Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pope Francis, marking Palm Sunday in a packed St. Peter's Square, ignored his prepared homily and spoke entirely off-the-cuff in a remarkable departure from practice. Later, he continued to stray from the script by hopping off his popemobile to pose for "selfies" with young people and also sipping tea passed to him from the crowd.

In his homily, Francis called on people, himself included, to look into their own hearts to see how they are living their lives.

"Has my life fallen asleep?" Francis asked after listening to a Gospel account of how Jesus' disciples fell asleep shortly before he was betrayed by Judas before his crucifixion.

"Am I like Pontius Pilate, who, when he sees the situation is difficult, washes my hands?"

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly WeekParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis

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Posted April 14, 2014 at 5:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One hundred and thirty five civilians have reportedly been killed in North East Nigeria since Wednesday. The killings, which took place in the State of Borno, were carried out in at least three separate attacks.
The attackers are suspected to be from the Islamist Boko Haram movement. Human rights organizations say that at least 1,500 people, half of them civilian, have been killed in the region this year.
Vatican Radio’s Linda Bordoni spoke to Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos in Plateau State which is also in the North Eastern region of Nigeria. Archbishop Kaigama appeals for help and support in tracing the roots of the Boko Haram group in what could prove a necessary attempt to reveal who is behind the group, who provides its militants with arms, what is its scope beyond wreaking fear, death and destruction…

Read and listen to it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted April 13, 2014 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Father Frans van der Lugt, a Dutch Jesuit priest who became a symbol of suffering and compassion in the war-ravaged Old City district of Homs, was shot to death Monday morning by a lone gunman, according to members of his order. The killing came amid growing disputes between Syrian insurgents blockaded in the Old City — those who want to accept an amnesty from the government in exchange for laying down their arms, and those who do not.

After Syrian government forces isolated and laid siege to the rebel-held Old City for more than a year, a truce in January allowed the evacuation of 1,500 people, both civilians and fighters. But Father Frans, as he was known, insisted on remaining in the monastery where he had lived for decades, offering refuge to Muslim and Christian families alike and sharing their deprivation and trauma.

The killer’s identity and motives were not known, but the attack carried a heavy symbolic importance. Though he was European, Father Frans, 72, had come to be considered part of Syrian society and was well known in and around Homs, including among local insurgents in the Old City.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastSyria* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted April 7, 2014 at 4:26 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A group of 16 prominent Anglican and Catholic theologians met for five days last week in Canterbury, England, to continue a set of informal dialogues between the two churches.

Although not officially sanctioned by either denomination, the gathering, known as the "Malines Conversations Group," has support from both the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Christian Unity and Anglican officials in London.

At one point last week, the 16 were received together at the Anglican church's London headquarters at Lambeth Palace where they met with both Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury and head of the Anglican Communion, and Vincent Nichols, the cardinal archbishop of the Catholic archdiocese of Westminster.

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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* Theology

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Posted April 7, 2014 at 11:34 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On the first day of Archbishop Justin and Cardinal Nichols's week of prayer for the church's work serving the poor, watch Cardinal Nichols reflecting on today's prayer (Psalm 72) and Bible reading (John 13:2b-5, 12-15)

Listen to it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchPovertyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted April 7, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

English Cardinal Vincent Nichols and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby are launching a joint initiative on Sunday to encourage Catholics and Anglicans to pray and work together in service of the poorest and most vulnerable people in their parishes.

On April 6th the Catholic and Anglican Church leaders will visit a project in London run by the Catholic Worker Movement, while on Palm Sunday April 13th, they will travel together to Kent on England’s South coast to visit a family care centre supported by the diocese of Canterbury.

Throughout the week, Catholics and Anglicans are encouraged to pray together and to share information about similar initiatives or ecumenical efforts in parishes and dioceses around the country. More details and prayer resources are available on both the website of the Catholic bishops conference of England and Wales and that of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Read and listen to it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted April 6, 2014 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II will meet with Pope Francis at a private audience in the Vatican on Thursday afternoon. The Queen, who’ll be accompanied by her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, will also have a private encounter with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano during the one day visit to Rome.

The audience with Pope Francis will mark the 87-year-old Queen’s fifth encounter with a Roman pontiff here in the Vatican, beginning with Pope Pius XII whom she met in 1951, the year before her accession to the throne. In 1982 she became the first monarch since the Reformation to welcome a pope to Britain during John Paul II’s pastoral visit to the country and in 2010 she also hosted Pope Benedict XVI on his state visit to the United Kingdom.

Read and listen to it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UKEuropeItaly* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis

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Posted April 3, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A Catholic primary school is to become a Church of England school because of falling numbers of Catholic pupils.

Sacred Heart RC Primary School in Lynwood Road, Blackburn, Lancashire, will become an Anglican academy, a spokesman for Blackburn Diocese said.

It will no longer come under the control of the council, and will be sponsored by the Cidari Trust, set up by the diocese to run academies.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchChildrenEducationReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted April 3, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When Anglicans and Catholics recently gathered to discuss their differing beliefs about the Eucharist, the atmosphere was notably friction-free.

"It's awkward to talk about our differences because we can't do anything about them in terms of resolving them," said Christophe Potworowski, Redeemer Pacific College theology professor. "It's not really in our hands. The point is really how to live with those differences."

He and the Rev. Richard Leggett of St. Faith's Anglican Church shared their ideas about communion with about 100 hundred people March 23. Much of what they discussed covered areas of mutual agreement.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Canada* International News & CommentaryCanada* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologySacramental TheologyEucharist

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Posted March 31, 2014 at 3:18 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

American Catholicism is becoming knitted into a broader Latin American faith. This matters, even for those who care little for religion. Catholic institutions are estimated to employ more than 1m people. (Walmart, the nation’s biggest private employer, has 1.3m workers in America.) Catholic institutions run 5% of the nation’s schools and 10% of its hospitals. A quarter of Americans describe themselves as Catholic, a proportion that has remained steady even as the share of Baptists and other Protestants has fallen. By one estimate, America will have 100m Catholics by the middle of the century.

The steadiness in the Catholic share of the nation’s souls disguises a lot of change. Americans like to switch religions. Data from the Pew Research Centre suggest that more than half of adult Americans have changed religion or denomination at some point. The Catholic church does particularly badly from such exchanges: for every convert it wins, four people leave. As a result, fully 10% of Americans are ex-Catholics. If abandoning Rome were a religion it would be the nation’s fourth-largest, says David Campbell of Notre Dame University. The outflow began before the scandal about child abuse by priests and the church’s habit of covering it up erupted, but that has not helped to win converts.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted March 31, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

President Barack Obama will meet with Pope Francis on Thursday at the Vatican, opening a new chapter in the centuries-long relationships between the United States and the Holy See.

While Obama has praised Francis’ focus on the poor, popes and American presidents haven’t always seen eye to eye.

With that in mind, here are five surprising encounters between the Commander in Chief and the Successor to St. Peter.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis

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Posted March 27, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Here is one:
“All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful.”
― The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O'Connor

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksHistoryPoetry & LiteratureReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted March 25, 2014 at 3:09 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The starting point and the guide for this journey is the one given to us by Pope Francis: “the beauty of the family and of marriage, the grandeur of a reality that is both simple and profound, a combination of joy, hope, burdens and suffering, just like the rest of life.” We will seek to deepen our understanding of the theology of the family and of the pastoral care that we must exercise in today’s world.” “All this we will do,” confirmed Pope Francis, “in depth and without tripping into that ‘casuistry’ that would inevitably diminish the value of our work.” The Holy Father emphasized that in today’s world the family is looked down on and treated badly and that what we are called on to do is make known how beautiful, and true and good it is to create a family, to be a family in today’s world, and how the world, and the future of all human kind, cannot do without the family. Our task is to show the world God’s shining plan for families, to help married couples live out that plan with joy, and to be there for them with a shepherd’s care that is wise, brave and full of love” (Pope Francis’ Opening Discourse to the Special Consistory on the Family, February twentieth, 2014)

This is what we will do as we look toward the Meeting in Philadelphia: we will be there for all the families of the world with a shepherd’s care that is “wise,” and “brave” and “full of love.” Wisdom in understanding what families face today, bravery in taking on today’s many and complex problems; and love in helping to resolve those problems in the light of the Gospel of the Family and of Life. We will deal with many issues in our wise, brave and loving work together: theology of the family, married spirituality and holiness, ecclesiology and pastoral care for families, the family in contemporary culture, immigration and the family, the family and ecumenism.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyAnthropologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted March 25, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

00:00 The Pope a year in review
10:00 Global South adopts Diocese of South Carolina
18:10 ABC Canterbury year in review with Peter Ould
29:11 Why would anybody bring charges against Saint Schori?
38:14 R.I.P Terry Fullam
45:57 Closing and Bloopers

Watch it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: CommentaryGlobal South Churches & Primates* Culture-WatchGlobalization* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * South Carolina

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Posted March 24, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, who didst call thy servant Oscar Romero to be a voice for the voiceless poor, and to give his life as a seed of freedom and a sign of hope: Grant that, inspired by his sacrifice and the example of the martyrs of El Salvador, we may without fear or favor witness to thy Word who abideth, thy Word who is Life, even Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Spirit, be praise and glory now and for ever. Amen.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* International News & CommentaryCentral America--El Salvador* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted March 24, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Parish mergers in the Diocese of Pittsburgh will mean the closure of two churches in East Pittsburgh and another in Monongahela next month, the result of dwindling numbers of parishioners and priests as well as financial concerns.

Bishop David Zubik broke the news in letters read at Masses over the weekend to hundreds of parishioners of Holy Cross Parish in East Pittsburgh and Good Shepherd Parish in Braddock, and in person during a Saturday Mass in St. Damien of Molokai Parish in Monongahela. The merger and closures will take effect April 28.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and Issues* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted March 23, 2014 at 6:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

he Vatican Library has begun digitising its priceless collection of ancient manuscripts dating from the origins of the Church.

The first stage of the project will cover some 3,000 handwritten documents over the next four years.

The cost - more than $20m (£12m) - will be borne by Japan's NTT Data technology company.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksHistoryScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryEuropeItaly* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted March 23, 2014 at 5:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The groundbreaking agreement to work closely together across the different faith communities was signed by Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo on behalf of Pope Francis. The Argentinian bishop is chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Science and Social Sciences which brought together a broad coalition of anti-trafficking experts for a workshop last November. He was joined by New Zealand Archbishop David Moxon, director of the Anglican Centre here in Rome and representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Holy See. Also on hand to sign the founding declaration was Dr Mahmoud Azab, representing the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, one of the most important centres of Sunni Islam located in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

The other key figure who put his signature to the document was Australian businessman Andrew Forrest, founder of a philanthropic organisation called the Walk Free Foundation. Set up after Forrest’s daughter travelled to Nepal where children were being caught up in a trafficking for prostitution ring, its aim is to stamp out this modern form of slavery by galvanizing and supporting action at local, national and international level. Planned actions include urging governments to publicly endorse the establishment of the Global Fund to End Slavery and persuading multi-national businesses to commit to eradicating slavery from their supply chains. By mobilizing the world’s major faith communities, this new Network hopes to bring an end by 2020 to what Pope Francis has dared to call a crime against humanity.

Read and listen to it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireSexualityViolence* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis Other FaithsIslam* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 18, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Pope Francis have given their backing to a ground-breaking ecumenical initiative to combat modern slavery and human trafficking.

The agreement to help eradicate an injustice affecting up to 29million people was co-signed on March 17th by the Archbishop of Canterbury's Representative to the Holy See, Archbishop Sir David Moxon, the Chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Science and Social Science, Bishop Sanchez Sorondo and Mr Andrew Forrest, the founder of the large international philanthropic anti-slavery organisation from Perth, Western Australia "Walk Free".

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireSexualityViolence* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted March 17, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The thing Pope Francis dislikes most about his job as pontiff is the paperwork, he told residents of an Argentine slum in which he used to minister.

“Paperwork, office work, it’s the thing I always struggled with,” the pope said in response to the question, “What’s the thing you like least about your mission as pope?”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis

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Posted March 15, 2014 at 10:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Francis knows that any reform must start in the hearts of his collaborators or all the administrative tinkering in the world will never succeed. He has called out "careerism" in the clergy and gone so far as to describe the Vatican court as the "leprosy of the papacy." He has abolished the honorific title of "monsignor" and routinely encourages his co-workers to go out to the people on the periphery, to those who have been forgotten. He models this behavior at his weekly audiences and during parish visits.

Substantively, the pope has made one major change that has set teeth chattering in the Vatican's offices: Last month, he appointed Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, Australia, a former rugby player not adverse to public combat, to lead the newly formed Secretariat for the Economy. This new body will have dominion over all the financial, economic and administrative affairs of the Vatican. The office seems to occupy the same plane of power as the Secretariat of State, marking a critical change at the heart of the Holy See's organizational structure. To execute this change, Pope Francis couldn't have chosen a churchman better versed in economics, culture or faith than Cardinal Pell. I am told it is the first of many such bold moves.

As Pope Francis begins his second year, it is difficult to forecast where this unpredictable pontiff is headed. But it is safe to assume that pastoral mercy, an insistence on elevating the forgotten, and an aversion to rigidity will distinguish the days to come—to say nothing of that tiny Ford Focus.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis

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Posted March 14, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An underground priest who defied the Communist regime in the former Czechoslovakia has won world's biggest annual prize for his work promoting religious understanding.

Monsignor Professor Tomáš Halík, a philosopher and theologian, has been named as winner of the £1.1 million Templeton Prize for 2014.

He follows in the footsteps of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama, both recent recipients of the award which recognises efforts to affirm “life’s spiritual dimension”.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropeCzech Republic* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* Theology

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Posted March 13, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Another parallel in both the Irish and American Churches was an enthusiastic misinterpretation of the Second Vatican Council. Freewheeling liturgical experimentation, and blunt challenges to episcopal authority, were not as open here. But there was among the ordinary clergy and religious, not to mention the laity, a mixture of passivity and thoughtless acceptance of change, as well as an increasing assumption that almost anything was permissible.

One area where this was evident was the individualization of the hitherto communal life of religious orders, which has contributed, in no small way, to the diminution in their numbers. Another was in church architecture where structures more and more assumed the character of gymnasia, meeting halls, or modernized replicas of Newgrange.

This spirit was most disastrous in the dilution of religious instruction. There was a passive assumption that children were receiving proper catechetical instruction in the schools under Catholic management. So long as the First Communion and Confirmation exercises were conducted, everyone seemed content, with little thought as to the content or depth of religious instruction, or encouragement of religious devotion.

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Filed under: * International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Ireland* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted March 12, 2014 at 4:09 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

During his Sunday morning service, Ulf Ekman announced the he and his wife, Birgitta, are converting to Roman Catholicism.

Ekman is the founder of Word of Life, a megachurch in Uppsala, Sweden. News reports and blogs coming out of the nation reveal the congregation was “partially stunned” after hearing what was packaged as a “special announcement.” The theme was “Follow the Lamb Wherever He Goes."

“For Birgitta and me, this has been a slow process were we have gone from discovering new things, to appreciating what we have discovered, to approach and even learn from our fellow Christians,” Ekman says on his ministry website.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* International News & CommentaryEuropeSweden* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicalsRoman Catholic

1 Comments
Posted March 10, 2014 at 4:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Robed in a flowing, full-length purple cassock, the Rev. Canon Melissa Skelton stood with her back to the crowd of over a thousand people in Vancouver's Convention Centre last Saturday and faced her inquisitors: fifteen bishops of the Anglican Church. She answered each of their questions in a clear, confident voice.

The slim, grey-haired grandmother was about to be ordained as Vancouver's first female Anglican bishop. Formerly a brand manager for Procter & Gamble, Skelton is also the first businessperson -- and first American -- to be made Bishop of the Diocese of New Westminster, headquartered at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Vancouver.

As a Roman Catholic, I attended Melissa Skelton's investiture partly out of curiosity and partly in solidarity. It was the first time I'd participated in an Anglican service and I was struck by the similarities with my own tradition; the prayers and responses were practically identical.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Canada* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryCanada* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

1 Comments
Posted March 10, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There’s a musical stramash going on within the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland.

In popular parlance it has been described as a battle between the “post-Vatican II hippies and the right-wing traditionalists”.

More seriously, it’s about the difference between respecting, protecting and reinterpreting the centuries’ old tradition of people-friendly Gregorian Chant within the context of congregational participation in the liturgical mass, and the banal sentimental dirges that have infested Sunday worship in most Catholic churches since the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s told its churches to open up to the modern world.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Scotland* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

4 Comments
Posted March 9, 2014 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“Rend your hearts and not your garments” (Joel 2:13).

With these insightful words of the prophet Joel, the liturgy introduces us into Lent today, indicating the conversion of the heart characteristic of this time of grace. The prophetic call is a challenge for all of us, without exception, and reminds us that conversion is not a matter reducible to outward forms or vague intentions, but engages and transforms one’s entire existence from the center of the person, from the conscience. We are invited to embark on a journey in which, in defiance of the routine, we strive to open our eyes and ears, but especially the heart, to go beyond our “little garden.”

To open oneself to God and to others: we live in an increasingly artificial world, in a culture of “doing”, [a culture] of the “useful”, in which we exclude God from our horizon without even realizing it. Lent calls us to “give ourselves a ‘shake-up’”, to remember that we are creatures, that we are not God.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsLent* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis

0 Comments
Posted March 5, 2014 at 4:34 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...Father Luke is still planning to run this year — along with hundreds of other service members — as part of a “shadow” Boston Marathon in Afghanistan. “After I qualified for 2014, I knew I couldn’t run in Boston this year,” he said. “But I could bring Boston to Afghanistan.”

On Friday, in a telephone interview from Afghanistan, Father Luke said registration for “Boston Marathon/Afghanistan” had opened on Thursday. “And the response has been overwhelming,” with members of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines signing up from throughout Afghanistan, he said.

He said military commanders and Boston Athletic Association officials embraced the idea when he proposed it. (Bagram also hosted a “shadow” Boston Marathon a couple of years ago). So when service members cross the finish line in Afghanistan, they’ll receive the same medals handed out on Boylston Street.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureSportsUrban/City Life and Issues* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaAfghanistan* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

0 Comments
Posted March 4, 2014 at 1:55 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If you study any philosophical treatise of our present era you will with almost absolute certainty not encounter the concept, and much less the expression, “the truth of all things.” This is no mere accident. The generally prevailing philosophical thinking of our time has no room at all for this concept; it is, as it were, “not provided for.” It makes sense to speak of truth with regard to thoughts, ideas, statements, opinions—but not with regard to things. Our judgments regarding reality may be true (or false); but to label as “true” reality itself, the “things,” appears to be rather meaningless, mere nonsense. Things are real, not “true”!

Looking at the historical development of this situation, we find that there is much more to it than the simple fact of a certain concept or expression not being used; we find not merely the “neutral” absence, as it were, of a certain way of thinking. No, the nonuse and absence of the concept, “the truth of all things,” is rather the result of a long process of biased discrimination and suppression or, to use a less aggressive term: of elimination.
--Josef Pieper: An Anthology (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1989 E.T. of the 1981 original), pp. 95-96

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchPhilosophy* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

1 Comments
Posted March 3, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster have launched a joint initiative this Lent to encourage people to pray for the work churches do to support people in need in their parishes and beyond.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly WeekParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

0 Comments
Posted February 27, 2014 at 3:49 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchViolence* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastSyria* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

0 Comments
Posted February 27, 2014 at 5:00 am [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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Chris Young will become a pioneer in the Diocese of Davenport this summer when he is ordained to the Catholic priesthood by Bishop Martin J. Amos.

Young, 53, is a married, former Episcopal priest, and Pope Francis has given Bishop Amos permission to ordain for the diocese him under a 1980 pastoral provision admitting former Episcopal priests who have become Catholic into the Catholic priesthood.

Under the provision, more than 100 men have been ordained to the Catholic priesthood in U.S. dioceses since 1983.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchMarriage & Family* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyEcclesiologyPastoral Theology

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Posted February 25, 2014 at 3:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Roman Catholics in Ottawa are no longer permitted to deliver eulogies during funeral Masses, the local archbishop has decreed.

The Feb. 2 decree from Archbishop Terrence Prendergast reminds the faithful that Catholics gather at funerals “not to praise the deceased, but to pray for them.”

Contrary to popular belief, eulogies “are not part of the Catholic funeral rites, particularly in the context of a funeral liturgy within Mass,” the decree stated. Many Catholics, it pointed out, do not know this.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / FuneralsMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryCanada* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted February 24, 2014 at 11:22 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Francis presided over a consistory on Saturday, the event in which a pope creates new cardinals, surrounded by almost 200 other cardinals as well as his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. (It was the first time new cardinals have been created in the presence of two popes.) The 19 new princes of the church included churchmen from Haiti, Burkina Faso, and Ivory Coast, all three among the world’s most desperate societies.

In Haiti, the pope bypassed the leaders of the country’s two archdioceses, who according to the usual logic would have had better claim to the honor, in order to tap the bishop of a small diocese in the country’s southwest, a man who was himself born into a poor family.

In effect, Francis seemed to want his first consistory to embrace the “periphery” in every possible sense.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationPovertyReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis

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Posted February 24, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Celebrating Mass with the newest members of the College of the Cardinals one day after their elevation, Pope Francis urged them to regard their new role not as one of worldly honor but of humble service and sacrifice.

"A cardinal enters the church of Rome, not a royal court," the pope said in his homily Feb. 23, during morning Mass in St. Peter's Basilica. "May all of us avoid, and help others to avoid, habits and ways of acting typical of a court: intrigue, gossip, cliques, favoritism and preferences."

"May our language be that of the Gospel: 'yes when we mean yes; no when we mean no,'" he said. "May our attitudes be those of the beatitudes and our way be that of holiness."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted February 23, 2014 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The most remarkable thing about the Pope’s message to American Pentecostal leaders was not the cordial, open-armed welcome from the Holy Father to a group of separated brethren–in their own way all the popes in the last fifty years have done the same. Okay–the informal use of a cell phone video was pretty amazing, but the real news story in all of this is not so much the moving welcome from the Holy Father, but the appearance of Bishop Tony Palmer on the world stage as an “Anglican bishop”.

This has been missed by every other commentator because I think they are unaware of the huge shifts within the world of Anglicanism. To understand this one has to first understand historic Anglicanism. We all know it was started by King Henry VIII because he wanted a divorce and Pope Clement wouldn’t give him one. Well, it was more complicated than that, but the fact is, this crisis precipitated the foundation of the Anglican Church. In the centuries to follow wherever the English went they took their church with them. Thus we find the Anglican Communion all over the world in what were English colonies.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesPentecostalRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyEcclesiology

2 Comments
Posted February 22, 2014 at 1:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Last year, one of the worst songs in the entire Eurovision contest was the entry from Belgium. It was called "Love Kills." The refrain of the song was:

Waiting for the bitter pill
Give me something I can feel
'Cause love kills over and over
Love kills over and over

Whatever this means exactly, it's a radical inversion of the normal juxtaposition of love with life and generativity. Other countries offered the usual assortment of Eurovision styles - some heavy metal, some punk, a few soft ballads - but the Belgian entry stood out as something very dark and creepy, a culture of death pop song.

Poor King Philippe is now in a position of having to decide what to do about the fact that his government has voted in favour of euthanasia for children. Many hope that he will follow the precedent of his saintly uncle, King Baudouin, who in 1990 abdicated for a day rather than have his name on pro-abortion legislation. At the time, King Baudouin rhetorically asked: Is it right that I am the only Belgian citizen to be forced to act against his conscience in such a crucial area? Is the freedom of conscience sacred for everyone except for the king?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeBelgium* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted February 22, 2014 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all (a little over 5 minutes and well worth the time).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMediaReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * Theology

1 Comments
Posted February 22, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We think the groups complaining about the Koch Foundation gift are suggesting a litmus test that neither we nor they would want to apply to other cases. We welcome constructive criticism, but we believe it would be a mistake to stifle debate by pretending that genuinely controversial positions are official church teaching.

We're grateful for the $1 million, and we're keeping it, because it would be an unhealthy precedent for a university to refuse support for valuable research because the money, somewhere back up the line, once belonged to a donor whose views on other subjects were unpopular within the academic community.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchEducationReligion & CultureYoung Adults* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

4 Comments
Posted February 21, 2014 at 11:05 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A prayer service took place on Thursday morning at London’s Lambeth Palace, the residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, to officially welcome four members of the Catholic ecumenical community Chemin Neuf.

An Anglican married couple, a Catholic sister and a Lutheran man training for ministry will form part of the resident Lambeth community to “share in the daily round of prayer” and to “further the ecumenical and international dimensions” of the Anglican leader’s ministry. The move was described by England’s Cardinal-elect Vincent Nichols as “a clear and bold sign of the importance of prayer in the search for visible Christian unity.”

To find out more Philippa Hitchen spoke first to Anglican Chemin Neuf member Alan Morley-Fletcher and then to the French founder of the community, Fr Laurent Fabre....

Read and listen to it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

1 Comments
Posted February 21, 2014 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Dr [John] Haas says that because of the current demographic trend the world population is aging and it is not being quickly replaced: “I think it is a very apt topic – these are grave social problems in most Western countries with an aging population, all kinds of ethical questions arise with regard to their treatment – end of life decisions have to be made”. “It can be “a very difficult time of life but it can also be a very beautiful time of life depending on how we go in to it” he said.

Commenting on the emphasis Pope Francis puts on the importance and value of the elderly, Dr. Haas says Francis has a profound impact on the way people think by virtue of his personality which leads them to “sit up and pay more attention”. He also says that Francis’ emerging “theology of compassion and of accompaniment” is fundamental in the way society treats its elderly. “I think that this call will really resonate with the faithful” he said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLife EthicsReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 20, 2014 at 6:00 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

The Catholic Vicar General of Goma, Mgr Louis Nzabanita, welcomed Archbishop Welby, saying that his visit sent an important message of commitment to work towards peace.

“It’s the first time that the Archbishop of Canterbury has visited our region and with our ongoing peace initiative, it has become clear that both the Anglican and the Catholic Churches have a vital role to play in spreading the message of protection for civilians and working towards a more sustainable peace process. Together we must be the instruments of change.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchViolence* International News & CommentaryAfricaRepublic of Congo* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted February 10, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Most Catholics worldwide disagree with church teachings on divorce, abortion and contraception and are split on whether women and married men should become priests, according to a large new poll released Sunday and commissioned by the U.S. Spanish-language network Univision. On the topic of gay marriage, two-thirds of Catholics polled agree with church leaders.

Overall, however, the poll of more than 12,000 Catholics in 12 countries reveals a church dramatically divided: Between the developing world in Africa and Asia, which hews closely to doctrine on these issues, and Western countries in Europe, North America and parts of Latin America, which strongly support practices that the church teaches are immoral.

The widespread disagreement with Catholic doctrine on abortion and contraception and the hemispheric chasm lay bare the challenge for Pope Francis’s year-old papacy and the unity it has engendered.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted February 9, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The pope's choice will likely signal how he intends to steer the Catholic Church in America. "I think this is going to be the most important decision by Pope Francis for the U.S. church," Massimo Faggioli, an assistant professor of theology at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, told the Associated Press last week.

Mr. Faggioli might be right. Chicago is regarded by many Catholics as America's premier archdiocese. Its bishops become leaders of the church in the U.S., either in name or through influence. Cardinal Francis George, who has held that position since 1998 and is the former president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (2007-10), has become an intellectual hero for conservatives. One of his most prominent messages has been to decry the mounting dangers to religious freedom in the West. Liberals have often found him wanting, and fondly recall his predecessor, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, as an example of the sort of new leader in Chicago that Pope Francis should select. As so often happens with those trying to interpret Pope Francis, on the left and the right, they see in him a reflection of their own hopes.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and Issues* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis

1 Comments
Posted February 7, 2014 at 11:20 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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Throughout the history of the social teachings of the Church, the right of all people to fair compensation for their labor has been upheld as an essential element of a just society. As early as the late 19th century, Pope Leo XIII recognized the principle that workers should be paid a wage
sufficient to support a family as“a dictate of natural justice more imperious and ancient than any bargain between man and man." [Rerum Novarum]
As Pope Francis continues to captivate the world through his powerful challenges to care for the least am ong us, he frequently echoes his
predecessors in highlighting the importance of providing opportunities for meaningful work as a path out of poverty.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 2, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

World Watch Monitor is curating news coverage of the attacks on [this past] Sunday in north-eastern Nigeria. At least 22 worshippers died at a church in Yola, while 300 homes were burnt down in a village in neighbouring Borno state and at least 52 people were killed. Boko Haram is suspected of carrying out both attacks.

World Watch Monitor is using Storify to collect and organise the widespread news coverage. The Storify report appears below.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 31, 2014 at 3:14 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On Tuesday (Jan. 28), the European Court of Human Rights found the government was liable in a case in which a principal sexually abused a student, then 9 years old, when she attended a state-funded Catholic school in the 1970s. An Irish court had rejected her claims on the grounds that the school wasn’t public, but the European court decided the government had failed in its duty to protect children.

The ruling touched on an issue that has taken on greater urgency in recent years as sexual abuse scandals have rocked the church and more nonreligious people have immigrated to the staunchly Catholic country: Who should run Ireland’s schools?

The Catholic Church runs 90 percent of primary schools in Ireland. The rest are mainly Protestant, and about 4 percent are managed by the nonprofit Educate Together, which is nonsectarian.

The arrangement is unsettling to some parents who have little choice in where to send their children.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--IrelandEurope* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 30, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As noted in first things, this month marks the fifth anniversary of the death of Fr. Richard John Neuhaus (1936-2009)--KSH

If ideas have consequences, Richard John Neuhaus (1936-2009) will be remembered as the most serious Christian thinker and the most consequential public theologian in America since Reinhold Niebuhr. As editor in chief of First Things, a journal he founded in 1990, and as director of the Institute on Religion and Public Life, an influential think tank that addresses issues of moral and social concern, Neuhaus placed his considerable gifts as a writer, thinker, and networker in the service of reasoned discourse and the common good.

T. S. Eliot described the art of writing as a "raid on the inarticulate." Neuhaus was a brilliant raider, and never wrote a boring sentence. His many books and essays, like those of G. K. Chesterton and C. S. Lewis, will be studied for generations to come.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

0 Comments
Posted January 29, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Jan. 19 marked the beginning of the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, and the Most Rev. John C. Wester, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City, celebrated that theme at three faith gatherings while reflecting on the need for Christians to come together.

Bishop Wester began the public portion of his day at the Cathedral of Saint Mark in Salt Lake City, where he preached the Gospel at the invitation of the Right Rev. Scott B. Hayashi, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Utah, who celebrated the Holy Eucharist at the 10:30 a.m. service.

The two bishops decided the "pulpit exchange" was one way to publicly display their belief that Christians of various denominations share witness and fellowship, and can work together.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryPreaching / Homiletics* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted January 29, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Stephen Colbert has figured out how to reach people, and Catholic educators should take notice. Since the debut of his late-night satirical news show, “The Colbert Report,” in 2005, Colbert has gained immense popularity. Each night his program opens to the thunderous applause and chanting of a packed studio audience. The show has garnered many awards, including two primetime Emmys, several additional nominations and the honor of coining the Merriam-Webster word of the year for 2006: truthiness.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryAdult Education* Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

0 Comments
Posted January 24, 2014 at 2:38 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Eastside Catholic prides itself on teaching acceptance. At the end of Crusader Way, by the school’s entrance, banners hang celebrating “relationships” and exhorting passers-by to “remember to take care of each other.” Students use a sign-language gesture to remind one another of the school’s emphasis on unconditional love.

But now the school is unexpectedly grappling with how it defines both love and acceptance. Last month, a well-regarded vice principal was forced to leave his job as soon as administrators became aware that he had married a man; in the weeks since, the suburban Seattle school has been roiled, first by protests in support of the vice principal, and then by the resignations of those who sought his departure. The chairman of the school’s board resigned last month, and on Tuesday, Eastside, a middle and high school with about 900 students, announced the resignation of its president.

The ouster of Mr. Z, as the former vice principal, Mark Zmuda, is known, comes amid a wave of firings and forced resignations of gay men and lesbians from Roman Catholic institutions across the country, in most cases prompted not directly by the employees’ sexuality, but by their decisions to marry as same-sex marriage becomes legal in an increasing number of states.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted January 23, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain said a local Catholic school's requirement that the vice principal quit after it learned of his same-sex marriage was not discriminatory but held to church teaching and the school's Catholic mission.
According to a statement from Eastside Catholic School in the Seattle suburb of Sammamish, Vice Principal Mark Zmuda resigned in mid-December during a meeting with school officials "for violating his signed agreement to abide by Catholic Church teachings."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted January 21, 2014 at 3:06 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Evangelicals are the most likely religious group to say that abortion should be illegal in all cases. So why would organizers of the March for Life, the annual demonstration on the Washington Mall, hire someone to reach out to that group?

The 41st march, scheduled for Wednesday (Jan. 22), has traditionally had a strong Catholic presence, with priests and nuns marching on or around the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. Its founder, Nellie Gray, who died in 2012, was Roman Catholic, as well as is her successor, Jeanne Monahan.

“The march has a very Catholic feel to it with lots of rosaries, Virgin Marys and crucifixes,” said Jon Shields, a government professor at Claremont McKenna College. “It hasn’t been particularly savvy about reaching broader audiences.”]

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicalsRoman Catholic* Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 21, 2014 at 11:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There is nothing new about French presidents having lovers, nor about the media storm that ensues when their liaisons are exposed. What has changed in France, however, are basic notions about family values and what constitutes the norm in personal relationships....

Hollande is living proof of this shift in attitudes: He took office as the first president not to be married to his partner, who moved into the Elysee with him. He has four children from a previous partner, Segolene Royal, to whom he wasn’t married, either. His current partner, Valerie Trierweiler, has three children from her second marriage. Hollande’s predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, has two sons from his first wife, another son from the second, whom he divorced shortly after taking office in 2007. He also has a young daughter with his current wife, Carla Bruni, whom he married in 2008.

Unlike in the U.S., such nontraditional arrangements enjoy wide acceptance in France. In a poll taken before the latest revelations about Hollande, 91 percent of French voters said they simply don’t care about the family lives or sexual preferences of their politicians.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropeFrance* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

3 Comments
Posted January 21, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Addressing a delegation from Finland, Pope Francis stressed the importance of ecumenism and faith in a society where God is becoming less present.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyEcclesiology

0 Comments
Posted January 19, 2014 at 7:55 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

According to Father Michael Doyle, crime and poverty in Camden, New Jersey are worse today than when he first arrived there 39 years ago. But through his church’s ministry of feeding, housing, and educating the poor, Father Doyle sees hope for what the FBI considers the most dangerous city in America. “We’re working against the odds, but I think God is on our side,” he says.

Read or watch and listen to it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

0 Comments
Posted January 19, 2014 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

2270 Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.72

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.73
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth.74

2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law:

You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.75
God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.76

2270 Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.72

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.73
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth.74

2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law:

You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.75
God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.76

2272 Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. "A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae,"77 "by the very commission of the offense,"78 and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law.79 The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.

2273 The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation:

"The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being's right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death."80

"The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined. . . . As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child's rights."81

2274 Since it must be treated from conception as a person, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed, as far as possible, like any other human being.

Prenatal diagnosis is morally licit, "if it respects the life and integrity of the embryo and the human fetus and is directed toward its safe guarding or healing as an individual. . . . It is gravely opposed to the moral law when this is done with the thought of possibly inducing an abortion, depending upon the results: a diagnosis must not be the equivalent of a death sentence."82

2275 "One must hold as licit procedures carried out on the human embryo which respect the life and integrity of the embryo and do not involve disproportionate risks for it, but are directed toward its healing the improvement of its condition of health, or its individual survival."83

"It is immoral to produce human embryos intended for exploitation as disposable biological material."84

"Certain attempts to influence chromosomic or genetic inheritance are not therapeutic but are aimed at producing human beings selected according to sex or other predetermined qualities. Such manipulations are contrary to the personal dignity of the human being and his integrity and identity"85 which are unique and unrepeatable.

Euthanasia

2276 Those whose lives are diminished or weakened deserve special respect. Sick or handicapped persons should be helped to lead lives as normal as possible.

2277 Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable.

Thus an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his Creator. The error of judgment into which one can fall in good faith does not change the nature of this murderous act, which must always be forbidden and excluded.

2278 Discontinuing medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary, or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be legitimate; it is the refusal of "over-zealous" treatment. Here one does not will to cause death; one's inability to impede it is merely accepted. The decisions should be made by the patient if he is competent and able or, if not, by those legally entitled to act for the patient, whose reasonable will and legitimate interests must always be respected.

2279 Even if death is thought imminent, the ordinary care owed to a sick person cannot be legitimately interrupted. The use of painkillers to alleviate the sufferings of the dying, even at the risk of shortening their days, can be morally in conformity with human dignity if death is not willed as either an end or a means, but only foreseen and tolerated as inevitable Palliative care is a special form of disinterested charity. As such it should be encouraged.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLife EthicsReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 19, 2014 at 5:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This week at the Vatican, Syria was at the top of the agenda. The Pontifical Academy of Sciences convened a panel of experts, including former Egyptian Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei, to search for ways to end Syria's nearly three-year civil war. Secretary of State John Kerry discussed the crisis with Vatican Secretary of State and Cardinal-designate Pietro Parolin. And Pope Francis himself, in a speech to diplomats, renewed the call for peace in Syria that he made in September at a special prayer vigil in St. Peter's Square.

Few actions are more characteristic of the modern papacy than appeals for peace. Think of Pope Paul VI at the United Nations in 1965 calling for "No more war, war never again"; Pope John Paul II with leaders of other religions praying for peace at Assisi ; or popes giving annual Christmas and Easter addresses that highlight the most urgent crises around the world....

The pope as peacemaker is a role no more than a century old, and is the legacy of the man who held the office during World War I.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastSyria* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 17, 2014 at 11:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Even "poor" saints will benefit from Pope Francis' drive to control costs and introduce a sense of sobriety and accounting transparency in the Vatican.

The Vatican newspaper said on Tuesday that the Holy See department that oversees the making of saints had introduced a "price list", or a rough guide to the costs of sanctity.

It will clearly inform dioceses, associations or orders of priests and nuns who promote sainthood causes for deceased people considered to have been holy during their lifetime what they can expect to spend.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomy* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 15, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Amid conflicting news reports over changes to the one-child family planning policy in China, disturbing reports continue to arrive about serious abuses of human rights.

On Dec. 31 the BBC reported that a Chinese obstetrician is on trial, accused of stealing newborn babies and selling them to child traffickers.

Zhang Shuxia was accused of selling seven babies, according to the BBC. Apparently she told the parents their infants were sick, and persuaded them to give the children to her.

Just the day before, Radio Free Asia reported that four Uyghur women in China's north-western region of Xinjiang have been forced by authorities to undergo abortions—one of them nine months into her pregnancy.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 14, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Church leaders are encouraging politicians to sustain the momentum and energy generated by the Haass talks.

In a joint statement from the leaders of the Roman Catholic, Church of Ireland, Presbyterian and Methodist Churches together with the Irish Council of Churches they applaud the ‘strenuous and sincere efforts put in by all involved in seeking to find solutions to some of the most contentious issues we face’.

They also recognise the ‘profoundly challenging’ nature of the issues to be addressed but firmly believe that ‘a peaceful and reconciled society is possible’.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Ireland* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Ireland* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesMethodistPresbyterianRoman Catholic* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 13, 2014 at 4:15 pm [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

This Jan. 22, when marchers on the Mall again protest the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 decision legalizing abortion, Pope Francis might very well follow Pope Benedict's lead by tweeting his support. If he does, those words will be among the relatively few Pope Francis has devoted to the subject.

Pope Francis' decision to talk less than his predecessors about abortion has puzzled and distressed some supporters of the pro-life movement. Yet the pope has made clear his commitment to the defense of unborn life and, thanks to his colossal popularity and gift for communicating across cultural divides, his pontificate could prove a boon to the pro-life cause in enormous and unprecedented ways.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureScience & Technology* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 12, 2014 at 6:21 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis

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Posted January 12, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

His Holiness Pope Francis, announced that Archbishop Nichols will be made a Cardinal at the next consistory on 22 February 2014.

Archbishop Vincent issued the following statement:

"Today, I am deeply moved by the honour conferred upon the Catholic Church in England and Wales and on the Diocese of Westminster in my appointment as Cardinal by His Holiness Pope Francis.

"The Catholic Church in our countries has always had a profound and loving loyalty to the Holy Father, the Successor of St Peter. This appointment enables me, on behalf of all, to serve the Pope in a direct and prolonged way.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Wales* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted January 12, 2014 at 3:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The following is a list of 19 churchmen that Pope Francis will install as new cardinals in a Vatican ceremony on Feb. 22:...

Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, United Kingdom.

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Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis

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Posted January 12, 2014 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What is the difference between the General of the Salvation Army and the Pope? Less than I presumed a week ago. Both, of course, care about the poor, which has ever been a mark of the Church.
“Not to enable the poor to share in our goods is to steal from them and deprive them of life,” declared St John Chrysostom 1,600 years ago. “The goods we possess are not ours, but theirs.”
Until last week, I’d thought the Salvation Army was Calvinist. That is no crime. But the Army, I find, believes that the “saved” can backslide. “We believe that continuance in a state of salvation depends upon continued obedient faith in Christ.” That is No 8 in the 11 succinct doctrines of the Salvation Army. As William Booth put it in 1879: “We are a salvation people – this is our speciality – getting saved and keeping saved, and then getting somebody else saved, and then getting saved ourselves more and more.” One hostile commentator on the internet characterises such a belief as “demonic works-salvation”.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyAnthropologyChristologySoteriology

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Posted January 11, 2014 at 10:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It is no surprise, then, that people whose belief systems are a muddle of Casey’s sweet-mystery-of-life passage and Modern Family bridle at the strict sexual morality of the monotheistic religions. This is exacerbated by traditional Christianity’s refusal either to conform to the spirit of the age or to go away and be quiet. The erosion of the state’s role in upholding public morality both foreshadowed and led to the cultural rejection of religion’s right to judge the morality or immorality of certain acts.

Evangelicals still loudly proclaim that one should “wait until marriage,” even if that command is largely honored in the breach. The Catholic Church has not relaxed its prohibition on contraception, even if many of its adherents ignore its teaching or even loudly oppose it. Both Evangelicals and Catholics (and those members of mainline churches who hold to traditionalist norms) grapple with the culture on multiple fronts—praying outside abortion clinics, attending the March for Life, objecting to FDA approval of abortifacients, decrying pornography, etc. In short, they have remained a thorn in the side of an ever-more-permissive culture for over forty years. (Orthodox Christianity, Orthodox Judaism, and Islam also adhere to strict moral norms regarding sexual behavior, but attract less attention because of their status as minority religions.)

This cultural attitude has led to religious liberty’s current embattled position.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPhilosophyPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicalsRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

3 Comments
Posted January 9, 2014 at 4:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Dioceses across Italy, as well as in countries such as Spain, are increasing the number of priests schooled in administering the rite of exorcism, fabled to rid people of possession by the Devil.

The rise in demonic cases is a result of more people dabbling in practices such as black magic, paganism, Satanic rites and Ouija boards, often exploring the dark arts with the help of information readily found on the internet, the Church said.

The increase in the number of priests being trained to tackle the phenomenon is also an effort by the Church to sideline unauthorised, self-proclaimed exorcists, and its tacit recognition that belief in Satan, once regarded by Catholic progressives as an embarrassment, is still very much alive.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropeItalySpain* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* Theology

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Posted January 6, 2014 at 11:27 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

In an interview with the Italian bishops' newspaper Avvenire published today, Auxiliary Bishop of Malta Charles J. Scicluna said that when he met Pope Francis on Dec. 12, he expressed his concern to the Pope about the proposed law. “The Pope showed his sadness at this development, especially on the question of adoption.”

He added: “I told him that the promoters [of the bill] quote his words: ‘If a person is gay and seek the Lord and have good will, who am I to judge?’ but they don’t quote his words from 2010 when he was still Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires. The Pope repeated the phrase of his letter of 2010: ‘It's an anthropological regression.’"

In 2010, then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio called same-sex 'marriage' an "anti-value and an anthropological regression." In a conversation with Rabbi Abraham Skorka published in the book “On Heaven and Earth”, he said same-sex 'marriage' is a weakening of the institution of marriage, an institution that has existed for thousands of years and is “forged according to nature and anthropology.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationMarriage & FamilyMediaReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyAnthropology

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Posted January 4, 2014 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Glory to God!

Above all else, this is what Christmas bids us to do: give glory to God, for he is good, he is faithful, he is merciful. Today I voice my hope that everyone will come to know the true face of God, the Father who has given us Jesus. My hope is that everyone will feel God’s closeness, live in his presence, love him and adore him.

May each of us give glory to God above all by our lives, by lives spent for love of him and of all our brothers and sisters.

Read it all.

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

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Posted December 31, 2013 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

No one can celebrate a genuine Christmas without being truly poor. The self-sufficient, the proud, those who, because they have everything, look down on others, those who have no need even of God—for them there will be no Christmas. Only the poor, the hungry, those who need someone to come on their behalf, will have that someone. That someone is God, Emmanuel, God-with-us. Without poverty of spirit, there can be no abundance of God.

--Archbishop Oscar Romero (1917-1980)

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyChristology

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Posted December 29, 2013 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As many participate in religious celebrations at this time of the year, our country, the Central African Republic, remains on the brink of religious warfare. In a place that most of the world struggles to find on a map, more than 2 million people, nearly half of the nation’s population, are in desperate need of aid. As we write, approximately 40,000 people without shelter or toilets are crammed into the airport compound in the capital, Bangui. In just the past week in Bangui, hundreds have been killed, including patients dragged out of hospitals and executed. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said that he is “gravely concerned about the imminent danger of mass atrocities.” We fear that without a wider international response, our country will succumb to darkness .

As the most senior faith leaders of our country’s Christian and Muslim communities, respectively, we recognize our responsibility to help define a path away from violence. Our colleagues, priests and imams alike, have paid the ultimate price for taking on their own part of this responsibility, and we fear the worst is yet to come.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationPovertyReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaCentral African Republic* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 28, 2013 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pope Francis addressed anti-Christian persecution today, on the day after attacks on two Christian churches in Baghdad left at least 38 dead. He called for a moment of silence in honor of victims of such violence and said it must be “denounced and eliminated.”

His remarks came in an Angelus address on the feast of St. Stephen, the day after Christmas, and they marked the latest reference to anti-Christian persecution in what has become an emerging theme for Francis.

In the abstract, it’s tempting to ask what any pope can do to affect anti-Christian persecution beyond issuing a cri de coeur. Both John Paul II and Benedict XVI raised the issue, and their rhetoric didn’t seem to put a dent in a scourge that claims somewhere between 9,000 and 100,000 lives every year, depending on which set of estimates one chooses to trust, working out to somewhere between 1 and 11 new martyrs every hour.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis

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Posted December 28, 2013 at 9:20 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

The shepherds were the first to see this “tent”, to receive the news of Jesus’ birth. They were the first because they were among the last, the outcast. And they were the first because they were awake, keeping watch in the night, guarding their flocks. Together with them, let us pause before the Child, let us pause in silence. Together with them, let us thank the Lord for having given Jesus to us, and with them let us raise from the depths of our hearts the praises of his fidelity: We bless you, Lord God most high, who lowered yourself for our sake. You are immense, and you made yourself small; you are rich and you made yourself poor; you are all-powerful and you made yourself vulnerable.

Read it all.


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

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Posted December 25, 2013 at 1:43 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Several days into the Christmas shopping season at the Northgate Mall here, the Rev. Dan Anderson stood improbably in a storefront between Sci-Fi City and the Loveable You Portrait Studio. An older couple, strolling past, slowed down to regard him.

Father Anderson, 66, wore the brown habit of the Franciscan friar, its plain humility broken only by a name tag affably identifying him as Dan. The former shoe store that he occupied contained holiday decorations, a brimming coffeepot and a life-size statue of the order’s founder, St. Francis of Assisi. On one table rested a glass fishbowl for prayer requests.

The couple asked Father Anderson if they could confess, and he guided them to a quiet corner. They spoke, he listened, and as the minutes passed, 15 or more, they gathered the courage to ask their question of both the friar and the universe: A relative of theirs had committed suicide. Was he in heaven?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spending* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted December 23, 2013 at 3:31 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Book of Common Prayer and its liturgical descendants are the elements of Anglicanism that will be preserved for former Anglicans and Episcopalians who have entered the Catholic Church will preserve in the new Anglican Ordinariate, an official at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has reported.

In November 2009, Pope Benedict released the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, creating a permanent home for Anglicans who wish to be reconciled to the Catholic Church but hoped to retain portions of their “Anglican patrimony”. In an interview published in the December issue of The Portal, Mgr. Steven Lopes of the CDF defined this distinctive “patrimony”.

“We here have thought a lot about what constitutes Anglican patrimony, particularly as it involves the liturgy, and we have a working definition. It is to say that ‘Anglican liturgical patrimony is that which has nourished the Catholic Faith, within the Anglican tradition during the time of ecclesiastical separation, and has given rise to this new desire for full communion’,” Mgr. Lopes said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, Worship* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyEcclesiology

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Posted December 22, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Have the Christian churches got it at last? Have they understood that it will soon be too late to halt the slow yet relentless decline they have experienced in this country, and on the continent of Europe, for many years? Yes, they are, finally, beginning to face up to reality. For example, the new Pope, Francis, has just published a truly remarkable document, “Evangelii Gaudium” or “The Joy of the Gospel”, in which he asks the Catholic Church to embark upon a fresh chapter of evangelization, and where he describes in great detail how this should be done. And more quietly, but no less insistently, the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is engaged in the same task.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

1 Comments
Posted December 21, 2013 at 9:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Belgium’s Catholic bishops have criticised a parliamentary vote paving the way for sick children and dementia patients to choose euthanasia.

“The voices of religious leaders have plainly not been listened to,” said Jesuit Father Tommy Scholtes, bishops’ conference spokesman.

“While everyone wants a gentle death, public opinion appears unaware that euthanasia is a technical act that ends life abruptly. This is why we reject it and believe palliative care offers a better solution,” he told the Catholic News Service.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeBelgium* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 17, 2013 at 5:00 pm [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....

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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

The prayers are jarring because they are so personal and raw, clearly not written to "edify the saints" in a published manuscript. They are, well, just prayers.

Part of the rawness and authenticity of the prayers come with the way O'Connor refuses to sentimentalize her personal relationship with Jesus (thought it's clear she has one). She is here constantly aware of her own fallenness and of the seeming silence of the God to whom she pours out these little notes.

O'Connor notes that her attention is "fugitive" in prayer. She confesses that hell seems more "feasible" in her mind than heaven because, "I can fancy the tortures of the damned but I cannot imagine the disembodied souls hanging in a crystal for all eternity praising God."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchHistoryPoetry & LiteratureReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyChristologySoteriology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This means that the U.S. Catholic population, which is projected to grow to nearly 80,000,000 by 2038, will be served by only 25,000 priests. Over a fifty year period, the American Catholic Church will see a 50 percent increase in members and a 60 percent decline in the number of priests to serve them.

As the Church’s demographics have changed and vocations have declined, some parishes have become larger and more complex. One third of American parishes have grown in size to what would be considered a “mega-church”—in the Protestant Evangelical community, a mega-church is one with more than 2,000 members. A few American Catholic churches have as many as 20,000 parishioners. As parishes continue to expand, creative pastors and staff are launching dozens of new ministries and activities for people of all ages.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted December 16, 2013 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted December 16, 2013 at 4:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In a first for the Catholic Diocese of Savannah, Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer ordained an Anglican priest to the Catholic priesthood Wednesday.

The Rev. Lucien Lindsey was ordained a Catholic priest at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Savannah and incardinated in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.

The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter is a structure, similar to a diocese, that was created by the Vatican in 2012 for former Anglican communities and clergy seeking to become Catholic.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted December 14, 2013 at 8:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

-- The trafficking of human beings is a crime against humanity and must be stopped, Pope Francis told diplomats.

"It's a disgrace" that people are treated "as objects, deceived, raped, often sold many times for different purposes and, in the end, killed or, in any case, physically and mentally damaged, ending up thrown away and abandoned," he said.

The pope's comments came Dec. 12 in a speech to 17 new ambassadors to the Vatican who were presenting their letters of credential to the pope. Among the 17 were ambassadors representing the state of Palestine, Kuwait, Sierra Leone and Iceland.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireMenSexualityViolenceWomen* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 13, 2013 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Father Jerry Sherbourne, an active-duty U.S. Army Chaplain, and former Anglican priest, was ordained a Catholic priest Sunday, December 8, 2013 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Through the invocation of the Holy Spirit and the imposition of hands, Archbishop Broglio ordained him during a 10:00 a.m. Mass.

Father Sherbourne is now a Catholic priest, incardinated in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, a special Church jurisdiction established by Pope Benedict XVI for Anglicans entering full communion with the Catholic Church while maintaining distinctive elements of their theological, spiritual, and liturgical patrimony.

In preparation for his transition from Anglican to Catholic, Father Sherbourne underwent a two-year formation program approved by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of the Holy See, a process that included his ordination as a transitional Catholic deacon.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyMilitary / Armed Forces* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted December 11, 2013 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On June 28 this year, Italian police arrested a silver-haired priest, Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, in Rome. The cleric, nicknamed Monsignor Cinquecento after the €500 bills he habitually carried around with him, was charged with fraud and corruption, together with a former secret service agent and a ­financial broker. All three were suspected of attempting to smuggle €20m by private plane across the border from Switzerland.

Prosecutors alleged that the priest, a former banker, was using the Institute for Religious Works – the formal name for the Vatican’s bank – to move money for businessmen based in the Naples region, widely regarded in Italy as a haven of organised crime. Worse still, Scarano (who, together with the other men, has denied any wrongdoing) had until only a month earlier been head of the accounting department at the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, the treasury of the Vatican.

The arrest, and the headlines that screamed across the Italian press, was the latest shock for the Holy See....

Read it all (if necessary, another link may be found there).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryEuropeItaly* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 10, 2013 at 3:44 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pope Francis said the church must pay attention to the 'sense of the faithful' ('sensus fidelium') when exercising its teaching authority, but never confuse that sense with popular opinion on matters of faith.

The pope made his comments Dec. 6, in an address to members of the International Theological Commission, a Vatican advisory body.

Read it all.

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

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Posted December 9, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At a December 2 program at Georgetown University, two prominent Washington columnists, E.J. Dionne and Michael Gerson, assess Pope Francis’s call for the Catholic Church not only to make caring for the poor a higher priority but also to work for a more just economic system....

Read or watch and listen to it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationMediaReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis

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Posted December 9, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I for one applauded the move of John Paul II to explain that Episcopal Conferences, unlike the Universal Roman Primacy and unlike the Local Primacy of the Bishop in his own Church, do not have any existence by divine right. And I very much doubt if the papal title 'Patriarch of the West' is any older than the Byzantinising of Pope Gregory I. And so when Benedict XVI, as one of his first moves, divested himself in the Annuario Pontificio of the title 'Patriarch of the West', "Goodie", I cried, "at last we have pope who knows what he isn't".

We Anglican Catholics know what Intermediate Primacies can lead to if left without a check or a balance. They can lead to the mess that the Anglican Communion finds itself in. They lead to the concept of the Infallible Local Synod whose heretical decisions are irreformable.

They can lead to self-righteous schism.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyEcclesiology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(Dana Gioia is one of my favorite living poets, please make sure to read, if you have not, the two previous posts both here and [especially] there)--KSH.

Roman Catholicism now ranks overwhelmingly as the largest religious denomination in the United States, with more than sixty-eight million members. (By contrast, the second largest group, Southern Baptists, has sixteen million members.) Representing almost one-quarter of the American population, Catholics also constitute the largest cultural minority in the nation. Supporting its historical claim of being the “universal” church, American Catholicism displays vast ethnic, national, linguistic, and social diversity. (In my first parish in Washington, D.C., it was not unusual at Mass to see congressional staffers, Central American immigrants, and urban homeless share the same pew.) While most Protestant churches continue to decline, Catholicism has grown steadily for the past two hundred years through a combination of immigration, births, and conversions. On purely demographic grounds, one would expect to see a huge and growing Catholic presence in the American fine arts.

If one asked an arts journalist to identify a major living painter or sculptor, playwright or choreographer, composer or poet, who was a practicing Catholic, the critic, I suspect, would be unable to offer a single name. He or she could surely identify a few ex-Catholics, such as Andres Serrano, Terrence McNally, or Mark Adamo, who use religious subject matter for satire, censure, or shock value. Catholic exposé is now a mainstream literary genre, from the farcical (Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You) to the tendentious (The Gospel of Mary Magdalene). If the question were expanded to include novelists—the most sociological of major art forms—a well-informed literary critic might offer a few names such as Ron Hansen or Alice McDermott, authors whose subject matter is often overtly Catholic. Those few figures would account for most of the Catholic artists visible in our culture. The journalist’s immediate reaction, however, would be to consider the question itself naive or silly.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPoetry & Literature* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted December 7, 2013 at 8:44 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A long-retired first grade teacher who died a couple of years ago in Simsbury, Connecticut, lived very simply and wasn’t aware of how many riches she had – not until her lawyer discovered she was actually quite wealthy. NBC’s Harry Smith reports that she gave it away to the institutions that mattered to her the most in the community.

There are two videos and they are both well worth your time: The first may be foundhereand the second there.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyEducationRural/Town Life* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted December 5, 2013 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Oh brother. More lazy stereotypes about celibates. Bill Keller’s op-ed today in The New York Times “Sex and the Single Priest” (ha ha) says that pretty much all celibate priests are lonely and that celibacy “surely played some role” in the sexual abuse crisis. By his own admission, Mr. Keller hasn’t been an active member of the church since around high school. But that’s not the problem with his piece: former Catholics have written perceptively about the church. The problem is that Keller’s article is based largely on the opinions of two priests who left the priesthood and a sister who left her order, and his own speculation about what the celibate life must be like. That’s like writing a piece on marriage and speaking only to divorced men and women. “Yeah,” some of them might say, “married life stinks.”

Maybe it would have been helpful to look at some actual data. Sure, there is some loneliness in the priesthood--and there are problems in married life too. But the picture that Mr. Keller paints is ridiculous. In the latest survey on priests from the Center for Applied Research on the Apostolate in 2009, 95 percent report they would “definitely or probably choose priesthood again,” up from 79 percent in 1970. Wow.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineMediaPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 3, 2013 at 4:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Now it’s certain. This will be a populist papacy. Denunciations of unfettered free market economics in Evangelii Gaudium—“an economy of exclusion and inequality”—attracted a great deal of attention in the secular press. But for the most part commentators ignore the fact that Francis’ populism has a very strong ecclesial dimension as well.

He calls for a renewed commitment to evangelization. It’s something we all can do. This does not require a capacity for acute theological analysis or familiarity with subtle apologetic arguments. Instead, what’s needed is a lively faith.

He exhibits a similar ecclesiastical populism when it comes to clergy. In a long section, perhaps the longest in the document, he details the many things that go into the preparation and delivery of good homilies. None require specialized expertise. All grow out of basic Christian virtues. The everyday priest can make an outsized difference—if he gives himself to Christ and his people.

Read it all.



Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis

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Posted December 3, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

William Crawley speaks to Father Jim Thomson, Chaplain to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in the aftermath of the Police Helicopter crash in Glasgow.

Reverend Andrew Symes, Executive Secretary of Anglican Mainstream and Savi Hensman, Vice Chair of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement discuss the Pilling Report recommendations on same sex blessings with William.

Bruce Douglas reports from Brazil on why the country is seeing a decline in Catholicism and Afro-Brazilian religions.

Consider listening to it all (click on the "Listen now" icon in the left middle of the picture.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Scotland* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted December 2, 2013 at 3:55 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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