Daily Archives: February 20, 2016

Antonin Scalia's letter to a Presbyterian Minister about Funerals and preaching

In my aging years, I have attended so many funerals of prominent people that I consider myself a connoisseur of the genre. When the deceased and his family are nonbelievers, of course, there is not much to be said except praise for the departed who is no more. But even in Christian services conducted for deceased Christians , I am surprised at how often eulogy is the centerpiece of the service, rather than (as it was in your church) the Resurrection of Christ, and the eternal life which follows from that. I am told that, in Roman Catholic canon law, encomiums at funeral Masses are not permitted””though if that is the rule, I have never seen it observed except in the breach. I have always thought there is much to be said for such a prohibition, not only because it spares from embarrassment or dissembling those of us about whom little good can truthfully be said, but also because, even when the deceased was an admirable person””indeed, especially when the deceased was an admirable person””praise for his virtues can cause us to forget that we are praying for, and giving thanks for, God’s inexplicable mercy to a sinner.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Christology, Eschatology, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Soteriology, Theology

(NC Register) First Anglican Ordinariate Bishop Ordained

In a majestic Mass at Houston’s Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart on Feb. 2, history was made for the Anglican ordinariates established by Pope Benedict XVI: Their first bishop was ordained.

“In a nutshell, it means we’re here to stay,” summarized Msgr. Harry Entwistle, the ordinary of Australia’s ordinariate, which is under the patroness of Our Lady of the Southern Cross.

The new bishop, Steven Joseph Lopes, 40, a native of California, was in fact instrumental in the creation of the ordinariate that he now leads ”” the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic

(San Diego Union-Tribune) Belief in America's military might falls

A new Gallup survey shows more concern among Americans about the strength of the military.

When asked if the U.S. is No. 1 in the world militarily, survey respondents were evenly split, with 49 percent saying yes.

This is the first time in 23 years that fewer than half of Americans responded this way. After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, 56 percent said the U.S. was the world’s top military, the start of an upward trend that peaked in 2010 at 64 percent.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, History, Sociology

(WSJ) GOP rivals make final push in South Carolina as voters head to polls

Voters headed to the polls Saturday in the Republican primary contest here, the first in the South, as front-runner Donald Trump looked to hold off rivals in a still-crowded GOP field.

The final days of campaigning in state featured allegations and counterclaims of dirty tricks, long a tradition in the state. At the same time, Mr. Trump continued to dominate headlines and flirt with fresh controversy, calling for a boycott of Apple Inc. on Friday over phone encryption, just after he appeared to make peace following a spat with the Vatican and softened his attacks over the runup to the Iraq War.

In South Carolina, Mr. Trump was the top pick of 28% of likely Republican primary voters, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Marist poll held in the final days before Saturday’s election.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * South Carolina, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Office of the President, Politics in General, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day from New Every Morning

Almighty God, in whose presence is fullness of joy, and whose power is made perfect in our weakness: Grant us so to dwell in thy presence, that we may ever be glad of heart; and so to rest on thy strength, that we may have victory over evil; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

But I call upon God; and the LORD will save me. Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he will hear my voice. He will deliver my soul in safety from the battle that I wage, for many are arrayed against me.

–Psalm 55:16-18

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(WSJ) Kenneth Wolfe–Antonin Scalia the Music Critic and Pew Policeman

Antonin Scalia attended the traditional Latin Mass nearly every Sunday, at St. John the Beloved church near his home in McLean, Va., or at St. Mary Mother of God church in the Chinatown section of Washington, D.C. When he went to the latter location, it was usually followed by a day of reading in his nearby Supreme Court office, which he did for decades on certain Sundays during the court’s term.

In the 20 years I saw him at Mass, not once was he protected by Supreme Court police or by U.S. Marshals. The associate justice with his home number still listed in the telephone book was surprisingly down to earth, true to his New Jersey roots. It was not uncommon to see him park his BMW on G Street in the District before Mass and put on his necktie using the car’s mirror. He would walk into St. Mary’s with his pre-Vatican II handmissal, always sitting in the same general area, near Patrick Buchanan, about halfway up the aisle on the far left side of the nave.

Justice Scalia loved music, especially opera. So when I was the director of an amateur choir at St. Mary’s in the late 1990s (in a Verizon Center-less neighborhood far different from today), we were under increased pressure during the Sundays when he attended High Mass. Our choir was admittedly awful, and even though we rehearsed every Thursday night and Sunday morning, it didn’t seem to help much….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

(NPR) How Scientists Misread The Threat Of the Zika Virus

The world wasn’t prepared for Zika to fly across continents in the span of a few months. In 2015, when the virus began rapidly spreading across the Americas, health workers were surprised, and researchers were caught flat-footed when it came time to provide information to protecting the public’s health.

Scientists misjudged Zika virus as a minor and trivial ailment when it was discovered in 1947, says Dr. Ken Stuart, the founder and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research in Seattle. That oversight is one reason for the dearth of medical knowledge around the virus.

But it didn’t have to be that way, he says. Stuart spoke with NPR’s Ari Shapiro on why the Zika outbreak has unfolded the way it did and how things could have gone better. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology, Theology