Saturday, July 12, 2008

Devotional: Certainly true worship invigorates...

Certainly true worship invigorates, but to plan invigoration is not necessarily to order worship. As all that glitters is not gold, so all that makes us feel happy and strong is not worship. The question is not whether a particular liturgical form is used, but whether a God-centred as distinct from man-centred perspective is maintained-whether, in other words, the sense that man exists for God rather than God for man is cherished or lost. We need to discover all over again that worship is natural to the Christian, as it was to the godly Israelites who wrote the psalms, and that the habit of celebrating the greatness and graciousness of God yields an endless flow of thankfulness, joy, and zeal.
...JI Packer image

World Youth Day: Pope blesses Australia, urges hope

By Tony Vermeer
July 13, 2008

THE Pope has christened Australia the "great southern land of the Holy Spirit" and urged young people troubled by the state of the world to seek answers in faith.

Pope Benedict made the comments in his official message to Australians and to pilgrims for World Youth Day, released to The Sunday Telegraph to coincide with his arrival today for the week-long Catholic youth festival.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Premier Morris Iemma will meet the 81-year-old when the papal plane touches down at Richmond Air Force Base, on Sydney's northwestern outskirts, at 3pm (AEST) this afternoon.

He will then rest for three days at a rural retreat at nearby Kenthurst before his first appearance at World Youth Day on Thursday in a papal "boat-a-cade" on Sydney Harbour. the rest

Pope prays for end to rifts in Anglican church

posted July12. 2008

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI said Saturday that he is praying there will not be any more rifts in the Anglican community following the recent Church of England decision on women bishops.

Answering questions from journalists aboard his flight to Australia, Benedict touched briefly on the turmoil in the Anglican church.

"I am praying so that there are no more schisms and fractures" within the Anglican community, Benedict said. the rest

Bishop Nazir-Ali refutes judge’s Sharia comments

Saturday, 12th July 2008
by Matt Cresswell

London: Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, the Anglican Bishop of Rochester , refuted claims by Britain ’s top judge that certain aspects of Sharia law should be applied to the UK legal system.

Lord Chief Justice Nicholas Phillips’ comments, made last week, echoed controversial remarks made by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, in February. Lord Philips, who was speaking at the East London Muslim Centre, said that British Muslims should be able to use Sharia to decide financial and marital disputes.

But the Bishop of Rochester disagrees with the Lord Chief Justice’s labeling of English law as secular. Bishop Nazir-Ali said: “I would like to reiterate what I have said on a number of occasions that English Law is not ‘secular’. It is, rather rooted in the Judaeo-Christian tradition originating from the Bible.” the rest

Gene Robinson Writes in the Guardian

The God I know is alive and active in the church, not locked up in scripture, says Gene Robinson
Saturday July 12, 2008
Gene Robinson

I believe in the living God. Now, that may not seem like a surprising statement for a bishop of the church to make - but as we approach the Lambeth conference of bishops, it may be a crucial belief to reaffirm.

The debate raging in the Anglican communion over the place of women and gays in the life and ministry of the church, and the name-calling about who does and does not accept the authority of scripture, belies a much deeper question: did God stop revealing God's self with the closing of the canon of scripture at the end of the first century, or has God continued to be self-revelatory through history, and right into the present?

My conservative brothers and sisters seem to argue that God revealed everything to us in scripture. Ever since, it has simply been our difficult but straightforward task to conform ourselves to God's will revealed there and to repent when we are unable or unwilling to do so...

... But in the community of the church, together we are able to discern God's will for us - and sometimes that may mean reinterpreting and even changing old understandings of things thought settled long ago. -emphasis added
the rest image

One question for Gene and his disciples: Is God so fickle or indecisive about sin such that your reinterpretation of His will is completely inconsistent with what He revealed in ages past from the time of the writing of Scripture through the mid-1960s?
-Raymond Dague

Peter Ould: GAFCON, Women Bishops and the End of the World…

July 11, 2008

Ahh yes….

So I’ve been plagued for a few days by emails asking me what I think about GAFCON, the latest nonsense from the Church of England General Synod and other such what not. I’ve been sitting on my hands for a few days on all of this because I wanted to make sure that what I said was not just a knee jerk response. Now the silence is, at it were, broken.

There is a fundamental problem with the Church of England today and it is that we have completely forgotten what it means to be a broad church. There are portions of the church that believe that to be "broad" is to allow a huge variety of theological opinion, and while that may be right, there are certain bounds within which that broadness is intended to operate. It is simply incorrect to argue that when Elizabeth I said that we were not to pry into men’s souls, she was perfectly happy to have clergy who denied the divinity of Jesus, let alone who taught publicy a sexual moral that denies the heart of the transforming Gospel of redemption. the rest

Presbyterians Approve Closer Ties to Episcopal Church

July 11, 2008

Along with eliminating homosexuality as a bar to ordination as deacon elder or minister, representatives to the recent General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. also agreed to move forward with a dialogue with The Episcopal Church aimed at encouraging closer relationships between congregations.

The agreement, which must be approved by The Episcopal Church's 76th General Convention next year, would permit Presbyterian and Episcopal clergy to perform ministerial functions in each other’s congregations “when requested and approved by the diocesan bishop and local presbytery.” It stops short of a full communion agreement like the one that The Episcopal Church signed with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in 2000. the rest

Pope's Next Encyclical in the Works

Expected to Give Fresh Look at 21st Century
By Jesús Colina
ROME, JULY 10, 2008

( Benedict XVI is reportedly working on his third encyclical this summer, which could be ready as early as this fall.

The Pope's secretary of state confirmed the existence of the document in an interview with the APCOM news agency last May. He even proposed a possible title: "Caritas in Veritate" (Charity in the Truth) and said this, the Holy Father's third encyclical, could be ready in the fall.

"For now, it is a hypothesis," Cardinal Bertone said. "I don't want to say that the title will definitely be this -- for now, yes, and for the moment, it's this idea, but later, a successive inspiration could arrive." the rest

Margaret Sanger's Dirty Little Secret

Planned Parenthood = the American Eugenics Society
By Judie Brown
July 12, 2008

Recently came across a letter from the president of the National Lawyer's Association. Her name is Rebecca Messall and her message is one that is rarely heard but profoundly important.

She takes up the subject of eugenics, the history of the American Eugenics Society and the "personnel overlap with Margaret Sanger's birth control organizations and legislation."

The reason I found this of particular interest is because I haven't seen such a forthright analysis of the real purpose behind Margaret Sanger's activities - the elimination of the black community - since our own expose and historical treatment of the American Eugenics Society. the rest image

Albert Mohler: At Least for the Moment?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Ellen Goodman is an institution at the Boston Globe and one of the nation's most recognized liberal columnists. She has a keen eye for detail, which often makes her columns interesting, and she is an unreconstructed liberal and feminist, undoubtedly shaped by her education in the 1960s at Radcliffe College and her personal experiences.

In her column published today Goodman addresses the controversy surrounding Thomas Beatie, the "man" who gave birth to a baby girl just weeks ago. the rest image

Tony Snow, Former White House Press Secretary Dies at 53

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Tony Snow, the former White House press secretary and conservative pundit who bedeviled the press corps and charmed millions as a FOX News television and radio host, has died after a long bout with cancer. He was 53.

A syndicated columnist, editor, TV anchor, radio show host and musician, Snow worked in nearly every medium in a career that spanned more than 30 years. the rest image

Cancer's Unexpected Blessings
When you enter the Valley of the Shadow of Death, things change.
by Tony Snow

Anglican Tulsa rector says non-Western believers will eventually transform the church

By Brian Overall
World Staff Writer

The small congregation, averaging 250 on Sunday mornings, has struggled to build itself a permanent home since 2005, when it split from the Episcopal Church — the American wing of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

The congregation lost its church building, its financial support from the diocese and its link with other local parishes.

Turley, the rector, even lost his good standing with the denomination he grew up in. Episcopal officials don't consider him a legitimate priest anymore.

"It hasn't been an easy path for anyone," he says. "But the people here have followed their conscience."

Turley and this congregation — with thousands of other self-described Anglican traditionalists nationwide — left the Episcopal Church after Gene Robinson, an openly gay priest, was made a bishop in New Hampshire.

But don't say they left because of Robinson. That's like suggesting one straw of hay broke a camel's back.

The last straw was piled on top of "many, many other straws," Turley says. Full Article

Friday, July 11, 2008

Devotional: As we trust God...

As we trust God to give us wisdom for today's decisions, He will lead us a step at a time into what He wants us to be doing in the future. ...Theodore Epp image

London Church Hangs On Amid Opposition

By Dale Hurd
CBN News Reporter
July 11, 2008 - LONDON - A recent poll shows that most Britons think Christianity will have vanished from the United Kingdom within the next 100 years.

Many of the nation's great churches stand empty or are being sold off, but one congregation is fighting that.

This sanctuary once echoed the sermons of Britain's great abolitionist preachers. In the critical days of World War Two, Supreme Allied Commander Dwight Eisenhower sat in this church and very likely prayed for the success of the D-day invasion. And it's said that British leaders discussed the future state of Israel here.

After being closed down by the Church of England in the 1970s, St. Mark's Church in London's West End was adopted by an evangelical congregation, Commonwealth Church. the rest/video

U.N. scheme to make Christians criminals

July 10, 2008
By Bob Unruh
© 2008 WorldNetDaily

Dozens of nations dominated by Islam are pressing the United Nations to adopt an anti-"defamation" plan that would make Christians criminals under international law, according to a United States organization that has launched a campaign to defend freedom of religion worldwide.

"Around the world, Christians are being increasingly targeted, and even persecuted, for their religious beliefs. Now, one of the largest organizations in the United Nations is pushing to make a bad situation even worse by promoting anti-Christian bigotry," the American Center for Law & Justice said yesterday in announcing its petition drive. the rest

Oprah’s unorthodox gospel comes under scrutiny

By Adelle M. Banks
July 11, 2008

Oprah Winfrey has become a catalyst for a new journalistic project and increasing news coverage by conservative Christians questioning and criticizing her spiritual beliefs.

Some evangelical Christians have voiced alarm that Winfrey is introducing the 46 million viewers who watch her each week to nontraditional spirituality they don't condone.

In May, two dozen Christian newspapers pooled their resources to publish an article titled "Oprah's `gospel'" that prompted higher readership and more letters to the editor than any story some of the individual papers had ever published. the rest

UK: A Return to "Public Morality" and "Personal Responsibility" will Turn Around Social Collapse

In order to avoid injury to people's feelings, in order to avoid appearing judgemental, we have failed to say what needs to be said.
By Hilary White
Thursday July 10, 2008

GLASGOW, July 10, 2008 ( ) - In a seminal speech on Monday, David Cameron, the leader of Britain's opposition Conservative Party, laid out a new direction in Tory policy towards addressing the ongoing moral breakdown of society, which he said is a cause of its social breakdown.

"I want a mandate for restoring responsibility to our society. A mandate to call time on the twisted values that have eaten away at our social fabric. A mandate for tough action to repair our broken society." the rest

Florida high court OK's some porn for sex offenders

A sex-offender case from Miami prompted a Florida Supreme Court ruling that allows offenders on probation to possess certain pornography.
Posted on Fri, Jul. 11, 2008

Florida sex offenders on probation can possess pornography so long as it does not relate to an offender's ''particular deviant behavior pattern,'' the state's Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

The 5-2 decision overturned a 2006 Third District Court of Appeal ruling on a Miami case in which the appellate court said offenders cannot have any sexually explicit material. the rest

Timesonline: The history of the Lambeth Conference

For 140 years, the bishops of the Anglican Communion have met once a decade. Our historical guide to Lambeth traces the origins and issues that dominated the agenda at past Lambeth conferences.
Christopher L. Webber
July 11, 2008

For 140 years, the bishops of the Anglican Communion have come together every ten years or so and for most of that time the gathering has been the only visible evidence of the unity of the Communion. This summer it will provide evidence as well of disunity; as many as a quarter of the bishops have declined their invitations from the archbishop of Canterbury, refusing to sit down with other bishops whose theology they have condemned.

When the first invitations were sent out, in 1867, it was the pious hope of the archbishop of Canterbury that nothing like that would happen. He had yielded reluctantly to pleas from the Canadian Church which was concerned by recent decisions of the Privy Council and felt a need to clarify their status. But archbishop Longley wanted it understood, "That at this meeting no declaration of faith shall be made, and no decision come to which shall affect generally the interests of the Church, but that we shall meet together for brotherly counsel and encouragement.” the rest

Catholics flock to Australia ahead of Pope's visit

Friday, July 11, 2008
CBC News

Thousands of Catholic pilgrims gathered in the Australian city of Sydney on Friday ahead of an appearance by Pope Benedict XVI at the church's World Youth Day.

The event, which begins Tuesday, is expected to draw the most visitors to Australia since the 2000 Summer Olympics. Officials expect more than 500,000 people — including 100,000 foreigners — to attend.

The Pope will arrive Sunday and rest for a few days before leading a series of prayer gatherings and meetings on Thursday. He will then take a boat trip on Sydney Harbour, followed by a welcome ceremony and papal motorcade through downtown. the rest

More than one in four bishops to boycott Lambeth Conference

By Martin Beckford, Religion Correspondent

A quarter of the world's Anglican bishops are to boycott the once-a-decade gathering of church leaders which starts next week, in protest at liberals' stance on women clergy and homosexuality.

Officials have disclosed that 230 of the 880 bishops in the worldwide Communion are staying away from the Lambeth Conference, including at least four from the Church of England as well as the entire provinces of Nigeria, Uganda and Rwanda.

Many of those who are attending say they will be unable to take part in any services led by the female head of the Anglican church in America because of their opposition to women bishops.
Other leading figures have said they are "astonished" at the apparent lack of preparation for the three-week summit which starts in Canterbury on Wednesday, with no detailed agenda or background papers being published. the rest

Kenya's Anglican bishops to boycott Lamberth conference

Hong Kong Primate says Gafcon conference ‘harms’ Anglican Communion

Friday, 11th July 2008
By: Wong Ka.Hong Kong

The Hong Kong Anglican Primate has criticized the Global Anglican Future Conference (Gafcon), held in Jerusalem this July, saying it has ‘brought severe harm’ to the Anglican Communion.

Archbishop Paul Kwong, the Anglican Primate of the Hong Kong province, said that Anglicans with different opinions on ordaining homosexual bishops should solve the problem through dialogue.

He criticized the Anglican bishops from the "traditionalist camp", whom he said not only refused to dialogue, but also held the conference in advance of the once-a-decade Lambeth Conference and thus brought severe harm to the Anglican Communion. the rest

Colleagues Rally to Keep Bishop Robinson in Lambeth Spotlight

July 10, 2008

When it was announced during the House of Bishops’ March retreat that a Lambeth invitation to Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire would not be forthcoming, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said during a media briefing afterward that the bishops would make sure that Bishop Robinson was “at least as present at Lambeth as if he’d had an invitation.”

Toward that end, a number of bishops and others have promised to stop by the exhibit hall where Bishop Robinson has a booth and to keep him informed about activities underway in the indaba listening group sessions. Bishop Robinson also will be supported by a large number of gay and lesbian persons who volunteered as part of an effort to ensure that the bishops of the Communion hear the voices of faithful gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Anglicans. the rest

Victory for Christian registrar bullied for refusing to perform 'sinful' gay weddings

By Olinka Koster
10th July 2008

A Christian registrar who refused to carry out gay 'weddings' won a landmark legal battle yesterday.

Lillian Ladele, 47, was threatened with the sack, bullied and 'thrown before the lions' after asking to be excused from conducting civil partnerships for same-sex couples because of her religious beliefs.

But yesterday a tribunal agreed that her faith had been ridden roughshod over by equalities-obsessed Islington Council, which had sought to 'trump one set of rights with another'.

The groundbreaking decision could lead to firms facing 'conscience claims' from staff who say their own beliefs prevent them carrying out part of their job. the rest

Ariz. Episcopal bishop: Gay's exclusion 'insult'

By Stephanie Innes
Arizona Daily Star
Tucson, Arizona

The bishop of Arizona's Episcopalians says it's "insulting" that an openly gay American bishop was not invited to next week's Lambeth Conference, a worldwide meeting of the Anglican Communion.

Arizona's Bishop Kirk S. Smith, a Phoenix resident, is one of about 700 bishops from around the globe who will attend the once-per-decade event, which will begin Tuesday in Canterbury, England. The Episcopal Church is part of the Anglican Communion, which has nearly 80 million worshippers around the world. the rest

Lutherans Praise Anglican Support for Women Bishops

By Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Fri, Jul. 11 2008

The Church of Norway praised the recent decision by the Church of England to allow women bishops, as both sides of the vote remain deeply divided.

"The Church of England has taken a bold and mature action knowing well the immediate costs involved," the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Norway, which the majority of Norwegians are members of, said in a statement Thursday. the rest

More on Schori and Lambeth

posted July 11,2008
Rachel Zoll

NEW YORK (AP) — Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was installed as head of the U.S. church less than two years ago, inheriting a mess not of her own making.

The global Anglican Communion was in an uproar over the 2003 consecration of the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. Long-simmering differences over Scripture and the global Anglican fellowship erupted into a threat of full-blown schism.
Jefferts Schori, a theological liberal who supported Robinson's election, has tried to ease the tensions in meetings with other Anglican leaders.

Starting next Wednesday, she will be explaining the church's actions in her broadest venue yet: the Lambeth Conference, a once-a-decade meeting of Anglican bishops from around the world. Jefferts Schori said she's looking forward to the "face-to-face conversation" at the event. the rest

Planned Parenthood Endorses Barack Obama

Applauds Obama's Record of Standing Up for Women's Health Care
June 7, 2008

Washington, DC – The Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the political and advocacy arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, today announced its endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama for president of the United States.

"The Planned Parenthood Action Fund is proud to endorse Barack Obama for president of the United States," said Action Fund president Cecile Richards. "He is a passionate advocate for women's rights, and has a long and consistent record of standing up for women's health care. As president, he will improve access to quality health care for women, support and protect a woman's right to choose, support comprehensive sex education to keep our young people healthy and safe, and invest in prevention programs, including family planning services and breast cancer screenings." the rest image

[Obama's] Abortion Confusion
Jennifer Rubin

Barack Obama’s muddle on abortion hasn’t gotten a ton of coverage. And in fairness to the mainstream media they have had a lot more critical and dramatic flip-flops to cover (e.g. Iraq and FISA). But as this story shows, Obama has flummoxed his pro-choice supporters. Did he mean to undercut the legal underpinnings for Roe v. Wade? They don’t think so. But if not, what was he up to? Pro-choice advocates are concerned: “that kind of statement [undercutting the mental health justification] really feeds into the wingnut argument that women have abortions because they are frivolous about that decision, because we are having a bad hair day.”

Let me help: 1) He was trying to give meaningless rhetorical comfort to value voters; 2) he didn’t realize that questioning the mental health justification for late-term abortions was a fundamental no-no for pro-choice absolutists; 3) when he tried to correct his error, his explanation didn’t make any sense either; and 4) He’s going to appoint as many Ruth Bader Ginsburgs as he can find to fill vacancies, so they needn’t worry. I think that covers it. the rest

Barack Obama Slams John McCain For Opposing Abortion, Activist Judges

Lesbian couple sues BlueCross over denial of spousal health care benefits

Married in Canada, school psychologist, spouse say they were denied their rights
By Gene Warner

When a Buffalo lesbian couple was denied spousal health care benefits in February following their marriage in Canada two years ago, BlueCross BlueShield denied their human rights guaranteed under state law, a civil liberties group claims in a lawsuit filed Wednesday.

The New York Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit on behalf of Jeanne Kornowicz, a school psychologist in the Cheektowaga Central Schools, and her spouse, Joy Higgins. The couple married in Ontario in April 2006, and they have a 1-year-old daughter, Elizabeth Higgins.

The West Side couple, who have been in a relationship for nearly 10 years, declined to comment, except for a brief statement issued through the civil liberties group. the rest

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Devotional: The proper study of the Christian is the God-head...

The proper study of the Christian is the God-head. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the doings, and the existence of the great God which he calls his Father. There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a contemplation of the Divinity. It is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity. Other subjects we can comprehend and grapple with; in them we feel a kind of self-content, and go on our way with the thought, "Behold I am wise." But when we come to this master science, finding that our plumb-line cannot sound its depth, amid that our eagle eye cannot see its height, we turn away with the thought "I am but of yesterday and know nothing." ...CH Spurgeon image

An Archbishop of Canterbury in retreat

Damian Thompson
Thursday, July 10, 2008

The immense damage done to the Archbishop of Canterbury during Monday night's debate on women priests is still sinking in. Dr Rowan Williams had not intended to speak, but he was so alarmed by the lack of provision for traditionalists in the code of practice that he appealed to Synod members to reject it. They ignored him.

It was as if a Prime Minister, having quietly supported a piece of legislation in the Commons, suddenly lost his nerve, appealed to the House to change its mind, and was then rebuffed. Even Gordon Brown has yet to chalk up that sort of disaster.

Rowan being Rowan, the meaning of his intervention was not immediately clear. But, as Ruth Gledhill noted, a cold chill swept across the chamber as it dawned on people that the Archbishop "now wants the whole thing blown out of the water". Which was not, of course, what happened.
And so Cantuar's leadership is further diminished, just before the start of the Lambeth Conference. Andrew Carey, son of Archbishop Carey, has produced a pretty devastating analysis of Monday night's "train wreck" on the American Anglican website Stand Firm.

Central control not Anglican, says Williams

by Rachel Boulding
11 July, 2008

THE Archbishop of Canterbury was in defiant mood this week, as he spoke of his hopes for the Lambeth Conference. He was positive about its strong mission agenda, which he believes should put into perspective the debate about sexuality.

In an interview for this paper, Dr Williams admits to feeling “frustrated”, and even to having “kicked the furniture a bit over the last few weeks”. But he is clear in his analysis that GAFCON (News, 4 July) was not just about the biblical interpretation. “The vast majority of Anglican theologians and Anglican leaders have an absolutely clear commitment to the authority of scripture in the way we always have,” he says. Rather: “There are major ethical and cultural anxieties about sexual ethics here.”

He affirms the Anglican approach as being able to encompass plurality, without any one view undermining the basis of scriptural authority.
the rest

Will Catholics stay? The answer is in code

Schori on opponents of women bishops: They simply don't like women

The head of the Anglican church in America has stepped into the controversy over female bishops, claiming those who oppose them simply don't like women.
By Martin Beckford
Religious Affairs Correspondent

The Most Rev Katherine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the USA, also claimed those who believe women should not be religious leaders do not understand church history.

In a rare British interview, she accused the Church of England of taking far too long to modernise, just days after its governing body voted to ordain women as bishops with no compromise measures for traditionalists.

And she dismissed the threat of orthodox Anglicans who are planning to create a rival structure to her church because of its liberal stance on homosexuality. the rest image

Divided by untruth: why we are where we are today

Thursday, 10 July 2008
by Revd John P Richardson

How did we get to be the Church of England we are today — a Church where the Synod just voted to marginalise its Conservative and Traditionalist wings, whilst throwing the door open to Liberal and Revisionist movements?

The answer, I am persuaded, is a lack of theological coherence and integrity, despite having Scripture, Creeds, Articles and Prayer Book. We are like Israel before Josiah’s reforms. The book of the Law is there, but it is gathering dust. We pay lip service to our history, and to historical formularies, but in practice they mean nothing.

You can say one thing and believe and do another as much as you like (provided, now, you accept the ordination and consecration of women) and there is no theoretical limit to the responsibilities you might be given or the promotion you might receive.

Occasionally I have a look to see how traffic has come to my blog, and if the source looks interesting I’ll nip over there and see what is going on. Thus earlier today I found myself on Bishop Alan’s Blog, run by Alan Wilson, the Area Bishop of Buckingham.

There I found a thread headed ‘A Church of Navel Gazers?’, which quoted approvingly an article from the Daily Mail which accused the Church of England of neglecting its real mission for all this stuff about women and gays. Why, the writer asked, couldn’t the Church just accept both and get on with the job? And Bishop Alan entirely agreed.

The problem is, though, it surely depends on your understanding of Church, and therefore on your understanding of controversies within the Church. If the Church is a ‘rainbow coalition’ of theologies where we focus on tackling social issues, then I can see the point of the Mail article. But if the Church is ‘the pillar and bulwark of the truth’ (and according to my computer Bible, the word ‘truth’ occurs in 237 verses in the NIV translation, beating the word ‘poor’ by 60), then the issues which divide us are ‘mission issues’ (including on mission to the poor). the rest

CNY Diocese: Matt Kennedy's+ Journal on "negotiations" with Bp. Skip Adams and his chancellor

Thursday, July 10, 2008

At this point Good Shepherd had yet to officially leave the Episcopal Church and Anne and I were still ordained Episcopalian ministers. We did not want to leave first, without any consultation, and then come to the bishop with that fact already established. We wanted to act in full consultation and cooperation with the diocese to avoid causing public embarrassment to the diocese, unnecessary discord in our relationship, and any litigation that might come in response. The position of the diocese, however, was that unless and until Good Shepherd officially departed the Episcopal Church there could be no property negotiations. Subsequently, many months after our departure, at a meeting at the diocesan office as relations were breaking down the chancellor for the Diocese of Central New York, Mr. Paul Curtin, suggested that "the bishop never used the word 'negotiate'" and never believed that negotiating for the property of Good Shepherd was possible. This would seem rather absurd given the protocol drawn up in his office and the entire two year process of negotiations and leads to the following conclusion: Either Mr. Curtin is misrepresenting the facts or Bishop Adams purposefully lured Good Shepherd into a position vulnerable to litigation by promising good faith negotiations, never intending to follow through...the rest at Stand Firm

Previous Rector’s Journal Entries may be found below:
summer 2007: an Ominous Sign
summer 2006
spring 2006
winter 2006

Young Woman may be Dehydrated to Death, Italian Appeals Court Decides

Supreme Court had ruled it was impossible to say that father's opinion reflected woman's
By Hilary White
MILAN, Italy, July 9, 2008

( - A young disabled woman in Milan may be euthanised by dehydration, an Italian appeals court has ruled. Eluana Englaro, 36, may have her "life support", that is, her feeding tube, removed as early as today. It is believed, however, that this will be delayed until the end of a 60 day waiting period in which the state has a chance to appeal the decision.

The court ruled that it had been shown both that Englaro's coma was irreversible and that she had expressed her desire not to live if she were in a "persistent vegetative state". The Court of Appeal said the decision was "inevitable given the extraordinary duration of a state of permanent vegetation," and having established her "vision of life, irreconcilable with the total and irreversible loss of her mental faculties".

The case of Eluana Englaro has become a cause celebre in Italy with circumstances closely reflecting those of Terri Schindler Schiavo who died by court-ordered dehydration in 2005. the rest image

Michael Poon: A Brief Response to Gregory Cameron's Hellins Lecture on Anglicans and the Future of the Communion

The Centre for the Study of Christianity in Asia, Singapore
posted July 10, 2008

Gregory Cameron’s recent lecture is a most sensitive treatment on the Anglican Communion today. His position as the Deputy Secretary-General of the Communion and as the Archbishop of Canterbury’s confidant makes his proposal all the more significant. It marks a strikingly new departure and positive way forward towards resolving the present crisis.

My present aim is to highlight the main features in his proposal, and to underline points of convergence between Cameron’s proposal and those of the Global South.

Cameron from the outset offered a sober historiography of the Communion, in marked contrast with the confident note the Windsor Report took towards ecclesiastical and institutional authorities. He reminded his audience from the outset the Communion itself “is something of an accidental creation”. “The Anglican Church as a universal entity has never existed. . . . Anglicanism is far more wedded to the legitimacy of its national and regional expressions than its international expression.” What holds churches in the Communion together is not formal authorities. The ties are rather sustained by the bonds of affection – “the very real personal and continuing bonds of study, friendship, identity, and mutual discipleship”.

At the end of his lecture, Cameron made a case for the Communion against “the levels of anger, political subterfuge and almost histrionic rhetoric” that are pulling the Communion apart. Cameron suggested the Communion’s ill cannot be solved by “externalising the issues and demonising those parts of the communion, liberal or conservative, with which we find ourselves most in disagreement”. Further, “the true bonds which hold the Communion together [are] not bonds of constitution and canon law, but bonds of affection. . . . the heart of our lie is not history or heritage or even ecclesiastical politics, but the reality of lived and shared discipleship.” The Communion’s future lies, so Cameron suggested, not in power realignment, whether “North or South or East or West, but to the reality in each heart of the living experience of Christ. . . . to the Cross wherein God’s love is revealed to the world”. the rest

Gallup: Religious Intensity Predicts Support for McCain

Hispanic Catholics and black Protestants provide notable exceptions
July 8, 2008
by Frank Newport

PRINCETON, NJ -- Americans who say religion is an important part of their daily lives support John McCain over Barack Obama for president, 50% to 40%, while their less religious counterparts support Obama over McCain, 55% to 36%. the rest

Political lethargy in the church -- will American Christians awake before November 2008

The Polygamist Next Door

July 09, 2008
Dan Myers

What comes to mind when you think of polygamy in America? You probably think of Mormons in Utah, or the recent Warren Jeffs trial. Most likely you conjure up images of longhaired women and child brides dressed like settlers from the 1800’s. These stereotypes definitely exist, but after watching a recent clip of the Oprah Winfrey Show, I realized that there are polygamists that look a lot different than I ever imagined. the rest

Presbyterian vote to eliminate standards of chastity and fidelity faces critics

San Jose, CA.
Jul 8, 2008

(CNA).- Reaction continues to the decisions of the 218th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA), which took place between June 21 and June 28. The assembly nullified proscriptions against sexual behavior outside of marriage and called for a vote to delete the church’s constitutional standard requiring fidelity in marriage and chastity in singleness. It also initiated a process that could remove mention of the Bible’s prohibition against homosexuality form the Heidelberg Catechism.

The moves are seen by some as an attempt to clear a path for the eventual ordination of practicing homosexuals to the church offices of deacon, elder, or minister. the rest

The Layman Online: A call to arms
Statement from the Presbyterian Lay Committee's Board of Directors

Black Churches Gather to Promote ‘Reproductive Choice’

Thursday, July 10, 2008
By Penny Starr, Senior Staff Writer

( – Members and leaders from black churches gathered at Howard University School of Divinity this week to discuss sexuality, including how to make churches inclusive for homosexuals and what they say is the failure of federally funded abstinence-only education programs.

A program of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC), a nationwide coalition of religious groups trying to advance abortion rights, the 12th annual National Black Church Summit on Sexuality featured speeches by the majority whip of the U.S. House, Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), and former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders.
the rest

How globalisation is making Anglican schisms easier

Jul 10 2008
by David Williamson
Western Mail

EXTRAORDINARY dramas in Anglicanism are but a part of a greater transformation wrought by globalisation.

There have been grand tensions and international debates within religions and denominations in the past, such as the split between Roman Catholicism and the Eastern Orthodox churches in the 11th century.

But never before has communication between factions been so simple and fast. Tracts and polemics are no longer taken by brave riders on horseback along mountain passes populated by barbarian bandits. Instead, an outraged bishop in San Francisco or Kigali can simply post a screed on a blog, which will be read by an audience of millions in hours.

This has created the incredible situation where individual parishes unhappy with local leadership start to wonder, “Why don’t we switch allegiance to that compelling chap on a different continent?”
the rest image

TIME: Could the Pope Aid an Anglican Split?

Wednesday, Jul. 09, 2008

The scene on Monday at the Synod of the Church of England was wild. The Archbishop of Canterbury cradled his head in his hands; his presumptive successor, the Archbishop of York, appeared to be tearing at his head; and a lower-ranking prelate was reduced to public tears.

The cause of this drama was a series of votes, over the vehement objections of traditionalists, allowing the church to name female bishops. To rub it in further, the Synod of the Church of England slapped down a counterproposal that would have allowed conservative parishes to avoid answering to female bishops and submit to an independent authority of special (that is, male) "superbishops" instead. Faced with this crushing denial, a sizeable chunk of traditionalist priests and bishops could well leave their church. On Wednesday, one bishop announced his intent to take his flock with him. the rest image

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Devotional: Oh, be persuaded to hide yourself in Christ Jesus!

Oh, be persuaded to hide yourself in Christ Jesus! What greater assurance of safety can you desire? He has undertaken to defend and save you, if you will come to Him. He looks upon it as His work. He engaged in it before the world was, and He has given His faithful promise which He will not break; and if you will but make your flight there, His life shall be for yours. He will answer for you, and you shall have nothing to do but rest quietly in Him. You may stand still and see what the Lord will do for you. If there is anything to suffer, the suffering is Christ's; you will have nothing to suffer. If there be anything to be done, the doing of it is Christ's; you will have nothing to do but to stand still and behold it. ...Jonathan Edwards image

Controversial gay bishop to visit Putney church

Wednesday 9th July 2008

The gay bishop whose appointment split the Anglican church is to preach from the pulpit of the historic St Mary's Church in Putney.

The Right Rev Gene Robinson's appearance on July 13 will embarrass Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams just days before a worldwide conference of church leaders. the rest image

Bp. Catherine Roskam Interview

The Right Rev. Catherine Roskam -- the fourth woman ever to be consecrated -- discusses the rise of female leadership in the Anglican Communion
July 9, 2008

A day after the Church of England's governing body voted to allow women to be consecrated as bishops, the Right Rev. Catherine Roskam was headed to the Lambeth Conference, the periodic convention of bishops from the Anglican Communion that has, since 1948, occurred once a decade.

Since the last Lambeth Conference in 1998, a gay bishop has been ordained along with a handful of women, one of whom was elected in 2006 to the highest position of the Episcopal Church of the United States.

Bishop Roskam, who holds the title of Bishop Suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of New York -- she oversees Episcopal congregations in the Hudson-Valley suburbs north of New York City -- and is the fourth woman ever to be consecrated, reflected on the rise of female leadership in the 77 million-member Anglican Communion. Edited excerpts from her interview with the Wall Street Journal follow. Interview

Ex-Anglicans will bring new life to our Church

This time, former C of E traditionalists must be allowed to stay together, says Damian Thompson
11 July 2008

"Most of all we ask for ways that allow us to bring our folk with us." Well, you can't put it plainer than that. The Rt Rev Andrew Burnham, Bishop of Ebbsfleet and one of the Church of England's three "flying bishops", wants to lead his people to Rome. And - this time round - Rome seems ready to provide the "ways" that will allow the exodus to consist of more than simply a mass of individual conversions.

On Monday night the General Synod of the Church of England, meeting in York, voted to consecrate women bishops without offering objectors anything more than a flimsy code of practice. "Make no mistake," wrote George Pitcher in the Daily Telegraph, "the Anglo-Catholics were done over." But with love, mind you: as Pitcher nicely put it, the Synod is like a mafia movie "where the luckless are stabbed in the back while they're being hugged". the rest

ZENIT - Anglican Bishop Asks Pope for Magnanimity

Attempt at a Pre-Emptive Strike in Pittsburgh

A. S. Haley
Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Normally I do not do the kind of posts entitled "Breaking: This Just In," or similar attempts at being first to comment on the news. However, this post from Lionel Deimel in Pittsburgh just came to my attention, and he gives a link to the Supplemental Petition just filed by Calvary Church of Pittsburgh. The Petition, following up on a Stipulation entered into between Calvary Church and the Diocese of Pittsburgh in 2005, seeks the appointment of a court "monitor" to oversee the expenditure of funds and any transfer of assets by Bishop Robert Duncan preparatory to, or as a result of, the Diocesan Convention on October 4, 2008---at which there will be proposed, for second reading and final passage, amendments to the Constitution of that Diocese to withdraw its accession to the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church.

the rest at Anglican Curmudgeon

Multiculturalism Run Amok

More European sharia nonsense
by Stephen Schwartz

THE INCOHERENT DEBATE over sharia, or Islamic law, continues in Britain. The main culprit: multicultural confusion among non-Muslim leaders. In February, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams argued that the introduction of sharia as a separate legal system for British Muslims is "unavoidable" (see this article). Williams's comments produced widespread alarm and condemnation, so Britain's Lord Chief Justice, Baron Phillips of Worth Matravers then stepped in. (He's the rough equivalent of our Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, but with more latitude for public tomfoolery.)

Phillips declared early this month that family and business disputes can be submitted to sharia mediation in Britain. He was careful to specify that "hudud" punishments for moral and criminal charges, such as flogging, stoning of adulterers, cutting off the hands of thieves, and capital sentences should not be imposed under sharia in Britain. But even his language regarding marital and commercial matters was off the mark. the rest

Added: Sharia Showdown on Wall Street

‘Anglo-Catholics must now decide’

By the Rt Rev Andrew Burnham
Bishop of Ebbsfleet
11 July 2008

So we are to have a code of practice. Traditional Anglo-Catholics must now decide whether to stay in the Church of England in what, for a while, will be a protected colony - where the sacramental ministry of women bishops and priests is neither acknowledged nor received - or to leave.

Leaving isn't quite so easy as it sounds. You don't become a Catholic, for instance, because of what is wrong with another denomination or faith. You become a Catholic because you accept that the Catholic Church is what she says she is and the Catholic faith is what it says it is. In short, some Anglo-Catholics will stay and others will go. It is quite easy to think of unworthy reasons for staying - and there are no doubt one or two unworthy reasons for leaving.

There are also honourable reasons for staying. Like the Anglican clergy who wouldn't swear allegiance to William and Mary at the end of the 17th century and the Catholic clergy who wouldn't swear allegiance to the French Revolutionary government a century later, the "non-jurors" of the present day will soldier on and die out but they will be faithful to what they have believed and history will honour them for their faithfulness. the rest image

Lambeth Final Report Will Reflect ‘Indaba’ Process

July 9, 2008

Members of the Anglican Communion await with interest news of what will transpire at the Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops, said the Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon in an e-mail letter on behalf of the Lambeth Conference Design and Planning Groups to bishops registered to attend the event July 16-Aug. 3.

Previous reports indicated there would be no resolutions or final statements following the once-every-10-year gathering of bishops in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury. In his instructions to conference planners, Canon Kearon said Archbishop Rowan Williams sought a conference free from “political posturing or parliamentary process." However, the secretary general of the Anglican Consultative Council said that a “reflections document, which will be a faithful account of the fruit of the 14th Lambeth Conference,” was the end result of the indaba process all along.

“An indaba first and foremost acknowledges that there are issues that need to be addressed effectively to foster ongoing communal living,” he wrote. “In our case, it is issues which affect the whole Communion as reflected in our daily themes. the rest

Letter and comments at Stand Firm

Episcopal Women's Caucus applauds CofE vote

July 8, 2008

The Episcopal Women's Caucus (EWC) Board applauds the Church of England Synod's vote on July 7 to "affirm that the wish of its majority is for women to be admitted to the episcopate" and to prepare by February 2009 a first draft of a "national code of practice" outlining how this will be accomplished."

The Caucus is celebrating this great news," said EWC President Elizabeth Kaeton. "The Church of England 'allows' women to be ordained to the diaconate, and for the past 15 years the C of E has 'allowed' us be ordained to the priesthood. But women have not been 'allowed' to be appointed bishops, keeping the stained glass ceiling firmly in place."Bishops are appointed in the Church of England, not elected in a diocese by clergy and laity as they are in The Episcopal Church. the rest at Virtueonline

Jubilation, lamentation after Church of England vote on women bishops

by Jennifer Gold
Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Divisions are running deep in the Church of England as traditionalists continue to express disappointment and dismay at Monday’s vote in support of women bishops, whilst modernisers celebrate what they believe will be a more inclusive Church.

General Synod, the Church’s ruling body, voted on Monday night after a six-hour debate to confirm the process towards the ordination of women bishops but rejected proposals to appoint “super bishops” or new dioceses to cater for objectors.

Synod members instead voted in favour of a statutory code of practice detailing how to accommodate opponents that will be debated at next February’s Synod in London. the rest

Evangelical Leaders to Support McCain

Ninety, not including Dobson, met in Denver last week. They will ask McCain to consider Huckabee as VP candidate.
Adelle M. Banks, Religion News Service

More than 90 evangelical leaders met in Denver Tuesday, July 1, and decided to support Sen. John McCain as the presidential candidate who most shares their values.

Attendees agreed that they are concerned about issues like immigration and gun rights, but determined that opposing abortion and gay marriage are so central that they have no choice but to support McCain. the rest

Prominent Abortionist Admits Abortion 'Cancels' Souls

By Alexander J. Sheffrin
Christian Post Reporter
Wed, Jul. 09 2008

Dr. William Harrison, notable for being Hillary Clinton’s former OB-GYN as well as for performing over 20,000 abortions, has admitted in recent a e-mail exchange with a prominent Christian psychologist that abortion “cancels” a human soul.

“Anyone who has delivered as many babies as I have, and has seen hundreds of living and dead embryos and fetuses being spontaneously aborted as have I, knows exactly what we are doing when we provide an elective abortion for our patient. We are ending the life of an embryo or a fetus,” Harrison wrote in an e-mail to Dr. Warren Throckmorton, associate professor of Psychology at Grove City College in Pennsylvania.

“Physicians who save wanted babies from being spontaneously aborted (and we can save a few now that God once seemed determined to abort), and we who cancel ‘luckless human souls’ are doing God’s work,” he concluded. the rest image

Lawsuit against Zondervan complains about Bible statements on homosexuality

The Grand Rapids Press
July 09, 2008

CASCADE TOWNSHIP -- A Canton man is suing Zondervan Publishing and a Tennessee-based publisher, claiming their versions of the Bible that refer to homosexuality as a sin violate his constitutional rights and has caused him emotional pain and mental instability.

Bradley LaShawn Fowler, 39, is seeking $60 million from Zondervan, based in Cascade Township, and another $10 million from Thomas Nelson Publishing in the lawsuits filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Fowler filed the suit against Zondervan on Monday, the same day U.S. District Judge Julian Abele Cook Jr. refused to appoint an attorney to represent him in his case against Thomas Nelson, a Tennessee publisher. Fowler filed a suit against Thomas Nelson in June. He is representing himself in both claims.

"The Court has some very genuine concerns about the nature and efficacy of these claims," the judge wrote. the rest image

Women at Pakistan's Red Mosque vow babies for jihad

By Zeeshan Haider
July 9, 2008

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - About 2,000 Islamist women gathered at the radical Red Mosque in the Pakistani capital on Wednesday and vowed to raise their children for holy war, days after a suicide bomber killed 18 people after a similar rally.

Chanting slogans of "jihad is our way", burqa-clad women, some with babies, listened to fiery speeches from the daughter of the mosque's jailed cleric on the eve of the anniversary of a commando raid on the complex in which more than 100 people died.

"Our mujahideen (fighters) laid down their lives for the enforcement of the Islamic system in Pakistan. We are left behind to carry forward their mission," the daughter of cleric Abdul Aziz told the tightly guarded rally in the mosque compound. the rest

The media and Obama: Journalistic Magicians

by Seton Motley

Look for the liberal media to continue repeatedly reporting Obama-as-faithful-Christian stories, devoid of any references to the detestable Rev. Wright who Obama himself says made him so. All a part of an image fraudulently crafted by the press to maximize the Senate’s most liberal member’s mainstream credibility.

It’s a kind of magic. I guess. the rest image

15 things you should know about “The Race”: By Michelle Malkin

Pro-Homosexual Denominations Lose Members

By J. Grank Swank Jr.
Jun 29, 2008 - 1:00:50 AM

The Episcopal Church has been at the forefront of baptizing active homosexual lifestyle as God-blessed.

Since 1960, that denomination has decreased in membership by 48%.

The United Methodist Church has been roiled by those adamant on establishing homosexual lifestyles as Christian legitimate. In the fight for one side or another that denomination has decreased in membership by 25%.

The Presbyterian Church (USA) has likewise been embroiled in the tussle. That denomination has decreased in membership by 44%.

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has also been riddled with in-house fighting over homosexual lifestyles as anti-God or pro-God. That denomination's membership has decreased 74%.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America has permitted the fight to be more open, some in administration arguing homosexual lifestyles as okay with God. That denomination's membership has decreased by 31%. the rest

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Devotional: Let everything praise the Lord...

Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary;
Praise Him in His mighty firmament!

Praise Him for His mighty acts;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!

Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet;
Praise Him with the lute and harp!

Praise Him with the timbrel and dance;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!

Praise Him with loud cymbals;
Praise Him with crashing cymbals!

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord!
...Psalm 150 image

UK: Sleepwalking into Islamisation

by Melanie Phillips
Dail Mail, 8 July 2008

In February, Christian evangelists Arthur Cunningham and Joseph Abraham were handing out Bible extracts in Alum Rock, Birmingham. They were stopped by a Muslim Police Community Support Officer, threatened with arrest if they carried on preaching in ‘a Muslim area’, and warned that they might get beaten up if they came back.

What on earth is happening when, in the heart of England, a British police support officer, employed by the British state to enforce the law of England, aggressively prevents Christians from preaching the established faith of England on the grounds that this is now a ‘hate crime’?

When the Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, warned that Britain was developing Muslim nogo areas, he was denounced as Islamophobic.

The Establishment queued up to say they didn’t recognise the Britain he was describing. But British public life is progressively being Islamised, with Muslim radicals in areas with large concentrations of Muslims increasingly intimidating non-Muslims.

After a vicar in East London, Canon Michael Ainsworth, was beaten up by three Muslims in his own churchyard in March, it was revealed that there had been many attacks on churches in the area by such youths, who on one occasion shouted: ‘This should not be a church, this should be a mosque.’

Yet last month, one of the youths in the Ainsworth attack walked free after a judge accepted his claim that the attack was not religiously motivated.

Sharia law is steadily encroaching into British institutions. Last week, Lord Phillips, the most senior judge in England and Wales, said it could play a role in some parts of the legal system.

This followed comments by the Archbishop of Canterbury who declared that Muslim families should be able to choose between English and Islamic law in marital and family issues.

But the fact is that Britain is already developing a parallel sharia jurisdiction in such matters, with a blind eye being turned to such practices as forced marriage, cousin marriage, female genital mutilation and polygamy; indeed, welfare benefits are now given to the multiple wives of Muslim men. Full commentary image

Former atheist Miranda Threlfall-Holmes leads candidates to be female bishop

Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent
The Times
July 9, 2008

Women priests who might become bishops include London vicar Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Southwark's Christine Hardman, Dean of Leicester Vivienne Faull, Dean of Salisbury June Osborne, Westminster Abbey's Canon Jane Hedges and St Paul's Canon Lucy Winkett.

But high up the list of potential candidates among the 1,500-plus stipendiary women priests is the slim, auburn-haired Dr Miranda Threlfall-Holmes, a mother of two children in her mid-thirties.

Former atheist Dr Threlfall-Holmes, whose motion for a simple measure to consecrate women without even a code of practice for traditionalists was defeated by the General Synod, was at a girls' grammar school in 1992 when the General Synod voted to ordain women priests. the rest

C of E bishop will lead Anglicans to Rome

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Bishop of Ebbsfleet, the Rt Rev Andrew Burnham, is to lead his fellow Anglo-Catholics from the Church of England into the Roman Catholic Church, the Catholic Herald will reveal this week.

Bishop Burnham, one of two "flying bishops" in the province of Canterbury, has made a statement asking Pope Benedict XVI and the English Catholic bishops for "magnanimous gestures" that will allow traditionalists to become Catholics en masse.

He is confident that this will happen, following talks in Rome with Cardinal Levada, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Cardinal Kasper, the Vatican's head of ecumenism. He was accompanied on his visit by the Rt Rev Keith Newton, Bishop of Richborough, the other Canterbury "flying bishop", who is expected to follow his example. the rest

ENS: Interview with the Presiding Bishop on the Lambeth Conference

By Neva Rae Fox
July 08, 2008

[Episcopal News Service] As the Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion prepare for the Lambeth Conference, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori shared her views and her hopes for the July 16-August 3 gathering in a recent question-and-answer session.

ENS: You addressed the topic of the Lambeth Conference in a webcast on May 20. At that time you called the Lambeth Conference an opportunity for bishops throughout the Anglican Communion to meet each other, that "we encounter each other as human beings working in vastly different contexts around the globe and that we build relationships." Do you maintain that view of the Lambeth Conference?

KJS: Yes.

ENS: What do you see as the heart of the Lambeth Conference?

KJS: Conversation, spending time together, and beginning to learn something about each others' contexts. the rest

Brazilian Judge: Catholic Priest's Book Denouncing Witchcraft Must be Removed from Bookstores

Declares that state government has obligation to preserve "respectability" and "permanence" of such practices
By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

BAHIA, BRAZIL, July 7, 2008 ( - A judge in the state of Bahia, Brazil, has ordered the confiscation of a book written by Catholic priest Jonas Abib, in which he condemns witchcraft as immoral.

The book, "Yes, Yes! No, No! Reflections on Healing and Liberation," warns readers against the dangers of the occult, which includes the "Afro-Brazilian" religions known as "spiritualism." According to Fr. Abib's website, the book has gone through 81 printings and has sold over 400,000 copies.

"Father Jonas, like Paul, dares to denounce works of darkness, making the reader aware of mind control, yoga, astrology, magic, and the invocation of the dead, revealing the truth about works of darkness, with which it is urgently necessary to separate," says a summary of the book posted on the same site. the rest

Vatican says Anglican church's plan for women bishops 'a step backwards'

By Nick Pisa in Rome

The Vatican has criticised a decision by the Church of England that paves the way for the future ordination of women bishops.

Officials said that the announcement was a "step backward" for reconciliation between the two faiths that split nearly 500 years ago.

The Pontifical Council for Christian Unity said it had learnt of the Church of England's decision "with regret", and warned that it would have "consequences for future dialogue, which until now has been very fruitful".

"This decision is a breach with the apostolic tradition maintained by all Churches from the first millennium, and for that reason it is a further obstacle for reconciliation between the Catholic Church and the Church of England." the rest image

Alberta Pastor Convicted of Hate Speech Appeals Human Rights Commission Ruling

Monday July 7, 2008
By John Jalsevac
July 7, 2008

( - Alberta Pastor Steve Boissoin has filed an appeal to the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal ruling that convicted him of hate speech. The pastor was found guilty last November of having written a letter to the editor in the Red Deer Advocate that was "likely" to expose homosexuals to hatred.

The appeal was filed on June 26 with the Queen's Bench of Alberta.

A hearing has preliminarily been set for September 9, although that date could change during negotiations between the involved parties. the rest

Benedict to star in TV bible show

July 07, 2008

In a pontifical first, Pope Benedict will read the Bible for an Italian television show to be broadcast later this year.

ANSA reports the pope will kick off the six day marathon by reading the first chapter of Genesis in Italian on October 5, the head of Italian state broadcaster RAI's Vatican department, Giuseppe De Carli, announced last week.

Benedict's reading, which will take around an hour, will be broadcast on RAI Uno although organisers have not yet decided whether the papal performance will be live or pre-recorded.

The pope himself is said to have expressed a preference to read live from St Peter's Basilica. the rest