Saturday, May 16, 2009

Parents fight homosexual indoctrination of kindergarteners

Charlie Butts

A California school district seems intent on teaching pre-school children to accept the homosexual lifestyle.

The Alameda Unified School District announced it was considering a supplemental curriculum to eradicate "homophobia" in kindergarten children. Brad Dacus, founder of the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), said the meeting room for the public session earlier this week was overcrowded with angry parents.

"Nowhere at anytime did it give any protection for children being bullied because of their faith, their religion, their size, their race, ethnicity," he points out. "It is only going to give this special anti-bullying protection for homosexuals and transsexuals." the rest

Parishes and Diocese of New Westminster head for trial on May 25 over church property

Mediation unsuccessful
15 May 2009

After one and a half days of mediation with Chief Justice Donald Brenner acting as the mediator, the Diocese of New Westminster and four Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) parishes – St. John’s (Shaughnessy), St. Matthias and St. Luke, and Church of the Good Shepherd in Vancouver, and St. Matthews in Abbotsford – failed to reach an agreement. The dispute over church properties will now proceed to trial in the BC Supreme Court commencing May 25.

On January 6, 2009, the parties appeared before Chief Justice Brenner requesting an expedited trial process and permission was granted. To reduce the time for trial and pre-trial procedures, they agreed to exchange most of their evidence by affidavits and cross-examine a number of witnesses before the trial. The trial begins May 25 and is set for three weeks.

Earlier this year, the ANiC parishes served a “Notice to Mediate” on the Diocese of New Westminster. The mediation was scheduled for two full days (May 14 and 15) but by noon today, an impasse was reached.

“We are very disappointed a settlement could not be reached”, said Cheryl Chang, Chancellor of ANiC. “We were really hoping we could achieve a peaceful, mutually beneficial resolution of the matters in dispute.”

This dispute arises from the current divide in the global Anglican Communion over profound theological differences. The Anglican Church of Canada’s (ACoC) Primates’ Theological Commission, in its recent “Galilee Report” acknowledged the division among the ACoC’s own theologians, reflecting the division in the broader Anglican Church. The report said, “We are not of one mind among ourselves”. Similarly, the recent meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council – one of the “Instruments of Unity” in the global Anglican Communion – demonstrated the depth of the division. the rest-pdf

Canadian church dispute to go to court

5-Year-Old Christian Boy Kidnapped, Killed in Iraq

By Anne Thomas
Christian Today Reporter
Sat, May. 16 2009

A five-year-old Christian boy was kidnapped and executed by an unknown group who demanded a ransom of $50,000 for his release, a persecution watchdog group reported this week.

Tony Adwar Shawell was kidnapped on March 5. His body was found with numerous bullet wounds on May 11, according to International Christian Concern.

Since the U.S.-led invasion of 2003 it has become commonplace for criminal gangs and Islamic militants to kidnap and murder Christians. Christians are often mistakenly believed to have rich relatives in the West, making them a prime target for kidnappings. The identity of the Shawell's killers is so far unknown. the rest

Democratic Party Activist Unveils New Strategy to Demonize Pro-Life Catholics

by Deal Hudson
May 13, 2009 Note: Deal W. Hudson is the director of the Morley Institute for Church & Culture and, and is the former publisher and editor of CRISIS Magazine, a Catholic monthly. He is the author of six books and his articles and comments have been published in many newspapers and magazines.

Bob Shrum, a well-known Democratic party operative, published a column today unveiling the new Catholic outreach strategy for Catholic outreach.

Here's the basic approach: To demonize orthodox Catholics, including priests and bishops, who follow the teaching of the Church on the priority of life issues in politics. the rest

Priest tells Vatican academy Obama's policies lead to totalitarianism

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A Belgian priest told a Vatican academy that U.S. President Barack Obama's pro-abortion policies will lead the United States toward totalitarianism.

"By removing legal safeguards for the protection of life," Obama will increase the number of victims of criminal laws, said Father Michel Schooyans, a retired professor of theology and philosophy at the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium.

A democratic society that allows people in power to invoke "subjective 'new rights' that allow for the elimination of certain categories of human beings is a society well on the way to totalitarianism," he said May 1. the rest

Friday, May 15, 2009

Devotional: Resting on God

O God, most high, most glorious, the thought of Thine infinite serenity cheers me, for I am toiling and moiling, troubled and distressed, but Thou art for ever at perfect peace. Thy designs cause thee no fear or care of unfulfilment, they stand fast as the eternal hills. Thy power knows no bond, Thy goodness no stint. Thou bringest order out of confusion, and my defeats are Thy victories: The Lord God omnipotent reigneth.

I come to Thee as a sinner with cares and sorrows, to leave every concern entirely to Thee, every sin calling for Christ's precious blood; revive deep spirituality in my heart; let me live near to the great Shepherd, hear His voice, know its tones, follow its calls. Keep me from deception by causing me to abide in the truth, from harm by helping me to walk in the power of the Spirit. Give me intenser faith in the eternal verities, burning into me by experience the things I know; Let me never be ashamed of the truth of the gospel, that I may bear its reproach, vindicate it, see Jesus as its essence, know in it the power of the Spirit.

Lord, help me, for I am often lukewarm and chill; unbelief mars my confidence, sin makes me forget Thee. Let the weeds that grow in my soul be cut at their roots; grant me to know that I truly live only when I live to Thee, that all else is trifling. Thy presence alone can make me holy, devout, strong and happy. Abide in me, gracious God. ...Puritan Prayers image

Superior Court Denies LA Episcopal Diocese’s Motion for Attorney’s Fees

Posted by Kendall Harmon
(Press Release)

SANTA ANA, Calif. – May 15, 2009 – Orange County Superior Court Judge Thierry P. Colaw today denied a motion by the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles which would have forced St. James Church and its volunteer board of directors to pay the Diocese’s attorneys’ fees in this ongoing property dispute.The case began when St. James Church disaffiliated from the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and the Episcopal Church over theological differences in August 2004.

The Diocese then sued St. James Church, All Saints Church in Long Beach, and St. David’s Church in North Hollywood, and each of their volunteer board members in September 2004.

Subsequently, the national Episcopal Church intervened in the lawsuit with its own claims. The three local churches brought special motions to strike the Diocese’s suit under a unique California statute providing for early evaluation of cases involving free speech rights.The Superior Court initially granted St. James Church’s motion, but the case made its way to the California Supreme Court, which reversed and reinstated the Diocese’s suit. St. James Church recently announced that it will file a petition for writ of certiorari with the United States Supreme Court to seek further appellate review. Even as St. James Church prepares its bid to the United States Supreme Court, the case continues to proceed in the Superior Court.

the rest at TitusOneNine

40,000 faithful flock to Pope's sermon on the mount

May 15, 2009

The mass came after the Pope on Wednesday branded the West Bank separation barrier a symbol of "stalemate" between Israel and the Palestinians, urging both sides to break a "spiral of violence".

Tens of thousands of pilgrims, including Australians, thronged to the beat of drums and tambourines to witness the Pope celebrate his largest Holy Land mass.

At least 40,000 people filled the stands at the hastily constructed outdoor amphitheatre on Mount Precipice, just outside the city.

The crowds were joyous, with youngsters racing up and down the steep gravel slopes of the amphitheatre as groups of teenagers played guitar, beat drums and sang Christian hymns in several languages. The crowd waved a sea of flags. the rest

Cast your vote: Is it the end of the road for the Anglican Covenant?


Gay Hate Crimes against Churches?

By Jospeh Morales
posted May 15, 2009

A Law suit was filed in federal court May 13, 2009 against a radical anarchist group that openly advocates the use of riots and crime to further its views in favor of homosexual behavior. The complaint was filed on behalf of Delta Township’s Mount Hope Church in Michigan against the group “Bash Back!,” which invaded the church’s building during a worship service on Nov. 9 of last year.

“The use of violent threats and criminal behavior to make a political point should never be acceptable in America,” said ADF attorney Gary McCaleb. “Bash Back! revealed how dangerous the homosexual agenda is to our First Liberty, religious freedom. We filed this suit to stop Bash Back! and other activist groups from invading churches, disrupting worship, silencing pastors, and terrifying adults and children who attend religious services.”

The Bash Back! Web site, which features a banner photo of members dressed in terrorist-like garb and wielding various objects as weapons, states on one page of the site that the group’s activities include “Riots, Sex Work, Crime, Insurrection, you know the fun stuff we do.” The Lansing chapter of the group targeted Mount Hope Church because of the church’s well-known Christian views on marriage and homosexual behavior. Through another page of its Web site, the group covertly recruited participants for its plans on Nov. 9, seeking some who would be willing to maintain “a more ‘militant’-looking presence out side [sic] of the building.” the rest

More Americans “Pro-Life” Than “Pro-Choice” for First Time

Also, fewer think abortion should be legal “under any circumstances”
by Lydia Saad
May 15, 2009

PRINCETON, NJ -- A new Gallup Poll, conducted May 7-10, finds 51% of Americans calling themselves "pro-life" on the issue of abortion and 42% "pro-choice." This is the first time a majority of U.S. adults have identified themselves as pro-life since Gallup began asking this question in 1995.

The new results, obtained from Gallup's annual Values and Beliefs survey, represent a significant shift from a year ago, when 50% were pro-choice and 44% pro-life. Prior to now, the highest percentage identifying as pro-life was 46%, in both August 2001 and May 2002. the rest

ACC backs up Windsor moratoriums

15 May, 2009

The ACC has “affirmed” rather than simply “noted” the recommendations of the Windsor Continuation Group (WCG), which has been addressing the call for moratoriums on same-sex blessings, cross-border interventions, and the ordination of gay and lesbian people as bishops, writes Pat Ashworth.

A move to introduce a fourth moratorium, the “cessation of litigation”, was lost by a margin of just one vote. Litigation has been initiated by both sides, and dissenting conser­vatives in North America believe that the future of many of their clergy and congrega­tions is threatened by it.

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States, Dr Katharine Jefferts Schori, said that bishops had a moral and fiduciary responsibility to protect church assets. She was supported in that view by the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan. the rest

Ephraim Radner: Some reflections on ACC 14 and the Anglican Covenant

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

A number of persons from around the Communion have asked me for my perspective on the recent ACC meeting’s treatment of the proposed Anglican Covenant. There are at least two reasons, I suppose, why my opinion might be solicited. First, I have been a member of the Covenant Design Group that, over the past two and half years has worked at the drafting of this document. Obviously, I have a particular stake in what happens to the work we have spent over 30 full days in prayer, study, and labor producing. But second, I have long argued that doctrinally traditional Anglicans like myself should both be engaged in the Covenant’s promise and articulation but also willing to maintain that engagement from a posture of continued communion within and among our divided member churches. There are many who now wonder whether the outcome to the ACC meeting undercuts that argument. the rest

Chaos as ACC battle on Covenant Plan

George Conger in CEN
Posted by Kendall Harmon
May 15, 2009

THE ANGLICAN Consultative Council (ACC) will not endorse the Anglican Covenant and has voted to send it back to committee for further review. The vote comes as a major defeat for the Archbishop of Canterbury who had championed the Covenant as the one way to keep the Anglican Communion from splitting.

However the defeat appears self-inflicted, as Dr Rowan Williams’ ambiguous intervention in the closing moments of the Covenant debate confused some delegates, and resulted in the adoption of a compromise resolution that holds off acceptance of the Covenant until a new committee reviews and revises the disciplinary provisions in section 4 of the agreement —- a process ACC secretary general Canon Kenneth Kearon said could take up to a year.

Questions of perfidy and incompetence were lodged against Dr Williams by conservative members of the ACC in inter views with The Church of England Newspaper immediately following the vote. But the anger with Dr Williams’ performance softened to exasperation by the following day for some conservative delegates to the May 2-12 meeting. the rest at Titusonenine

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Devotional: All the paths of the Lord are loving and faithful...

All the paths of the Lord are loving and faithful" Psalm 25:10

I have pondered this verse lately, and have found that it feeds my spirit. All does not mean "all - except the paths I am walking in now," or "nearly all - except this especially difficult and painful path." All must mean all. So, your path with its unexplained sorrow or turmoil, and mine with its sharp flints and briers - and both our paths, with their unexplained perplexity, their sheer mystery - they are His paths, on which he will show himself loving and faithful. Nothing else; nothing less.
...Amy Carmichael image

Obama Administration Officials Pull Report Calling Pro-Life Advocates Extremists

by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 14, 2009

Washington, DC ( -- The Obama administration has officially pulled a Department of Homeland Security Report that claims pro-life people may engage in violence or extremism. The document, which has already been sent to police and sheriffs offices across the country, sparked national outrage.

The DHS document warned law officials about a supposed rise in "rightwing extremist activity," saying the poor economy and presence of a black president could spark problems.

A footnote attached to the nine-page report from the Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis said the activities of pro-life advocates is included in "rightwing extremism in the United States.” the rest

First Black Saudi Appointed Imam of Haram Mosque in Mecca Accuses Shi'ites of Apostasy

Discusses Driving Jews and Christians Out of Arabian Peninsula; Claims His Appointment 'More Significant' than Obama's Election

Following are excerpts from interviews with Sheikhh Adel Al-Kalbani, imam of the Al-Haram Mosque in Mecca, which aired on BBC Arabic on May 5, 2009 and Al-Arabiya TV on February 27, 2009.

BBC Arabic, May 5, 3009:
To view this clip on MEMRI TV, visit

On BBC Arabic: I View Shi'ite Religious Scholars as Apostates

Interviewer: "Do you support those who accuse Shi'ites of apostasy?"

Sheikhh Adel Al-Kalbani: "With regard to the laymen among the Shi'ites — this is debatable. But their religious scholars — I view them as apostates.

Interviewer: All of them?"

Sheikhh Adel Al-Kalbani: "With regard to the religious scholars, yes." [...]

Interviewer: "Are you in favor of allowing religious liberties in general?"

Sheikh Adel Al-Kalbani: "For us, liberty has limits. Would you allow a mosque to be built in the Vatican?" the rest

DUIN: Marriage as a Mormon value

By Julia Duin
May 14, 2009

Anyone wonder why the Mormons do so well at marrying off their young? I learned why last Sunday when I dropped by the ward in Chevy Chase, a brick building on Western Avenue. Sharply dressed 20-something women and men in white shirts and ties chatted in the foyer underneath scenes from the Book of Mormon. A few couples clasped hands.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' percentage of married members (71 percent) is second only to Hindus (79 percent), according to the Pew Forum. Every other religious group ranges from 57 percent to 60 percent.

One reason for these Mormon twosomes is that their church actively fosters meet-ups. There are whole Young Single Adult (YSA) wards for the 18-to-30-year-old set, such as Colonial 1 in Alexandria, which is loaded with single law students, lawyers and Capitol Hill worker bees. the rest

Demanding to Be Served: Gay Activists and Religious Freedom

By Chuck Colson

eHarmony is a popular online dating service designed by Neil Clark Warren, an evangelical Christian psychologist. The site claims that, on average, 236 eHarmony members marry every day. That’s good news.

The bad news is that, in 2005, a man claimed the company violated his rights by not offering a matchmaking service to homosexuals. He lodged a complaint with the New Jersey attorney general, who found probable cause that eHarmony had violated state anti-discrimination laws. eHarmony vigorously disagreed.

Nevertheless, last year, eHarmony agreed to develop a matchmaking service for same-sex couples—and pay $55,000 in fines.

As I said yesterday on BreakPoint, we’ve seen this scenario over and over again. Christians or Orthodox Jews open up a business, ministry, or school, and sooner or later, a same-sex couple shows up demanding services that conflict with the sincerely held religious convictions of those they confront. When the same-sex couple is turned down, they promptly sue—even if others offer to accommodate them for the same services. And too often, they are winning their cases.

It’s as if the First Amendment no longer exists. I can’t help but suspect that radical gays deliberately target outfits run by religious believers in order to force them to accommodate their political agenda—or go out of business. the rest

Notre Dame President Sits on Board of Directors of Pro-Abortion, Pro-Contraception Organization

Wednesday May 13, 2009
By Alex Bush and John Jalsevac

SOUTH BEND, Indiana, May 13, 2009 ( - Fr. John Jenkins, President of Notre Dame University, sits on the board of directors of Millennium Promise, an organization dedicated to fighting poverty in Africa that promotes contraceptives and abortion, it has been revealed.

The finding comes as the controversy over President Obama's award and speech at the University reaches a fever pitch in the last week before the event. As the president of Notre Dame, Fr. Jenkins has received the majority of the heat for the scandal. However, despite the criticism of over 70 U.S. bishops and over 350,000 petitioners, Jenkins has steadfastly continued to defend the university's honoring of the president. In a letter to graduating students dated this past Monday, Jenkins said that Obama is "a remarkable figure in American history and I look forward to welcoming him to Notre Dame."

Fr. Jenkins' involvement on the board of the Millennium Promise was first reported by the Drew Mariani Show and (See the list of board members here) Patrick Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society, a Catholic education watchdog organization, responded to the news of Fr. Jenkins' involvement in Millennium Promise, saying in an interview with LSN, "One has to wonder what Fr. Jenkins' opinion is of the Church's teaching on contraception." the rest

C of E Newspaper: anti- Christian bias is on rise

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

A time of anti-Christian persecution is at hand and the Equality Bill could make matters far worse, says the Church of England Newspaper.

The newspaper, one of the oldest in the world dating back to 1828, is concerned about the growing punishment of Christians who publicly criticise homosexual conduct.

“The government had better start building more prison space — for Christians and moral conservatives generally,” says an editorial in the latest edition.

“We are now used to hearing of such folk being sacked and losing their appeals for daring to air any view which criticises or disapproves of gay sex.”

But the paper is worried that the new Equality Bill and a Government bid to delete a free speech protection from a ‘homophobic hatred’ law will lead to more intolerance against Christian views. the rest

Pope gunman: I want to convert to Christianity

May 13, 2009
Associated Press Writer

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -- The man who shot Pope John Paul II says he would like to convert to Christianity at a baptism ceremony at the Vatican soon after his release from prison in January, his lawyer said Wednesday.

Over the years, Mehmet Ali Agca has made frequent claims that he is the Messiah or Jesus Christ, raising questions about his mental health and leading to speculation that he had converted to Christianity.

"Agca is not formally a Christian," lawyer Haci Ali Ozhan told The Associated Press. "When he converts, he would like a baptism ceremony at the Vatican," Ozhan said, relaying comments Agca made during a recent prison meeting. the rest

Tincture of Lawlessness: Obama's Overreaching Economic Policies

By George F. Will
Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Economist says the administration has "ridden roughshod over [creditors'] legitimate claims over the [automobile companies'] assets. . . . Bankruptcies involve dividing a shrunken pie. But not all claims are equal: some lenders provide cheaper funds to firms in return for a more secure claim over the assets should things go wrong. They rank above other stakeholders, including shareholders and employees. This principle is now being trashed." Tom Lauria, a lawyer representing hedge fund people trashed by the president as the cause of Chrysler's bankruptcy, asked that his clients' names not be published for fear of violence threatened in e-mails to them.

The Troubled Assets Relief Program, which has not yet been used for its supposed purpose (to purchase such assets from banks), has been the instrument of the administration's adventure in the automobile industry. TARP's $700 billion, like much of the supposed "stimulus" money, is a slush fund the executive branch can use as it pleases. This is as lawless as it would be for Congress to say to the IRS: We need $3.5 trillion to run the government next year, so raise it however you wish -- from whomever, at whatever rates you think suitable. Don't bother us with details.

This is not gross, unambiguous lawlessness of the Nixonian sort -- burglaries, abuse of the IRS and FBI, etc. -- but it is uncomfortably close to an abuse of power that perhaps gave Nixon ideas: When in 1962 the steel industry raised prices, President John F. Kennedy had a tantrum and his administration leaked rumors that the IRS would conduct audits of steel executives, and sent FBI agents on predawn visits to the homes of journalists who covered the steel industry, ostensibly to further a legitimate investigation. the rest

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

P.B. Opposes Revisiting Resolution B033

May 13, 2009

This year’s General Convention will be a “magic kingdom” to rival the nearby Disneyland amusement park, according to the three senior officers in charge of convention planning and the bishop of the host diocese. The four spoke at a press conference broadcast over the internet on May 13.

“What happens at General Convention will affect you,” Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said in response to a question emailed by a viewer. “It governs how your diocese is served by church-wide staff and how your diocese uses church-wide resources.”

In addition to Bishop Jefferts Schori, participants included Bonnie Anderson, president of the House of Deputies; the Rev. Gregory Straub, executive officer and secretary of General Convention; and the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, Bishop of Los Angeles.

A number of viewers wanted to know how results from the recently concluded meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council might affect convention. Bishop Jefferts Schori said the need to debate the proposed Anglican Covenant obviously was a moot point since it failed to pass during the ACC meeting in Jamaica last week. the rest

New Life in Christ: What it Looks Like, What it Demands

By Charles J. Chaput
Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., is archbishop of Denver
Monday, May 11, 2009

Because our culture has given Jesus a make-over. We’ve remade him in the image and likeness of generic compassion. Today he’s not the Lord, the Son of God, but more like an enlightened humanist nice guy.

The problem is this: If Jesus isn’t Lord, if he isn’t the Son of God, then he can’t do anything for us. Then the Gospel is just one more or less interesting philosophy of life. And that’s my first point about how we need to live in a secular age: We need to trust the gospels, and we need to trust the Church that gives us the gospels. We need to truly believe that Jesus is the Son of God and the son of Mary; true God and true man; the One who holds the words of eternal life. If we aren’t committed to that truth, then nothing else I say in this article can make any sense.

Here’s a second point: Jesus didn’t come down from heaven to tell us to go to church on Sunday. He didn’t die on the cross and rise from the dead so that we’d pray more at home and be a little kinder to our next-door neighbors. The one thing even non-believers can see is that the Gospels aren’t compromise documents. Jesus wants all of us. And not just on Sundays. He wants us to love God with all our heart, all our soul, all our strength, and all our mind. He wants us to love our neighbor as ourselves. In other words, with a love that’s total.

We need to take Christ at his word. We need to love him like our lives depend on it. Right now. And without excuses. Remember the man in Scripture who told Jesus: I’m ready to be your disciple, but first I need to plan my father’s funeral? The way Jesus responds is very blunt and rather disturbing: “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. Follow me and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Of course, he’s not commanding us to show disrespect for our parents. What Jesus is saying is that there can be no more urgent priority in our lives than following him and proclaiming his kingdom.

My third point flows from the first two: Being a follower of Jesus Christ is not just one among many different aspects of your daily life. Being a Christian is who you are. Period. And being a Christian means your life has a mission. It means striving every day to be a better follower, to become more like Jesus in your thoughts and actions. the rest

Choosing not to abort babies with disabilities

Sunday, May 10, 2009
Julia Duin

Nancy Mayer-Whittington remembers it as though it were yesterday; the joy of learning she was pregnant followed by the news that her daughter's first day of life would be her last.

Nearly 15 years later, she still weeps at the memory of how on the afternoon of Nov. 17, 1994, her gray-eyed daughter Angela lived barely 10 minutes, the victim of Trisomy 18, a fatal genetic defect. Pictures of the dark-haired little girl, robed in a white christening gown, are still scattered about her suburban Maryland home.

She was the first woman her doctor knew who had decided to keep her pregnancy. All his other patients in similar situations had aborted.

"I was so happy I did what I did," she says of her decision to bring Angela to term. "You get to see your child's birth and death all collapsed in one time frame. What most people want for their kids is for them to go to heaven. You get to complete that journey with them. As a parent, that is unbelievable. Life is about relationship to God. You know that when you literally pass them from your hands to His." the rest

AnglicanTV: ACC 14 Alternative Press Conference

Part One

Part Two

Anglican leaders criticised on Israel statement

Anglican supporters of Israel speak out over a statement criticising the state'soccupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip
From Times Online
May 13, 2009
Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

Anglican supporters of the state of Israel have expressed their “dismay” at a statement from Anglican leaders from around the world criticising Israel for imposing a so-called apartheid system on the Palestinians.

At its meeting in Jamaica chaired by the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, the Anglican Consultative Council, the policy body at the centre of the worldwide church, said it “laments” that current Israeli policies in relation to the West Bank “have created severe hardship for many Palestinians and have been experienced as a physical form of apartheid”.

Calling for a Palestinian state alongside Israel, the Anglican council made no request for an end to terrorism but called on Israel to end occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, freeze all settlement building, abandon its settlement policy and dismantle the separation barrier.

The lobby group Anglican Friends of Israel warned that the council’s resolution threatened to “completely sabotage” Anglo-Jewish relations. the rest

Sweden Rules Gender-Selective Abortions Legal

Tuesday May 12, 2009
By Kathleen Gilbert

STOCKHOLM, May 12, 2009 ( - Swedish health authorities have ruled that it is not illegal to kill a healthy unborn child based simply on its gender, according to Swedish news service The Local.

Doctors had asked health authorities about the matter after a woman from southern Sweden had two of her children killed in utero for being an undesired sex. The woman had already given birth to two daughters.

The gender was determined during an amniocentesis requested to determine whether the child had a disability.

Concerned doctors at Mälaren Hospital then asked Sweden's National Board of Health and Welfare to determine a protocol for future instances in which they "feel pressured to examine the foetus's gender" without a medical necessity. the rest

Vatican opens Secret Archives on Henry VIII

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Vatican is opening its Secret Archives to give the world a glimpse of the original letter that became a determining factor in England's decision to part ways with the Roman Catholic Church. The 1530 letter asks Pope Clement VII for the annulment of Henry VIII's marriage to Catherine of Aragon. In the Vatican Archives photo above, you can see the letter, complete with the seals of Henry's peers who went to bat for his cause. Click HERE to read more at the Vatican Archives site, and HERE to read an entry about the letter from the New York Times Art Beat blog.


A "No" Vote Grows In California, And What It Means For Obama/Plesoi/Reid Rationing

Wednesday, May 13, 2009
by Hugh Hewitt

On yesterday's program I played a clip of Professor Stuart Altman's testimony before a Senate committee meeting devoted to the radical restructuring of health care. Professor Altman got perilously close to candor:

People are using technologies that really don't work at all or keep people alive for very limited or very high costs, hospice is one option, but we do need to take account of the costs, ya know, I hate to say it, the cost benefits of some of the things we do.

As I told the audience yesterday, this is a message to older Americans that they are the target of health care "reform," and that they are going to find themselves the first to run into rationing. Mortuaries should be gearing up for the transition to ObamaCare because the life expectancy of the elderly is going to take a sudden turn for the worse under any cost-benefit analysis of treatment of older Americans.

This brush with candor will be the exception, I think, but the experience in California gives me hope for the coming battle. The Obama/Pelosi/Reid coalition of those willing to let other people die in the cause of lowering health care costs will try and sell the radical restructuring as other than it is --which is rationing. In so doing they will be repeating Arnold's mistake of contempt for the electorate. Even though the MSM in California is nearly as craven in its coverage of the propositions as the MSM in the Beltway has been in its coverage of Obama, the reality of the proposed laws will get through. President Obama is insulated from the public for another 40 months, but Democrats who want to ration care have to present themselves for re-election in a year and a half, and the old people and the families of the significantly disabled --who along with the elderly will be pushed out the hospital and clinic door by Obama/Pelosi/Reid-- will get their say then. And it is likely to be as loud as that about to be heard in California. the rest

New York Assembly passes same-sex bill

ALBANY, N.Y., May 13 (UPI) -- The New York State Assembly has approved a measure to allow same-sex marriages, shifting the fight over the bill to the state Senate, analysts said.

By a vote of 89-52, the Assembly moved late Tuesday to approve the same-sex marriage initiative, with several legislators who had rejected a similar measure in 2007 changing their votes this time, The New York Times reported.

Backers of same-sex marriage said they concentrated their lobbying efforts on Assembly members who share districts with state senators whose votes were deemed to be in play on the issue. The vote in the senate was predicted to be tight and hard-fought, the newspaper said. the rest

IRS rules that pastors do not risk losing tax-exempt status for traditional-values advocacy

By Ralph Z. Hallow
Wednesday, May 13, 2009

In a move cheered by conservatives, the Internal Revenue Service has ruled that ministers and pastors do not risk losing their tax-exempt status for engaging in political acts on behalf of issues such as traditional-values advocacy.

The IRS said in a letter to the Niemoller Foundation that the Houston-based nonprofit organization did not violate its tax-exempt status when it brought together pastors and politicians to champion moral issues during Republican Gov. Rick Perry's 2006 re-election campaign. the rest

Archbishop says summit ended in 'glorious failure'

Wednesday, 13th May 2009
By George Conger

The Archbishop of Canterbury has conceded that ACC-14 in Kingston, Jamaica was a “failure” that disappointed many Anglicans across the Communion. However, the meeting of the Anglican Communion’s fourth ‘instrument of unity’ had been a “glorious failure” that saw the Anglican Communion rise from its “deathbed” to address its own shortcomings, Dr Rowan Williams said in his closing presidential address on May 11.

It was unhelpful to establish criteria for success or failure for Anglican meetings, Dr Williams told delegates to the May 2-12 meeting in Kingston, Jamaica said, as there was “no absolute measure for achievement. In critical times – small things might be large achievements. Our willingness in certain areas to act as one and to discover more deeply how we pray as one is, by God’s grace and gift, for no other reason, an achievement,” he said. the rest

Member of Chief Rabbinate's inter-religious committee comes to Benedict XVI's defense following religious leaders' attacks.

'I don’t know what they want from him. This is the same group of accusers from the previous pope's visit'
Kobi Nahshoni

Talking to Ynet on Sunday, the rabbi clarified that "this is the same group of accusers from nine years ago, when Pope John Paul II visited. They know nothing about the Church and the changes in its views, and are certainly not ready to accept them."

Rosen, who met with the pope in Rome about two months ago for a "reconciliation meeting" as a member of a Chief Rabbinate delegation, believes that the fact that Benedict was a member of the Hitler youth is insignificant, as "a person recruited against his will to such an organization does become a Nazi."

According to the rabbi, "The only relevant thing is his attitude towards Judaism and Israel, which is consistently very good." the rest

Vatican defends Pope Benedict as ardent anti-Nazi

At Dome of Rock, Benedict uses Muslims’ argument to Muslims

Apple bans Jesus face app

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Technology giant Apple Inc has rejected an application for its iPhone in which users are encouraged to superimpose their head on an image of Jesus.

The “Me So Holy” app was proposed for the Apple store and features an image of Jesus Christ whose face can be replaced by that of the user.

However Apple has rejected the app citing a breach of Section 3.3.12 of the iPhone agreement which says, “Applications must not contain any obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, etc.), or other content or materials that in Apple’s reasonable judgement may be found objectionable by iPhone or iPod touch users.” the rest

Albert Mohler: Worldview Test: Can We Do Without "Male" and "Female?"

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Controversies and debates about gender define much of today's cultural landscape. In reality, if you take away all debates about gender, gender roles, and sexuality, our world would be a much quieter place. Nevertheless, the world we know is a world increasingly in revolt against the idea that gender is assigned by our Creator and is thus a fixed category.

A perfect illustration of this confusion is found on the May 12, 2009 op-ed page of The New York Times. There, along with articles by the paper's own columnists, was an article by Jennifer Finney Boylan, a professor of English at Colby College in Maine.

Professor Boylan argues that we should just accept and celebrate "the elusiveness of gender" and see the most difficult questions about gender as "sometimes unanswerable." the rest

Canada: CoGS will not ask General Synod 2010 to amend the marriage canon

Leigh Anne Williamsstaff writer
May 11, 2009
Mississauga, Ont.

Council of General Synod (CoGS) wrestled with the blessing of same-sex unions and marriage when it met here May 8 to 10 and in the end decided not to ask General Synod 2010 to amend the marriage canon to allow for the marriage of same-sex couples.

The discussions focused on responding to two new documents produced by the Primate’s Theological Commission and the Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee. There was also a report about an international dialogue about sexuality that was initiated between Canadian dioceses that have taken steps toward the blessing of same-sex unions and dioceses in Africa. CoGS responded in a written statement, “A Word to the Church on Questions of Human Sexuality from the Council of General Synod Meeting, May 2009.” the rest

Resolutions of ACC-14

May 12, 2009


ACC-14 Press Briefing 12th May 2009

Festive Service Closes ACC-14

ACC-14 Election of Vice Chair and Joint Standing Committee

Anglican Communion Office Releases Defense of Indaba Fund

Source: Anglican Communion Office
May 12, 2009

On May 7, the Anglican Communion Office announced that it would extend its "Listening Process" that currently pertains to human sexuality in the Communion to focus on additional topics like the authority of scripture and faithfulness to tradition. It was also announced that the $1.5 million dollars going to fund the new listening process had been secured from a private source, the Satcher Health Leadership Institute. An American Anglican Council report on the souce of the funds found connections to a controversial, pro-homosexual activist group.

Today, the Anglican Communion Office released this defense from the Satcher Institute as to the source of the funds.

The release claims that the sole source of the funds is an Episcopal Priest, the Rev. Marta Weeks, and that there are "no strings attached" to the Satcher Institute or the donor. AAC

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Devotional: Every man is a centre of perpetual radiation...

Every man is a centre of perpetual radiation like a luminous body; he is, as it were, a beacon which entices a ship upon the rocks if it does not guide it into port. Every man is a priest, even involuntarily; his conduct is an unspoken sermon, which is forever preaching to others-but there are priests of Baal, of Moloch and of all the false gods. Such is the high importance of example. Thence comes the terrible responsibility which weighs upon us all. ...Henri-Frederic Amiel image

AnglicanTV: ACC 14-So what really happened on Friday?

Mother-to-be sacrifices her chance of surviving cancer for her baby

By Linda Reid Chassiakos
May 11, 2009

She leaned on her husband, using his strength to hide her unsteadiness. Her steps were tentative, measured, cautious, with her gait more typical of a woman decades older than her late 20s. She could still walk, shake hands and almost smile, at least with one side of her mouth; she couldn't let the tumor take those gifts away -- not yet. She had to stay healthy another few weeks, until her baby was born.

The father-to-be gently guided his wife into her chair, helped her adjust her sari and, still clutching her hand, eased into the seat next to her. The neurosurgeon waited for us all -- oncologist, neurologist, obstetrician, pediatricians -- to be seated, before giving a brief update on his patient's diagnosis: astrocytoma, an aggressively malignant cancer of the brain. the rest

Notre Dame Students Select Father Frank Pavone to Lead Obama-Free Graduation

by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 11, 2009

South Bend, IN ( -- Notre Dame students who don't want to attend a graduation ceremony involving pro-abortion President Barack Obama put together alternate plans. Today, they announced that Father Frank Pavone, the director of Priests for Life, will lead prayer at a pro-life prayer vigil.

The Class of 2009 Vigil for Life will be celebrated at Sunday's commencement ceremony at the same time as the graduation event.

“In standing with these students, I am standing with the true spirit of Notre Dame: a pro-life spirit, in harmony with human reason and Catholic Faith," Father Pavone told on Monday. the rest

Many Churchgoers, Pastors Struggle to Define Spiritual Maturity

By Jennifer Riley
Christian Post Reporter
Mon, May. 11 2009

A new Barna survey revealed on Monday that half of churchgoers cannot describe how their church defines a "healthy, spiritually mature follower of Jesus."

Even among born again Christians – a smaller subset group whose members say they have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ as their savior and confessed their sin – a significant portion was unable to say how their church defines spiritual maturity. Two out of five born again Christians could not answer the open-ended survey question. the rest

George Barna: America Is Being Destroyed Inside Out

Former Catholic head of Milwaukee admits he's gay

By RACHEL ZOLL, AP Religion Writer
Tue May 12, 2009

NEW YORK – A Roman Catholic archbishop who resigned in 2002 over a sex and financial scandal involving a man describes his struggles with being gay in an upcoming memoir about his decades serving the church.

Archbishop Rembert Weakland, former head of the Milwaukee archdiocese, said in an interview Monday that he wrote about his sexual orientation because he wanted to be candid about "how this came to life in my own self, how I suppressed it, how it resurrected again."

Called "A Pilgrim in a Pilgrim Church: Memoirs of a Catholic Archbishop," the book is set to be released in June. the rest

Falling flat-screen TVs a growing threat for kids

By Alex Johnson

Nearly 17,000 children were rushed to emergency rooms in 2007, the last year for which complete figures were available, after heavy or unstable furniture fell over on them, a new study reported this month. The study, published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics by researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, found that the such injuries had risen 41 percent since 1990.

Researchers said the increase correlated with the popularity of ever-bigger flat-panel televisions that Americans have brought into their homes in that time, along with the entertainment centers and narrow, less-stable stands to hold them. Injuries from televisions alone accounted for nearly half of all injuries related to falling furniture during the study period — 47 percent. the rest

Anglicans to re-evaluate how they interpret Scripture

by Lillian Kwon, Christian Post
Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Anglican Consultative Council expressed support on Saturday for a project that will explore the ways Anglicans worldwide read and interpret Scripture.

The Bible in the Life of the Church project is being launched to build "understanding, trust and respect" among those who differ in biblical interpretations.

Formerly, the Anglican Communion had been called on in 2004 to "re-evaluate the ways in which we have read, heard, studied and digested scripture". The request, however, was largely neglected.

"We can no longer be content to drop random texts into arguments, imagining that the point is thereby proved, or indeed to sweep away sections of the New Testament as irrelevant to today's world, imagining that problems are thereby solved," a provision in the 2004 Windsor Report states. the rest

Future shape of Anglican Communion uncertain, says Archbishop of Canterbury

Could turn into 'federation' if covenant not passed by all provinces
Marites N. Sison
May 11, 2009

Kingston, JamaicaThe 14th Anglican Consultative Council has not “given evidence of any belief” that Anglicans worldwide “have no future together,” said the Archbishop of Canterbury, even as he warned that it would be “inevitable” that the Anglican Communion could turn into a “much more dispersed association” or federation if all member churches do not sign on to the proposed covenant.

“We have not in this meeting given evidence of any belief that we have no future together,” said Archbishop Rowan Williams in his presidential address, delivered on the eve of the last day of the ACC meeting. “The question is, of course, what that future will look like.” the rest

Monday, May 11, 2009

Defeat for Archbishop as Covenant draft is rejected

Monday, 11th May 2009
By George Conger

The Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) will not endorse the Anglican Covenant, and has voted to send it back to committee for further review. The vote comes as a major defeat for the Archbishop of Canterbury who had championed the covenant as the one way to keep the Anglican Communion from splitting. However the defeat was self-inflicted, as Dr Rowan Williams’ ambiguous intervention in the closing moments of the debate led to the loss.

Delegates adopted a compromise resolution, whose provisions Dr Williams had rejected at the start of the May 8 debate but backed by its end, to appoint a committee to review and revise section 4 of the covenant and report its recommendations to the Joint Standing Committee of the Primates and the ACC for adoption. A process, the ACC’s secretary general Canon Kenneth Kearon said would likely take up to year to bring to fruition.

Questions of treachery and incompetence were lodged against Dr Williams by conservative members of the ACC in interviews with Religious Intelligence following the vote, but the next day softened to exasperation with the archbishop’s ambiguous way of speaking that critics said was unsuited to the political rough and tumble of a meeting where many delegates had limited English-language abilities. the rest

BabyBlueOnline: Anglican Covenant now back in the hands of the Archbishop of Canterbury

ACC Day 14. Rules of the Game? There are none

May 11th, 2009
by Chris Sugden in Jamaica

Today the outgoing chairman of ACC, the incoming chairman and their legal adviser admitted that the ACC had no formal procedures for debate in order to facilitate open conversation. “A great weight is placed on the chairman” said Mr John Rees their legal adviser. “The chairman has extensive powers for steering the debate”.

It was noteworthy that the legal adviser came to the press conference unannounced to deal with any questions that arose about procedures. Most of the questions from the press, starting with the Episcopal News Service were on the matter of procedures.

The chairman, Bishop John Paterson, admitted that the significant amendment with the key clauses that delayed the covenant, was initially resisted by him when it was at last put. However “ The president came to my rescue, “ he said. “He had foreshadowed that parts of it might be placed in the resolution. He sensed what he felt might have been the view of the meeting.” the rest

Sheikh attacks Israel, pope walks out

May 11, 2009

Chief Islamic Judge of the Palestinian Authority, Sheikh Tayseer Rajab Tamimi, launched a poisonous verbal attack at Israel at a Monday night gathering attended by Pope Benedict XVI.

In a meeting with organizations involved in inter-religious dialogue at the Notre Dame Jerusalem Center, Tamimi called upon Muslims and Christians to unite against what he said were the murderous Israelis.

Taking the podium after the pope without being on the original list of speakers scheduled for the evening, Tamimi, speaking at length in Arabic, accused Israel of murdering women and children in Gaza and making Palestinians refugees, and declared Jerusalem the eternal Palestinian capital.

Following the diatribe and before the meeting was officially over, the pope exited the premises. Army Radio reported that the pope shook Tamimi's hand before walking out. the rest

Slideshow: Pope in Israel, Day I

Pope calls for cooperation between Christians and Muslims

Pope Benedict XVI, speaking at a mosque in Amman, Jordan, also expresses concern about the discrimination that he says Christians and others face in Muslim nations such as Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
By Jeffrey Fleishman
May 10, 2009

Reporting from Amman, Jordan -- Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday called on Christians and Muslims to serve mankind with the "light of God's truth" and warned that extremists in nations such as Iraq were exploiting religious differences for political and violent agendas.

"Tensions and divisions between the followers of different religious traditions, sadly, cannot be denied," said the pontiff, whose three-day pilgrimage to Jordan is partly an attempt to mend relations with the Muslim world."However, is it not also the case that often it is the ideological manipulation of religion, sometimes for political ends, that is the real catalyst for tension and division, and at times even violence in society?" the rest

Breakaway Group Asks Court to Dismiss Episcopal Church Lawsuit

By Eric Young
Christian Post Reporter
Sun, May. 10 2009

A group of churches in Texas that split from The Episcopal Church (TEC) is asking a civil court to dismiss a lawsuit that was filed against it last month by the U.S.-based church body and a diocese that shares its name.

In a 12-page motion, the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth asked the 141st District Court to take a “judicial notice,” arguing that a civil court lacks jurisdiction because in order to grant the plaintiffs’ requests it would be required to resolve an ecclesiastical dispute.

“If the legal and equitable relief sought from the Court can only be determined by deciding between competing interpretations of purely unambiguous ecclesiastical documents where plaintiffs seek to have the Court interpret ecclesiastical language, does the Court have subject-matter jurisdiction to grant the relief sought?” poses the motion filed Friday on behalf of the group. the rest

Nat Hentoff on 'Hate Crime' Laws

Empty Symbolism on Hate Crimes - Steve Chapman, Chicago Tribune

‘Change and Hope’ Turned Out to Mean 'Culture of Death,’ Says Archbishop Burke

Monday, May 11, 2009
By Fred Lucas, Staff Writer

( - The pro-abortion policies of the Obama Administration are part of the “culture of death” in America, said Archbishop Raymond L. Burke at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast on Friday.

Burke, who serves in the Vatican as the prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, warned of a moral crisis in America specifically calling President Barack Obama to task along with pro-abortion Catholic politicians and Catholic voters that support pro-abortion, pro-homosexual positions.

“What those who were so enthused about the strong message of change and hope in the United States, delivered during the last election campaign, are now discovering is a consistent implementation of policies and programs which confirm and advance the culture of death, which can only finally leave our world without the great hope,” said Burke. the rest

Robert Mundy+: A letter to Archbishop Rowan Williams

A letter to the The Most Rev. and Rt. Hon. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury:

Your Grace,

A statement released today by Professors Christopher Seitz, Philip Turner, and Ephraim Radner, and Attorney Mark McCall states: "Friday’s session of the Anglican Consultative Council is an embarrassment to Anglicans everywhere, and a sad display of procedural confusion."

I would go further than saying "procedural confusion." It is, as reports from Professor Stephen Noll and others are calling it: PERFIDY. It is a betrayal of every Anglican who has looked to the Covenant process to bring desperately needed order to our life as a Communion.

I urge you to take note of the two recommendations made by Prof. Seitz, et al in their statement:

(1) This issue must be re-visited immediately by the ACC and voted upon in a lawful and proper manner during this meeting. The alternative is moving forward with lasting questions as to the legitimacy of the entire process.

(2)An explanation must be offered by those in charge of these proceedings, including the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Chairman of the ACC, as to how such manifestly improper procedures were permitted to unfold from the outset of Friday’s session and, indeed, of ACC-14 itself.

If lawful and proper action on the Covenant is not forthcoming from this meeting of the Council, the only appropriate response is for the Churches of the Communion to begin themselves the process of adopting the Ridley Cambridge Text."

It is painfully obvious to observers in many quarters that the continuation of the Communion depends on your actions in this matter.

Respectfully yours in Christ,

The Very Rev. Robert S. Munday,
Ph.D.Dean and PresidentProfessor of Systematic Theology
Nashotah House Theological Seminary
letter here

NOTE: Let the Archbishop of Canterbury know your opinion! You can do it here:

AnglicanTV: ACC 14-Anglican Report

A.S. Haley: Shine, Perishing Communion

May 10, 2009

Confused about what happened in Jamaica with the Anglican Consultative Council? You are not the only one. Even the ECUSA camp couldn't get its signals straight. At first The Lead at Episcopal Café put up a piece headlined "Despite TEC Setback, controversial Section IV is still in play", only to supersede that post six hours later with one entitled: "Confusion reigns as ACC delays Covenant release." Similar confusion was evident all over the blogosphere, mixed in with sentiments of betrayal, resentment, and outrage at being deceived, or relief, indifference, exuberance, and even assurance that nothing is wrong, depending on the camp from which one hailed. In this post, I will try to piece together an accurate account of what actually happened, and then will try to assess its significance at the end.

I have written before about the character of the Most Reverend Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, as a "peace negotiator"--- one who, in the words of the Rev. Dr. Giles Fraser,

pursues a theology that refuses to accept that a disagreement can ever reach a point where there is no benefit to be gained from further conversation. . . .. . . Put a different way, it is a refusal to accept that two seemingly irreconcilable positions are indeed irreconcilable. The mediator is the supreme pragmatist, employing all the philosophical strategies up his or her sleeve to keep opponents round the table, to keep them talking.

Last Friday, as the Anglican Consultative Council met in Jamaica to take up the proposed Anglican Covenant, Dr. Williams ran out of strategies. In an effort to keep the 800-pound gorilla at the table, he managed to confound the delegates from the Global South to the point that they will probably never again return to the table---at least, not all of them.

the rest

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Book review: Saint Paul by Pope Benedict

Saint Paul by Benedict XVI
Ignatius Press 2009
reviewed by Raymond Dague

The prolific Benedict XVI/Joseph Ratzinger has scored a hit with his short volume on Paul the Apostle. It is a wonder that this man at age 82 with all of the executive and sacramental duties necessary to run the Roman Catholic Church finds the time to teach and write as he does. I counted 48 books from his pen, but I might have missed a few. Many of his works were written years ago before he was pope, but several (including this one) were written as he balanced his duties as pope with his passion as a writer. Moreover both his lectures and his books demonstrate the mind of a theologian of the first order, and a man who at the same time is a simple disciple of Jesus teaching others the insights he has been given. This book is a prime example of Benedict in his role as a teaching disciple of his Lord.

One would expect to find the writings of a brilliant German theologian to be dense, dry, and slow to read–something which could substitute as a sleeping pill if read at bedtime. This book is anything but. It is interesting and simple with a flowing prose accessible to anyone. This short work of only 131 pages has no preface, no forward, no introduction, and no index; its only flaw. It could use these aids, and they will no doubt be added in later editions of this work.

The book is a straight-to-the-point discussion of the writings of the Apostle to the Gentiles, as Saint Paul is often described. Having written about half of the New Testament, and with a life chronicled in the Acts of the Apostles, Paul is a figure with a substantial biblical record. Benedict makes him the subject of 20 lectures delivered to audiences at the Vatican from July 2, 2008 to February 4, 2009. Each talk, which he calls a Catechesis, is a single chapter in this book.

Rather than read this book though in a sitting or two (which could be done due to its brevity and easy style) I read one chapter a day during my morning prayer time, or in some cases, a second chapter in the evening. Unlike some of Ratzinger’s writings, it is not a theologically complex work. I found it is best read as a devotional with time for digesting the ideas. The book contains great insights into Paul, and is worth lingering upon rather than speed reading.

If one expects a Roman Catholic polemic from this pope, you are likely to be severely disappointed or delighted. Benedict is here teaching “mere Christianity,” as C. S. Lewis would say. Someone of any Christian perspective, be he Roman Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant, will find insight from Benedict’s teaching about what Paul the Apostle says. Benedict is not concerned here to promote distinctively Roman Catholic doctrine. Rather he develops Paul as an evangelist, one who was dramatically changed from a persecutor of the early Church and co-conspirator in the martyrdom of Saint Stephen, into a man driven by his intimacy with the living God to proclaim the Risen One to everyone willing to hear him. Paul was a man with a mission: to “preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”

Benedict is here a teacher to all Christians, and not just Catholics. For example Benedict in quoting Paul’s first letter to Timothy giving the instructions for church leaders repeats Paul’s qualification that bishops be “the husband of one wife.” One might expect a pope who institutionally enforces the requirement that bishops and clergy be celibate to somehow avoid this qualification, but not Benedict. He is intellectually honest in his discussion of Paul’s writings, even in places where one might expect a lesser writer to pull back so as to avoid pointing out apparent difficulties with Roman dogma. That is the distinctive and surprising thing about this book and many other writings of Benedict. He writes not as pope, but rather as a disciple of Jesus with great insight into Saint Paul. This is nowhere better illustrated than in his own words in the Foreword to another recent book of his, Jesus of Nazareth.

“It goes without saying that this book is in no way an exercise of the magisterium, but solely an expression of my personal search ‘for the face of the Lord,’” writes Benedict. “Everyone is free, then, to contradict me. I would only ask my readers for that initial goodwill without which there can be no understanding.”

Such is the humility which this leader of the Roman Catholic Church carries to his readers. Truly he is a faithful disciple of the one whom he calls “the Risen One.” His profound insight into the mind of Saint Paul makes this a very worthy addition to any library.

Every means possible to destroy the Scouts

May 6, 2009

ANN ARBOR, MI - The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) joined forces to file a friend of the court brief asking the United States Supreme Court to overturn a decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals penalizing San Diego Boy Scouts because of their "morally straight" values.

At issue in the case are leases from the City of San Diego allowing the San Diego Boy Scouts to build and operate campgrounds and an aquatic center for use by the Scouts and the public. Lesbian and agnostic couples, who had never visited the facilities, sued the Scouts on a claim that they felt offended by the fact that the City leases the public property to a "morally straight" organization such as the Boy Scouts. There were no religious symbols at the facilities. the rest

ACI Statement on the Anglican Consultative Council

Sunday, May 10th, 2009
The Anglican Communion Institute, Inc.
Christopher Seitz
Philip Turner
Ephraim Radner
Mark McCall

Friday’s session of the Anglican Consultative Council is an embarrassment to Anglicans everywhere, and a sad display of procedural confusion. Members were given complex resolutions right before the vote without sufficient time to study them and understand their consequences. Resolutions that had been distributed earlier were replaced by resolutions drafted by a committee largely composed of members from provinces known to be opposed to the Ridley Cambridge Draft. Before a vote could even be taken on these resolutions, however, Archbishop Aspinall introduced a third resolution that not even the chairman of the resolutions committee had seen. The proponents of these resolutions, the intent of which was to remove Section IV and so significantly alter the Ridley Cambridge Draft, could not describe them to the members in a coherent way even though their first language was English, unlike many of those voting. All three resolutions were being debated at the same time. In consultation with various members present, there is agreement that this was improper.

The first motion to remove Section 4 for review and so alter the Covenant was defeated overwhelmingly by the members of the ACC. But the proponents of delay and alteration attempted yet again to insert the main provisions of the resolution just defeated into the resolution then under consideration. This attempt was rightly ruled out of order by the chair, Bishop Paterson of New Zealand, himself sympathetic to the leadership of TEC. For reasons that are unclear, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who had himself called for a vote on Resolution A, personally challenged this ruling of the chair and it was reversed. (It has been suggested that delegates voted against Resolution A because they had an interest in other resolutions. But that should never have been the condition under which voting was taking place, and it requires that 15 of the votes were cast because of this in order actually to approve Resolution A – a matter we cannot ever know because it is pure conjecture. This puts a cloud over the entire logic of voting as such and would clearly suggest the need for a re-vote, not a moving ahead with new resolutions). the rest

ACC 14 - Day 9 : It’s the property - stupid!

May 10th, 2009
by Chris Sugden in Jamaica

On Sunday, delegates are going to Anglican Churches throughout Jamaica to visit, and preach and enjoy Jamaican hospitality. They will welcome members of those churches to reflect with them on their experiences on Monday. Meanwhile over Saturday afternoon and evening people took time to reflect long and hard on Friday’s debate, and I was able to review the video-tape and transcript of the afternoon debate.

One could be forgiven for thinking that the debate on Friday morning about the covenant was actually about matters of faith. However it was actually about the issues of property and litigation in the United States.

First of all, there was an attempt to add a fourth moratorium for a cessation of litigation, as proposed by the Primates at Dar-es-Salaam in February 2007 and as referred to in the Windsor Continuation Group Report. This was narrowly defeated. Not before the Presiding Bishop had suggested that Provinces all over the world had difficulties in securing alienated properties. Speakers from Sudan and the Middle East refuted two of her four examples. No African spoke in the debate on the WCG report. The only contentious vote was on this issue, and the vote to install a fourth moratorium was lost by one vote. the rest