Saturday, March 16, 2013

Who Was St. Patrick?

From Huffington-

So, who is St. Patrick, anyway, and why do we like him so much?

Well, first, who he is not: he is not the benign figure wearing a green bishop's miter holding a shamrock and casting the snakes from the shores of his homeland, the Emerald Isle, even as he brought the saving message of Christianity to Irish pagans.

The saint we know as Patrick lived, most probably, in the mid fifth century Anno Domini, at a time before Roman Catholic bishops wore miters. Although he preached the Christian doctrine of the Trinity (that God is manifest in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit), using a shamrock to illustrate the teaching is a later attribution to him. There were no snakes in Ireland, as testified by Roman writers well before Patrick's time. And Ireland was not his native land; rather, Patrick was a Roman Briton who first came to Ireland as a slave, then returned as a missionary, yes to convert the heathens on the wild island, but also to organize the Christians who were already there into a coherent church structure.

In fact, Patrick was an angry son of a gun, uneducated despite his noble lineage, totally insecure, with few friends and legions of enemies within the British church that dispatched him to Hibernia in the first place (after much lobbying by him)--and accused of malfeasance by those same enemies who moved to have him removed from his ministry and position of authority. He was, for all that, a remarkable communicator (think Billy Graham for a modern comparison), brave in the face of very real dangers, indefatigable, stubborn in his embrace of the true faith, generous to a fault, a mystic and a man of deep humility and constant prayer.

More here-

Why I have quit Catholicism to become an Episcopalian

From The Guardian-

The Catholic Church has a new pope, but for the first time in my life, he won't be mine.

When Pope Benedict XVI abruptly resigned last month, I made an enormous personal decision. I decided the time had come to change religions and leave Catholicism behind.

I was born and raised a Roman Catholic in England. When I say "raised", I mean baptized, then enrolled in a Catholic nursery school, which led to a Catholic elementary school and then a convent boarding school where, at the age of 11, I was sent for seven years. Like every other Catholic, I made my first confession and communion and was confirmed. At school, I prayed formally every day and attended mass at least weekly until I left at 18.

Some people are believers, others aren't. Some see light breaking through clouds onto a body of water and think "beauty", others think "God". I've always been in the God category. I'm a believer. I can't help it. It's just who I am.

I was happy at school. I was lucky to be educated by nuns who were intelligent, well-educated, compassionate and engaged in the world. They were good role models. A few years ago, they left the shady lawns of privileged private schoolgirls and went to work among much needier people. Their lives are now harder but richer. I know this because I am still in touch with them – 30 years later.

More here-

RIP: The Rt. Rev. Coleman McGehee, 8th Bishop of Michigan

From ENS-

The Rt. Rev. H. Coleman McGehee, retired bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan, has died at the age of 89.

McGehee served as bishop coadjutor from 1971 to 1973 and as diocesan bishop from 1973 to 1990.
He died March 14, after a protracted illness at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Pontiac. The bishop was surrounded by loved ones, keeping vigil by his side, throughout his final days. His peaceful transition was made while his daughter, Cary, was reading spiritual imperatives to him.

He is survived by his wife of 67 years, June, their daughters, Lesley and Cary; sons Alexander, C. Harry and Donald; and four grandchildren.

Visitation will begin at noon on March 23 at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Detroit, with a requiem Eucharist at 2:00 p.m.

Coleman McGehee was born in Richmond, Virginia and came to the ordained ministry via engineering, military service and the practice of law. He was at one time deputy attorney general of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

An avid golfer, McGehee was swimming laps three times a week and taking other exercise as he had for years until the onset of his final illness in mid-February. He had stopped functioning publicly after the onset of dementia several years ago.

More here-

Also Detroit Free Press-

Msgr. Steenson has no worries about Pope Francis

From Anglican Ink-

Msgr Jeffrey Steenson, the ordinary of the Chair of St. Peter,  has urged members the of the American branch of the Anglican Ordinariate not to fret over recent news reports the new pope was not convinced of the necessity of creating a home for Anglicans in the Catholic Church.

In a note released after the election of Pope Francis I on 13 March 2013, the Bishop of Argentina and former primate of the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone, the Most Rev. Greg Venables, said Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio “is much more of a Christian, Christ centered and Spirit filled, than a mere churchman.”

The new pope was, in his experience, “consistently humble and wise, outstandingly gifted yet a common man” who had been a friend to Anglicans in Argentina.

Bishop Venables said Cadinal Bergoglio “called me to have breakfast with him one morning and told me very clearly that the Ordinariate was quite unnecessary and that the church needs us as Anglicans.”

The report from Bishop Venables sparked some controversy in the British press and speculation Francis might adopt the different tone than his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. A spokesman for the English Ordinariate denied any change is telling the Telegraph the comments were Bishop Venables’ not the Pope’s.

More here-

Friday, March 15, 2013

The archbishop of Canterbury must follow up on praise for gay relationships

From The Guardian-

Some gay relationships are an example to others, said Justin Welby. Though the new archbishop's opposition to equal marriage has disappointed some pro-equality activists, these are the most positive remarks any archbishop has made about gay relationships while in office. By following this up with practical measures, he could strengthen the Church of England's credibility in sharing the good news of God's love for all.

Welby was formerly a conservative evangelical with rigid views, but his openness to learning and growth has led him to value other traditions and re-examine his stance on sexuality. When his appointment was announced, he declared that "we must have no truck with any form of homophobia", and pledged to "listen very attentively to the LGBT communities, and examine my own thinking prayerfully and carefully".

In his interview this week with Iain Dale on LBC radio, he went further. "I know plenty of gay couples whose relationships are an example to plenty of other people," he stated. He would not suggest that the love between gay partners "is less than the love there is between straight couples, that would be a completely absurd thing to say".

More here-

EDITORIAL: Eroding pillars of the church

From Canada-

Last week, parishioners at the Anglican Christ Church Cathedral voted to allow the blessing of same-sex marriages, an unusually progressive move for a mainstream faith.

The Anglican Church, and this congregation in particular, understand the value of embracing people equally, and to a certain degree, rejecting arbitrary and antiquated doctrines that install bigotry as part of faith.

Whether this will help or further erode support for the Anglican Church in the Capital Region remains to be seen. In past years, the Victoria diocese has struggled to keep an audience. In January 2010 Anglican Diocese of B.C. announced it would close 19 of its churches in Greater Victoria largely due to declining membership,

And notably in 2008, Anglican parishioners in Metchosin kicked up an angry fuss – and eventually separated from the church – when the Anglican Church of Canada started sending signals that it would bless same-sex unions, as indeed it does now.

More here-

"The Church universal needs Anglicans" - Pope Francis

From ACNS-

The new Pope has reportedly said the Church universal needs Anglicans and that the Ordinariate is "quite unnecessary".

In a note released after the election of the first ever pontiff from Latin America, the Anglican Bishop of Argentina and former Primate of the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone, the Rt Revd Greg Venables said Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was "an inspired choice".

"Many are asking me what is really like. He is much more of a Christian, Christ centered and Spirit filled, than a mere churchman. He believes the Bible as it is written.

"I have been with him on many occasions and he always makes me sit next to him and invariably makes me take part and often do what he as Cardinal should have done. He is consistently humble and wise, outstandingly gifted yet a common man. He is no fool and speaks out very quietly yet clearly when necessary."

Bp Venables added that in a conversation with Cardinal Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, the latter made it clear that he values the place of Anglicans in the Church universal.

"He called me to have breakfast with him one morning and told me very clearly that the Ordinariate was quite unnecessary and that the Church needs us as Anglicans. 

More here-

Britain’s royal child ‘should be Anglican’

From The Malta Times-

Proposed new laws allowing a first born daughter to succeed to the throne should maintain the provision that any child of a Royal marriage is brought up as an Anglican, a Tory Peer has said.

Lord Cormack argued it was very important that any constitutional measure should be “conducive to the peace and tranquility of the realm” and should anticipate difficulties.

The sovereign, he stressed, was the Supreme Governor of the Church of England and he did not think it was a role that could be adequately fulfilled by a regent during the life of a reigning monarch.

Speaking during the Succession to the Crown Bill’s report stage in the House of Lords, Lord Cormack outlined his amendment that the “statutory requirement that any child of such marriage is brought up as an Anglican is maintained”.

Such provision in the Bill, he said, would protect the status quo and ensure it was a constitutional measure to “stand the test of times”.

More here-

Welby praises new Pope’s ‘simplicity’; Ordinariate in question

From The Church Times-

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has praised the "simplicity and holiness" of Cardinal Bergoglio, the newly elected Pope Francis.

"We wish Pope Francis every blessing in the enormous responsibilities that he has assumed on behalf of Roman Catholics around the world.

"His election is also of great significance to Christians everywhere, not least among Anglicans. We have long since recognised - and often reaffirmed - that our Churches hold a special place for one another. I look forward to meeting Pope Francis, and to walking and working together to build on the consistent legacy of our predecessors. May the love of Christ unite us, and intensify our service in a genuine and fruitful ecumenism that can be a blessing for the Body of Christ throughout the world.

"Pope Francis is well known as a compassionate pastor of real stature who has served the poor in Latin America, and whose simplicity and holiness of life is remarkable. He is an evangelist, sharing the love of Christ which he himself knows. His choice of the name Francis suggests that he wants to call us all back to the transformation that St Francis knew and brought to the whole of Europe, fired by contemplation and closeness to God."

More here-’s-‘simplicity’-ordinariate-in-question

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Deal ends fight to keep 2 W. Phila. buildings, funds cathedral

From Philadelphia-

In a deal that could have wide ramifications for Philadelphia, the Preservation Alliance has dropped its legal opposition to demolishing two landmarked church buildings in West Philadelphia after the property's developer agreed to create a fund to preserve the main church, the Episcopal Cathedral.

The proposed demolition of the two brownstones to make way for a 25-story apartment tower provoked an outcry among preservationists because the properties were listed on both the city and national historic registers. Citing the public interest, however, the Historical Commission revoked the landmark status in June, spurring the alliance's appeal.

The settlement, announced Wednesday, allows the Radnor Property Group to proceed immediately with construction of the tower at 38th and Chestnut Streets. The 280-unit project will replace the rectory and parish house as well as a small apartment building.

More here-

Between the palaces

From The Economist-

EXACTLY a decade ago, tension was swirling between the two palaces, Westminster and Lambeth, that face each other across the River Thames: secular authority on the north bank, ecclesiastical on the south.  As the nation prepared for war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq, Tony Blair presented the case for invasion in moral terms that reflected his own brand of religious zeal, while Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury and a self-described "hairy leftie" stuck to his view that military action was morally unjustifiable. The very fact that each man rooted his position in religious belief probably made the chemistry even worse.

Lambeth Palace has a new incumbent, who will be formally enthroned on March 21st as head of the Church of England, and hence of the global Anglican Communion. Anglicanism has replaced a scholar and theologian with a more practical, hands-on type, as the Roman Catholic church would be well advised to do. But on the face of things, Justin Welby's first foray into politics seemed to mark him out as yet another cleric of the centre-left, happy in the role that many of Europe's Christian leaders have settled for recently: that of innocuous foot-soldiers in mainly secular coalitions, espousing progressive causes while being careful not to disturb or shock.  (For leaders of the secular left, the expression "useful idiots"—apocryphyally ascribed to Vladimir Lenin—must sometimes come to mind.)

More here-

"An inspired choice": Reaction to election of Pope Francis from world leaders and religious figures

From The Mirror-

Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio's election as the new Pope today was welcomed by politician and religious leaders.

Barack Obama, US President, said: “On behalf of the American people, Michelle and I offer our warm wishes to His Holiness Pope Francis as he ascends to the Chair of Saint Peter and begins his papacy.

“As a champion of the poor and the most vulnerable among us, he carries forth the message of love and compassion that has inspired the world for more than 2,000 that in each other we see the face of God.

“As the first pope from the Americas, his selection also speaks to the strength and vitality of a region that is increasingly shaping our world, and alongside millions of Hispanic Americans, those of us in the United States share the joy of this historic day.”

David Cameron, UK Prime Minister, said on Twitter: “A momentous day for the 1.2bn Catholics around the world as His Holiness Pope Francis I is appointed the 266th Bishop of Rome.”


Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop Justin Welby, offered his welcome, adding: "We wish Pope Francis every blessing in the enormous responsibilities that he has assumed on behalf of Roman Catholics around the world.

"I look forward to meeting Pope Francis, and to walking and working together to build on the consistent legacy of our predecessors. May the love of Christ unite us, and intensify our service in a genuine and fruitful ecumenism that can be a blessing for the Body of Christ throughout the world.

"Pope Francis is well known as a compassionate pastor of real stature who has served the poor in Latin America, and whose simplicity and holiness of life is remarkable."

More here-

Anglican leader wishes new pope 'every blessing'

From The Global Post-

Justin Welby, leader of the world's Anglicans, on Wednesday wished "every blessing" to the newly elected Pope Francis I of Argentina and said he looked forward to working with the 76-year-old pontiff.

The new Archbishop of Canterbury said: "We wish Pope Francis every blessing in the enormous responsibilities that he has assumed on behalf of Roman Catholics around the world.

"I look forward to meeting Pope Francis, and to walking and working together to build on the consistent legacy of our predecessors," he said in a statement.

Welby stressed that the election was of "great significance to Christians everywhere, not least among Anglicans.

"We have long since recognised, and often reaffirmed, that our Churches hold a special place for one another."

More here-

Lambert to be consecrated as sixth Bishop of Episcopal Diocese of Eau Claire

From Eau Claire-

The Reverend William Jay Lambert will be consecrated as the sixth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Eau Claire, on Saturday, March 16, at 11 am. at Christ Church Cathedral, 510 S. Farwell St., Eau Claire.

Lambert, rector of St. James' Episcopal Church in Leesburg, Fla., was elected Nov. 10, 2012, succeeding the Rt. Rev. Keith Whitmore who resigned as bishop in 2008 to become assistant bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta.  The Diocese has been led since September 2010 by Bishop Provisional Edwin Leidel Jr. former bishop of Eastern Michigan.  Eau Claire's Standing Committee served as the ecclesiastical authority during the period the diocese was without a bishop.

 As a priest, Lambert has served congregations in Wisconsin and Florida.  He has also served on active duty in the U.S. Navy and as a U.S. Navy Reserve Chaplain.  Lambert holds a Master of Divinity degree from Nashotah House Seminary in Nashotah; a Master of Arts degree in history from the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga.;  and a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and public affairs from Rollins College in Winter Part, Fla.

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, 26th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, will serve as chief consecrator.

More here-

Episcopal Church, breakaway diocese square off in Fresno court

From San Joaquin-

The Episcopal Church and the breakaway Diocese of San Joaquin squared off Wednesday in Fresno County Superior Court in their long-running church property battle, but no final decision was made in the case.

Both sides made their case before Judge Jeffrey Hamilton. The church had asked for a legal ruling from Hamilton that property such as bank accounts, the actual churches and a conference retreat center in Oakhurst belongs to the national Episcopal Church and not to the breakaway diocese.

Already, Hamilton tentatively rejected the Episcopal Church's motion in a seven-page written ruling. Wednesday's hearing allowed both sides to add oral arguments to legal papers they'd already filed. If Hamilton affirms his tentative ruling, the Episcopal Church could appeal the ruling or the matter could move to a trial.

The schism dates to December 2007, when the Diocese of San Joaquin seceded from the U.S. Episcopal Church. A few months later, the church launched a legal battle seeking the property that is in the breakaway diocese's hands.

Read more here:

Episcopal diocese: Suit undermines SC court

From South Carolina-

The South Carolina diocese that left the national Episcopal Church said Wednesday that a federal lawsuit brought against it seeks to undermine state courts.

"The national church's suit is an apparent effort to move a state property rights case to a court that might support the denomination's seizure of local assets," said the Rev. Jim Lewis, the canon, or assistant, to Bishop Mark Lawrence.

Lawrence is bishop of the diocese that broke away from the church last year in disputes over ordaining gays and other issues.

When the diocese left, it had 70 congregations with about 29,000 parishioners. Nineteen parishes and six worship groups are remaining in the national church and they elected Charles vonRosenberg as bishop of their diocese earlier this year. Nineteen of the parishes in the eastern and southern part of the state have not yet decided which group they will align with.

vonRosenberg sued Lawrence in federal court last week asking a judge to immediately block Lawrence and the churches that left from using the names and seal of the Diocese of South Carolina. But earlier, a state judge in Dorchester County issued Lawrence and his diocese a temporary injunction allowing them to do just that.

Read more here:

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina elected pope, takes name Pope Francis

From The Washington Post-

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was elected pope Wednesday, becoming the first pontiff from Latin America and taking the name Pope Francis.

Appearing on the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica a short time later, the new pope greeted a vast crowd gathered below in St. Peter’s Square with salutations in Italian and led a prayer for his predecessor, Benedict XVI.

“As you know, the duty of the conclave was to appoint a bishop of Rome, and it seems to me that my brother cardinals went to fetch him at the end of the world,” he said.

Moments earlier, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the church’s most senior cardinal in the order of deacons, or the proto-deacon, announced “habemus papam” and spoke the name of the new pope, chosen on the second day of deliberations by the assembled cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church. But his words were barely audible to the throng in the square, and there was initial confusion over the identity of the new leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.

“It’s a genius move,” Marco Politi, a papal biographer and veteran Vatican watcher, said of the choice of Bergoglio. “It’s a non-Italian, non-European, not a man of the Roman government. It’s an opening to the Third World, a moderate. By taking the name Francis, it means a completely new beginning.”

More here-

‘Carnage’ of gun violence must stop, bishops say

From ENS-

Saying that they “lament and have cried over the widely reported mass shootings” in the United States, the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops said March 12 that they are also “outraged by the too often unseen and unacknowledged daily massacre of our young people in cities such as Chicago, Newark, Baltimore, Port-au-Prince and Tegucigalpa.”

“This carnage must stop,” bishops said in a “Word to the Church” issued from the Kanuga Conference Center in Hendersonville, North Carolina (Diocese of Western North Carolina) at the end of their March 8-12 meeting.

The bishops said they “embody a wide variety of experiences and perspectives with respect to firearms,” including as “hunters and sport-shooters, former members of the military and law enforcement officers.

“We respect and honor that we are not of one mind regarding matters related to gun legislation. Yet we are convinced that there needs to be a new conversation in the United States that challenges gun violence,” they said. “Because of the wide variety of contexts in which we live and our commitment to reasoned and respectful discourse that holds together significant differences in creative tension, we believe that The Episcopal Church can and must lead in this effort. In fact many in this church are already doing so, for which we thank God.”

A specific commitment “to lead a new conversation in our nations as to the appropriate use and legislation of firearms” and to commit to “specific actions to this end,” is, the bishops said, in keeping with their episcopal ordination vows to “boldly proclaim and interpret the Gospel of Christ, enlightening the minds and stirring up the conscience.”

More here-

Now Welby wants civil unions for straight couples: He risks undermining marriage, warn critics

From The Daily Mail-

The Archbishop of Canterbury yesterday signalled a softening of his opposition to gay marriage – and suggested the Church of England could even back civil partnerships for straight couples.
In a surprise intervention, the Most Reverend Justin Welby suggested his main concern about the Government’s gay marriage proposals is that ‘they don’t actually include people equally’.

Speaking to LBC Radio he said it would be ‘completely absurd’ to suggest that gay relationships were less loving than heterosexual ones.

He said the Church was ‘open to discussions’ on the issue.

He added: ‘I think that the problem with the gay marriage proposals is that they don’t actually include people equally, it’s called equal marriage, but the proposals in the Bill don’t do that.
‘I know plenty of gay couples whose relationships are an example to plenty of other people and that’s something that’s very important.

More here-

Why be a liberal Catholic when you could be an Anglican?

From The Guardian-

What's the appeal of Roman Catholicism to a fairly liberal person? Why don't they jump ship? They say they dislike clerical celibacy, which they largely blame for the abuse scandals. Well, there's a church close at hand that rejects it. They say they want to see the ordination of women. Well, there's a church close at hand that ordains women (more or less). They say they dislike the church's intransigence on homosexuality. Well, there's a church close at hand that has an honest, messy debate about this issue. They say they dislike the church's legalistic approach to birth control, abortion, and various other moral issues. Well, there's a church close at hand that rejects such an approach. They say they dislike the church's authoritarian structure, the monarchical aura of the papacy. Well, you know what.

Why do they stay in a church that is so full of things they dislike, when there is one close at hand that is more or less free of those objectionable things? Presumably they would reply: because, despite everything, the Roman church seems to us the authentic church, and the Anglican church does not. But there is a sector of Anglicanism whose style of worship is scarcely distinguishable from that of Roman Catholicism. Yes, they might reply, but the institution lacks authenticity: it was founded by a randy monarch, and remains confined by its national character. Fair point perhaps, but does it really outweigh the benefits of Anglicanism to a liberal believer? Is this really a reason to stay in an authoritarian, illiberal church – that at least it wasn't founded by Henry VIII? The man had his faults but he wasn't Satan.

More here-

Think Your House Is Small? Former Homeless Call ‘Conestoga’ Huts Home In Eugene

From Oregon-

Next time you complain about your house being too small, think about Mark Hubbell, Diane Sciacca or Greg Bregg.

They are among the people in Eugene who reside in 6-foot-by-10-foot living spaces, in an experimental type of housing for the homeless called Conestoga huts.

Some of the huts could become the first shelters at Opportunity Village Eugene, a proposed homeless community on city property on Garfield Street.

Hubbell lives in a Conestoga hut at the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection on Hilyard Street, near East 40th Avenue.

He said the value of having a home again — even a temporary, extremely small one — is “immeasurable.”

“You really can’t put a price on it,” he said. “When you become homeless, your day-to-day life is about survival.”

“It’s home,” Hubbell said of the hut. “It gives you security.”

Learn how to go solar with GreenFaith at St. Peter’s Episcopal

From New Jersey-

St. Peter’s Episcopal will co-host a solar screening event, along with GreenFaith, an interfaith environmental coalition, and AP Solar on Tuesday, March 19, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at St. Peter’s parish hall in Mountain Lakes, 215 Boulevard.

This free event is open to the public and provides an opportunity for homeowner to "go solar" and potentially save on their energy bills.

Homeowners will have the chance to be screened for a zero-cost solar installation that could also provide them with overall savings on their energy.

"We’re excited to host this event and invite all members of the community to join us to see if their roof is suitable for solar," said The Rev. Adele Hatfield, co-rector at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Mountain Lakes.

There also will be a monitor set up at this event, enabling interested homeowners to have their home screened via satellite photos to determine if their roof appears to be suitable for solar.

More here-

Black Smoke Rises; No Pope Chosen in New Voting

From The New York Times-

Black smoke billowed from a makeshift chimney atop the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel on Wednesday, signaling that the 115 cardinals of the Roman Catholic church eligible to vote for a new pope had again failed to elect a successor to Benedict XVI and meaning that balloting would continue until they do.

A first ballot also ended inconclusively on Tuesday, signaled by the inky black smoke from the copper chimney jutting from the chapel’s roof.

Voting is set to continue — up to two rounds in the morning and two in the afternoon — until the cardinals reach a two-thirds majority of 77 votes. At that point, white smoke will billow forth, telling the world’s one billion-plus Roman Catholics they have a new leader to take on the myriad challenges confronting their church. The bells of St. Peter’s Basilica will peal over the huge piazza of the same name to announce the election of Benedict’s successor.

It was not immediately clear how many rounds had been held on Wednesday before the black smoke emerged.In what was scheduled to be the first full day of balloting since the conclave began on Tuesday, the prelates celebrated a morning mass in the Pauline Chapel of the Apostolic Palace before the anticipated voting in the Sistine Chapel under 16th century frescoes by Michelangelo.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sacred Mysteries: Anglicans in the heart of Rome

From The Telegraph-

The English in Rome are taking a keen interest in the election of the next pope. It is not quite true, as most of the press have been complaining, that the United Kingdom is “unrepresented” in the forthcoming conclave.

The disgraced Cardinal Keith O’Brien, who is not attending the conclave, belongs to the Catholic hierarchy of Scotland, which is separate from that of England and Wales. So one can hardly speak of “Britain’s senior cleric”. But the Catholic bishops of Northern Ireland (part of the United Kingdom) belong to yet another hierarchy, which covers the island of Ireland.

Like the Church of England, in which there are the Primate of England (the Archbishop of York) and the Primate of All England (the Archbishop of Canterbury), so in the Church of Ireland there are the Primate of Ireland (the Archbishop of Dublin) and the Primate of All Ireland (the Archbishop of Armagh). The same distinction applies in the Catholic Church in Ireland.

So it happens that Armagh, the see of Cardinal Sean Brady, is in Northern Ireland. The Cardinal himself is Irish, but he is entitled to vote in national elections in Armagh, if he wishes. And he will be voting in the conclave, too. How this benefits the rest of the English-speaking United Kingdom, I have no idea.

More here-

Gritty Comfort TV

From The Living Church-

When screenwriter Heidi Thomas unveiled her TV series Call the Midwife, common wisdom at the BBC said no one would watch it. After all, an almost all-female cast of nurses and of nuns who pray for patients and sing the Daily Office seemed hardly the stuff of a TV blockbuster.

Call the Midwife proved the doubters wrong, attracting the biggest audience for a BBC series in more than a decade. Despite carping reviews claiming the series over-sentimentalises the tough lives of poor people in London’s East End, British audiences love it. So too audiences in the United States and Australia. The pain and deprivation in the immediate post-war years in London’s Docklands has gradually emerged. Few happy-ever-after plots here.

U.S. audiences will shortly be treated to the second season of Call the Midwife, which has become a surprising but deserving rival for the sumptuous but lame-brained storylines of Downton Abbey.

More here-

Conciliation Accord: What It Means

From The Anglican Communion Institute-

The recent Conciliation “Accord” announced between several bishops and their accusers over charges they violated canons in filing an amicus brief in Texas is a minor event.  But it does fit well into a larger and disturbing pattern of TEC’s current leadership. That complaints were filed and charges brought against the bishops in the first place, such as to make this conciliation process necessary, represents gross misconduct on the part of the complainants in Fort Worth and of the Presiding Bishop’s office. It is misconduct not only according the canons as they now stand, but according to generally accepted ethical standards. That other TEC bishops and leaders have failed to protest this misconduct is a matter of shame for our church and for them.

The complaints and subsequent charges alleged that the bishops (and two ACI priests, about which later) violated canons by advising the Texas Supreme Court, in an Amicus brief, that the court should not wade into the property dispute between the departed and the continuing dioceses of Fort Worth in a way that demanded an adjudication of TEC’s Constitution. On the basis of the First Amendment and in conformance with our own TEC Canons (IV.19.2 makes it a violation to seek the secular court’s “interpretation of the constitution” and polity of our church), our brief asked that the court not engage in such interpretation, and gave reasons why not.  If complaints were to be filed, they ought to have been filed against those of the continuing Fort Worth diocese and the PB’s office. They lodged the initial lawsuit and argued for the court’s engagement in interpreting our church’s constitution.

More here-

Southern Africa: Synod of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, March 2013

From ACNS and allAfrica-

We, as the Bishops of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, meeting at St Augustine's, Modderpoort, in the Diocese of the Free State, from 5 to 8 March 2013, greet God's beloved throughout the length and breadth of this our beautiful Province in the name of Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord!

As we gathered, our hearts were filled with gratitude for the many blessings that God bestows on us as a church.

We continue to celebrate the gift of two sister Bishops, Ellinah Wamukoya (Diocese of Swaziland) and Margaret Vertue (Diocese of False Bay), to the Church, as we meet at this historic Synod of Bishops, where we can be both sister and brother Bishops together.

We are also grateful to God for the growth that we, as the Church in this Province, are experiencing at present.

The Diocese of Niassa has borne witness to an amazing outpouring of God's grace resulting in a process of spiritual and numerical growth that is nothing short of miraculous. In response to a proposal to multiply, the Synod of Bishops gave unanimous approval to the establishment of a new episcopal area and election of a Suffragan Bishop. The Archbishop has set the processes in motion for them to realise this dream.

More here-

House of Bishops Daily Account for March 11

From ENS-

 The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church is meeting in retreat at the Kanuga Conference Center in Hendersonville, NC (Diocese of Western North Carolina) from March 8 to March 12.  The following is an account of the activities for Monday, March 11.

The theme for the spring retreat meeting of the Episcopal Church House of Bishops is Godly Leadership in the Midst of Loss. The schedule calls for prayer-filled sessions, and bishops participate in daily Bible study, reflection and worship.

The day began with Morning Prayer, with Bishop John Tarrant, Diocese of South Dakota, offering a meditation on Godly Leadership in the Midst of Emotional Loss.

Bishop Tarrant spoke of the ministry of the bishop in the midst of the prevalent alcoholism, poverty and trauma among the Native American population in South Dakota. Bishop Tarrant spoke of Jesus’ prediction that his disciples will be persecuted, hated, and killed by all nations.  Historically, Native Americans, with and among whom his diocese serves today, have been hated by only one nation, the United States.  The bishop spoke of being aware, as he travels in the diocese and makes his pastoral rounds, of the spirit of those peoples, victims of racism, injustice and genocide, and of being aware also of the Spirit of the Creator who never intended these lands to be possessed.  “There is an emotional price to be paid for this awareness,” he said.

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Why Vatican might accept married priests

From San Francisco-

In the lengthy chronicle of the Roman Catholic Church, the resignation of Benedict XVI has no close precedent. It is highly improbable that the pope acted unilaterally, in response to feebleness or aging. Nothing short of profound crisis could have brought matters to this dramatic turn - and nothing short of a dramatic nod to reform can provide the resignation with coherent meaning.

The most feasible such reform, in terms both practical and theological, is a full-scale reversal of the Vatican's 1,500-year-old ban on married priests.

In 1996, I covered the official visit of Pope John Paul II to Tunisia for The Chronicle. Suffering visibly from the complications of a recent fall, chronic fevers and the first signs of Parkinson's disease, he was unable to walk without two attendants to hold him upright. His voice quavered incoherently. He was a frail shadow of the energetic 58-year-old who had assumed the throne of St. Peter in 1978, in no better condition than Benedict XVI to fulfill his duties. Yet almost nine years were to pass before his papacy ended in death, as it had for all but two of his 263 predecessors.

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Episcopal Diocese Of Southwestern Virginia Elects Its Sixth Bishop

From Roanoke-

The search for a new bishop in the Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia has concluded with the naming of the Very Rev. Mark Allen Bourlakas as Bishop-elect.

Bourlakas, 49, is currently dean at Christ Church Cathedral in Louisville, Ky. and has served in churches in Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina. He holds a bachelor’s degree in art from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., a master of divinity from Seabury Western Theological Seminary in Illinois and a doctor of ministry from the School of Theology at the University of the South. He and his wife, Martha, have three daughters.

The Special Electing Council for the Sixth Bishop of Southwestern Virginia convened at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Roanoke, and the election process was conducted in the context of the Holy Eucharist. The Council, made up of clergy and laypersons, voted among five nominees for bishop, from dioceses in Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina, New Zealand and Virginia. A majority of both the laity and the clergy was reached after three ballots.

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Cardinals head to conclave to elect pope for troubled Church

From Reuters-

Roman Catholic cardinals prayed for divine help on Tuesday, hours before a conclave to elect a new pope to tackle the daunting problems facing the Church at one of the most difficult periods in its history.

The cardinals, including the 115 aged under 80 who will vote for the next pope, filed into St. Peter's Basilica as choirs sang at the ritual solemn Mass that precedes a conclave.

They prayed that God would inspire them to choose the right man to replace Pope Benedict, who abdicated abruptly last month saying he was not strong enough to confront the woes of a Church whose 1.2 billion members look to Rome for leadership.

The Mass was the last event for the cardinals as a group before they enter the Sistine Chapel on Tuesday afternoon and make their choice for the next pontiff before Michelangelo's famous fresco of the Last Judgment.

In his homily, Italy's Angelo Sodano, dean of the cardinals, said they should pray "that the Lord will grant us a pontiff who will embrace this noble mission with a generous heart".

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Monday, March 11, 2013

Mafia and death threats: Justin Welby's journey to archbishop

From The Telegraph-

Justin Welby’s grandfather boasted Mafia connections, his father died an alcoholic. Welby himself faced death threats in Nigeria and personal tragedy at home. An exclusive extract from a new biography traces the Archbishop of Canterbury’s path to his enthronement this month.

Justin Welby is, in part, a scion of Britain’s political, military and educational establishment. The family tree on his mother’s side boasts an array of civil servants, academics, soldiers and clergymen. Jane Portal had been employed, aged 20, by Sir Winston Churchill as one of his personal secretaries, from 1949 until he stood down as prime minister in April 1955.

Churchill asked Jane to stay on to help him finish his History of the English-Speaking Peoples, but she flew instead to the United States to be married to Gavin Welby. He was a wealthy businessman and aspiring politician, but his background remained mysterious to his son for many decades. Only after his son’s nomination as Archbishop of Canterbury in November 2012 was light shed on Gavin’s origins, romantic liaisons and business career.

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Liberia: Breakaway Imminent

From Liberia-

The seems to be an imminent breakaway in the St. Augustine Episcopal Church as the men vowed not to cooperate with an investigative committee set up by Bishop Jonathan B. B. Hart to look into the conflict of the Church.

The Augustine Episcopal Church Men have already made their position known that they cannot work with Rev. G. Nyemah Harmon as Priest-in-Charge due to his inability to unite the Church and provide leadership.

Rev. Harmon has failed to release funds to the men's department to underwrite the cost of the window project which they said have been overdue.

The men led by its President Prince Bolden maintained that he will not honor the invitation of the investigative committee until funds requested for the Church's window project is released to them.

The latest decision by the St. Augustine Episcopal Church Men appears to be that they are bracing to breakaway as it was done at St. Stephens Episcopal Church where prominent members broke away to establish the Anglican Church.

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Michael Valpy: Handicapping the papal contenders

From The CBC-

So this is how a papal election gets going.

On the conclave's first afternoon, the 115 cardinal-electors gather in the Apostolic Palace's intimate (as intimate as things get in the Vatican), nearly 500-year-old Pauline Chapel.

There they hear a sermon telling them they're obliged to vote for the best man among them to lead the Roman Catholic Church. Then, wearing what's called "choir dress" — cassock, surplice, cape and hat — and singing the 9th-century hymn Veni Creator Spiritus, they proceed out and up the Scala Regia (the Regal Staircase) into the Sistine Chapel.

Once they're there and settled, the doors are locked "with key," which is what conclave means, and the voting begins. The question is: How do they make up their minds?

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House of Bishops Daily Account for March 10

From ENS-

The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church is meeting in retreat at the Kanuga Conference Center in Hendersonville, NC (Diocese of Western North Carolina) from March 8 to March 12.  The following is an account of the activities for Sunday, March 10.

The theme for the spring retreat meeting of the Episcopal Church House of Bishops is Godly Leadership in the Midst of Loss. The schedule calls for prayer-filled sessions, and bishops participate in daily Bible study, reflection and worship.

Eucharist was celebrated by Bishop Robert R. Gepert, Diocese of Western Michigan.  Preacher was Bishop Oge Beauvoir, Diocese of Haiti, who continued the retreat meditations with Godly Leadership in the Midst of Chronic Loss.

Bishop Beauvoir identified the most pressing need for Haiti today as Godly Leadership, leadership that brings the people of Haiti into unity and solidarity. He reviewed the history of Haiti from the moment of liberation in 1804, when it was the unity of the people gained the freedom of the country from Napoleon’s army, to 1806 when the first president of freed Haiti was killed.

Since that time in 1806, Bishop Beauvoir said, there has been chronic loss in Haiti, flowing from the loss of a kind of leadership he calls “Godly.” Patterned on the Gospel lesson for this Sunday, Bishop Beauvoir said that Godly Leadership is that which both recognizes one’s own and one’s communities’ failings, or unworthiness, but also recognizes the quality of the loving father in one’s self and one’s community, welcoming, forgiving, encouraging.

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Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia elects Kentucky priest as 6th bishop

From The Washington Post-

The Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia has elected a Kentucky priest as its sixth bishop.

A special council of clergy and lay people selected the Very. Rev. Mark Bourlakas in voting Saturday in Roanoke. He will succeed Bishop Neff Powell, who is stepping down in July after serving for 17 years.

Bourlakas currently is dean of Christ Church Cathedral in Louisville, Ky. He previously served parishes in Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Transition committee chairwoman Jenny Fife tells The Roanoke Times ( ) that Bourlakas will be consecrated in July during a ceremony at the Roanoke Civic Center.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Without TEC, but not without hope

From South Carolina-

Day two of the 222nd annual meeting of the convention for the Diocese of South Carolina took a more serious tone Saturday after Friday night’s celebratory kick-off.

The clergy and delegates unanimously approved removing all references to The Episcopal Church (TEC) from its constitution, and Bishop Mark Lawrence pondered where the diocese will ultimately fit in the greater Anglican community.

In an interview before the bishop’s address Saturday, the Rev. Jim Lewis, who serves as canon to Lawrence, said that the diocese is solely focused on the future, even in light of the most recent court filing by Bishop Charles vonRosenberg of TEC in South Carolina in which he has also claimed rights to serve as the head of the diocese as a national Episcopal-affiliated organization.

“We have already turned the page, that’s all history,” Lewis said. “We’re moving ahead.”

Clergy and delegates from the 47 parishes and missions that currently make up the diocese listened attentively throughout the daylong event at the Francis Marion University Performing Arts Center that outlined the future for the group that has been caught up in a legal battle over property rights after breaking away from the national Episcopal Church last November due to disputes over ordaining gays and other issues.

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Anglican bishops letter: benefit cuts will have 'deeply disproportionate effect'

From The Telegraph-

Next week, members of the House of Lords will debate the Welfare Benefits Up-rating Bill.
The Bill will mean that for each of the next three years, most financial support for families will increase by no more than 1 per cent, regardless of how much prices rise.

This is a change that will have a deeply disproportionate impact on families with children, pushing 200,000 children into poverty. A third of all households will be affected by the Bill, but nearly nine out of 10 families with children will be hit.

These are children and families from all walks of life. The Children’s Society calculates that a single parent with two children, working on an average wage as a nurse would lose £424 a year by 2015. A couple with three children and one earner, on an average wage as a corporal in the British Army, would lose £552 a year by 2015.

However, the change will hit the poorest the hardest. About 60 per cent of the savings from the uprating cap will come from the poorest third of households. Only 3 per cent will come from the wealthiest third.

House of Bishops Daily Account for March 9

From ENS-

The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church is meeting in retreat at the Kanuga Conference Center in Hendersonville, NC (Diocese of Western North Carolina) from March 8 to March 12.  The following is an account of the activities for Saturday, March 9.

The theme for the spring retreat meeting of the Episcopal Church House of Bishops is Godly Leadership in the Midst of Loss. The schedule calls for prayer-filled sessions, and bishops participate in daily Bible study, reflection and worship.

The emcee for the day was Bishop Todd Ousley, Diocese of Eastern Michigan.

Continuing the theme of Godly Leadership in the Midst of Loss, the reflection during Morning Prayer was on Leadership in the Midst of Natural Disaster, presented by Bishop George Councell of the Diocese of New Jersey. His diocese and the neighboring dioceses of Newark, New York and Long Island were profoundly assaulted by Hurricane Sandy. Bishop Councell observed that in other times, and still in certain industries, such natural disasters were called “acts of God,” and described that as a slur on God. Instead, he said, we are called “to show the world in times of natural disaster just what an act of God looks like; acts of compassion, acts of ‘going there.’”

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What a pope can and cannot do: Doctrine limits new pope on changes

From The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-

As the world awaits a new pope, polls are taken, essays written and hopes expressed for what he might change. Priestly celibacy? Contraception? The working language of the Vatican Press Office?
The latter would be most feasible, but probably would likely involve a tough internal political battle for the new pontiff and his aides. There are theological and logistical limits on the changes he can make. He can't create new doctrine out of thin air.

"Popes are servants of the church's settled tradition, not the tradition's masters," said papal biographer George Weigel, senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C.

While the pope has authority to govern the church, he must answer to its doctrine as a president answers to the Constitution, said Edward Peters, canon law professor at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit.
"There are an awful lot of things he's in charge of, but he's not free to change a doctrine of the church or to alter the fundamental structure of things like the papacy," he said.
Some changes that laity say they want from a new pope may involve media-based misconceptions. A 2012 poll from the Public Religion Research Institute found that 60 percent of American Catholics want the church's public policy statements to focus more on the obligation to help the poor, even if that means speaking less about abortion.

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