Category : Other Churches

(Scotsman) Princess Royal: Scotland’s churches have ‘major role in welcoming strangers’

The Princess Royal has praised the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly as a place for “reasoned debate” in her opening address at the annual event.

Her remarks come ahead of a debate at the assembly later this week which could move the Kirk a step closer to allowing ministers to perform same-sex marriage.

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Scotland, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Theology: Scripture

(Good News) Tom Lambrech–Bright Spots in a Confusing Decision by the recent United Methodist Judicial Council

1. The Judicial Council clearly and forcefully upheld the principle that a jurisdiction’s bishops, acting on behalf of the whole United Methodist Church, cannot legally consecrate as bishop a person who does not meet the qualifications for office. The Western Jurisdiction had maintained that it could elect and consecrate whoever it thought would be an appropriate bishop in light of their particular context, and that the rest of the church could say nothing about their choice. The ruling recognized that bishops are bishops of the whole church and that jurisdictional bishops are acting on behalf of the whole church when they consecrate a bishop. No jurisdiction or annual conference is completely autonomous. We are part of a connection that is responsible and accountable to each other.

2. The Judicial Council clarified that “a same-sex marriage license issued by competent civil authorities together with the clergy person’s status in a same-sex relationship is a public declaration that the person is a self-avowed practicing homosexual.” This important ruling will put an end to games that some openly homosexual clergy have been playing by living in a same-sex marriage, yet declining to acknowledge that they are practicing homosexuals. Rather than requiring church authorities to ask intrusive questions about the personal lives and practices of clergy, all that is now necessary for a person to be brought up on a complaint is the public record of being in a same-sex marriage. The Judicial Council recognized that being in a marriage assumes a sexual relationship, and that it would then be up to the clergyperson under complaint to give “rebuttal evidence” during a complaint process to refute that assumption in an individual case. This should make it much easier and more straightforward to hold accountable some clergypersons who are living contrary to the moral teachings of the church.

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Methodist, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Theology: Scripture

(Catholic Herald) Nic Hallett–Can Catholics and Protestants still debate Mary? Last night I saw they can

For most people, the word “ecumenism” will bring to mind images of people of different denominations sitting down with cups of tea and saying how wonderful everyone is.

Certainly, inter-Christian dialogue in recent years has tended to emphasise what everyone has in common as if the great theological differences that created the division in the first place have vanished, hushed up like an embarrassing secret.

..[earlier this week] in London, however, a very different type of ecumenical meeting took place. Frank, uncompromising and at times brutally honest – yet always in the spirit of charity and respect – two very different Christians sparred on one of the central tenets of Catholicism.

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Posted in Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology, Theology: Scripture, Uncategorized

(FT) Sunni clerics in Sisi sights after Isis targets Christians

Days after twin suicide blasts at Christian churches rocked Egypt, the country’s media launched a wave of highly unusual attacks on al-Azhar, the institution that has for centuries provided religious guidance to Sunni Muslims around the world.

“If you are incapable, too tired or fed up, leave the job to someone else. Your passivity is killing us,” Amr Adib, a television presenter, yelled as he called on Azhar’s Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb to resign.

Such fiery criticism appears to reflect tensions between Egypt’s political and religious leaders, with pro-regime media alleging that Azhar’s leaders are failing to combat extremism and maybe even fuelling it. Pressure on Azhar — which Pope Francis visited last month — soared in the wake of April’s church bombings in Tanta and Alexandria, which were claimed by Isis and killed dozens of Christians.

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Posted in Coptic Church, Egypt, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Politics in General, Terrorism

(Living Church) John Martin on the background to the consecration in Jesmond Parish

The Rev. David Holloway, the senior minister of Jesmond Parish, believes the Church of England’s Clergy Discipline Measure will not apply in this case. Ecclesiastical lawyers are studying the case, and it is not yet clear what their response will be.

The Rt. Rev. Rod Thomas, appointed as Bishop of Maidstone to work with conservative evangelicals, is reserving his opinion.

The action in Jesmond caught GAFCON by surprise. Except for a conversation with GAFCON’s general secretary, the Most Rev. Peter Jensen, Jesmond’s statement makes plain there was no consultation with GAFCON’s primates. A week earlier, GAFCON’s primates stated their intention to send a missionary bishop to the United Kingdom amid conservative concerns about the state of the Church of England.

Archbishop Jensen confirmed it was entirely independent of GAFCON. “But it does show, I think, that the situation in England is becoming very difficult for those who hold the traditional and biblical view.”

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Posted in Anglican Continuum, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Evangelicals, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, South Africa

(AJ) Andrew Worley will not serve as bishop of Caledonia, rules provincial HoB

Last month’s election was held to find a successor for Bishop William Anderson, who announced in late 2015 his plans to retire.

The house’s decision has to do with Worley’s views on his involvement with the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA), a collection of theologically conservative churches that was originally a mission of the Anglican Province of Rwanda.

In 2007, Worley, who was born and raised in the U.S., planted a church in Las Cruces, New Mexico, as a missionary for the Anglican Province of Rwanda. (At some point after Worley left, that church joined the Anglican Church in North America, another grouping of conservative Anglican churches.)

The bishops began to discuss Worley’s views after a review of his service for AMiA, which, according to the statement, he performed “under license from the Province of Rwanda in the geographical jurisdiction of The Episcopal Church without permission of the Episcopal Church.”

“After many open and prayerful conversations, the majority of the House concluded that within the past five years the Rev. Worley has held—and continues to hold—views contrary to the Discipline of the Anglican Church of Canada,” Archbishop John Privett, metropolitan of the province, is quoted as saying.

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Posted in Anglican Church of Canada, Other Churches, Rwanda

(Charlotte Observer) Pastor of Charlotte’s St. Matthew, America’s largest Catholic parish, to retire

In a recent video by America, a national Catholic magazine, McSweeney said his parish, which has 60-plus employees and three other priests, sent representatives to other megachurches around the country to see how they do it.

“The star (of the other churches) is usually the pastor,” McSweeney said the video. “The star here at this megaparish is Jesus Christ.”

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic

(JE) Joseph Russell–10 Profound Quotes from ‘The Cross of Christ’ by John Stott

1.) “From Jesus’ youth, indeed even from his birth, the cross cast its shadow ahead of him. His death was central to his mission. Moreover, the church has always recognized this.” (pg. 23)

2.) “The fact that a cross became the Christian symbol, and that Christians stubbornly refused, in spite of the ridicule, to discard it in favor of something less offensive, can have only on explanation. It means that the centrality of the cross originated in the mind of Jesus himself. It was out of loyalty to him that his followers clung so doggedly to this sign.” (pg. 31)

3.) “God could quite justly have abandoned us to our fate. He could have left us alone to reap the fruit of our wrongdoing and to perish in our sins. It is what we deserved. But he did not. Because he loved us, he came after us in Christ. He pursued us even to the desolate anguish of the cross, where he bore our sins, guilt, judgement and death. It takes a hard and stony heart to remain unmoved by love like that.” (pg. 85)

4.) “The essential background to the cross, therefore, is a balanced understanding of the gravity of sin and the majesty of God. If we diminish either, we thereby diminish the cross.” (pg. 111)

Read it all.

Posted in Books, Christology, Church of England (CoE), Evangelicals, Soteriology, Theology: Scripture

(CWR) Ed Peters–Questions in the wake of Cardinal Coccopalmerio’s comments on Anglican orders

A rock dropped into quiet waters produces a visible splash and observable ripples. The same rock thrown into a storm-tossed sea, however, passes unnoticed, for its effects are overwhelmed by larger and wider waves.

Before the splash of Cdl. Coccopalmerio’s startling comments toward recognizing Anglican orders disappears in the theological chop that is the new normal for Catholics, let’s record some questions deserving of consideration.

Note, the only source I have for Coccopalmerio’s comments is The Tablet and, as that site sets the stage for its report by recalling “Leo XIII’s remarks [on] Anglican orders”—as if Leo’s letter Apostolicae curae (1896), which declared Anglican orders “absolutely null and utterly void”, simply conveyed, you know, some “remarks”—one is not reassured that The Tablet fully grasps what is at issue here. In any case, no Tablet quotes attributed to Coccopalmerio directly attack Leo’s ruling (we are not even told what language the cardinal was speaking or writing in, and I think that is an important point) so there is some room for clarification.

But, if Coccopalmerio said what The Tablet reports him as saying, the following questions would warrant airing.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Roman Catholic

(The Tablet) Anglican orders not ‘invalid’ says Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio

In a recently published book, Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, calls into question Pope Leo XIII’s 1896 papal bull that Anglican orders are “absolutely null and utterly void.”

“When someone is ordained in the Anglican Church and becomes a parish priest in a community, we cannot say that nothing has happened, that everything is ‘invalid’,” the cardinal says in volume of papers and discussions that took place in Rome as part of the “Malines Conversations,” an ecumenical forum.

“This about the life of a person and what he has given …these things are so very relevant!”

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Roman Catholic

(CT) Elesha Coffman reviews Geoffrey Treloar’s new book “The Disruption of Evangelicalism: The Age of Torrey, Mott, McPherson and Hammond”

Geoffrey Treloar’s The Disruption of Evangelicalism: The Age of Torrey, Mott, McPherson and Hammond feels like the culmination of a very long project. Back in 2003, historian Mark Noll inaugurated InterVarsity Press’s five-volume series on the history of evangelicalism with The Rise of Evangelicalism: The Age of Edwards, Whitefield, and the Wesleys. He described the series as a whole, in the introduction to that book, as accessible to any reader, yet footnoted for scholars; global in scope, though grounded in the English-speaking world; and centered on “evangelical religion, as understood by the evangelicals themselves” while attending to historical context. Subsequent volumes appeared in chronological order, except for this one, which marks the end of the series but covers the penultimate time period, 1900–1940.

The early 20th century is generally considered the low point in the long sweep of evangelical history. Superstar evangelist Dwight L. Moody died in 1899, and his mantle would not be taken up by Billy Graham until after World War II. Key events, including World War I, the Great Depression, and the rise of fascism in Europe, offered little to cheer. The period also saw the infamous fundamentalist-modernist controversy, which split numerous denominations and religious institutions along lines of biblical interpretation, doctrine, openness to scientific inquiry, and posture toward the outside world.

In a move reminiscent of the “new academic hagiography” advocated by historian Rick Kennedy (see Chris Gehrz’s post at The Pietist Schoolman blog), Treloar seeks to rehabilitate this era, casting it as a time not of narrowness and rancor but of breadth and creativity. Instead of two hardened camps, fundamentalist and modernist, lobbing rhetorical shells between their respective seminaries, Treloar describes a wide spectrum of evangelicals with most of its vitality at the center. “Not all fundamentalists were the same; liberals varied in the degree of their liberality; and the centre was broad,” he writes. This perspective rescues little-known figures from obscurity, both expanding the roster of evangelicals and marking finer shades of differentiation among them….

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Books, Church History, Evangelicals, Religion & Culture

(CT) Jeff Haanen on Tony Reinke’s new Boook–Your Smartphone Is Neither a Cancer nor a Cure-All

We miss the point if we become either pro- or anti-technology. Instead, liberation from our smartphones (and all our technology) is best summed up by the psalmist: “I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts” (119:45). In contrast to the American view of freedom—essentially, lack of restraint on individual choice—the Bible sees true freedom as a matter of living within proper boundaries.

The redeeming gem of Reinke’s book is found in asking readers to define those boundaries. After reading a list of 12 questions under the heading “Should I Ditch My Smartphone?,” I asked myself, What do I really need my phone for?

As I began deleting apps and setting new boundaries, I found myself catching an appealing vision of a better—and slower—life. And my phone once again became just a tool, to be used like all good things given by God (James 1:17).

Read it all.

Posted in Books, Evangelicals, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

A great Illustration of the Collision between the new sexual ethic+Historic Christianity: William di Canzio’s piece in response to Archbishop Charles Chaput

Last October Abbot Richard Antonucci of Daylesford Abbey in Paoli requested a meeting with me, though he declined to tell me his purpose in advance. I have worshiped there since 1981 and since 2003 served as a lector. The abbot started our conversation by saying that he’d heard I had married my partner of 12 years, Jim Anderson. “I want you to believe this,” he said: “I sincerely wish you both many, many years of happiness together.”

Then he passed me a copy of a directive from Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia stating that members of same-sex couples should “not hold positions of responsibility in a parish, nor should they carry out any liturgical ministry or function.” The abbot said that, with reluctance, he must enforce the directive….

Some weeks before my dismissal, I had read about the archbishop’s directive. It’s very offensive….

Here’s the truth: my sexual nature, like that of all human beings, is holy; my marriage is a sacrament where I encounter the love of God every day in the love of my spouse and bestow it likewise on him. The archbishop has done us and all the church a great wrong.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Roman Catholic, Sexuality

(WSJ) Matthew Hennessey–A Roman Catholic World Fades Over a Lifetime

Early last month I attended my Uncle Joe’s funeral Mass at the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary—the same Morristown, N.J., Catholic church in which he had been baptized 89 years earlier. In an ancient tradition meant to recall baptism, his casket was covered with a white linen pall, blessed with holy water by a priest, and positioned in the sanctuary before the Paschal candle. Decorated with the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, Alpha and Omega, the candle denotes our fundamental belief in the resurrection of the body made possible by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

The mourners that day were few. Uncle Joe had simply outlived a lot of people. Of the 50 or so friends and family assembled to pray for the repose of his soul, only a handful seemed familiar with the liturgy. A regular Sunday Mass-goer couldn’t help but notice: Almost no one knew what to say and when to say it, or what to do and when to do it.

This wasn’t entirely their fault. In 2011 the Catholic Church issued a new English translation of the Roman Missal, the texts and rubrics of the Mass that have been in use since 1969. But most of the baptized Catholics standing mute in their pews at Uncle Joe’s funeral hadn’t been regular churchgoers since well before the new translation came out.

It’s a deep problem. Only 22% of American Catholics attend weekly Mass, according to Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate.

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Posted in History, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(CNS) Belgian brothers to allow euthanasia for nonterminal psych patients

A group of psychiatric care centers run by a Catholic religious order in Belgium has announced it will permit doctors to undertake the euthanasia of “nonterminal” mentally ill patients on its premises.

In a nine-page document, the Brothers of Charity Group stated that it would allow doctors to perform euthanasia in any of its 15 centers, which provide care to more than 5,000 patients a year, subject to carefully stipulated criteria.

Br. Rene Stockman, the superior general, has distanced himself from the decision of the group’s largely lay board of directors, however, and has told Belgian media that the policy was a tragedy.

“We cannot accept that euthanasia is carried out within the walls of our institutions,” said Stockman, a specialist in psychiatric care, in an April 27 interview with De Morgen newspaper in Brussels.

Read it all.

Posted in Aging / the Elderly, Belgium, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Roman Catholic