Gosnell fog blankets Britain: Get Religion, April 19, 2013 April 19, 2013Posted by geoconger in Get Religion, Press criticism.
Tags: abortion, Archbishop Cranmer, BBC, Daily Mail, Kermit Gosnell, Telegraph, Times
Last week my colleague at GetReligion Mollie Hemingway broke the American media blockade surrounding the Kermit Gosnell trial. Mollie, and Kirsten Powers writing in USA Today, reported on the absence of national press coverage of the trial of the Philadelphia abortionist — questioning why reporters who never tired of Sandra Flake or Komen Foundation stories shied away from this national news item.
Some members of the press and newspapers have sought to repair their damaged credibility and are now playing catch up, while others have retreated into the bunker (Nixonian allusions spring to mind but would likely be lost on the miscreants).
However, the British press appears not to have received the memo. As of the date of this post, the BBC has yet to air a story on the Gosnell affair (though it did run one web piece on 15 April after the Hemingway storm broke and the American media mea culpa.) ITV and Channel 4 have yet to report.
The newspapers have not raised the average. The Times ran one story on 13 April, but the Guardian and Independent have remained silent. The Telegraph does a little better — it had one news article dated 12 April entitled “Kermit Gosnell: US abortion doctor could be put to death over ‘baby charnel house’”. Op-Ed writers Damian Thompson and Tim Stanley weighed in on the Gosnell story as well as the media blackout. On 12 April Thompson wrote:
But British readers must know about the case of Dr Kermit Gosnell, which has been played down in the American media – possibly because the allegations of a homicidal abortion doctor don’t fit into their pro-choice narrative.
Well, Philadelphia is very far away after all. And a story about an abortionist on trial for infanticide in Philadelphia may not be interesting to the British newspaper reading public. American newspapers are notorious for their lack of in-depth overseas reporting due to the perception that its readers don’t care about the outside world.
Perhaps the Daily Mail is an outlier — it has published 26 stories since 2011 on the Kermit Gosnell case — a number greater than all the news stories of the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, ABC, CBS, NBS, and CNN combined. It must be due to the large number of transplanted Philadelphians residing in Surrey.
The popular British blog Archbishop Cranmer explains the reticence stating:
This low-key response is almost certainly because Dr Gosnell’s case takes us to the question of what it means to be human and humane, and this is why it is so important. What he was doing crossed a fundamental line in law and morality between abortion and infanticide. Abortion prioritises the health of the mother. Dr Gosnell is accused of killing babies after the child was outside of the mother, at a time when the risks of childbirth were passed, though they were now entering the risk-laden world of Dr Gosnell’s post-operative care.
He sees a political explanation in all this. The same news outlets who pushed Barack Obama into the Oval Office are protecting their investment.
There is a political reason behind the silence amongst a media that subjected President Obama to as little scrutiny as Dr Gosnell. There have been efforts to legislate for doctors to be required to provide full medical treatment to babies who survive abortion procedures. Three times the President has voted against it, imperiously ignoring the possibility that men like Dr Gosnell exist. The US Federal Government provides 45% of the $1billion budget of Planned Parenthood, the US major abortion provider.
They, like the President, are very equivocal about this issue of infanticide as this video demonstrates. The lady struggling to answer the clear and direct questions is Alisa Lapolt Snow, a lobbyist for Planned Parenthood giving evidence to a committee of Florida legislators. Dr Gosnell’s trial puts the inconvenient truth of abortion and infanticide plainly into the public domain. It puts the brutal bloody facts to the sanitised language and could prove to be the tipping point in the public debate as ordinary people see for the first time how far the pro-abortion lobby are prepared to go in defending their industry.
There is a reason we talk about the ‘slippery slope’.
Why are so few people in the media, American or British, asking these questions?
First printed in Get Religion.
Bishop’s plea for peace in Sri Lanka: The Church of England Newspaper, April 14, 2013 p 6. April 19, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of Ceylon, Church of England Newspaper, Persecution.
Tags: Dhiloraj Canagasabey, Diocese of Colombo
The Bishop of Colombo has called upon India to protect its Sinhalese visitors following a series of high profile assaults on Buddhist monks.
While the April 1 letter of Bishop Dhiloraj Canagasabey is addressed to the Indian government and leads with the condemnation of last month’s attack on two Buddhist monks in Tamil Nadu, sources in the Church of Ceylon tell the Church of England Newspaper the true audience is the government of Sri Lankan Pres. Mahinda Rajapaksa and its subject the sharp increase in sectarian violence targeting Ceylon’s Christians and Muslims
Bishop Canagasabey wrote “several incidents of intimidation and violence against Sri Lankans have been reported recently from within and outside the Sri Lanka,” adding the “most serious” had been the attack on Buddhists monks in Tamil Nadu state.
“In the first incident in Tamil Nadu, a group of post graduate archaeology students had been attacked during a study tour to a temple site in Thanjavoor. In the second a group of Buddhist pilgrims who had arrived in Chennai from a visit to sacred sites in North India had been attacked at the Chennai Railway Station. In both instances the monks had been singled out for abuse and physical violence, possibly due to their distinctive dress. Several extremists Tamil groups have been identified as perpetrators of these attacks in India. I appeal to the Central Government of India, and the State Government of Tamil Nadu to stop this act of violence immediately,” the bishop said.
The Bishop added that “within Sri Lanka, attacks in the form of intimidation and violence especially on Christians and Muslims have been too many to list out.”
The Church “views with grave concern and denounces this growing and very dangerous trend of sectarian violence. These incidents are yet another manifestation of the fast spreading intolerance and fundamentalist extremism which is engulfing many societies today,” the bishops said.
It was a “reflection of the refusal to listen to people who think believe and act differently from us and to accept their freedom and right to do so. From here it is but a short step to blind and mindless violence against the group or groups we choose to demonize,” he said.
He stated that “while we very rightly condemn such acts by others, we also need to turn the spotlight inwards and reflect on and examine our own failings in this regard. It may be that unconsciously in the practice of our own beliefs and religion we have caused avoidable irritation and offence to those of sister faiths,” he said, adding “we can hardly demonstrate against and condemn such acts by others against us, if we ourselves condone or participate in similar behaviour against those who are different from us.”
It was the duty of state to guarantee the protection “of all groups in society,” the bishop said, warning the Buddhist nationalist government “during the past decades we have witnessed in this country the tragedy, huge damage and destruction brought about by the negligence of this primary duty. We must not repeat the mistakes of the past.”
Tags: Diocese of Uruguay, Michael Pollesel
The House of Bishops of the Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur (de América) has upheld the appeal of the Diocese of Uruguay and ratified the election of Archdeacon Michael Pollesel.
A statement released during holy week by the Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone, Tito Zavala of Chile said the bishops and provincial Executive Council had “with joy and thankfulness to God” ratified Archdeacon Pollesel election after consideration of the appeal and the presentation of new background material.
At the close of their 21 – 25 May 2012 meeting in Montevideo the bishops released a statement saying that “after discussion and prayer and in accord with its canons the Provincial Executive of the Cono Sur together with its College of Bishops did not ratify the election of the Ven. Dr. Michael Pollesel as bishop-coadjutor for Uruguay”
The Cono Sur did not state why Dr. Pollesel’s election was rejected, but noted the province “promised its close cooperation with the diocese in its future decisions.”
The December 2011 election of Dr. Pollesel by the Uruguay synod to succeed Bishop Miguel Tamayo had raised questions from conservative activists. The former general secretary of the Anglican Church of Canada and interim priest-in-charge of St Nicholas Church, Birch Cliff in Toronto was credited with crafting the “non-confrontational” approach to the debate over same sex blessings taken at the last General Synod.
Conservatives claimed that by making the issue of homosexuality value neutral, it privileged gay supporters in the General Synod and allowed Canada to also claim it had not violated the Anglican Communion’s strictures against gay marriage.
No explanation as to the reasons for the 2012 rejection and 2013 ratification of the election has been released by the province. However it is understood Dr. Pollesel — who has served as vicar general of the diocese since his election — persuaded the bishops that he did not share and what not propagate the Canadian church’s doctrines in Uruguay.
The small South American diocese has been an outlier within the wider Cono Sur in recent years, focusing its energies on “social gospel” issues. On 12 Nov 2010 the diocese voted to secede from the Cono Sur after the provincial synod declined to authorize the ordination of women priests. Uruguay had proposed the women priest resolution, which was passed by the lay and episcopal orders, but defeated in the clergy order at the provincial synod in Buenos Aires.
The 12 – 15 November 2011 meeting in Asunción, Paraguay of the provincial synod rejected Uruguay’s requested to secede, but adopted a motion requesting a study in the feasibility of dividing the province into Atlantic and Pacific halves with Peru, Bolivia and two dioceses in Chile comprising one province and Argentina, Northern Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay comprising the second. The New Zealand meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council declined to endorse the diocese’s request to secede.
Tags: gay marriage, Melbourne Herald-Sun, New Zealand
The news that New Zealand’s senate has approved a gay marriage bill has stirred but slight interest in the U.S. press. The Wall Street Journal ran a small box item while the New York Times printed a brief AP report in its world briefing section on page A12. The AP reports that:
Parliament on Wednesday voted 77 to 44 to legalize same-sex marriage, which will make New Zealand the 13th nation in the world and the first in the Asia-Pacific region to allow gay couples to marry. The bill was supported by Prime Minister John Key, who is on the center-right. The new law will allow gay couples to jointly adopt children for the first time and allow their marriages to be recognized in other countries. The law will take effect in August.
The Australian press has paid closer attention reporting on the debate as well as the political ramifications for the government of Prime Minister Julia Gillard. The Prime Minister said the Australian Parliament had spoken and made up its mind against gay marriage.
The Melbourne Herald-Sun has also made up its mind and believes those who do not support gay marriage are slack-jawed troglodytes. The lede to its story entitled “The speech that legalised same-sex marriage in NZ:” is embarrassingly effusive and is written in tones hitherto reserved for the style section. And the story itself is so unbalanced, so obsequious, so silly — but before I work myself into a fever pitch of righteous indignation, let’s take a look.
A NEW Zealand MP has won kudos amongst the gay community and same-sex marriage supporters worldwide after delivering a humorous yet thoughtful speech about the ludicrous ideas why not to support gay marriage and the logical reasons why you should. So poignant is National Party MP Maurice Williamson’s speech, some are hailing it as “one of the greatest speeches ever delivered at a marriage equality debate”.
Perhaps it might have been more accurate to have added after same-sex marriage supporters the phrase “including this reporter”. Is this sober, even handed journalism, or a love letter from the Herald-Sun? Is the article saying that opposition to gay marriage is ludicrous? Or that the ludicrous straw man arguments offered up by the speaker are examples of the quality of the opposition’s arguments? What is ludicrous is this article being placed in the world news section and not in the opinion pages.
“Some are hailing”? As no names are given to substantiate this claim it is quite clear that the author is speaking about his own views and ascribing them to unnamed others. The article continues in this vein of excited adulation with extracts from the speech interspersed with descriptions like:
His speech concluded with some of the most powerful words spoken in favour of marriage equality.
How are they the most? Why are they the most? Compared to what? The Herald-Sun is offering a moral judgment but provides no data in support of its conclusion.Now my purpose in pointing out this execrable story is not to engage in debate on the rights or wrongs of gay marriage. There are plenty of websites that do that sort of thing. GetReligion looks at the quality of the journalism, not the issues presented in an article. If the author wanted to write a story highlighting this speech in the belief that it swayed MPs to vote for the bill, or was a succinct summary of the argument in favor of gay marriage then quotes to the use of that effect needed to be provided. Otherwise all we have is the author’s opinion as to its merits.
One of my colleagues in Australia, Russell Powell, notes that the author of this piece last year published an open letter to the Prime Minister calling for the Australian government to enact gay marriage laws. A good reporter has the ability to separate his personal views from his professional responsibilities. I see no conflict in writing an open letter advocating a course of action and then covering a news story that deals with the same issue – – if the rules of unbiased, balanced, fair, thorough, professional journalism are followed. That did not happen here.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
First printed in Get Religion.
Crime concerns dominate Jamaican synod: The Church of England Newspaper, April 14, 2013, p 7. April 16, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of the West Indies, Corruption, Crime, Gambling.
Tags: Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, Howard Gregory
The Bishop of Jamaica has denounced his government’s slow response to a lottery scam that has defrauded thousands of elderly Americans, saying it was symptomatic of the breakdown of law and order in the West Indies.
In his presidential address to the Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands at the 143rd annual meeting of Synod held at St Ann’s Bay parish church, Bishop Howard Gregory said the “system of justice needs to become a primary focus of attention.”
“As a nation we are being called to repentance with a consequent change of action in relation to the blood of our young men and our women and children which is being shed daily in our country by criminal elements, but just as significant in the resolution of domestic disputes.”
The Bishop condemned the government for permitting the sale of lottery tickets on Sunday. He noted that the legislation passed during holy week led him to ask “whether this is an expression of gross insensitivity or a statement concerning the way forward for the relationship between church and society”.
He also took the government to task for not moving to stop the “Jamaican lottery scam” until the U.S. Senate began hearings on the crimes.
A report by CBS reported that in 2012 over 29,000 lottery scam complaints were filed with American police agencies. Posing as representatives of Publishers Clearinghouse and other lottery and sweepstakes firms, the scammers would tell elderly Americans that they had won a cash prize but first needed to make a tax payment before the money would be released. The Jamaican-based fraud had taken in tens of millions of dollars, prosecutors have alleged.
“After seven years of public awareness of the lottery scam, our Government has only managed to table anti-scamming legislation and talk tough at the very moment when the United States Senate was holding a [Senate] hearing on the scam in Jamaica,” Bishop Gregory said.
The government’s failure to act did nothing to combat Jamaica’s reputation as a den of crime and corruption. “The way we are presenting ourselves to the world in terms of our moral values as a nation calls for serious repentance on the part of citizens and political leaders as a whole,” he said.
The willingness also of ordinary Jamaicans to countenance the lottery scam told the world “we have some very skewed moral values.”
Pakistani Christian sentenced to death for blasphemy freed: The Church of England Newspaper, April 14, 2013 p 7. April 16, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Pakistan, Persecution.
Tags: Blasphemy Laws, Release International, Younis Masih
Seven years after being sentenced to death for blasphemy a Pakistani Christian has been set free.
On 3 April 2013 Lahore High Court justices Khaja Amtiaz Ahmed and Khalid Mehmood Khan overturned the conviction of Younis Masih and ordered his immediate release from prison.
On 10 September 2005 Masih was arrested after he had asked a party of Muslim men the night before if they would lower the volume of their singing. The men responded by attacking Masih and beat him unconscious. Islamic leaders then incited a mob to burn Christians’ homes, saying Masih had committed blasphemy. More than 100 Christian families were forced to flee.
His lawyers alleged that to placate the mob the police arrested Masih. A Lahore Court sentenced him to death on 30 May 2007. In overturning his conviction the appeals court held there was no proof of blasphemy.
In a statement released last week Release International, which had been working with lawyers from the Legal Aid for Destitute and Settlement society in Pakistan, welcomed the news.
Release chief executive Paul Robinson said: “We are celebrating with Younis, his family and our partners who have supported them for all these years. We hope this sets a precedent for other victims of Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws who should now be released.”
Release commended the “bravery of High Court judges” who released Masih, “despite intense pressure from Muslim hardliners who filled earlier court hearings, apparently trying to intimidate the judges.”
Release partners were now making arrangements for the “safe transfer of Younis from jail to an unspecified location,” it reported.
Tags: Mark Lawrence, Wall Street Journal
Even the best newspapers will drop a brick now and again. And today’s piece in the Wall Street Journal about the Episcopal wars in South Carolina is a real stinker.
I’ve been reading the Journal since the early 1980s when I went to New York to work as a floor clerk at the Commodities Exchange for Drexel Burnham Lambert. In those far off misty days of my misspent youth (the lark’s on the wing, the snail’s on the thorn, Reagan’s in the White House, God’s in His heaven, all was right with the world) I would start at the back of the paper every morning and work forward after I had finished with the futures prices.
As my life and interests took a different path (no more filthy lucre for me) I began to enjoy the paper’s forays into religion, art, literature and other highbrow genres. The Wall Street Journal has consistently done a fine job in covering these topics bringing a depth of knowledge and balance to its reporting — and is one of the best written, best edited English language newspapers in the business.
Hence my disappointment with today’s article entitled “Church Fight Heads to Court: South Carolina Episcopalian Factions Each File Suit After Split Over Social Issues”. The story gets just about everything of importance wrong. The lede misrepresents the underlying issue. It begins:
Episcopalians along the South Carolina coast are battling in court to determine which of two factions owns an estimated $500 million in church buildings, grounds and cemeteries, following an acrimonious split last year over social issues.
The leadership and about two-thirds of the members of the Diocese of South Carolina, based in Charleston, broke away from the national Episcopal Church last November over its blessing of same-sex unions, ordination of gay clergy and its liberal approach to other social and theological issues.
No, that is not what happened. In South Carolina the diocesan convention voted to withdraw from the General Convention of the Episcopal Church after the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church suspended the Bishop of South Carolina with the intent to depose him (remove him from the ministry). Yes, South Carolina has opposed the innovations of doctrine and discipline introduced over the past two generations — and I guess you could say, taking the long view, that social issues were subsidiary issues — but last year’s split was in response to specific actions taken by the leadership of the national church.
Farther down the article some of the details about the South Carolina fight are presented and the story gets the facts back on track.
In South Carolina, bad blood between the diocese and the national church has been building for about 15 years. It reached a breaking point last summer, when the bishop and other leaders of the diocese walked out of the triennial General Convention in Indianapolis, following the national church’s approval of policies on blessing same-sex unions. The walkout triggered a series of events, including the national church’s removal of the Rt. Rev. Lawrence as bishop, and subsequent lawsuits.
(A hint that the writer is not au courant with religion reporting is the “Rt. Rev. Lawrence” — proper style is to use the first name after the Rt Rev and then Bishop or Dr if you want an honorific before the last name.)
The story also collapses the time line of the Episcopal wars and is written as if the South Carolina lawsuit is new news when the latest lawsuit was filed about six weeks ago.
The schism in South Carolina is one of many that have erupted over the past decade between local Episcopal parishes and dioceses and their national church—particularly since the election of a gay bishop in 2003. Thousands of conservative members left their churches over such issues around the middle of last decade, a time some Southern churchgoers call “the Great Unpleasantness,” the same euphemism once used for the Civil War. Other mainline Protestant denominations also have struggled with issues related to homosexuality, with many congregations moving to leave the Presbyterian Church USA after its leadership voted to allow openly gay clergy.
The split between liberal and conservative Episcopalians has been around for almost 40 years and has witnessed dozens of lawsuits between congregations and diocese. Beginning in 2006 the national church headquarters entered the fray spending upwards of $24 million (this in addition to the fees paid out by the dioceses and parishes). Nor did the fight begin in 2003 — GetReligion‘s tmatt has written extensively on this point and I need not restate the accurate Anglican timeline here.
The reporting on the lawsuits — the purpose of the article — is dodgy as well. The article reports the diocese filed a lawsuit in December in state court, with the explanation “The group says it shouldn’t have to turn property over to a church that it believes has drifted from Biblical principles.” Well that was one of the issues — but the bulk of the pleadings and the central issue before the state court was who was the true Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina?
This is followed in the article by the response of the national church affiliated faction:
A group representing the one-third of diocesan congregants still aligned with the national Episcopal Church have joined it in filing suit in federal court, arguing the property must remain with the national church. The national church, which says it is the one upholding Biblical teachings by wrestling with difficult questions as a community, believes the suit should be heard in federal court because it argues the dispute involves the First Amendment; a hearing is expected later this spring on whether the matter will go to federal or state court.
No. This is not true either. On 31 January lawyers representing the national church faction agreed to the entry of a preliminary injunction against their client (called a temporary injunction in South Carolina) promising not to use the name, marks and insignia of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina pending the outcome of the state court proceedings.
On 6 March the national church faction brought a complaint based on the federal trademark law known as the Lanham Act (15 U.S.C. Sections 1051 et seq.) against Bishop Lawrence claiming it, not Bishop Lawrence and his faction were the true diocese. It asked the federal court to block the January state court order in favor of Bishop Lawrence and his group. Bishop Lawrence, they argued, was infringing on their trademarks. And last week, back in state court, the attorneys for the national church filed their answer to the original lawsuit.
Religious freedom and the First Amendment are all well and good, but it would have behooved the Journal to read the pleadings rather than the press hand outs.
The choice of legal commentary is one-sided — and also manages to pawn off further frauds onto the reader while managing to omit one of the crucial elements in the story.
How the fight will be resolved is difficult to tell. The national church has prevailed in 12 similar disputes in state supreme or appellate courts since 1980, said Martin Nussbaum, a Colorado specialist in church property law who isn’t involved in the South Carolina matter.
Some religious scholars say such schisms are hurting the church’s image and distracting attention that could be devoted to reversing a decline in church membership. “Once we’re through the issue of property and gay people, the real issue is how can this church change its way of being?” said Frank Kirkpatrick, the author of “The Episcopal Church in Crisis: How Sex, the Bible, and Authority are Dividing the Faithful.”
This is untrue also. While a number of lawsuits between dioceses and parishes have gone to state supreme courts, with the diocese prevailing in many of them, in South Carolina the state supreme court ruled the other way and held the church’s national property rules, called the Dennis Canon, were of no legal effect in South Carolina. In other words, if a parish has clear title to its property in South Carolina, it can take it with it if it leaves its diocese or denomination. Omitting this crucial legal precedent in the story was most unfortunate.
It should also be added that the appellate courts have not adjudicated the issue of whether a diocese may withdraw from the national church. Attorneys for the national church have argued the legal precedents from outside South Carolina governing the relationship of the parish to the diocese should govern the relationship of the diocese to the national church. The diocese’s lawyers in South Carolina have argued this relationship is not comparable.
One might also add, contrary to the assertion in the article about declining membership, that until these lawsuits erupted the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina was one of the few Episcopal diocese to see a growth in membership over the past decade.
So far I’ve pointed out mistakes of fact, significant omissions, and unbalanced commentary — let’s look at tone. The deafness of this article — its cluelessness — can be illustrated by this line;
The breakaway group, which still calls itself the Diocese of South Carolina, continues to operate from the diocesan headquarters and retains control of many of its most recognizable parishes, including St. Michael’s, in Charleston, established in the 1750s.
The breakaway group still calls itself the “Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina” — not merely the “Diocese of South Carolina”. The “Episcopal” name, and from it the control of assets, is the question before the courts.
Not a good outing I’m afraid from the Journal.
Update: I neglected to mention a further flaw. The photo of the church used with the article is captioned as St Michael’s Church in Charleston — the photo is actually of St Helena’s in Beaufort. Hardly a fatal flaw, but I suppose it does help to pack all your errors into one story.
First printed in Get Religion.
Tags: Jewish identity, Washington Post, Western Wall
You couldn’t, he thought, find three Jews in the world who would agree on what it meant to be Jewish, yet there were apparently fifty million of these people who knew exactly what it meant to be German, though many of those on deck have never set foot in Germany.
Alan Furst, Dark Star, (1991), p. 380.
Who is a Jew? What is a Jew? Who decides who is a Jew? These questions lie beneath the surface of a Washington Post story that reports on the controversy of women worshiping at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. The article entitled “Women challenge Orthodox practice at Israel’s Western Wall” links the political dynamics of the pressure being brought by American Jews upon the Israeli government to accommodate non-Orthodox Jewish worship at what the Post calls “Judaism’s holiest shrine” with an Israeli local news item. Yet the story could have fleshed out the religion ghosts — telling a non-Jewish, non-Israeli audience why this is the something more than a turf battle over worship space.
Because this article is written from an American secular Jewish perspective — the Post states its support of the protesters in its lede — only half the story is told. The presuppositions of the author — call them biases or perspectives or relative truths — prevents a reader from understanding the political and religious calculus here. It begins:
JERUSALEM — A long-running battle over worship at the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest shrine, was rejoined Thursday as Israeli police arrested five Jewish women who wore prayer shawls at a morning service, contrary to Orthodox practice enforced at the site. The arrests came two days after disclosure of a potentially groundbreaking plan that could allow for non-Orthodox services to be held in the area on an equal footing with those conducted according to Orthodox tradition.
Note the verb being used in second clause of the lede sentence: “enforced”. The Post is characterizing the dispute as one of power — he who has power can enforce his will. What trajectory would the story have taken it different verb were used stating that Orthodox practice is not merely enforced but required by law? The story then moves to quotes from the women activists and an “ultra-Orthodox heckler”, before moving to the political, summarizing the history of the dispute, taking it up to recent discussions in the cabinet:
[Prime Minister] Netanyahu asked Natan Sharansky, chairman of the quasi-governmental Jewish Agency, to come up with a plan for worship at the Western Wall that would accommodate the non-Orthodox branches of Judaism that are dominant overseas. The move signaled an increasing awareness in the Israeli government that the confrontations over ritual at the Western Wall are driving a wedge between Israel and Jewish communities abroad.<
Sharansky’s solution presented to American Jewish leaders was to build a platform “south of the main prayer plaza; men and women could pray together there, and women could lead services.”
The article closes with a quote from the Western Wall Orthodox rabbi who said he was in favor of the separate facilities and an Israeli reform rabbi who is given free reign to sound off on his views on the Orthodox hegemony of Judaism in Israel.
Rabbi Gilad Kariv, director of the Reform movement in Israel, said that Women of the Wall had succeeded in making religious pluralism at the shrine a major issue of Jewish concern. “The Wall has become an ultra-Orthodox synagogue,” Kariv said, adding that Thursday’s arrests sent a signal that undermined Sharansky’s proposal. “You can’t make a serious attempt to reach a compromise while maintaining a situation where the rights of one side are seriously breached,” he said.
Still, Kariv predicted that if the proposal is implemented, the area set aside for non-Orthodox prayer at the Western Wall “will become the main platform for the vast majority of Israelis and Jews.”
I am not a Jew and have no dog in the fight between the traditional and progressive strands of Judaism. I am concerned with good journalism, though, and find this story unbalanced and incomplete.
Unbalanced because there is no explanation as to why the Orthodox object to bare-headed women leading prayers (as the accompanying photo from the Post shows) next to a gathering of Haredi men praying. While supporters of change have their say in this story supporters of tradition do not. I should say that I know the Talmud rejects the practice — but I do not know if other non-Jews know this. Without an explanation of the religious issues a casual reader might well assume that this is an issue of power.
It was an issue of power in 1928. On the Day of Atonement that year, 28 September 1928, a riot erupted when British police torn down wooden barriers separating male and female worshipers at the Wall. Protests from Jewish communities around the world greeted this action which in turn were followed by protests from Arabs in Palestine against Jews worshiping at the Wall. The British ban on sex segregation barriers became a ban on Jews at the Wall from 1948 1967 when it was under the control of Jordan.
When Israel took control of the Temple Mount area the Wall came under the authority of the Ministry of Religious Affairs. In the 1980s American and English emigrants to Israel began the Women at the Wall movement which sparked a riot by Haredi men at the wall in 1989. In 2003 Israel’s Supreme Court disallowed women from reading publicly from the Torah or wearing traditional prayer shawls at the plaza built by the Ministry in front of the Wall. However, it held the government must build a second area for women and mixed sex groups — as well as non-Orthodox Jews — on the site of Robinson’s Arch. Sharansky’s solution is to expand this site — which is not under the control of the Ministry.
Without explaining the religious elements — the objections of the Orthodox or the determination of Jewish women to worship at the wall rather than near — the story is incomplete. Without touching upon the history behind this section, it’s context, a casual reader might well suppose this is just about power.
What does the wall symbolize for the religious Jew or the secular Israeli? Is this a continuing chapter in the saga of who is a Jew, what does it mean to be a Jew, and who gets to say who is a Jew? Written for an American or Diaspora audience — the story is incomplete.
First published in Get Religion.
Hong Kong push for gay civil rights: The Church of England Newspaper, April 14, 2013 p 7. April 13, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Civil Rights, Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui, Human Sexuality --- The gay issue, Marriage.
Tags: Hong Kong, Sexual Orientation Discrimination Ordinance, York Chow Yat-ngok
Church leaders in Hong Kong have welcomed the proposal for public consultations on a Sexual Orientation Discrimination Ordinance (SODO) that would protect the civil rights of the homosexual community. While declining to speak to the merits of any particular bill, Roman Catholic and Anglican leaders have voiced their general approval of civil rights legislation.
On 1 April 2013 Dr York Chow Yat-ngok, a leading Anglican layman and the former secretary for food and health, took office as chairman of Hong Kong’s Equal Opportunity Commission.
Last month gay activists attacked the appointment of Dr. Chow arguing that his religious principle would prejudice the debate. However Dr. Chow told the South China Morning Post he was a “liberal-minded” Christian and not prejudiced against gay people.
The issue should be handled discreetly. “In the process of legislation, there should be more discussion. Because not everyone would be courageous enough or would choose to disclose their own sexual orientation,” Dr. Chow told Radio Television Hong Kong.
“My religious background is relatively conservative, but even the Anglican Church in England is discussing this issue now,” he said adding that “regardless of what my religious background is or my personal view… these people should not be discriminated against.”
In November 2012 a proposal was put forward in the Legislative Council to launch a public consultation to gauge potential support for SODO. After vigorous debate the motion was defeated and Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying dismissed calls for a consultation in a policy address in January.
Evangelical leaders had voiced concern that SODO would lead to gay marriage. Choi Chi-sum, secretary-general of the Society for Truth and Light, said they were “disappointed” that Dr. Chow had now offered his public support for the ordinance before consulting groups who opposed the legislation.
Created in 1996 the equal opportunities commission has a mandate to work towards the elimination of discrimination on the grounds of sex, marital status, pregnancy, disability, family status and race. This brief should be extended to sexual orientation Dr. Chow said.
Tags: abortion, Ireland, Irish Independent, New York Times, Savita Halappanavar
Three cheers for my Get Religion colleague Mollie Hemingway! She has done a fantastic job this week pointing out the professional failures of the national press coverage of the Kermit Gosnell trial in Philadelphia. The self-censorship of the New York Times on this issue is of Walter Duranty-like proportions.
But the Gosnell case is not an isolated incident when it comes to questionable abortion reporting — they have form. There is a blindness in the Times coverage of abortion — they see only what they want to see. Or, there is a sleight of hand at work here — like the three card monte dealer they promise you a fair game as the cards pass before your eyes — but the hand always comes out in favor of the dealer — and in this game the rightness of abortion always comes up aces.
Take the Irish abortion controversy that dominated the media for a few weeks after the election. Last November/December the Times ran six stories on the death of Savita Halappanavar. The lede of its first report set the tone of its subsequent coverage:
The death of a woman who was reportedly denied a potentially lifesaving abortion even while she was having a miscarriage has revived debate over Ireland’s almost total ban on abortions.
The stories that followed focused on Ireland’s restrictive abortion laws — and upon claims that an abortion was not performed when the life of the mother was in danger because of Ireland’s Catholic culture.
Dr. Halappanavar contracted a bacterial blood infection, septicemia, and died Oct. 28, a week after she was admitted to Galway University Hospital with severe back pains. She was 17 weeks pregnant but having a miscarriage and was told that the fetus — a girl — would not survive. Her husband said she asked several times for an abortion but was informed that under Irish law it would be illegal while there was a fetal heartbeat, because “this is a Catholic country.”
The coroners inquest this past week in Ireland has seen blow by blow reports in the Irish and British press — with some papers publishing updates after each session. The Times returned to the story on 11 April 2013 with an article that backed the editorial line taken last year.
A woman who died after being refused a potentially lifesaving abortion even while she was having a miscarriage was told that her repeated pleas could not be granted because Ireland is a Catholic country, an inquest has confirmed. In a case that has reignited tensions over Ireland’s strict abortion laws, Ann Maria Burke, the midwife who attended to the pregnant woman, said at the inquest in Galway on Wednesday that the remark “had come out the wrong way” and that she had not meant it to be hurtful.
The Times reported:
Dr. Halappanavar’s husband, Praveen, has said the couple were told that the country’s Catholicism was the reason for the refusal to terminate the pregnancy, even though his wife was in severe pain and they had been informed that the fetus had no chance of survival. In Ireland, abortion is legal when there is a fetal heartbeat only if there is “real and substantial risk” to the life of the woman. Dr. Halappanavar, 31, was 17 weeks pregnant when she sought treatment at University Hospital Galway on Oct. 21, complaining of severe back pain. Dr. Katherine Astbury, a senior obstetrician who had attended to Dr. Halappanavar, said at the inquest that although the fetus’s prognosis was poor, she had refused to conduct a termination until the fetus’s heartbeat had ceased. “I recall informing Ms. Halappanavar that the legal position did not permit me to terminate the pregnancy in her case at that time,” Dr. Astbury said, referring to a conversation they had on Oct. 23. She also recalled telling Dr. Halappanavar, who she said was physically well at that point but emotionally distressed, that her only option was to “sit and wait” for as long as the heartbeat persisted.
The article then noted that mistakes were made:
The inquest has also heard testimony that several hospital protocols were not followed, amounting to system failures that contributed to Dr. Halappanavar’s death. Dr. Astbury said she might have intervened sooner had she been made aware of the results of earlier blood tests. Instead, she relied on clinical signs, none of which pointed to sepsis.
The article starts with the “you can’t have an abortion because we’re Catholic in Ireland” and then builds upon this theme with the doctor’s testimony about the country’s “Catholic” abortion laws. The question of medical error is mentioned in passing though. Compare this account to that reported by the Irish Independent of same proceedings.
THE DOCTOR at the heart of the Savita Halappanavar case admitted she had not read “significant” medical notes on the chart that would have resulted in her performing an earlier termination. She also accepted that there were a number of “system failures” in Ms Halappanavar’s care.
Dr Katherine Astbury said she had not seen a notation on the 31-year-old’s charts that would indicate a deterioration in her condition. She also conceded that she had not seen Ms Halappanavar’s blood results, which had changed and could have been indicative of severe sepsis. The consultant obstetrician told the inquest that had she been aware of these details she would have brought forward plans for a termination to the Wednesday morning. Dr Astbury had earlier told the inquest that she had been unable to accede to Ms Halappanavar’s requests for a termination on the Tuesday because her health was not in any danger and she feared it could become a legal issue.
In other words the doctor made a mistake.
The Irish Independent reported the doctor as having said she was guided by the legal requirement that there be a threat to the life of the mother before performing the abortion.
The court heard that Dr Ikechukwu Uzockwu, known as Dr Ike, had noted a deterioration in Ms Halappanavar’s condition at 6.30am on the morning of Wednesday, October 24. He made notes of a “foul-smelling discharge” on her chart along with details of a raised pulse and temperature. However, despite receiving this chart, Dr Astbury told the inquest she had not read it. The inquest also heard from Dr Anne Helps, a registrar attached to Dr Astbury, that she may not have passed on significant information on the deterioration of Ms Halappanavar to the consultant.
Dr Helps recalled her colleague, Dr Ike, passing on details to her as they switched rounds on Wednesday. She recalled him telling her of a spike in temperature and that Ms Halappanavar felt unwell but said she could not recall receiving any further details from him. Details of the discharge were included in Dr Ike’s notes, which were also handed over, but Dr Helps said: “I can’t remember reading those notes.” Dr Helps also admitted it was possible she had not mentioned the discharge while reading the notes to Dr Astbury.
Dr Astbury said she would have taken steps to begin a medical termination earlier had she been aware of the issue. She accepted the discharge was a “very significant” finding. “Obviously it should have been communicated,” she said. When it was pointed out that it had been written down on the chart she added, “I should have been aware of it, yes”. Dr Astbury confirmed it was her intention to induce the pregnancy on the Wednesday after forming the opinion that there was a “real and substantial” risk to Ms Halappanavar’s life, but said she would have begun this earlier had she been aware of the discharge.
Yes, the midwife did tell the coroner’s court she was sorry for having made the Catholic remark the Irish Independent stated. The Times was not wrong in having reported this. But in choosing to play up the thoughtless remark and bury the testimony about malpractice, the Times laid itself open to the charge of journalistic malpractice.
What were they thinking at the Gray Lady? The testimony presented makes it quite clear the Catholic comment by one of the midwives played no part in Savita Halappanavar’s care or her death, yet the “Catholic bad” / “abortion good” theme is still being played. I cannot tell if the editors are knaves or fools when it comes to abortion reporting — but what they are not is fair, balanced, accurate or thoughtful.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
First printed in Get Religion.
Tags: Los Angeles Times, Margaret Thatcher
The death Monday of Margaret Thatcher has generated a huge amount of ink from newspapers on both sides the Atlantic. Opinions about the “Iron Lady” vary sharply — and some of these opinion pieces have found their way into the news reports of recent days.
This Los Angeles Times article reports the funeral arrangements – but it has been crafted less to tell the story about the funeral than to offer its opinions about Margaret Thatcher. Save for a few knowledgeable insiders most reporters covering these sorts of affairs work off of the same press releases and from the same press conferences. The Home Office, Foreign Office, Downing Street, the Church of England, the Metropolitan Police, Buckingham Palace, the Ministry of Defense, and other government offices have been busy telling reporters of their role in the memorial service.
For example, here is the press release from the Ministry of Defense:
The Ministry of Defence has announced details of the Armed Forces’ involvement in the Funeral of The Rt Hon The Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven LG OM PC FRS, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990.
The Funeral will take place on Wednesday 17 April at St Paul’s Cathedral, involving more than 700 Armed Forces personnel. The Coffin will be drawn on a Gun Carriage of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery from St Clement Danes Church (the church of the Royal Air Force) in the Strand to St Paul’s, with the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force lining the route. Outside the Cathedral a Guard of Honour and Band of 1st Battalion Welsh Guards will be formed up. While the Ceremonial Procession takes place, the Honourable Artillery Company will fire Processional Minute Guns from Tower Wharf, HM Tower of London.
Carrying the Coffin of Lady Thatcher into the Cathedral will be a Bearer Party made up of all three Services, including those from ships, units and stations notable for their service during the Falklands Campaign. Positioned on the steps will be a Step Lining party made up of 18 tri-Service personnel and a contingent of In-Pensioners of the Royal Hospital Chelsea. Senior military representatives will attend the service.
The reporter’s task is to distill these press releases into a single story. A good reporter seeks to add value to the story by finding a particular angle that would interest his readers and perhaps a first-person observation from someone or some institution mentioned in the press release. Working from the MOD statement, a knowledgeable reporter could develop a unique angle based on the type of funeral (military v. state), the place of the funeral, the procession through the city, or some of the military aspects. What he should not do is offer unfounded speculation.
Let’s look at the Los Angeles Times.
LONDON — The funeral of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s longest-serving leader of the 20th century, will be held in St. Paul’s Cathedral on April 17, officials said Tuesday. Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, are expected to attend what will be the most elaborate funeral to be staged in London since the death of the queen’s mother in 2002. It will be the first funeral of a prime minister that the queen will have attended since Winston Churchill’s in 1965. Thatcher, who died Monday at age 87 after years of declining health, will be given a ceremonial service with military honors, a service almost indistinguishable from an official state funeral.
Further facts are reported before it moves into its particular angle.
The expected presence of the queen at Thatcher’s funeral is an indication of the impact Britain’s first female prime minister made, even though the two women, who were born six months apart, are believed to have had a frosty relationship.
Thatcher raised eyebrows with her increasingly regal style toward the end of her 1979-90 premiership, particularly her announcement of the birth of her first grandchild: “We have become a grandmother.” Elizabeth is said to have disliked the social division that Thatcher’s policies exacerbated among her subjects.
The reputed edge between them is on show in a new play in London’s West End. “The Audience” depicts imagined accounts of the meetings the queen holds weekly with the prime minister of the day. Oscar-winner Helen Mirren portrays Elizabeth and actress Haydn Gwynne takes the role of Thatcher in a fraught but fictionalized encounter.
These three paragraphs are problematic. It asserts the Queen and Mrs Thatcher did not care for one another. No facts are presented to support this statement nor is a second source offered to substantiate the claim. Instead we have the verbal phrasing “are believed”. Believed by whom?
How does the LA Times know the mind of the Queen? Is it the royal mind of the monarch or the royal mind of the Times editorial board who believes dislikes the “social division that Thatcher’s policies exacerbated among her subjects”? And where is the evidence for this? Conventional wisdom among the liberal establishment does not count.
Perhaps I have been at this game too long but the only news value I can see in mentioning the West End play “The Audience” is that it allows the author to put his ticket on his expense account.
Now I am not saying that the claims of friction between the two women do not exist — but they are merely claims and not fact. If the Times wants to mention them it needs to put these words in the mouths of others because the Times is not an insider or a knowledgeable source — they do not have the necessary credibility to get away with it. This is gossip not news.
First printed on Get Religion.
Tags: Stanley Ntagali
The Uganda Joint Christian Council (UJCC) has called for the rejection of the Domestic Relations Bill before Parliament arguing that proposals to turn common-law marriages into legally recognized marriages was bad social policy and jeopardized the rights of women.
In a speech delivered on 27 March 2013, the chairman of UJCC, Archbishop Stanley Ntagali — the primate of the church of Uganda – said: “Marriage for us in the Church is not a union of convenience but it is a lifelong partnership that can only be extinguished by the death of the partners.”
Read it all in Anglican Ink.
Tags: corruption, J.A.D. Jebachandran, Thoothukudi-Nazareth Diocese
The church of South India has suspended the Bishop in Thoothukudi-Nazareth Diocese for assaulting the church’s general secretary during a meeting of the Synod’s Executive Council in February.
On 3 April 2013 Sun TV reported that moderator of the CSI, the Bishop in Kanyakumari Diocese G. Devakadasham, had assumed temporary oversight of the diocese following the suspension of Bishop J.A.D. Jebachandran for assaulting General Secretary M.M. Philip.
Spokesmen for the bishop and the executive council did not respond to requests for clarification but the anti-corruption lay group Youth4CSI reports the spat between the bishop and the Synod’s Executive Council is politically and financially motivated.
Read it all in Anglican Ink.
Cono Sur reverses course, ratifies Uruguay episcopal election: Anglican Ink, April 10, 2013 April 10, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Ink, La Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur de America.
Tags: Diocese of Uruguay, Michael Pollesel
The Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur (de América) has ratified the election of Archdeacon Michael Pollesel as Bishop of Uruguay.
In a statement released during holy week by the Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone, Bishop Tito Zavala of Chile said the province’s House of Bishops and Executive Council had “with joy and thankfulness to God” ratified Archdeacon Pollesel’s election after it had considered additional background material on the Canadian clergyman.
On 25 May 2012 the bishops released a statement saying that “after discussion and prayer and in accord with its canons the Provincial Executive of the Cono Sur together with its College of Bishops did not ratify the election of the Ven. Dr. Michael Pollesel as bishop-coadjutor for Uruguay.”
The Cono Sur did not state why Dr. Pollesel’s election had been rejected in 2012 or why it had now been ratified, but in 2012 the province “promised its close cooperation with the diocese in its future decisions.”
Read it all in Anglican Ink.
Tags: Margaret Thatcher
The funeral of The Rt. Hon. The Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven LG OM PC FRS will take place on Wednesday 17 April 2013 at St Paul’s Cathedral in London.
The Bishop of London, The Rt. Hon. & Rt. Rev. Richard Chartres, will preside at the memorial service for the “Iron Lady” Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990.
Read it all in Anglican Ink.
Marriage is of God, not the state Church of England declares: Anglican Ink, April 9, 2013 April 10, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican Ink, Church of England, Marriage.
Tags: gay marriage
The Church of England has reaffirmed its rejection of gay marriage stating the public blessing of marriage can only take place within the context of a lifelong, monogamous, male-female relationship. Marriage is a gift from God, not a right granted by the state nor cultural construct a paper released today by the church’s Faith and Order Commission entitled “Men and Women in Marriage”
“In calling it a gift of God, we mean that it is not simply a cultural development (though it has undergone much cultural development) nor simply a political or economic institution (though often embedded in political and economic arrangements). It is an expression of the human nature which God has willed for us and which we share. And although marriage may fall short of God’s purposes in many ways and be the scene of many human weaknesses, it receives the blessing of God and is included in his judgment that creation is ‘very good’ (Genesis 1.31). In calling it a gift of God in creation, we view marriage within its wider life-context: as an aspect of human society and as a structure of life that helps us shape our journey from birth to death.”
The report recognizes the existence of same-sex relationships as “forms of human relationships which fall short of marriage in the form God has given us.”
Read it all in Anglican Ink.
Tags: Mouneer Anis, St. Mark's Coptic Cathedral
Egypt remains on edge this week after two men were killed and 89 injured in clashes between Coptic Christians and Islamists outside St. Mark’s Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo.
The Anglican Bishop of Egypt, Dr. Mouneer Anis warned: “Such attacks could lead the country into the abyss of sectarian sedition and deteriorate the social, economic and political conditions of the country. These actions could worsen the image of Egypt in front of the international community.”
A spokesman for the Egyptian Ministry of Health said 66 people had been treated and released from hospital while 23 remained in care after fighting broke out on 7 April 2013 outside the cathedral as mourners left the church following a funeral for four Christians who were killed in sectarian violence in the northern town of Khusus over the weekend.
Read it all Anglican Ink.
Tags: Lanham Act
The national Episcopal Church has taken the offensive in South Carolina filing lawsuits in federal court and a counterclaim in state court against the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, its Bishop, clergy and lay leaders.
On Maundy Thursday the national church filed an answer to the diocese’s 4 Jan 2013 lawsuit seeking a ban on the use of its name and seal by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and her allies, and asking the civil courts to confirm that it had lawfully withdrawn from the General Convention of the Episcopal Church.
The national church and its allies in South Carolina denied the diocesan claims and in their counterclaim asserted that all diocesan and parish property in South Carolina belonged to them. It also brought suit against the parish officers and diocesan leaders in their personal capacities alleging they had engaged in a civil conspiracy to defraud the national Episcopal Church.
In a statement given to the Church of England Newspaper on Good Friday, Canon Jim Lewis of the diocese of South Carolina wrote there was “little to say about the counterclaims.”
“We are saddened they filed their suits on Maundy Thursday in the middle of Holy Week and that they have made the lawsuit personal by suing individuals who make up the leadership of our parishes. However we are not surprised that TEC’s filing now makes clear its intention to seize all the properties of the Diocese of South Carolina and its parishes. The court filings are consistent with the scores of lawsuits The Episcopal Church has filed against dioceses and parishes across the United States,” he said.
On 7 March 2013 the national church asked the US District Court in South Carolina to grant a preliminary injunction to Bishop Lawrence and his allies from using the name and trademarks of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina and from representing that his activities were associated with the diocese.
In a suit akin to one filed with the federal courts in Texas, attorneys for the national church argued Bishop Lawrence and his allies had violated the Lanham Act and violated federal trademark law. The federal court in Texas has held it will not hear that case until the state court proceedings are concluded. Lawyers for the diocese of South Carolina tell CEN they expect the federal court in their state to make a similar decision.
On 31 Jan 2013 attorneys representing the national church agreed to the entry of an order in state court that forbade the national church and its surrogates from claiming to act on behalf of the diocese. The new lawsuit in federal court seeks to undo this legal defeat and move the case to a different court.
Easter messages from across the Communion: The Church of England Newspaper, April 7, 2013 p 6. April 9, 2013Posted by geoconger in The Episcopal Church, Church of Nigeria, Church of England Newspaper, Church of Ireland, Anglican Church of Canada, Church of the Province of Uganda, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Scottish Episcopal Church, Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand & Polynesia, Church in Wales, Church of the Province of West Africa, Anglican Church of North America.
Tags: Katharine Jefferts Schori, Barry Morgan, Nicholas Okoh, Eliud Wabukala, Robert Duncan, Thabo Makgoba, Peter Jensen, David Chillingworth, Fred Hiltz, Stanley Ntagali, Richard Clarke, Tilewa Johnson, Philip Richardson
Easter messages from the overseas leaders of the Anglican Communion sounded a common theme this year of hope and joy. While the archbishops of the church touched upon issues of local concern, each spoke to the victory of Christ over death and the grave.
The Archbishop of Uganda Stanley Ntagali urged Christians not to lose heart in the face of economic and political uncertainties. “There could be social pressures in the country and many people might have lost hope. Many people no longer trust fellow human beings, but let the risen Lord Jesus whose victory over death we are celebrating this Easter give us a new hope.”
He also warned of the dangers of alcohol. “I urge our people not to celebrate [Easter] by drinking. They should go to church and worship the Lord and return home. This a time to repent and make our homes, offices, schools and business places more enjoyable and suitable to glorify God who gave us the greatest gift of salvation through his Son Jesus Christ,” he noted.
Archbishop Eliud Wabukala of Kenya, Chairman of the GAFCON Primates’ Council, also spoke of the joy found in life in Christ. “In his resurrection from the dead there is the glorious ‘yes’ of the fulfilment, actual and yet to come, of the promises and purposes of God. Through repentance and faith we share in his risen life and at its heart, our calling is to simply say the ‘Amen’ and glorify the God who has triumphed over sin and death.”
The GAFCON leader also urged Christians to reject the “ungodly innovations” coming from Western liberal churches which seek to “substitute human effort and speculation for divine grace and revealed truth. It is a profound contradiction to say this ‘Amen’ and then go on, as some do, to deny the real physical resurrection of Jesus.”
When Christians say ‘no’ to false teaching it is for the sake of truth. “There can be no more positive a movement than one which gives an unqualified ‘Amen’ to the fulfilment of all God promises in Jesus Christ.”
The Archbishop of West Africa Dr. Tilewa Johnson said the Christian’s response to the sufferings was to turn towards God. “Where to start? We have tools and guidelines to hand. One of the greatest tools we have is prayer. Prayer is a means of communication with God.”
“As with so many things, it requires practice. We know what it is like when we become close to another human being – a husband, wife, brother, sister or close friend. In time it is possible to read their thoughts, and know what they are going to say before they say it. It is the same with God. To sit in the presence of God – maybe in silence; maybe with a few words – it is possible increasingly to come to know God and the will of God. Gradually we know the way to go,” the Gambian archbishop said.
The Primate of All Nigeria, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh said that when celebrating Easter it was “important” to “re-emphasize the incontrovertible fact that Jesus has risen from the dead and He is alive for ever. Through His resurrection power, therefore we can overcome all sorts of challenges we might have as an individual, as the Church of God and as a Nation.”
The Archbishop called on “all Christians and Nigerians as a whole to reaffirm their trust in God, and in corporate Nigeria.”
“Let us remain resolute and resilient, having our hope in the strength and power of the Almighty God. Our prayer for our country, Nigeria is that we shall overcome the present challenges of lingering insecurity: bloodshed, destruction of lives and property; poverty and political squabbles. We should keep hope alive of a corporate Nigeria,” he said.
Preaching at the Easter Vigil at the Cathedral of St. George the Martyr in Cape Town, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba told the congregation he had just returned from a retreat in “frozen rural North Wales”, staying in an attic room overlooking the Irish Sea in the mountains of Snowdonia.
“I was there to follow the 30-days Full Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola,” he explained “to explore what God was wanting to do in my life.”
But even found that the spiritual journey did not end there as God was leading him “to integrate all I’ve experienced and learnt into my ministry and life” – “And I certainly came back to find an awful lot had been going on,’ he said.
“The over-riding lesson of my retreat is that God, in his redeeming love, is everywhere. Nothing is beyond his care, or his desire to bring healing and new life to you, to me, to everyone,” the archbishop said.
“If you truly want to know what Easter is all about, look at the places where there are tough challenges, difficult issues, hard wrestling, painful contexts – and where God’s people nonetheless dare to go, and to stay for as long as it takes, witnessing to light and hope and life.” Archbishop Makgoba said.
In in his final Easter message before he retires in July the Archbishop of Sydney Dr Peter Jensen reflected on his tenure in office. “As I think on my time as Archbishop, naturally I look back and try to judge myself – not with much success!” he says. “Like you, I have a real judge. Think how much more God, who knows all the secrets of our hearts, must be able to hold me to account. It should make us tremble.”
But Easter filled him with hope. “What happened at the first Easter reminds me of the love of God. Through the death of Jesus even I, and all of us, can have forgiveness as we turn to him in sorrow and trust him for our lives” he says.
“Our failures are not the last word over our lives. And, through the resurrection of Jesus I have a great and undeserved hope of my own resurrection and future,” Dr. Jensen said.
Archbishop-elect Philip Richardson of New Zealand reminded Kiwi Christians that “life comes out of death; the horror of crucifixion bears the fruit of redeemed and renewed humanity; the worst that we are capable of becomes the access way to that intimacy of relationship with God that Christ makes possible; it is in the bowl and towel of the servant that true power is expressed; it is in losing ourselves that we are found.”
The “heart of the message of Easter,” he observed was not the “passion or the suffering, but the resurrection.”
“As Martin Luther King rightly reminded us, ‘Hate begets hate, anger begets anger, killing only begets more killing. The only thing that can turn an enemy into a friend is the power of love’,” he said.
In a joint message released with the leader of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, Archbishop Fred Hiltz of the Anglican Church of Canada celebrated the bonds of friendship between the two denominations and also urged Christians to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem”.
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori the Episcopal Church stated: “Easter celebrates the victory of light and life over darkness and death. God re-creates and redeems all life from dead, dry, and destroyed bones. We are released from the bonds of self-obsession, addiction, and whatever would steal away the radical freedom of God-with-us.”
At Easter “our lives re-center in what is most holy and creative, the new thing God is continually doing in our midst,” she said, “practicing vulnerability toward the need and hunger of others around us” thereby cultivating “compassionate hearts. We join in baptismal rebirth in the midst of Jesus’ own passing-over.”
The Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, writing from Juba where he was standing holy week with Archbishop Daniel Deng of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan, wrote: “This Easter I am looking back,” he said – “I am asking, ‘What does it all mean?’ Whether in Juba or in Pittsburgh – and wherever you find yourself – what I testify is that the Gospel is my strength and my song, and that Jesus has become my salvation.”
“Easter is the day that lights and gives meaning to all the others, wherever I – we – spend it and with whomever I – we – spend it. The tomb is empty. The world, the flesh and the devil are defeated. Jesus is alive. In Him, the alien becomes familiar, loss becomes gain, sorrow becomes joy, and death becomes life. This Easter I am also looking around and looking ahead,” Archbishop Robert Duncan wrote.
The Archbishop of Armagh Dr. Richard Clarke said what Ireland need this Easter was “confidence – a full–blooded confidence – that we actually want to allow Christ to run loose and dangerous in the world around us. We need to recover that spirited confidence to assert that Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, is not our private property as churchy people, but is truly for the whole of society and the entire world.”
Dr. Barry Morgan the Archbishop of Wales in his Easter sermon preached at Llandaff Cathedral stated that: “If you wanted to sum up God’s work, He is a God who is in the rescue business. That is the root meaning of the word ‘salvation’ – it means being saved from something or someone.”
“Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we too as members of His body, are rescued from sin, despair, meaninglessness, disaster, and death,” he said, adding that “this offer of rescue, of salvation, by Jesus, is for all people not just for the select few – a bit like being rescued by a lifeboat. When a life-station receives a distress signal, no enquiry is made about the social status of those who need rescuing, or whether they can pay for the service, or whether they are at fault for having got themselves into danger in the first place by being careless in going out without life jackets when a storm was forecast. Lifeboats simply go to the rescue.”
The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church Bishop David Chillingworth of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane stated: “We greet with joy the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. We look forward to welcoming many people to worship in our churches at Easter. We hope and pray that they will experience joy and hope in our congregations.
“As disciples of Jesus Christ, we believe that we are people of the resurrection. We are Easter people – shaped in our baptism through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We feel deeply the pain of the world and its people. We bring compassion and care to the ministry which we exercise in our service of others. We have a passion for justice. We are also people of hope. Because of the resurrection, we believe that good will triumph over evil and life over death.”
Tags: Philip Richardson
The Anglican Church of New Zealand has elected the Rt Rev Philip Richardson, Bishop of Taranaki, as its new Archbishop. On 23 March 2013 representatives of the church’s seven dioceses affirmed the choice of the House of Bishops made last week
Archbishop Richardson (55) will continue as Bishop of Taranaki and take office as archbishop on 1 May 2013 and will be one of three co-primates of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.
The Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu, welcomed the news. In 2012 Dr. Sentamu helped consecrate St. Mary’s Cathedral in New Plymouth. He applauded the Diocese of Taranaki’s ministry “in which the breath of life from God is shared, and our common humanity is affirmed.”
“Bishop Philip’s ministry is built on this same understanding, that we are all equally valued and loved in the eyes of God,” he said.
In a statement released after selection the new archbishop said his top priorities would be to help the church work together for the common good, to advocate for people on the margins, and to help the church “deepen its discipleship”. Citing Archbishop William Temple, Archbishop Richardson said: “The church really does exist for those who are outside itself.”
“We’re not a club. We are people who are committed to building communities which are healthy. Life giving, just communities where everyone has a place, where every individual has the ability to live full and meaningful lives.”
Philip Richardson was born in Devonport, New Zealand in 1958, and was educated at Rangitoto College. He earned a BA and B.Theol from Otago University and undertook additional studies at Tamil Nadu Theological Seminary in South India and at St John’s College in Auckland.
Ordained a priest in 1982, he served as a parish priest before he was appointed warden of Selwyn College at the University of Otago in 1992. In 1999, at the age of 40, he was elected as Bishop of Taranaki.
Member of the church’s liberal wing told the National they hope the new archbishop will back gay marriage the Anglican Church in New Zealand. While Archbishop Richardson has not taken a public stand on the legalization of gay marriage, the Rev Glynn Cardy, vicar of St Matthews-in-the-City church in Auckland, said: “Knowing his position on other issues in the church, which is quite broad-minded, I would expect Bishop Philip would go with the majority on this issue in New Zealand. :
“My own feeling is that he will not try to block change in this area but he doesn’t have the power to make it happen tomorrow,” Mr. Cardy said.
Prayer Book reform slated for South Africa: The Church of England Newspaper, April 7, 2013 p. 4 April 9, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Church of England Newspaper, Hymnody/Liturgy.
Tags: Book of common prayer
Prayer Book reform, theological education, corruption and crime were the focus of last month’s meeting of the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.
While the church has seen rapid growth in northern Mozambique — leading to a call for the creation of a new episcopal area Diocese of Niassa — as well as Africa’s first Anglican women bishops, Ellinah Wamukoya of Swaziland and Margaret Vertue of False Bay, the statement released a close of the 5 – 8 March 2013 meeting in Modderpoort in the Diocese of the Free State acknowledged that “our hearts are deeply troubled as we gather.”
“We have noted with sadness the ever widening gap between the rich and the poor. Many of our people are trapped in the ever deepening spiral of abject poverty. We note the evidence for a close correlation between corruption and poverty. We, as a church, strongly condemn all forms of corruption, whether it is in the church or in civil society or in government or in business.”
“We call upon all of us to strive for a corruption free society and to challenge the governments and businesses in our region to do the same.”
The bishops also said an “area of particular concern is the escalating violence in South African society.” Citing a series of high-profile rapes and murders the bishops said they “condemn any form of violence, whether it is civil or state violence, domestic or public violence. We call upon all our people to strive for a violence-free society and, by so doing, to allow the light of Christ to permeate our society.”
Within the church the Bishop noted that 2013 would be a year dedicated to theological education and would also see the beginnings of liturgical reform.
There was an “inseparable link between the reform of liturgy and spiritual renewal,” the bishops said, adding: “There is a great sense of excitement as we embark on this process, as the Province, of revising the Anglican Prayer Book 1989. We realise that this will not be a hasty process, especially since we want to ensure that it will be a dynamic tool for mission and ministry, which will give expression to our distinctive identity and spirituality.”
“Through our sharing and praying” the bishops said they had become “deeply aware of the hard realities” of South Africa and had heard “the cries of God’s people”.
“We pray that we as the Church will listen intelligently to what God is saying to us at this time; observe diligently the signs of God’s restorative grace that is breaking through in places where our people are struggling; teach faithfully what God commands us to do; and continue to be God’s Good-news people wherever we live and work,” the statement said.
God or mammon in Iran: Get Religion, April 8, 2013 April 9, 2013Posted by geoconger in Get Religion, Iran, Islam.
Tags: Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, New York Review of Books, New York Times, Shiism, Twelfth Imam
The New York Times article “Power Struggle Is Gripping Iran Ahead of June Election” offers a detailed examination of the Iranian political scene as the country prepares to elect a successor to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Well written and intelligently crafted, the article, as the lede notes, discusses the:
power struggle ahead of the June election between Mr. Ahmadinejad’s faction and a coalition of traditionalists, including many Revolutionary Guards commanders and hard-line clerics.
However a religion ghost lurks beneath the surface of this front page story. A knowledgeable reader will be able to discern what lies behind the political dispute from the text of the New York Times story — but though the information is there the article will likely not inform the typical reader as to what is really happening. The article does aptly summarize the recent moves by Pres. Ahmadinejad to undercut the power of his opponents. The Times notes:
At the funeral of Hugo Chávez, the Venezuelan leader, he was photographed embracing the former president’s mother, a display that was denounced by the clerics, who forbid physical contact between unmarried men and women who are not closely related. But urban Iranians, many of whom have moved far beyond the social restrictions set by the Islamic republic, viewed his action as a simple gesture of friendship.
Despite his early advocacy of Islam’s role in daily affairs, the president is now positioning himself as a champion of citizens’ rights. “He more and more resembles a normal person,” said Hamed, a 28-year-old driver in Tehran who did not want his last name used. “He doesn’t allow them to tell him what to do.”
In speeches, he favors the “nation” and the “people” over the “ummah,” or community of believers, a term preferred by Iran’s clerics, who constantly guard against any revival of pre-Islamic nationalism. He has also said he is ready for talks with the United States, something other Iranian leaders strongly oppose under current circumstances.
Writing at Commentary magazine’s blog Jonathan Tobin argues the article’s liberal/conservative, left/right worldview masks the issues.
The differences between Ahmadinejad and Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei are, no doubt, quite real. But they ought not to be interpreted as a sign that the regime is in danger of falling or there is any significant divergence between them and their followers about keeping an Islamist government or maintaining the country’s dangerous nuclear ambitions.
But unfortunately that is probably the conclusion that many of the Times’s liberal readers will jump to after reading the piece since it brands Ahmadinejad and his faction as the “opposition” to the supreme leader. That may be true in the literal sense but, as even the article points out, that is the result of the fact that Ahmadinejad and Khamenei worked together to wipe out any real opposition to Islamist hegemony in 2009 as the United States stood silent.
The religion ghost materialize towards the end of the Times article when it touches upon Pres. Ahmadinejad’s support for Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei as the next president of Iran.
Mr. Ahmadinejad’s support of Mr. Mashaei, his spiritual mentor and the father-in-law of his son, is a particular stick in the eye for the conservatives, as well as a subtle appeal to more progressive Iranians. In messages filled with poetic language, Mr. Mashaei repeatedly propagates the importance of the nation of Iran over that of Islam.
Leading ayatollahs and commanders say that Mr. Ahmadinejad has been “bewitched” by the tall, beardless 52-year old, whom they have called a “Freemason,” a “foreign spy” and a “heretic.” They accuse Mr. Mashaei of plotting to oust the generation of clerics who have ruled Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution and of promoting direct relations with God, instead of through clerical intermediaries. He and his allies, they say, are part of a “deviant” current.
Buried in the paragraph above is the theological or ideological grounds the dispute between the two factions. In 2011 the New York Review of Books reported that Pres. Ahmadinejad’s clerical opponents “hate” Mr. Mashaei.
The mullahs who make up the country’s conservative establishment hate Mashaei because he is reputed to be in contact with the Twelfth Imam—a messianic figure who, according to the dominant branch of Shiism, has been in a state of “occultation” (in effect, hiding or concealment) since the tenth century.The ramifications of Mashaei’s alleged “gift” of having relations with the Twelfth Imam are enormous. Most Shia Muslims endorse a dynastic line of claimants to the leadership of Islam that began with Ali, the Prophet’s cousin and son-in-law, who was elected caliph in 656 and murdered five years later. There were eleven more of these hereditary imams, or guides, and all but one of them met a violent death at the hands of their enemies—the forebears of today’s Sunni community, who had rejected the dynastic principle and established their own caliphate. According to the Shia tradition, in 941 the Twelfth Imam was occulted, promising to reveal himself at an unspecified moment in the future to end vice and confusion.
The prospect of an infallible imam who might return at any moment (having miraculously retained his youth) holds obvious attractions for an embattled minority religious community, and the history of Shiism is full of controversial figures who have alleged—or let it be alleged on their behalf—that they have met the Twelfth Imam. But these claims are a challenge to Shia clerics, who regard themselves as the rightful intermediaries between God and the community. What if someone from the community claims to be in direct contact with the imam, and can transmit his wishes to society? In that case, the clergy becomes superfluous.
What are the motivations at work among the various actors? The prospect of financial gain or the accumulation political power are certainly present. But it is also important to stress the place of ideology or religion in the affairs of men. While the outward workings of the dispute between Pres. Ahmadinejad’s faction and the clergy are taking place on the material or carnal plain — I would argue the real battle is over revelation. How does God communicate to his creation?
Which leads to the journalistic question. How much context is too much? It is easy to report on power struggles — but hard to report on ideology, on motivation. I would argue that when reporting on a theocracy such as Iran the theological divisions are more important to understanding the story than any other factor. Can a reader understand story unfolding in Iran without an appreciation of the Twelfth Imam? No.
Tags: Diocese of Brandon, James Njegovan, Noah Njegovan
The former Executive Archdeacon of Brandon appeared before a Manitoba court yesterday to answer charges that he had embezzled approximately $190,000 from diocesan coffers.
The Ven. Noah James Bernard Njegovan, 30, was arraigned on charges of having committed a fraud of over $5,000 while serving as executive archdeacon of the diocese and assistant to his father, Bishop James Njegovan of Brandon.
Mr. Njegovan was released on bail and is set to return to court on 9 May 2013.
Read it all the Anglican Ink.
Tags: .Abune Mathias
The general Synod of the Ethiopian Tewahdo Orthodox Church has elected a new patriarch. On 28 February 2013 the Synod elected Abune Matthias as its sixth leader since the church received its autonomy from the Coptic Patriarch in Alexandria..
Abune Matthias, 71, served as the Archbishop of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Jerusalem at the time of his election. In 1980 Matthias denounced the Communist regime of President Mengistu Haile Mariam and went into exile in Washington, D.C. Following the collapse of the communist government he returned Ethiopia in 1992 was appointed Archbishop of North America. In 2009, he was appointed Archbishop of Jerusalem for the Ethiopian church.
The new patriarch received 500 of the 806 ballots cast by members of the General Synod and was enthroned as His Holiness, Abune Mathias, Sixth Patriarch and Catholicos of Ethiopia, Ichege of the See of St. Tekle Haymanot and Archbishop of Axum at a ceremony held at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Addis Abba on 3 March 2013.
Tags: Glauco Soares de Lima, Roger Bird, St. Paul's Cathedral São Paulo
The largest Anglican congregation in South America has quit the diocese of São Paulo and the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil (IEAB). On 17 March 2013 parish council of St. Paul’s Cathedral in São Paulo stated that while they remained in the Anglican Communion they were reverting to their pre-1975 status as a chaplaincy.
The Church of England was the first non-Roman Catholic Church established in Brazil with chaplaincies and Rio de Janeiro, Santos and São Paulo beginning in 1810. The São Paulo Anglican chaplaincy was registered with the government and legally incorporated in 1873, the parochial council statement said– 17 years before the Episcopal Church of the USA founded the IEAB. “Therefore, the English chaplaincies have 80 more years of life and their assets are untouchable, according to the treaty of 1810, and this agreement has always been respected by the IEAB.”
The parish council stated that in 1975 Saint Paul’s had “spiritually” joined the diocese of São Paulo but it’s assets remained independent of diocesan control. “This agreement was formalized by the Parochial Board, emphasizing the existence of spiritual bonds but not property.”
The congregation also announced that it would remain under the spiritual oversight of Bishop Roger Bird of São Paulo and retired Archbishop Glauco Soares de Lima. The primate of Brazil and general secretary of the IEAB have not responded to queries as to the status of Bishop Bird and Archbishop Soares de Lima within the church’s House of Bishops, nor has Bishop Berger responded to queries as to whether he too has left the IEAB.
However the IEAB website as deleted Bishop Bird’s name from its list of diocesan bishops stating São Paulo was under temporary primatial oversight.
Two other congregations have joined the Cathedral in quitting the IEAB– all Saints in São Paulo and Goiânia Anglican Church.
The reasons the schism are unclear but is not linked to the secession of the diocese of Recife. The Cathedral worships the liberal Catholic tradition and welcomes “all Brazilians who enjoy the inclusive way, didactic, therapeutic and caring way of proclaiming the Good News of God’s Kingdom … We are and will always be, respectful of the inclusive of tradition our Mother Church – the Church of England – who founded us and of which we are proud to belong.”
The Cathedral has provided the bulk of the income for the diocese of São Paulo and its withdrawal is likely to have financial consequences as it was the” largest Anglican community in Latin America, larger even than the vast majority of Episcopal Dioceses of Brazil.”
Tags: BBC, Da Vinci Code, gnosticim, Good Friday, Mary Magdelene, Telegraph
What a difference a decade makes. In 2002 the BBC broadcast a documentary on the Virgin Mary characterizing her “as a poor and downtrodden girl, who might have conceived Jesus as a result of being raped.” This Life of Brian view of the birth of Jesus prompted outrage -– letters, editorials, statements from church leaders leaders condemning the broadcast.
A documentary broadcast on Good Friday by the BBC entitled “The Mystery of Mary Magdalene” that suggests Mary Magdalene and Jesus were sexual partners has provoked a complaint from a retired bishop but little else. The Telegraph reports:
The Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, the former bishop of Rochester, said the programme, presented by Melvyn Bragg would be “hugely offensive” to devout Christians because it amounted to the “sexualisation of Christ”. He said it was all the more upsetting because it is being screened at midday on Good Friday – the moment the Bible says Jesus was put on the cross.
The article notes:
Lord Bragg, who describes himself as “no longer a believer”, argues that Mary’s close relationship with Jesus was effectively airbrushed out of the accepted Biblical account by “misogynist” Romans. He points to a series of ancient writings known as the Gnostic Gospels which were not included in the agreed list of books which became the New Testament. They include references to Mary being “kissed on the mouth” by Jesus, being his favourite and even, as one passage suggests, his wife.
Writing in the Telegraph last week, Bragg argued Mary Magdalene:
was acknowledged by other disciples as his favourite and there is one taunting scrap of record which may well lead to the conclusion that she was his wife.
Which leads Bragg to the conclusion:
What then? What then for the celibacy which has led the organised Church into so many abuses and crimes and distorted lives?
Pretty clear were Bragg is going with all this. Bishop Nazir-Ali, the Telegraph reported, accused the BBC of being deliberately provocative and noted that they would not treat Islam in the same way.
Why is the BBC doing this on Good Friday and why is it doing it in such a provocative way. … There will be huge offence, there must be some way of putting the other point of view across.
Maybe it is true that Mary Magdalene was married to Jesus and emigrated to the South of France where her offspring founded the Merovingian Dynasty. Perhaps the Priory of Zion, Illuminati, Rosicrucians, Knights Templar and Freemasons really do rule the world? Or maybe this is a ploy to hype ratings for a film that would otherwise disappear into the limbo of the History Channel — immediately after Ancient Aliens. As an aside, it would be interesting to see a documentary on Gnosticism that discusses and explores the tenets of this faith and its influences on modern thinking.
Bishop Nazir-Ali’s complaints are on point. The BBC would no more broadcast a show that questions the historical basis of Islam at the start of Ramadan than it would surrendered its license fees. These sorts of stories are not confined to the BBC. Easter and Christmas bring all sorts of silly stories to the pages of American newspapers and magazines. But it comes amidst a change in British religious attitudes toward religion. The former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey has denounced the Conservative government of Prime Minister David Cameron for deliberately alienating British Christians by its strident secularism and support for gay marriage. David Cameron is either a very poor politician, or he believes the Conservative Party will suffer no electoral consequences for dumping it traditional electoral base.
It very well may be that after 30 years of anti-Christian bias from the BCC there is not much the Corporation can do anymore to shock television viewers. I know I’m tired of these silly stories and wonder if you are too?
First printed in Get Religion.
Indian bishop jailed for forgery: The Church of England Newspaper, March 31 2013, p 7. April 3, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of South India, Corruption, Crime.
Tags: Devaraj Bangera, Manickam Dorai
A retired Bishop of the Church of South India (CSI) has been sentenced to three years imprisonment and fined Rs 15,000 for forgery and fraud. The conviction of the Rt. Rev Devaraj Bangera, the former Bishop in the Karnataka Southern Diocese last week follows news that the Indian tax authorities have seized the assets of the former Bishop in Coimbatore, Manickam Dorai– who last year was defrocked by the CSI for fraud and theft.
On 20 March 2013 a judge in Mangalore sentenced Bishop Bangera after the trial court found he had forged his birth certificate in order to avoid mandatory retirement at age 65. Elected Bishop in 2005 the bishop declined to step down from office on his 65th birthday on 29 June 2009. He presented a birth certificate showing he had been born in 1945 and brought suit to block his retirement.
However the newly appointed treasurer of the diocese, while investigating allegations of theft made against Bishop Bangera, uncovered a birth certificate dated 1944. An inquiry with the municipality that had allegedly issued in 1945 birth certificate found it was a forgery and bishop’s true birth year was 1944. Bishop Bangera currently is on bail pending appeal.
Last month the Enforcement Directorate (ED) of the Indian tax authority attached properties registered in the name of the life and brother of the former Bishop in Coimbatore Manickam Dorai under the rules governing the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The levies came after the Tamil Nadu state police registered a case against Bishop Dorai and his brother for “misappropriation of Diocese funds, a public charitable trust, to the tune of Rs 7.93 crore” (£865,000).
In 2012 Bishop Dorai was defrocked by the CSI after he was found guilty of fraud and theft of church funds.
Religious liberty under threat in Hungary: The Church of England Newspaper, March 31 2013, p 7. April 3, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: Fidesz Party, Hungary, religious liberty, Viktor Orban
The Hungarian parliament has approved a series of amendments to the country’s constitution that critics charge will restrict religious and civil liberties.
The government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his ruling Fidesz Party have argued the changes are necessary to complete the work of eradicating the vestiges of the Communist era. However some of the reforms adopted last week to the January 2012 Constitution have previously been deemed unconstitutional by the country’s Constitutional Court.
One provision strips the Constitutional Court of the right to strike down laws that have already been enshrined in the constitution. Students who have received state grants to pay for their education must work in Hungary for a certain period of time after graduating, or pay back the cost of their tuition to the state. Another article gives explicit preference to traditional family relationships, and says that heterosexual marriage and the parent-child relationship form the basis of the traditional family.
Reacting to the vote on Monday, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the adopted amendments “raise concerns with respect to the principle of the rule of law, EU law and Council of Europe standards” and the Commission would “make a detailed assessment” and act accordingly.
The Council of Europe had urged Hungary to postpone the vote but Gergely Gulyas, the deputy leader of the Fidesz group in Parliament, told Magyar Nemzet the government saw no reason to put off the vote despite “domestic and international kerfuffle”.
“It’s natural for the governing majority to make use of the authority it received in democratic elections,” he said.
On 14 July 2011 the Hungarian parliament adopted “The Right to Freedom of Conscience and Religion and on the Status of Churches, Religions and Religious Communities” Law, by a vote of 254 to 43. The new law recognized the Roman and Greek Catholic Churches, the Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Lutherans, the Calvinists, select Jewish denominations, the Hungarian Unitarians, the Baptists and the Faith Church as churches. The Church of England, which counts St. Margaret’s Anglican Church in Budapest as part of the Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe, along with 347 other religious groups lost their legal status as churches.
In December 2011, the Constitutional Court struck down the church law on procedural grounds, but did not review the substance of the law. Parliament then reauthorized the law and 66 religious organizations petitioned to be added to the approved list.
On 27 February 2012 Parliament added the Church of England, the Methodist Church, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and a number of Muslim and Buddhist groups to the approved list. The vicar of St Margaret’s, Dr. Frank Hegedűs “welcomed this clarification” that confirmed the status of the Church of England within Hungary.
“The decision follows a number of meetings and representations in recent weeks and has shown the strength of support for this English speaking ministry in the heart of this capital city,” a diocese of Gibraltar in Europe spokesman said.
The new law protects the status of the Church of England in Hungary but prevents the courts from adding to the list of approved religious groups – – reserving that privilege for Parliament. Human Rights Watch and other civil society groups have protested the discrimination enacted against non-recognized faiths urged the EU to review the matter.
Canada postpones vote on Anglican Covenant: The Church of England Newspaper, March 31 2013, p 6. April 3, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Covenant, Church of England Newspaper.
The Anglican Church of Canada’s Council of General Synod (CoGS) has voted to delay action upon the Anglican covenant until 2016 meeting of General Synod.
In a statement released last week CoGS, the church’s governing body between meetings of the General Synod every three years, said the July 2013 meeting of General Synod will not be asked to make an up or down vote on the covenant. Delegates will be asked instead to support a resolution that calls for three more years of dialogue and conversation.
CoGS agreed to recommend that General Synod ask the Anglican Communion Working Group (ACWG) to “monitor continued developments” around the proposed Covenant. It requests that the ACWG render a report to the spring 2016 meeting of CoGS, and directs CoGS “to bring a recommendation regarding the adoption of the Covenant” to the next General Synod in 2016.
Anglican Unscripted Episode 69, March 29, 2013 April 3, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican.TV, Hymnody/Liturgy, Marriage, Popular Culture, The Episcopal Church.
Tags: gay marriage, stations of the cross
In this week’s Anglican Unscripted your hosts discuss what Marriage is… and what Marriage isn’t — and with a combined total of 50 years Marriage experience — you are in safe hands. This is also Holy Week and this gives Kevin and George a chance to look around the Communion to discover how clergy are celebrating.
Some around the Anglican Communion have been told that the Episcopal Church doesn’t sue anybody… well the Episcopal church made it very clear this Easter season that is just wrong; and Kevin and AS Haley discuss the latest barrage from 815 and how it effects every vestry member in the Diocese of South Carolina. Kevin, George, Allan, and Peter pray that this Easter brings you into a closer walk with the Man who left the tomb empty. Comments to AnglicanUnscripted@gmail.com Tweet: AU69
An Australian bishop’s veto of a gaming industry proposal to donate funds to a church social service agency to hire additional gambling addiction counselors has been met with incredulity by the Sunday Telegraph.
In a story entitled “Unholy fight over gaming as Bishop refuses money from clubs” the Sydney-based newspaper’s editorial voice spoils an otherwise interesting story. It does not appear to comprehend that the Anglican Bishop of Armidale Rick Lewers is taking a moral stand that the gaming industry cannot buy redemption.
This is not a bad article in that there is an attempt to present both sides of the story. We do hear from the bishop and the casinos — but the context is missing and the story framed so as to paint the bishop as a prig. The article begins:
A BISHOP has refused thousands of dollars from clubs to pay for more counsellors to help problem gamblers.
Clubs around Tamworth and Armidale, in the state’s north, want the local Anglicare counselling service to put on extra staff as demand grows across the region. After nearly two years of talks, the clubs have agreed to give a percentage of their takings – up to $30,000 a year – in return for access to additional counsellors. However, the talks unravelled last week after the Anglican Bishop of Armidale, Rick Lewers, canned the idea as he felt it would compromise his ability to speak out about gambling.
Instead, Bishop Lewers wants gamblers to consider joining their local church to socialise instead of spending hours “pouring pension money” into poker machines.
The construction of the lede determines the trajectory of the article. Proposition A holds that clubs, private gaming establishments, have created a need for gambling addiction counseling services. Proposition B is that these counseling services are provided by Anglicare– a church-run social services agency.
Fact A is the news that the casinos and Anglicare have been in talks about providing addiction counseling services and that the casinos would donate “up to $30,000 a year”. Fact B is the bishop’s refusal to take the funds. Fact C is the explanation that the Bishop believes he would be compromised by taking casino money.
Assertion A by the Telegraph is that the bishop does not want to help gamblers and B he wants to steer them away from casinos so that they may join “their local church to socialize”.
Standing in back all of this are the assumptions that the casino industry can atone for its sins by giving money to the church — Australian Anglican indulgences — and that the church should be a good sport and take the cash. The implications of the construction of the lede are that the bishop is opposed to a good deed because of petty concerns about pumping up church attendance — perhaps pulling in the punters to the church hall for bingo rather than have them use the slot machine at the casino.
The Telegraph does give the bishop three paragraphs to explain his position — that gambling is a social evil; the church’s social service agency will help anyone with a gambling addiction problem; the church would welcome the opportunity to minister to those with gambling problems on casino grounds; taking money from the casinos — who facilitate the addiction — in order for the church to help them break the gambling addiction is morally compromising. Well and good.
The article then moves to comments from the casino industry criticizing the bishop’s moral qualms. It then closes with a jab from a casino executive that seeks to puncture when he believes to be the bishop’s moral pomposity.
ClubsNSW CEO Anthony Ball said: “The real losers here are the people who have a problem with gambling or alcohol who would have really benefited from the range of initiatives .”
By crafting the article in this fashion — premise, assertion, side a, side b — the Telegraph is telegraphing its agreement with side b’s closing statement from the casino executive.
A church complaining about an unfriendly article that treats its leaders as moral humbugs for standing on an unfashionable principle (gambling is socially harmful and, oh yes, a sin) is neither new nor extraordinary. What is exceptional about this story is the unsubstantiated assertion that the Bishop wants people to go to church not casinos to socialize. Nor does the Telegraph seem to comprehend that it is reporting on an issue present in literature, the movies and in newspapers across the globe. American readers may remember the New York Times report last year about Mexican churches and the drug cartels.
There was an opportunity to tell a great story here — but lack of knowledge and prejudice prevented that from happening.
First printed at Get Religion
Tags: Che Guevara, El Universal, Hugo Chavez, Venezuela, VI Lenin, ViVe
A story I have yet to see in the Anglo-American press is the apotheosis of Hugo Chávez. The Venezuelan strongman died on 5 March 2013 after fifteen years in office leaving Venezuela with 25 per cent inflation, public debt at 70 percent of GDP, a shortage of basic consumer goods, a crumbling electrical grid with frequent power outages, widespread crime and a serious contraction of the oil industry — the source of 95 per cent of the country’s exports. Since 1998 U.S. imports of Venezuelan crude have fallen by half.
The press has so far focused on the economy, foreign affairs and the political campaign to elect a new president. The better stories have been asking whether Chavismo can survive without Chávez — if Marxism can survive without Marx, Leninism without Lenin, and Peronism without Peron then Chavismo may be able to survive without Chávez. His handpicked successor, Nicolás Maduro, who has the backing of the army, the poor and the country’s petrodollars may retain power. Or will Chavismo go the way of Stalinism, Maoism or Hitlerism?
The regime appears to be taking as few chances as possible — and just in time for Good Friday — ViVe, the cultural TV channel owned by the Venezuelan government has broadcast a children’s animated short film showing Hugo Chávez in heaven.
The film shows the ten people Chávez meets as he enters paradise: Indian leader Gaicauipuro, Nicaraguan revolutionary Augusto César Sandino, Chile’s Salvador Allende, Venezuela’s negro primero Pedro Camejo; Argentina’s Evita Peron, the “people’s singer” Ali Primera, Che Guevara, Chavez’s grandmother Rosa Ines, Ezequiel Zamora, and Simón Bolívar.
The title of this film: “Hasta siempre, Comandante”, has meaning beyond a farewell to El Comandante (Chávez’s popular name with the masses.) It was also the headline of the article in Granma, the Cuban Communist Party newspaper, announcing Chávez’s death — and (coincidentally?) is the title of a leftist ballad celebrating the life of Che Guevara. Here is a link to a version ascribed to Joan Baez, whose closing stanzas proclaim:
Your revolutionary love
leads you to a new undertaking
where they are awaiting the firmness
of your liberating arm
We will carry on
as we did along with you
and with Fidel we say to you:
Until Always, Commandante!
The Russians did this sort of thing best — the idolatry of departed secular saints. The cry:
Lenin lived, Lenin lives, Lenin will live!
closes Vladimir Mayakovsky’s 1924 poem “Vladimir Ilych Lenin“. The greatest of Mayakovsky’s works and the apex of the socialist realist style of poetry that flowered in Russia in the decade after the Revolution “VI Lenin” tells the story of the triumph of the proletarian revolution through the vehicle of the working class, which through toil and strife, guided by the laws of social development, revealed by its ideological genius Karl Marx, produces the “twin of Mother History” — the Bolshevik Party and its leader, VI Lenin.
The party for Mayakovsky is the symbol of the strength and wisdom of the working classes and is what has trained and mobilized the masses, and lead them out of their bondage. And over all this:
the compass of Leninist thought,
the guiding hand of Lenin.
Lenin’s life did not end with his death as the people and the party live on.
And even the death of Ilyich
became a great communist organizer.
Lenin will live in the hearts of the proletariat and will remain the rallying point for world revolution.
Proletarians, form ranks for the last battle!
Straighten your backs,
unbend your knees!
Proletarian army, close ranks!
Long live the joyous revolution, soon to come!
This is the greatest
of all great fights
that history has known.
Are we seeing the modest beginnings of Chávez worship? While Che posters and berets have lost their political meanings in college dorms and are mere fashion accessories in America — the glorification of a “Dear Leader” (living or dead) is central to the faith systems of peoples as far a part as Pyongyang and Caracas. Is it a substitute for God? Are we looking at worship? Or in this case is it merely of a silly aesthetically unpleasing government sponsored political advert? What is going on here?
First printed in GetReligion.
Tags: Diocese of São Paulo, Glauco Soares de Lima, Roger Bird, St. Paul's Cathedral São Paulo
The Bishop of São Paulo and the former primate of Brazil have quit the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil (IEAB), taking with them the largest Anglican congregation in South America.
On 17 March 2013 parish council of St. Paul’s Cathedral in São Paulo stated that while they remained in the Anglican Communion they were reverting to their pre-1975 status as a Church of England chaplaincy and were no longer under the oversight of the IEAB.
Money and politics rather than doctrine appeared to be behind the secession of St. Paul’s. The Bishop of Recife, the Rt. Rev. Miguel Uchoa said the new group was not affiliated with his diocese in the Northeast. He told Anglican Ink that in 2012 the Diocese of São Paulo attempted to elect a new bishop. HoweverI “the bishop elected was not accepted by some churches. They opened a protest against the diocese and from this mess the bishop in office and the retired bishop Glauco Soares de Lima, ex primate of Brazil, left together and now they call themselves just Anglicans.”
Sexing up Pope Francis: Get Religion, March 26, 2013 March 27, 2013Posted by geoconger in Get Religion, Press criticism.
Tags: anti-Catholic media bias, CNN, Pope Francis
My corner of Florida has been over run by college students on Spring break. While Daytona Beach, Miami and Fort Lauderdale have lost market share over the past 40-years to Texas, Mexico and points South, there are still enough kids in town this week to make the merchants smile and locals complain about “those kids” and their sex, drugs and rock and roll.
Sounds like a story pitch for a 60′s beach film — Frankie and Annette, Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue — maybe Ann-Margret and Elvis? The stories wrote themselves back then. Sex continues to sell. Where would the tabloids or MTV be with out the Page 3 girls, the Kardashians and the denizens of the Jersey Shore? And where would the New York Times be without homosexuality? While it is harder and harder to sell religion news stories to the trade — a “naughty vicar” story will always find a buyer.
But sex isn’t what it once was. Its omnipresence has robbed it of its marketing value, mystique (and romance). “Sexed-up” no longer refers solely to hormone drenched teens or blue movies, but in journalism it refers to improving a story to make it more palatable (more salable) to editors who in turn want to attract more readers with stronger stories.
The phrase settled into the media psyche during the second Gulf War. It is commonly believed that a 29 May 2003 report by BBC defense correspondent Andrew Gilligan broadcast on Radio 4′s Today program originated the phrase. Gilligan reported that a senior British official told him a dossier prepared by the Blair government to support the war against Saddam Hussein had been “sexed up”. Specifically the government’s “September Dossier” had made the exaggerated claim that weapons of mass destruction could be deployed by the Iraqis within 45 minutes of Saddam Hussein’s order.
Improving the story by making it sexier than the facts allow did not begin in 2003. It is long been the bane of good journalism. Its prevalence was the theme of my chat last week with Todd Wilken, the host of Issues, Etc. In our conversation broadcast on 21 March 2013, Todd and I discussed my article “Is CNN pushing the “Dirty War” story?” posted at GetReligion and discussed the phenomena of shoddy reporting on Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio’s alleged collusion with the Argentine military junta’s crimes during the “dirty war”. Todd asked whether I was saying that it was wrong to voice criticisms of the Pope or to ask questions about his past?
I responded that this was not the issue. The Pope and the Catholic Church should be questioned. However in this instance I argued that CNN was “pushing” the story. It had abandoned objectivity, balance, and a desire to seek out the truth for the transitory pleasures of a sexy story about potential papal perfidy.
I contrasted CNN’s work with the three main Parisian dailies: Le Monde, Le Figaro, and Liberation. The French papers all reported the accusations of misconduct as well as the denials by the Vatican. However, they framed the stories to give Francis the benefit of the doubt. The allegations were unproven the French papers reported, but they also provided sufficient facts and context to allow readers to make up their own minds.
This is not as exciting an approach to CNN’s guilty until proven innocent but it is better journalism.
First printed in GetReligion.
Ex-priest claims abuse whistleblowers shunned by Australian church: The Church of England Newspaper, March 24, 2013, p 7. March 26, 2013Posted by geoconger in Abuse, Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand & Polynesia, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: Alan Sapsford, Paul Walliker
A former Anglican priest testified last week before a Victorian parliamentary inquiry that he had been ostracized by the church after reporting incidents of clergy sexual child abuse.
Fr. Paul Walliker, who now serves as a priest of the Antiochian Orthodox archdiocese of Australia, said whistle blowers were shunned by the Anglican church. “The support we received from the diocese was zip, zero, zilch,” he told the committee taking evidence at the Bendigo town hall.
On 13 March 2013 Fr. Walliker said he had helped five women press charges against the Rev. Alan Sapsford, however the abuse claims were not believed by many members of the congregation.
“I received death threats. My family was harassed. People abused me in the street,” he told the parliamentary inquiry. “I lost money, I had to sell my house and had to move. I had to pay for counselling for my daughters.”
While the “support we received from the diocese was nothing.”
In 2003 the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s 7:30 Report claimed Mr. Sapsford, who was a parish rector in Seymour from 1966 to 1996 and archdeacon of the diocese of Wangaratta, had sexually abused over 30 boys and a number of women while serving at the parish.
After one of his victims, who later became an Anglican priest informed the church of the abuse, Mr. Sapsford confessed his guilt in a letter to Bishop Paul Richardson of the Diocese of Wangaratta.
Fr Walliker said Bishop Richardson withdrew Mr. Sapsford’s licence and allowed him to retire due to ill-health. Archbishop Keith Rayner subsequently gave him a limited licence to officiate in Melbourne. In September 2002, Mr. Sapsford was arrested and charged with child abuse. He died in March 2003 before his case went to trial.
The committee is investigating the response of religious and other non-government groups to the criminal abuse of children. It has received over 300 submissions and heard testimony from more than 90 witnesses. Its report is due in September 2013.
Overseas Anglican applause for Francis: The Church of England Newspaper, March 24, 2013, p 6. March 26, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Australia, Church in Wales, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Church of Ireland, The Episcopal Church.
Tags: Barry Morgan, David Chillingworth, Fred Hiltz, Gregory Venables, Katharine Jefferts Schori, Peter Jensen, Pope Francis, Richard Clarke
Anglican leaders around the world and joined with Archbishop Justin Welby in applauding the election of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires as the next Pope and 226th Bishop of Rome.
The Bishop of Argentina and former primate of the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone, the Most Rev. Gregory Venables, gave Francis high marks as a champion of the poor and critic of government corruption.
In a note released after the election of Cardinal Bergoglio who has taken the name Francis on 13 March 2013 Bishop Venables wrote: “Many are asking me what Jorge Bergoglio is really like. He is much more of a Christian, Christ centered and Spirit filled, than a mere churchman. He believes the Bible as it is written. I have been with him on many occasions and he always makes me sit next to him and invariably makes me take part and often do what he as Cardinal should have done. He is consistently humble and wise, outstandingly gifted yet a common man. He is no fool and speaks out very quietly yet clearly when necessary.”
“I consider this to be an inspired appointment not because he is a close and personal friend but because of who he is In Christ. Pray for him,” Bishop Venables said.
Other Anglican leaders have also praised the election of Pope Francis. Archbishop Peter Jensen, in a statement released just after the election, said “The papacy continues to have huge global significance in testing times for humanity. We join those who pray that Pope Francis will use the office to further the gospel of Jesus Christ for the sake of all humanity.”
The Most Rev David Chillingworth, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church welcomed “the election of Pope Francis. He is known for his simplicity of life and his compassionate humility. The church in South America expresses vigorous life and a deep commitment to justice for the poor. God has called him to this ministry at a time when its demands seem overwhelming. We pray that God will equip him with the grace which he needs to fulfil the task. We also pray that his many gifts and his experience will enable him to lead the church forward in mission and service.”
The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, said, “We welcome and assure Pope Francis I of our prayers and our best wishes for his future ministry. We hope he will bring an ecumenical perspective to the role, a desire to work with Christians of all traditions and a goodwill to people of other faiths.”
Dr. Richard Clarke, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland wrote: “In company with millions of men and women throughout the world of different Christian traditions to his own, I assure the new Pope of our prayers as he begins his new ministry. An Argentinian of European parentage, he brings together in his own person the cultures, hopes and spiritual needs of the first world and of the developing world, so much to be valued amidst the complexities and apprehensions of our globalised earth. He has been a champion of the needs of the poor and dispossessed, and, in the simplicity of his own lifestyle, he has sought to reflect the life of the much–loved saint whose name he now carries in the future, Saint Francis.”
“As the Church of Ireland’s Archbishop of Armagh I extend also to Cardinal Seán Brady, to Jesuit friends throughout the island and to all the Roman Catholic people of Ireland, our best wishes, with the hopes and prayers of many fellow–Christians, as Pope Francis now embarks on the ministry to which he has been called,” Dr Clarke said.
Archbishop Fred Hiltz of Canada noted: The new Pope comes from humble beginnings and he is known to have lived modestly throughout his entire ministry. In taking the name of Francis after Francis of Assisi he has already given us some indication of the holiness, simplicity, and courage of gospel conviction he will bring to this new ministry.”
“As the new Pope endeavours to call people back to the Faith, to rebuild the Church and to strengthen the integrity of its witness to the Gospel in very diverse global contexts, we join our Roman Catholic sisters and brothers in upholding him our prayers,” he said adding “for Latin Americans this is a particularly proud moment — a moment of great rejoicing! For from the church there the new Pope carries a passion for evangelism, a stance of solidarity with the poor and a posture of perseverance in the pursuit of peace and justice for all people.”
The presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church Katharine Jefferts Schori was less effusive. “The Episcopal Church will pray for the new Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis I, and for the possibility of constructive dialogue and cooperation between our Churches.”
African boycott expected at this week’s Primates Meeting: The Church of England Newspaper, March 24, 2013 p 7. March 26, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, GAFCON.
Tags: Justin Welby, Primates Meeting 2013
Leaders of the Global South coalition of Anglican archbishops will not attend a special primates meeting to be held after the 21 March 2013 installation of Justin Welby as Archbishop of Canterbury.
While African and Asian church leaders will attend the services at Canterbury Cathedral, they will not attend a private meeting scheduled to take place after the ceremony.
“Nothing has changed since Dublin,” one leader told The Church of England Newspaper.
Only 23 of the Communion’s 38 provinces were represented at the 24–30 January 2011 “rump” primates meeting in Dublin. In a 21 January 2011 statement published on the Global South Anglican website, a spokesman said the decision to stay home was “not a sudden or knee-jerk reaction.”
In the course of several conversations and in a group meeting at the All Africa Bishops Conference in 2010, the Global South Primates “indicated that it would be extremely difficult – and in fact, quite pointless – for them to be present at the planned Primates’ Meeting 2011.”
They told Dr. Rowan Williams unless the American Church was prepared to honour its past undertakings and the decisions of the Lambeth Conference and Primates’ Meetings, they believed it was a waste of time and resources to attend. In 2011 the Primates also voiced frustration with the lack of communications coming from London.
“What is most disturbing and difficult is that given the intractable miry situation the Communion is already in and being further driven into, there was hardly any timely and intentional prior consultation and collegial engagement of all concerned, or at least as many as reasonably possible, in preparing for the Meeting to ensure certain degree of significant and principally legitimate outcome to hold and move the Communion together.
“As it stands, the Meeting is almost pre-determined to end up as just another gathering that again cannot bring about effective ecclesial actions, despite the precious time, energy and monetary resources that Primates and Provinces have invested in attending the Meeting,” the GS Primates concluded.
“With the disappointing lack of serious transparent planning and leadership beforehand to prepare the Primates for a genuine meeting of minds and hearts to face the very real and obvious issues before us, it will be strenuous to expect any significant, meaningful, credible and constructive outcome of the Dublin Meeting,” they argued.
The presence of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori the Episcopal Church of the USA at this week’s meeting was one of a number of reasons the Global South primates decided not to attend the special meeting, CEN was told. Nor has the situation that helped by the December decision by the Church of England plans to allow gay clergy in civil partnerships to become bishops.
Until the structures are reformed the communion remains broken, one leader said.
Anglican Ordinariate secure, leaders say: The Church of England Newspaper, March 24, 2013 March 24, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican Ordinariate, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: Anglicanorum Coetibus, Greg Venables, Jeffrey Steenson, Pope Francis
Leaders of the Anglican Ordinariate urged patience and restraint in light of statements by the Bishop of Argentina that Pope Francis did not favor the creation of a home for Anglicans in the Catholic Church.
In a note released after the election of Pope Francis on 13 March 2013, the Bishop of Argentina and former primate of the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone, the Most Rev. Gregory Venables, said Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was, in his experience, “consistently humble and wise, outstandingly gifted yet a common man” who had been a friend to Anglicans in Argentina.
Bishop Venables said Cardinal Bergoglio “called me to have breakfast with him one morning and told me very clearly that the Ordinariate was quite unnecessary and that the church needs us as Anglicans.”
He later clarified his statement noting the cardinal’s comments were more an affirmation of Anglicanism than criticism of the Ordinariate.
The report from Bishop Venables sparked controversy in the British press and speculation Francis might adopt the different tone than his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. A spokesman for the English Ordinariate denied any change was in the offing telling the Telegraph the comments were Bishop Venables’ not the Pope’s.
Following the resignation of Pope Benedict last month, Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Ordinary of the Chair of St. Peter, said: “We members of the Ordinariate are in a particular way the spiritual children of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. Throughout his years as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and especially as Pope, the reconciliation of Anglicans to the Catholic Church has been one of his principal tasks.”
He noted that “when Pope Benedict issued the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus in November 2009, he laid a permanent foundation for the Ordinariate, to be the means to reconcile Anglican groups to the Catholic Church and that this Anglican patrimony might be shared with the Catholic Church. While the Ordinariate has been a special intention of Pope Benedict, it is now firmly established in the Catholic Church and will continue to serve as an instrument for Christian unity.”
Msgr. Steenson said the transition between Popes “should not greatly impact the work of the Ordinariate. We should probably expect that the ordinations of our candidates could be delayed slightly, as the Pope must approve these petitions.”
Following the publication of Bishop Venables’ remarks Msgr. Steenson said he had received a number of inquiries from those “who are concerned about what our new Pope’s attitude may be toward the Ordinariates, occasioned by an anecdotal report from an Anglican bishop in Argentina.”
He reaffirmed the “real permanence and stability” of the Ordinariate within the Catholic Church, and added “but it is even more important to remember what it means to be Catholic, to have the full assurance that faith brings. Christ the Good Shepherd entrusted the governance of the Church to St. Peter and his successors. To be in communion with Peter brings a confidence we never knew as Anglicans. Pope Francis understands the pilgrim character of our communities and will be a wise and caring pastor to us,” Msgr. Steenson said.
Interview: Issues, Etc.: March 21, 2013 March 24, 2013Posted by geoconger in Issues Etc, Press criticism, Roman Catholic Church.
Tags: Pope Francis
Here is a link to an interview I gave to the Issues, Etc. show of Lutheran Public Radio broadcast on 21 March 2013
Jesus a shape shifter Coptic manuscript claims: The Church of England Newspaper, March 24, 2013 p 7 March 24, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: Morgan Library, Pontius Pilate, pseodoepigraphia, Pseudo-Cyril of Jerusalem, Roelof van den Broek
A newly translated Egyptian homily dating from the eighth century claims Jesus was a shape shifter.
Dr. Roelof van den Broek of Utrecht University in his book “Pseudo-Cyril of Jerusalem on the Life and the Passion of Christ” (Brill, 2013) reports the newly translated sermon found in manuscripts held at the Morgan Library in New York and the University of Pennsylvania add an apocryphal incident to the passion narrative.
It relates the story of Pontius Pilate dinning with Jesus before his crucifixion and offering to sacrifice his own son in the place of Jesus. The homily also states that Judas used a kiss to identify and betray Jesus because Jesus had the ability to change shape. “Without further ado, Pilate prepared a table and he ate with Jesus on the fifth day of the week. And Jesus blessed Pilate and his whole house,” the text states. Pilate later tells Jesus, “well then, behold, the night has come, rise and withdraw, and when the morning comes and they accuse me because of you, I shall give them the only son I have so that they can kill him in your place.”
Jesus then comforts Pilate, who in the Coptic and Ethiopian churches is regarded as a saint, saying, “Oh Pilate, you have been deemed worthy of a great grace because you have shown a good disposition to me.” Jesus also showed Pilate that he can escape if he chose to. “Pilate, then, looked at Jesus and, behold, he became incorporeal: He did not see him for a long time …”
Judas’ kiss is the means by which the solders can identify Jesus, the text states. “Then the Jews said to Judas: How shall we arrest him [Jesus], for he does not have a single shape but his appearance changes. Sometimes he is ruddy, sometimes he is white, sometimes he is red, sometimes he is wheat coloured, sometimes he is pallid like ascetics, sometimes he is a youth, sometimes an old man …”
Dr van den Broek notes this interpretation of Judas’ kiss may come from Origen’s Contra Celsum which states that “to those who saw him [Jesus] he did not appear alike to all.”
Written in the name of the fourth century St. Cyril of Jerusalem a foreword states that a book has been found in Jerusalem revealing the true writings of the apostles on the life and crucifixion of Jesus. “Listen to me, oh my honored children, and let me tell you something of what we found written in the house of Mary …”
Excavated in 1910 from the remains of the library of the Monastery of St. Michael in the Egyptian desert near present-day al-Hamuli in the western part of the Faiyum, it was purchased in December 1911 by American financier J.P. Morgan for the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City. The manuscript is currently displayed as part of the museum’s exhibition “Treasures from the Vault” running through May 5.
Clergyman under police supervision: The Church of England Newspaper, March 17, 2013 p 7. March 24, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of Uganda.
Tags: corruption, Zac Niringiye
The former assistant Bishop of Kampala, Dr. Zac Niringiye, reports that he remains under police supervision following his arrest last month for having distributed leaflets calling for an end to government corruption.
In a statement distributed by the Langham Partnership on 20 February 2013, Dr. Niringiye wrote: “I have since reported twice to the Police in keeping with what I was required to do. Each time I am told to report again. I guess the file is still with the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions). I am aware that I could be taken to court and charged with the crime of ‘inciting violence’; or asked to report again; or, released with the case dismissed on the advice of the DPP. But clearly there is no case. These are just efforts of a regime in survival mode…worried of any dissent. It is tragic that now, it seems, it is protecting the corrupt.”
On 4 Feb Dr. Niringiye and members of the Black Monday Movement — an initiative by Ugandan Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to combat government corruption — were arrested by police for distributing their newsletter on campus of Makerere University. A Visiting Fellow at the University’s School of Law, Dr. Niringiye said he was handing out around the Catholic Students Chapel and when he returned to his car for a second bundle he was arrested.
“It is as I was leaving the precincts of Lumumba Hall that a Police pick-up blocked me. Then another two pick-ups police in riot gear…. and then the Police Officer (one who is notorious for dealing with political opposition figures ruthlessly) came to my window, informed me that I was needed for questioning at the Police Station, in respect to the activities I was undertaking that morning. I followed in my car to the Police Station. On arrival, I was ushered in one office, at which point Officer Omala told me I was under arrest for ‘inciting violence’. I was interrogated for about three hours in total, put in the police cell where I was for about 6 hours. I was later released on Police bond. I was told that I would have to report to the Police Station on Thursday 14 February, as my file was forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).”
“Keep in prayer with me and all our colleagues with whom we are engaged in this work in Uganda,” the bishop asked.
Christians under fire in Zanzibar: The Church of England Newspaper, March 17, 2013, p 6. March 24, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Tanzania, Church of England Newspaper, Islam, Persecution.
Tags: Bill Atwood, Jakaya Kikwete, Michael Hafidh, Valentino Mokiwa
The Bishop of Dar es Salaam’s home has come under assault, church leaders report.
Bishop Bill Atwood writes: “On 2:45 on Sunday morning, an armed gang attacked Archbishop Valentino [Mokiwa]’s home. Most bishops in that part of the world have watchmen either from the Massai or Hehe tribes who serve as guards. That was the case at Archbishop Valentino’s home as well. His Hehe watchman was captured by armed men who cut through the wire fence. The watchman valiantly fought back crying out. The men with guns cut him severely with machetes (called pandas there), but fled. Archbishop Valentino and his wife and children were inside the house. It is clear that great evil was intended.”
The 10 March 2013 attack follows last month’s murder of Catholic priest Evarist Mushi, who was shot and killed by two gunmen on the steps of his church. A second Catholic priest, Fr. Ambrose Mkenda suffered gunshot wounds in an attempt on his life on Christmas Day while moderate Muslim cleric Sheikh Fadhil Suleiman Soraga was attacked with acid in November. Several churches have been burned over the past few weeks and on the mainland a Pentecostal minister was beheaded by Muslim extremists.
President Jakaya Kikwete’s move to invite foreign investigators to help local police thoroughly investigate the killings has been applauded by Zanzibar’s chief mufti, who has called on the government to actively investigate the targeting of religious leaders in Zanzibar, Tanzania’s Guardian newspaper reported on 4 March. (March 4th).
Sheikh Thabit Noman Jongo said the terror attacks, believed to have been carried out by al Qaeda-linked groups, violate Islamic principles. “According to the Holy Koran, it is not allowed to take life of another person without any reason … experts should dig more to find the source of these acts,” he said.
Tanzania’s Daily News reported that leaflets calling for Christians to fight back were being distributed over the weekend. “We Christians of Zanzibar and people from the mainland living in the islands have decided to organise ourselves to retaliate,” the leaflet said, according to the Daily News. “It is high time we hit back.”
Bishop Michael Hafidh and Catholic Bishop Augustine Shao condemned the leaflets and their content, and urged Christians not to return evil for evil.
Note: This article has been corrected following its first publication to state the attack was on the home of Archbishop Mokiwa, not Bishop Hafidh.
Tanzania Church rocked by complaints over election: The Church of England Newspaper, March 17, 2013 p 7. March 24, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Tanzania, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: Dickson Chilongani, fraud, Jacob Chimeledya, Valentino Mokiwa
Three complaints have been lodged with the Anglican Church of Tanzania (KAT) by members of the church’s general synod alleging misconduct and fraud in the conduct of last month’s election of an archbishop.
Lay and clergy delegates from 8 coastal dioceses are expected to join the complaints alleging misconduct. Both sides accused the other of using foreign money to influence the outcome of the election however no evidence has thus far been presented.
On 3 March 2013 Dr Dickson Chilongani, Provincial Secretary of the KAT, released a statement announcing the election of the Rt. Rev. Jacob Erasto Chimeledya “as the new Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Tanzania.”
He stated “the bishops welcomed the election result, some describing Chimeledya as a ‘humble’ [servant leader] who will strengthen unity within the Anglican Church of Tanzania and enhance its mission.”
The statement said the “election was carried out by a special Electoral Synod which consisted of bishops, pastors and lay people numbering 129 in total. After the election all the 25 bishops present (except two who are studying in South Africa) expressed their support to bishop Chimeledya’s election by signing a legal document to endorse the results. Bishop elect Jacob Chimeledya will succeed Archbishop Valentino Mokiwa after his installation on 19th May 2013.”
However supporters of the sitting archbishop, Valentino Mokiwa of Dar es Salaam, have objected to the vote. A 27 Feb 2013 complaint seen by the Church of England Newspaper has alleged eight constitutional irregularities in the voting, including the casting of four more ballots than electors present. While the House of Bishops may have endorsed the election, critics charge, the Lay and Clergy Houses of Synod have not.
They have also claimed that $50,000 of American money was used to buy votes of the Wogogo – the tribal group – for Bishop Chimeledya. Supporters of the ousted Archbishop say the cash was used by supporters of the Episcopal Church to split the KAT off from Gafcon movement.
Supporters of Bishop Chimeledya have rejected these charges, saying Archbishop Mokiwa’s interpretation of the canons is incorrect and tendentious, while it was he who had sought to influence the election with cash. Archbishop Mokiwa one was seeking to use his post as a Gafcon primate to distort the dispute by convincing supporters in the West his defeat was engineered by foreigners rather than local political considerations.
Copies of the complaints have appeared in the Swahili Tanzanian press, and a rebuttal is expected to be released shortly by Bishop Chimeledya.
Bristol vicar found guilty of voyeurism: The Church of England Newspaper, March 17, 2013 p 2. March 24, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: clergy misconduct, Richard Lee
The Bristol Crown Court has handed down an eight-month jail term, suspended for two years, to a Somerset vicar found guilty of voyeurism.
Judge Neil Ford QC sentenced the Rev. Richard Lee, (49), the former vicar of St Augustine’s Church in Locking and St Mary’s Church in Hutton last week after the suspended clergyman pled guilty to eight counts of voyeurism and 18 counts of making indecent images.
According to the prosecution Mr. Lee compiled a collection of several hundred photographs by secretly spying on three girls and a woman in his parish over the course of 10 years. The vicar was arrested in July 2012 after the images were spotted on his laptop computer.
Mr. Lee, who is married to the Rev. Ann Lee (47) and has two children, acknowledged his crimes before court and pled for mercy from the judge. In his summing up, Judge Ford said he would withhold imprisonment but Mr. Lee had lost his calling as a clergy. He was also banned from working with children indefinitely and must complete a sexual offenders’ programme.
The diocese of Bath and Wells stated Mr. Lee had been suspended from the ministry following his arrest last year.
Fraud charges levelled in Tanzania archbishop’s election: The Church of England Newspaper, March 3, 2013, p 7. March 23, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Tanzania, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: Jacobo Chimeledya, Valentino Mokiwa
Allegations of misconduct have been leveled following last week’s election of the Rt. Rev. Jacobo Chimeledya as Archbishop of Tanzania. Supporters of Archbishop Valentino Mokiwa have claimed American money influenced the outcome of the election and allege the vote was marred by fraud.
However, supporters of the archbishop-elect have denied the charges of misconduct, claiming that it was Archbishop Mokiwa who used foreign money to secure support from the electors. Archbishop Mokiwa did not respond to request for comments while the archbishop-elect could not be reached as of our going to press.
Meeting in Dar es Salaam on 21 February 2013 a special synod was convened to elect an archbishop and primate. Under the church’s constitution a diocesan bishop who is less than 60 years of age may stand for election for the five year position and if elected may be re-elected for a second five year term. In 2007 the synod elected the Bishop of Dar es Salaam Valentino Mokiwa, who last year announced his intention to seek re-election.
Unofficial reports of the meeting state that after three rounds of voting Bishop Chimeledya secured a majority of the 129 delegates’ votes.
Born on 28 August 1957 in Zoisa, Kongwa province, Tanzania, Bishop Chimededya earned a degree in Health Administration at Mzumbe University in 1992 and began his theological training at St Paul’s Theological College, Limuru Kenya. He was ordained a deacon in 1996 and priest in 1997, and in 2003 he received a Master’s Degree in Theology from the Virginia Theological Seminary.
At the time of his election as bishop-coadjutor of Mpwapwa in 2005, Bishop Chimeledya was the Principal of St Philip’s Theological College in Kongwa and Canon of All Saints Cathedral, Mpwapwa. In 2007 he succeeded Bishop Simon Chiwanga as Bishop of Mpwapwa.
However, the Church of England Newspaper has learned that a complaint has been drawn up that alleges 8 constitutional violations in the election process including the casting of three more ballots in the election than the number of eligible electors.
Supporters of Archbishop Mokiwa have accused the Episcopal Church of buying the votes of some delegates and flipping the election to Bishop Chimeledya in order to pull the Tanzanian church out of the global south coalition backing the Anglican Church in North America.
However, the source of the American Episcopal money has not been identified as having come from the national church offices in New York. Several American dioceses and parishes have relations with the Tanzania church. Opponents of the archbishop, however, claim that he was the bearer of foreign cash donated by the Anglican Church in North America and the Episcopal Church that was used to buy votes.
The Tanzanian church has been divided into tribal factions, a split between Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals, and a regional divide between the coast and the interior. Archbishop Mokiwa has been unable to consolidate his support among the House of Bishops, several of whose members have voiced their unhappiness with his leadership.
A returned missionary told CEN it is likely that both sides accepted money from American sources, but this would not likely change the outcome of the vote. “Tanzanians are generally cynical about money from the West: take it if offered, but then go about your business as you think best.” He added that in his opinion the dispute “probably doesn’t have much to do with larger Communion issues, if at all.”
Barring legal action the new archbishop will be installed in May at a service at the Anglican Cathedral in Dodoma.
NZ gay marriage commission formed: The Church of England Newspaper, March 3, 2013 p 7. March 23, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand & Polynesia, Church of England Newspaper, Hymnody/Liturgy, Marriage.
Tags: gay marriage, Ma Whae Commission, Michael Hughes
The Standing Committee of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia has chartered a theological commission to study gay marriage.
Last week the committee directed the church’s provincial secretary the Rev. Michael Hughes to write to the secretaries of the three branches of the church asking them “to consider and report” on the question “what is a theological rationale for a Christian approach to the blessing and marriage of people in permanent, faithful same gender relationships given the implications thereof on the ordination of people in same gender relationships.”
The three branches: Maori, Pacific Islander and Europeans/Asians, were asked to name three scholars to the commission who were asked to report back to the Standing Committee by year’s end.
The theological commission’s work will also be used to inform the Commission on the Ordination and Blessing of People in Same Sex Relationships (Ma Whea Commission) formed in November 2011 that was asked to provide a “summary of the biblical and theological work done by our Church on the issues surrounding Christian ethics, human sexuality and the blessing and ordination of people in same sex relationships, including missiological, doctrinal, canonical, cultural and pastoral issues.”
The Ma Whae Commission was also charged with finding a way to overcome the veto power to changes in church doctrine granted to each of the three branches and examine “the principles of Anglican ecclesiology and, in light of our diversity, the ecclesial possibilities for ways forward for our Three Tikanga Church”, the implications of the adoption of same-sex blessings to the church’s relations to the wider Anglican Communion, and to address the issue of “what care and protection there would be for those who could be marginalized” by the changes.
The Ma Whae Commission has been asked to report its findings to the General Synod/te Hinota Whanui by 2014.
Final appeal dismissed in Zimbabwe property cases: The Church of England Newspaper, March 3, 3013, p 7. March 23, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of Central Africa, Property Litigation, Zimbabwe.
Tags: Diocese of Manicaland, Elson Jakazi, Julius Makoni, Luke Malaba, Nolbert Kunonga, Vernanda Ziyambi
The Zimbabwe Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal of the former bishop of Manicaland Elson Jakazi, closing the last legal door on the Kunonga schism in Zimbabwe.
In a ruling handed down last week Justice Vernanda Ziyambi dismissed the former bishop’s application for a rehearing of his case, stating the arguments put forward were without merit. The decision now permits Bishop Julius Makoni and the diocese to begin eviction proceedings to remove the bishop and his supporters from the diocese’s cathedral, churches, schools and hospitals.
In October 2012 a three judge panel of the Zimbabwe Supreme Court heard seven appeals brought by the Church of the Province of Central Africa and the breakaway bishops of Harare and Manicaland, Dr. Nolbert Kunonga and Bishop Jakazi. The court dismissed five of the appeals and two cases concerning Dr. Kunonga and the Diocese of Harare were taken under advisement.
Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba, sitting with Justices Vernanda Ziyambi and Yunus Omerjee struck Bishop Jakazi’s case from consideration finding he had failed to comply with the rules of the court.
On 19 May 2010 Mutare High Court Justice Chinembiri Bhunu held that as Bishop Jakazi had resigned his see to join Dr. Kunonga to form the schismatic Anglican Church of Zimbabwe, he was no longer Bishop of Manicaland. “What this means is that once [Bishop Jakazi]‘s resignation letter was received by the Archbishop of the Central African Province of Central Africa, he automatically ceased to be an employee or member of that church organization without any further formalities.”
“Having ceased to be an employee or member of the church organisation he automatically stripped himself of any rights and privileges arising” from his office, Justice Bhunu concluded However a stay of execution of the order to vacate was entered pending appeal.
While the legal fight to regain the properties may have ended with victory for the Church of the Province of Central Africa, the dioceses of Harare and Manicaland face considerable financial burdens in repairing their churches.
After the diocese regained control of its Cathedral in November, the Harare City Council disconnected its water supply. The city has demanded payment of over $55,000 in utility charges incurred by Dr. Kunonga that were unpaid at the time of his eviction. The diocese has asked the city to seek payment from Dr. Kunonga for the debts.
A city council spokesman told The Zimbabwean “It is not Kunonga who owes us but the Anglican Cathedral. We do not mind who pays it but the bill has got to be settled.”
Bishop of Worcester appointed Lord High Almoner: The Church of England Newspaper, February 24, 2013, p 1. March 23, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: John Inge, Lord High Almoner, Royal Maundy
Buckingham Palace has announced that The Queen has appointed the Bishop of Worcester, the Rt. Rev. John Inge to be the Lord High Almoner in succession to the Bishop of Manchester, who retired from the post last month.
Traditionally a diocesan bishop of the Church of England, the post of Lord High Almoner was created in 1103 as a position within the Royal Household responsible for the distribution of alms to the poor. In the first few hundred years of the post, the Lord High Almoner was responsible for scattering two penny coins to crowds greeting the monarch and to distribute food to the poor from the King’s table.
In the modern era the post is now responsible for the organization of the Royal Maundy Service where pensioners are recognized for their service to the church and the community.
Assisted by the Sub-Almoner, who also holds the posts of Deputy Clerk of the Closet, Sub-dean of the Chapel Royal and Domestic Chaplain at Buckingham Palace, the Lord High Almoner attends the sovereign at the Royal Maundy Service, held the day before Good Friday on Maundy Thursday.
The service had been held in London until 1957 when it was held at St Alban’s Cathedral. Since that time the service has been held at Anglican Cathedrals in England, Northern Ireland and Wales. Pensioners are selected by the Lord High Almoner upon nomination of their diocese to receive Maundy money – specially minted coins – to mark the ceremony.
At the 2012 service held at York Minister, two purses of “Maundy mone”‘ were given to 86 men and 86 women – a white purse containing 86p in Maundy coins and a red purse containing £5 coin and 50p piece – the number of recipients is dictated by the age of the Sovereign.
A one-time chaplain at the Harrow School, Dr Inge served as the vicar of an inner-city parish on Tyneside before his appointment as Bishop of Huntingdon in 2003 and in 2008 he was translated to Worcester.
Horse Meat scandal prompts church calls to buy British: The Church of England Newspaper, February 24, 2013 p 6. March 23, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church in Wales, Church of England Newspaper, Farming.
Tags: horse meat, John Davies
The Church in Wales has urged consumers to purchase meat from local farms – to support British agriculture and to protect themselves from the false labeling.
Revelations that Romanian horse and donkey meat had been repackaged as beef and sold in prepared food products in 13 EU countries, including Britain and Ireland, has prompted the Welsh church’s Rural Life Advisors to urge consumers take more responsibility for what they buy.
The Bishop of Swansea and Brecon, the Rt. Rev. John Davies on 15 Feb 2013 said “The recent publicity about the discovery of horse-meat in processed food has raised a lot of questions about our food: quality, affordability, traceability, food miles, and the availability of produce that shoppers can buy with confidence.”
Europol, the EU’s police agency, reports that DNA tests have revealed that beef mixed with horse meat has been sold across Europe. Some products, including hamburgers, were found to contain as much as 30 per cent horse meat. Other products found to contain horse meet labeled as beef include frozen lasagna, tortellini, and Bolognese sauce. Three men were arrested last week in England and Wales in connection with the scandal and have been charged with fraud.
“Welsh farmers enjoy high levels of confidence and support from their local communities and have close links with local butchers and other shops,” said Bishop Davies – the Church in Wales spokesman on rural affairs.
“Seeking out retailers who can offer local knowledge and traceability is an excellent way to support Welsh farmers, butchers, and their communities as well as obtaining a product that is both trustworthy and tasty,” the bishop said.
80 dead in Mozambique flooding: The Church of England Newspaper, February 24, 2013 p 6. March 23, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of Central Africa, Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean, Disaster Relief.
Tags: Brighton Malasa, Dinis Sengulane, Ian Ernest, Tropical Cyclone Felleng
Church leaders in the Indian Ocean and Southern Africa have launched appeals for aid following flooding across the region.
On 1 Feb 2013 Archbishop Ian Ernest of the Indian Ocean asked for support for the Diocese of the Seychelles after the island was hit by Tropical Cyclone Felleng. The “country and the diocese have suffered heavy losses from the floods,” as “church buildings and other important structures have been destroyed. However we give thanks to the Lord as there has been no loss of life.”
Bishop Brighton Malasa of the Diocese of Upper Shire in Malawi reported his country had been hard hit by floods. He estimated that 33,000 people had been dislocated by flood waters in his diocese. “We would appreciate humanitarian support such as soap, clothes, cereals, sugar, blankets and tents,” he said.
While floods are common in the early part of the year in southern Malawi, the “oldest people in our communities are saying they have not seen such rains in the past 50 years,” the bishop said.
In the Diocese of Lebombo in southern Mozambique approximately 70,000 people have been displaced by flood waters, Bishop Dinis Sengulane said. “The situation is dramatic and it calls for our response if we are to avoid more damages to the lives of people”.
The flooding had destroyed crops and left “stagnant waters [that] will become favorable places for the proliferation of mosquitoes that bring malaria,” the bishop wrote to supporters in the West in an appeal for “mosquito nets to prevent malaria” as well as “seeds and school materials for children.”
On 31 Jan 2013 the United Nations reported severe flooding in southern Mozambique has affected a quarter of a million people, while heavy rains buffeted the north of the country as Tropical Cyclone Felleng made landfall after passing over Madagascar.
The floods have killed at least 48 people in the south of Mozambique, the UN reported while government officials put the death toll at 80.