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Bishop attacks aid agency over Honduras demands: CEN 9.18.09 September 24, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Honduras, Politics.
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First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Tearfund has come under sharp criticism from church leaders for its lobbying of the British government to support ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya.

On Sept 11, Tearfund called for an end to all trade and aid with Honduras. Tearfund’s Advocacy Director Paul Cook stated the agency was asking Foreign Secretary “David Miliband to put pressure on the interim government to restore democracy.”

Bishop attacks aid agency over Honduras demands

“Everyone is affected by the political instability in Honduras but the poorest people in society are really suffering,” Mr Cook said, as Tearfund invited “supporters and churches to call upon Mr Miliband to publicly condemn the coup and denounce human rights violations, the repression of peaceful protests and media censorship.”

However, church leaders in the Central American country have overwhelming backed the removal of President Zelaya from office. The Bishop of Southeast Florida, the Rt Rev Leo Frade told The Church of England Newspaper he was “amazed” at the incoherent and illiberal agenda endorsed by Tearfund and other pressure groups “that claim to help the poor people of Honduras calling for boycotts and pressure on a government that dared to kick out a corrupt and abusive President that was violating the Honduran Constitution.”

Bishop Frade, who served as Anglican Bishop of Honduras for 17 years before his move to Miami, noted that the Tearfund had not “bothered to check the Honduras Constitution that President Zelaya promised to obey and follow” before commenting on the situation.

“Hondurans were not going to permit their country being overtaken by tyrants” he said. The removal of President Zelaya had been lawful and followed “the guidelines of their Constitution that doesn’t call for impeachment but for an arrest of the President for violating their Constitution.

“Today the Roman Catholic Cardinal and the Episcopal Bishop of Honduras as well as the Association of Evangelical Churches have called for international governments and non-governmental agencies not to suspend or curtail the assistance that a poor country like theirs needs,” Bishop Frade said.

“I beg for an agency like Tearfund and others to cease this destructive policy that will only penalize the poor people of Honduras,” he said. “Be informed before you speak and don’t repeat like parrots things that you have not fully checked.”

Bishops back deposing of Honduras president: CEN 7.10.09 p 6. July 20, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Honduras, Politics.
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The Roman Catholic Church has thrown its support behind opposition leaders in Honduras, and has backed the ouster of President Manuel Zelaya.

Speaking on national television on July 4 the Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez said the removal of President Zelaya from power by the Army, which was acting upon the orders of the Supreme Court, was lawful.

On June 28, a warrant was issued by the Supreme Court and the Attorney General’s Office for the arrest of President Zelaya charging him with treason. In the early morning hours, soldiers escorted the pajama-clad president from the presidential palace to the airport, and deported him to Costa Rica.

The confusion surrounding the coup has prompted a mixed international reaction, with the Obama administration in the United States siding with Raul Castro of Cuba, Daniel Noriega of Nicaragua and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela calling for the return of Honduras’ left-wing president. However, Honduras civil and government leaders have moved firmly against Zelaya, who had sought to overturn the constitution forbidding him a second term in office.

Cardinal Rodríguez called upon the Organization of American States (OAS) and other world leaders to reconsider their support of Zelaya.

On July 3, Honduras withdrew from the OAS after a failed attempt by its president José Miguel Insulza to broker a return to power for Zelaya.

“’To the Organization of American States, please pay attention to everything illegal that was happening before the 28th of June,” Cardinal Rodríguez said. “This is a community that will define our own destiny without any unilateral pressures. We renounce any blockades, which will only hurt the poor.”

The Anglican Bishop of Honduras, the Rt. Rev. Lloyd Allen writes the situation in the countryside is calm, with tensions centered in the capital, while missionaries in the capital tell The Church of England Newspaper the situation on the ground is confused. In an email sent to the Diocese of Central Florida, the Rev. Richard Kunz wrote that on July 5 supporters and opponents of the ousted president took to the streets.

Speaking via radio broadcast from a plane en route to Honduras from Venezuela, Zelaya told supporters to make ready for his return. The army responded by parking trucks on the runway of the Tegucigalpa airport. Zelaya’s plane circled the city, but then flew on to El Salvador.

Fr Kunz wrote that as the day progressed, “tensions mounted. At one point, some of the demonstrators made an attempt to break through the fence and get onto the runway. There was stone throwing and tear gas and confusion, and also some shots.”

However, the “flare-up” of violence was brief, he wrote, and the “demonstrators remained peaceful for the rest of the time.” Fr. Kunz added that those trying to follow events on Honduran television or radio “were often frustrated. Frequently the present government took over the airwaves, blocking all other news. And when news was on, it was amazing to me just how much coverage Michael Jackson got.”

Ouster of Honduran President Supported: TLC 7.17.09 July 18, 2009

Posted by geoconger in 76th General Convention, Honduras, Living Church.
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In a late session of General Convention on Friday, the House of Bishops beat back a push to gut a resolution calling for The Episcopal Church to back the people of Honduras in the face of sanctions leveled by the Organization of American States (OAS) in the wake of the ouster of President Mel Zelaya.

Resolution B031 — Hope for Reconciliation in Honduras — was adopted after passionate pleas of support from the current and former Bishops of Honduras, the Rt. Rev. Lloyd Allen and the Rt. Rev. Leo Frade. Bishop Frade denounced assertions the removal of President Zelaya last month was a coup. He said the former leader had been lawfully removed from office after being arrested on a charge of treason. He also denounced as racist and colonialist the mindset that Americans could better determine the course of Honduran democracy than the people of that Central American country.

Adopted with amendment by the House of Deputies on July 16 following a floor fight between deputies from Honduras who prepared the resolution and deputy Sarah Lawton of California who sought to remove language critical of the OAS, the resolution was presented to the bishops.

Bishop Allen described the grinding poverty of the country. He said members of the Episcopal Church of Honduras were found primarily in the country’s scattered villages and amongst the urban poor. The witness of The Episcopal Church had always been to serve the “poor and needy,” he added.

Bishop Allen said he was a member of no political party, but was concerned “solely for my 156 congregations.” Endorsing the resolution would place The Episcopal Church squarely on the side of the people and of justice, he argued, urging support for the resolution.

“We cannot apply U.S. laws to Honduras,” Bishop Frade said.

The resolution was adopted by the house unanimously.

Bishop–Prayers needed amid Honduras turmoil: TLC 6.30.09 June 30, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Honduras, Living Church.
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First published in The Living Church magazine.

The Bishop of Honduras has written to the House of Bishops, asking their prayers for his country after Sunday’s ouster of President Mel Zelaya.

“So far, the entire clergy, lay leadership and our families are all well,” the Rt. Rev. Lloyd Allen wrote on June 29 in an e-mail to the House of Bishops.

The Rev. Canon Kathleen Pennybacker, the Diocese of Central Florida’s canon to Honduras, told the Central Florida Episcopalian that Bishop Allen and the diocese’s mission groups in Honduras that she contacted were carrying on with their work but trying to avoid nonessential travel, and trips to the capital, Tegucigalpa.

“We knew this was coming,” Canon Pennybacker said. “Everyone was prepared, and it’s pretty quiet right now, but we don’t know how it will all develop.”

Bishop Allen reported “political tension” in Honduras centered around President Zelaya’s plans to hold a “non-binding referendum which opponents said would open the gate for him to rewrite the constitution to run for re-election despite a one-term limit.”

“I predict that you will be hearing a lot more about all that has happened,” Bishop Allen said. “A month ago the country was shaken by a 7.1 earthquake and now this. What next, and how much longer can this impoverished country survive?”

He added that the events of recent days would set the country “back in time, which will take us many years to recover and regain confidence in international eyes.”

Bishop Allen called upon The Episcopal Church “to keep this diocese and the Honduran people highly in prayers. I really don’t know what the future will bring. The Honduran delegation is ready to participate with you all at General Convention. However, if the course of actions does not improve in the next few days, I may have to reconsider.”

New Global Centre Pleads for Doctrinal Latitude in Church: CEN 6.08.07 p 6. June 7, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Communion, Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, Church of England Newspaper, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Human Sexuality --- The gay issue, La Iglesia Anglicana de la Region Central de America, La Iglesia Anglicana de Mexico.
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A coalition of bishops from Brazil, Mexico, Central America and the Spanish-speaking dioceses of the Caribbean have released a statement calling for doctrinal latitude within the Anglican Communion, arguing that a respectful diversity of opinion could be an engine of renewal and growth for the Church.

In a letter released following a May 18-22 meeting in San José, Costa Rica the Bishops, who call themselves the Centro Global, [Global Center], distanced themselves from the hardline approach taken by the American Church and its allies amongst the “Global North” and the opposing “Global South” coalition of dioceses in Asia, Africa and the Americas.

This growing “polarization” between the “non reconcilable” truth claims of the “Global North and Global South” had placed the “unity of the Communion at risk” they said, noting “in the midst of this painful controversy, we do not identify with either side, because they don’t fully represent the spirit of our thoughts.”

Among the signatories to the letter were supporters of the progressive agenda including two of the consecrating bishops for Gene Robinson, El Salvador Bishop Martin Barahona and Central Ecuador Bishop Wilfredo Ramos, along with American bishops who strongly opposed his consecration: Colombian Bishop Francisco Duque and Honduran Bishop Lloyd Allen.

The Centro Global bishops acknowledged that within their ranks were those who “hold different positions on the themes that are presently discussed in the Communion.” However this “plurality and diversity” had been a “rich source for growth, rather than a cause for controversy and division.”

Echoing the call of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams the Centro Global bishops affirmed their intention to maintain Eucharistic fellowship across doctrinal and party boundaries and invited the bishops of the Anglican Communion “to join together and work for an effective reconciliation, interdependence and unity in the diversity of our family of faith and so preserve the valuable legacy of which we are guardians.”

Their meeting in San José left the Centro Global bishops with the firm “conviction that, [the Anglican Communion] will make it with God’s blessings. Of this, we are sure and now we return to our dioceses comforted and full of joy and hope.”