Saturday, December 05, 2009

Devotional: To be used of God...

To be used of God. Is there anything more encouraging, more fulfilling? Perhaps not, but there is something more basic: to meet with God. To linger in His presence, to shut out the noise of the city and, in quietness, give Him the praise He deserves. Before we engage ourselves in His work, let's meet Him in His Word... in prayer... in worship. ...Chuck Swindoll image

A message from Fr. Nigel Mumford

Saturday, December 05, 2009

"A HUGE THANK YOU to all who have been praying for me. There was a night when the doctors told Lynn [Torre: probably October 19th] that they couldn't do anything more for me. That was the night the special request for prayer went out. There was a huge Tsunami wave of prayer that washed over me and that is why I am here today."

Fr. Nigel also reported that he was able to put on his own socks by himself for the first time today.

Please continue to pray for:
-Immediate healing of the bedsore that is still causing him great discomfort
-Healing of whatever is causing the dizziness and nausea
-Complete healing and restoration of his lungs
-Regaining strength and use of his muscles
-Peace and stamina for Lynn

Albany Intercessor

Abortion battle could derail health bill

By CARRIE BUDOFF BROWN
12/5/09

In the past week, abortion has flared up as a major impediment to passage of a health care reform bill in the Senate, taking a similar path as it did during the House debate — from obscurity to obstacle in a matter of days.

After months of trying to craft a 60-vote coalition based on the finer points of health care policy, Senate Democrats are growing increasingly worried that abortion will upend what had become a clear path to approving the overhaul bill.

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) sparked a fresh round of concern this week when he repeatedly and definitively vowed to filibuster the health care legislation unless it included abortion restrictions as tough as the so-called Stupak amendment in the House bill. the rest

Obama’s “Safe Schools Czar” Is Promoting Child Porn in the Classroom

Friday, December 4, 2009
Jim Hoft

Excerpts:
Safe Schools Czar Kevin Jennings was the founder, and for many years, Executive Director of an organization called the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). GLSEN started essentially as Jennings’ personal project and grew to become the culmination of his life’s work. And he was chosen by President Obama to be the nation’s Safe Schools Czar primarily because he had founded and led GLSEN (scroll for bio)...

...According to GLSEN’s own press releases from the period during which its recommended reading list was developed, the organization’s three areas of focus were creating “educational resources, public policy agenda, [and] student organizing programs”; in other words, the reading list (chief among its “educational resources”) was of prime importance in GLSEN’s efforts to influence the American educational system.

The list is divided into three main categories: books recommended for grades K-6; books recommended for grades 7-12; and books for teachers. (The books on the list span all genres: fiction, nonfiction, memoirs, even poetry.)

Out of curiosity to see exactly what kind of books Kevin Jennings and his organization think American students should be reading in school, our team chose a handful at random from the over 100 titles on GLSEN’s grades 7-12 list, and began reading through.

What we discovered shocked us. We were flabbergasted. Rendered speechless. the rest

Warning: The material at the end is very explicit.
(I can't read that stuff, so I take their word for it. I read only the first part of the story-PD)

Remove Kevin Jennings! An Open letter to Mr. Obama

Newly elected gay Episcopal bishop: Excited about church's future

December 5, 2009

The Rev. Canon Mary D. Glasspool, newly elected bishop suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, told delegates after her election that she was excited about the future of the national church. Glasspool, 55, is the first openly lesbian priest to be elected a bishop in the Episcopal Church.

"I'm very excited about the future of the whole Episcopal Church and I see the Diocese of Los Angeles leading the way into that future. But for just for this moment, let me say again, thank you, and thanks be to our loving and supporting God, a surprising God," Glasspool told delegates to the diocese's annual convention just after they elected her on the seventh balloting for one of two open suffragan, or assistant, bishop positions.

Referring to the current church season of Advent, a time of anticipation of the birth of Christ, Glasspool said, "This is my 56th Advent and I think I finally know the meaning of the word 'wait.' " The delegates laughed. Glasspool is the church's first openly gay priest to win election to the ranks of bishops since the controversial elevation of the Rev. V. Gene Robinson in 2003. the rest

Lesbian Episcopal priest elected LA assist. bishop

Friday, December 04, 2009

Devotional: Christian perfection...

Christian perfection is not, and never can be, human perfection. Christian perfection is the perfection of a relationship to God which shows itself amid the irrelevancies of human life. When you obey the call of Jesus Christ, the first thing that strikes you is the irrelevancy of the things you have to do, and the next thing that strikes you is the fact that other people seem to be living perfectly consistent lives. Such lives are apt to leave you with the idea that God is unnecessary, by human effort and devotion we can reach the standard God wants. In a fallen world this can never be done. I am called to live in perfect relation to God so that my life produces a longing after God in other lives, not admiration for myself. Thoughts about myself hinder my usefulness to God. God is not after perfecting me to be a specimen in His show-room; He is getting me to the place where He can use me. Let Him do what He likes. ...Oswald Chambers image

Fr. Nigel Update, Friday 12/4/09

9:14 AM

Fr. Nigel Mumford continues to improve, bit by bit. Yesterday was an orientation day for him in his new surroundings, so he was meeting new doctors, nurses and staff. He continues to receive some help with oxygen as his lungs are not able to manage on their own just yet. He said that his brief time on his feet attempting to walk is much like Tim Conway on the 70s television show "Laugh In" – he shuffles along with his walker. Although he would like to be gaining more strength and time on his feet, his dizziness and nausea are continuing to plague him. The doctors are trying to discover what is causing this.

Fr. Nigel is in wonderful spirits and his sense of humor is ever evident. If you know Fr. Nigel, you will know that he is keen on humor in the healing process. He is anxious to build up his strength so that he can be home by Christmas, which would be a wonderful gift.

Please pray for:
-Immediate healing of the bedsore that is still causing him great discomfort
-Healing of whatever is causing the dizziness and nausea
-Complete healing and restoration of his lungs
-Regaining strength and use of his muscles
-Peace and stamina for Lynn

Please give Praise and Thanksgiving to our God who has answered our prayers.

Because Fr. Nigel is still susceptible to infection, there is still a No Visitor policy. Fr. Nigel knows how many people are praying for him and he knows how God has listened to your prayers. If he were able, Fr. Nigel would thank each of you personally for your prayers for him and for others. May God bless you for your faithfulness in prayer and your faithfulness to Him.

From Beth Strickland
Albany Intercessor

San Clemente Rector Elected a Bishop

December 4, 2009

The Rev. Canon Diane M. Jardine Bruce, rector of St. Clement’s by-the-Sea Church in San Clemente, Calif., has been elected the first woman to serve as a bishop in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.

Canon Bruce won on the third ballot, drawing 134 votes among the clergy and 237 among the laity. She was elected to fill one of two suffragan bishop positions. The diocese’s electing convention will resume its business on Saturday with the five remaining nominees and clean slates.

The Rev. Canon Mary Douglas Glasspool, who serves as canon to the bishops in the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, was the only other nominee in a six-person slate to attract more than 100 votes in the clergy and lay deputations. the rest

Bp. David Anderson: AAC Update

December 4, 2009

Beloved in Christ,

I hope that you and your family had a wonderful time together on Thanksgiving Day. It is one of the weeks that the AAC doesn't publish the weekly email update, but as I travel I find that so many people read our updates, and are disappointed if we skip a week, or if I am traveling and don't write a column, that it makes me feel a little guilty.

In today's news we note that The Living Church has released an article by The Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner entitled "Misreading History," which pokes holes in Bishop John Chane's distorted presentation of marriage. Dr. Radner is a member of The Anglican Communion Institute (ACI). The ACI and its companion Communion Partners have pledged to honor the Windsor Report process, including the call of the Anglican Primates to halt lawsuits. This cessation of lawsuits is one of the moratoria called for by the Anglican Communion Primates.

It is surprising then, that one of the Communion Partner (CP) dioceses, Tennessee, and their bishop broke ranks with the rest of the CP dioceses and initiated a lawsuit against St. Andrew's Church in West Nashville, asking a state court to give the property to the diocese. It raises a question as to the extent of the Diocese of Tennessee's commitment to the moratoria and the Windsor Report process.

On the west coast, the TEC diocese of Los Angeles is preparing to vote this Saturday to fill two Suffragan bishop positions that are open. The question looming over the diocese is, will Los Angeles follow New Hampshire and elect a non-celibate homosexual as a bishop? Of the retiring bishops, one is a straight black male, and the other an Hispanic male who is gay (he transferred into TEC from Mexico).

Among the candidates are a white, partnered homosexual female priest, a white, partnered homosexual male priest, two straight women, one black and the other white, and two straight Hispanic men. This is quite "politically correct": with three men and three women, or three white candidates, two Hispanic candidates and one black candidate, or four straight and two homosexual candidates. With the cross currents of interest in the diocese, it is thought that the white female lesbian candidate, the Rev. Glasspool, might very well be one of the two elected. This election happens Saturday, so you might wish to check the internet Saturday afternoon PST to see if outcomes are posted.

While we are on sexuality issues, Bishop M. Thomas Shaw III of (Eastern) Massachusetts has granted permission for priests in his diocese to officiate at same-sex weddings. Yes, since the state of Massachusetts now permits same-sex marriage, priests aren't talking about blessing same-sex unions any longer, it is marriage in the Church that they are offering.

One item that is causing a great deal of concern in the Western world is a private member's motion in the Uganda legislature imposing draconian punishments for homosexual behavior and those who aid or abet it in any way. Some say it is in response to western homosexual recruitment in the schools in Uganda, but however the problem is described, the punishments which include the death penalty and life imprisonment seem beyond comprehension. It should be noted that the legislation is proposed by an individual and not by the government, and it is likely that wise leaders will see that the legislation is not passed. Great concern was raised in the past when the legislature in Nigeria had severe punishments proposed for similar behavior, but in the end no such legislation was passed or implemented. We pray that wisdom may prevail in Uganda and other ways will be found to address concerns over this issue.

Early last week before Thanksgiving, news began to surface about an incredible All Saints' Day Litany done at Saint John's Episcopal Church, Harrison, Arkansas. David Virtue broke the story about the Rev. Seamus Doyle, rector, and then one of our sources faxed us the actual litany used that morning. This litany is in the same category as the Druid Episcopal priests in Pennsylvania and the Seattle Muslim Episcopal priest, and as bizarre as these three instances are, they are an indicator of how the faith of the Jefferts Schori Episcopal Church is continuing to degrade.
The Litany moves from orthodox to heresy in the second intercession, where it progresses to, "Holy men and women who worshipped the All Holy One as Rama, Visnu or the Lord Krishna, forest hermits, ascetics and wise ones whose lives were incarnations of the holy books- the Vedas, Upanishads and Gita - " And then all respond, "All you Hindu saints; we praise you, for holy are you." Then the Litany moves to Buddhist saints. Also warranting inclusion are Confucius, Lao Tzu and Chanug Tzu and all Chinese (pagan) saints. Then special mention for the "Holy prophet Mohammed and all holy saints of Islam, all who surrender to the will of Allah: Holy Martyrs of Islam. . . " Does he also mean the "holy martyrs" of 9-11?

Then the litany touches on the Incas of Peru, "holy" Mayans and Aztecs of Mexico, the followers of the God of the Pygmies, etc. This Episcopal litany, used in an Episcopal Eucharist service, refers to the "holy Aztecs" - who slaughtered thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of innocent victims, cutting out their still-beating hearts and then throwing the lifeless bodies down the precipitous steps of the Aztec temples. Has the Episcopal bishop authorized this litany for use in his diocese? What is the Rev. Seamus Doyle thinking? You can draw your own conclusions, but first go to Virtueonline.org and read the actual text of the litany that David Virtue has posted.

While we are on the subject of Episcopal Church outrages, we have to sympathize with Bishop Mark MacDonald who has served the Episcopal Church as Bishop of Alaska, and interim Bishop of Navaholand, and as a Bishop-on-loan to the Anglican Church of Canada under the Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori's supervision. Now he is told by Jefferts Schori that his work with the Anglican Church of Canada will require him to renounce his Holy Orders in TEC. It must be understood that this new doctrine adopted by TEC is uniquely the Jefferts Schori Doctrine, and not something that has been true in the past.

When I served in South Dakota as rector of Emmanuel Parish, Rapid City, our bishop, Walter H. Jones, who was originally from Canada, was elected bishop of Rupert's Land and Metropolitan of the area, and he went back to Canada with the TEC House of Bishops' blessings. There was no demand that he renounce orders in TEC, and that was fortunate, since when he retired, he moved back to South Dakota, and was again able to function under the authority of the Diocesan Bishop of South Dakota until his unfortunate death a few years later.

I do not understand why even the uber-liberals don't see this new Jefferts Schori Doctrine for what it is - a departure from any sense of the church catholic. Bishop MacDonald is quoted as saying, "The Christological doctrine of the catholicity of the church is at stake." Read the entire article by George Conger and be amazed.

Now to things that move the church in the right way. A few months ago, I met with other bishops and leaders from the Anglican, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Evangelical communities in Manhattan to discuss the issue of marriage in our church and culture, and what could be done to strengthen the Biblical concept of marriage being a lifelong faithful union between a man and a woman. A statement now called the Manhattan Declaration is the outgrowth of that meeting. A number of issues that touch on marriage, including the value of all human life, including those not yet born, were of concern to those present. If you haven't yet read it, I would encourage you to go to the Manhattan Declaration site, read it, and if you are in agreement with us, add your name to the list of those who have endorsed it.

One of the questions asked is, "OK, I signed it, now what?" That is a fair question. One thing, and the first thing, is to pray and intercede, for apart from the Lord's assistance we can do nothing. The second thing to do is to study and learn about these issues. The Declaration itself is a great guide to research into the issues raised, historically, theologically and politically. A third is to visit the FAQ tab on the Manhattan Declaration site, so you can help defend the concepts to those who may have questions. Fourth, talk to your friends, neighbors, family, church members about this, and use email and Facebook, etc. as means to spark conversation. If you are a member of a civic group, see if you or someone else could discuss the Declaration regarding its impact civically and culturally. Additionally, be active in your political party to advance the issues that the Manhattan Declaration espouses. Talk to your legislators and make sure they are correctly understanding your perspective.

For the sake of the Kingdom of God, for our souls and for the church, it helps to be actively working on positive things in our life that advance Kingdom priorities; it brings a joy and peace that the world cannot provide.

Blessings and peace in Christ Jesus,
The Rt. Rev. David C. Anderson,
Sr.President and CEO, American Anglican Council

The Myth of Theological Liberalism

Dan Wallace
posted December 4, 2009

Last week nearly 10,000 people invaded the French Quarter of New Orleans for a three-day conference. It wasn’t a convention of Mardi Gras mask-makers, a congregation of Bourbon Street miscreants, or an assembly of Hustler devotees. No, this was the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature. This is a collective of the world’s religious scholars. SBL is the largest society of biblical scholars on the planet. The program of lectures and meetings is the size of a phone book for a mid-sized city. Too many choices! So many great biblical scholars were there: N. T. Wright, Jon Dominic Crossan, D. A. Carson, Bart Ehrman, Stanley Porter, Frederick Danker, Alan Culpepper, Craig Evans, Robert Stein, Joel Marcus, April Deconick, Elaine Pagels, John Kloppenborg, R. B. Hays, Peter Enns, Buist Fanning, Harold Attridge, Luke Timothy Johnson, Peter Davids, Craig Keener, Ben Witherington, Rikki Watts, Robert Gundry, Emanuel Tov, Walter Brueggemann, Eric Myers, Eugene Boring, J. K. Elliott—that’s just a small sampling of the names. Liberals and evangelicals, theists and atheists, those who are open and those who are hostile to the Christian faith—all were there.

Overall, the Society of Biblical Literature is comprised of professors who teach religion, humanities, biblical studies, history, ethics, English literature, and theology at virtually all the schools in the nation that offer such subjects. Not just the United States, but a multitude of other countries are represented (although because of the long distances and short conference, many scholars did not come). Private schools, public schools, elite schools, and unknown schools—all were represented. Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge, Tübingen, Chicago, Duke, Dallas Seminary, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Fuller Seminary, Princeton, Yale, Biola, Claremont, Manchester, Durham, St Andrews, Westminster Seminary, Wheaton, Gordon-Conwell, Emory, TCU’s Brite Divinity School, SMU, University of Texas, Northwestern University, Rice, Brandeis, London School of Theology, Münster University, Notre Dame, community colleges, even unaccredited schools were represented.

As remarkable as it may sound, most biblical scholars are not Christians. I don’t know the exact numbers, but my guess is that between 60% and 80% of the members of SBL do not believe that Jesus’ death paid for our sins, or that he was bodily raised from the dead. The post-lecture discussions are often spirited, and occasionally get downright nasty. the rest

What’s Worth Paying For When Buying Vitamins

By LESLEY ALDERMAN
December 4, 2009

When I stock up on ibuprofen (my painkiller of choice), I typically buy a 500-count bottle of a store brand like Kirkland or Rite Aid. After all, ibuprofen is ibuprofen. Each pill costs me about 3 cents — or only one-third the cost of 9-cent Advil.

Yet, when it comes to vitamins — which I take only when I feel run down — I turn to name brands like Centrum or Nature Made. My thinking has been: Why mess around with quality when it comes to the essential ABCs?

But now that I’ve done some research, I might soon change my vitamin-buying ways. Read on to find out why. the rest image by bradley j

Senate Passes Amendment that Could Mandate Abortion Coverage in Insurance Plans

Thursday December 3, 2009
By John Jalsevac
December 3, 2009

(LifeSiteNews.com) - The Senate on Thursday approved the Mikulski amendment by a vote of 61-39. All Republicans except Senators Vitter, Snowe and Collins voted against the amendment, and all Independents and Democrats except Senators Nelson (NE) and Feingold voted for it.

Pro-life leaders opposed the amendment over concerns that it provides authority that could be used to mandate abortion coverage in private insurance plans.

Specifically, the amendment states that anything classified as preventive care or screenings for women by the Health Resource and Services Administration (HRSA) would become a mandated covered service. However, if the HRSA were to recommend abortion as a preventive care, insurance plans would have to cover abortion. the rest

Modern-Day Lepers

Churches try to balance grace and accountability toward sex offenders.
Bobby Ross Jr.
12/03/2009

Convicted of indecent liberties with a teenage girl when he was 20 and attempted second-degree rape years later, James Nichols served his prison time—and then found himself back in police custody.

His offense: going to church.

Authorities said the 31-year-old Nichols violated a new North Carolina law that bars sex offenders from coming within 300 feet of any place intended primarily for use, care, or supervision of minors.

Nichols was arrested after worship at Moncure Baptist Church because the church has child-care facilities for families attending services. He is challenging the constitutionality of the law, claiming it violates his religious freedom. the rest

Gore cancels climate conference event

By Jennifer Harper
December 3, 2009

Former Vice President Al Gore on Thursday abruptly canceled a Dec. 16 personal appearance that was to be staged during the United Nations' Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, which begins next week.

As described in The Washington Times' Inside the Beltway column Tuesday, the multimedia public event to promote Mr. Gore's new book, "Our Choice," included $1,209 VIP tickets that granted the holder a photo opportunity with Mr. Gore and a "light snack."

Berlingkse Media, a Danish group coordinating ticket sales and publicity for the event, said that "great annoyance" was a factor in the cancellation, along with unforeseen changes in Mr. Gore's program for the climate summit. The decision affected 3,000 ticket holders. the rest

Homeland Security chief warns of threat from al-Qaeda sympathizers in U.S.

By Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 3, 2009

Al-Qaeda followers are inside the United States and would like to attack targets here and in other countries, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Wednesday night.

The secretary's comments were her bluntest assessment yet of terror threats within the country, and they came one day after President Obama, in announcing his decision to send 30,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan, warned that extremists have been "sent here from the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan to commit more acts of terror." the rest

Hertz sued over Muslim prayers

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Hertz Global Holdings Inc., the second-largest U.S. rental car company, was sued by former employees who say its policy of allowing Muslims to take daily prayer breaks discriminates against non-Muslim workers.

Katie Barkley and Shirley Harris, who worked as part-time drivers moving Hertz cars from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to other locations, claim Muslim employees were given as many as three paid, 15-minute prayer breaks each shift while non-Muslim employees were denied equal time off, according to the suit filed Nov. 30 in federal court in Atlanta.

Barkley and Harris lost their jobs in February when Hertz fired all 120 drivers at Hartsfield and replaced them with contract drivers, according to the lawsuit, which seeks class-action status as well as back pay and other damages. the rest

Religious Leader Tells Planned Parenthood Rally Abortion a "God-Given Right"

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
December 3, 2009

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- During the rally yesterday sponsored by the Planned Parenthood abortion business and other leading pro-abortion groups, Rev. Carlton Veazy told the small gathering of hardcore activists that abortion is a "God-given right." Veazy is the head of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.

The rally was a time for abortion advocates to rally together to press for taxpayer funding of abortions and saw a small crowd of just a few hundred people -- compared to the 100,000 or more who attend the March for Life.

Veazy was the closing speaker for the Stop Stupak rally and he told the activists they had more than merely a so-called constitutional right to an abortion. the rest

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Devotional: We have a God...

We have a God who delights in impossiblities.
...Andrew Murray image

PB: Convention Vote Changed Nothing

December 3, 2009

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori gave a wide-ranging radio interview during her pastoral visit to the Diocese of Atlanta.

National Public Radio affiliate WABE-FM has posted an eight-minute interview with the Presiding Bishop by veteran reporter Denis O'Hayer.

The archived segment began in mid-sentence as Bishop Jefferts Schori answered a question about General Convention’s Resolution D025. That resolution said that God “has called and may call” gay and lesbian persons to ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church.

“It does not represent a change. It represents a reaffirmation of what church law has said for a long time,” the Presiding Bishop said.

General Convention approved canonical changes in 1994 that prohibit discriminating against potential candidates based on their sexual orientation.

“The conversation’s been going on in the Episcopal Church for 45 years,” the Presiding Bishop said. “The reality is that same-sex unions are blessed in many churches of the Anglican Communion; not just in the United States or Canada, but also in England — not officially, but that is also reality.” the rest

What Obamacare Will Do To Seniors


Sen. Tom Coburn M.D., R-Oklahoma

Tuesday, December 01, 2009
This was from the Senate debate early this morning. If you didn't hear it on the radio this afternoon, you really owe it to yourself to watch what this health care "reform" debate is leading to, if President Obama and the Democrats get their way. Found here

Stars lined up for new audio Bible

Michael York, Richard Dreyfuss, Jason Alexander and hundreds of others lent their voices to quite a creation: a 79-CD, elaborate audio portrayal of the Old and New Testaments.
By Martha Groves
November 16, 2009

Once Jesus signed on, it was easy to enlist King Solomon and Moses.

Jim Caviezel (Jesus), Malcolm McDowell (King Solomon) and Richard Dreyfuss (Moses) were among hundreds of actors who lined up to create "The Word of Promise Audio Bible," all 98 hours and 79 CDs of it.

The nearly four-year project, released last month,was the inspiration of Carl Amari, a Chicago-area producer behind "Twilight Zone Radio Dramas," "Mystery Theater" and other radio programs.

"I always thought it would be cool to do a radio drama of the Bible," said Amari, who grew up "not real religious" in the Catholic Church. "You're dramatizing the greatest story ever told. It's God's word. How can you make God's word lift off the page? With great actors, great sound effects and music." the rest

Website Amazon

Confrontation threatened over women bishops issue

Thursday, 3rd December 2009
By Toby Cohen

Confrontation is threatened by traditionalists in response to the latest news from the Revision Committee on Women in the Episcopate which has ruled out the structural changes demanded by those opposed to women bishops.

After its third meeting, the Committee said it was “unable to identify a basis for specifying particular functions for vesting which commanded sufficient support both from those in favour of the ordination of women as bishops and those unable to support that development. As a result all of the proposals for vesting particular functions by statute were defeated.

“The effect of the Committee’s decision is therefore that such arrangements as are made for those unable to receive the episcopal ministry of women will need to be by way of delegation from the diocesan bishop rather than vesting.”

The remaining options are to simply allow women to become bishops in the same way men would, or to do so with an accompanying Code of Practice which would advise on pastoral oversight for those unhappy with women bishops. the rest

Reminding Caesar of God’s Existence

A very un-Manhattan-like declaration.
December 1, 2009

Right before Thankgiving, a group of Christians held a press conference in Washington announcing that “because we honor justice and the common good, we will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family.”

Their Manhattan Declaration concluded: “We will fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar’s. But under no circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God’s.”

One of the declaration’s co-authors, Princeton professor Robert P. George, talked to National Review Online’s Kathryn Jean Lopez over the holiday about the statement and the future.

Interview

Gov. Paterson will not re-introduce gay marriage bill to State Senate unless passage a sure thing

By Kenneth Lovett
Daily News Albany Bureau Chief
Thursday, December 3rd 2009

ALBANY - Gov. Paterson Thursday morning said he has no plans to re-introduce a gay marriage bill next year unless its passage is assured.

Paterson called for an up or down vote on gay marriage in the state Senate this year, only to see the measure rejected overwhelmingly 38-24 on Wednesday.

"I won't reintroduce the issue unless I see substantial change in the position of the legislators," Paterson said Thursday morning on WHAM-AM in Rochester. the rest

Abortion showdown looms in Senate

Dec 03, 2009
The Associated Pres

"Senators debating health care legislation are headed for a clash over abortion, the issue that threatened to derail the bill in the House. Anticipating the showdown, hundreds of abortion rights supporters gathered on Capitol Hill Wednesday to call on senators to keep new abortion restrictions out of the health care bill. Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., plans to unveil an anti-abortion amendment as early as Thursday that abortions rights supporters inside the Senate and out say they can't support. Nelson says he won't vote for the underlying bill without his strong abortion language. But opponents say his amendment doesn't have the votes to pass."

"The outcome could be critical in determining the fate of President Barack Obama's signature health overhaul agenda. At issue is how abortions would be handled in the health care bills. ... Behind the scenes, Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., who opposes abortions but wants to vote for the overall health care bill, has been working to find language that could satisfy both sides" (Werner, 12/2).

Politico reports that as abortion supporters rallied on the Hill Wednesday to urge the Senate to oppose an anti-abortion amendment such as the one inserted by the House in the health bill, "opponents are up with radio ads thanking lawmakers who supported it. The Susan B. Anthony List is airing ads praising Reps. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) and Joe Pitts (R-Penn.) for voting in favor of the amendment, which would prohibit insurance plans in the federal exchanges from covering abortion services. The group raised $20,000 online in the last 24 hours to air the ads" (12/2). the rest

Russian Orthodox threat to Lutheran Church

Wednesday, 2nd December 2009
By George Conger

The Russian Orthodox Church has threatened to suspend ecumenical relations with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germany (EKD) in the wake of the election of Bishop Margot Kaessmann as its leader.

On Nov 11 the Russian newspaper Kommersant quoted the head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk as having said Moscow might suspend dialogue with the EKD as it did not recognize the validity of women ministers. the rest

TEC's L.A. diocese meets to choose new bishops; Two candidates are gay

Wednesday, December 2, 2009
By DAVID OLSON
The Press-Enterprise

The continuing controversy over the role of gays and lesbians in the Episcopal Church moves to Riverside on Friday, when delegates to the Los Angeles diocese's annual convention will decide whether to appoint openly gay priests as assistant bishops.

Two of the six candidates to replace two retiring assistant bishops are openly gay. If one or both of them is elected, he or she would become the first bishop in a same-sex relationship elected since V. Gene Robinson was chosen to head the New Hampshire diocese in 2003. That action led dozens of conservative parishes and four dioceses to vote to leave the Episcopal Church. No openly gay bishop has been consecrated since then.

The selection of another gay bishop could upset church conservatives, both in the United States and in the worldwide Anglican Communion of which the 2.1-million-member Episcopal Church is a part. the rest

Duin: Episcopalians eye gay bishop

More for Less? The absurd logic behind the public option.

by Stanley Goldfarb
12/02/2009

Excerpt:
The reason we have an expensive health care system is due to every part of the health care system. Malpractice costs, great availability of technology and advanced care even in small community hospitals, aggressive care in the last year of life (of course, it is not easy to know it is the last year of life), cross subsidization of medical education and research by large teaching hospitals, innovative therapies that cost hundreds of millions of dollars to develop and whose developmental costs must be recaptured, enormous levels of regulation on hospitals and medical providers, and increasing capacity to treat patients with enormously complex medical conditions.

If we ask the health care system to provide each of these components in a fashion that Americans have come to expect and yet demand that it continue to provide all these components with reduced payments, only a catastrophe awaits us. The system is at the breaking point now. Emergency rooms, which are used primarily by those with health insurance as documented in a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association in October 2008 are enormously overcrowded. Only about 17 percent of E.R. visits in the United States were by uninsured patients, about the same as their share of the population. Providing universal health insurance coverage would not change the underlying situation. The Urban Institute report would have us believe that reducing payments for emergency services would somehow reduce this problem? the rest

Obamacare's biggest hurdle: The Manhattan Declaration

Jill Stanek
December 02, 2009

On Nov. 20, the historic Manhattan Declaration was unveiled, just what my distraught spirit had been yearning. I became its 218,525th signer.

The Manhattan Declaration is a momentous 4,700-word manifesto authored by Chuck Colson, Dr. Robert George and Dr. Timothy George, with input from many Orthodox, Catholic and evangelical leaders. Colson calls it "one of the most important [documents] in my lifetime."

The Manhattan Declaration draws a line in the sand on the three paramount issues of our time: the sanctity of human life, the sanctity of marriage as the holy and conjugal union of husband and wife, and the rights of religious liberty and conscience. the rest

Sign the Declaration

E-mail-theft-gate: Senator Barbara Boxer's new name for Climategate

By Damian Thompson
December 3rd, 2009

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif) thinks those responsible for Climategate should face criminal charges. “Wow, that’s a bit harsh,” I thought when I read it.

On closer inspection, however, Boxer was calling for prosecution of the hackers, not the resourceful prof and his pals. As she told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee yesterday: “You call it Climategate; I call it E-mail-theft-gate.”

E-mail-theft-gate. Sorry, Babs, but I don’t think it will catch on. Except, perhaps, at the BBC. the rest

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

New York state lawmakers vote against gay marriage

December 2, 2009
By Edith Honan
NEW YORK

(Reuters) - New York state lawmakers voted against legalizing gay marriage on Wednesday, dashing gay rights activists' hopes that it would become the sixth U.S. state to allow same-sex couples to wed.

The New York state senate voted down the legislation 38 votes to 24. Governor David Paterson, a Democrat who supports gay marriage, had said he would have signed the bill into law if it had passed.

"This is an enormous victory," said Maggie Gallagher, the leader of the National Organization for Marriage, which opposed the law. "What you saw was the will of the people .... The culture really hasn't shifted on gay marriage."

Iowa, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont have legalized gay marriage, while 40 U.S. states have specific laws that ban gay marriage. Last month, voters in Maine chose to repeal a law that had legalized gay marriage. the rest

The senate has voted against the gay marriage bill, 38-24.

China Christians sent to labour camps

2009-12-02
BEIJING

(AFP) - Police in northern China have sentenced five Christian church leaders to two years of "education through labour" after they protested against a police raid on their church, a rights group said Wednesday.

The punishments came after a Shanxi province court last week sentenced five other leaders of the same church to up to seven years in prison for trying to protect the unregistered church from demolition, said ChinaAid, a US-based Christian rights group.

"To arbitrarily send five innocent citizens to labour camps is in direct violation of international human rights covenants," the head of ChinaAid, Bob Fu, said in a statement. the rest

In South Korea, abortion foes gain ground

Though they're technically illegal, abortions are prevalent and rarely discussed in the political sphere. One doctor has become the face of a movement to change that.
By John M. Glionna
November 29, 2009

Reporting from Seoul - For nearly two decades, obstetrician Shim Sang-duk aborted as many babies as he delivered -- on average, one a day, month after month.

"Over time, I became emotionless," the physician said. "I came to see the results of my work as just a chunk of blood. During the operation, I felt the same as though I was treating scars or curing diseases."

Shim, 42, eventually came to despise himself, despite the money he earned from the procedures. So, two months ago, he founded an activist group of physicians who refuse to perform abortions and advocate prosecution for doctors who continue to do so. the rest

Atheist Group Takes ‘Godless Holiday’ Campaign Nationwide

Tuesday, December 01, 2009
By Matt Cover, Staff Writer

(CNSNews.com) – The American Humanist Association is expanding its “Godless Holiday” advertising campaign to five major American cities this Christmas -- taking its message of a holiday season without religion nationwide for the first time.

The ads read: “No God -- no problem! Be good for goodness’ sake. Humanism is the idea that you can be good without a belief in God” and feature several people in red and white Santa hats. The new ads come on the heels of an AHA campaign last year which asked “Why believe in a God?” and featured ads on public transit in Washington, D.C.

Previously, the atheist campaign had been confined to the Washington, D.C., area, with signs and advertisements featured prominently on the city’s Metro subway trains and buses. the rest

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Devotional: Only with Christ has authentic joy made its appearance...

Only with Christ has authentic joy made its appearance and the only thing of ultimate importance in our lives is to learn to see and know Christ, the God of grace, the light and joy of the world. Our joy will be genuine only when it no longer depends on things that can be stripped from us and destroyed and when it has its basis rather in those innermost depths of our existence which no worldly power can take from us. Every external loss should turn us back to these inner-most depths and better dispose us for our true life... To celebrate Advent means to bring to life within ourselves the hidden Presence of God. It takes place to the extent that we travel the path of conversion and change our cast of mind by turning from the visible to the invisible. As we travel this path, we learn to see the miracle of grace; we learn that there can be no more luminous source of joy for human beings and the world than the grace that has appeared in Christ. ...Benedict XVI
image by nick russill

Members flee Church of Sweden in droves

1 Dec 09

The Church of Sweden (Svenska Kyrkan) is bleeding members at an increasingly rapid pace, at the same time as membership rolls in Islamic, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox Christian assemblies are on the rise.

Between November 2008 and October 2009, nearly 72,000 people, or roughly 1 percent of the church's 6.8 million members, asked to leave, according to church statistics reviewed by the TT news agency.

The number of people abandoning Sweden's largest church is roughly 20,000 more than the previous year.

Church of Sweden spokesperson Henrik Pederby was unable to point to any specific reason why more people are leaving the church. the rest

Fr. Nigel Update, Tuesday 12/1/09

9:31 AM
Albany Intercessor

Today will be the last day that Fr. Nigel Mumford will be in the ICU. We Praise You Lord and we thank You for all of the healing that is taking place! He will be moving to "Rehab" for his physical rehabilitation. He will be strengthening his muscles, especially his legs. He is fighting severe dizziness and nausea when he tries to stand, which is understandable after all of this time on his back. This is his 53rd day in the hospital! He said that his head is spinning as though he were on a merry-go-round. As a result of all of this time in the hospital, he has developed a bedsore that is causing him serious pain and discomfort.

As Fr. Nigel has taught us to pray, we will pray as accurately as possible.

Please pray for:
-Relief from the nausea and dizziness as he tries to stand
-Healing of the bed sore
-Strengthening of all of his muscles, but especially for his legs, so that he can "walk out of the darkness", as he put it
-Continued healing of his lungs
-Strength for Lynn as she ministers to Fr. Nigel

Glory to God for the miracle that He has worked through Fr. Nigel. "Glory to You, Lord God of our fathers; You are worthy of praise: Glory to You." BCP 90

As it turns out, the 300+ E-cards that Fr. Nigel received at Saratoga Hospital, although they were a bit of an inconvenience, they were actually also a gift. Fr. Nigel told me that the volunteers that were printing the messages were reading them as they were printing them, and your messages were ministering to the volunteers and the staff. God works in wondrous ways. Today will be the last day that you will be able to send Fr. Nigel an E-card. If you have already sent one, then please don’t send another, but if you haven’t - today is your day.
Send e-card-click here

Blessings to all of you for your continued prayer for Fr. Nigel and your Praise of our Lord, who is our healer and redeemer.

Harvard Study: Planned Parenthood is an Abortion Business and Business is Bad

by Mauricio Roman
November 30, 2009

Despite profits of $85 million in 2008, Planned Parenthood is facing serious financial difficulties.

According to a recent Harvard Business School case study, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) is structured as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with multiple affiliates, each of which is also a 501(c)(3) non-profit. The national entity lobbies on national policy, sets affiliation standards, and leases its "Planned Parenthood" brand to affiliates, each of which has its own independent board and management structure, and so enjoys independence in its day-to-day operations. the rest

Bishop Mark MacDonald: ‘Catholicity Is At Stake’

December 1, 2009
The Rev. George Conger

The Rt. Rev. Mark MacDonald has questioned Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori’s assertion that he must renounce his orders as a bishop of the Episcopal Church because of his ministry in Canada.

The former Bishop of Alaska and Assistant Bishop of Navajoland now serves as the Anglican Church of Canada’s National Indigenous Bishop.

Bishop MacDonald told The Living Church he was “shocked and surprised” by the Presiding Bishop’s remarks on his ministry, adding that he has “written to her asking for clarification.”

“I am on loan to the Anglican Church of Canada under the PB’s supervision. I have an unofficial position, with no set authority or jurisdiction,” he said.

“I was in conversation” with the Presiding Bishop “well before I took the position” in Canada, Bishop MacDonald said. “I had never heard at all that this would be seen as a de facto renunciation of my orders.” the rest

Study Finds Ozone Hole Repair Contributes To Global Warming, Sea Ice Melt

The 20th century's biggest environmental success may exacerbate the 21st century's biggest environmental crisis
By Stuart Fox
12.01.2009

In 1985, scientists from the British Antarctic Survey found a giant hole in the ozone layer of Earth's atmosphere over the South Pole. This discovery prompted a largely successful international effort to ban CFCs, the chemicals largely responsible for man-made thinning of the ozone layer.

Unfortunately, a new analysis from Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) suggests that stopping ozone depletion may actually increase global warming and speed up sea level rise. This discovery pits two important environmental missions against each other, while highlighting the complexity of our effect on the planet.

SCAR's findings indicate that the extra radiation allowed through the atmosphere by the depleted ozone above Antarctica created wind patterns that cooled the eastern, more densely ice-covered, section of the continent. Those weather patterns partly protected Antarctic ice from the ravages of global warming. the rest image

Sandra Bullock: A blessing to meet, portray a real Christian

Associated Press
12/1/2009

LOS ANGELES - Actress Sandra Bullock says meeting Leigh Anne Tuohy, who she portrays in The Blind Side, showed her there really are some Christians who "walk the walk."

The film, which opened the week before Thanksgiving, presents the true story of the Tuohys -- a well-off white family in Tennessee -- who welcome a homeless black youth into their home and then adopt him as their son. That young man, Michael Oher, became an All-American selection for Ole Miss and a first-round draft pick. He now plays for the NFL's Baltimore Ravens.

Bullock says thanks to the Tuohys, who attend Grace Evangelical Church in Memphis, she now has "faith in those who say they represent a faith." Getting to know Leigh Anne Tuohy, says the actress, showed her that religious faith can be authentic. "She was so open and honest and forthright," Bullock shares, "and I said, wow, I finally met someone who practices but doesn't preach." the rest

Pro-Life Victory as Northern Ireland Abortion Guidelines Rejected by High Court

Monday November 30, 2009
By Hilary White
BELFAST

(LifeSiteNews.com) - Pro-life advocates in Northern Ireland are celebrating a major court victory today as the Belfast High Court has ordered the recall of health guidelines that they said would have undermined and effectively overturned the province's pro-life laws.

Lord Justice Girvan found that the guidelines failed to deal properly with conscientious objection to abortion and counseling on abortion. The judge said the guidelines were open to misinterpretation, saying the language was "ambiguous" and left doctors and staff unclear as to what was expected of them. The judge said the guidelines needed to be absolutely clear, otherwise they represented "a trap to the unwary."
the rest

'A Christmas Carol': The Joy of Second Chances

Mark Earley
Prison Fellowship Ministries
November 30, 2009

You know the names even if you've never read the story. Ebenezer Scrooge; Tiny Tim; the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come—they've been an integral part of our culture for well over 150 years.

The tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, the miser who is transformed by a ghostly intervention into a good and generous man on Christmas Eve, is one that never seems to grow old.

And this year is a good chance to be introduced to A Christmas Carol, whether for the first time or for the hundredth. the rest image

Argentine judge stops gay marriage

Monday, 30 November 2009

A judge in Argentina has overturned a ruling that would have allowed the first gay marriage in Latin America.

Judge Marta Gomez Alsina, in the capital Buenos Aires, ordered Tuesday's planned wedding of Alejandro Freyre and Jose Maria Di Bello suspended.

The court website said she had ordered the wedding blocked until the issue could be resolved by the Supreme Court. the rest

Kowtowing to China: A new report details how Beijing influences American academics

by Gary Schmitt
12/01/2009

One of the best kept secrets in Washington is the continuing valuable service provided by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. The commission, established by Congress in late 2000, reports to Congress annually "on the national security implications of the bilateral trade and economic relationship" between the U.S. and China. Composed of a dozen government outsiders who are appointed by the minority and majority leadership in the Senate and the House, the commission is a forum intended to provide an on-going report card on the costs and benefits associated with the U.S. giving the People's Republic permanent "most favored nation" trade status and opening the door to its entry into the World Trade Organization.

Every year, the commission's report has policy nuggets that those who follow China and Asian economic and security issues come to rely on. This year's report, published just recently, is no different. While the report covers a rich variety of topics--such as Chinese trade practices, industrial policy, military modernization, intelligence, cyber-security and Chinese regional policies--the 2009 report also includes an important new section on the PRC's efforts to control "information" about China not only inside its borders but abroad as well, including in the United States. There is interesting data on PRC's use of American lobbying firms, public relations teams, think tanks, and print and electronic media. the rest

Fifteen Minnesota churches leaving ELCA over gay pastor vote

By Andy Birkey
Minnesota Independent
November 28, 2009

More than a dozen Lutheran congregations in Minnesota have vowed to leave the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) after a vote in Minneapolis this summer to allow gay and lesbian pastors in committed relationships to serve as clergy. The fifteen churches will join a new denomination called Lutheran CORE and leave the ELCA, the largest Lutheran denomination in the world.

The leaders of Lutheran CORE say the ELCA has moved too far away from the Bible. the rest

H1N1 flu cases decline, but still taking heavy toll

Though the current wave of the pandemic flu appears to have peaked, the number of pediatric deaths has not, the CDC reports
By Thomas H. Maugh II
December 1, 2009

The current wave of pandemic H1N1 appears to have peaked, with four weeks of declines in several key indicators, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday. Despite the decrease, the outbreak is continuing to take a heavy toll of hospitalizations and deaths, especially among children.

Widespread activity of H1N1, also called swine flu, was reported in 32 states -- including California -- in the week ending Nov. 21, down from 43 states the week before and 48 a month ago. Influenza-like illnesses accounted for 4.3% of all visits to doctors' offices during the week, down from nearly double that proportion in October. That is still well above the normal level, 2.3%, for this time of year, however. the rest

Monday, November 30, 2009

Same-sex marriage in Washington, D.C. will trample on religious liberty.

by Alan F.H. Wisdom
11/30/2009

A tussle over same-sex marriage in the District of Columbia reveals how high the stakes of the debate have risen. Proponents of redefining marriage frequently assert that this would be only a minor adjustment, expanding the institution slightly to accommodate the two to three percent of the population that self-identifies as lesbian or gay. The appeal is for "tolerance" to allow people to form sexual relationships as they please. But now it becomes clear that same-sex advocates want much more than tolerance.

D.C. council member David Catania filed a same-sex marriage bill in October. With support from the mayor and 11 of 13 council members, it seems virtually assured of passage when the council votes December 1. A referendum that could have stopped the bill was ruled out of order by the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics. The board reasoned, curiously, that invalidating a law not yet adopted would somewhat deprive same-sex couples of rights they already enjoy. At this point the only (slim) chance of blocking D.C. same-sex marriage lies in the Democrat-controlled U.S. Congress. the rest

71% Angry at Federal Government, Up Five Points Since September

Monday, November 30, 2009

Seventy-one percent (71%) of voters nationwide say they’re at least somewhat angry about the current policies of the federal government. That figure includes 46% who are Very Angry.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only 27% are not angry about the government's policies, including 10% who are Not at All Angry.

Men are angrier than women, and voters over 40 are more angry than those who are younger. A majority of those over 40 are Very Angry. Only 25% of under-30 voters share that view. the rest
image by Robert Couse-Baker

“The overseas reviews for President Obama’s foreign policy are starting to pour in — and they’re not favorable.”

Poll Shows Canadians More Concerned About Killing Animals Than Unborn Children

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
November 30, 2009
Ottawa, Canada

(LifeNews.com) -- A new Canadian poll finds a tremendous incongruency in the thinking of Canadians on key social and political issues. The new survey finds Canadians are more outraged with the killing of animals or their medical testing than the destruction of unborn children and using them for scientific study.

A new national survey conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion and published in Maclean’s magazine finds practices pro-life advocates find objectionable are morally acceptable. the rest

Canada: Diocese tests same-gender blessing at one church

LEIGH ANNE WILLIAMS
staff writer
Dec 1, 2009

Bishop John Chapman has given a church in the diocese of Ottawa permission to begin offering a rite of blessing to same-gender couples who are civilly married.

The Church of St. John the Evangelist could offer its first blessing as soon as a married couple asks. At least one person in the couple needs to be baptized.

“Same-sex couples who are civilly married and seek the Church’s blessing of their marriage must be welcomed with the same care and solicitude that the church would extend to any other of its members,” Bishop Chapman wrote in his charge to the recent diocesan synod. “When the church blesses the marriage of anyone civilly married it does so recognizing that the couple is already married and that the blessing celebrates and deepens a reality that already exists.”
the rest

Pope opens Advent preparation, speaks of "joy of waiting"

November 30, 2009

Pope Benedict XVI ushered in the season of Advent on November 28, leading a Vespers service in the Vatican basilica and remarking that Advent is a "potent liturgical period" in which Christians should contemplate the presence of God and "the joy of waiting." "Is it not often true that it is activity itself that possesses us, society with its multiple distractions that monopolizes our attention?" the Pontiff asked in his homily at the Saturday-evenign Vespers service. "Is it not true that we dedicate a lot of time to entertainment and leisure activities of various kinds?"

Time spent in waiting for an event can be frustrating when people have the wrong perspective, the Pope said. He urged the faithful to "live the present intensely," recognizing that God is already present to us. the rest

Call for expulsion of papal nuncio

The Irish Times
Monday, November 30, 2009

A Church of Ireland clergyman has called for the expulsion from Ireland of the papal nuncio, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanzato, over the Vatican’s failure to co-operate with the Dublin commission.

Canon Stephen Neill, son of the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin the Most Rev John Neill, also called for there to be criminal investigations into all church and State officials named in the commission report.

Canon Neill, who is rector in Cloughjordan, Co Tipperary, and who uncovered US president Barack Obama’s Irish roots, said: “We should expel the papal nuncio who, along with his colleagues in the Vatican, including the pope and his predecessors, has demonstrated absolute contempt for the legal authorities of this State.” the rest

Episcopal role OK’d in gays’ weddings

Bishop Thomas Shaw approves priests’ officiating in Eastern Massachusetts
By Michael Paulson
Globe Staff / November 30, 2009

The decision by Bishop M. Thomas Shaw III was immediately welcomed by advocates of gay rights in the Episcopal Church, who have chafed at local rules that allowed priests to bless same-sex couples, but not sign the documents that would solemnize their marriages.

The decision is likely to exacerbate tensions in the Episcopal Church and the global denomination to which it belongs, the Anglican Communion, which has faced significant division in the wake of the election of an openly gay priest as bishop of New Hampshire in 2003. the rest

'Honor killings' in USA raise concerns

By Oren Dorell,
USA TODAY
possted November 30, 2009

Muslim immigrant men have been accused of six "honor killings" in the United States in the past two years, prompting concerns that the Muslim community and police need to do more to stop such crimes.

"There is broad support and acceptance of this idea in Islam, and we're going to see it more and more in the United States," says Robert Spencer, who has trained FBI and military authorities on Islam and founded Jihad Watch, which monitors radical Islam. the rest

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Devotional: Ah! Lord, how shall I meet Thee...

Ah! Lord, how shall I meet Thee,
How welcome Thee aright?
All nations long to greet Thee,
My hope, my sole delight!
Brighten the lamp that burneth
But dimly in my breast,
And teach my soul, that yearneth
To honour such high guest.

He comes to judge the nations,
A terror to His foes,
A light of consolations
And blessed hope to those
Who love the Lord's appearing:
O glorious Sun, now come,
Send forth Thy beams of cheering
And guide us safely home!

The End of Advent

Nov 27, 2009
Joseph Bottum

Excerpt:
More Christmas trees. More Christmas lights. More tinsel, more tassels, more glitter, more glee—until the glut of candies and carols, ornaments and trimmings, has left almost nothing for Christmas Day. For much of America, Christmas itself arrives nearly as an afterthought: not the fulfillment, but only the end, of the long Yule season that has burned without stop since the stores began their Christmas sales.

Of course, even in the liturgical calendar, the season points ahead to Christmas. Advent genuinely is adventual—a time before, a looking forward—and it lacks meaning without Christmas. But maybe Christmas, in turn, lacks meaning without Advent. All those daily readings from Isaiah, filled with visions of things yet to be, a constant barrage of the future tense: And it shall come to pass . . . And there shall come forth . . . A kind of longing pervades the Old Testament selections read in church over the weeks before Christmas—an anxious, almost sorrowful litany of hope only in what has not yet come. Zephaniah. Judges. Malachi. Numbers. I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: There shall come a star out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel.

What Advent is, really, is a discipline: a way of forming anticipation and channeling it toward its goal. There's a flicker of rose on the third Sunday—Gaudete!, that day's Mass begins: Rejoice!—but then it's back to the dark purple that is the mark of the season in liturgical churches. And what those somber vestments symbolize is the deeply penitential design of Advent. Nothing we can do earns us the gift of Christmas, any more than Lent earns us Easter. But a season of contrition and sacrifice prepares us to understand and feel something about just how great the gift is when at last the day itself arrives. the rest image by j4shirley

For the Vatican it's Clear - Pro-Abortion Politicians 'Must' be Denied Communion

Friday November 27, 2009
By John-Henry Westen
November 27, 2009

(LifeSiteNews.com) - With the Patrick Kennedy Communion flap and the recent action of the Bishops of Spain having opened up the issue of denying communion to pro-abortion politicians, it is worthwhile to review the position of the Vatican on the matter.

Since the controversy came to a head in 2004, the stance from the Vatican on the matter has been clear and consistent. For the Pope and top Curial Cardinals in charge of the matter there is no question about the responsibility to deny Holy Communion to Catholic politicians who obstinately support abortion. In fact, the issue was closed as early as 2004 with a letter from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.

The then-head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith intervened into a debate among the US Bishops on the issue. Simply put, Cardinal Ratzinger said in his letter titled "Worthiness to receive Holy Communion," that a Catholic politician who would vote for "permissive abortion and euthanasia laws" after being duly instructed and warned, "must" be denied Communion. the rest

Update on Fr. Nigel, Sun, 29 Nov 2009

08:01 AM
From: Elizabeth Strickland
Albany Intercessor

Fr. Nigel Mumford continues in ICU. He is completely off the ventilator, even at nighttime! Thank you, Lord Jesus.

In the determined manner of a Royal Marine, he is building his strength and has used a walker to get from his bed to his chair – a short distance but a huge accomplishment. He is very dizzy when he stands up.

As a result of letting you know about the E-cards at Saratoga Hospital, Fr. Nigel received over 300 e-cards the first day. Needless to say, it caused a bit of disruption to their system. On the bright side of that, Fr. Nigel was very touched. Perhaps it would be wise to hold off on sending any more cards until the hospital can recover from the massive response.

Please pray for:

* Complete and immediate healing of Fr. Nigel’s bedsores
* Complete healing and strengthening of Fr. Nigel’s lungs
* Building up of Fr. Nigel’s muscles – all of his muscles – so that he can regain his strength
* Elimination of the dizziness Fr. Nigel feels when he stands
* Peace and endurance for Lynn

Please give Praise and Thanksgiving to our Lord for the continued healing of Fr. Nigel. Our God is so awesome. He cares so much for each one of us -- He listens to our prayers. Bless you all for your continued and dedicated prayers.

Latin Mass Appeal

By KENNETH J. WOLFE
November 28, 2009
Washington

WALKING into church 40 years ago on this first Sunday of Advent, many Roman Catholics might have wondered where they were. The priest not only spoke English rather than Latin, but he faced the congregation instead of the tabernacle; laymen took on duties previously reserved for priests; folk music filled the air. The great changes of Vatican II had hit home.

All this was a radical break from the traditional Latin Mass, codified in the 16th century at the Council of Trent. For centuries, that Mass served as a structured sacrifice with directives, called “rubrics,” that were not optional. This is how it is done, said the book. As recently as 1947, Pope Pius XII had issued an encyclical on liturgy that scoffed at modernization; he said that the idea of changes to the traditional Latin Mass “pained” him “grievously.”

Paradoxically, however, it was Pius himself who was largely responsible for the momentous changes of 1969. It was he who appointed the chief architect of the new Mass, Annibale Bugnini, to the Vatican’s liturgical commission in 1948. the rest

Switzerland risks Muslim backlash after minarets vote

Switzerland risked a Muslim backlash on Sunday after its citizens voted overwhelmingly to ban minarets on mosques.
By Alexandra Williams in Geneva
29 Nov 2009

The legally-binding referendum result had not been widely expected and was a huge embarrassment for the neutral government in Switzerland.

In the run-up to the vote it had warned that a ban would "serve the interests of extremist circles" and damage economic ties with Muslim states.

Anti-immigrant right-wing populists had championed the vote and led an emotive campaign. The Swiss People's Party (SVP), the country's largest in terms of popular support and membership in parliament, used posters depicting a woman in a burka in front of minarets shaped like missiles rising from a Swiss flag.

"We're enormously happy. It is a victory for this people, this Switzerland, this freedom and those who want a democratic society," Walter Wobmann, president of the initiative committee, said in a victory speech. "We just want to stop further Islamisation in Switzerland." the rest

Women lead Swiss in vote to ban minarets.

Death comes for an Oklahoma monk

November 27, 2009
Zoe Romanowsky

A friend sent me an article about the death of a monk in Oklahoma. I can't locate the piece online, but I wanted to share some of the story, because it's not often you get to read about remarkable monks and monasteries here in the United States.

Father Francois de Feydeau was 57 years old when he passed away from incurable brain cancer on November 15th. He was one of 13 monks who arrived from France 10 years ago to found Clear Creek Monastery near Lost City, Oklahoma. He was laid to rest in a grove of pine trees he planted a few years ago. Here's part of the article published in the Tahlequah Daily Press, which also ran Fr. de Feydeau's obituary. [Because the article is not available online, I'm quoting more than I normally would.] the rest