Posted by Kendall Harmon

In his address, Cardinal Baldisseri revealed that the outline for the bishops’ October discussion is divided into three parts, the first focusing on the communication of the Gospel in today’s world, while the second part addresses the pastoral program for the family in light of new challenges.

The instrumentum concludes with the third part, which centers on an openness to life and parental responsibility in the upbringing of children.

“Dedicated to the Gospel of the family,” the first part of the outline “relates to God’s plan, biblical and magisterial knowledge and their reception, natural law and the vocation of the person in Christ,” the cardinal explained.

“The difficulties that arise in relation to natural law can be overcome through more attentive reference to the biblical world, to its language and narrative forms and to the proposal to thematize and deepen the biblically inspired concept of the ‘order of creation,’” he explained.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryAdult EducationMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted June 29, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After the Easter season, which concluded last Sunday with Pentecost, the liturgy returned to Ordinary Time. That does not mean that the commitment of Christians must diminish, rather, having entered into the divine life through the sacraments, we are called daily to be open to the action of grace, to progress in the love of God and our neighbor. This Sunday, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, recapitulates, in a sense, God's revelation in the paschal mysteries: Christ's death and resurrection, his ascension to the right hand of the Father and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The human mind and language are inadequate for explaining the relationship that exists between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and nevertheless the Fathers of the Church tried to illustrate the mystery of the One and Triune God, living it in their existence with profound faith.

The divine Trinity, in fact, comes to dwell in us on the day of baptism: "I baptize you," the minister says, "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." We recall the name of God in which we were baptized every time that we make the sign of the cross. In regard to the sign of the cross the theologian Romano Guardini observes: "We do it before prayer so that … we put ourselves spiritually in order; it focuses our thoughts, heart and will on God. We do it after prayer, so that what God has granted us remains in us … It embraces all our being, body and soul, … and every becomes consecrated in the name of the one and triune God" ("Lo spirito della liturgia. I santi segni," Brescia 2000, 125-126).

Read it all.

Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* TheologyThe Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit

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Posted June 16, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Huge crowds gathered in Vatican City to see a historic ceremony where two popes - John Paul II and John XXIII - were declared saints.

A Mass co-celebrated by Pope Francis and his predecessor Benedict was watched by roughly one million pilgrims and a vast TV and radio audience.

Nearly 100 foreign delegations attended, including royal dignitaries and heads of state and government.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVIPope Francis

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Posted April 27, 2014 at 6:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the silence of this night, in the silence which envelopes Holy Saturday, touched by the limitless love of God, we live in the hope of the dawn of the third day, the dawn of the victory of God’s love, the luminous daybreak which allows the eyes of our heart to see afresh our life, its difficulties, its suffering. Our failures, our disappointments, our bitterness, which seem to signal that all is lost, are instead illumined by hope. The act of love upon the Cross is confirmed by the Father and the dazzling light of the resurrection enfolds and transforms everything: friendship can be born from betrayal, pardon from denial, love from hate.

--Benedict XVI

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly Week* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* TheologyChristology

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Posted April 19, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As the anniversary of his surprising resignation approaches, Pope Benedict XVI has rejected as “simply absurd” the speculation that he was forced to step down, and he said he still wears the distinctive white papal cassock for “purely practical reasons.”

“At the moment of my resignation there were no other clothes available,” Benedict wrote in a brief letter to an Italian journalist that was published on Wednesday (Feb. 26).

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMediaReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted February 26, 2014 at 11:09 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On Feb. 11, 2013, Pope Benedict XVI used a meeting of cardinals discussing new saints to deliver the stunning announcement that he planned to resign, effective 8 p.m. Rome time on Feb. 28. The news was a total surprise to everyone except a handful of papal intimates, and it set the stage for all the drama that’s followed.

One cardinal said afterward that he sat in the room well after the meeting broke up, still unable to comprehend what had just happened. He played Benedict’s Latin phrasing over and over again in his mind to be sure he’d understood.

Yes, a handful of popes had resigned before, most recently Gregory XII in 1415. The circumstances, however, were so wildly different as to make Benedict’s decision essentially unprecedented – a pope not facing foreign armies or internal schism who decided voluntarily to step aside, while continuing to live on Vatican grounds and pledging “unconditional obedience” to whoever might succeed him.

Francis wins plaudits for his humble nature, but Benedict’s act was arguably the zenith of papal humility.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVIPope Francis

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Posted February 12, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There’s a strong possibility the fusillade from the UN panel may backfire, however, by blurring the cause of child protection with the culture wars over sexual mores.

In several sections of its report, the committee joins its critique on abuse with blunt advice to Rome to jettison Church teaching on matters such as abortion, same-sex marriage, and contraception. At one stage the panel even recommends repealing a codicil of Church law that imposes automatic excommunication for participating in an abortion.

Not only are those bits of advice deeply unlikely to be adopted, they may actually strengthen the hand of those still in denial in the Church on the abuse scandals by allowing them to style the UN report as all-too-familiar secular criticism driven by politics.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchChildrenGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureSexualityViolence* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVIPope Francis * TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted February 6, 2014 at 8:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Let us return again to the theme of witnessing. In the second reading the Apostle John writes: "It is the Spirit who bears witness" (1 John 5:6). He is referring to the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, who bears witness to Jesus, testifying that he is the Christ, the Son of God. This is also seen in the scene of the baptism in the Jordan River: the Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus like a dove, revealing that he is the Only Begotten Son of the Eternal Father (cf. Mark 1:10). John underscores this aspect as well in his Gospel when Jesus says to his disciples: "When the Paraclete comes, whom I will send from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me; and you too will bear witness to me, because you have been with me from the beginning" (John 15:26-27). This is a great comfort to us in educating others in the faith because we know that we are not alone and that our witness is supported by the Holy Spirit.

It is very important for you parents and also for you godfathers and godmothers to believe strongly in the presence and the action of the Holy Spirit, to call upon him and welcome him in you through prayer and the sacraments. He is the one in fact who enlightens the mind, who makes the heart of the educator burn so that he or she knows how to transmit the knowledge of the love of Christ. Prayer is the first condition for educating, because in praying we create the disposition in ourselves of letting God have the initiative, of entrusting our children to him, who knows them before we do and better than us, and knows perfectly what their true good is.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEpiphanyParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* TheologyChristologySacramental TheologyBaptism

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Posted January 13, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Dear friends, this is the question that the Church wishes to awaken in the hearts of all men: who is Jesus? This is the spiritual longing that drives the mission of the Church: to make Jesus known, his Gospel, so that every man can discover in his human face the face of God, and be illumined by his mystery of love. Epiphany pre-announces the universal opening of the Church, her call to evangelize all peoples. But Epiphany also tells us in what way the Church carries out this mission: reflecting the light of Christ and proclaiming his Word. Christians are called to imitate the service that the star gave the Magi. We must shine as children of the light, to attract all to the beauty of the Kingdom of god. And to all those who seek truth, we must offer the Word of God, which leads to recognizing in Jesus "the true God and eternal life" (1 John 5:20).

--Benedict XVI.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEpiphanyParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted January 6, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Christian joy thus springs from this certainty: God is close, he is with me, he is with us, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, as a friend and faithful spouse. And this joy endures, even in trials, in suffering itself. It does not remain only on the surface; it dwells in the depths of the person who entrusts himself to God and trusts in him.

Some people ask: but is this joy still possible today? Men and women of every age and social condition, happy to dedicate their existence to others, give us the answer with their lives! Was not Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta an unforgettable witness of true Gospel joy in our time? She lived in touch daily with wretchedness, human degradation and death. Her soul knew the trials of the dark night of faith, yet she gave everyone God's smile.

In one of her writings, we read: "We wait impatiently for paradise, where God is, but it is in our power to be in paradise even here on earth and from this moment. Being happy with God means loving like him, helping like him, giving like him, serving like him" (The Joy of Giving to Others, 1987, p. 143). Yes, joy enters the hearts of those who put themselves at the service of the lowly and poor. God abides in those who love like this and their souls rejoice. If, instead, people make an idol of happiness, they lose their way and it is truly hard for them to find the joy of which Jesus speaks.

--Pope Benedict XVI.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* TheologyChristology

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Posted December 26, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Also overlooked amidst the fallout from Evangelii Gaudium was a statement by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, which defended not only Francis’s remarks in EG, but also their specific context, as as well as the greater role of the Church vis-à-vis economics and morality....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVIPope Francis * TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 16, 2013 at 5:49 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...Pope Francis devotes much of his exhortation to the shortcomings of the church itself. He laments its "excessive centralization" in the Vatican, which he finds a hindrance to the church's "missionary outreach." He complains about members of religious orders who show an "inordinate concern for their personal freedom and relaxation," and about priests "obsessed with protecting their free time."

The pope criticizes those who show an "ostentatious preoccupation with the liturgy, doctrine and the church's prestige, but without any concern that the Gospel have a real impact on God's faithful people and the concrete needs of the present time." He upbraids Catholics with a "business mentality, caught up with management, statistics, plans and evaluations, whose principal beneficiary is not God's people but the church as an institution." And he regrets that women do not yet have a sufficient role in decision-making within the church.

Pope Francis also deplores divisiveness within the ranks, writing: "It always pains me greatly to discover how some Christian communities, and even consecrated persons, can tolerate different forms of enmity, division, calumny, defamation, vendetta, jealousy and the desire to impose certain ideas at all costs, and even persecutions which appear as veritable witch hunts. Whom are we going to evangelize if this is the way we act?"

Read it all.

Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVIPope Francis * Theology

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Posted November 27, 2013 at 5:09 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Joy of the Gospel is the title Pope Francis has chosen for this first major document of his pontificate, putting down in print the joyous spirit of encounter with Christ that characterizes every public appearance he has made so far. The man who has constantly kept the media’s attention with his desire to embrace and share his faith with everyone he meets, now urges us to do exactly the same. To “recover the original freshness of the Gospel”, as he puts it, through a thorough renewal of the Church’s structures and vision. Including what he calls “a conversion of the papacy” to make it better able to serve the mission of evangelization in the modern world. The Church, he says, should not be afraid to re-examine “customs not directly connected to the heart of the Gospel” even if they may have deep historical roots.

In strikingly direct and personal language, the Pope appeals to all Christians to bring about a “revolution of tenderness” by opening their hearts each day to God’s unfailing love and forgiveness. The great danger in today’s consumer society, he says, is “the desolation and anguish” that comes from a “covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience.” Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests , he warns, “there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor.”

Read or listen to it all from Vatican Radio.


Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* Theology

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Posted November 26, 2013 at 6:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One of the most beloved prayers in the Anglican tradition is called the Prayer of Humble Access, but some cherished words were omitted from the Anglican-use Mass, the Vatican-approved liturgy that allowed former Episcopalians and Anglicans to bring elements of their liturgical tradition with them into the Catholic Church.

Come the First Sunday of Advent, however, the missing words of Humble Access will be included in the new ordinariate-use Mass, no doubt gladdening the hearts of many former Episcopalians who recently have become Catholics through the ordinariate.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted November 6, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Archbishop Longley, wanting to sound positive, says that he could “imagine and foresee one of the fruits of our ecumenical engagement as moving towards a deeper understanding of communion and a deeper sharing between our churches … which perhaps would lead to a reconsideration of some of the circumstances.” That’s all very well-meaning: but since the chances of prelate-speak of this kind being misunderstood by the secular press are about 100 per cent, it really would have been better not to have said it....Archbishop Longley’s fantastical notion that there has been a “deeper theological understanding of one another’s Churches”, presumably because of the work of ARCIC, requires a little more attention. What theological understanding would that be? The trouble with ARCIC always was (as a former Catholic member of it once explained to me) that on the Catholic side of the table you have a body of men who represent a more or less coherent view, being members of a Church which has established means of knowing and declaring what it believes. On the Anglican side of the table you have a body of men the divisions between whom are just fundamental as, and sometimes a lot more fundamental than, those between any one of them and the Catholic representatives they face: they all represent only themselves.

Read it all from William Oddie in the Catholic Herald (emphasis his).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchMediaReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVIPope Francis * TheologySacramental TheologyEucharist

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Posted October 18, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The introduction of a new ordinariate-use liturgy for groups of former Anglicans is uniting some of their old traditions to the fullness of the Catholic Church.

The Vatican office responsible for adapting parts of the Anglican liturgy for use in the Catholic Church “has had the task of the scribe, trained for the Kingdom of heaven, the householder who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old,” said Msgr. Andrew Burnham.

The monsignor serves as assistant to the ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, Worship* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted October 17, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The key question, however, is: Does this correction fundamentally alter the point of the story -- that shortly after his election, Francis experienced some sort of brush with the divine that gave him a sense of peace?

The answer would appear to be no, and we have confirmation from at least two other sources.

First, I published a column Friday in which I quoted a cardinal on background (not an American) who recently had a private session with Francis. This cardinal said he's been struck by the more freewheeling and spontaneous style Francis has demonstrated as pope in comparison to the fairly restrained and shy manner he exhibited in public in Argentina, and he told me he had said to the pope point-blank, "You're not the same guy."

According to the cardinal, the pope's reply was more or less the following: "When I was elected, a great sense of inner peace and freedom came over me, and it's never left me."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted October 9, 2013 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Please bow your heads and let us begin as we should always begin, in prayer.

Heavenly Father and Gracious God remind us of who you are and of whose we are and of the message that you have entrusted to us. We are gathered for such a time as this and we need to be recentered, we need to be refocused, we need to have our call furthered clarified, and so Lord we need a word from you. Gracious God take my lips and speak through them, take our minds and think through them, take our wills and mold them and shape them according to your purposes. And take our hearts and set them on fire with love for your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

In the stories General Eisenhower used to tell about his associates in the military and the government, he had one favorite above all the others. He indulged in it frequently at the expense of one of his chief aides, whose name was named George Allen. George Allen had the distinct misfortune, the dubious distinction of having played in the record-setting football game with the most lopsided score of all time. The score was 222 to 0. It was a game between Georgia Tech and Cumberland played in the 1916 season. And, yes you guessed it; George Allen played quarter back on the losing side. After about three quarters of the game, when the score had begun to mount into the hundreds and the team was dramatically demoralized, there came an amazing moment, in one of the few plays where Cumberland actually had the ball, when the ball was snapped back to Allen and he missed it and fumbled the ball. The opposing linemen came charging in, and suddenly the ball was trickling around the backfield and B. F. “Bird’ Paty, who later became a prominent attorney, was looking at the ball and he looked up past the ball and there was Allen, who was shouting, “Pick it up! Pick it up!” And Paty looked at the ball, and looked at Allen and then he looked at the charging linemen and he looked back at Allen and said, “You pick it up! You dropped it!”

My dear brothers and sisters I want to begin this afternoon by being so bold as to say that we have dropped the ball. I believe as passionately as I know how to state that we live in a time and a church under judgment. The book you need to center yourself on brothers and sisters is the book of Jeremiah, and the theme of judgment hardly ever mentioned in the contemporary western church when it is unfolded in the midst of God’s working with his people you see it quickly doing three things: It does cutting, it hurts and we heard abundant evidence of that today. Secondly it sets out confusion, tremendous confusion. Read and think about the book of Jeremiah sometime and think about how confusing it was for the people on the ground. Do I listen to Jeremiah or do I listen to Hananiah? Do I stay in Jerusalem or do I go to Babylon. Maybe I ought to think about going to Egypt. It becomes so confusing for Jeremiah himself at one point in Jeremiah 20 that he doesn’t even know to his own instincts and he almost internally self-destructs. But my dear brothers and sisters, a time of judgment is not only a time of cutting, though it is that, it is not only a time of confusion, though it is that, it is also a time of clarification.

And so the purpose of this talk this afternoon for just a few moments is to center us in our common faith and mission as we begin this 48-hour journey together. One of the things I delight in saying about my hero CS Lewis is that he had an instinct for the center. He knew how to distinguish between penultimate things and ultimate things and I need to say something to us as orthodox Anglicans. My dear brothers and sisters, we’ve not always done as well in making that distinction as we need to. We’ve got to learn to give those things that, even if they are precious to us, if they are not the ultimate things. We’ve got to recover an instinct for the center of whom we are, and the center of the message we are called to proclaim. Are you all with me?

So let’s think about Anglican essentials this afternoon. What is the center of who we are?

Number 1. All my points begin with the letter C, that is to help me in case I lose my place.

The first C is catholic; we are catholic, small C. What, Kendall Harmon was forced to think very deeply, what in its essence does it mean to be a catholic Christian, because that, I believe, is what we are.

It means first of all that we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. It means there is such a thing, to use Thomas Oden’s wonderful phrase, as a history of the Holy Spirit. So that when I did my doctorate at Oxford in the early 1990s and I studied the whole history of western Christian eschatology there came a moment when I confronted Augustine for the first time in earnest since college and I read the whole City of God and I sat there at Latimer House in Oxford with my pitiful little heater in the freezing cold temperatures, and I wept. Because I realized the Augustine had simply leveled every single book I had read in the last ten years, in the first three chapters. No wonder CS Lewis said he read three old books for every new one. At the end of City of God Augustine says, speaking of heaven, these wonderful words:

“There we shall rest and see, see and love, love and praise. This is what shall be in the end without end.” Did you get that? “There we shall rest and see, see and love, love and praise.” Do you know that is the finest summary in the smallest amount of words of heaven I have found anywhere? We have to drink deeply from the tradition that has been handed on to us, and unapologetically.

Sunday is the 300th anniversary of the birthday of Jonathan Edwards so permit a word about the man who is called America’s theologian.

George Marsden, who is the finest church historian in my estimation writing right now, has just released a brand new book on Jonathan Edwards called Jonathan Edwards: A Life (Yale University Press).

And writing about Edwards and his theology he says this:

“It is precisely because of the 20th century’s experience of human horror that Jonathan Edwards’ thinking on hell (yes you heard me use that word) cannot be so easily dismissed. Marsden goes on, Edwards believed (listen carefully to these words) that each person is “by nature incredibly short-sighted, self-absorbed, and blinded by pride.” Only a traumatic jolt could burst the bonds of self-absorption. Therefore the verbal violence of hellfire and damnation “was a gift of God to awaken people who were blindly sleepwalking to their doom.”

Interesting themes, heaven and hell, Augustine and Jonathan Edwards, we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. That is part of what it means to be a catholic. But there is more.

Second part of being catholic, it seems to me, is to believe in order. I found myself thinking about that simple gesture that happens in so many courtrooms. Order in court.

It seems to me what catholics are constantly saying to the church is “Order in the church, order in our worship, for crying out loud.” You ought to be able to follow the service. CS Lewis has a wonderful essay were he describes how the priests are always messing with the service and there is no structure that is predictable so that the liturgy can be vehicle instead of an obstacle to worship. Order in worship is important. It is amazing to me, thinking particularly about General Convention but also the general life of the Episcopal Church that since Thomas Cranmer gave us the Book of Common Prayer we have almost gone completely full circle and we are back to the very liturgical situation that he set out to reform namely there were too many liturgies running around and there wasn’t any order so he wrote a bookof COMMON PRAYER.

And yes order in the church so there is a certain way that we go about our business: bishops, priests, deacons, vestries, canons, there is a way that God set up the church.

And most importantly in our time order in the way we make decisions. Which means that to be a catholic Christian means that the more important the decision the more widely you consult, more people need to be involved, themore important the international leadership is involved. Hello, that is what is means to be a catholic Christian.

Finally to be a catholic doesn’t just mean those seven sacraments or seven sacramental acts or however you want to delineate them. It means more than that. To be a catholic means to think sacramentally. I found myself going back to that wonderful minor classic of Harry Blamires The Christian Mind. Listen to this summary that he gives of what it means to be Christian.

Blamires writes:

“The Christian mind thinks sacramentally. The Christian Faith presents a sacramental view of life. It shows life’s positive richness as derivative from the supernatural. It teaches us that to create beauty or to experience beauty, to recognize truth or to discover truth, to receive love or to give love, is to come in contact with realities that express the Divine Nature. At a time when Christianity is so widely misrepresented as life rejecting rather than life affirming [does that sound familiar to anyone?], it is urgently necessary to right the balance. In denouncing excesses of sensuality, Christians are apt to give the impression that their religion rejects the physical and would tame the enterprising pursuit of vital experience.”

And we don’t do it. There I was watching the opening sequence of The West Wing where President of the United States, Jeb Bartlett, has his daughter gone and kidnapped. He is in massive crisis. And what does this secular program do with a country and a president in crisis but it ends the first show of this season with the President of the United States with his hands open and a priest placing a wafer in those hands. Because he needed to have a sense of contact with the supernatural.

That is part of what it means to be a catholic Christian. Ya’ll with me? Stand on the shoulders of those who came before, a sense of order in the church and to think sacramentally.

I want everybody here who defines themselves as an Anglo-Catholic to please stand up. God bless you all.

Secondly, charismatic.

That’s right, you heard it hear first, charismatic.

I had the distinct fortune of having my roommate in college be a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Darien Conn. And believe it or not, we used to drive from Bowdoin College five hours one way and go to two Sunday morning worship services and the Sunday night worship service and then drive all the way back to Maine. And the one thing about that parish that I remember above all others was that when you walked in people were there to worship God for whom He was in the beauty of holiness and it was astounding to see people do that. And that is my image of what the church should be.

Worth-ship is what the word means. To give God the worth He is due for the glory of who He is. I find myself thinking of that interesting play “Equus.” That interesting play “Equus where Anthony Perkins played Martin Dysart the doctor in the Broadway version when it first came out. The story of a boy who has a bizarre form of mental disturbance where he is obsessed with horses and this secular psychologist named Martin Dysart who is working like crazy with the boy who does nothing but talk about and dream about horses reaches this amazing moment in his life where he actually begins to envy the boy even though he is profoundly aware that the boy is deeply disturbed. Because Martin Dysart the secular psychologist, realizes that the boy has something outside of himself that is beckoning him and that he has to bow down to and Martin Dysart the secular psychologist has nothing.

In an amazing moment he says in a soliloquy on the stage, “Without worship we shrink!”

And that is part of the message of the charismatic movement to the contemporary church. Worship, brothers and sisters, is a priority. To meet God for who He is.

More than just worship from the charismatic movement. Power.

If I learned anything from three-hundred-plus Terry Fullum tapes in the early 1980s I learned that Holy Spirit was the power of God to be unleashed on His people and in His world. So that in the early 1980’s when Mount St. Helens in the Cascade Range of Washington exploded with what is probably the most visible indication of something called natural power that many of us in the modern world has ever seen. At 8.32 a.m. the explosion ripped 1,300 feet off the mountain, with a force of ten million tons of TNT, or roughly equal to five hundred Hiroshimas. Sixty people were killed, most by a blast of 300-degree heat traveling at two hundred miles an hour. Some were killed as far as sixteen miles away from the original blast. The blast also leveled those incredible 150-foot Douglas firs, as far as seventeen miles away. A total of 3.2 billion board feet of lumber were destroyed in that explosion, enough lumber to build 200,000 three-bedroom homes. That’s natural power. And what the charismatic movement importantly reminds us that we need to center ourselves in this afternoon is that the power of God that resurrected His Son Jesus Christ which is far more potent than Mount St. Helens and far more powerful is the power that rests in each one of us and in His church. Do you believe that with me?

Just one quick story about the power of the Holy Spirit of all places at General Convention. Thank you for praying for us, thank you for praying for me. It was the case that the Spirit was working and certainly one of the low points was the night of August 5th when the vote came down and I was a complete mess in many many ways and very upset not least because the bishops went overtime and so the bishops were in session after the House of Deputies were no longer in session and I was commissioned to read a speech in the House of Deputies as Bob Duncan was going to read a speech in the House of Bishops repudiating the action but since the bishops went overtime the bishops made their statement but in deputies I didn’t make my statement and I was not pleased about this. I said, “Lord, what are you doing? We worked on the statement, this isn’t working out.” And I had to make the statement the next day. You know what Jesus says in John 3 about the Holy Spirit. He says the Holy Spirit blows where He wills.

And so we were trying to figure out when Gene Robinson on Wednesday was going to be introduced. And John Guernsey and I are standing there at the computer and Jim Simons calls and says he is going to be introduced right as the session begins. So we work like crazy on the statement. Then Jim Simons calls right back and says no he isn’t going to be introduced so we slow down our pace and then he calls back and says yes he is going to be introduced. And we start changing our pace again. And then he calls back and says no he’s not and then finally one more change and yes he is! And so Guernsey changes it for the 400 thousandth time in the computer and I literally rip the page off the printer and I run across the street to get in there and sure enough Gene Robinson is introduced, and I have to read the statement. The whole time this has been happening I have been praying the night before and that morning and I had one overriding impression that was bothering my spirit very deeply. The overriding impression, brothers and sisters, was this, when we had the debate in deputies on same-sex unions and on the confirmation of Gene Robinson, and you need to hear this, no one, not a single person who argued for the change and the innovation brought into the debate a perspective of those beyond our shores.

And so there I was with my prepared text and I thought, what the hay, the Spirit blows where He wills, and so I spoke from the heart and I inserted a section in the speech that wasn’t in the text. I could just imagine Guernsey’s response in the back. The Enforcer [nickname for John Guernsey] was not happy. But the Holy Spirit had other plans. I spoke this point into the microphone and then sat down. And one person from Texas stood up and then the next thing that happened was one of the really amazing moments in Minneapolis for me personally. We had a deputy stand up from Honduras and he stood up with a translator and very slowly, because each phrase had to be translated, with this wonderful cadence he said, “I am a servant of God, in Honduras, and I am charge of 52 missions, and because of what this convention has done my entire ministry has been [and I quote him directly] has been washed down the drain.” And it was as if he confirmed exactly the point I made, only it wasn’t in my speech. The Holy Spirit did one of those things that the Holy Spirit is so good at doing. Do you believe that the Holy Spirit blows where He wills in your lives right now? That’s what it means to be a charismatic Christian.

First, catholic. Second, charismatic. Third, canonical.

All right, I should have said evangelical but it had to start with a “c”. You knew it was going to come to the Bible eventually.

I do need to say a few things about the Bible although I know that John Yates is going to say a whole lot more. My dear brothers and sisters, I am so proud this afternoon to say to you that we are people who be lieve in theauthority of the Bible.

Praise God.

I can do no better this afternoon than to quote to you the 1958 Lambeth Conference statement which I believe every Anglican needs to memorize, that’s how important I think it is. Listen to what the 1958 Lambeth Conferencesaid about the Holy Scriptures:

“The Church [they wrote] is not ‘over’ the Holy Scriptures, but ‘under’ them, in the sense that the process of canonization was not one whereby the Church conferred authority on the books but one whereby the Church acknowledged them to possess authority. And why? The books were recognized as giving the witness of the Apostles to the life, teaching, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and the interpretation by the Apostles of these events.” [Listen to this last phrase.] “To that apostolic authority the Church must ever bow.”

Now I need to say to you that the authority of the Bible needs to be understood by us a Christians as personal authority. It is a certain kind of authority. It is an authority that is personal, and I can’t do better than one of my heroes, Austin Farrer, who was the warden of Keble College in Oxford where I had a chance to study. He’s given the perfect illustration of what it means for every Christian every day to pick up the Bible. What’s supposed to be in my mind when I hear a sermon from this document, when I hear an adult education class on this document or when I read this document? What am I supposed to think that I’m doing? Listen to what Austin Farrer says:

“What is the bible like? Like a letter which a soldier wrote to his wife about the disposition of his affairs and the care of his children in case he should chance to be killed. And the next day he was shot, and died, and the letter was torn and stained with his blood. Her friends said to the woman: the letter is of no binding force; it is not a legal will, and it is so injured by the facts of the writers own death that you cannot ever prove what it means. But the lady said: I know the man, and I am satisfied I can see what he means. And I shall do it because it is what he wanted me to do, and because he died the next day.”

That’s what it means to read the Bible. It means to read a personal letter from God stained with his own blood. Is that your perspective, when you preach from it?

Something else about the Bible, not just the Bibles authority and not just that its personal authority, but that we as Anglican Christians actually believe not only in the authority of the Bible, but the importance of loving the Bible. I like this first psalm; it says something really amazing about the godly person. It says that the man of God and the woman of God is blessed who not only meditates on God’s law but delights in it. And the word that is used in Hebrew haphats means to have emotional delight in. It’s the word of a wife delighting in her husband, or a husband delighting in his wife. We’re to have a delight of scripture. We’re to love it, not simply to read it although we should and not simply to be under its authority although we should, we need to love it, to care about it, and to steward it.

My own hero Charles Simeon (1759-1836) preached his way through the Bible and taught his congregation of Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Cambridge, England not only that the Bible was authoritative but it was something to be loved. He once said this: “I love the simplicity of the Scriptures, I wish to receive and inculcate every truth precisely in the way and to the extent that it is set forth in the inspired Volume. Were this the habit of alldivines, there would soon be an end of most of the controversies that have agitated and divided the Church of Christ.”

Do we love the Bible, brothers and sisters? Love the Bible.

So what have I said so far? I said we’re catholics, I said we’re
charismatics, and I said we’re canonical. And I said we are under judgment. And I find myself gravitating to that fascinating verse, in Jeremiah: “I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, [in Jeremiah 29] plans for welfare and not for evil to give you a future and a hope.” With these bases what is to be our focus as Anglicans as we go forward into the unknown future that God has for us. What is to keep the main thing the main thing mean for us in this time.

It means three more C’s.

First of all Christ. I’ve got to say that, I’m sorry! But it is about
Jesus. It is about the unsearchable riches of Christ and since we are in year B can I just remind you in passing of the sheer power for a moment of Mark’ Gospel. He is trying to portray a Jesus Christ who comes into people’s lives in power and who makes an authoritative claim. You remember the way that Mark unfolds the story at the end of chapter 4. That amazing scene where he stills the storm. They say who is this that at peace be still he says. And they say who is this of ye of little faith and so Mark wants to convey to his readers that the Jesus whom he is portraying has authority over the natural world. And then chapter 5 begins and you have that amazing scene with the Gerasene demoniac who is out there gashing himself among the tombs. And he suddenly because of the power of Christ is placed in his right mind. Jesus who has power not only over the natural world but over evil. And then the story goes on and Mark has that wonderful scene where Jairus has this sick daughter and Jesus is supposed to go and on his way, you remember what happens, the woman with the issue of blood comes up and touches the hem of Jesus’ garment and she is healed. Mark gives us a Jesus who has power over sickness. And now we have Jesus who has power over the natural world, and over the demonic world and over the evil world and over sickness. What is the last story in Mark Chapter 5? He goes to Jairus’ daughter’s house and she is dead, forget it, it’s over. He says it is not over that she is just sleeping and he gets everyone out of the room except the family and he says to the little girl, “Talitha cumi, “I say to you little girl arise,” and it’s the Jesus who has power over death.

This is the Jesus, brothers and sisters, that we need to unapologetically proclaim. The Jesus who makes a powerful claim, power over nature, power over the demonic, power over sickness and power the last great enemy of all, death itself.

We will be people who unapologetically will be about the Christ, proclaiming the unsearchable riches of Christ. We will also be people, next C, of the cross.

I’m not giving up on the Rite I language of the prayer book. “By His one oblation of Himself once offered, the full perfect and sufficient sacrifice oblation and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world. By the merits and death of Thy Son, Jesus Christ and through faith in His blood.” What is it that Paul says in Galatians 6? “Far be in from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ by which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.” It’s got to be centered on the cross, brothers and sisters; the cross is the center of it all.

To be a Christian means not to think from the world or from one’s self to the cross but to place one’s self as Luther did every single morning at the foot of the Cross and to think and to pray out from there to one’s self and the world.

Two quick comments by way of reminder about the cross. The cross is the final statement of God about the depth of the problem. To think from the cross out is to be reminded of the horror of sin. In his wonderful book Compassion Henri Nouwen tells the moving story of a family whose name are Joel and Nida Theartiga that he knew in Paraguay. And this family in the course of their life and ministry the father who was a physician becomes increasingly critical of the government in Paraguay. The military is becoming increasingly abusive and the father can’t take it anymore and he speaks out more and more boldly. Finally the government acts and they take their revenge on this physician and his wife by arresting his teenage son and torturing him to death. The enraged townsfolk wanted to turn the boy’s funeral into a huge protest march, but as Nouwen tells the story, as they said their prayers and thought about it, they chose another protest, a more cross-like, biblical lament. And as Nouwen describes the funeral, what they chose to do was to take their son and to take his body exactly the way they had found it in the jail: naked, scarred by electric shocks and cigarette burns and beatings. All the villagers filed past the corpse, which lay not in a coffin but on the blood-soaked mattress that it was on in prison when they found it. It was the strongest protest imaginable, because it put the injustice of human sin on total display.

My dear brothers and sisters, that’s what happened on Good Friday. The Cross in all it’s ugliness, exposed the world and exposed our hearts for what they are breeding grounds for violence and injustice; for arrogance and pride; yes, for sexual sin and immorality; for moral cowardice, personal greed, and self-interest, and all else. The cross of Christ is offensive because it exposes and condemns our rebellion and rebelliousness.

But the other thing about the cross, the great thing about the cross if we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before, is that in the mystery of God’s working on the cross, God at that moment in history, the judge of history, comes into history and absorbs the judgment upon himself. PT Forsyth put it this way: “The cross of Christ is God’s only self-justification in a world such as ours.” Karl Barth put it this way: “God, by the decree He made in the beginning of all his works and ways, has taken upon himself the rejection merited by the man isolated in relation to him.” Total exposure of human sin, total absorption of human rebellion, he himself has born our sins. God made him who knew no sin to be sin, brothers and sisters, so that in him we may be the righteousness of God. Do you believe that?

My last C. Not only the Christ, and not only the cross, but finally, and here I think I get to my most heartfelt cri de coeur about the situation in which we find ourselves. It’s about conversion for crying out loud. A funny thing happened on the way to the 21st century in the Episcopal Church: The 1979 prayer book! The full theological measure of its ethos has yet to be completely felt but we are now at a place of enough distance from it to begin to reflect with each other about its real impact on our common life and if we do that, and very few people are doing it, the results are deeply disconcerting.

Think with me just for a second. A prayer book that has an underemphasis on God’s transcendence and holiness and judgment, combined with a very weak sense of sin, combined with a liturgical practice that actually makes confession of sin optional, combined with a strong emphasis on baptism, combined with a baptismal covenant which is decoupled from its trinitarian and scriptural mooring so that apparently the nearly everything I read in the Episcopal church what it actually means to be baptized ONLY is revealed the last two questions in the baptismal covenant: namely, loving your neighbor as yourself, and to striving for justice and peace among all people, and respecting the dignity of every human being, combined with the predominant ethos of the American Episcopal Church which is liberal catholicism combined with the predominant ethos of America which is this weird post modern miasma of malnourished pluralism masking as real community, it leads to this, and I need to say this as clearly as I can: we have a theology in practice which moves straight from creation to redemption! A nearly universalistic or in fact completely universalistic worldview in which the fall and sin have in essence disappeared!! To be created in the Episcopal Church is apparently to be redeemed (at the most you need to be baptized) and so, think about this for just a second - what are the two most recent trends worthy of mention since Convention? Some people are arguing Gene Robinson was baptized, therefore he should be consecrated a bishop. It apparently trumps everything else. If you are baptized everything else follows, and then the even more important one which really flew under almost everybody’s radar screen, the huge growing practice in the Episcopal Church of open communion. So that at All Saints Pasadena the Rector gets up and says “who ever you are, where ever you are in your spiritual journey, I invite you to come forward for grace and consolation along the way.” Any reference to God the Father? Uh-uh. Any reference to God the Son? Gone. Any reference to the Holy Spirit? Nada. Now think about this for just a second.

Over against this barely Christian ethos, if you actually place what it means to have a biblical world view, you find yourself shocked, shocked because when you read the scriptures, Luke 19:10, the reason that the son of man came was to seek and to save the lost. God comes to Abraham and says, “Go to a lost world so that through you they will be blessed because they are not blessed now.” Jesus tells in Luke chapter 15 not one, not two, but three parables. The lost coin, and the lost sheep, and then–just incase we missed it–the lost son. And Paul can cry out in 2 Corinthians 5 “I beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” The overwhelming conviction of historic Christianity is: If you don’t have Christ you’re lost! Which is why number one on your sheet is to declare the great commission the first priority of our life and work. I don’t want to know when you come to see me whether you’re a good Episopalian, I want to know how many people in your parish have met Jesus Christ and are being transformed by His love.

One more Simeon story just about the lostness of the lost. I need to say this so strongly because it just is so rare in the Episcopal Church to see people that believe the way Simeon believed. I love this story. This is a first hand description of one of his sermons and the text on this particular day when Charles Simeon, a vicar at Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Cambridge England, who lived from 1759-1836. Simeon is preaching and his text is “All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people,” that is his text. Listen to this eyewitness description. “And after having urged all his hearer to accept God’s offer of mercy, he reminded them that there were those present to whom he had preached Christ for more than thirty years, but they continued indifferent to a Savior’s love; and pursuing this train of expostulation for some time, he at length became quite overpowered by his feelings, and sank down in the pulpit and burst into a flood of tears, and few who were present could refrain from weeping with him” When was the last time anyone of us really cried for the lostness of the lost who are all over our parishes and our lives. God cries. The gospel calls. Do we?

So what have I said? What I have said is that what it means to be an Anglican is to be a catholic, to be a charismatic, to canonical. What it means to be centered in the Anglican essentials is that we are about Christ and his cross and yes the call to conversion. And now I draw my remarks to a close. Because this word this afternoon brothers and sisters has to touch us where we really live and breathe.

You remember I started by talking about the fact that I believe that we are a church that is under judgment. Did you catch the word that I used? I didn’t say they are under judgment, I said we. It’s a real downer to hear what happened as our panel well described to us about what happened in Minneapolis. And there is a danger that we face as we begin our journey together and the danger is this.

Any sense that it is the re-appraisers, that’s the way that I like to
describe them, who are responsible primarily or even nearly exclusively for the pathetic state of affairs in which we find ourselves and our church has to be abandoned. All of Israel I remind you all this afternoon was under judgment in Jeremiah’s day and the whole Episcopal Church is under judgment including us.

The so-called orthodox, that’s us, have an enormous amount to answer for in this time. Our sins of compromise, timidity, denial, ignorance, careerism, self-interest, party spirit, the list is very long. So hear this afternoon, my brothers and sisters, the gospel for all of us. Hear it well, B. F. “Bird’ Paty in that football game, in a losing game, looked at the football dribbling around on the ground and he didn’t want to pick it up. And God’s message to us in recentering us is: We have dropped the ball!! We have lost our center as gospel people, as catholic, charismatic, canonical Anglican people. Not only have we lost our center, but hear this well; we do not even have the power to pick the ball back up left to ourselves. But dear sisters and brothers hear the good news of the Gospel this afternoon. The God who gave us the ball, who has watched us drop the ball, through the cross forgives us for dropping the ball and by the power of the Holy Spirit gives us back the ball.

Will you take the ball back up with me?

Bless you.

And finally you’ve heard that word used by David Roseberry, realignment. You are going to hear a lot about it. It is in our preliminary draft of the statement. And I need to say a clearly as I know how this afternoon why a realignment within Anglicanism is indispensably necessary. There has to be a new realignment, there has to be a new and different future.

At Minneapolis the Episcopal church decided to risk the whole future of the Anglican communion on this one vote, all four instruments of Anglican unity said don’t do it, many prominent Anglicans leaders worldwide pleaded for us not to do it, and we not only did it but we did it without consulting them. This is not catholic it will not stand.

At Minneapolis the Holy Spirit was grieved and a way of life which is in contradiction to holiness was celebrated and blessed, this is not charismatic it will not stand.

At Minneapolis, the Scriptures were either quickly dismissed or incredible and deliberately twisted, this decision is not canonical it will not stand.

Most importantly and finally, at Minneapolis, the will of the Father to draw all people to himself through the cross of his Son, get this now, was replaced with a new and different gospel where a therapeutic Jesus embraces people where they are. It is a gospel of affirmation rather than the gospel of salvation. We have moved from sinners in the hands of an angry God to clients in the palm of a satisfied therapist.

So the Episcopal Church is now a church where people are officially led away from Christ. And this is why we need a realignment. You’ve got to understand this. Because with the new gospel you and I who believe the traditional gospel are the embodiment of a call to holiness and believers in a gospel which those who believe the new teaching see as unjust and unchristian. We are enemies of the new gospel. Beware underneath the call to participate in the Episcopal Church from now on there is lurking a passionate desire among some to persecute many of those who disagree with this new teaching.

I was on the committee that put out C-051. I remember it well there were 45 of us. Guess what the vote was? 44 to 1. I remember it because I was the one. And there was an incredible moment at the end of Minneapolis which is the future in the Episcopal Church if we don’t have intervention. And to my utter amazement, having written a one-person minority report, which is my prerogative as a member of the committee, I watched person after person after person come to the microphone and insist that my one-person minority report be expunged from the record of the Episcopal Church. It was astounding. It was like being in a family that has an Uncle Steve and they are pretending that he doesn’t exist and they go through all the family albums and pull out his picture and go through all the family history and erase those sections where Steve is mentioned. That’s our future brothers and sisters if we don’t have help. We’ve got to have outside intervention. We haven’t moved anywhere. The church has moved from us.

Our hope is in asking for a realignment in a church were are increasing under attack with a total sense of our own powerlessness to shape the nature of our coming intervention, and that’s really good news because Jesus said “Blessed are the poor in spirit.”

Are you re-centered with me brothers and sisters? Catholic, Charismatic, Canonical. We are going to be about Christ, and the cross, and conversion.

As we are seated, let us pray.

Lord, you are a great God and you have given us a great and astounding message. Re-center us, and enable us to be people who preach the unsearchable riches of Christ, and his cross, and who call others to conversion in His name by the power of the Holy Spirit. Forgive us Lord, for the ways that we have dropped the ball. We confess that we have dropped the ball Lord; we confess that we don’t have the power to pick the ball back up. Lord in your mercy, you, the God who gave us the ball in the first place and who watched us drop the ball. Give us back the ball Lord, by the power of your Holy Spirit, and bring us into the new and exciting and hopeful future that only you can give us. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisArchbishop of Canterbury --Rowan WilliamsAnglican PrimatesEpiscopal Church (TEC)Global South Churches & PrimatesSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessingsWindsor Report / Process* By Kendall* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, Worship--Book of Common Prayer* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* TheologyAnthropologyEschatologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted October 8, 2013 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In a further sign of fracture in the Episcopal Church over the ordination of an openly gay bishop, thousands of conservative American Anglicans rallied here on Tuesday at a conference that advocated radically reorganizing church authority.

The meeting, called by the orthodox American Anglican Council a week before an emergency meeting of Anglican leaders in London to avert a worldwide schism, circulated a draft ''call to action'' urging the parent church to ''create a new alignment for Anglicanism in North America.''

Denouncing the House of Bishops for backing the ordination in June of a gay man, the Rev. Canon V. Gene Robinson, as bishop of New Hampshire, the Rev. David H. Roseberry, rector of Christ Church in nearby Plano, said, ''The Episcopal Church has begun a wayward drift that will distort the Anglican community.''

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalGlobal South Churches & PrimatesInstruments of UnitySexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessingsWindsor Report / Process* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted October 8, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureWomen* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* TheologyEcclesiology

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Posted August 26, 2013 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pope John Paul II extended to Anglicans, including married priests, the opportunity to become Catholic in 1980. During the next 30 years, 100 or so Anglican priests entered the Catholic Church and were incorporated into local dioceses.

But some in the worldwide Anglican Communion — particularly the Episcopal Church, the religious body’s US province — wanted to make it easier for whole congregations to come in, and to be part of a group of like-minded churches.

At their request, Pope Benedict XVI established special “ordinariates” — basically superdioceses — especially for Anglican priests and congregations. The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, which spans the United States and Canada, was created last year. It includes more than 30 congregations, including [ Jurgen] Liias’s St. Gregory the Great, which held its first Mass in April.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* TheologyEcclesiology

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Posted August 26, 2013 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

During World Youth Day celebrations in Rio de Janeiro, July 23-28, many worshippers in the crowds could be seen swaying from side to side, arms raised in the air, wearing rapt or joyous expressions on their faces.

Such scenes, along with on-stage appearances by celebrities such as Father Marcelo Rossi, a mega-church pastor whose records and movies regularly top the charts in his native Brazil, testified to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal's strong influence on the church in Latin America today.

As the church continues to lose members in the region with the world's largest Catholic population, the charismatic movement stands out as a source of hope, not only for fending off the formidable competition of Pentecostal Protestantism but for raising morale among the faithful as a whole.

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Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted August 13, 2013 at 5:46 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

First of all I would like to share with you the joy of having met, yesterday and today, a special group of pilgrims of the Year of Faith. It was made up of seminarians and novices. I ask you to pray for them that the love for Christ grow more and more in their life and they become true missionaries of the Kingdom of God.

The Gospel of this Sunday (Luke 10:1-12, 17-20) speaks to us precisely of this: the fact that Jesus is not an isolated missionary, he does not wish to carry out his mission alone, but involves his disciples. And today we see that, besides the 12 disciples, he calls another 72, and he sends them to the villages, 2 by 2, to announce that the Kingdom of God is near.

This is so beautiful! Jesus does not want to work alone, he has come to bring God’s love into the world and wants to spread it in communion (“con lo stile della comunione”), in fraternity (“con lo stile della fraternità”). Because of this he immediately forms a community of disciples, which is a missionary community. Immediately he teaches them to be missionaries, to go out.

But, look, the purpose here is not to socialize, to spend time together, no, the purpose is to announce the Kingdom of God, and this is urgent!

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeMissions* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* Theology

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Posted July 8, 2013 at 6:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Father [Giuseppe] Costa observed that Lumen Fidei, which translates as “The Light of Faith,” contains a style that is “part Benedict’s and part Francis’s, especially the introduction where Pope Francis makes the encyclical his own.”

However, unlike other commentators, he said that he would not describe the encyclical as being “written by four hands.”

“Pope Francis presents the encyclical as his,” the priest explained. “This was a gesture of spiritual fraternity between his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis himself. This is why I would not say that the encyclical has been written by four hands.”

In the document’s introduction, Pope Francis notes that Benedict XVI had worked before his resignation to nearly finish a first draft of the encyclical. Pope Francis explains that “as his brother in Christ I have taken up his fine work and added a few contributions of my own.”

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Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVIPope Francis * Theology

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Posted July 5, 2013 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At the end of his first visit to the Vatican, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said he and Pope Francis shared ideas on economic justice, on the plight of Christians in the Middle East, but also on their deeply personal experiences of God’s calling in their daily lives.

Following their morning audience and joint prayer service, the leader of the Anglican Communion described the Pope as a man of “extraordinary humanity, on fire with the Spirit of Christ”. While admitting there are obstacles on the road to reconciliation between Anglicans and Catholics, he said he sensed a new vigour and common commitment “to prove the radicality” of the Christian Gospel.

Speaking to Philippa Hitchen in the garden of the Venerable English College at the end of the brief visit, the archbishop said he and the Pope also joked about the way they had inaugurated their ministries within two days of each other earlier this year……

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted June 15, 2013 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It should be stressed that the reports in the air today are based on leaked notes from the meeting with Francis, and the Vatican has refused to confirm or deny their content, so we don't actually know what the pope said. Nonetheless, because the "gay lobby" business is back in the headlines, I'll repeat here what I said in February.

Bottom line: It's no secret there are gays in the Vatican, and it's reasonable to think officials would be concerned that insiders with a secret to keep might be vulnerable to various kinds of pressure. The issue, in other words, isn't so much their sexuality, but rather the potential for manipulation anytime someone serving the pope is leading a double life. That said, there's also no evidence this was the "real" reason Benedict quit just as there's no reason to believe now that Francis is on the cusp of launching an anti-gay witch hunt.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMedia* International News & CommentaryEuropeItaly* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

2 Comments
Posted June 13, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Early on, in a radical act of dispossession, Francis broke decisively with his former life as a soldier and playboy. He stripped off his clothes and ran out of the bishop's palace stark naked, saying, "I will no longer be called the son of Pietro Bernardone. From now on I shall say simply, 'Our Father, who art in heaven.' "

We see already an intimation of Saint Francis in Pope Francis. There is his simple apparel: black street shoes instead of the calfskin red of his predecessors, simple white cassock minus gold-embroidered accessories. In addition, a pope who lives in a modest guest house (versus the spacious papal apartments), worships on Maundy Thursday with young prisoners, and who embraces hiv/aids patients in a hospice follows in the steps of il poverello, "the poor one," as Saint Francis was called.

Since the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision of 1973, Catholics and evangelicals in the United States have worked side by side to advocate for the sanctity of life. The pro-life community will have a strong ally in the new pope. He has referred to abortion as the "death penalty" for the unborn.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicalsRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* Theology

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Posted June 4, 2013 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pope Francis has revealed for the first time the reasons for his decision to shun the official papal apartments and instead live in a much more modest Vatican 'hotel'.

He has told a friend that he likes being in daily contact with ordinary people, does not want to be isolated and enjoys sitting down to meals with visiting clergy.

The Pope, 76, who on first seeing the papal apartments reportedly exclaimed "But there is room here for 300 people!" hinted that the arrangement may be permanent.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted May 30, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

He has criticized the “cult of money” and greed he sees driving the world financial system, reflecting his affinity for liberation theology. He has left Vatican officials struggling to keep up with his off-the-cuff remarks and impromptu forays into the crowds of tens of thousands that fill St. Peter’s Square during his audiences. He has delighted souvenir vendors near the Vatican by increasing tourist traffic.

Pope Francis, the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, has been in office for only two months, but already he has changed the tone of the papacy, lifting morale and bringing a new sense of enthusiasm to the Roman Catholic Church and to the Vatican itself, Vatican officials and the faithful say.

“It’s very positive. There’s a change of air, a sense of energy,” said one Vatican official, speaking with traditional anonymity. “Some people would use the term honeymoon, but there’s no indication that it will let up.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted May 26, 2013 at 1:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark met with Pope Francis today in a historical meeting held in the Apostolic Palace today.

This is the first time in 40 years that a Coptic Pope has met with the Pope of Rome. On May 1973. Pope Shenouda III met with Pope Paul VI and signed an an important Christological Declaration in common and initiated bilateral ecumenical dialogue between the two Churches.

In his address to Pope Francis, Pope Tawadros II regarded the meeting as “an unforgettable occasion”, since it marks the anniversary of their respective predecessor’s meeting.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropeMiddle East* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted May 11, 2013 at 8:55 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

No fair looking until you guess, then go and read it all.

Update: Since I know people are going to ask, you can find the Archbishop of Canterbury's tweets here.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingGlobalizationReligion & CultureScience & Technology* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

1 Comments
Posted April 30, 2013 at 5:42 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A worldly Church is a weak Church. The only way to stop this from happening is to entrust the Church to the Lord through constant prayer. This was the message at the heart of Pope Francis’ homily during Mass Tuesday morning, celebrated with staff from the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, also known as APSA. Emer McCarthy reports:

"We can safeguard the Church, we can cure the Church, no? We do so with our work, but what’s most important is what the Lord does : He is the only One who can look into the face of evil and overcome it. The prince of the world comes but can do nothing against me: if we don’t want the prince of this world to take the Church into his hands, we must entrust it to the One who can defeat the prince of this world. Here the question arises: do we pray for the Church, for the entire Church? For our brothers and sisters whom we do not know, everywhere in the world? It is the Lord's Church and in our prayer we say to the Lord: Lord, look at your Church ... It' s yours. Your Church is [made up of ] our brothers and sisters. This is a prayer that must come from our heart".

Then, Pope Francis remarked that "it is easy to pray for the grace of the Lord", "to thank Him" or when "we need something." But it is fundamental that we also pray to the Lord for all, for those who have "received the same Baptism," saying "they are Yours, they are ours, watch over them".

Read it all.

Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* TheologyChristologyEcclesiologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted April 30, 2013 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pope Francis has sent his “sympathy and closeness in prayer” to the people of Boston in a telegram sent on his behalf.
The telegram reads “In the aftermath of this senseless tragedy, His Holiness invokes God’s peace upon the dead, his consolation upon the suffering and his strength upon all those engaged in the continuing work of relief and response. At this time of mourning the Holy Father prays that all Bostonians will be united in a resolve not to be overcome by evil, but to combat evil with good (cf. Rom 12:21), working together to build an ever more just, free and secure society for generations yet to come.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted April 16, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almost a month on from the election of the first Latin American pontiff, the head of the Vatican’s Council for Social Communications says Pope Francis is pioneering new ways of sharing the faith with people in and outside the Christian Church.

Archbishop Claudio Celli travelled to Santiago del Chile at the weekend for a conference on the challenges and opportunities facing the Church in Latin America in our era of rapidly developing digital technologies. The conference, which opens on Monday at the Catholic University of Chile, brings together some 400 communications specialists from across the continent.

At the heart of the discussion, Archbishop Celli says, lies not just the question of how to use the new technologies, but rather of how to bring the Word of Christ to men and women living in an increasingly digitalized world. The new Pope, he says, is already showing us an innovative approach to communicating that Gospel message…

Read and listen to it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingGlobalizationMediaReligion & CultureScience & Technology* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted April 8, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

And so we come to Good Friday, day of the Passion and crucifixion of the Lord. Every year, placing ourselves in silence before Jesus nailed to the wood of the cross, we realize how full of love were the words he pronounced on the eve, in the course of the Last Supper. "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many" (Mark 14:24). Jesus willed to offer his life in sacrifice for the remission of humanity's sins. Just as before the Eucharist, so before the Passion and Death of Jesus on the cross the mystery is unfathomable to reason. We are placed before something that humanly might seem absurd: a God who not only is made man, with all man's needs, not only suffers to save man, burdening himself with all the tragedy of humanity, but dies for man.

Christ's death recalls the accumulation of sorrows and evils that beset humanity of all times: the crushing weight of our dying, the hatred and violence that again today bloody the earth. The Lord's Passion continues in the suffering of men. As Blaise Pascal correctly writes, "Jesus will be in agony until the end of the world; one must not sleep during this time" (Pensées, 553). If Good Friday is a day full of sadness, and hence at the same time, all the more propitious a day to reawaken our faith, to strengthen our hope and courage so that each one of us will carry his cross with humility, trust and abandonment in God, certain of his support and victory. The liturgy of this day sings: "O Crux, ave, spes unica" (Hail, O cross, our only hope)."

--Benedict XVI

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly Week* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* TheologyChristology

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Posted March 29, 2013 at 9:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Many of the men in seminary chose to become priests after the eruption of the sexual abuse crisis, at a time when the choice to become a priest is increasingly mystifying to many. Some of their friends and families were wary; others were encouraging.

“It’s pretty obvious, even for us, the situation is not really all sunshine. It is a tough time that we’re entering,” said Jun Hee Lee, a 25-year-old seminarian from Brooklyn. “Patience, perseverance in prayer and courage — having that faith and hope in our Lord that the trueness of the Gospel will prevail, the truth will overcome."

--From a good article in yesterday's New York Times.

Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

0 Comments
Posted March 13, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

He has helped steer the Roman Catholic Church closer to mutuality with Bible believing Protestants to a greater degree than any other pope since the Reformation; he has been a true mentor for orthodox Christians of many denominational stripes and an incomparably better biblical theologian than many who call themselves Protestant; and there has been no more stalwart spiritual warrior against the ideological assault on Christian civilization from without, and its betrayal from within, among his generation.

In the face of the twin twenty - first century threats to the Gospel from Mohammedanism and Secularism, all adherents of Nicene Christianity are better equipped spiritually and intellectually to “fight the good fight” than they were before Benedict XVI’s pontificate.

As we await the emergence of his successor, thanksgiving for the servant leadership of Joseph Ratzinger during the last half century should be both oecumenical and fervent.

____________________________________________________

THE POPE EMERITUS OF ROME: CATHOLIC, GODLY, BIBLICAL, AND EVEN A LITTLE PROTESTANT !
by the Dean Emeritus of South Carolina !

As I write, the Roman Catholic Church and indeed many other oecumenically minded Christians find themselves in what might be called a kind of papal limbo! Benedict XVI has stepped down, even though Joseph Ratzinger yet lives amongst us; and a new pope has still to be elected. As our Jewish brothers and sisters say: L’Chaim! To Life!

On the other hand, on the very last day of his papacy I read a scathing judgment of Benedict—of the man personally and equally of his vocational track record—by one of his American communicants, or rather (by self - definition) excommunicants, who also happens to be an alumnus, as am I, of the Episcopal-affiliated University of the South, Sewanee. The writer’s enmity—dating from Cardinal Ratzinger’s time as his predecessor’s putative ‘enforcer’ of discipline—was expressed in terms doubtless intended to bring to mind the animal analogy of choice among the Pope’s longtime foes, that of the Rottweiler caricature; but it only prompted in me an equal and opposite reaction by way of gratitude for this German Shepherd of a Bishop—many of whose theological views are of course quite foreign to mine!

Half a century ago, long before Joseph Ratzinger became a household name outside oecumenical circles, I was privileged to serve as a theological participant in Anglican - Roman Catholic Dialogue on the Anglican side. The aspiration of that venture remains unfulfilled, but even at that time Joseph Ratzinger was already a sympathetic behind-the-scenes encourager (not ‘enforcer’!) of it. In 1973, by way of contribution to the official Dialogue, I was commissioned to write an Anglican assessment of the Second Vatican Council’s dogmatic constitution on Divine Revelation, Dei Verbum.

Working closely with a staunchly evangelical colleague, Jacob Jocz, my conclusion was not only that the document represented a decisive shift away from the Tridentine ‘two sources’ theory of the role of tradition as equivalent to scripture, but that there were ‘deconstructive’ trends in biblical criticism on the Anglican side potentially far more subversive of biblical authority than any residual over - emphasis on ecclesiastical tradition by Rome. Dei Verbum reflected a more Reformational stand on the authority of the Bible than did many New Testament faculty members in Episcopal Church seminaries!

Subsequently, as biblical revisionism has increasingly gained the upper hand in the pulpits of the Episcopal Church, the contrast with Benedict’s faithfulness to God’s Word written has been striking.

What’s more, it is in all likelihood his very commitment to the claims of Holy Scripture that accounts for the petulance and calumny to which he is subjected—ironically, in the name of ‘tolerance’—by self-defined liberals for whom liberalism means libertinism, whether ideological or moral.

As I read my fellow Sewanee alumnus’s diatribe, I realized how axiomatic this attitude has become among those who, frustrated by the Pope’s resistance to their ethical and intellectual nihilism, have cast envious eyes at the Episcopal Church’s explicit denial of ‘core doctrine’ in faith and morals. Many of them have flounced across the Tiber in reverse direction and are now part of the new profile of the National Cathedral in Washington to All Saints’ Chapel at Sewanee and beyond.

Although I am no fan of the Curial system, of Tridentine ecclesiology, or of Rome’s soteriological compromises in dogma, it seems to this Anglican that Joseph Ratzinger was the providentially right man in the right job(s) for the last several decades.

He has helped steer the Roman Catholic Church closer to mutuality with Bible believing Protestants to a greater degree than any other pope since the Reformation; he has been a true mentor for orthodox Christians of many denominational stripes and an incomparably better biblical theologian than many who call themselves Protestant; and there has been no more stalwart spiritual warrior against the ideological assault on Christian civilization from without, and its betrayal from within, among his generation.

In the face of the twin twenty - first century threats to the Gospel from Mohammedanism and Secularism, all adherents of Nicene Christianity are better equipped spiritually and intellectually to “fight the good fight” than they were before Benedict XVI’s pontificate.

As we await the emergence of his successor, thanksgiving for the servant leadership of Joseph Ratzinger during the last half century should be both oecumenical and fervent.

Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

2 Comments
Posted March 8, 2013 at 5:04 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Recently translated, an interesting reflection on the issues and implementation of Vatican II, the church, the media and the future of the church
"..I am very grateful for your prayers, which I have sensed, as I said on Wednesday – almost palpably. And although I am about to withdraw, I remain close to all of you in prayer, and I am sure that you too will be close to me, even if I am hidden from the world.

For today, given the conditions brought on by my age, I have not been able to prepare an extended discourse, as might have been expected; but rather what I have in mind are a few thoughts on the Second Vatican Council, as I saw it. I shall begin with an anecdote:..."

Read it all

Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

5 Comments
Posted March 7, 2013 at 8:58 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

...The crowd chanted "Long live the pope!," waved banners and broke into sustained applause as he spoke from his window. The 85-year-old Benedict, who will abdicate on February 28, thanked them in several languages.

Speaking in Spanish, he told the crowd which the Vatican said numbered more than 50,000: "I beg you to continue praying for me and for the next pope".

It was not clear why the pope chose Spanish to make the only specific reference to his upcoming resignation in his Sunday address...

Read it all

Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted February 17, 2013 at 6:36 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Today, Ash Wednesday, we begin a new Lenten journey, a journey that extends over forty days and leads us towards the joy of Easter, to victory of Life over death. Following the ancient Roman tradition of Lenten stations, we are gathered for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. The tradition says that the first statio took place in the Basilica of Saint Sabina on the Aventine Hill. Circumstances suggested we gather in St. Peter's Basilica. Tonight there are many of us gathered around the tomb of the Apostle Peter, to also ask him to pray for the path of the Church going forward at this particular moment in time, to renew our faith in the Supreme Pastor, Christ the Lord. For me it is also a good opportunity to thank everyone, especially the faithful of the Diocese of Rome, as I prepare to conclude the Petrine ministry, and I ask you for a special remembrance in your prayer.

The readings that have just been proclaimed offer us ideas which, by the grace of God, we are called to transform into a concrete attitude and behaviour during Lent. First of all the Church proposes the powerful appeal which the prophet Joel addresses to the people of Israel, "Thus says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning" (2.12). Please note the phrase "with all your heart," which means from the very core of our thoughts and feelings, from the roots of our decisions, choices and actions, with a gesture of total and radical freedom. But is this return to God possible? Yes, because there is a force that does not reside in our hearts, but that emanates from the heart of God and the power of His mercy. The prophet says: "return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love, and relenting in punishment" (v. 13). It is possible to return to the Lord, it is a 'grace', because it is the work of God and the fruit of faith that we entrust to His mercy. But this return to God becomes a reality in our lives only when the grace of God penetrates and moves our innermost core, gifting us the power that "rends the heart".

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsLentParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

0 Comments
Posted February 13, 2013 at 12:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The future of Anglican-Roman Catholic relations is, in part, down to who will succeed Pope Benedict, according to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s representative to the Holy See.

Responding to today’s surprise resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the Very Revd David Richardson said the implications for Anglican-Roman Catholic relations in the long term “will depend on who is elected to succeed him.”

However, Dean Richardson, who is also Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, said that other relationships continue despite the change in leadership.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* TheologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral Theology

15 Comments
Posted February 12, 2013 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This morning, addressing all the elderly in spirit, although I am aware of the difficulties that our age entails I would like to tell you with deep conviction: it is beautiful to be old! At every phase of life it is necessary to be able to discover the presence and blessing of the Lord and the riches they bring. We must never let ourselves be imprisoned by sorrow! We have received the gift of longevity. Living is beautiful even at our age, despite some “aches and pains” and a few limitations. In our faces may there always be the joy of feeling loved by God and not sadness.

In the Bible longevity is considered a blessing of God; today this blessing is widespread and must be seen as a gift to appreciate and to make the most of. And yet frequently society dominated by the logic of efficiency and gain does not accept it as such: on the contrary it frequently rejects it, viewing the elderly as non-productive or useless. All too often we hear about the suffering of those who are marginalized, who live far from home or in loneliness. I think there should be greater commitment, starting with families and public institutions, to ensure that the elderly be able to stay in their own homes. The wisdom of life, of which we are bearers, is a great wealth. The quality of a society, I mean of a civilization, is also judged by how it treats elderly people and by the place it gives them in community life. Those who make room for the elderly make room for life! Those who welcome the elderly welcome life! ... When life becomes frail, in the years of old age, it never loses its value and its dignity: each one of us, at any stage of life, is wanted and loved by God, each one is important and necessary.

Dear friends, at our age we often experience the need of the help of others; and this also happens to the Pope.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted February 12, 2013 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In some ways, the selection of a new pope will have more potential to influence the future of Catholicism than the election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, then 78, in 2005.

In the eight years since Pope Benedict took office, the divisions in the Catholic world have become more solidified. The West, including Europe and the United States, has been locked in a culture war over contraception, homosexuality and the role of women in the church, among other issues. Meanwhile, more theologically traditional Catholics in Africa and parts of Asia have fueled much of the church’s growth, threatening a standoff with Islam.

In other words, the next pope will have to carefully pick his audience and decide how best to communicate with it without alienating the rest of the faith’s followers.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

2 Comments
Posted February 12, 2013 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Since assuming the papacy, Benedict has called for a counter-witness to the bloody persecution of Christians by Islamic authoritarian regimes in Africa and the Middle East, to the church-outlawing police states of China and North Korea, and to the soul-decaying secularism of Western Europe and, increasingly, the United States of America.

Benedict has countered the sexual revolution with an Augustinian view of the meaning of human personhood. A human person, he has reminded the world, is not a machine. We are not merely collections of nerve endings that spark with sensation when rubbed together. Instead a human person is directed toward a one-flesh union, which is personal and spiritual. Destroying the ecology of marriage and family isn’t simply about tearing down old “moralities,” he has reminded us, but about a revolt against the web of nature in which human beings thrive.

And Benedict has stood against the nihilism that defines human worth in terms of power and usefulness. He has constantly spoken for those whose lives are seen as a burden to society: the baby with Down syndrome, the woman with advanced Alzheimer’s, the child starving in the desert, the prisoner being tortured.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicalsRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

0 Comments
Posted February 12, 2013 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“Pope Benedict XVI spent his papacy sharing his love of God and love of Church with the Catholic Faithful around the world. His resignation today is an outward sign of that love. On behalf of the Diocese of Charleston, I wish to thank Pope Benedict for his 8 years of leadership as Shepherd of the Catholic Church.

“Last May, I was fortunate to be part of a group from the Province of Atlanta which met with the Pope during the Ad Limina visit. Our discussion with the Holy Father focused on life in the Church within our growing region and the use of social media as an evangelization tool. During the meeting, Pope Benedict seemed physically tired; he wore the expression of an 85 year old man dealing with his age. However, he was emotionally animated especially when the conversation shifted to the use of technology

Read it all.

Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted February 12, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Check it out.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

3 Comments
Posted February 11, 2013 at 8:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Yes, Pope Benedict XVI came into the Vatican with the reputation as God’s Rottweiler. Yes, he was an archconservative who seemed to care a lot more about liturgical orthodoxy than the plight of the church’s progressives. Yes, he never escaped the shadow of the superstar and sanctified pope who preceded him. And yes, he largely failed in his placeholder pontificate to establish an emotional connection with the billions of people he led as the head of the Roman Catholic Church.

But Benedict’s astonishing announcement Monday morning that he would be the first pope since Pope Gregory XII in 1417 to resign the papacy spoke directly to his less acknowledged, but perhaps more enduring and important legacy: transparency advocate.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

4 Comments
Posted February 11, 2013 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The news that the pontiff would step down earned an immediate outpouring of tributes matched only by speculation about his health, about his future and that of a church in transition. Perhaps nowhere outside of the Vatican was it bigger news than Germany, where even non-Catholics took inordinate pride in their countryman’s leading the Roman Catholic Church.

The Web site of the newspaper Bild, which famously declared “We Are Pope” nearly eight years ago when Benedict was elected, ran an enormous headline that read “Our German Pope Benedict Steps Down,” followed by his entire statement in German on a slightly mottled brown background, as if it were old parchment.

Chancellor Angela Merkel recalled the pride that Germans felt to see one of their own elected by his fellow cardinals but also expressed understanding that he could not continue. “In our age of ever longer lives, many people will also be able to understand how the Pope must deal with the burdens of aging,” Ms. Merkel said.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

0 Comments
Posted February 11, 2013 at 3:29 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It was with a heavy heart but complete understanding that we learned this morning of Pope Benedict’s declaration of his decision to lay down the burden of ministry as Bishop of Rome, an office which he has held with great dignity, insight and courage. As I prepare to take up office I speak not only for myself, and my predecessors as Archbishop, but for Anglicans around the world, in giving thanks to God for a priestly life utterly dedicated, in word and deed, in prayer and in costly service, to following Christ. He has laid before us something of the meaning of the Petrine ministry of building up the people of God to full maturity....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

4 Comments
Posted February 11, 2013 at 6:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Dear Brothers,

I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.

From the Vatican, 10 February 2013

BENEDICTUS PP XVI

Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

0 Comments
Posted February 11, 2013 at 5:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pope Benedict XVI is to resign at the end of this month in an unexpected development, saying he is too old to continue at the age of 85.

He became Pope in 2005 following John Paul II's death.

Resignations from the papacy are not unknown, but this is the first in the modern era, which has been marked by pontiffs dying while in office.

Read it all.

Update: A papal timeline from Vatican Radio.

Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

9 Comments
Posted February 11, 2013 at 5:11 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

During the first year of its work — while leaders wrestled with thickets of legal and liturgical questions — the North American ordinariate ordained or accepted 30 new priests, all former Anglicans, and took in 1,600 members from 36 parish communities. It is now expanding into Canada, preparing for a second wave of incoming clergy and making plans for its own chancery facilities in Houston.

The Vatican's goal has been to "build a safe haven for orthodox people who don't mind saying that they're loyal to the Holy Father and to the church," said Catania, who attended the Houston meetings.

"Our goal was to show that we're not just a bunch of Episcopalians who wanted to get out of that church. ... We always thought of ourselves as Catholics, but now our Catholic identity is clear to everyone. We made it all the way home."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted February 9, 2013 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The arrival of the Pope on Twitter has generated all types of reactions. The fact that the Pope has become a user of the second largest social network on the Internet has become the subject of much discussion. Everyone has an opinion about what this development means. Some interpret it as a desire to become more "modern," to bring the Vatican "up to date," and in doing so, improve the Pope's image and, by extension, that of the Church. This is an easy interpretation, albeit rather superficial, and one that is quite far from grasping the depth and scope of this initiative.

Several of the messages that the Holy Father has delivered for the most recent World Communications Days have provided the keys for more substantial interpretation. In these one can see how the Church has admirably understood that fact that the Internet is not only an instrument for communication, but rather, it is above all an area, a place where people meet and develop relationships.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingGlobalizationScience & Technology* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* TheologyAnthropology

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Posted January 31, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

According to Miguel Angel Ortiz, a professor at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, Benedict wasn’t so much addressing the specific issue of remarried divorcees but addressing the relation between the spouses’ personal faith and the validity of marriage, including its commitment to fidelity.

In a 2005 question-and-answer session with priests, the pope said he once believed that lack of faith was enough to declare a marriage invalid. But, after tasking theologians to look into the issue, he had “understood that the problem was very difficult” and required further study.

At the time, Benedict said it was “particularly sad” to see people marry in the church out of tradition instead of a faith commitment only to subsequently find faith and remarry.

For Ortiz, the pope’s reflection could “speed up the process of declaring a marriage invalid” without changing the substance of the process itself.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted January 30, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I may have to take back all the bad things I’ve been saying about Vatican communications. (Okay, some of them.) First, the Pope starts Tweeting, and now they roll out an app.

And … it’s actually a pretty good one! Given how crummy the Vatican’s own website is, this is nothing short of amazing.

The Pope App (free, iOS, and Android forthcoming) could have been all kinds of wrong, from the function, to the name, to the icon. (Icons matter on mobile.) Instead, The Pope App hits most of the bases in style. The name is light, direct, and almost saucy. Just imagine the ponderous Latin names that were probably kicked around. The icon has a bold yellow silhouette of Papa Bene. The only strike I can really level against the rollout is that it’s iPhone-native only, with no native iPad support, and no simultaneous Android.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetGlobalizationReligion & CultureScience & Technology* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted January 25, 2013 at 7:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Following his ordination, [John] Cornelius will lead the Fellowship of Saint Alban in Henrietta (Diocese of Rochester), a small community of former Anglicans who have joined the Catholic Church. When available, he will also assist with ministry at parishes in Allegany County.

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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted January 24, 2013 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Check it out.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationMediaReligion & CultureScience & Technology* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted January 23, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Secretary for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State of the Holy See, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti gave an interview to Vatican Radio on Wednesday, in which he discussed the Church’s freedom and institutional autonomy, with reference to four cases decided by the European Court of Human Rights on the 15th of January, and two others still before the Court. With regard to the four cases decided by the Court – only one of which was decided in favour of the complainant – Archbishop Mamberti spoke of the complexity of questions relating to freedom of conscience and religion, in particular in European society marked by the increase of religious diversity and the corresponding hardening of secularism. He discussed the danger posed by a moral relativism that imposes itself as a social norm, and explained that the Church seeks to defend individual freedoms of conscience and religion in all circumstances, especially in the face of such danger.

Archbishop Mamberti addressed the need of respect for freedom of conscience regarding morally controversial subjects, such as abortion or homosexuality, saying that respect for freedom of conscience and religion is a condition for the establishment of a tolerant society in its pluralism. He warned that the erosion of freedom of conscience is symptomatic of a form of pessimism with regard to the capacity of the human conscience to recognize the good and the true. The Archbishop went on to say that it is the Church’s role to remind people that the true source of human freedom is found in the ability of each and every person to distinguish good from evil, and an obligation to act in accord with those determinations.

Read and listen to it all and I see that RNS has an article out on this as well.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEurope* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVIOther FaithsSecularism* Theology

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Posted January 17, 2013 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone is in London for meetings Jan. 16-18 on developing an historic new liturgy for members of the Anglican Church who are choosing to come into communion with the Roman Catholic Church under an initiative by Pope Benedict XVI.

The archbishop is a member of the Subcommission on the Liturgy for the Anglican Ordinariates, a Vatican advisory group that is in the second year of a three-year effort to create proposals for final action by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Congregation for Divine Worship. Archbishop Cordileone contributes canon law expertise to the group, which includes other prelates as well as expert advisers.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, Worship* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted January 16, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When Father Scott Hurd, vicar general of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter — a home in the Catholic Church for former Episcopalians and Anglicans — reflects back on 2012, he points to a period of rapid and exciting growth marking its first year of existence.

On New Year’s Day 2012, Pope Benedict XVI erected the ordinariate, which allows former Anglicans to retain certain treasured traditions within the Catholic Church. It was created in accord with Anglicanorum Coetibus, the Pope’s apostolic constitution permitting former Anglicans to come into the Church corporately instead of as individuals.

On the same day, the Holy Father named Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, a married Catholic priest and the former Episcopal bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Rio Grande, as the first ordinary.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* TheologyEcclesiology

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Posted January 9, 2013 at 4:26 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pope Benedict XVI has made an urgent appeal to civil and political authorities to work for peace. The Pope’s heartfelt cry came on Monday during his annual address to Members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See.

Speaking to representatives of the 179 States that currently have full diplomatic relations with the Vatican, as well as members of numerous international organizations such as the EU, the Order of Malta and the PLO, Pope Benedict emphasized that world leaders have a grave responsibility to work for peace. They are the first – he said – called to resolve the numerous conflicts causing bloodshed in our human family.

And the Pope went on to list urgent areas of concern starting with Syria which he described as being “torn apart by endless slaughter and the scene of dreadful suffering among its civilian population”.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastSyria* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted January 7, 2013 at 6:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While acknowledging that there are many contemporary scholars who reject the two chapters of infancy narratives in the Gospel of St Matthew as historical fact, Benedict nonetheless concludes that the chapters are "not a meditation presented under the guise of stories, but the converse: Matthew is recounting real history, theologically thought through and interpreted." Thus, for Pope Benedict, the Magi represent the inner dynamic of the human person and of science towards self-transcendence, "which involves a search for truth, a search for the true God, and hence philosophy in the original sense of the word."

In a pre-papal work, Co-Workers of the Truth, Cardinal Ratzinger wrote:
"The Magi of the Gospel are but the first in a vast pilgrimage in which the beauty of this earth is laid at the feet of Christ: the gold of the ancient Christian mosaics, the multi-coloured light from the windows of our great cathedrals, the praise of their stone, the Christmas songs of the trees of the forest are all inspired by him, and human voices like musical instruments have found their most beautiful melodies when they cast themselves at his feet. The suffering of the world too - its misery - comes to him in order, for a moment, to find security and understanding in the presence of the God who is poor."
The paradox is that while the Magi lay tokens of earthly beauty at the feet of Christ in one of the first human acts of adoration, at the birth of Christ divinity was laying at the feet of humanity the gift of "indestructible truth and eternal beauty." As Benedict writes, "the Glory of God is real" and "this is truly a reason for joy: there is truth, there is goodness, there is beauty. It is there - in God - indestructibly".

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchBooks* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted December 29, 2012 at 4:17 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There is another verse from the Christmas story on which I should like to reflect with you – the angels’ hymn of praise, which they sing out following the announcement of the new-born Saviour: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased.” God is glorious. God is pure light, the radiance of truth and love. He is good. He is true goodness, goodness par excellence. The angels surrounding him begin by simply proclaiming the joy of seeing God’s glory. Their song radiates the joy that fills them. In their words, it is as if we were hearing the sounds of heaven. There is no question of attempting to understand the meaning of it all, but simply the overflowing happiness of seeing the pure splendour of God’s truth and love. We want to let this joy reach out and touch us: truth exists, pure goodness exists, pure light exists. God is good, and he is the supreme power above all powers. All this should simply make us joyful tonight, together with the angels and the shepherds.

Linked to God’s glory on high is peace on earth among men. Where God is not glorified, where he is forgotten or even denied, there is no peace either.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted December 26, 2012 at 3:46 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Gospel for this Sunday of Advent again presents the figure of John the Baptist, and it depicts him speaking to the people who have come to him at the Jordan River to be baptized. Because John speaks to them with tough words, exhorting them to prepare themselves for the coming of the Messiah, some ask him, “What must we do?” (Luke 3:10, 12, 14). These dialogues are very interesting and show themselves to be of great contemporary relevance.

The first reply is addressed to the crowd in general. The Baptist says: “Whoever has 2 tunics, give 1 to someone who has none, and whoever has food to eat, do the same” (3:11). Here we can see a criterion of justice animated by charity. Justice demands that the imbalance between those who have more than enough and those who lack the necessities be overcome; charity moves us to be attentive to others and to meet their needs rather than looking for justifications to defend our interests. Justice and charity are not opposed but both are necessary and complete each other. “There will always be situations of material need where help in the form of concrete love of neighbor is indispensable” (“Deus caritas est,” 28).

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAdventParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* TheologyAnthropologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted December 19, 2012 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

With Pope Benedict XVI's new presence on Twitter, people from all over the world can now post papal messages with just the push of an on-screen button.

While many have welcomed the pope's foray into the virtual world, his @Pontifex handles and "reply-able" posts have also meant that rude and crude comments have come with the mix.

Twitter is "an open communications platform," and the Vatican has readily embraced what the full-fledged exercise of freedom of speech entails, said Msgr. Paul Tighe, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, which organized and runs the pope's eight language-based Twitter accounts.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted December 18, 2012 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pope Benedict XVI hit the 1 million Twitter follower mark on Wednesday as he sent his first tweet from his new account.

In perhaps the most drawn out Twitter launch ever, the 85-year-old Benedict pushed the button on a tablet brought to him at the end of his general audience Wednesday.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingReligion & CultureScience & Technology* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted December 12, 2012 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Payson’s Church of the Holy Nativity will have a place in history this weekend as it becomes the first Anglican church in Arizona and the third in the Southwest to return to the Catholic Church through the changes authorized by Pope Benedict XVI in November 2009.

The congregation will be received and confirmed into the Catholic church and Holy Nativity’s pastor, Father Lowell Andrews will be ordained into the Roman Catholic priesthood under the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter in services at 2 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 16. Andrews is also the first Anglican Catholic pastor in Arizona to be ordained as a Roman Catholic priest.

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Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesAnglican ContinuumRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted December 11, 2012 at 3:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Larry] Gipson, a 70-year-old native of Memphis, Tenn., said he is grateful to Pope Benedict for establishing the ordinariate. He said it is “advancing the cause of unity in the Church.”

“It offers Anglicans a way to affirm the Catholic faith, that is, a way to affirm orthodox or right belief, while at the same time being able to worship God and practice the Christian life according to the Anglican tradition and patrimony,” he told CNA Dec. 7.

“The Catholic faith and Anglican use are a great combination,” Gipson continued. “Catholics have welcomed us warmly. They’ve extended the right hand of fellowship to us, and I’m really grateful for that.”

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted December 9, 2012 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Twitter’s message limit of 140 text characters is ideally suited to the brief attention spans of these relentlessly distracted times. But an 85-year-old man will soon re-confirm another trend: This social media craze is no longer limited to the young.

Pope Benedict XVI will start posting tweets on Wednesday under “the handle” @pontifex, a term that means “bridge builder” in Latin.

That Monday announcement from the Vatican reveals another modernizing attempt by a generally old-school pontiff, born in 1927, to reach 2012 audiences. The pope plans to accept questions about matters of faith via the hashtag #askpontifex. Presumably, he’ll offer uplifting insights designed to bring souls who have strayed back into the fold.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted December 9, 2012 at 11:06 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Pontifical Council for the Promoting Christian Unity has welcomed the appointment of a new director for the Anglican Centre in Rome and representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Vatican. Archbishop David Moxon of Waikato, the senior Anglican bishop in New Zealand, will take up his new post after Easter 2013, following the retirement of the current director, Canon David Richardson.

Following the announcement from Lambeth Palace on Tuesday, the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity issued a note saying “It is felt that Archbishop Moxon’s considerable experience and gifts will suit him well for this important position which has such a significant role in relations between the Holy See and Canterbury, confirming the bonds of affection between Anglicans and Roman Catholics, and assisting our mutual understanding and work. As co-chairman of ARCIC (Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission) the appointment will lend even greater prominence to the progress of this long-standing dialogue.”
Since taking on the task of Anglican co-chair of ARCIC III, Archbishop Moxon has been working closely with the Pontifical Council and other Catholic experts in the ecumenical world. During a recent visit to Rome, he told Vatican Radio's Philippa Hitchen that he's optimistic about the amount of progress already made between Anglicans and Catholics....

Listen to it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican ProvincesAnglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia* International News & CommentaryEuropeItaly* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* Theology

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Posted December 8, 2012 at 1:59 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The humanitarian crisis in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo was top of Pope Benedict XVI’s concerns this Wednesday as he began his greetings in Italian with another appeal for aid for the people of the nation, the scene of armed clashes and violence. Emer McCarthy reports:

“A large part of the population lacks the primary means of subsistence” said the Pope, adding that “thousands of residents have been forced to flee their homes to seek refuge elsewhere”.

Read and listen to it all and there is more here.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDieting/Food/NutritionPovertyReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaRepublic of Congo* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted December 6, 2012 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The world authority envisioned by two popes as a way to ensure global peace and justice would not be a superpower, but primarily a moral force with limited jurisdiction, Pope Benedict XVI said.

The pope made his remarks Dec. 3 to a plenary session of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, which was scheduled to meet for three days to discuss the theme of "political authority and global governance."

In his address, Pope Benedict recalled that Blessed John XXIII had called for the "construction of a world community, with a corresponding authority," to serve the "common good of the human family."

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 5, 2012 at 6:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Vatican unveiled Pope Benedict XVI's Twitter account on Monday (Dec. 3) as it announced a series of new initiatives aimed at raising the church's online profile.

The pope's account, @Pontifex, drew nearly 200,000 followers in the hours after the announcement even though Benedict will not officially start tweeting until Dec. 12. That's when the pope plans to answer questions about faith submitted to him via Twitter through a special hashtag, #askpontifex, set up by the Vatican.

At least initially, the pope's tweets will be related to his official speeches and activities but their scope might be extended in the future, for example in response to natural disasters.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingGlobalizationMediaReligion & CultureScience & Technology* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted December 4, 2012 at 11:06 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pope Benedict XVI presided over Vespers in Saint Peter’s Basilica this evening, marking the vigil to the first day of Advent. During this evening’s celebrations the Pope met with students from Roman and Pontifical universities. Speaking to the students, the Holy Father encouraged them to witness the closeness of God in their university halls. A god who manifests himself in the search for truth, he said, is key to all intellectual endeavour. Fr Bernard Bitekerezo of Uganda and student of the Pontifical University of Santa Croce here in Rome spoke with Vatican Radio’s Alberto Goroni about meeting with the Holy Father.

Read and listen to it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAdvent* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted December 2, 2012 at 6:36 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The former rector of the nation's largest Episcopal church has become a Roman Catholic.

The Rev. Larry Gipson was dean of the Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham from 1982-94. Gipson retired in 2008 from the 8,000-member St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston, where his parishioners included former President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara.

Last month, Gipson was accepted as a Catholic into the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, a structure set up by Pope Benedict XVI to accept former Anglicans into the Catholic Church.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* TheologyEcclesiology

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Posted November 30, 2012 at 3:29 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

John the evangelist, who repeatedly raises the question of Jesus' provenance, does not present a genealogy at the begin­ning of his Gospel, but in the Prologue he grandly and em­phatically proposes an answer to that question. At the same time he expands his answer to the question into a definition of Christian life: on the basis of Jesus' provenance he sheds light upon the identity of his followers.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . and the Word became flesh and dwelt [pitched his tent] among us" ( Jn 1:1-14). The man Jesus is the dwelling-place of the Word, the eternal di­vine Word, in this world. Jesus' "flesh," his human existence, is the "dwelling" or "tent" of the Word: the reference to the sacred tent of Israel in the wilderness is unmistakable. Jesus is, so to speak, the tent of meeting-he is the reality for which the tent and the later Temple could only serve as signs. Jesus' origin, his provenance, is the true "beginning"-the primordial source from which all things come, the "light" that makes the world into the cosmos. He comes from God. He is God. This "beginning" that has come to us opens up-as a beginning-a new manner of human existence. "For to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God" ( Jn 1:12f.).

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooks* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted November 30, 2012 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almost a year after being appointed to shepherd Anglican communities seeking to join the Catholic Church, Monsignor Jeffrey N. Steenson says the past months have been showered with blessings.

“I think the real joys have been to see communities that have struggled with the decision of discerning whether to become Catholic and have made that choice, and they have come in,” he told CNA in a November interview.

He described “the joy on their faces” as they enter the Catholic Church and said, “That’s the thing that sticks in my mind the most.”

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* TheologyEcclesiology

6 Comments
Posted November 28, 2012 at 9:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"The entire mission of Jesus and the content of His message consists in proclaiming the Kingdom of God and establishing it among men through signs and wonders", the Pope said. "But, as Vatican Council II observes, 'the Kingdom is first manifested in the very person of Christ', a kingdom He founded through His death on the cross and resurrection, by which He is revealed as the eternal Lord, Messiah and Priest. This Kingdom of Christ has been entrusted to the Church, which is the 'seed' and 'beginning' and has the task of proclaiming it and spreading it among all the nations with the power of the Holy Spirit. At the end of the determined time the Lord will hand over the Kingdom to God the Father and present to Him all those who have lived according to the commandment of love. ... We are all called to extend the salvific work of God, converting to the Gospel and committing ourselves to serving the King Who came not to be served but to serve and give testimony to the truth".

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Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* TheologyChristology

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Posted November 27, 2012 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Holy Father focused his weekly audience on the reasonableness of faith in God. Rejecting the thought of fideism, which he asserted as "the will believe against reason", Pope Benedict said that God was not an abstract being, but a mystery. "Mystery, in turn, is not irrational, but the overabundance of sense, of meaning, of truth. If, when looking at the Mystery, one's reason sees darkness, it is not because there is no light in the mystery, but rather because there is too much of it," he said.

"Just as when a man turns his eyes to look directly at the sun, he sees only darkness; but who would say that the sun is not bright? On the contrary, it is the source of light."

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Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted November 21, 2012 at 11:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Sharing an obligation to spread the good news of salvation in Christ, all Christian communities are challenged by the fact that many people today do not think they need God, Pope Benedict XVI said.

"The spiritual poverty of many of our contemporaries, who no longer perceive the absence of God in their lives as a privation, represents a challenge for all Christians," the pope said Nov. 15 in a meeting with members of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

Pope Benedict said authentic ecumenical prayer, dialogue and cooperation cannot ignore "the crisis of faith that vast regions of the planet are experiencing," nor can Christians ignore signs that many modern people still feel a need for some kind of spirituality.

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Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVIOther FaithsSecularism

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Posted November 17, 2012 at 8:34 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The feast of All Saints should prompt Catholics to believe more deeply in eternal life, Pope Benedict XVI said.

The day "reminds us of our eternal destiny, where we will dwell, as St. Thomas Aquinas says, in true and perfect light, total fulfillment, everlasting joy and gladness without end," he said Nov. 1, reciting the Angelus on the feast of All Saints.

He urged people to "believe more strongly in eternal life and feel in true communion with our departed loved ones," who will be commemorated on the feast of All Souls, Nov. 2.

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Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted November 2, 2012 at 8:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Standing in the Sistine Chapel under Michelangelo's famous ceiling frescoes, people are reminded that the world was created by God in a supreme act of love, Pope Benedict XVI said.

"With a unique expressive intensity," the pope said, Michelangelo depicted the power and majesty of God the creator in a way that proclaimed "the world is not the product of darkness, chaos or absurdity, but derives from intelligence, freedom, a supreme act of love."

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchArt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted November 1, 2012 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A German-American nun will become a saint Sunday, nearly a century after her death. Mother Marianne Cope is the second person to be honored in this way for caring for people in Hawaii with leprosy, now known as Hansen's disease.

During a tragic era in Hawaiian history, more than 8,000 people with leprosy were banished to Kalaupapa, a remote peninsula on the island of Molokai. Back then, there was no cure. The patients were treated as outcasts until a Belgian priest, Father Damien, came to care for them in 1873. Eventually he contracted the disease himself and died. He was canonized by the pope in 2009.

Just five months before Damien's death, Cope arrived in Kalaupapa. She worked in Hawaii in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Sister Alicia Damien Lau says Cope risked her life to care for people with leprosy.

Read or listen to it all and do not miss the picture.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineHistoryPovertyReligion & CultureWomen* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted October 21, 2012 at 12:38 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Bishop of Sheffield, Dr. Steven Croft, has today commended the work of the fresh expressions movement and encouraged new ways of evangelism in an address in Rome.

Speaking as the Anglican Fraternal Delegate to the Roman Catholic Synod of Bishops on the theme of "new evangelisation", Dr. Croft also spoke of the need for life long discipleship to be at the heart of evangelism: "new evangelization calls for a clear vision of what it means to be a disciple. The new evangelization is a call to whole life discipleship: an invitation to follow Christ for the whole length of our lives, with every part of our lives, and into wholeness and abundance of that life"

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted October 17, 2012 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Archbishop John Oneikan of Abuja in Nigeria, whose brother lives in the Diocese of Tucson, offered today’s reflection to begin our full day of interventions. He reflected on an experience of his early episcopacy when he went to visit death-row prisoners living in wretched situations, He saw many wearing a rosary around their necks, which bewildered him since half of Nigerians are Muslim. He asked them what led them to Jesus.

They said that when they saw Christians living alongside of them in awful conditions, less than human circumstances and heard the joy of their singing and how they were able to retain hope amid despairing situations, they said they wanted to become Christians to share in that joy. This is a powerful example of evangelization. He inspired all of us, reminding us of the power of witness to change hearts.

Nigeria, like too many places around the world today, has experienced much violence in places like the city of Jos, where religious tensions and conflicts have surfaced. During our discussions bishops have expressed some of the struggles, persecution, tensions and turmoil happening in their communities. Listening to one another from all over the world gathered in the synod makes all of us more deeply aware of some of these challenges being experienced in many parts of the world. We can share in those sufferings and pain. We can stand in solidarity with those being persecuted, living amid violence. We can join hands, standing up against injustice and advocating for peace.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchPovertyViolence* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted October 15, 2012 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"Christianity must never be seen as something from the past, nor lived with one's gaze always looking back, because Jesus is yesterday, today and for all eternity," Pope Benedict said.

"This 'renewal' does not mean a break with tradition, rather it expresses a lasting vitality," he said.

Renewal doesn't mean watering down the faith, lowering it to fit modern fads or trends, or fashioning it to fit public opinion or one's own desires, "rather it's the contrary," he said.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted October 14, 2012 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Perhaps because of our youth, we have many reasons for hope and promise as we consider the New Evangelization and the Transmission of the Faith in North America.

Here are some of those reasons:

For one, the United States is actually very religious, contrary to the caricature that it is a pagan, secular, materialistic country. Not at all! As Chesterton, the acclaimed British apologist, wrote, America “is a nation with the soul of a church.” The very foundation of American life is the Jewish-Christian tradition. Over 50% of Americans take the Sabbath seriously; over 90% of us believe in God, and consider the Bible a source of God’s wisdom and teaching; and over 80% believe Jesus to be divine. As a recent poll demonstrated, the overwhelming majority of American citizens would have no problem voting for an evangelical, a Catholic, a Jew, a Protestant, a Mormon, a Hindu, or a Buddhist as president – but never for an atheist!....

Three, the Church in America is vigorous with sacred enterprises of charity and education, especially in care for the sick and our elders, in schools, and in agencies of service. These apostolates are ambassadors of evangelization. Pope Paul VI remarked that men and women today learn more from witness than from words. We attract folks to Jesus and His Church by radiating love. Just look at the witness of our soon-to-be canonized Kateri Tekakwitha and Mother Mary Anne Cope.

Four, the clear, consistent teaching of the Catholic Church is well known, if at times misunderstood or attacked. Even those who disagree with these teachings of the Church – and “their name is legion” – usually, at least, grudgingly admire the Church for her tenacious preaching on the dignity of human life; peace, justice, and charity; solicitude for the suffering of the world; and defense of marriage and the family.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted October 12, 2012 at 10:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As Christ prepared for His Gethsemane experience, He prayed a prayer for unity which is recorded in the Gospel of Saint John Chapter 17 verse 11: “ ... keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are”(All scripture from English translation of the Holy Bible, New King James Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1982.). Through the centuries we have, indeed, been kept in the power and love of Christ, and in the proper moment in history the Holy Spirit moved upon us and we began the long journey towards the visible unity that Christ desires. This has been confirmed in Unitatis Redintegratio § 1:

Everywhere large numbers have felt the impulse of this grace, and among our separated brethren also there increases from day to day the movement, fostered by the grace of the Holy Spirit, for the restoration of unity among all Christians.

Fifty years ago in this very square, a powerful and pivotal celebration captured the heart and mind of the Roman Catholic Church, transporting it across the centuries into the contemporary world.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesOrthodox ChurchRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* Theology

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Posted October 12, 2012 at 7:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What has been less appreciated about Vatican II, though it is as significant as the halting steps on governance, is that it took account of the world outside the church. The church validated for the first time the principle of religious freedom and rejected all forms of civil discrimination based on religious grounds. Thus ended an era of cozy church-state relations that began in the fourth century with Emperor Constantine.

Before the council, Catholics were not only forbidden to pray with those of other faiths but also indoctrinated into a disdain or even contempt for them. (This was, of course, a two-way street.) Now, for the first time, Catholics were encouraged to foster friendly relations with Orthodox and Protestant Christians, as well as Jews and Muslims, and even to pray with them. The council condemned all forms of anti-Semitism and insisted on respect for Judaism and Islam as Abrahamic faiths, like Christianity.

These epochal decisions have been carried out imperfectly, not surprising for an institution as large, lumbering and complex as the Catholic Church....

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEurope* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted October 12, 2012 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As a result of Vatican II, the Catholic Church opened its windows onto the modern world, updated the liturgy, gave a larger role to lay people, introduced the concept of religious freedom and started a dialogue with other religions.

"It was a time of a new hope, when everybody was proud that we are able to convoke such a council and having a real renewal of the Catholic Church," says Hans Kung, who was the youngest theologian at Vatican II.

But the changes provoked a backlash, and many Catholics today say the council's renewal momentum has been stopped in its tracks.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchGlobalizationHistoryReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted October 11, 2012 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Today, fifty years from the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, we begin with great joy the Year of Faith. I am delighted to greet all of you, particularly His Holiness Bartholomaois I, Patriarch of Constantinople, and His Grace Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury. A special greeting goes to the Patriarchs and Major Archbishops of the Eastern Catholic Churches, and to the Presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences. In order to evoke the Council, which some present had the grace to experience for themselves - and I greet them with particular affection - this celebration has been enriched by several special signs: the opening procession, intended to recall the memorable one of the Council Fathers when they entered this Basilica; the enthronement of a copy of the Book of the Gospels used at the Council; the consignment of the seven final Messages of the Council, and of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which I will do before the final blessing. These signs help us not only to remember, they also offer us the possibility of going beyond commemorating. They invite us to enter more deeply into the spiritual movement which characterized Vatican II, to make it ours and to develop it according to its true meaning. And its true meaning was and remains faith in Christ, the apostolic faith, animated by the inner desire to communicate Christ to individuals and all people, in the Church’s pilgrimage along the pathways of history.

The Year of Faith which we launch today is linked harmoniously with the Church’s whole path over the last fifty years: from the Council, through the Magisterium of the Servant of God Paul VI, who proclaimed a Year of Faith in 1967, up to the Great Jubilee of the year 2000, with which Blessed John Paul II re-proposed to all humanity Jesus Christ as the one Saviour, yesterday, today and forever. Between these two Popes, Paul VI and John Paul II, there was a deep and profound convergence, precisely upon Christ as the centre of the cosmos and of history, and upon the apostolic eagerness to announce him to the world. Jesus is the centre of the Christian faith. The Christian believes in God whose face was revealed by Jesus Christ. He is the fulfilment of the Scriptures and their definitive interpreter. Jesus Christ is not only the object of the faith but, as it says in the Letter to the Hebrews, he is “the pioneer and the perfecter of our faith” (12:2).

Today’s Gospel tells us that Jesus Christ, consecrated by the Father in the Holy Spirit, is the true and perennial subject of evangelization.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryPreaching / Homiletics* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted October 11, 2012 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It was a splendid day on 11 October 1962 when the Second Vatican Council opened with the solemn procession into St Peter’s Basilica in Rome of more than two thousand Council Fathers. In 1931 Pius XI had dedicated this day to the feast of the Divine Motherhood of Mary, mindful that 1,500 years earlier, in 431, the Council of Ephesus had solemnly recognized this title for Mary in order to express God’s indissoluble union with man in Christ. Pope John XXIII had chosen this day for the beginning of the Council so as to entrust the great ecclesial assembly, which he had convoked, to the motherly goodness of Mary and to anchor the Council’s work firmly in the mystery of Jesus Christ. It was impressive to see in the entrance procession bishops from all over the world, from all peoples and all races: an image of the Church of Jesus Christ which embraces the whole world, in which the peoples of the earth know they are united in his peace.

It was a moment of extraordinary expectation. Great things were about to happen. The previous Councils had almost always been convoked for a precise question to which they were to provide an answer. This time there was no specific problem to resolve. But precisely because of this, a general sense of expectation hovered in the air: Christianity, which had built and formed the Western world, seemed more and more to be losing its power to shape society. It appeared weary and it looked as if the future would be determined by other spiritual forces. The sense of this loss of the present on the part of Christianity, and of the task following on from that, was well summed up in the word “aggiornamento” (updating). Christianity must be in the present if it is to be able to form the future. So that it might once again be a force to shape the future, John XXIII had convoked the Council without indicating to it any specific problems or programmes. This was the greatness and at the same time the difficulty of the task that was set before the ecclesial assembly....

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* International News & CommentaryEurope* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* Theology

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Posted October 11, 2012 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Here is today's introductory text from VR:
The Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, addressed the Synod of Bishops in the Vatican on Wednesday about the central role of contemplation in helping people rediscover the beauty of the Christian faith.
Drawing deeply on the writings of some of the great Catholic authors and theologians from the time of the Second Vatican Council, the archbishop said contemplation is the only real “answer to the unreal and insane world that our financial systems and advertising culture…..encourage us to inhabit”. Those who “know little and care less about the institutions and hierarchies of the Church” today, he continued, are often attracted and challenged by lives that show justice and love reflected in the face of God. In particular he pointed to the crucial work and witness of communities like Taizé and Bose, or networks like St Egidio, the Focolare or Communion and Liberation, who bring fresh expressions of faith and transcend the historic divisions between Christians.
Vatican Radio’s Philippa Hitchen talked to Dr Williams about his address to the Synod, about his advise to his successor (expected to be announced over the coming weeks) and his message to Pope Benedict XVI….
You can find the link the part one of the interview here and part two is here.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Rowan Williams* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* Theology

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Posted October 11, 2012 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pope Benedict XVI says he hopes his latest book on Jesus — about his infancy — will help bring people closer to Christ.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* TheologyChristology

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Posted October 11, 2012 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

But one of the most important aspects of the theology of the second Vaticanum was a renewal of Christian anthropology. In place of an often strained and artificial neo-scholastic account of how grace and nature were related in the constitution of human beings, the Council built on the greatest insights of a theology that had returned to earlier and richer sources – the theology of spiritual geniuses like Henri de Lubac, who reminded us of what it meant for early and mediaeval Christianity to speak of humanity as made in God’s image and of grace as perfecting and transfiguring that image so long overlaid by our habitual ‘inhumanity’. In such a light, to proclaim the Gospel is to proclaim that it is at last possible to be properly human: the Catholic and Christian faith is a ‘true humanism’, to borrow a phrase from another genius of the last century, Jacques Maritain.

Yet de Lubac is clear what this does not mean. We do not replace the evangelistic task by a campaign of ‘humanization’. ‘Humanize before Christianizing?’ he asks – ‘If the enterprise succeeds, Christianity will come too late: its place will be taken. And who thinks that Christianity has no humanizing value?’ So de Lubac writes in his wonderful collection of aphorisms, Paradoxes of Faith. It is the faith itself that shapes the work of humanizing and the humanizing enterprise will be empty without the definition of humanity given in the Second Adam. Evangelization, old or new, must be rooted in a profound confidence that we have a distinctive human destiny to show and share with the world.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Rowan Williams* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* TheologyAnthropology

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Posted October 11, 2012 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday opened a meeting of Roman Catholic Church leaders from around the world to debate how to counter rising secularism on the 50th anniversary of the momentous Second Vatican Council.

The synod of 262 archbishops, bishops and other senior clerics heard a call from the pope for a "new evangelism" for the Catholic Church, which is fast losing followers in Europe and feels increasingly discriminated against in many parts of the world.

The three-week synod coincides with the announcement on October 11 of a "Year of Faith" to mark the anniversary of the start of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), which changed the face of Catholicism.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEurope* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted October 8, 2012 at 5:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The theme of marriage, found in the Gospel and the first reading, deserves special attention. The message of the word of God may be summed up in the expression found in the Book of Genesis and taken up by Jesus himself: "Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh" (Gen 2:24; Mk 10:7-8). What does this word say to us today? It seems to me that it invites us to be more aware of a reality, already well known but not fully appreciated: that matrimony is a Gospel in itself, a Good News for the world of today, especially the de-Christianized world. The union of a man and a woman, their becoming "one flesh" in charity, in fruitful and indissoluble love, is a sign that speaks of God with a force and an eloquence which in our days has become greater because unfortunately, for various reasons, marriage, in precisely the oldest regions evangelized, is going through a profound crisis. And it is not by chance. Marriage is linked to faith, but not in a general way. Marriage, as a union of faithful and indissoluble love, is based upon the grace that comes from the triune God, who in Christ loved us with a faithful love, even to the Cross. Today we ought to grasp the full truth of this statement, in contrast to the painful reality of many marriages which, unhappily, end badly. There is a clear link between the crisis in faith and the crisis in marriage. And, as the Church has said and witnessed for a long time now, marriage is called to be not only an object but a subject of the new evangelization. This is already being seen in the many experiences of communities and movements, but its realization is also growing in dioceses and parishes, as shown in the recent World Meeting of Families.

One of the important ideas of the renewed impulse that the Second Vatican Council gave to evangelization is that of the universal call to holiness, which in itself concerns all Christians (cf. Lumen Gentium, 39-42)....

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted October 8, 2012 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A former Anglican minister with a wife and young family is the first in Liverpool to be ordained a Catholic priest.

Father Jonathan Brown needed special permission - known as a “dispensation” - from Pope Benedict XVI to be exempted from the traditional vow of celibacy.

And there is nothing to stop him from having more children if he wishes. Only if Fr Jonathan outlives his wife will he have to follow the strict rule of celibacy to which all Catholic priests are bound.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & Family* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted October 3, 2012 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Just one week after Pope Benedict XVI ended his successful visit to Lebanon, the country's most senior Catholic leader called for a United Nations resolution “that will ban denigrating religions.”

Meanwhile in Pakistan, the country's only Catholic cabinet member, Minister of Harmony Paul Bhatti, this week told an interfaith gathering in Lahore that he will press U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to pass a UN resolution that condemns "defamation and contempt against religions." Bhatti said "we must not allow anyone to break our harmony" between Christians and Muslims.

Both moves are understandable in light of increasingly popular efforts in predominantly Muslim countries to outlaw blasphemy or defaming religion. But they could prove problematic for the Vatican as it fights to protect the rights of Christian minorities around the world.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 28, 2012 at 7:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When members of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences gather Thursday to begin their plenary assembly, they will be addressing, according to the group's president, the "greatest evil of our time."
That evil is a "lack of hope," according to Cardinal Péter Erdő, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary, and CCEE president.

The theme of the bishops' four-day meeting is the social and spiritual aspects of the challenges of our times. The bishops will consider the topic through three different perspectives.

These three interventions have been entrusted to Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard of Malines-Brussels, president of the Belgian Bishops’ Conference; Professor Marta Cartabia, lecturer in law and judge of the Constitutional Court in Italy; and Professor Kuno Schedler, lecturer in business economics at the University of St Gallen.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* TheologyAnthropologyEschatologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted September 27, 2012 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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