Musings of an Anglican/Episcopal Priest

Month: August 2005 (Page 1 of 3)

Cardinal Ratzinger’s Stations of the Cross

The Ninth station… I think its time for it again. Cardinal Ratzinger’s Stations of the Cross: “Lord, your Church often seems like a boat about to sink, a boat taking in water on every side. In your field we see more weeds than wheat. The soiled garments and face of your Church throw us into confusion. Yet it is we ourselves who have soiled them! It is we who betray you time and time again, after all our lofty words and grand gestures. Have mercy on your Church; within her too, Adam continues to fall. When we fall, we drag you down to earth, and Satan laughs, for he hopes that you will not be able to rise from that fall; he hopes that being dragged down in the fall of your Church, you will remain prostrate and overpowered. But you will rise again. You stood up, you arose and you can also raise us up. Save and sanctify your Church. Save and sanctify us all. ”

From Bishop Ravenscroft: “Baptism”

Ravenscroft: Baptism:

“That the arguments drawn from the analogy between Christian baptism and Jewish circumcision, have been objected to and considered irrelevant by those who deny infants the privileges of baptism, is very certain, as it also is, that this objection has been pushed so far by ignorant and heated minds as to separate the New from the Old Testament altogether. But this proves only to what lengths men will go in favor of a particular notion, and that they will even risk the certainty and obligation of the Bible, rather than yeild a distinguishing though untenable point. For, beyond dispute, if you destroy the connexion between the Old and New Testaments, you deprive us of the whole Bible. Uncertainty or disagreement in the revelation of God’s will deprives us of it entirely. Yet nothing is more plan and certain, than that our Lord himself and his inspired apostles viewed this point very differently, and continually refer to the Old Testament, as the ground and authority of those transactions which afterwards formed the New. And St. Paul himself argues this very point on the anaology of the two ordinances, styling Christian’s the circumcision made without hands. And if we would only bear in mind, my friends, that in the sayings of our Lord and his apostles there was no such book as that which we call the New Testament, it might serve to convince us, how dangerous it is to separate the Scriptures from the unity of their purpose, and how certainly unsound and unsafe that form of doctrine must be which requires so desperate a support.”

Bishop John Stark Ravenscroft was the first Bishop of North Carolina, and I am in the process of [slowly] transcribing the first volume of his collected sermons (1856 printing). Books: The New Faithful: Why Young Adults Are Embracing Christian Orthodoxy Books: The New Faithful: Why Young Adults Are Embracing Christian Orthodoxy: “From Publishers Weekly
Carroll’s title promises to answer a question that is not new; the decline of liberal Christianity and the rise of the evangelical movement has been a source of scholarly and journalistic fascination for more than 20 years. Carroll, though, gives an up-to-the-minute account of this phenomenon. She spent a year beginning in 2001 and ending in 2002 conducting research and interviews around the U.S., and, unlike most treatments of the new American passion for orthodoxy, hers focuses on the Catholic and Orthodox Churches as well as evangelical Protestantism. This emphasis on orthodoxy and ancient, liturgical tradition among young members is both novel and timely. While evangelical Protestant mega-churches were the big story 15 years ago, record-breaking conversion rates in conservative Catholic and Orthodox churches are today’s headline. Carroll quotes many young people who yearn for both conservative interpretations of the Bible and the mystery and symbolism of liturgy. Especially popular among young orthodox Catholics is the pre-Vatican II practice of Eucharistic adoration, which involves reverencing a consecrated communion wafer. In her introduction, Carroll makes brief mention of her identification with the young, conservative Catholics she features, and this identification shows in analysis that often bleeds into advocacy. She does occasionally quote critics of the trend toward orthodoxy, but she never fully explores these dimensions. However, this is a book that generously and comprehensively examines a group that is often misunderstood and caricatured.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. “

David B. Hart — The Anti-Theology of the Body

David B. Hart — The Anti-Theology of the Body: “‘The Pornography Culture’ (Summer 2004)

To ask what the legacy of John Paul II’s Theology of the Body might be for future debates in bioethics is implicitly to ask what relevance it has for current debates in bioethics. And this creates something of a problem, because there is a real sense in which it has none at all–at least, if by ‘relevance’ one means discrete logical propositions or policy recommendations that might be extracted from the larger context of John Paul’s teachings so as to ‘advance the conversation’ or ‘suggest a middle course’ or ‘clarify ethical ambiguities.’ Simply said, the book does not offer arguments, or propositions, or (thank God) ‘suggestions.’ Rather, it enunciates with extraordinary fullness a complete vision of the spiritual and corporeal life of the human being; that vision is a self-sufficient totality, which one is free to embrace or reject as a whole. To one who holds to John Paul’s Christian understanding of the body, and so believes that each human being, from the very first moment of existence, emerges from and is called towards eternity, there are no negotiable or even very perplexing issues regarding our moral obligations before the mystery of life. Not only is every abortion performed an act of murder, but so is the destruction of every ‘superfluous’ embryo created in fertility clinics or every embryo produced for the purposes of embryonic stem cell research. The fabrication of clones, the invention of ‘chimeras’ through the miscegenation of human and animal DNA, and of course the termination of supernumerary, dispensable, or defective specimens that such experimentation inevitably entails are in every case irredeemably evil. Even if, say, research on embryonic stem cells could produce therapies that would heal the lame, or reverse senility, or repair a damaged brain, or prolong life, this would in no measure alter the moral calculus of the situation: human life is an infinite good, never an instrumental resource; human life is possessed of an absolute sanctity, and no benefit (real or supposed) can justify its destruction. “

Terry Mattingly — Antioch Exits the NCC

Terry Mattingly — Antioch Exits the NCC: “Summer is the season for church conventions that talk about hot issues.

Last week’s 47th convention of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America passed a resolution that addressed both sexuality and the Iraqi war. But this time the lofty words led to an historic change.

The assembly voted to oppose ‘divisive and dangerous’ positions taken by ‘left-wing’ and ‘right-wing’ groups. To be specific, it rejected ‘support for same-sex marriage, support for abortion, support for ordination of women to Holy Orders, support for the concept of war that is ‘pre-emptive’ or ‘justifiable’ and the labeling of other faiths and their leaders with hateful terminology.’

The archdiocese — a blend of Arab-Americans and many converts — vowed to avoid groups that ‘promulgate these extreme positions’ and renewed its commitment to seek Orthodox unity in North America.

Then the delegates cheered as Metropolitan Philip Saliba announced his decision to withdraw from the National Council of Churches USA.”

The ACLU’s 30 Years War

The ACLU’s 30 Years War: [Note: this regards the Boy Scout jamboree] “The Jamboree took place at Fort A.P. Hill in Caroline County, Virginia–its permanent home since 1981. Yet most coverage of the president’s speech failed to note that the 2005 Jamboree may be the Scouts’ last at the site. On June 22, Illinois federal district court Judge Blanche Manning prohibited the Defense Department from allowing the Scouts to use the site for future Jamborees.

WHY? Well, for the past 25 years the American Civil Liberties Union has conducted a legal war on the Boy Scouts. In 1980, the ACLU filed its first lawsuit seeking to remold the Scouts into an organization more to its liking. Claiming that the Scouts constituted a ‘public accommodation’ for the purpose of state and local civil rights laws, the ACLU brought a discrimination suit against the Scouts on behalf of a troop leader excluded from membership after he took a male date to his senior prom. According to the ACLU throughout years of litigation, the Scouts didn’t believe in anything in particular, so that its associational rights were not infringed by subjugation to the imperatives of state and local discrimination law.”

New Oxford Review

New Oxford Review: ”
Thomas Cranmer: Archbishop of Canterbury, charter member of the Church of England, chief author of the elegantly written Book of Common Prayer, and ringmaster of Henry VIII’s marital three-ring circus; convicted of treason but spared by the new Catholic queen so she could try him for heresy; burned at the stake in 1556. Some have called him a hero, some a villain.

After Henry VIII’s death and the crowning of the boy Edward VI in 1547, Cranmer was one of the overseers of what Diarmaid MacCulloch calls a religious revolution of ruthless thoroughness which was designed to destroy one Church and build another. And yet, as MacCulloch emphasizes, the church we have come to know as Anglican was not at all what Cranmer had in mind, if by Anglican we mean a via media between Protestantism and Catholicism: Cranmer would have violently rejected such a notion: how could one have a middle way between truth and Antichrist?

MacCulloch has written a readable and compelling life of this controversial figure in the crooked and ambiguous English Reformation. MacCulloch is a Lecturer in Church History at Oxford and an ordained deacon of the Church of England (who informs his readers that he retains a wary affection for the Church of England which has shaped my own identity). Having uncovered a number of new facts about Cranmer’s career and thought, he has concluded that those who told the hero-narrative generally distorted fewer elements of the evidence than those who told the villain-narrative and he acknowledges his admiration for the way in which [Cranmer] struggled to a final gesture of certainty in his last hour.”

BBC NEWS | Europe | Pope issues anti-Semitism warning

BBC NEWS | Europe | Pope issues anti-Semitism warning: “Pope Benedict XVI has warned of rising anti-Semitism as he visited a synagogue in Cologne, in his native Germany.

Condemning the ‘unimaginable crime’ of the Holocaust, he joined in prayers before a memorial to the six million Jews killed by Nazi Germany.

The visit was only the second time a head of the Catholic Church has visited a Jewish place of worship.

The Pope is on the second day of a trip originally scheduled for Pope John Paul II, who died in April.

Addressing Jewish leaders at the synagogue, Pope Benedict said: ‘Today, sadly, we are witnessing the rise of new signs of anti-Semitism and various forms of a general hostility toward foreigners.

‘How can we fail to see in this a reason for concern and vigilance?'”

Israpundit: Anglicans have betrayed the Jews, by Dr Irene Lancaster, Manchester University (UK)

Israpundit: Anglicans have betrayed the Jews, by Dr Irene Lancaster, Manchester University (UK):

“‘It frequently appears that there are no limits to the hatred and bias that can be expressed against Israel or Zionism. Anti-Semites take comfort from this hatred, and regard it as a cue to attack Jews at random here in Britain. Anti-Semitic incidents’ levels since the year 2000 have been the worst recorded in decades. The rise in incidents is appalling. This would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.’

The Board of Deputies described its concern at the fact that ‘In 2004, there were 532 anti-Semitic incidents in the UK, which was a 42 per cent increase on the figures for 2003, which was a substantial increase on the figures for 2002.’

THE BBC apologised when the Scottish hymn-writer, the Revd Dr John Bell of the Iona Community, ‘made two factual mistakes’ about the Israeli army on the Radio 4’s Thought for the Day in February.

This was a wake-up call for the Jewish community, even though Christian aid agencies and ‘peace groups’ have for a long time appeared to us to be attacking Israel, and ignoring attempts to hear other points of view. Individual Jews have reported experiencing violent verbal attacks during public pro-Palestinian meetings held in church buildings.

Joanne Green, a Jewish journalist, said: ‘Despite the BBC charter, I can’t think of any programmes that are critical of the Palestinians, despite their kangaroo courts, public hangings, threats to journalists, incitement to racial and religious hatred, corruption, and threats to destroy Israel.”

Hand-Clapping in a Gothic Nave – Christianity Today Magazine

Hand-Clapping in a Gothic Nave – Christianity Today Magazine:

“Recently media have paid much attention to two distinct religion stories. One is the surge of global Pentecostalism. The other is the visibility of mainline Protestantism in U.S. culture wars. Yet the two stories rarely connect, and for good reason.

Pentecostals and mainliners generally glide around each other like icebergs passing in the night. Over the years, Pentecostals have viewed mainliners with deep skepticism, judging them theologically lax and culturally spineless. Mainliners, for their part, have viewed Pentecostals–when they viewed them at all–with disdain, judging them theologically primitive and culturally unwashed. No one took prisoners.”

Thanks to Rich Tatum

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