have, since 1785, consistently assigned final authority and function in our church to the General Convention itself [10].”

ACI Response:

It is likely that the sole purpose of this Primer is to make these two (related) claims about final authority and supremacy. We note the following:

”¢ As first written and submitted to the House of Bishops this document read: “”˜Metropolitical authority’ (see below) was vested in General Convention and, in due course, Executive Council between Conventions”¦ [5]” and “Episcopalians have, since 1785, consistently assigned the metropolitical authority and function of our church to the General Convention itself [10].” But this language met considerable objection from the bishops who reviewed it in September and it had to be deleted. A vague “final authority in matters concerning all” was subsequently substituted by the drafters of the document, one implication of which is that “final authority” concerning diocesan matters rests with the diocese. And the history of this document and its drafting demonstrate that even the assembled bishops cannot agree with their own “Ecclesiology Committee” as to the nature of TEC polity. In any event, none of the terms “supreme,” “metropolitical authority,” or “final authority” is found in TEC’s Constitution.

”¢ Many in TEC assert and sincerely believe these claims about General Convention’s authority, but others do not. This is not new. The nature of TEC’s polity has been the subject of debate for two centuries. TEC’s own expert witness, Bruce Mullin, testified at the recent trial in Quincy that “the question, of course, is how hierarchical it is, and that’s a long-standing debate”¦.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts

([London] Times) Survey Suggests faith schools discriminate against poorer students

Faith schools discriminate against the less well-off, a survey has suggested. Comprehensive non-faith secondary schools admit 11 per cent more pupils eligible for free school meals than would be expected given their areas, while comparable Church of England secondaries admit 10 per cent fewer, it was found.

The Fair Admissions Campaign, which wants schools opened equally to all children regardless of religion, said admissions of pupils eligible for free school meals fell below the level in the schools’ areas by 24 per cent at Roman Catholic, 25 per cent at Muslim and 61 per cent at Jewish secondary schools.

The campaign claimed a “clear correlation” between religious selection and socio-economic segregation.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Children, Economy, Education, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance, Religion & Culture, Theology

Vatican and Bodleian libraries launch online archive of ancient religious texts

Some of the rarest and most fragile religious texts in the Vatican and Bodleian libraries, including ancient bibles and some of the oldest Hebrew manuscript and printed books, are being placed online in a joint project by the two great libraries, which will eventually create an online archive of 1.5m pages.

The website launched on Tuesday with funding from the Polonsky Foundation includes the first results of the four-year project, including the Bodleian’s 1455 Gutenberg Bible, one of only 50 surviving copies of the first major book printed in the west with metal type.

The site will also host a growing collection of scholarly essays, and interviews with the Oxford and Vatican librarians, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who said the digitisation was of huge international significance.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Blogging & the Internet, Books, Education, England / UK, Europe, History, Italy, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(Vulture) A Joe Jonas Profile, Illustrative of the Current Spiritual Climate

…I was a pastor’s kid, so eyes were always on me, even then. I sat in the first pew of the church, and I had to wear a suit every Sunday, because my parents wanted me to be this role model that I didn’t always want to be. I preferred going to punk-rock shows in small venues in New Jersey, where we grew up, wearing my jean jacket and all my band pins. That’s how I fell in love with music, how I became obsessed with it. I’d stand there, watching the singer running around the stage, owning the crowd. I didn’t even notice whatever else was happening onstage. All I could see was the singer.

But I had certain obligations at that age. If I ever didn’t want to go to church on Sunday, or when I was trying to figure out what religion I wanted to be, or trying to understand spirituality, I would always have to deal with knowing that people were looking up to me. We eventually left our church, Assembly of God, when I was 14. A scandal had erupted involving stolen money, and it caused a big rift in the church. After that the concept of church really upset me for a long time. I mean, I believe in God, and that’s a personal relationship that I have, but I’m not religious in any way.

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Marriage & Family, Music, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology

(WSJ) U.S. High-School Students Slip in Global Rankings

U.S. 15-year-olds made no progress on recent international achievement exams and fell further in the rankings, reviving a debate about America’s ability to compete in a global economy.

The results from the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), which are being released on Tuesday, show that teenagers in the U.S. slipped from 25th to 31st in math since 2009; from 20th to 24th in science; and from 11th to 21st in reading, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, which gathers and analyzes the data in the U.S.

The PISA is administered every three years by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. A representative sample of about 510,000 students took the exam in 65 countries and locales, representing 80% of the world economy.

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

(Living Church) John Martin on the Pilling Report–A Cautious Embrace of the new Sexual Morality

The report is by the church’s Working Group on Sexuality chaired by Sir Joseph Pilling, a retired civil servant, whose resumé includes leading the challenging Northern Ireland Office. There was every indication that release of the report was accelerated because leaks had begun to appear in the media and on weblogs. One blogger posted a summary of the report’s main conclusions two weeks ago, which turned out to be largely correct.

The Pilling Report takes a stance very similar to a policy recently approved in the Church of Scotland. It does not recommend centrally approved services to celebrate same-sex unions but it paves the way for clergy to arrange services in their parishes. It recommends, further, that in the next two years the Church undertake comprehensive facilitated conversations.

The language of the report is careful and tentative. That is not how the media saw it, however, and immediately the headlines said the Church of England was poised to bless same-sex marriage. The report speaks of the need for “pastoral accommodation.” Nor indeed does it speak of “blessing” gay marriages, even though this is the preferred term by the media.

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

TEC Presiding Bishop's Advent Message for 2013

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Advent, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Episcopal Church (TEC)

How One Minute on the Internet has Changed since March 2012

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

(First Things On the Square) Rusty Reno–Our Populist Pope

Now it’s certain. This will be a populist papacy. Denunciations of unfettered free market economics in Evangelii Gaudium””“an economy of exclusion and inequality”””attracted a great deal of attention in the secular press. But for the most part commentators ignore the fact that Francis’ populism has a very strong ecclesial dimension as well.

He calls for a renewed commitment to evangelization. It’s something we all can do. This does not require a capacity for acute theological analysis or familiarity with subtle apologetic arguments. Instead, what’s needed is a lively faith.

He exhibits a similar ecclesiastical populism when it comes to clergy. In a long section, perhaps the longest in the document, he details the many things that go into the preparation and delivery of good homilies. None require specialized expertise. All grow out of basic Christian virtues. The everyday priest can make an outsized difference””if he gives himself to Christ and his people.

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

A Prayer for the (Provisional) Feast Day of Francis Xavier

Loving God, who didst call Francis Xavier to lead many in India and Japan to know Jesus Christ as their Redeemer: Bring us to the new life of glory promised to all who follow in the Way; through the same Jesus Christ, who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord, who hast taught us in thy holy Word that the night is far spent and the day is at hand: Awaken us from all sloth and slumber, that we may live as sons of light and of the day, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation; for his sake who died for us and rose again, even our Lord Jesus Christ.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Hear this word that the LORD has spoken against you, O people of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up out of the land of Egypt: “You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities. “Do two walk together, unless they have made an appointment? Does a lion roar in the forest, when he has no prey? Does a young lion cry out from his den, if he has taken nothing? Does a bird fall in a snare on the earth, when there is no trap for it? Does a snare spring up from the ground, when it has taken nothing? Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does evil befall a city, unless the LORD has done it? Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets. The lion has roared; who will not fear? The Lord GOD has spoken; who can but prophesy?”

–Amos 3:1-8

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(FT) Boko Haram strikes back against Nigerian crackdown

Boko Haram militants launched a daring raid against Nigerian troops on Monday in an attack that indicates the Islamist group is still capable of deadly strikes in spite of a six-month military crackdown.

The onslaught by what witnesses described as “hundreds” of militants against a military barracks and an air force base in Maiduguri, the capital of the north-eastern state of Borno, where Boko Haram is strongest, left scores dead, helicopters burnt and barracks destroyed, according to local news reports.

The authorities responded by imposing a 24-hour curfew across the state, and Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria’s president, summoned senior military officials to a meeting.

Read it all (if necessary, another link may be found there).

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

BBC Radio 4 Sunday Programme: Pilling Report; Scottish Catholic Church + safeguarding; St Katherine

William Crawley speaks to Father Jim Thomson, Chaplain to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in the aftermath of the Police Helicopter crash in Glasgow.

Reverend Andrew Symes, Executive Secretary of Anglican Mainstream and Savi Hensman, Vice Chair of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement discuss the Pilling Report recommendations on same sex blessings with William.

Bruce Douglas reports from Brazil on why the country is seeing a decline in Catholicism and Afro-Brazilian religions.

Consider listening to it all (click on the “Listen now” icon in the left middle of the picture.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Scotland

(Anglican Taonga) Legal Ruling Means the Diocese of Christchurch is free to demolish the Cathedral

The Supreme Court has rejected a final bid to preserve the quake-damaged ChristChurch Cathedral.
This means the Diocese of Christchurch is free to demolish the Cathedral and to move ahead with plans for a replacement.
The Great Christchurch Buildings Trust (GCBT) earlier contested a Court of Appeal decision that demolition of the landmark could go ahead.
The Court of Appeal had upheld a High Court decision clearing the way for demolition to continue after the lawfulness of a decision to bring it down to a safe level was challenged by the GCBT.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Law & Legal Issues, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Parish Ministry, Stewardship, Urban/City Life and Issues