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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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With great sadness we have been witnessing a day of tragedy in a school environment, at Tasso da Silveira elementary school, in Rio de Janeiro.
It is time for us to discuss our security system, especially the security in our public schools. It was a beautiful day, which looked like a normal day, just one more day of school for so many young students of Tasso da Silveira elementary, in Rio de Janeiro.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Primary Source Anglican Provinces Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil * Culture-Watch Education Violence * International News & Commentary South America Brazil
In stating that the Vatican's initiative represents a new and unexpected level in bilateral dialogue, we mean that it is not directly related to the process that has been ongoing for the past 40 years, as related above, but rather a unilateral initiative that will certainly require deeper analysis. Below are just two elements that merit close attention:
1. The most recent official documents of the Roman Catholic Church have successively reaffirmed not only its identity as a universal church but its singularity as the true and original sign of the presence of Christ among peoples. This implies a self-understanding of ecclesiological and organizational exclusivity that hinders the advancement of dialogue between both our churches.
2. The theological underpinnings for the Vatican's initiative are based on the understanding that the unity of the Church is grounded in the claim of Petrine ministry. This postulate must be seen through the lens of its theological dimension and the historical reality of the See of Rome and to this day has not been satisfactorily resolved in Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue.
Clearly, these issues must be faced with honesty and open dialogue, to which we have always been committed in a respectful manner.
We express our concern over the initiative unleashed by Rome, considering the way in which it took place and its content.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Commentary Anglican Provinces Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic Pope Benedict XVI
While we were still linked to the Brazilian Province (IEAB) we approved in our Diocesan Canons a veto on the ordination of practicing homosexuals, and heterosexuals who affirm the normality of homosexual practice, while simultaneously condemning homophobia. We also resolved to forge relationships and links exclusively with those Provinces, Dioceses, Parishes and Institutions of the Anglican Communion which uphold biblical teaching, the apostolic tradition and the resolutions of the Lambeth Conferences. The Standing Committee and bishops undersigned the “Declaration of Recife”, a document of protest against the consecration of Gene Robinson. At Lambeth 1998, of the Brazilian delegation, only Bishop Cavalcanti (Diocese of Recife) voted in favor of Resolution 1.10 on Human Sexuality, and in 2004, participated in a Confirmation Rite in Akkron, Ohio. On both these occasions the diocesan bishop received ample support from the wider diocesan leadership.
During the most difficult moments of our crisis with the Brazilian Province, in opposition to false teaching, the Diocese of Recife remained committed to firm debate in the sphere of ideas, principles and practice, never lowering the tone, and never indulging in personal attacks. However, the Brazilian Province (a direct ally of TEC [USA]) insisted on attacks at a personal level, a diversionary tactic intended to dislocate the focus of the real issues which divide us, so as to weaken international support for us and our just cause. In Brazil and in the UK we had to hire lawyers who could file criminal charges against our defamers - those that shy away from ecclesiastical and civil courts but not from the dark terrain of malign, using to aid their cause, the institution and the visibility of their leaders. Given the historical context, the bishop of the Diocese of Recife would have come under personal attack from adversaries, regardless of who he was.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil Cono Sur [formerly Southern Cone] Episcopal Church (TEC) Global South Churches & Primates Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings
The first large-scale gathering in the Anglican Churches of the Americas will be a February 2009 conference on "mutual responsibility and mission."
The organizers hope the gathering will help "to continue to celebrate our relationships through friendship, prayer, common worship, and to focus on God’s common mission in the world," according to the draft of a "save the date" letter.
The conference will take place during the week of February 22 in San Juan, Costa Rica. Exact dates during that week are still to be determined.
"I would hope that the Anglican Churches in the Americas can come to a common understanding of our mission work together going forward from the conference," House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson recently told ENS.
Anderson is one of the group's organizers. The other is Francisco de Assis da Silva, provincial secretary of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil.
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However, although acknowledging that commendable effort, we believe that our Communion does not need new instruments of consensus beyond those that historically have been our benchmarks in terms of identity.
We have diligently studied the second draft of the Covenant, known as the St Andrew’s Draft, and despite some new insights shown from the first reactions to the proposal coming from various parts of the Communion, according to our view, the proposition is still problematic.
Sections 05 and 06 in the new proposal focus on elements that we believe are unnecessary and inapplicable to our Communion. In the manner in which they are presented, they constitute a serious setback in the understanding of what is Communion, prioritising the juridical dimension more and less so the ecclesiological and affective dimensions that have been the historical mark of our mutual interdependence.
The Covenant continues to be a mistaken proposal for the resolution of conflicts through the creation of curial instances absolutely alien to our ethos.
We are fully convinced that the time in which we live is marked by symptoms that value highly the building up of networks and other manifestations of communion in a spontaneous way in the various aspects of human life. Insisting on a formal and juridical Covenant, with the logic of discipline and exercise of power, means to move in the opposite direction, thus returning to the days of Modernity, with its Confessions, Covenants, Diets and other rational instruments of theological consensus.
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Those portions of Scripture that condemn homosexual behaviour as sinful are not relevant to the mission and ministry of the Church today, the Brazilian House of Bishops said in a Pastoral Letter on Human Sexuality.
Divine revelation is an unfolding process that makes itself known to the community of believers as it is played out across time, the bishops said following their December meeting in Porto Alegre. There is no single truth, they argued, but a process of culturally conditioned truths that reveals itself through a collaborative" process of the church "using its 'sense of reality' and 'good common sense' formed by faith and by life experience."
"This principle defines that 'God was in Christ reconciling the world in himself.' Anything the Bible says that is not related to the essence of such Revelation is secondary, which means it is part of the culture and customs of those who were instruments of God for writing Scriptural texts," the Brazilian bishops wrote.
"To us, the Bible is the Word of God in the sense of a message from God and not something dictated by God. And that is why, throughout the centuries, the Church discerns what is essential and what is secondary - what is Divine Revelation and what is human mediation, always connected to each time and culture." Because this "discernment is not simply done through the opinions of individuals or groups," the decision by Brazilian evangelicals in the Diocese of Recife to withdraw from the Brazilian Church over the majority view of scriptural interpretation was un-Anglican, they argued.
The Brazilian bishops condemned those "among us schismatic and disaggregating elements that cannot admit that there are in the Anglican Communion streams that diverge from their way of thinking." While they respected the courage of their convictions, the "virtue of tolerance" and "full inclusion" could not permit dissent from these mandates, they argued. Because the question of human sexuality had not been conclusively settled, they believed, the church must foster a "respect for differences of opinion related to questions that are not essential" to the life of the Church.
In a second letter released following the House of Bishops meeting, Archbishop Maurício de Andrade stated that he had told the Primate of the Southern Cone, Bishop Gregory Venables, that he was willing to establish a "conversation" with Recife Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti in order to reconcile the breakaway diocese. However, "nothing happened," the Brazilian archbishop said. When queried by The Church of England Newspaper, Bishop Venables confirmed that he had spoken with Archbishop de Andrade about the Brazilian schism during the Dar es Salaam primates meeting, but the Brazilian church had so far declined to engage with Dr. Cavalcanti.
--This article appears on page 6 of the March 14, 2008 edition of the Church of England Newspaper
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