Category : Ireland

Historic installation of Lay Canons in St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast

History was made in St Anne’s Cathedral on Sunday January 15 when the Cathedral’s first Lay Canons were installed.

Mrs Myrtle Kerr and Mr Robert Kay were presented by the Archdeacons of Belfast and Down respectively and after the reading of the Mandate by the Cathedral Registrar, the Dean of Belfast, the Very Rev John Mann, led each new Canon to their designated seat.

The appointment of Lay Canons to Church of Ireland Cathedrals only became possible in 2010. The Constitution allows St Anne’s Cathedral to appoint up to three Lay Canons from Connor Diocese and up to three from Down & Dromore Diocese. Mrs Kerr and Mr Kay are the first to be appointed.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland, England / UK, Ireland, Ministry of the Laity, Parish Ministry

(NC Reporter) Irish RC priest warns of depression among overworked clerics

Irish priests’ ever-increasing workload is threatening to turn this aging, demoralized and declining group into “sacrament-dispensing machines” who find pastoral work less and less satisfying, a co-founder of Ireland’s Association of Catholic Priests has warned.
In his address to the association’s annual general meeting in Athlone Nov. 16, Fr. Brendan Hoban highlighted how suicide is on the rise among Irish priests, a group he said was also increasingly prone to depression.

With the vast majority of Irish priests now age 70 or over, elderly diocesan priests are living increasingly isolated and lonely lives and are constantly “reminded that we no longer really matter, that at best we’re now little more than a ceremonial presence on the sidelines of life,” he said.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Ireland, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Stress

The Church of Ireland Gazette Editor reflects on his time on the job there

On the wider scene, the issue of same-sex relationships has been a dominant one within the Anglican Communion throughout my time as editor.

While maintaining a traditional view of the matter from an editorial perspective, the Gazette has been keen to give space to all points of view and, hopefully, to be a place of both communication and debate within Church circles on what is a very sensitive issue. I suppose because of the editorial independence of the Gazette, it is not always popular in certain quarters of the church but, then again, I have frequently pointed out that the vast majority of the items that we cover are hugely supportive of the church. It is just that, at times, difficult matters cannot be avoided if the Gazette is to be truly independent.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Ireland, Media

(CEN) Andrew Carey: Challenging times for the Church in the UK

We live in very challenging times for Christians in the West. There are cultural forces that unsettle and disturb the Church, and at times threaten to engulf it.

The tragedy is that many Christians and many church leaders are swept away by many developments that are at odds with our faith. They are lost or missing in action and have become victims of cultural struggles and differences that have always been with us since the very beginnings of Christianity. Others have changed sides and actively campaign against faith positions they once held dear.

There are several developments which I find appalling and which I will loosely group around issues to do with Christianity and western law which have long themselves been linked.

1. It is absolutely chilling that Ashers Bakery in Northern Ireland have lost their case in the Court of Appeal. The original ruling was that Ashers had discriminated against a gay man because they refused to bake a cake that carried a pro-gay marriage slogan. Let’s not forget that Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK that retains the previous perfectly serviceable and Christian definition of marriage. The Ashers Bakery contended that they are happy to bake cakes for anyone but would have refused to bake a cake supporting gay marriage even if a heterosexual had asked them to do so….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ireland, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Law & Religion UK) Ashers Baking loses its appeal over being forced to bake advocacy cake

Ashers Baking is owned by the McArthur family. It offered to bake cakes iced with a graphic of the customer’s own design. Gareth Lee is gay; and to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, in May 2014 he ordered a cake from Ashers bearing the slogan “Support Gay Marriage” and a picture of the Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie. Ashers initially accepted his order but Mrs Karen McArthur subsequently telephoned him to say that his order could not be fulfilled because Ashers was a Christian business and that, with hindsight, she should not have taken the order in the first place. She apologised and refunded his money.

Before Belfast County Court, in Lee v Ashers Baking Co Ltd & Anor [2015] NICty 2 Mr Lee had claimed that he had been discriminated against contrary to the provisions of the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006 and/or the Fair Employment and Treatment (Northern Ireland) Order 1998. District Judge Brownlie found for Mr Lee, concluding that Ashers Baking was liable under the 2006 Regulations for the unlawful acts of its two directors, Mr and Mrs McArthur, and that they, in turn, were liable under Regulation 24 for aiding Ashers Baking to act unlawfully. As a result of their actions, the company had discriminated unlawfully against Mr Lee. They appealed and the matter came before the Court of Appeal in Belfast by way of case stated.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ireland, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

Ashers bakery loses appeal in case requiring them to make a cake supporting same-sex marriage

Ashers managing director Daniel McArthur said he and his family were “extremely disappointed” with the ruling .

“If equality law means people can be punished for politely refusing to support other people’s causes then equality law needs to change. This ruling undermines democratic freedom, it undermines religious freedom, and it undermines free speech,” he said.

Gay rights activist Peter Tatchell said the “verdict is a defeat for freedom of expression” and could set a “dangerous, authoritarian precedent”.

“Although I strongly disagree with Ashers’ opposition to marriage equality, in a free society neither they nor anyone else should be compelled to facilitate a political idea that they oppose,” he said.

Read it all from the Irish Times.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ireland, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

Diocese of Down and Dromore in good heart for future ministry

The bishop noted some of the changes in society, but more particularly, in ministry and leadership, which had occurred since his consecration in 1997.
He compared figures from 1997”“2016 and encouraged Synod that the diocese was well positioned for the future with 300 people commissioned and licensed for the work of ministry on a diocesan level.
There continued to be opportunities for curates and a desire in the diocese to invest in fresh new ministries. This year the number of presbyters ordained was the second largest in 20 years and six individuals were likely to begin the Foundation year at CITI ”“ three in their twenties, two in their thirties, and one in their forties.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland, England / UK, Ireland, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Religion & Culture

Stephen Trew–Armagh Archbishop calls for a mission audit. How does the church itself measure up?

On the fifth mark of mission I was very pleased to hear Archbishop say this,

“Care of the creation and our responsibility for it was something that became very real to me in Lusaka, where I heard of formerly inhabited islands in the dioceses of the southern Pacific that have disappeared beneath the ocean because of global warming.”

He encourages parishioners to act in simple ways for future and present generations.

But how does the Church of Ireland itself measure up to his call for an audit? How should it act in regards to climate justice and global warming? The Bishops’ Appeal does and excellent job but it is where the church’s money is invested that raises questions.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ireland, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Stewardship, Theology

(Irish Times) Why Ireland should not be embarrassed by its abortion laws

In The Irish Times, expatriates described how the liberal abortion laws of their adopted homes made Ireland appear regressive in comparison, motivating them to hold their own demonstrations calling for repeal.

One woman, a television producer based in Vancouver, described how living in such a “progressive and liberal society as Canada has made it apparent to me how far Ireland has to go in terms of women’s rights and politics in general”.What was left unsaid ”“ as has become routine in these discussions ”“ is just how extreme the abortion laws are in some of the supposedly more civilised countries we are being asked to look up to.

In Canada, there are no legal restrictions on abortion whatsoever, allowing terminations up until birth for any reason that doctors are comfortable with.

Contrary to its liberal image, the country is apparently uninterested in transparency when it comes to this legal regime, refusing to collect statistics on the number of late-term abortions….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Australia / NZ, Canada, Children, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Ireland, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Science & Technology, Theology

Archbishops of Armagh and Canterbury welcome Belfast parades agreement

From here:

In response to the news that an agreement has been reached in North Belfast in relation to contested parades, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, joined with the Archbishop of Armagh, Dr Richard Clarke, to express their support for this significant initiative:

“We have been aware that various people and groups have been working hard to reach an agreement which would bring to an end the parading stand-off in North Belfast, a part of the city which has borne economic hardship and carries a heavy legacy from the Troubles. The news of this agreement is to be warmly welcomed and we commend all who have taken risks and found a way to serve the common good in the journey towards a peaceful and reconciled future. Our prayers and continued support are with those who now carry responsibility for making it work.”

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Church of Ireland, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Ireland, Religion & Culture, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(BBC) Belfast's St Anne's Cathedral: Catholic priest installed for first time

Catholic priest Fr Edward O’Donnell has been installed as an ecumenical canon at St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast.
He is one of three ecumenical canons appointed at the cathedral.
In his role at St Anne’s he can preach, lead prayers and read scripture. He can also assist at the cathedral’s traditional Black Santa Christmas collection for charity.
It is the first time in St Anne’s history that a Catholic priest has been appointed to such a role.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland, Ecumenical Relations, England / UK, Ireland, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

The Church of Ireland Release on St Anne’s Appointing a Roman Catholic Ecumenical Canon

Fr [Edward] O’Donnell will join Methodist Minister the Rev Ruth E Patterson, and Presbyterian Minister, the Rev Dr Ruth Patterson, to complete the Cathedral’s complement of three Ecumenical Canons.
Fr O’Donnell said he was surprised to learn from the Dean of Belfast, the Very Rev John Mann, that the Cathedral Chapter had elected him as an Ecumenical Canon, adding that he was ”˜very pleased and happy to accept.’
“While this is a personal privilege for me, the honour is shared with all those who work quietly but persistently to improve and strengthen inter”“church relationships,” Fr O’Donnell said.
“I recognise that for St Anne’s Cathedral community, and for the Catholic community of Belfast, that this is a significant step, perhaps even historic, but more so, I recognise the generosity of the Dean and Chapter in inviting me, as a representative of the Roman Catholic Church, to be an Ecumenical Canon.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland, Ecclesiology, Ecumenical Relations, England / UK, Ireland, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Roman Catholic, Theology

R Catholic priest named canon of Belfast Anglican cathedral in historic first

St Anne’s Cathedral has appointed a Roman Catholic priest as one of its canons for the first time.

Father Edward O’Donnell, parish priest of St Brigid’s in south Belfast, is now one of three “ecumenical canons” at the Church of Ireland cathedral.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland, Ecumenical Relations, England / UK, Ireland, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic

(FT) Brexit: the world’s most complex divorce begins

The goal is to unwind Britain’s 43-year membership of the bloc, disentangle and sever the legacy of shared sovereignty, and then reshape the biggest single market on earth.
Three fundamental issues arise.
On substance, what political and commercial arrangements will Brexit Britain demand and will the EU accept them?
In execution, will the exit deal ”” the divorce and breaking of old obligations ”” be struck at the same time as a trade agreement covering post-Brexit trade? And if no, is a transition possible to ensure a soft landing?

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, History, Ireland, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Scotland, Stock Market, Theology, Wales

BRITAIN STUNS THE WORLD WITH BREXIT VOTE

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, Ireland, Politics in General, Scotland, Theology, Wales