Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Crescendo of Wonder

Why Good Friday services are not designed to be funerals for Jesus or exercises in guilt.
John Witvliet

The events of Good Friday are utterly breath-taking. We celebrate nothing less than this: "that God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross" (Col. 1:20).

We are talking here about something that happens at the very foundations of the universe. Call it cosmic redemption, ontological healing, metaphysical reconciliation, the Bible's version of Star Wars, or whatever helps you think about the largest, most ultimate reality, the "Really Real," capital R, capital R.

And it is all accomplished through what seems like a paradox. "Making peace through the blood of his cross" is like saying that a nuclear missile has become an olive-branch, that Guantanamo has become a garden of healing, that a sword has been turned into a plowshare, that a tank has been turned into a tractor. The very thought of it leaves us weak in the knees with astonishment. the rest

Canon Julian Dobbs of CANA’s Church and Islam Project appeared on CBN News

March 30, 2010

Students at a Texas university founded on Presbyterian beliefs say they want the words "in the year of our Lord" removed from their diplomas.

A group of students at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas say the reference doesn't respect the diversity of religions at the school. the rest/video

Auckland: "Progressive" Anglican church places ad that jokes about Jesus's crucifixion

Ads are a way of bringing people closer to the church, argues the vicar of St Matthew's
Riazat Butt
Wednesday 31 March 2010

St Matthew's in Auckland describes itself as a "progressive Anglican church with a heart for the city and an eye to the world". That's an understatement.

Last Christmas it offended and intrigued in equal parts with a Saatchi-designed billboard that depicted a deflated Joseph in bed with a disappointed Mary and the caption "Poor Joseph. God was a hard act to follow". Its attempt to provoke was more successful than expected and the poster was promptly attacked with a knife.

For Easter, the most important festival in the Christian calendar, the people at St Matthew's have come up with another ruse to get people engaging with their faith. This billboard shows Jesus nailed to a crucifix, thinking to himself: "Well this sucks. I wonder if they'll remember anything I said". The vicar at St Matthew's, Glynn Cardy, says the poster is a reminder that "Easter is about more than a rugged cross, a supernatural miracle, or a chocolate bunny". the rest

Seven Characteristics of Highly Evangelistic Christians

Mar. 292010
By Thom Rainer

For over twenty years I have been researching and studying churches, primarily those in North America. I had the joy of serving as senior pastor in four churches where God blessed with evangelistic growth. I have written over twenty books about the church in America.

I am not giving you my credentials to impress you, but simply to share that my life’s passion has been leading and learning about evangelistic churches. At this point in my life and ministry, however, I realize that I have not given sufficient attention to one of the primary characteristics of evangelistic churches.

The Great Omission

It is so obvious. Indeed it is so clear that I am surprised at my neglect of this factor. Stated simply, the evangelistic churches that I have researched for the past twenty years have one or more highly evangelistic Christians.

I know. The previous statement is no great revelation. It is almost stating the obvious. But, if it is reality, why are we not hearing more about these Christians who seem to have a passion for evangelism? Why are we not doing a better job of telling their stories?

In this short article I hope to address this great omission. Here

Sex infection gonorrhea risks becoming "superbug"

Mon Mar 29, 2010

LONDON (Reuters) - The sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea risks becoming a drug-resistant "superbug" if doctors do not devise new ways of treating it, a leading sexual health expert said.

Catherine Ison, a specialist on gonorrhea from Britain's Health Protection Agency said a World Health Organization (WHO) meeting in Manila next week would be vital to efforts to try to stop the bug repeatedly adapting to and overcoming drugs.

"This is a very clever bacteria. If this problem isn't addressed, there is a real possibility that gonorrhea will become a very difficult infection to treat," she said in a telephone interview. the rest

Health premiums could rise 17 pct for young adults

posted March 31, 2010

CHICAGO — Under the health care overhaul, young adults who buy their own insurance will carry a heavier burden of the medical costs of older Americans — a shift expected to raise insurance premiums for young people when the plan takes full effect.

Beginning in 2014, most Americans will be required to buy insurance or pay a tax penalty. That's when premiums for young adults seeking coverage on the individual market would likely climb by 17 percent on average, or roughly $42 a month, according to an analysis of the plan conducted for The Associated Press. The analysis did not factor in tax credits to help offset the increase.

The higher costs will pinch many people in their 20s and early 30s who are struggling to start or advance their careers with the highest unemployment rate in 26 years. the rest

Tensions Flare After Recess Maneuver: Obama Bypasses Senate on 15 Stalled Appointments

MARCH 29, 2010

President Barack Obama's decision to circumvent the Senate in filling 15 administration posts marked another step in the administration's turn toward a more-combative approach toward congressional Republicans, provoking a volley of protests from GOP lawmakers.

Citing months of "Republican obstruction,'' Mr. Obama on Saturday said he would use recess appointments to put union lawyer Craig Becker on the National Labor Relations Board and fill 14 other administration posts that were vacant because of stalled Senate confirmations. the rest

Federally funded abortions are in our future

By Kathleen Parker
Sunday, March 28, 2010

Health care is the next-to-last thing I want to write about. The last thing is abortion, so this column is a banquet of tortures.

Usually, I would not return so soon to a topic that I tend to associate with the pleasures of head-banging, but broad misunderstanding about what's in the health-care-reform law justifies another lap.

Still cloudy is whether the new law of the land allows funding for abortions and whether President Obama's executive order is of any real (judicially enforceable) value. The answer to the latter is in little dispute. It is no. An executive order cannot override a statute. the rest

Prediction: Abortions will be performed at community health centers. You can bet your foreclosed mortgage on that. There was always a will by this administration, and now there's a way.

Case of Christian Legal Society v. Martinez

Right to Belong: Christian group says it does; California law school says it doesn’t
Apr 1, 2010
By David L. Hudson, Jr

Law professor Erwin Chemerinsky is monitoring the case of Christian Legal Society v. Martinez with a keen eye. One reason is substantive: The case features a clash between the rights of schools to enforce their nondiscrimination policies and student religious groups’ rights of freedom of association. The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments April 19.

“It is enormously important to law schools and law student groups and to universities,” says Chemerinsky of the University of California at Irvine. the rest

Whatever the outcome, nearly everyone agrees that the decision will be important. “A ruling against CLS would give public educational institutions a green light to force student religious groups to deny their faith in order to be treated equally,” Baylor says, “and this would be a dramatic departure from what the First Amendment should mean and what the court has said it means in past decisions.”

Albert Mohler: Can Christian Organizations Remain Christian in a “Tolerant” Age?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Devotional: I sought the Lord...

I sought the Lord, and afterward I knew
He moved my soul to seek Him, seeking me;
It was not I that found, O Savior true;
No, I was found of Thee.

Thou didst reach forth Thy hand and mine enfold;
I walked and sank not on the storm-vexed sea;
'Twas not so much that I on Thee took hold,
As Thou, dear Lord, on me.

I find, I walk, I love, but oh, the whole
Of love is but my answer, Lord, to Thee;
For thou wert long beforehand with my soul,
Always thou lovedst me.
...Anonymous, ca. 1878

Muslim students call for removal of "year of Our Lord" from diplomas at... Trinity University

March 29, 2010

It's a private school that retains a "covenant" relationship with the Presbyterian Church. But nonetheless, "the year of Our Lord" is an affront to "diversity." While these enterprising students are at it, how about "Trinity" University? They probably didn't name it after the river that traverses eastern Texas. And just for grins, what of "San Antonio," where the school is located?

If one doesn't want to be offended by a private university's religious heritage, it's not as if Texas is exactly lacking in public institutions. If there were ever a case of barking up the wrong tree, this is it, and it should be addressed as such.

"Students want 'Our Lord' phrase off diplomas," by Melissa Ludwig for the Express-News, March 29 (thanks to José):

A group of students at Trinity University is lobbying trustees to drop a reference to "Our Lord" on their diplomas, arguing it does not respect the diversity of religions on campus. the rest

CANA Welcomes Archbishop Okoh as New Primate of Church of Nigeria

March 30, 2010
(via email)

The Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) welcomed and congratulated Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, who was installed as the fourth primate of the Church of Nigeria on March 25 in Abuja, the capital of the most populous nation in Africa. CANA was founded in 2005 by the Church of Nigeria which with 20 million active members accounts for at least 25% of the active membership of the Anglican Communion.

“Archbishop Okoh is a good friend; a wise and godly leader who is committed to spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ in Nigeria and throughout the world and we congratulate him on his new ministry,” said CANA Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns. “His vision includes continuing to give orthodox Anglicans in the U.S. a way to remain connected to the worldwide Anglican Communion through CANA . We welcome his leadership, his pastoral concern, and his passion for the gospel. Archbishop Okoh has a servant’s heart and we know that he is the right leader at this critical moment in the history of the Anglican Communion.”

Several thousand people attended the three-and-a-half-hour long installation service at the Abuja cathedral. The acting-president of the nation of Nigeria , who is an active Anglican, led the prayers in the service and offered words of greeting. In his inaugural primatial sermon, Archbishop Okoh stressed the lordship of Jesus Christ in every aspect of human life. Among the guests from the U.S. were Bishop and Mrs. Minns and their daughter Rachel; Archbishop Bob Duncan of the Anglican Church in North America; Bishop Bill Atwood, suffragan for International Affairs of the All Saints Cathedral Diocese (Nairobi); CANA Suffragan Bishops Amos Fagbamiye, David Bena, David Anderson, and Roger Ames; as well as other CANA delegates.

Archbishop Okoh, a retired Army Lt. Col., was ordained priest in 1979, appointed bishop of Asaba in 2001, and elected archbishop of the regional province of Bendel in 2005.

Upon his election as the fourth primate of the Church of Nigeria in September 2009, Archbishop Peter Jensen ( Sydney , Australia ), welcomed the election saying, "Nicholas Okoh was present at the foundation of GAFCON and has played a leading part in the movement. Archbishop Okoh has made a significant contribution as the Chairman of the Theological Resource group. He is an able and committed Christian leader and we warmly welcome his appointment."

The Convocation of Anglicans in North America

Virginia Supreme Court Sets Church Property Hearing for April 13

(via email)

(March 30, 2010) - The Anglican District of Virginia (ADV) received notice that the Virginia Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on April 13, 2010, in the church property case brought by The Episcopal Church and Diocese of Virginia.

“Our church members are standing firm for the Gospel and will remain in prayer for the church property case that will be heard in a matter of weeks. It’s unfortunate that this matter, which we tried so hard to resolve amicably out of court, has now reached the level of the state Supreme Court. While we remain confident in our legal footing, it’s regretful that we had to defend ourselves in the first place,” said Jim Oakes, Chairman of the Anglican District of Virginia.

“Protecting our religious freedom and our right to stay true to the Gospel has been costly, and we pray for a quick end to the litigation so that we can completely focus our time, money and energy on bringing new believers to Christ and helping those in need. Our doors remain open wide to all who wish to worship with us,” said Oakes.

“As we prepare to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord this weekend, we know where our real priorities are and we put our trust in Him in all our affairs including the current legal proceedings,” Oakes concluded.

The Anglican District of Virginia

Among Weathercasters, Doubt on Warming

March 29, 2010

The debate over global warming has created predictable adversaries, pitting environmentalists against industry and coal-state Democrats against coastal liberals.

But it has also created tensions between two groups that might be expected to agree on the issue: climate scientists and meteorologists, especially those who serve as television weather forecasters.

Climatologists, who study weather patterns over time, almost universally endorse the view that the earth is warming and that humans have contributed to climate change. There is less of a consensus among meteorologists, who predict short-term weather patterns. the rest

Obamacare’s Consequence

A tarnished presidency
BY Matthew Continetti
April 5 - April 12, 2010

The liberal line is that President Obama has secured his place in history by signing into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. And secured it he has. Henceforth Obama will be remembered as the man who accelerated America’s mad dash toward bankruptcy. He will be remembered as the leader who promoted a culture of dependency. He will be remembered as the figure who sacrificed a dream of national unity upon the altar of big government liberalism. It’s true: Obama is now a president of consequence. And almost all of those consequences are bad.

The fiscal picture was bleak before Obama made it worse. Government debt is 60 percent of the gross domestic product and climbing. The deficit is projected to remain above 4 percent of GDP for the next decade. The week before the president signed his health care reform into law, Moody’s warned that America’s AAA bond rating may be downgraded. The day before the signing ceremony, the nation learned that Warren Buffett is a safer investment than U.S. treasuries. One needn’t look across the Atlantic, where a penniless Greece is a supplicant to the IMF, to see our future. Look to California, where the economy is crippled by high taxes, high spending, and burdensome debt. the rest

The Bentness of Human Nature

Mon, Mar. 29 2010
By Chuck Colson
Christian Post Guest Columnist

In 1961, psychologist Stanley Milgram devised a now-infamous series of experiments. The goal was to understand why seemingly ordinary men carried out the demonic orders of the Third Reich.

In Milgram’s experiments, a volunteer was told to administer electric shocks to another “volunteer” when he answered a question incorrectly. The victim was an actor-there was no electricity. But with each failure, a more powerful the shock was ordered.

When volunteers hesitated, an authority figure prodded them, starting with “please continue” and escalating to “you have no other choice, you must go on.”

These words were enough for two-thirds of the volunteers to administer what they believed was a fatal shock. the rest

For churches, gay-marriage divide sharpens

March 29, 2010

Immanuel Lutheran Church in Waukee is five miles down the road from Walnut Hills United Methodist Church in Urbandale.

But they have moved further apart, philosophically, since the Iowa Supreme Court ruled on April 3, 2009, to legalize same-sex marriage.

The dilemma for churches didn't start with the court's decision. Congregations have been praying and struggling for years. But in this last year, the debate sharpened, not only between denominations and congregations but often within individual churches. the rest

Georgetown Students Vote To Fund Abortion Rights Panel

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Student Activities Commission (SAC) of Georgetown University, a Jesuit, Catholic university, voted in favor of funding an abortion “rights” panel on campus, according to The Hoya.

The Hoya article said the pro-abortion event would feature three male panelists in favor of abortion “rights” speaking on the role of men in the pro-abortion movement. It would be sponsored by a new coalition recently formed by United Feminists and H*yas for Choice called “Plan A: Hoyas for Reproductive Justice.” The Plan A event was initially denied a request for University support in a Feb. 24 letter from Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olsen. He wrote: “Through its speech and expression of policy, the University provides students the opportunity to participate in a dialogue on a wide range of issues.” He continued, “As a Catholic and Jesuit institution, however, Georgetown cannot support organizations whose stated purpose conflicts with Catholic moral teaching.” the rest

Anglican groups around the world accept Vatican invitation

Richard Cimino - Religion Watch
30 Mar 2010

Since the Vatican issued a 2009 document that invited Anglicans to convert to Roman Catholicism while maintaining their traditions, there have been a growing number of churches taking Rome up on its offer.

In discussion with conservative Anglicans, Pope Benedict XVI drew up new guidelines in a document known as Anglicanorum Coetibus (or "Groups of Anglicans") which would make it easier for parishes and larger groups of disaffected Anglicans to convert to Catholicism. The agreement would allow for Anglicans to retain parts of their liturgy as well as establish "personal ordinariates," a structure similar to dioceses that would give them a measure of autonomy to preserve their traditions.

In early March, the Anglican Church in America, a U.S.-based denomination that broke off from the mainline Episcopal Church, voted to seek entry into the Catholic Church. "The House of Bishops requested the establishment of an Ordinariate in the US as prescribed in the Apostolic Constitution," that parishes could then join. There are 100 parishes in the ACA. the rest

Front Page Magazine on the sale of Good Shepherd, Binghamton to Muslims

by Faith J. H. McDonnell
on Mar 30th, 2010

During its peak as a thriving little manufacturing center filled with stately homes and mansions, Binghamton, New York, was nicknamed the “Parlor City.” Today many of those same mansions are funeral parlors. History appears to be repeating itself in modern day Binghamton. For some 130 years, the city was the home to the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd. But recently, the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York sold the pretty little church building on Conklin Avenue to the Islamic Awareness Center.

In selling Church of the Good Shepherd’s building to the Muslim group, the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York was killing two birds with one stone. First, they placed an enormous obstacle in the path of the now-Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd. Second, they offered a big inter-faith embrace to their Muslim brothers and sisters who needed a property from which to extend the Dawah (the invitation to Islam). That’s a good day’s work for a diocese that has been losing church members for the past ten years or more. the rest

Comments at Stand Firm

Biblical plagues really happened say scientists

The Biblical plagues that devastated Ancient Egypt in the Old Testament were the result of global warming and a volcanic eruption, scientists have claimed.
By Richard Gray, Science Correspondent
27 Mar 2010

Researchers believe they have found evidence of real natural disasters on which the ten plagues of Egypt, which led to Moses freeing the Israelites from slavery in the Book of Exodus in the Bible, were based.

But rather than explaining them as the wrathful act of a vengeful God, the scientists claim the plagues can be attributed to a chain of natural phenomena triggered by changes in the climate and environmental disasters that happened hundreds of miles away.

They have compiled compelling evidence that offers new explanations for the Biblical plagues, which will be outlined in a new series to be broadcast on the National Geographical Channel on Easter Sunday. the rest image

Monday, March 29, 2010

Devotional: Go to, faithful soul, prepare thy heart...

Go to, faithful soul, prepare thy heart for this bridegroom that he may vouchsafe to come to thee and dwell within thee, for so He saith, if any man loveth me he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him and make our abode with him. Give, therefore, place to Christ and refuse entrance to all others. When thou hast Christ, thou art rich, and hast sufficient. He shall be thy provider and faithful watchman in all things, that thou hast no need to trust in men, for men soon change and swiftly pass away, but Christ remaineth for ever and standeth by us firmly even to the end. ...Thomas A Kempis image

Planned Parenthood Cheers 'Brave' Nuns for Supporting Pro-Abortion Health Bill

Monday March 29, 2010
By Kathleen Gilbert

( - Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards has given her highest accolades to the social justice lobby of Roman Catholic nuns who "broke with the bishops and the Vatican" to support the health care bill that is set to unleash federal funding for abortion.

"In the final days before the bill was passed, it was the Roman Catholic nuns who most importantly broke with the bishops and the Vatican to announce their support for health care reform," gushed Richards in a Huffington Post column March 24, referring to the social justice lobby Network.

"This brave and important move, demonstrating that they cared as much about the health care of families in America as they did about church hierarchy, was a critical demonstration of support," she continued. "Bart Stupak may not ask the nuns for advice, as he recently announced to the press, but maybe next time he should." the rest

Scientists stumped as bee population declines further

Mar 29 2010

The decline in the US bee population, first observed in 2006, is continuing, a phenomenon that still baffles researchers and beekeepers.

Data from the US Department of Agriculture show a 29 percent drop in beehives in 2009, following a 36 percent decline in 2008 and a 32 percent fall in 2007.

This affects not only honey production but around 15 billion dollars worth of crops that depend on bees for pollination.

Scientists call the phenomenon "colony collapse disorder" that has led to the disappearance of millions of adult bees and beehives and occurred elsewhere in the world including in Europe. the rest image by cygnus921

Christ Church Savannah Ad uses picture by Raymond Dague

Story here about the ad at Stand Firm

Picture by Raymond Dague-credit in lower left of the picture. Someone from Christ Church called about using the photo found on this blog and Raymond gladly gave permission. (Blue sky color was photoshopped in.) So glad it was put to such good use! -PD

Originally posted here, but blogger's imaging posting and viewing is experiencing problems right now.

IT Problems Put Accuracy of Census at Risk, Say Government Auditors

Monday, March 29, 2010
By Edwin Mora
Washington D.C.

( – Information technology problems at the U.S. Census Bureau could cause inaccuracies in this year’s constitutionally mandated count of the U.S. population, according to government auditors.

“IT problems place the efficiency and accuracy of Non-Response Follow-Up at risk and final decennial costs remain uncertain,” said Judith Gordon, the principal assistant inspector general for Audit and Evaluation at the Department of Commerce, in testimony before Congress last week. the rest

New Anglican and Lutheran groups need to nurture a positive identity.

'It's Not About the Past'
David Neff

After modernity, we are told, people crave community. Modernity disconnected us. We all need an us. But, after modernity, we have seen not just a revival of community but also a resurgence of tribalism. When us turns into us vs. them, serious danger lies ahead.

Religious communities divide when their sense of us grows weak or confused. That has happened with the Episcopal Church as its liberationist gospel has destroyed the denomination's once shared sense of identity. It is clearly time for alternative movements like the Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMIA), the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, and most recently, the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).

A similar movement is afoot among Lutherans. Lutheran core (Coalition for Renewal) is preparing to form a new Lutheran church as well as a network of like-minded churches that will remain inside the mainline Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). the rest

Palm Sunday 2010

Christian Pilgrims Mark Palm Sunday In Jerusalem

S.C. Diocese Engages in 'Battle' with Episcopal Church

Sat, Mar. 27 2010
By Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter

Though the Diocese of South Carolina remains affiliated with The Episcopal Church, the two are waging a battle over Scripture and polity.

South Carolina Bishop Mark Lawrence was not hesitant this week to express his continuing frustrations with the national church body's "false gospel" and ongoing pursuit of litigations.
"The distractions that come from the decisions others have made within The Episcopal Church have created restlessness in my spirit," he said at the diocese's 219th annual convention which concluded Friday.

"Like those in the Church at Corinth with whom St. Paul was confronted, many within the leadership of The Episcopal Church have grown willful," he lamented. "They will have their way though it is contrary to the received teaching of God’s Holy Word, the trustworthy traditions of the Christian Faith, and the expressed will of the Anglican Communion." the rest

UK: Mothers and fathers disappear from birth certificate to allow homosexual couples to be named as parents

By Steve Doughty
29th March 2010

The words 'mother' and 'father' are to disappear from birth certificates to allow homosexual couples to be named as 'parents' of surrogate children.

The switch means the biological parents will no longer necessarily be identified on the certificates that provide a legal record of a child's birth.

Birth certificates have recorded mothers and fathers since registration of babies was introduced more than 170 years ago. the rest

Most Say Tea Party Has Better Understanding of Issues than Congress

Sunday, March 28, 2010

In official Washington, some consider the Tea Party movement a fringe element in society, but voters across the nation feel closer to the Tea Party movement than they do to Congress.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 52% of U.S. voters believe the average member of the Tea Party movement has a better understanding of the issues facing America today than the average member of Congress. Only 30% believe that those in Congress have a better understanding of the key issues facing the nation. the rest

On Obamacare and Rationing

Sunday, March 28, 2010
Posted by: Hugh Hewitt

I met Rich Stowell when I stayed with the California National Guard deployed to Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo last summer. Rich, a corporal, was assigned to assist me during my visit. He has been a high school teacher and a college instructor, but is also a soldier. And a writer. He sent me his most recent piece, this one on Obamacare. His book, Nine Weeks: A Teacher's Education in Army Basic Training would be a great read for anyone about to embark on their first few months in the Army.

Obamacare Supporters Can’t Deny Health Care Rationing
by Rich Stowell
Many Democrats have complained about Republican mischaracterization of their health care law. Indeed, many of them seem apoplectic that critics of Obamacare would even suggest that the new law would lead to rationing. If conservatives keep up the argument, any mention of "rationing" will be regulated as hate speech. the rest

A Grim Sign for ObamaCare

Democratic Senator: Health Care Law to Address 'Mal-Distribution of Income'

Obamacare: Taxing Medical Devices Won’t Lower Costs

Florida poll: Healthcare law hurts Obama, Democrats

Double suicide bombings kill 37 on Moscow subway

By DAVID NOWAK, Associated Press
posted March 29, 2010

MOSCOW – Two female suicide bombers blew themselves up Monday in twin attacks on Moscow subway stations jam-packed with rush-hour passengers, killing at least 37 people and wounding 65, officials said. They blamed the carnage on rebels from the Caucasus region.

The blasts come six years after Caucasus Islamic separatists carried out a pair of deadly Moscow subway strikes and raise concerns that the war has once again come to Russia's capital, amid militants' warnings of a renewed determination to push their fight.

Chechen rebels claimed responsibility for a deadly bombing late last year on a passenger train en route from Moscow to St. Petersburg. Last month, Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov warned in an interview on a rebel-affiliated Web site that "the zone of military operations will be extended to the territory of Russia ... the war is coming to their cities." the rest

Malkin: Jihadi subway bombing horror in Russia…again

A Papal Conversion

March 27, 2010

IN light of recent revelations, Pope Benedict XVI now seems to symbolize the tremendous failure by the Catholic Church to crack down on the sexual abuse of children. Both the pope’s brief stint as a bishop in Germany 30 years ago and his quarter-century as a top Vatican official are being scoured for records of abusive priests whom he failed to stop, and each case seems to strengthen the indictment.

For example, considerable skepticism surrounds the Vatican’s insistence that in 1980 the pope, then Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger of Munich, was unaware of a decision to transfer a known pedophile priest to his diocese and give him duties in a parish. In some ways, the question of what he knew at the time is almost secondary, since it happened on his watch and ultimately he has to bear the responsibility. However, all the criticism is obscuring something equally important: For anyone who knows the Vatican’s history on this issue, Benedict XVI isn’t just part of the problem. He’s also a major chapter in the solution. the rest

"In 2001, however, Pope John Paul II assigned responsibility to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican’s all-important doctrinal office, which was headed by Joseph Ratzinger, then a cardinal.
As a result, bishops were required to send their case files to Cardinal Ratzinger’s office. By all accounts, he studied them with care, making him one of the few churchmen anywhere in the world to have read the documentation on virtually every Catholic priest accused of sexual abuse."

Scoundrel Time(s) -First Things

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Devotional: Are you debating whether to take a step in faith?

Are you debating whether to take a step in faith in Jesus or to wait until you can see how to do the thing yourself? Obey Him with glad reckless joy. When He says something and you begin to debate, it is because you have a conception of His honour which is not His honour. Are you loyal to Jesus or loyal to your notion of Him? Are you loyal to what He says, or are you trying to compromise with conceptions which never came from Him? "Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it." ...Oswald Chambers image

Bp. Schori: Bishop calls faith open

Sunday March 28, 2010
By Rick Ruggles

The Episcopal Church invites questioning, varied viewpoints and diversity in leadership and lifestyle, the presiding bishop of the church said Saturday in Papillion.

“We won't tell you what to think,” Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told about 140 people at St. Martha Episcopal Church.

In a speech, a question-answer session and an interview Saturday, Jefferts Schori repeatedly described hers as a faith that is open and not dogmatic.

She recalled an Episcopal ad campaign 20 years ago that said: “He died to take away your sins, not your mind.”

“I read the Gospel to say that Jesus invited everybody into His community,” she said in an interview. “He dealt with all the categories that were deemed unacceptable in His day, and He said, ‘There's a place for you at my table.'” the rest

She said Pope Benedict XVI's invitation to disaffected Anglicans (or Episcopalians) to join the Roman Catholic Church wasn't directed at conflict in the United States over female or gay bishops. England currently has a greater conflict over those issues, she said.

Anglican Primate advises politicians on selfless service

By Ademola Oni, Abeokuta
Monday, 29 Mar 2010

The new Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Revd. Nicholas Okoh, has advised the nation’s leaders to prioritise service to the people.

Okoh, who spoke at the thanksgiving service marking the retirement of Okoh’s predecessor, Rev. Peter Akinola, in Abeokuta on Sunday, called on politicians to use the nation’s resources to transform Nigeria “miraculously” so that they would be remembered for good causes.

At the retirement thanksgiving service, Ogun State Governor Gbenga Daniel extolled the fearlessness of the retired cleric. the rest

DioSC: St. Andrews Mt. Pleasant Votes to Leave TEC

Stand Firm
Sunday, March 28, 2010

St. Andrew's in Mt. Pleasant, the largest parish in the Diocese of South Carolina, just completed its vote on whether to leave the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of South Carolina.

Rector Steve Wood writes on his blog...

the rest

Britain is persecuting Christians, say bishops

Jonathan Wynne-Jones
28 Mar 2010

Christians in Britain are being persecuted and "treated with disrespect", senior bishops have said.

Six prominent bishops and Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, describe the "discrimination" against churchgoers as "unacceptable in a civilised society".

In a thinly-veiled attack on Labour, they claim that traditional beliefs on issues such as marriage are no longer being upheld and call on the major parties to address the issue in the run-up to the general election.

In a letter to The Sunday Telegraph, the bishops express their deep disquiet at the double standards of public sector employers, claiming that Christians are punished while followers of other faiths are treated far more sensitively. the rest

Letter to The Sunday Telegraph

Health care law brings big cost for big companies

March 26, 2010

(CNN) -- It hasn't even been a week since President Obama signed sweeping health care legislation, but several companies already have warned shareholders they expect to take a hit.

Manufacturer John Deere announced Thursday that it expected the company's expenses to be about $150 million higher than last year. That came a day after Caterpillar predicted a new cost of $100 million, and two days after AK Steel predicted a charge of $31 million.

"Having an additional cost like this is not great timing," Caterpillar spokesman Jim Dugan said.
As a deep recession spread last year, revenue for Caterpillar, the world's largest manufacturer of construction equipment, declined 37 percent from the previous year, and 19,000 workers were laid off worldwide. But in the last three months, the company has recalled 750 or so employees and projected higher sales in 2010. the rest

Unwavering Faith: How the Taliban Failed to Break 8 Christians

By Michelle A. Vu
Christian Post Reporter
Sun, Mar. 28 2010

They were kidnapped and imprisoned by the Taliban for 105 days. But what the Taliban could not do was break their faith in God nor destroy their hope.

Eight Western humanitarian workers were held by the Taliban in Afghanistan on trumped up charges of proselytizing in the days leading up to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and remained imprisoned through the early U.S. bombings of Afghanistan.

The book Kabul24, released last fall, captures the harrowing tale of the workers’ experience in prison, the “angels” they met along the way, and their compassion toward the Taliban and the Afghan people. the rest

Federally funded abortions are in our future

By Kathleen Parker
Sunday, March 28, 2010

Health care is the next-to-last thing I want to write about. The last thing is abortion, so this column is a banquet of tortures.

Usually, I would not return so soon to a topic that I tend to associate with the pleasures of head-banging, but broad misunderstanding about what's in the health-care-reform law justifies another lap.

Still cloudy is whether the new law of the land allows funding for abortions and whether President Obama's executive order is of any real (judicially enforceable) value. The answer to the latter is in little dispute. It is no. An executive order cannot override a statute. the rest

Lesbian Holocaust memorial plan upsets historians

25 Mar 10

Holocaust scholars on Thursday attacked a bid to include images of kissing lesbians in a monument dedicated to the thousands of homosexuals persecuted by the Nazis, saying it distorted history.

The monument was erected in May 2008 opposite the city's large memorial to the six million Jewish Holocaust victims.

It is currently comprised of a concrete slab with a window through which viewers can watch a video of a "never-ending" kiss between two men.

Under the original plans, the video is to change every two years to feature two women locked in an embrace, meaning the switch is due in May. the rest

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Devotional: So lowly doth the Savior ride...

So lowly doth the Savior ride
A paltry borrowed beast,
Nor pomp, nor show, nor lofty pride,
Nor boast above the least.

His scepter is His kindliness,
His grandeur is His grace,
His royalty is holiness,
And love is in His face.

’Tis thus the great Messiah came
To break the tyrants’ will,
To heal the people of their shame,
And nobleness instill.

Ride on, O King, ride on Your way,
While men of low degree
Exalt and usher in the day
Of peace we long to see.
...Al­mer Pen­ne­well image

Friday, March 26, 2010

Devotional: We need to learn this secret of the burning heart...

"Did not our heart burn within us?" Luke 24:32

We need to learn this secret of the burning heart. Suddenly Jesus appears to us, the fires are kindled, we have wonderful visions, then we have to learn to keep the secret of the burning heart that will go through anything. It is the dull, bald, dreary, commonplace day, with commonplace duties and people, that kills the burning heart unless we have learned the secret of abiding in Jesus. ...Oswald Chambers image by prakhar

The Episcopal Church, Wiccans, and the Divine Feminine

Written by Marcia Segelstein
March 26, 2010

I suppose nothing The Episcopal Church does should shock me any more. Nonetheless, it does.

In this holiest of Christian seasons, on the evening before Passion Sunday, the Cathedral of All Souls Episcopal Church in Asheville, N.C., hosted an event in its parish hall for an organization called The Mother Grove Goddess Temple. The purpose of the event? To celebrate the spring equinox of course. Wait, you say, that’s not Christian, that’s pagan. But there’s more. According to Mother Grove’s website, its mission “is to create and maintain a permanent sanctuary where people of all faith traditions may openly and safely celebrate the Divine Feminine.” According to Byron Ballard, a Wiccan priestess and a member of the temple, Mother Grove “isn’t a Wiccan group, though some of us are Wiccans.” Just in case you were wondering, Ballard goes on to explain that “Wiccans may also refer to themselves as witches.” the rest

S. Korean navy ship sinks in waters near N. Korea

Mar 26, 2010

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - Military officials say a South Korean navy ship has sunk off an island not far from North Korea.

An official with the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Seoul said early Saturday that the ship sank some four hours after it began taking on water. The official spoke on condition of anonymity, in line with department policy.

The official said at least 58 of the 104 crew members have been rescued. There was no immediate confirmation of casualties. A rescue operation was still under way. the rest

Global stocks slip on Korean ship, bonds rise

Texas Town Furious Over Play's 'Gay' Christ

March 25, 2010
By Joseph Abrams

Residents of Stephenville, Texas, say they're furious that a local university will allow the performance of a play in which a gay Jesus shares a kiss with Judas and marries two apostles in a same-sex ceremony.

A college student's production of a play in which Jesus is portrayed as the "King of Queers" has outraged residents in a Texas town that fancies itself the Cowboy Capital of the World.
Just in time for Easter, Tarleton State University is playing host to a student performance of Terrence McNally's 1998 play, "Corpus Christi," which depicts a gay Jesus performing a same-sex wedding for two of his apostles.

And though Jesus washed the feet of his disciples in the traditional biblical narrative, his character (called Joshua) in the play shows Judas the full extent of his love, kissing the son of perdition at Pontius Pilate High School's senior prom. the rest

Bad Medicine

Mar 26, 2010
Joseph Bottum

A kind of exhaustion always settles in, murky and miasmatic, after battle. The nation’s conservatives foresaw the apocalypse if the Democrats’ plan for health-care reform passed, and on Sunday—yesterday, as I write—it did pass. The world didn’t end. The people didn’t rise up in rage. Furious lightning didn’t descend from the heavens to smash the apostate Capitol into rubble.

Of course, watching the ring of applause and self-congratulation around the podium in the House of Representatives, one could see that the nation’s Democrats were also thinking of the apocalypse—albeit, in happier terms. But, on Monday morning, the Rapture didn’t come, either, and the stony places of the earth didn’t blossom with sudden flowers. Despite the left’s predictions, the rise of the oceans didn’t slow, and the planet didn’t heal, and the lame didn’t walk, and the blind didn’t see.

Instead of falling—or rising, if the left proves correct—on the great wave of Armageddon, we must wait, in this trough of exhaustion, to learn what happens next. Our apocalypse is a slow one; it smothers us in whimpers. And here on Monday morning, all that remains is a sense of the impending. Something is slowly coming, something is slouching toward us. the rest

Obamacare: Inexplicable Failure to Relieve Doctor Shortage

WH Spokesman Admits Abortion Exec. Order Merely "Reiterates" Law

The Civil War History of Obamacare
The new slaves will be young, working Americans, especially those aged 30 to 50, forced to pay the crushing debt created by this massive new entitlement program.

Chicago Does Socialism
I could go on and on, but again the pattern is clear. Each time Obama prevaricates, we grant him an exemption because of his lofty rhetoric about bipartisanship and his soothing words about unity. Only later do we notice that in retrospect each untruth is part of a pattern of dissimulation within just a single year of governance. Obama has proven so far that in fact one can fool a lot of the people a lot of the time.

CBO report: Debt will rise to 90% of GDP
President Obama's fiscal 2011 budget will generate nearly $10 trillion in cumulative budget deficits over the next 10 years, $1.2 trillion more than the administration projected, and raise the federal debt to 90 percent of the nation's economic output by 2020, the Congressional Budget Office reported Thursday.

The headline above provides the exact amount of outstanding public debt as of Tuesday, according to the latest available figures from the U.S. Treasury. By the time you read this, that figure will have increased by $17,338,324,977.

Personal Income Drops Across the Country
Personal income in 42 states fell in 2009, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

Muslims Allegedly Murder Pakistani Christian with Axe Blows

Compass Direct News
March 24, 2010

(CDN) — Six Muslims in Khanewal district, southern Punjab Province, killed a Christian with multiple axe blows for refusing to convert to Islam this month, according to family and police sources.

The six men had threatened to kill 36-year-old Rasheed Masih unless he converted to Islam when they grew resentful of his potato business succeeding beyond their own, according to Masih's younger brother Munir Asi and a local clergyman. The rival merchants allegedly killed him after luring him to their farmhouse on March 9, leaving him on a roadside near Kothi Nand Singh village in the wee hours of the next day. the rest

Albert Mohler: A Roommate is a Roommate? — Coming Soon to a Campus Near You

The rise of co-ed dorms is the inevitable result of a breakdown in all rationality about sex, gender, and sexuality. In this case, the movement is being pushed by activists who are all too clear about their agenda.
Friday, March 26, 2010

Kayla Eland and Lindon Pronto are roommates at Pitzer College in California. They, along with students at a growing number of colleges and universities, are pioneering a new trend — coed roommates.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Eland and Pronto “are not a couple and neither is gay.” The paper adds, “They are just compatible roommates in a new, sometimes controversial, dormitory option known as gender-neutral housing that is gaining support at some colleges in California and across the nation.”

The rise of co-ed dorms is the inevitable result of a breakdown in all rationality about sex, gender, and sexuality. In this case, the movement is being pushed by activists who are all too clear about their agenda. the rest

Installation of Archbishop Okoh

Anglican Mainstream
March 25th, 2010
By Chris Sugden, in Abuja

The service lasted just under four hours and was worth every minute! Had it been on a weekend, there would have been “an explosion of numbers” a bishop sitting next to me said. The installation had to be held at the smaller Anglican Cathedral of the Advent as that is where the Bishop’s chair in which Archbishop Okoh was to be seated is placed, rather than at the much larger Ecumenical Cathedral. So to contain numbers the ceremony was held on a weekday. As it was there must have been over two thousand inside the building with an overflow outside.

The service was classical Anglican in words and music. A well-trained cathedral choir led the congregation who needed no encouragement to sing our heads off. “Faith of our Fathers”. “The Church’s One Foundation”, “Christ is made the sure foundation”, “To God be the Glory”, mingled with Parry’s Anthem “I was Glad”, and Handel’s “Zadok the Priest”.

Were the choirs specially assembled and trained we asked? No, we were told: “In our diocese [another one] all the boys know these off by heart. They are sung at all the ordinations.“ The one hundred and seventy one bishops of the Church of Nigeria, including those exercising oversight through CANA in the USA, were present. the rest

CBN: Episcopal Diocese (CNY) Sells Church Building to Muslims

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Episcopal Diocese of Central New York recently sold the former home of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Binghamton, N.Y. to a Muslim awareness group.

The facility was sold to the Muslim group for $50,000 - considerably less than the assessed value of $386,000.

The move comes after the diocese filed a lawsuit against the Good Shepherd congregation to retain the facility when the church's members left the Episcopal Church of North America. the rest/video

Fulcrum: Where do we go from here?

posted March 26, 2010

The bishops and Standing Committees of The Episcopal Church (USA) have consented to the election of Mary Glasspool as bishop suffragan in the diocese of Los Angeles. That consent sadly confirms that TEC is determined to ignore all the repeated appeals of the wider Communion and, in the closing words of The Windsor Report, ‘walk apart’.

Since that report in 2004, it has been clear that the moratorium on same-sex blessings was being ignored in a significant number of dioceses, despite assurances otherwise. It has, however, been possible to claim that TEC was strictly adhering to the Communion’s repeated requests for a moratorium on “the election and consent to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate who is living in a same gender union until some new consensus in the Anglican Communion emerges”. Such a claim is now impossible. We are now indisputably in a radically new situation. TEC as a body has determinedly, perhaps irrevocably, chosen autonomy over “communion with autonomy and accountability”.

It is important that this is not simply a matter of disagreement about biblical interpretation and sexual ethics although these are central and important. It is now very clearly also a fundamental matter of truth-telling and trust. In September 2007, at the Primates’ request and after meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury, TEC bishops confirmed they would “exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion”. They made clear that “non-celibate gay and lesbian persons” were among such candidates.

When asked recently how they could therefore now proceed to confirm Mary Glasspool in the light of that assurance, one TEC bishop said this simply expressed where the bishops were in 2007 and they may be somewhere different now. At least where they are now is crystal clear. Both moratoria have been rejected. In addition, TEC is pursuing legal actions, with widespread concern its leadership intends aggressive action against the diocese of South Carolina which upholds the Communion’s teaching. the rest

A.S. Haley: Spirit of St. Paul Alive and Well in S. Carolina

RE: Stand Firm: All Saints, SC: “long standing litigation involving…national Episcopal Church has ended”

The Curmudgeon
Thursday, March 25, 2010

At that point, the decision by the South Carolina Supreme Court will become the the law in South Carolina: the Dennis Canon will be everywhere and forever ineffective, within the borders of that State, to create any kind of trust interest in any Episcopal parish in favor of either the Diocese of South Carolina -- or the Diocese of Upper South Carolina, for that matter. The Dennis Canon will, in short, be dead in South Carolina.

This fact of life will have several repercussions for the current witch hunt which the Presiding Bishop of ECUSA has been conducting against the Right Reverend Mark Lawrence and his Diocese. In the first place, it will completely remove, as the grounds for any charges of "abandonment of the communion of this Church", Bishop Lawrence's and his Diocese's failure to join in ECUSA's brief in support of the petitioning parish. For if ECUSA was unwilling to file its own petition within the prescribed time limits, so as to preserve its rights, then the Diocese can scarcely be faulted for failing to file a brief in support of the parish's petition by the required deadline -- since ECUSA's failure left the parish in complete control of the proceedings to seek review.

But the second and even more important repercussion will be that ECUSA's strategy of "take no prisoners" will have been rendered completely ineffective within the State of South Carolina (and its two Dioceses). Such a strategy depends entirely for its success upon the upholding of the Dennis Canon as having created a valid trust, and the South Carolina Supreme Court has unequivocally held that the Dennis Canon accomplishes no such purpose. From the date the petition for review is dismissed by the Supreme Court Clerk, ECUSA and its Presiding Bishop will be powerless to threaten parishes in the State with any sanctions for leaving, or realigning.

And finally, this end result will emasculate (in South Carolina, at least) ECUSA's outlandish claim to be a "second Church" in the State, separate and apart from the two Dioceses themselves. ECUSA and 815 will be unable thereafter to bring about a different result in any court in the State by citing the Dennis Canon. (Of course, as this commenter expresses, hope always springs eternal.) the rest

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Devotional: What if thou hadst committed the sins of a thousand?

What if thou hadst committed the sins of a thousand? What if thou hadst committed the sins of a million worlds? Christ's righteousness will cover, Christ's blood will cleanse thee from the guilt of all. ...George Whitefield image

CANA Thanks Akinola for His 10 Years as the Primate of the Church of Nigeria

March 25, 2010
(via email)

The Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) offered congratulations to the outgoing Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Archbishop Peter Akinola, on the completion of his ten-year term. During his tenure, the Church of Nigeria grew from 76 dioceses to 161, and doubled active membership from 10 million to 20 million — unprecedented growth for any province of the Anglican Communion. Archbishop Akinola founded CANA in 2005.

“Through courage and pastoral leadership, Archbishop Akinola has set a path forward for CANA and the worldwide Anglican Communion to stand firm in the good news of Jesus the Christ,” said CANA Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns.

“It has been my lot to serve this Church under God as Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate at the beginning and in the first decade of the twenty first century,” said Archbishop Akinola. “It has been a most challenging time for our faith. With general goodwill on the part of all our people and the loyal cooperation and active support of the Church’s leadership team, we have tried to reposition the church to be steadfast in facing and dealing with some of the challenges.”

“Locally and globally our church is able to champion the cause of orthodoxy, uphold and proclaim the unfettered gospel of salvation insisting uncompromisingly on the adequacy and supremacy of the word of God, written. We have contended for the faith. But I must admit that the battle is not over. Not yet.

“We thank God for the presentation of the Most Rev’d Nicholas Okoh as the new Primate of our Church. We believe God’s hand is upon him to shepherd us diligently to follow the Lord Jesus, the Christ who is the one true foundation of the Church, which He bought with His blood.”

A short video tribute for Akinola, entitled “Archbishop Peter Akinola: As For Me and My House” is available on YouTube here.

New Anglican Primate Assumes Office

New Anglican primate restates ban on same-sex marriage

Castro calls US health-care reform bill "a miracle"

Thursday March 25, 2010
HAVANA (AP) -- It perhaps was not the endorsement President Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress were looking for.

Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro on Thursday declared passage of American health care reform "a miracle" and a major victory for Obama's presidency, but couldn't help chide the United States for taking so long to enact what communist Cuba achieved decades ago. the rest

"It is really incredible that 234 years after the Declaration of Independence ... the government of that country has approved medical attention for the majority of its citizens, something that Cuba was able to do half a century ago," Castro wrote.

An Atheist Meets the Masters of the Universe

Thursday, March 25th, 2010
Peter Foges

Dr. Jeremy George, senior consultant in the Department of Thoracic Medicine at London University’s Middlesex Hospital, was on duty one fine May afternoon in 1988. It was a day like any other. At around 3 p.m., an elderly patient was admitted with pneumonia.

When the young doctor saw this “crumpled heap in a corner of the private wing,” as he later put it, he instantly recognized “it” as Professor Sir Alfred Jules Ayer, also known as A.J. Ayer (or “Freddie” to his friends), the former Wykeham Professor of Logic at Oxford, and Britain’s most eminent philosopher.

“He was very pleased that somebody knew who he was,“ said Dr. George, who spoke about the event for first time more than a decade later to the English playwright William Cash. “He looked very blue. His oxygen level was virtually incompatible with life.” the rest

Albert Mohler: God, Sex, and “Christianity Lite”

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A news report from Washington, D.C. tells the story of vestigial Christianity unhinged from biblical authority. Religion News Service [RNS] reports that many pastors in the nation’s capital are struggling with just how they can go about the wedding of same-sex couples now that gay marriage is legal in the District of Columbia.

“As gay rights spread through civil society, an increasing number of clergy are…caught by conflicting loyalties, forced to choose between church law and civil law in pastoring to their gay and lesbian congregants,” the news service reports.

Amy Butler, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, is one minister who plans to move ahead with same-sex weddings. Of her colleagues caught between church policy and the same intention, she says: “My heart breaks for them because they do not know what to do.” the rest

Episcopal Theologians Detail Both Sides of Gay Debate

Thu, Mar. 25 2010
By Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter

A panel of theologians in The Episcopal Church released on Wednesday a draft document on the divisive issue of same-sex relationships, detailing the positions of the "traditionalists" and the "liberals."

The 95-page paper does not serve as a statement but is a response to the call for The Episcopal Church "to treat the controversy theologically," according to Dr. Ellen Charry, editor of the document and associate professor of historical and systematic theology at Princeton Theological Seminary.

"Same-Sex Relationships in the Life of the Church" was drafted by the Theology Committee of the House of Bishops – a panel of eight who were evenly divided between traditionalists and liberals. Though they were requested to draw up one paper, the theologians have offered two, representing both sides of the debate. They determined early on that it was not possible to present one paper on the subject, said Bishop Paul Lambert of the Diocese of Dallas. the rest

Child sex abuse by US Catholic clergy down sharply: study

Mar 23 2010

Pay-outs by the US Roman Catholic church for child abuse cases involving clergy members fell to a six-year low last year but remained in the nine-figure range, an annual US report tracking clergy sex abuse of minors said Tuesday.

Nearly 400 new, credible allegations of clergy sex abuse were reported in 2009, said the report, which comes as the Roman Catholic church struggles to deal with thousands of alleged sex offenses by clerics against children in Europe and South America. the rest

Is this the face of Jesus Christ?

Figure of crucified man on Shroud comes to life
March 24, 2010
By Chelsea Schilling
© 2010 WorldNetDaily

The world will have an extraordinary opportunity to look upon an undistorted, never-before-seen, moving 3-D portrait of a man who many think is the crucified Jesus Christ.

In just one week, graphic experts will bring to life an imprint on the holy relic known as the Shroud of Turin, believed by millions to be the burial shroud of Christ. the rest

Your Medical Records Aren't Secure

The president says electronic systems will reduce costs and improve quality, but they could undermine good care if people are afraid to confide in their doctors.
MARCH 23, 2010

I learned about the lack of health privacy when I hung out my shingle as a psychiatrist. Patients asked if I could keep their records private if they paid for care themselves. They had lost jobs or reputations because what they said in the doctor's office didn't always stay in the doctor's office. That was 35 years ago, in the age of paper. In today's digital world the problem has only grown worse.

A patient's sensitive information should not be shared without his consent. But this is not the case now, as the country moves toward a system of electronic medical records. the rest

The privacy of an electronic health record cannot be restored once the contents are sold or otherwise disclosed. Every person and family is only one expensive diagnosis, one prescription, or one lab test away from generations of discrimination.

Religious freedom does not require complete secularization, archbishop tells UN

Geneva, Switzerland
Mar 24, 2010

(CNA).- The leader of the Holy See’s delegation to the United Nations in Geneva has advocated a form of religious freedom that does not require “complete secularization” but sees religion as a “bridge” to human rights. He also criticized laws against “defamation” as vague and open to abuse targeting religious minorities.

Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, Permanent Representative of the Holy See to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva, addressed the Human Rights Council on Monday. His remarks responded to the follow-up and implementation of the Durban Declaration. the rest

“Increasing instances of ridiculing religion, of lack of respect for religious personalities and symbols, of discrimination and killings of followers of minority religions, and a generalized negative consideration of religion in the public arena damage peaceful coexistence and hurt the feelings of considerable segments of the human family,” he explained.

Both sides of abortion issue quick to dismiss order

By Mimi Hall
posted March 25, 2010

WASHINGTON — Both sides in the abortion debate came to a rare agreement on Wednesday: The executive order on abortion signed by President Obama, they said, was basically meaningless.

"A transparent political fig leaf," according to the National Right to Life Committee's Douglas Johnson.

"A symbolic gesture," said Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards. the rest

Health care law signals end of US empire, end of Western Christian empire as a system?

Obama spokesman gets testy with press on Obama's abortion executive order

Can pro-lifers ever support Democrats again?

Rasmussen: 55% Favor Repeal of Health Care Bill

CNN, Huffington Post Urge Violence against Republicans

Syphilis Soars in U.K., Thanks to Facebook

Cases of syphilis have increased four-fold in Britain's Facebook capital as users meet up for unprotected sex, it was revealed yesterday.
March 24, 2010
The Sun

Cases of syphilis have increased four-fold in Britain's Facebook capital as users meet up for unprotected sex, it was revealed yesterday.

Figures released last month showed that people in Sunderland, Durham and Teesside were 25 per cent more likely to log on regularly.

And an NHS trust chief said Facebook and similar sites were to blame for a shocking rise in cases of potentially-lethal syphilis in the region. the rest

The Annunciation

The God whom earth and sea and sky
Adore and laud and magnify,
Whose might they own, Whose praise they tell,
In Mary's womb vouchsafed to dwell.

How blessed that Mother, in whose shrine
The world's Creator, Lord divine,
Whose hand contains the earth and sky,
Once deigned, as in His ark, to lie.

Blessed in the message Gabriel brought,
Blessed by the work the Spirit wrought;
From whom the great Desire of earth
Took human flesh and human birth.

O Lord, the Virgin-born, to Thee
Eternal praise and glory be,
Whom with the Father we adore
And Holy Ghost for evermore.
... For­tu­na­tus

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Obamaklatura

The president aims to make America more equal--and some Americans more equal than others..
MARCH 24, 2010

David Leonhardt of the New York Times--last seen (we are not exaggerating) touting National Socialism as a model for economic policy --is on more conventional ground today in praising ObamaCare as "the federal government's biggest attack on economic inequality since inequality began rising more than three decades ago"... the rest

Remember when Sen. Obama told "Joe the Plumber" he wanted to "spread the wealth around"? This might have been the most revealing moment in the campaign--and the mainstream media responded by investigating and vilifying the man who had the temerity to confront the candidate with a question.

Fissure within Church

March 24th, 2010
By George Wesolek

The American Catholic Church is fractured and splintering with a deep ideological divide separating the camps. This is not news. But what had been common knowledge in Church circles in private conversations is now in the headlines of the New York Times and the Washington Post.

This has come about because of the intense national debate about health care reform. The American Catholic bishops don’t like the bill (the Senate version) in its present form because it expands abortion coverage, does not cover immigrants, and does not offer enough conscience protections.

Recently, the Catholic Health Association (CHA) and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) both came out publicly in support of the Senate version of the bill. Some of their comments even went so far as to characterize the bishops’ stand, especially on abortion, as “false.” So now we have some nuns accusing the bishops of lying about abortion. Are you shocked? Don’t be because this has been going on for a long time.

For years, most of the leadership of the LCWR and the Catholic hospitals (most of which are owned by these very same LCWR leaders) have been advancing a view of Catholic social teaching that reflects a vision that they learned in the 60s and 70s – a tired feminism that distorts the role of women and has at its center the freedom of women to “choose” to kill the infants in their womb if they so desire. the rest