Saturday, July 17, 2010
From The New York Times-
There was not much to like in the Vatican’s news conference this week about its pedophilia scandal, but among all the defensive posturing and inept statements, there was one real stunner: The citing of the movement for the ordination of women as a “grave crime” that Rome deems as offensive as the scandal of priests who sexually assault children.
Calls for ending the ban on women priests are only a blip on the ecclesiastical radar screen. Yet Vatican officials gratuitously raised them at the news conference, while they offered limited antidotes to the crimes of sexual abuse and the long history of bishops dithering and covering up these crimes.
They doubled the internal statute of limitations to 20 years for defrocking abusers. Yet they failed to emphasize the problem as a state crime as the American bishops did after being forced to dismiss more than 700 priests. “It’s not for canonical legislation to get itself involved with civil law,” one prelate airily declared, insisting Rome’s existing “guidelines” — not mandates — are sufficient for prelates to obey civil laws.
American bishops finally signaled an end to recycling serial predators through parishes by committing to zero tolerance and requiring secular authorities to be alerted from the beginning. These two steps should be embraced by the Vatican worldwide.
Episcopal churches raise funds to give kids free chance at summer camp experience.
In most ways, Kamp PHUN is like any other summer camp for kids, complete with first day jitters, arts and crafts, swimming games, nighttime ghost stories, nature hikes and new best friends.
But if these campers dig a little deeper, they'll discover something that makes them special.
They're all the children of people currently or formerly incarcerated.
"We don't tell them why they're invited to this camp, but they figure it out," said the Rev. Cheryl Parris, pastor of St. Matthew's Episcopal Church and camp director. "The basic idea is just to provide the kids with a week of fun."
Kamp PHUN, which stands for Peace, Hope, Unity, Now, is the 3-year-old project of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia. The church offers up its Honey Creek retreat center in rural Camden County for one week each summer to 20 to 40 children of incarcerated parents from across the state.
Ay caramba, memorizing the number of spikes in Bart's head might seem inconsequential, but don't tell that to the 10 contestants in the South Sioux City Public Library's first "The Simpsons" trivia contest Friday who take pride in knowing their d'oh!
The contest, which was open to the public, tested knowledge of the long-running Fox animated show in a series of 100 questions categorized as "simple," "multiple choice" and "impossible to answer," according to library director (and quizmaster) David Mixdorf.
By the way, there are nine spikes in Bart's head.
"Since 'The Simpsons' has made more than 460 episodes and probably has a cast of nearly 1,000 characters, delving into the minutiae of the show was a lot of fun," Mixdorf, a "Simpsons" fan since the family sprung up in cartoon shorts in the late '80s "Tracey Ullman Show, said.
One person not even born when "The Simpsons" first premiered in 1989 was 18-year-old Jeanette Garcia, who entered the contest with her 24-year-old sister Diana Garcia.
"We love 'The Simpsons,'" Jeanette said after taking the quiz, "and we thought we knew 'The Simpsons.'"
"That is, until we took this quiz," Diana said, with Jeanette laughing and nodding in agreement.
From Orlando but about Savannah-
Members of Georgia's oldest Episcopal church are making one more appeal in their long-running fight to hang on to a church they believe is theirs.
Savannah's 277 year-old Christ Church broke off from its diocese over a raft of issues dividing Anglicans world-wide, including the ordination of gay priests.
Recently, a state appeals court ruled, church members had to give their historic building back to the diocese
Pastor Marc Robertson says, although church leaders are appealing to the state Supreme Court, they're also prepared to leave their sanctuary, which is worth millions of dollars and occupies a very prominent location downtown.
"The church is not brick and mortar. The church is people," Robertson says. "We may have an opportunity to live that out in a way that very few American congregations have a chance to experience."
Robertson says, church leaders are meeting with church members in small groups this month to prepare for what might come next.
"The Independent Presbyterian Church in Savannah, another old, historic downtown church has most graciously offered their facilities for us," Robertson says.
Friday, July 16, 2010
The Vatican has issued a new set of rules in response to the child abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church. The changes in church law include doubling the statute of limitations for disciplinary action against priests to 20 years, and widening the use of fast-track procedures used to defrock those found guilty of molesting minors and the mentally disabled.
You can listen to the story here-
From Catholic Culture-
In an interview published July 15, Bishop Brian Farrell, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, called the prospect of the appointment of women bishops in the Church of England an “enormous obstacle” to Christian unity.
“All the Churches of the first millennium, Catholic, Eastern and Orthodox, state that only men can be ordained,” he said. “These Churches see the ordination of women as an illegitimate abandonment of authentic Tradition.”
“It saddens us that on this point the Anglican Communion has left what we consider the essential Tradition of the Church since its beginning,” he continued. “But the process began a long time ago.”
“We will continue the ecumenical dialogue with a realism that accepts things as they are and is aware that the road ahead is long and arduous. Knowing, however, that dialogue is a task imposed by Christ himself and sustained by the grace of the Holy Spirit, soul of the Church of Christ.”
Bishop Farrell emphasized even apart from the provisions of Anglicanorum Coetibus-- the 2009 document that paved the way for Anglican communities to be received into the Catholic Church-- individual Anglicans may be received into the Church in local parishes at any time they wish.
From The BBC-
This weekend I shall be spending many hours with my colleagues on the General Synod of the Church of England debating whether or not the Church should allow women to be bishops.
Personally I am very much in favour of this development, but not because I believe it is a human right for a woman to be a bishop.
I do not believe that any more than I believe that it is a human right for a man to be able to have a baby.
I think women should be bishops because, in Christ, as St Paul puts it in his letter to the Galatians, there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female.
It was once said to me that St Paul dealt with the first - neither Jew nor Greek - in his own lifetime, ensuring that all people could become Christians.
It took until the nineteenth century for the second, neither slave nor free, to be tackled, and only now are we beginning to heed the gospel imperative for the dignity of women in Christ to be honoured.
Leaders of Christ Church in Savannah say they plan to ask the state’s top court to review a July 8 Court of Appeals decision that the church’s historic downtown property belongs to the Episcopal Church.
“We had decided some time back that we would pursue any reasonable, legal option,” Christ Church rector the Rev. Marc Robertson said today. “We feel like an appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court is a reasonable option, and it’s our legal right to do that.”
Christ Church's own attorney has said it is "unlikely" the court will hear the case.
In its July 8 ruling, the appellate court praised a Chatham County judge's 2009 ruling in favor of the Episcopal Church as “thoroughly and correctly" detailing the church history and the relevant law involved.
If the Supreme Court does agree to review the case, the process could delay another several months a final ruling in the two-and-a-half year property dispute between the denomination and its former congregation on Johnson Square.
Retiring Diocese of Kentucky Bishop Edwin "Ted" F. Gulick Jr. will become assistant bishop in the Diocese of Virginia next year.
Virginia Bishop Shannon Johnston announced the appointment on July 15.
"As I met with the Standing Committee to discuss this appointment, we all sensed a profound call in the intersection of Bishop Gulick's deep roots in this diocese, his gifts and passion for his continuing ministry, and our common sense of how he can complement and support the vision for ministry here," Johnston said in the announcement.
A native Virginian, Gulick grew up as a member of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Catlett, and attended St. George's Camp at the diocese's Shrine Mont, where he later served as a staff member. He received a bachelor’s degree from Lynchburg College and a Master of Divinity degree from Virginia Theological Seminary.
Gulick became the seventh bishop of the Diocese of Kentucky in 1994. He was a nominee for presiding bishop in 2006.
Gulick served as provisional bishop to the continuing Diocese of Forth Worth from February 2009 until Nov. 16, 2009 when retired Diocese of Northwest Texas Bishop C. Wallis Ohl was elected to succeed him.
Gulick will begin his ministry in Virginia on Jan. 1, 2011 and will assume a full schedule of visitations, as well as focusing particularly on pastoral care and response, especially for clergy and their families, Johnston said.
From Upper South Carolina-
The Very Rev. Philip C. Linder, dean of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, was suspended today by the new bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina, apparently over a leadership dispute between Linder and the vestry of the downtown Columbia church.
Bishop W. Andrew Waldo issued the suspension after Linder violated ground rules for the mediation process, according to a statement circulated to lay leaders of the church.
The news sent shock waves through the close-knit Episcopal church, which is in the midst of a $7 million restoration of the Gothic cathedral.
“To govern conduct during the mediation process, the Bishop established certain ground rules, called pastoral directives,” the statement said. “Dean Linder violated those directives. Please be assured that these matters do not involve any breaches of moral standards.”
In his absence, Bishop Waldo appointed Canon Charles Davis to serve as acting dean.
Linder has been leader of the cathedral since 1999.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
From The BBC
The Vatican has issued new instructions to speed up the handling of the "most urgent" cases of sex abuse by priests, after a series of abuse scandals.
The rules contain "more rapid procedures", it said.
Priests who sexually abuse a mentally ill adult will now be treated in the same way as those who abuse minors.
The rules also extend the time in which the Church can take action against anyone who abused a minor from 10 to 20 years after a victim's 18th birthday.
The new 20-year limit will continue to be extended on a case-by-case basis, the Vatican said.
Existing Vatican guidance to bishops that they should report sexual abusers to civil authorities remain in effect.
Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said the rules were part of Church law and thus "exclusively concern the Church", while compliance with civil law was dealt with in guidelines published in April.
The Church's internal justice system for dealing with abuse allegations has come under attack because of claims by victims that their accusations were long ignored.
What is new is the classification of any attempt to ordain women as priests as "an extremely serious crime against Church law".
The Pope has decided to crack down on the small groups of Catholic women in various countries who have been pressing for their right to be ordained to the priesthood.
The Catholic Church teaches that as Jesus Christ chose only men as his apostles, women cannot legally become priests. However, the Anglican Church and many reformed churches now regularly ordain women as priests and even bishops.
From The Living Church-
The General Synod of the Church of England is apt to take itself a bit too seriously, and sometimes gets its comeuppance. There was a famous moment a few years ago when one speaker regaled the synod: “Don’t forget, the world is watching what we say and do here today.” At that very moment the television foodlighting went out.
The world has been watching events here in York over the past few days: from Canada to Venezuela, Malaysia to New Zealand, Brazil to China, news organizations, mostly without much comment, are reporting how the Church of England has passed a key hurdle towards making women bishops.
Ahead of final approval there will be General Synod elections. It emerged during debate over the last few days that this present synod has little more than 100 members, out of 467, who oppose the measure. Whether that proportion will rise or shrink even further will be one of the issues at stake in these elections. What was painfully obvious was that in the heat of debate the anti cause had no effective champions among the bishops.
Over the next few months the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have an opportunity to provide leadership, and this too will be monitored well beyond the borders of England.
There are three initiatives they could take during the next few months.
First, those who carried the day in York will be looking to the archbishops for a clear and unequivocal statement that they affirm the validity of women bishops. This likewise would be a message that will be picked up internationally, particularly in provinces of the Anglican Communion which still waver over the ordination of women.
As the nation continues to grapple with the controversial issue of zoning of political offices and the menace of rampant kidnapping, the Primate of the Anglican Communion (Church of Nigeria), Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, has cautioned politicians and other stakeholders to handle the situations with calmness so they don't get out hand.
He spoke yesterday in Abuja at a press conference to address issues of urgent national importance and the position of the church on homosexuality. According to the Primate, “the church is saddened by the apparent breakdown of law and order in Aba and the country; how criminals have virtually shut down social and economic life in the area through violence, brigandage and kidnapping of the high, middle and low class people in quest fro money”.
“We are baffled that, we have now set out on another war, against ourselves, this is self-destruction. If what I saw in Aba is anything to go by, and the wave of wanton destruction is not curbed, the communities will be completely ruined”.
On the zoning controversy, the Clergyman said, “the clamour in the PDP house over zoning is an in-house affair, it has to be done with civility, you cannot say you want to cause trouble, zoning is a PDP affair, it is not a national affair, it is not written in our constitution that all parties should follow zoning”, Okoh maintained.
The Primate while lampooning the members of the House of Representatives on the recent crisis that rocked the house called on the citizens to show increased awareness in the political programmes that had been put forward so that we can act as our own Policemen in order to checkmate irregularities in all our national life.
Okoh also took time to sound a note of warning on the issue of homosexuality, saying that, “the issue at stake of human sexuality is not an Anglican prerogative and it is by no means limited to the Anglican circle as it is clearly shown all over the world as it concern same sex marriage, paedophilia and all sexual pervasions should be roundly condemned by all who accept the authority of scripture over human life.
A top church leader in Uganda, Anglican Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi, has appealed for calm after the "hideous crime" of a terrorist bombing at a World Cup watch party in Kampala that left more than 70 dead.
"I call upon each one of us to desist from anger and revenge. This will only perpetuate the pain we already feel," Orombi said in a statement on Tuesday (July 13). "Let us instead now focus our energies on being part of the fight against terrorism in our country."
The twin blasts at a rugby club and a restaurant on Sunday left more than 70 people dead, including one American aid worker. Several people on a missions trip from a Pennsylvania church suffered minor injuries.
The archbishop warned against unnecessary suspicion in a country where Christians (84 percent of the population) and Muslims (12 percent) have lived peacefully side by side.
"Instead, seek for the common goal of a peaceful and just society," Orombi said. "Peaceful society is the right of every one regardless of their age, race, gender or religious inclination."
Al-Shabab, a Somali Islamist organization that the U.S. lists as a "terrorist group," is reported to have taken responsibility for the attack.
The Church of England’s governing body, General Synod, has over the past few days given the green light to women bishops once again.
Now each diocese in the Church of England will discuss the proposed legislation, and a final vote is expected to take place in two years time. If all goes to plan, the first woman bishop in the Church of England could be consecrated in early 2014.
There is no shortage of good candidates. The Church of England now has four female Deans of cathedrals, 17 female Archdeacons, and many other senior women such as Canons and staff in theological colleges, all as able and as gifted as the men who get made bishops.
I can’t wait to attend the consecration of the first woman bishop. It will be a great joy to see the Church visibly valuing women and men equally, as Jesus did.
The process by which the Church of England changes it rules can be frustratingly slow, but it does have the advantage that it listens to everyone and tries very hard indeed to accommodate everyone.
It is now 35 years since General Synod voted, in 1975, that there was no theological objection to women’s ordination. In 1992, women were allowed to become priests but not bishops.
General Theological Seminary has reached an agreement in principle with its bank for a $5.3 million short-term loan "that will provide working capital for the upcoming school year," according to a July 14 press release.
The Rev. Lang Lowrey, GTS interim president, said in a press release that "definitive agreements and final approval" by both the seminary and Manufacturers and Traders Trust Company are still needed on the terms of the loan. General would get a line of credit on which it can draw for operating expenses until the seminary proceeds as planned with the sale of four residential units in the building known as Chelsea 2, 3, 4, the release said.
The loan is to be repaid from the proceeds of the sales which, according to the release, could take up to a year. Lowrey said in a letter to trustees that any remaining proceeds from the sales would go toward further reducing the school's other debts.
Lowrey said in the letter that "the imminent financial crisis that GTS faced has been temporarily eased" and "we have bought some breathing room."
"Now we need to develop a plan for further financial restructuring, including reducing the seminary's significant debt," he added.
In a July 1 letter to GTS students, Lowrey called the need to raise capital for the upcoming school year "our single most important challenge."
He added that the school needed to restructure its debt. "General simply cannot afford to service its present level of indebtedness," he said.
Lowrey acknowledged in his letter to students what he called "the heightened level of anxiety felt in our community about our finances and about our future."
The Episcopal Church of the United States traces its roots to the Church of England. The English parent confronts many of the challenges confronting its colonial progeny.
Episcopalians have taken first steps that the C of E later has followed. Recent days have seen breaking-news contention in the mother country regarding women's role. The Episcopal Church boasts not only women priests but women bishops. Women serve as priests in the Church of England, but not as bishops.
The other day a compromise regarding women clergy in the Church of England promoted by Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury, failed. The Williams proposal would have authorized women bishops but would have created male-only options for dioceses resistant to the idea. The Church of England soon will have women bishops, as the compromise was intended to soothe opponents of women bishops, not to placate supporters. Moreover, reports predict that bishops and priests hostile to the change will cross the mountain -- i.e., join the Roman Church.
One of the beauties and frustrations of the Bible is that its passages can be interpreted in diverse ways (many will scorn that proposition, thereby proving the point). Texts occasionally seem to contradict themselves. We (the regal pronoun refers to an editor who is an Episcopal communicant happily in accord with his church's precedents) find Romans 16:1 of great comfort: "I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church at Cenchreae, so that you may welcome her in the Lord as is fitting for the saints, and help her in whatever she may require from you, for she has been a benefactor of many and of myself as well."
These battles and similar ones are not unique to Anglicans. Every edifice, religious or secular, erected by fallen beings is subject to division. It is easy to understand why good people of no faith find all this confounding, and a reason for rejection. The persistent silliness seems far distant from realms as sacred as Iona and Galilee as well.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
From The London Guardian- The Church of England agreed today to relax its rules on couples marrying in churches where they have little connection with the local parish, after hearing of the competition it faced from secular venues such as hotels. Members of the General Synod, the church's national assembly, supported a call for a rule that would allow marrying couples to choose from a greater range of churches for their ceremony.
Clergy would no longer have to apply for a special licence for couples with a "qualifying connection" to one church who want to marry at another church within the same group of parishes. The Rt Rev John Packer, Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, who proposed the rule, said: "It is surprising how many people want to get married in churches at the end of muddy lanes surrounded by cows, in a warmer church, or at time like this, a cooler church, churches which fit the occasion, and where the parish priest can work with a couple and their family to create the right ambience."
The Ven Jan McFarlane, archdeacon of Norwich, said she had seen "queues" of people at wedding shows hoping to get married in hotels. "If we say no for whatever reason, we turn people away. We have lost them because they have 101 other places to go."
Check. Famine, pestilence and poverty undefeated? Check. Inequalities in life expectancy unresolved? Check. Global warming still rampant? Check.
With that kind of in-tray, what else would the General Synod of the Church of England find to furrow its brow for two days of internecine warfare but that burning issue of the day: women bishops. If God wasn’t so darned busy, she’d doubtless despair. What is it with these men in frocks that they won’t let women wear the ecclesiastical trousers? Heaven knows they spent long enough letting them tiptoe from the kitchen to the pulpit.
By the time some 32 female priests were finally ordained in Bristol in the mid-1990s, 14 were well on the way to retirement and one was about to meet her maker.
Yet lots of the boys in the black stuff were still very unhappy.
Many, many toys were flung from the evangelical wing’s prams. There were schemes for a sort of flying bishop corps who could swoop into dioceses contaminated by female ordination, so that no dissident member of a flock should be deprived that brand of clerical wisdom and pastoral care which can apparently be dispensed uniquely by men.
It wasn’t dressed up as anything so crass as misogyny of course. It was a matter of the highest learned and theological principle. As it should say in the good book: “Aye, right.” And the muttering went on when the numbers of women priests slowly rose until, good grief, there seemed to be hundreds of the besoms. Just as well a huge proportion of them couldn’t actually find paid employment.
But just as you finally get an axe through one stained glass ceiling, as if by magic another one appears above. The monstrous regiment of women priests might have got to first base, but promoted posts?
Female bishops? An outrage too far.
From the "You Can't Make This Stuff Up" Department - England Division
I thought this was a spoof at first, but it seems not: a General Synod working party is exploring whether the Church of England’s male bishops can join religious orders previously reserved for women. In other words, become Anglican nuns.
As usual, the Synod’s topsy-turvy ecclesiology is a mystery to me, but I gather that the idea is that bishops would be entitled to take vows in orders of nuns so that they can provide special episcopal oversight to the sisters. It’s a typically ingenious Anglican response to the forthcoming ordination of women bishops. “There will be jokes about bishops in wimples, but having bishop-nuns would introduce a degree of mutual cooperation that could make the introduction of women bishops much smoother,” says my Synod source.
And just when I thought things couldn’t get any weirder, I learn the identity of the bishop who is rumoured to have volunteered to take nun’s vows: the Rt Rev Nick Baines, Bishop of Croydon, often spoken of as a successor to Rowan Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury. Says my informant: “Nick is a big fan of Sister Act, and we knew he was keen to ‘get ahead,’ as it were, so he was the obvious person to ask. And apparently he was delighted, because he’s all about challenging gender stereotypes.”
Further signs of the impending Apocalypse-
The National Pastime's Midsummer Classic no longer is the exclusive property of the American League, which was knocked out on Tuesday night without a swing from the Yankees' mighty Alex Rodriguez.
With Braves catcher Brian McCann delivering the big blow, the National League came from behind to bop the AL, 3-1, in front of 45,408 at Angel Stadium, providing home-field advantage in the World Series for its champion.
This is the first happy ending for the NL in an All-Star Game since 1996, ending a run of seven consecutive AL wins and 12 of 13, interrupted by a draw in 2002.
and Matt McCann's three-run double into the right-field corner off White Sox southpaw Matt Thornton earned him the Most Valuable Player distinction. The big hit came after singles by Scott RolenHolliday had triggered the seventh-inning uprising against the Yankees' Phil Hughes.
The Concerned Laity of the Springfield Diocese is sponsoring a July 23 visit by Episcopal Church House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson to the Diocese of Springfield.
Anderson's talk will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Decatur Conference Center and Hotel in Decatur, Illinois.
Her presentation, "The Ministry of All the Baptized," is designed "to strengthen the ministry of lay people and clergy throughout southeastern Illinois," according to a news release from the group.
"I am eager to visit the Diocese of Springfield as it prepares to elect a new bishop," Anderson said in the release. "Such elections provide the perfect opportunity for laity and clergy to collaborate on a new vision for their diocese, and to explore new ways of working together in building up the church and reaching out to the poor and the marginalized."
Bishop Peter Beckwith retired on Feb. 1, 2010 and the diocese will elect his successor during an electing synod Sept. 17-18. Four candidates are to be selected at a "nominating synod" Aug. 6-7 from among 14 nominees.
The Concerned Laity of the Springfield Diocese group said in its release that it "hopes to appeal to what it characterizes as the moderate majority of local Episcopalians."
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Ironically, from Boston-
A shipbuilder from Ohio who once promised absentee ownership, George M. Steinbrenner III instead took the New York Yankees and made them his own, raising the profile of baseball’s most famous team to new heights.
The sport’s longest-tenured, most notorious and successful owner, Steinbrenner died today in Tampa, Fla., after suffering what was described as a massive heart attack. He had turned 80 on July 4.
“He was an incredible and charitable man,’’ a statement released by his family said. “He was a visionary and a giant in the world of sports. He took a great but struggling franchise and turned it into a champion again.’’
Steinbrenner purchased the Yankees in 1973 and soon became the most famed owner in professional sports. “The Boss’’ created terror within the offices at Yankee Stadium, turned dozens of ballplayers into millionaires and reveled in the media spotlight by criticizing nearly everyone in his employ.
But Steinbrenner’s legacy will also be defined by historic success. During his reign, the Yankees won the World Series seven times and qualified for the playoffs on 19 occasions. A team he purchased for $10 million in 1973 is now estimated to be worth at least $1.6 billion.
From The London Telegraph-
Leading Anglo-Catholic clergy warned that the failure to provide concessions to opponents of the historic reform would force many of them to defect to Rome.
In a highly-charged debate at the General Synod, the Church’s parliament, members rejected a compromise deal put forward by the archbishops of Canterbury and York which would have averted a schism.
The archbishops’ plans would have seen the creation of a new class of male-only bishops to look after conservative evangelical and Anglo-Catholic parishes opposed to female leadership in the Church.
Canon David Houlding, a prebendary at St Paul’s cathedral, estimated that as many as 200 traditionalist clergy could leave the Church, taking thousands of worshippers with them.
“People’s patience is running out and many will now be asking whether they should try and practice their Catholic faith in the Church of England,” he said.
“The vote was a severe blow to the archbishop [of Canterbury] and it has pushed us closer to the door.”
A group of 70 traditionalist clergy met with a Catholic bishop on Saturday to discuss plans to defect to the Roman Catholic Church. Earlier this year three bishops travelled to the Vatican to talk over an offer made by Pope Benedict XVI inviting disillusioned Anglicans to convert to Catholicism.
From The London Telegraph-
Tonight the Church of England finally acknowledged something that has been obvious since 1992, when it decided to ordain women priests: that it remains, despite the Oxford Movement, and as John Henry Newman came to believe very firmly, a Protestant Church.
As such, it enjoys the freedom to follow the example of its Reformed counterparts in other countries and ordain women to the highest level of ministry, whatever it chooses to call it. (The fact that England’s established Church calls its senior presbyters “bishops” is a matter of historical accident: had circumstances been diffferent in 1558, it might have gone the way of Scotland.)
Now that this freedom is to be fully exercised, what will happen to Anglo-Catholic traditionalists? Many will quietly, without ever admitting the fact, come to terms with their Protestant identity and stay in the C of E. Others will leave for breakaway Anglican denominations or join the Orthodox.
Those who are exploring the Roman option should not be hurried. It’s wrong to say that anyone forced out of Anglicanism cannot become a good Catholic: many great converts stayed in the C of E for as long as their consciences would permit them. But, once they were Catholics, they recognised that they were no longer Anglicans.
From The London Guardian-
Traditionalists leave General Synod empty-handed. They had arrived on Friday, confident that, if their demands went unheeded, the ruling body of the Church of England would at least bow to the will of the archbishops who made an unprecedented intervention on their behalf.
Conservative evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics asked for extra dioceses or a male bishop who did not ordain women. Over and over for four days in York, synod showed it was not prepared to enshrine such provisions in canon law, because they would have undermined the authority of female clergy and reinforced public perception of the established church being out of order and out of touch.
Despite their defeat, traditionalists remain convinced they can influence the final vote in 2012, by securing greater representation in the forthcoming synod election.
Some groups, such as Reform, have already confirmed they will vote against the legislation when it returns to the York debating chamber in two years regardless of the future synod's composition; it presently has clergy making up a third of its 1,500 members.
A spokesman for the Catholic Group in General Synod said it had been encouraged by the remarks of the Archbishop of Canterbury that there remained "unfinished business" and that the church was only part way through determining the way forward for the legislation.
Lest there be any confusion, this Greece is near Rochester NY-
After 80-year-old John Montstream went up on a 24-foot-tall high-lift to change light bulbs over his church’s altar, he joked that he had drawn the short straw.
But while Montstream went up on the lift, he is not alone in the work he does for his church.
A group of retirees meets every Tuesday morning at Trinity Episcopal Church to discuss the latest problems facing their parish.
They are also responsible for saving their church about $5,000 in energy costs and countless thousands of dollars on grounds maintenance.
The group calls itself the A-Team.
“We weren’t going to call ourselves the B-Team,” joked Montstream.
Montstream, a mechanical engineer retired from Eastman Kodak Co., organized with the other A-Team members to make the building more energy-efficient.
The team put heaters in the church underneath thermometers, so that the building would use less power to heat the building when no one was there. They also had a temperature controller installed on the boiler so that if it was warm outside, the boiler temperature would go down.
Home Run Derby last night big game tonight-
In a competition that was highlighted by all the first-time competitors, the seasoned veteran stole the show.
It took David Ortiz four tries to advance to the final round of the State Farm Home Run Derby. But once he finally did, the Boston slugger made sure not to disappoint.
Capping his 32-homer night with 11 in the final round, Ortiz outslugged Florida shortstop Hanley Ramirez at Angel Stadium on Monday to claim the competition's crown.
"[I'm] too old doing this," Ortiz joked afterward. "It was good that they put me towards the end, because I get tired pretty easy when I hit and shut it down for a while."
Whatever his strategy may have been -- and Ortiz insisted that he really didn't have one -- the six-time All-Star became the first Red Sox player to earn the distinction of Derby champion.
Some Haitians feel as if it happened just days ago, the Rev. Kerwin Delicat, an Episcopal (Anglican) priest based in the city of Léogâne, said as people prepared to mark six months since a calamitous earthquake struck on 12 January.
While some progress is discernable such as students being back at school for some time, Léogâne, like the capital of Port-au-Prince, is still years from recovery.
"Eventually, there will be a return to normal life," Delicat said in interview. "But it's been just less than six months. It's like something that just happened."
Many residents still mourn loved ones. For some, trauma is less palpable than immediately after the quake. But others are still struggling to resume their lives, Delicat said.
"It will take a long time for many families to restart a normal life, because the consequences have been so huge," Delicat said in an interview with ENInews. "A man works 30 years of hard labour, then, in one day, in one instant, he loses his wife, his children."
Léogâne, a coastal community 29 kilometres (18 miles) west of Port-au-Prince, was at the quake's epicentre. Nearly nine out of 10 buildings were destroyed or damaged. Even today, most people in the city live out of tents because their homes were destroyed or damaged, or due to people's fears of concrete structures.
More from Erie-
At least one more woman has come forward to say she was abused by an Episcopal bishop from Erie when she was a child.
The woman, who contacted the Erie Times-News today, said she sent a letter about the abuse to the Right Rev. Sean Rowe.
Rowe is the current bishop of the Erie-based Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania. On Sunday, he revealed allegations that one of his predecessors had sexually abused four girls when they were around age 10 in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Rowe apologized to the four victims of Bishop Donald Davis, who died in 2007, and asked any others to come forward. Rowe said they could contact him confidentially at 456-4203 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The day after the revelation about Davis, Rowe wasn't saying whether he'd received any calls or e-mails from other victims.
Rowe said Monday that he didn't want to comment yet on whether more had come forward. He said that when he feels it is appropriate, he would let people know if the diocese heard from other victims.
Rowe wouldn't confirm whether he'd received the e-mail the woman said she sent Monday. She forwarded a copy to the Erie Times-News, which has a policy not to identify victims of sexual assault. She called the newspaper but requested anonymity.
In her e-mail, she asked Rowe not to use her name publicly. She thanked him for what he was doing and said she has never gotten over what happened, despite years of counseling.
"It has scarred me," the woman told the Erie Times-News by telephone.
Another story here-
Monday, July 12, 2010
From The London Telegraph-
The General Synod of the Church of England, meeting in York last weekend, reaffirmed its intention to ordain women bishops. That in itself is no surprise. The Synod voted the same way this time last year, though final legislation is still some way off. What was extraordinary about the scenes in Synod on Saturday was the damage done to the authority of Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury – self-inflicted damage, for the most part.
It is not the job of this newspaper to advise the Church on whether it should ordain women bishops, though supporters of the move have a relatively easy case to make, given that it already ordains women priests. Likewise, it is not our business to argue for or against safeguards for Anglicans who cannot in good conscience worship in parishes that fall under the jurisdiction of a woman bishop. What we do note, however, is that in 2009 the General Synod voted against creating a Church within a Church that would have satisfied some traditionalists at the risk of turning women prelates into second-class bishops. As it turned out, however, the 2009 vote was not decisive. Worried by the prospect of an exodus to Rome, the Primates devised yet another, even messier, scheme – the one rejected on Saturday.
From The New York Daily News-
The other voices of the Yankees, the voices on radio and then television with whom we all grew up, they came and went. Always though, in all the important ways, there was Bob Sheppard, above it all at Yankee Stadium.
"The modern PA announcers like to shout," he said outside his booth one night at the old Stadium, "to do everything and anything to draw attention to themselves. That has never been my style."
But that is why Sheppard became the height of style. That is why he did draw so much attention to himself over nearly 60 years as the voice of the Yankees over the public-address system, what Reggie Jackson first called "the voice of God."
Bob Sheppard's voice carried.
"The voice wasn't just real," Reggie said to me Sunday afternoon. "It was noble."
The London Telegraph-
On Saturday night, the Archbishop of Canterbury suffered the most humiliating defeat of his time in office when the Church rejected his compromise deal over women bishops. It followed a week in which Rowan Williams had found himself at the centre of a storm over the blocked appointment of Jeffrey John, the homosexual Dean of St Albans, to be Bishop of Southwark.
Castigated by liberals who accused him of betraying his old friend by not securing his promotion, the Archbishop arrived at the General Synod in York also facing a mutiny over his plans to avert an exodus of traditionalists opposed to women's ordination.
A former bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania sexually abused at least four girls while he was leader of the Erie-based diocese.
The abuse by the Rev. Donald Davis was made public today by the diocese's current bishop, the Right Rev. Sean Rowe, who learned of the abuse earlier this year from one of the victims.
"Our first goal is to tell the truth," Rowe told the Erie Times-News today.
Davis, who was bishop of the diocese from 1974 to 1991, died in 2007.
In a pastoral letter read today after services in each of the 13-county diocese's 34 churches, Rowe apologized for what Davis did. Rowe asked other victims to come forward and contact him at 456-4203 or email@example.com.
"Sexual abuse in any form is abhorrent in any community, and as your bishop, I feel particular pain that one of my predecessors betrayed the trust and innocence of children," Rowe said in the pastoral letter. "On behalf of the church, I offer an abject apology to Bishop Davis' victims, their families, and everyone whose trust in the church has been violated, and I ask for your forgiveness."
Sunday, July 11, 2010
From The New York Times-
The Church of England moved another step closer to an unbridgeable schism between traditionalists and reformers on Saturday when its General Synod, or parliament, rejected a bid by the archbishop of Canterbury to strike a compromise over the ordination of women bishops aimed at preserving the increasingly fragile unity of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
The rejection of proposals aimed at accommodating those who oppose women bishops appeared to strike a serious blow to the authority of the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, whose position as archbishop of Canterbury makes him the spiritual leader of the Communion. Although he has a long-established reputation as a liberal on theological issues, the archbishop, 60, has spent much of his seven years as the Anglican leader seeking to fashion compromises with traditionalists over the role of women and gays as priests and bishops.
But the votes on Saturday appeared to have blocked, perhaps conclusively, a settlement under which hard-line traditionalists might have accepted the appointment of women bishops. The proposals would have provided for a “complementary” male bishop with independent powers, working alongside a woman bishop, to minister to traditionalists unwilling to accept a woman as the head of their diocese.
The narrow rejection of the archbishop’s compromise proposals at the Synod meeting in the northern English city of York appeared to raise the threat of a new wave of defections by traditionalists among the church’s laity and clergy to the Roman Catholic Church. Pope Benedict XVI had responded to the internal divisions among Anglicans last year by offering special provisions for disaffected Anglicans wishing to convert to Catholicism — a move that has led to resentment among some Anglicans.
The Rev. George L. Blackman might have had a career on stage if he had not witnessed indignities heaped upon fellow Navy men by their captain during World War II.
He sang, he danced, he acted and played musical instruments and had told his son Harry of New Windsor, N.Y., that he might have taken an offer from Los Angeles film studios or perhaps become a teacher if not for his wartime Navy service aboard a supply ship with “an alcoholic and martinet captain very much like the one in the film, ‘Mister Roberts.’ ’’
“Dad really had to run the ship while also defending the crew and protecting their self-respect and dignity from the abusive actions of their captain,’’ his son said.
“For him, the evil of the war was abuse of power, exemplified, of course, by Germany and Japan, but he had also found it in the Navy,’’ Harry said. “I think the inspiration and driving force in his ministry was to fight back against abuse of power.’’
A group of breakaway Virginia Anglican congregations have appealed part of a Virginia Supreme Court decision in a property dispute with the Episcopal Church.
The nine Anglican District of Virginia congregations yesterday asked the state Supreme Court to reconsider whether the Anglican District and the Convocation of Anglicans in North America are branches of the Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia under state law.
"We are not challenging the court's legal interpretation of the relevant statute," said Anglican District Chairman Jim Oakes, "but we are pointing out that the court overlooked critical evidence showing that, even under that interpretation, the congregations have satisfied the statute."
The 1867 Virginia law in question was intended as a neutral way for courts to decide who keeps church property when a church divides into branches. It permits a majority-rule vote by a congregation to decide which branch it wishes to affiliate with.
Last month, the state Supreme Court overturned a judge's decision allowing the congregations that broke away from the Episcopal Church to keep their buildings and other church property worth an estimated $30 million to $40 million.
In a unanimous decision, the justices said the lower court judge erred in ruling that the congregations are now branches of the Episcopal Church. The Supreme Court sent the case back to Fairfax County Circuit Court to determine the ownership of the nine church properties based on real estate and contract law.