Friday, February 19, 2010

Devotional: Things great have small beginnings...

Things great have small beginnings. Every downpour is just a raindrop; every fire is just a spark; every harvest is just a seed; every journey is just a step because without that step there will be no journey; without that raindrop there can be no shower; without that seed there can be no harvest. ...William Wilberforce image by IH(40)

Pope Benedict approves sainthood for Montreal’s Brother André

Fri Feb 19 2010
The Canadian Press

VATICAN CITY—Pope Benedict has approved sainthood for Montreal’s Brother André.

The Pope made the announcement during a ceremony at the Vatican Friday and set the formal canonization for Oct. 17 in Rome.

Brother André was a Holy Cross Brother and has been credited with thousands of miracle healings. the rest image

A.S. Haley: A Vestry Member Returns the Favor

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Excerpt:
But now we have a different kind of response to ECUSA's bullying tactics -- one might even say that ECUSA has sued one vestry member too many. For one such vestry member whom the Church named in a lawsuit to recover a parish's property in San Angelo, Texas is also an attorney: his name is Mark Brown. And in his capacity as an attorney, Mark Brown has filed an amicus brief in the writ proceeding currently pending before the Court of Appeals in Fort Worth.

It is a brilliant brief, and may do far more damage to ECUSA's claims in that case than ECUSA has been able to do to Mr. Brown. So that you can read it in full, I have uploaded it to this link. But I will give you its highlights in what follows. It is a very clear and succinct response to the contentions which ECUSA made through Mr. Sarmiento and at General Synod -- which were the same as ECUSA is making to the courts in Fort Worth, San Joaquin, Pittsburgh and Quincy. the rest

Only 21% Say U.S. Government Has Consent of the Governed

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The founding document of the United States, the Declaration of Independence, states that governments derive “their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Today, however, just 21% of voters nationwide believe that the federal government enjoys the consent of the governed.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 61% disagree and say the government does not have the necessary consent. Eighteen percent (18%) of voters are not sure. the rest image

The Drama of the Christian Funeral

Feb 18, 2010
Michael P. Orsi

At a funeral today, one is more likely to hear mourners and preachers alike uttering clichés such as “Dad is with us in spirit,” or “She will live forever in our memories,” than intoning the De Profundis or Dies Irae. Occasionally, these platitudes are given added emphasis with theatrical flourishes like releasing doves to symbolize the freeing of a soul from its bodily container (a practice that is gaining increased popularity). While such devices might offer a certain superficial comfort, they are in many respects, decidedly un-Christian.

Thomas G. Long, Professor of Preaching, at Emory University, worries that the true essence of the Christian funeral is receding rapidly from the collective memory of the community of believers. One of America’s most respected Protestant pulpit voices, Long has considerable experience assisting those for whom the loss of a loved one raises all the great questions about life after death. In Accompany Them with Singing: The Christian Funeral, he observes that the traditional understanding of how the living aid in bringing the deceased to the portal of paradise is being replaced by ideas and practices that reflect fundamental errors. the rest

Albert Mohler: Falling on Deaf Ears? — Why So Many Churches Hear So Little of the Bible

Friday, February 19, 2010

"It is well and good for the preacher to base his sermon on the Bible, but he better get to something relevant pretty quickly, or we start mentally to check out." That stunningly clear sentence reflects one of the most amazing, tragic, and lamentable characteristics of contemporary Christianity -- an impatience with the Word of God.

The sentence above comes from Mark Galli, senior managing editor of Christianity Today in an essay entitled "Yawning at the Word." In just a few hundred words, he captures the tragedy of a church increasingly impatient with and resistant to the reading and preaching of the Bible. We may wince when we read him relate his recent experiences, but we also recognize the ring of truth. the rest image-House of Sims

Noonan: Americans have reached a consensus. What's lacking is trust.

FEBRUARY 18, 2010

Excerpt:
Americans lack trust that government will act in good faith, which is part of why they're anxious. They look at every bill, proposal and idea with an eye to hidden horrors.

The good news is the new consensus that America must move forward in a new way to get spending under control. The bad news is we don't trust Washington to do it. And in the end, only Washington can. Full Essay

Statement by the President on Ash Wednesday

What Does 'Racial Socialism' Sound Like to You?

Elton John says Jesus was super-intelligent gay man

Friday, 19 February 2010

Sir Elton John has claimed Jesus was a "super-intelligent gay man" in an interview with a US magazine.

The singer also told Parade Jesus was "compassionate", forgiving and "understood human problems".

A spokesman for the Church of England said: "Sir Elton's reflection that Jesus calls us all to love and forgive is one shared by all Christians." the rest

CofE's stand galvanizes other investors in Orissa mining

John Malhotra
Friday, 19 February 2010

With the Church of England taking a judicious decision withdrawing its investment in the controversial Vedanta mining company, three others have followed suit by selling their shares in the company.

The UK-based Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust this week sold its £1.9 million stake citing serious concerns about Vedanta's "approach to human rights and the environment.” the rest

Christian Student Killed in Iraq; Fourth Murder in Days

Thu, Feb. 18 2010
By Ethan Cole
Christian Post Reporter

The bullet-riddled body of a 20-year-old Christian student was found on the street of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul Wednesday.

Wissam George was missing since that morning when he left for school, a police officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Agence France-Presse. George was studying to be a teacher.

George is the fourth Christian to be gunned down in Mosul since Sunday. the rest

Change in military policy on homosexual behavior could affect chaplains

Thursday, February 18, 2010

WASHINGTON — The Alliance Defense Fund sent a letter to President Obama and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates Wednesday expressing concern over the effects that any change in military policy concerning homosexual behavior would have on the religious freedom of chaplains.

“Military chaplains who have volunteered to defend the liberties protected in our Constitution shouldn’t be denied those very same liberties,” said ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot. “Forcing chaplains to deny the teachings of their faith in order to serve in the armed forces is a grave threat to the First Amendment and to the spiritual health of Marines, soldiers, sailors, and airmen who depend on them.”

“If the military is forced to promote homosexual behavior, for the first time in American history there will be open conflict between the virtues taught by chaplains and the moral message delivered by the military,” Theriot explained. “In such a conflict, it’s obvious who will win and who will lose. If the state favors the demands of the homosexual activists over the First Amendment, it is only a matter of time before the military censors the religious expression of its chaplains and marginalizes denominations that teach what the Bible says about homosexual behavior.” the rest

NY high school cancels Christian club, lets 60 others remain

Thursday, February 18, 2010

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. — Alliance Defense Fund attorneys filed a lawsuit Thursday against the Board of Education of Half Hollow Hills Central School District on behalf of a student who was told that school officials cancelled, without her knowledge, the Christian club she helps lead. School officials claimed that unspecified budget cuts and a lack of student popularity spurred their decision, even though the club had more than 55 student attendees last year and approximately 60 other student clubs, including the Gay-Straight Alliance and Amnesty International, were allowed to continue. the rest

Anglican Bishop Paul Richardson talks of Catholic conversion

Feb 19 2010
by Lisa Hutchinson
The Journal

A RETIRED Anglican bishop has converted to become Roman Catholic – only weeks after stepping down from his Newcastle post.

The former Assistant Bishop of Newcastle Paul Richardson, who predicted the death of the Church of England, has crossed over to Rome.

Just weeks after retiring from the senior clergy position for the city he has moved to London and is a regular worshipper at St George’s Cathedral in Southwark.

And his move has come with the blessing of his Anglican colleagues. the rest

Cool Movie: SDO Destroys a Sundog

February 18, 2010: Last week, on Feb. 11th, the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) lifted off from Cape Canaveral on a five-year mission to study the sun. Researchers have called the advanced spacecraft the "crown jewel" of NASA's heliophysics fleet. SDO will beam back IMAX-quality images of solar explosions and peer beneath the stellar surface to see the sun's magnetic dynamo in action.

SDO is designed to amaze—and it got off to a good start.

"The observatory did something amazing before it even left the atmosphere," says SDO project scientist Dean Pesnell of the Goddard Space Flight Center.

Moments after launch, SDO's Atlas V rocket flew past a sundog hanging suspended in the blue Florida sky and, with a rippling flurry of shock waves, destroyed it. Click on the image below to launch a video recorded by 13-year-old Anna Herbst at NASA's Banana River viewing site—and don't forget to turn up the volume to hear the reaction of the crowd. the rest

Video here

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Devotional: Total surrender to God...

Total surrender to God must come in small details as it comes in big details. It’s nothing but that single word, “Yes, I accept whatever you give, and I give whatever you take.” And this is just a simple way for us to be holy. We must not create difficulties in our own mind. To be holy doesn’t mean to do extraordinary things, to understand big things, but it is a simple acceptance, because I have given myself to God, because I belong to him – my total surrender. He could put me here. He could put me there. He can use me. He cannot use me. It doesn’t matter because I belong so totally to him that he can do just what he wants to do with me.

Lent is a time when we relive the passion of Christ. Let it not be just a time when our feelings are roused, but let it be a change that comes through cooperation with God's grace in real sacrifices of self. Sacrifice, to be real, must cost; it must hurt; it must empty us of self. Let us go through the passion of Christ day by day. ...Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
image by m.wengerd

New Lutheran denomination now has a name

By Julia Duin
Feb. 18, 2010

We've been waiting several months now for this new "reconfiguration of Lutheranism in North America" promised us by Lutheran CORE, which is overseeing the formation of an alternative to members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The ELCA, as you may remember from last August, voted back then to allow gay clergy and opened the doors to same-sex unions further down the road.

Today, on the anniversary of Martin Luther's death (in 1546), CORE has announced the denomination-to-be will be called the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). More concrete deliberations will happen during Lutheran CORE’s 2010 convocation Aug. 26-27 in Columbus, Ohio, so for now the proposal is on the table for discussion. the rest

Lack of morning light keeping teenagers up at night

First field study shows lack of exposure to morning light delays sleep in teens
16-Feb-2010

Troy, N.Y - The first field study on the impact of light on teenagers' sleeping habits finds that insufficient daily morning light exposure contributes to teenagers not getting enough sleep.

"As teenagers spend more time indoors, they miss out on essential morning light needed to stimulate the body's 24-hour biological system, which regulates the sleep/wake cycle," reports Mariana Figueiro, Ph.D., Assistant Professor and Program Director at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Lighting Research Center (LRC) and lead researcher on the new study.

"These morning-light-deprived teenagers are going to bed later, getting less sleep and possibly under-performing on standardized tests. We are starting to call this the teenage night owl syndrome." the rest

Four abortions ..now I'll never have children

With the number of women having multiple abortions rising in Britain, Karen Collier explains why she's had four - and her devastation at now being left childless.
By Angela Carless
18/02/2010

Terminating a pregnancy, is a decision no woman wants to have to make. However valid her reason for choosing an abortion, it is always a traumatic and terrifying experience.

But Karen Collier, who has had four abortions in 14 years, says she has paid the ultimate price for ending her pregnancies as she now faces the prospect of being childless.

"I take responsibility for my actions, but I think I've been very unlucky. I would have loved to have been a mother," she says.

Karen, 43, represents a growing trend for multiple abortions. Almost 210,000 women had abortions in England, Wales and Scotland in 2008 - the highest figure in Europe. Of these a third were repeat abortions, with rising numbers of women having three, four or more terminations. And last week new statistics showed the number of unplanned pregnancies in the over 40s is now the same as the under 16s. the rest

Texas Small Plane Crash Might Be Intentional Act, Officials Say

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Officials are investigating whether a small plane that crashed into an office building in Austin, Texas, Thursday morning was an intentional act, an NTSB official told Fox News.

An NTSB spokesman, however, told FoxNews.com that "we can't confirm any of that."

Authorities said they have identified the pilot as Joseph Andrew Stack.

A small single-engine plane crashed into a seven-story office building in Austin around 10 a.m. local time Thursday. the rest

More than 75,000 computer systems hacked in one of largest cyber attacks, security firm says

By Ellen Nakashima
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 18, 2010

More than 75,000 computer systems at nearly 2,500 companies in the United States and around the world have been hacked in what appears to be one of the largest and most sophisticated attacks by cyber criminals discovered to date, according to a northern Virginia security firm.

The attack, which began in late 2008 and was discovered last month, targeted proprietary corporate data, e-mails, credit-card transaction data and login credentials at companies in the health and technology industries in 196 countries, according to Herndon-based NetWitness. the rest

Suburban homeless: Rising tide of women, families

Feb 16 2010
By FRANK ELTMAN
Associated Press Writer

Excerpt:
The crunch is seen in suburbs around the country.

Northeast of Atlanta, foreclosures rose 77 percent from 2008 to 2009, said Suzy Bus of the Gwinnett County Coalition for Health and Human Services. About 60 percent of the county's homeless are children 9 and younger, she said.

"People equate homeless to a guy under a bridge, but it's a lot more complex than that, and it permeates much further into our society than a lot of people realize," Bus said.

When families lose their homes and relocate, their children's schooling can be disrupted. Some move into extended-stay hotels that cost about $175 a week, but that sometimes exposes them to criminal activity like prostitution and drug deals, Bus said.

In Coatesville, Pa., a former steel town of about 11,000 outside Philadelphia, the City Gate Mission added five beds to its shelter in November 2008. But director Jim Davis said that even with 21 beds, the shelter has still had to turn people away on many nights. the rest

Dozens of Fort Worth Priests “Deposed”

Stand Firm
Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Reports coming from all angles that dozens of deposition letters were received by Fort Worth clergy, signed by Rump Bishop Ohl. Comments at Stand Firm

Texanglican: Letter of deposition

More Lawsuits May Emerge in S.C.

February 18, 2010

Parties to one of the longest-lasting legal disputes involving the Episcopal Church have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the matter on appeal.

The petition for a writ of certiorari asks the Supreme Court to rule in a legal battle involving All Saints, Waccamaw, S.C., which separated from the Diocese of South Carolina after its rector, Charles H. “Chuck” Murphy III, became a founding bishop of the Anglican Mission in the Americas.

The petition involves the consolidated cases of All Saints Parish, Waccamaw v. Protestant Episcopal Church and Green v. Campbell.

The Rt. Rev. Edward L. Salmon, Jr., Bishop of South Carolina from 1990 to 2007, was a party to All Saints v. Protestant Episcopal Church. The Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence, who became Bishop of South Carolina in 2008, has never been a party to the dispute.

Meanwhile, the Diocese of South Carolina’s former chancellor, Thomas T. Tisdale, has sent a series of letters to its current chancellor, Wade H. Logan III, regarding four other parishes, some of which have distanced themselves from the Episcopal Church. the rest

Abandon superficiality in favor of complete conversion, says pope

Feb-17-2010
By Carol Glatz and Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY

(CNS) -- The Lenten season calls Christians to strip themselves of evil, superficiality and lukewarm morality and to turn themselves fully over to Jesus Christ, said Pope Benedict XVI.

"Conversion means to change the direction in life's journey, not by making tiny adjustments, but by an authentic and real about-face," he said during his weekly general audience Feb. 17, Ash Wednesday.

"The call for conversion strips bare and denounces the easy superficiality that very often characterizes our way of life," he said. the rest

3 Minute Daily Retreat

Here-lovely!

Lent and Beyond for wonderful links and prayers

Albert Mohler: Did He Get Married Too Young?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

You have to give David Lapp credit. The 22-year-old young man knew what he wanted, and he got her -- a wife. It wasn't easy. When David and his wife Amber told her father that they wanted to get married (at ages 22 and 21, respectively), he hit the ceiling.

Thankfully, Amber's father changed his mind. The couple is now happily married, and David has told the whole world about it in an op-ed column for The Wall Street Journal. In the column, he deals head-on with objections to young marriage.

He writes, "As college-educated, professionally aspiring young adults in New York, my wife and I were bucking the prevailing social script by marrying in our early 20s." Indeed, the average age for first marriage for young men is now 28, and for women it is now 26. That reflects a significant change in the way Americans live, love, and marry. We now have the twin phenomena of delayed adulthood and extended adolescence. Young Americans, by and large, are not waiting for sex . . . but they are putting marriage off into a distant future. the rest

Big Victories, Babies Saved as 40 Days for Life Kicks Off Campaign-including Syracuse!

by David Bereit, National Coordinator, 40 Days for Life

February 17, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Would you believe that 40 Days for Life is just starting, and we're already hearing about big victories in the days leading up to the campaign?

...In Syracuse, New York the 40 Days for Life kickoff event was just as enthusiastic -- and certainly a lot colder! The group gathered to sing, pray and celebrate victories outside the Planned Parenthood center that is the nation's oldest free-standing abortion facility.

During the fall 40 Days for Life campaign, Planned Parenthood laid off two employees, one of whom thanked vigil participants for praying -- and promised she would never go back into that place again.
Full Article

Jill Stanek: The abortion clinic and other novel ideas of Adolf Hitler

Woman who threatened protester cancels abortion

By Mark Stodghill
Duluth News Tribune
February 17 2010

Mechelle Hall dabbed tears from her eyes Tuesday as she pleaded guilty to
second-degree assault for brandishing a knife and threatening a woman who urged her not to get an abortion.

Yet, she revealed later, she never got it.

Hall, 26, of Superior, admitted her crime in a St. Louis County courtroom under questioning by county prosecutor Nathaniel Stumme. Public defender Laura Zimm told Judge David Johnson that, under terms of a plea agreement, Hall would receive probation and wouldn’t have to serve any jail time. It was a routine, perfunctory court hearing. the rest

Why it doesn't matter if the Pope's Ordinariate for ex-Anglicans is small at first

By Damian Thompson
February 18th, 2010

Excerpt:
In the end, however, the Catholic Church has to face the fact that, in England more than any other country, history has bequeathed us an almighty ecclesiastical mess. Anglo-Catholicism is part of the established religion of England; it is here that a movement of clergy and their patrons adopted a Catholic (sometimes ultra-Catholic) style of worship that developed in opposition to the Church of England hierarchy, and has always been embraced more readily by priests than by lay people. Not only are there fearsome legal barriers to vicars “taking their parishes with them” – the congregation does not own the building, as it does in other countries – but the men and women in the pew are often less diehard in their opposition to women priests and bishops than their pastors. Or, to put it another way, their objections are cultural rather than theological.

My impression is that the Ordinariate appeals most to the Anglican bishops who proposed it and to young, conservative Anglican clergy and seminarians. Older incumbents are split between those few who will move soon, with whoever follows them; those who never wanted to be “Roman Catholics” and will either stay put or move into a dissident Anglican sect or Orthodoxy; and a very large group who favour the Ordinariate in principle but will stay in the C of E for as long as it takes to persuade significant numbers of their flock that this is their only opportunity to carry on worshipping as Catholics (which is what they consider themselves to be). That will take time; the reality of women bishops will have to sink in. The Catholic Church must not be too dismissive of Anglo-Catholic priests who stay to argue gently the case for the Ordinariate, as opposed to staying to fight the lost cause of classic Anglo-Catholicism. Anglicanorum coetibus has no expiry date; some of its finest fruits may not be visible for a decade, when traditionalist laity overcome their natural fear and plunge into the Tiber. the rest

CofE launches web prayer service

by Jenna Lyle
Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Church of England is inviting people to share their hopes and concerns through a new web-based prayer service launched to mark the start of Lent.

Prayers submitted to the SayOneForMe.org during Lent will be offered to God by bishops during their own prayer times.

The website is the web version of public prayer boards in cathedrals and churches and is inspired by the phrase "Say one for me", commonly shouted at priests by passers-by in the street. the rest

Being Faithful now available for download

Anglican Mainstream
February 17th, 2010

GAFCON website has announced today that the Commentary on the Jerusalem Declaration by its Theology Resource Group is now available for downloading. The website also gives ways the printed version can be accessed in different parts of the world.

Being Faithful now available for download

The Commentary on the landmark Anglican ‘Jerusalem Declaration’ has been released in digital form and is available for immediate download. (Large pdf file)

In June 2008, 1200 Anglican leaders, bishops, clergy and lay people, from 27 provinces of the Anglican Communion met in Jerusalem for the Global Anglican Future Conference.

One of the results was the establishment of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, with the ‘Jerusalem Declaration’ as its foundation.

In 2009, 40 theologians, from 14 countries throughout the Anglican Communion, produced a commentary on this important document called “Being Faithful: The Shape of Historic Anglicanism Today”.

This Gafcon/FCA Primates Council, including leaders from some of the strongest Anglican communities in the world, have urged Anglicans everywhere to read and study this important work.

It has now been made available for download, in special edition along with “The Way, The Truth, and the Life” which was launched at GAFCON.

The complete PDF is available for download here.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Devotional: Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly...

Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly,
Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision,
where I live in the depths but see thee in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold thy glory.

Let me learn by paradox
that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive
that the valley is the place of vision.

LORD, in the daytime stars can be seen from the deepest wells,
and the deeper the wells the brighter thy stars shine;
Let me find thy light in my darkness,
thy life in my death,
thy joy in my sorrow,
thy grace in my sin,
thy riches in my poverty,
thy glory in my valley.
...Valley of Vision
image

Daily conversion frees and saves, Pope declares as Lent begins

Vatican City
Feb 17, 2010

(CNA)- The Holy Father dedicated the General Audience on Wednesday in the Paul VI Hall to the significance of the Lenten season which begins today. He emphasized the importance of daily conversion for swimming "against the current" of a society that promotes a “superficial lifestyle” and “moral mediocrity.”

Lent, Pope Benedict observed, is an "acceptable and grace-filled time" in which we can better understand the words "repent and believe in the Gospel."

The call to conversion is one to take with "extraordinary seriousness" because it "reveals and denounces the easy superficiality that often characterizes our lives," Pope Benedict taught. the rest

Presentations on the Anglican Church in North America to Church of England Synod Members February 9, 2010

On Tuesday February 9, 2010, the Bishops of Winchester, Exeter and Blackburn hosted a lunch at the General Synod, attended by over 100 members, to hear a presentation by official representatives of the Anglican Church in North America. This is what they heard.

I INTRODUCTION/OVERVIEW
Mrs. Cynthia P. Brust

Good afternoon…I am Cynthia Brust, Director of Communications for the Anglican Mission in the Americas, a wife and mother and a laywoman passionate about teaching the Word of God. In October, My husband and I relocated from South Carolina to the west coast where we are planting a church in south Orange County, California – the greater Los Angeles area.

My colleagues and I are honored to be with you today to share our perspective about the Anglican Church in North America, and we are grateful to Bishop Michael for his kind invitation.

Each of us will introduce ourselves, but as a group, the four of us represent different entities associated with the Anglican Church in North America…unique perspectives…varying backgrounds and professions which will be reflected in our time with you.

the rest at Anglican Mainstream

Bishop who predicted death of Church of England converts to Rome

A long-serving bishop who predicted the death of the Church of England has become a Roman Catholic.
By Martin Beckford
17 Feb 2010

Just weeks after stepping down from his post as the Assistant Bishop of Newcastle, Paul Richardson crossed over to Rome.

He has moved from the north-east to London and is now a regular worshipper at St George’s Cathedral in Southwark.

However he denied his conversion was influenced by the Church of England’s move towards ordaining women bishops, which many traditionalists say is pushing them out. the rest

Ashes

Pat McDonough
February 15, 2010

A friend of mine recently recounted the experience of watching his house burn to the ground. The good news is that no one was hurt. The bad news: everything that the family owned was lost. Life as they knew it had been reduced to ashes.

Feelings of helplessness and vulnerability overwhelmed him, but in the months that followed the fire, he was also overwhelmed by the goodness of neighbors and the generosity of friends. “When everything I owned was gone, and I had nothing to call my own but the ashes at my feet, my worldview changed completely. I was less distracted and much more focused on things that I had overlooked prior to that point in my life. I understood, perhaps for the first time, the concept of community, of inter-dependence, and our shared dependence on the grace of God.”

Without knowing it, my friend summed up the meaning of Ash Wednesday, the arrival of forty days focused on our conversion from sin and solitary thinking to compassion and Christian community.

Think back to 9/11. Images of towers tumbling while thousands of people, covered in ash, fought for their lives. These imagess evoked a worldwide response of compassion and communal thinking. On that day, we knew with certainty that life was much more fragile than we ever imagined. If steel towers could fall and human lives evaporate in seconds, then the Good News of Jesus Christ is needed more urgently than ever before. the rest image

Found at Lent and Beyond's Ash Wednesday post

Man creates church that fuses two

By Electa Draper
The Denver Post
02/16/2010

There is cafeteria Christianity — selecting this doctrine and that rite but leaving those others off the tray — and then there is St. Isaac Church, where worship is more like a smorgasbord.

Archbishop P. Gregory Schell is not leaving much off the table at his feast of faith in northwest Denver.

"This is a place where East meets West, and Christ is in the center," says Schell, founder of the 10-year-old Christian Orthodox Church of America, a fusion of ancient Christianity and contemporary evangelical worship. the rest

TV Backlash: Sponsors Rebel Against Salacious Content, Create ‘Family Friendly’ Programming

by Kurt Schlichter
Feb 17th 2010

It is more than just interesting how advertisers are rebelling against free television’s current crop of lurid, creepy content. For the Hollywood elite, this is a canary in the coal mine, and they should heed that figurative dead bird’s warning. Their time as the sole arbiters of what will and will not be seen is ending. And the conservative movement stands to gain.

the rest

The Green Death

February 16, 2010
by Doctor Zero

Who is the worst killer in the long, ugly history of war and extermination? Hitler? Stalin? Pol Pot? Not even close. A single book called Silent Spring killed far more people than all those fiends put together.

Published in 1962, Silent Spring used manipulated data and wildly exaggerated claims (sound familiar?) to push for a worldwide ban on the pesticide known as DDT – which is, to this day, the most effective weapon against malarial mosquitoes. The Environmental Protection Agency held extensive hearings after the uproar produced by this book… and these hearings concluded that DDT should not be banned. A few months after the hearings ended, EPA administrator William Ruckleshaus over-ruled his own agency and banned DDT anyway, in what he later admitted was a “political” decision. Threats to withhold American foreign aid swiftly spread the ban across the world.

The resulting explosion of mosquito-borne malaria in Africa has claimed over sixty million lives. This was not a gradual process – a surge of infection and death happened almost immediately. the rest

Austrian straight couple applies for gay marriage

A heterosexual couple in Austria has vowed to go to the country's highest court - to be granted a civil partnership introduced for gay couples. They argue that current legislation is discriminatory.
16.02.2010

A heterosexual couple in Austria is fighting for the right to enter into a registered civil partnership - introduced for homosexual couples in January 2010. Under current law the couple will be denied that right - but they have vowed to take the case to the country's constitutional court to overturn what they says is a discriminatory legislation.

Austria introduced civil unions for gay couples on January 1, affording them some of the rights enjoyed by their heterosexual counterparts. The new legislation, passed after weeks of wrangling between the ruling Social Democrats and their conservative coalition partner in government, gives same-sex couples a status similar to traditional marriage but different in a number of respects. For instance, there are less strict rules in the event of a divorce. the rest

Dutch pro-euthanasia lobby gathers signatures to legalise assistance of killing those who are 'tired of living'

16th February 2010

Assisting in a suicide of another person has been legal in the Netherlands for more than 20 years and the Dutch experience is repeatedly cited as the way forward in the UK. However, time and again reports show abuses of the Dutch law.

Dutch Penal Code Articles 293 and 294 make both euthanasia and assisted suicide illegal. However, as a result of various court cases, Doctors who directly kill patients or help patients kill themselves will not be prosecuted as long as they follow certain guidelines.
(Click here to read the guidelines)

Since 1981, the guidelines controlling assisted suicide have been interpreted by the Dutch Courts and Royal Dutch Medical Association in ever-broadening terms. the rest

Obama Gives Planned Parenthood Abortion President Frequent White House Access

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
February 16, 2010

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- Visitor logs reveal what pro-life advocates suspected would happen once President Barack Obama took over as presdient. He and his administration have allowed the Planned Parenthood abortion business unfettered access to the White House and top staffers.

The visitor logs reveal Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards has visited the White House and spent time with Obama administration officials on four occasions.

The documents show Obama wasted little time in giving Richards access, with her first visit coming on January 20 -- the date of Obama's inauguration -- for a luncheon reception with 299 total people. the rest

Egypt’s Christians In Peril

by Faith J. H. McDonnell
Feb 16th, 2010

Excerpt:
“The Muslims promised us a wonderful Christmas,” one wounded parishioner told the Coptic News Bulletin, “I think the message is received now.” All further Christmas celebrations were cancelled. In a moment’s time, one of the most joyous days of the year for Christians was transformed into a day of horror and carnage. That was as much the goal of the Muslim gunmen as the actual shootings. Christian holy days and holy places are most often targeted. Just seven months before, Muslims in the village of Higaza opened fire on worshippers leaving an Easter Eve service, killing two young men and wounding a woman.

Bishop Kirollos believes he was the intended target of the attack. “I was the one intended to be assassinated by this plot, and when it failed the criminals turned round and started shooting and finishing off the young ones,” Kirollos told MECA. He received death threats over the weeks before Christmas, and told reporters from Free Copts that the Muslims wanted to “dispose of him” because he had criticized the State Security for failing to protect Christians attacked by Muslims in November in several towns within the parish of Nag Hammadi. the rest

Another Copt Killed as Alleged Shooters Plead Not Guilty in Egypt

Virginia Legislature Strips Planned Parenthood Funding From its License Plate Bill

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
February 16, 2010
Richmond, VA

(LifeNews.com) -- In what pro-life advocates are hailing as a brilliant legislative move, Virginia lawmakers stripped Planned Parenthood funding from its own bill to sponsor pro-abortion license plates. The plate bill now sends the proceeds from sales of the plate to a state fund that actually helps pregnant women.

Money generated from the sales of the “Trust Women, Respect Choice" license plates was intended to go to the Planned Parenthood abortion business. the rest

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Anglicans, Affirmation, and Action

Thursday February 11, 2010
Ed Stetzer

Back in August of '09 I shared a bit about the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), a new conservative Anglican organization that broke away from the Episcopal Church (The U.S. branch of the Anglican Communion) over controversies related to the authority of Scripture and homosexuality. But this is not just a group of conservative theologians who are trying to maintain orthodox theology, they are also working hard to stay on mission, which has led them to set a lofty goal for such a young fellowship of churches; to plant 1000 churches in the next five years! I have the privilege of speaking at the Anglican 1000 gathering, February 22-23, in Plano, TX.

The big news is that yesterday the General Synod of the Church of England voted to recognize the ACNA. This is not the same thing as the Church of England affirming to be "in communion" with ACNA, but leadership in the ACNA is encouraged. the rest

Australia's traditional Anglicans vote to convert to Catholicism

Traditionalist Anglicans in Australia have become the first to vote in favour of leaving their national church and convert to Roman Catholicism.
By Bonnie Malkin, in Sydney and Martin Beckford
16 Feb 2010

Forward in Faith Australia, part of the Anglo-Catholic group that also has members in Britain and America, is setting up a working party guided by a Catholic bishop to work out how its followers can cross over to Rome.

It is believed to be the first group within the Anglican church to accept Pope Benedict XVI’s unprecedented offer for disaffected members of the Communion to convert en masse while retaining parts of their spiritual heritage. the rest

Toward a blessed and fruitful Lent...

Lent and Beyond has compiled a very comprehensive list of resources and links for prayer, meditation and instruction to help make your Lenten observance blessed and fruitful.
image by Randy OHC

Here is the index of all the posts

Go here for Lent 2010 Around the Blogosphere

For example, I found this wonderful "Sermon on Repentance"

Here's a portion:
For the Lord, who is longsuffering and full of compassion and
mercy, will accept the last even as the first.
He restores him who repents at the first hour,
As He does him who turns back at the eleventh.
And He shows mercy upon the last,
And cares for the first;
And to the one He gives,
And upon the other He bestows gifts.
And He both accepts the confession,
And welcomes the intention,
And honors the contrite heart and rejoices in the return
.


Pray and ask the Lord how He would have you spend the next 40 days!

The Making and Re-Making of Episcopal Canon Law

Written by: Robert W. Prichard
Monday, February 15th, 2010

pdf version with footnotes available for download here

In order to weigh current arguments about the structure of The Episcopal Church and its relationship to the other members of the Anglican Communion, it may be useful to reflect on earlier periods in which the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church have changed significantly. It could be argued that the three most important such periods in the history of The Episcopal Church in which such change took place were: the American Revolution, the early 20th century, and the 1960s. The first of these three periods was perhaps the most radical, an attempt to revise English canon law in light of American democratic ideals. The second of these periods of reform was perhaps the most sweeping; Episcopalians of the early 20th century attempted to replace a set of individual provisions with a comprehensive code of canon law. The third period of revision—during the 1960s—is an important realignment made in recognition of the increasing complexity of the Anglican Communion. the rest

Kenneth Starr Named Baylor University President

Tue, Feb. 16 2010
By Nathan Black
Christian Post Reporter

Starr was elected unanimously to lead Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and will be introduced to the campus of some 14,000 students on Tuesday, according to Monday's announcement.

"I am pleased that Baylor University has named an individual of Dean Starr's sterling reputation, character and ability to lead the university into a future that is made all the more promising by his presence," former president George H. W. Bush said in a statement Monday. the rest

Leaked Document: No Opt-Out for Children from Pro-Gay Classes in Ontario Schools

Monday February 15, 2010
By Patrick B. Craine
HAMILTON, Ontario

(LifeSiteNews.com) - Public school children in Hamilton, Ontario will not be permitted to withdraw from classes that promote homosexuality, according to the Hamilton Mountain News. At the same time, according to a leaked document obtained by a local journalist, teachers are being instructed to tell parents who object to the curriculum that “this is not about parent rights.” the rest

Al Qaeda Looking to Recruit English Speakers, Women

February 15, 2010
FOXNews.com

Al Qaeda in Yemen is actively recruiting English-speaking individuals, intelligence officials told Fox News on Monday, saying that investigators are looking for people who are more like Americans, having been born in the United States or Canada.

"Anyone who can fit in and not attract suspicion" is desirable to the terror network right now, said one official.

An investigative source also said that among those attracting attention by the intelligence community are women recruits. The next wave of terrorists may include Western women, possibly Canadian, with forged documents. The use of women would be seen an evolution in Al Qaeda's strategy from the failed Christmas Day attack by accused "underpants bomber" Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. the rest

Hormone oxytocin may help Asperger's patients

A study links the hormone, which promotes mother-infant bonding and cooperation, to smoother social learning skills in people with the autism spectrum disorder.
By Melissa Healy
February 15, 201

People with Asperger's syndrome, a mild form of autism, dramatically improve their social learning skills and spend more time gazing at pictures of faces after inhaling the social-bonding hormone oxytocin, researchers have found.

The study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, is the first to demonstrate the effects of oxytocin -- a hormone that promotes mother-infant bonding, socialization, trust and cooperation -- in people diagnosed with Asperger's. the rest

New poll: Now, signs of real vulnerability for California's Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer

February 15, 2010
Andrew Malcolm

So, is California's brittle Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer about to become the next Harry Reid? Which is to say, embattled at home.

As Reid worked the wallets of San Francisco on Presidents' Day to raise money for his endangered seat in Nevada, some stunning new Rasmussen Reports poll out today makes a compelling point:

For the second straight month the three-term senator is unable to break the 50% mark against any potential Republican opponents, the historical measuring mark of vulnerability for an incumbent nine months before an election. the rest

MCJ on other vulnerable politicians

Hewitt: Where Was The Concern For Bipartisanship In 2005?
George W. Bush began his second term in an earnest and prolonged search for a bipartisan solution to the problems plaguing Social Security. He ran into what the Washington Post called "a solid wall of Democratic opposition." Some Democrats sincerely opposed not only W's idea of private accounts as part of an overhaul but any sort of tinkering period on ideological grounds. Others refused to suggest any sort of negotiation for fear of handing Bush a political victory. Partisanship destroyed the initiative. Social Security remains unreformed and is now five years closer to insolvency.

WSJ: Senator Bayh's Domino Effect
Democrats could wind up with only 52 Senate seats.

No sects please, we’re Anglicans

Monday, 15 February 2010
The Rev. John P Richardson

When I first heard a few years ago the proposal advanced at our Diocesan Synod in Chelmsford that the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1993 should be abolished, I genuinely felt a cold chill. This was not because it presaged the arrival of women as bishops. Rather, it was because it heralded the potential end of the Church of England as I knew, and loved, it.

I argued then, and I am convinced now, that such a move would give the Church of England the character of a sect, by introducing preciseness of belief and practice in this one area, in a way comparable to nothing else that has recently been discussed or debated.

This was brought home to me by the recent experience of a friend who is being interviewed for possible ordination. One of his interviewers asked him what he thought about women bishops. My friend answered that personally he disagreed with it, but that the Church of England allowed for different points of view. the rest

British bishops urge 'carbon fast' for Lent

posted Feb. 16, 2010

LONDON — Several prominent Anglican British bishops are urging Christians to keep their carbon consumption in check this Lent.

The 40-day period of penitence before Easter typically sees observant Catholics, Anglicans, and Orthodox Christians give up meat, alcohol or chocolates.

But this year's initiative aims to convince those observing Lent to try a day without an iPod or mobile phone in a bid to reduce the use of electricity — and thus trim the amount of carbon dioxide spewed into the atmosphere. the rest

Tenants left high and dry after Church of England abandons New York towers

The Church of England provokes heated debate in US over strategic defaults after it abandons a Manhattan investment
From The Times
February 16, 2010

When the Church of England walked away from a £40 million investment in a Manhattan apartment complex last month, it simply wrote off the entire amount, promising that “lessons would be learnt”.

Yet many of the tenants of the 11,000 apartments are still dealing with the fallout. Left in limbo as a new buyer is sought for the buildings, they have serious concerns about who will maintain the complex.

The move also puts the Church at the centre of a heated debate in America about strategic defaulting — walking away from property debts. The Church of England has joined the likes of Morgan Stanley, the banking giant, which stopped repayments on five office buildings in San Francisco that it had bought for $2.5 billion at the height of the property boom. the rest

Monday, February 15, 2010

Devotional: You will look to Him for gladness and refreshment...

When you find that weariness depresses or amusement distracts you, you will calmly turn with an untroubled spirit to your Heavenly Father, who is always holding out His arms to you. You will look to Him for gladness and refreshment when depressed, for moderation and recollection when in good spirits, and you will find that He will never leave you to want. A trustful glance, a silent movement of the heart towards Him will renew your strength; and though you may often feel as if your soul were downcast and numb, whatever God calls you to do, He will give you power and courage to perform. Our Heavenly Father, so far from ever overlooking us, is only waiting to find our hearts open, to pour into them the torrents of His grace.
...Francois Fenelon image by kevincole

Strength in Meekness

What to do with the anger that saps strength.
Carolyn Arends
2/15/2010

Excerpt:
Psalm 37 is all about strength in meekness. It deals with trusting God to be God, and with not trying to do his job. The meek, for example, don't repay evil for evil; they rely on God for justice (vv. 1-3). Several verses mention that the meek don't fret. And the meek let God provide their hearts' desires rather than trying to manipulate people and circumstances to get what they want (v. 4).

How much energy do I expend trying to secure provisions, control outcomes, and manage people's perceptions of me? Psalm 37 tells us that the meek give that labor up. They trust God's claims that he will provide, protect, and defend, and in so doing free up resources for putting their hands to God's plow. It's a good plan.

But here's the thing: I would be fine with rolling my burdens onto God if I were guaranteed resolution. the rest

An Olympic Chaplain

The head Christian chaplain at the Vancouver Olympics draws on years of playing professional hockey in U.S. and Sweden.
Luanne Radecki Blackburn
2/15/2010

The fatal crash of Nodar Kumaritashvili, a 21-year-old from Georgia, weighed heavily on the opening ceremonies, and chaplains made themselves available to athletes. In a small office in the Olympic Village, Paul Kobylarz leads this year's Christian chaplaincy program, his fifth Olympics to serve as a chaplain.

"There's been a lot of confidence displayed toward us being there as a support to handle the questions that come along with a situation like this—the purpose of life and questions about our mortality," Kobylarz told Christianity Today on Saturday. "We are here to try to answer those questions for the athletes and delegations and to give support in those areas." the rest

U.S. speedskater Kirstin Holum took leap of faith

By Martin Rogers
Feb 14, 2010

Excerpt:
From that point on, her life began an entirely different journey.

“Speedskating was such a huge part of my life,” Holumn said in a telephone interview with Yahoo! Sports. “I still loved the sport, but I had this incredibly strong calling that it was time to move on and take a different path in life.”

There is no television and no internet at St. Joseph’s Convent in Leeds, England, meaning Holum won’t get to watch the Winter Olympics where she was supposed to become a star.

The peaceful surrounds of the convent is where Holum, now known as Sister Catherine, devotes her life to religious service as a Franciscan nun. That calling had begun on a trip to Our Lady of Fatima, a holy site in Portugal famed for a series of religious visions that appeared nearly a century ago. It was outside the Fatima basilica where Holum decided that a path of religious dedication, not frozen skating lanes, would be her destiny. the rest-image

Irish Times: Guilty clergy must 'admit blame'

Monday, February 15, 2010
PATSY McGARRY
Religious Affairs Correspondent in Rome

A top Vatican official has told Irish bishops in Rome for talks with the pope on the Irish Church's handling of child abuse that clergy who had sinned must admit blame for "abominable acts".

The message came in the sermon of a mass in St Peter's Basilica shortly before the bishops began two days of crisis talks with the pope to formulate a response to the revelations of abuse by clergy that have shaken devoutly Catholic Ireland.

The meeting between Pope Benedict, six senior Curial Cardinals, and 24 Irish bishops resumed this afternoon and is expected to continue until this evening. the rest

In Sarasota, Catholics buck church doctrine on women as priests

Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Sunday, February 14, 2010

SARASOTA — A former nun who the Vatican says has been excommunicated ordained two women priests and one deacon in Sarasota, part of a growing and controversial movement claiming to be an offshoot of the Catholic church.

The ordinations were the first in Florida by the group known as Roman Catholic Womenpriests, which preaches equality for women by allowing them into the priesthood and plays down allegiance to the pope. the rest

Gender testing in sport: A case for treatment?

Monday, 15 February 2010
By Ian O'Reilly BBC News

With the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games under way, leading sporting bodies continue to be embroiled in one of sport's biggest controversies - the gender verification testing of female athletes.

In January a symposium of experts in Miami concluded that some athletes discovered to have gender ambiguities be advised to have treatment, possibly even surgery, to continue competing at international level.

Last week the International Olympic Committee's General Assembly was briefed by the head of its Medical Commission Professor Arne Ljungqvist who recommended that "strategically located centres of excellence should be established to which athletes with a DSD (disorders of sex development) could be referred and, if necessary, further investigated and treated." the rest image by adrian8_8

Bishop Anderson on the Church of England's Vote

February 12, 2010
by The Rt. Rev. David C. Anderson
AAC President and CEO

Beloved in Christ,

Let me begin my report this week by apologizing for missing my filing last week. I was indeed traveling, this time by air, and just couldn't put a report together. As it happens, the Rev. Phil Ashey, our AAC Chief Operating Officer, was with me and we were in transit to London to gather information concerning the General Synod of the Church of England (CofE) and the Private Member's Motion (PMM) put forward by Lorna Ashworth, which expressed a desire for the CofE to be in communion with the new Anglican Church in North America (AC-NA). At the Synod, Bishop Mike Hill of Bristol filed an amendment which reworded the body of Lorna's motion and was in reality a substitute motion, and then others filed additional proposed amendments either to Lorna's motion or to Bishop Hill's amendment. I needed to be up close to see this all unfold and to understand what was being said and what it would mean in plain North American English to those of us on the Western side of the Great Pond. the rest

The Rev. Phil Ashey: Why I return with hope from the Church of England General Synod

CANA Welcomes General Synod Affirmation of ACNA

Anglican service upbeat despite lawsuit over property

Monday, Feb. 15, 2010
By Sue Nowicki

TURLOCK — "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation! O my soul, praise him, for he is thy health and salvation! All ye who hear, now to his temple draw near; praise him in glad adoration."

If the 67 parishioners at St. Francis Anglican Church here were troubled over last week's lawsuit seeking their property, they didn't show it as they fervently sang the traditional hymn Sunday.

The song has been around since the 1600s, nearly four centuries before a split hit the U.S. Episcopal Church over the interpretation of Scripture. Anglicans say they haven't abandoned their faith but have moved to the oversight of the biblically conservative Anglican church worldwide.

The biblically liberal Episcopalians say the Anglicans can leave, but the property was held in trust on behalf of the national Episcopal church, and thus belongs to it. Nationwide, more than 50 lawsuits have been filed to recover such property. the rest

Vatican Official Proposes Ecumenical Catechism

Cardinal asks dialogue partners if an ecumenical catechism might work
Sunday, February 14, 2010
By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — A Vatican official has floated the idea of a shared “ecumenical catechism” as one of the potential fruits of 40 years of dialogue among Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists and members of the Reformed churches.

“We have affirmed our common foundation in Jesus Christ and the Holy Trinity as expressed in our common creed and in the doctrine of the first ecumenical councils,” Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, told representatives of the churches.

Opening a three-day symposium at the Vatican to brainstorm on the future of ecumenism, Cardinal Kasper said it is essential “to keep alive the memory of our achievements” in dialogue, educate the faithful about how much has been accomplished and prepare a new generation to carry on the work. the rest

Catholics, Mormons, Assemblies of God growing; Mainline churches report a continuing decline

New York, February 12, 2010 -- The National Council of Churches' 2010 Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches reports membership gains in the Catholic Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Assemblies of God, among others.

The 78th annual edition of the Yearbook also reports a continuing decline in membership of virtually all mainline denominations. And the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's second largest denomination and long a reliable generator of church growth, reported a decline in membership for the second year in a row, down 0.24 percent to 16,266,920.

The Catholic Church, the nation's largest at more than 68 million members, also reported a slight membership loss in 2009 but rebounded this year with a robust growth of 1.49 percent.

The Latter-day Saints grew 1.71 percent to 5,873,408 members and the Assemblies of God grew 1.27 percent to 2,863,265 members, according to figures reported in the 2010 Yearbook. the rest


The Episcopal Church: 2,057,292 members

down 2.81 percent.

The global warming scandal of the century deepens

By Michelle Malkin
February 15, 2010

I called ClimateGate “the global warming scandal of the century” back on November 20. Deeper and deeper it goes. Over the weekend, University of East Anglia global warming cultist Phil Jones conceded that there has been no statistically significant warming over the last 15 years: Story

THE GREAT CLIMATE CHANGE RETREAT
THERE has been no global warming for 15 years, a key scientist admitted yesterday in a major U-turn.

Obama’s New OIC Envoy Defended Activist Who Aided Terrorist Group

Monday, February 15, 2010
By Patrick Goodenough, International Editor

(CNSNews.com) – President Obama’s newly appointed envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference was quoted in 2004 as saying an American who aided a Palestinian terrorist group was the victim of “politically motivated persecutions” who was being used “to squash dissent.”

Rashad Hussain was quoted as telling a Muslim students’ event in Chicago that if U.S. Muslims did not speak out against the injustices taking place in America, then everyone’s rights would be in jeopardy. the rest

Barack Obama statue removed from Jakarta park

Adoption 'lawyer' tied to child sex case

The parents of a self-styled lawyer advising Americans jailed in Haiti said he's the
By Patricia Mazzei, Michael Sallah and Gerardo Reyes
The Miami Herald

Feb. 14--SANTO DOMINGO -- The man providing legal advice to American church workers charged with trying to take children out of Haiti did jail time in the United States for bank fraud years before emerging as the key suspect in a child prostitution ring in El Salvador, according records and interviews. the rest

Vatican to post secret WWII documents online

February 14, 2010

ROME (JTA) -- The Vatican plans to post selected documents from its World War II secret archives online, according to a Catholic news agency.

The move came at the initiative of Pave the Way, a U.S.-based foundation that promotes interfaith dialogue and has striven to counter criticism that wartime Pope Pius XII ignored Jewish suffering during the Holocaust, Zenit news agency reported Friday.

Pave the Way offered to digitize some 5,125 descriptions and copies of documents from the closed section of the Vatican archives, from the period of March 1939 to May 1945, Zenit reported. These would then be posted on the Web sites of both the Vatican and Pave the Way. the rest

Sunday, February 14, 2010

What is Planned Parenthood really doing in Haiti?

Charlie Butts
OneNewsNow
2/14/2010

International Planned Parenthood has focused on the earthquake in Haiti to raise funds -- but for what purpose?

While aid workers continue the hard work of meeting the basic needs of Haitians, International Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion groups are making their presence known. Paul Tuns is editor of The Interim, which bills itself as "Canada's Life and Family Newspaper."

"When you dig around and look at [their] website and look at the medical services that they are providing, the priorities that they give are to -- quote -- "low-cost, quality sexual and reproductive healthcare," he states.

The pro-life journalist says while Planned Parenthood does not further define on its website and in its literature what that entails, "we know from experience [that it] includes contraceptives, birth control and condoms -- and often, but not always, abortion." the rest

NYT: "Gay marriage" is just like real marriage—only completely different

Thursday, February 11, 2010

From a January 29th article in The New York Times:

As the trial phase of the constitutional battle to overturn the Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage concludes in federal court, gay nuptials are portrayed by opponents as an effort to rewrite the traditional rules of matrimony. Quietly, outside of the news media and courtroom spotlight, many gay couples are doing just that, according to groundbreaking new research.

A study to be released next month is offering a rare glimpse inside gay relationships and reveals that monogamy is not a central feature for many. Some gay men and lesbians argue that, as a result, they have stronger, longer-lasting and more honest relationships. And while that may sound counterintuitive, some experts say boundary-challenging gay relationships represent an evolution in marriage — one that might point the way for the survival of the institution.


Go figure: while the vast majority of people who get married have the old-fashioned, quirky notion that fidelity, loyalty, and monogamy are essential qualities for a marriage to be, well, a marriage, "monogamy is not a central feature for many" gay relationships. Shocking. the rest

Proposed textbook implies abortion opposition is wrong, N. Carolina bishops warn

Charlotte, N.C.
Feb 13, 2010

(CNA).- A proposed school textbook that describes Roe v. Wade as a ruling against government oppression of rights should be opposed by Catholics, the bishops of North Carolina have said. They argue the text implies that opposition to abortion is wrong.

Bishop of Raleigh Michael F. Burbidge and Bishop of Charlotte Peter J. Jugis reported the problem with the textbook in a Feb. 11 letter to Catholics.

They said the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction is considering a proposal for a revised textbook on Civics and Economics. The proposed text asserts that Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that mandated permissive abortion laws nationwide, is an example of the Supreme Court upholding rights “against oppressive government.” the rest

Episcopal breakaways get 'back to the basics’

Is it or isn’t it a denomination? On new Anglican group, bishop won’t quite say.
By Jeff Brumley
Saturday, Feb. 13, 2010

After five years worshiping in non-traditional spaces - first in an elementary school and now in a strip mall - Steve MacDonald said he's excited to see his Jacksonville rector become a bishop today in the newly formed Anglican Church in North America.

MacDonald is one of thousands in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia, and hundreds of thousands nationally, who stepped away from the Episcopal Church after an openly gay priest became the bishop of New Hampshire in 2003. He worships at Church of the Redeemer (Anglican), led by bishop-elect Neil Lebhar.

While issues of Scriptural interpretation, doctrinal orthodoxy and adherence to Christian tradition are most important to MacDonald, the 57-year-old former Roman Catholic said it's a relief to see the "back to basics movement" beginning to gel into what some consider to be a new denomination. the rest