Friday, 19 February 2010
This fact should be at the heart of all our discussions regarding birth control and euthanasia rather than the sanctity of life per se.
Life itself has no worth. It is without value. Our actions, which are informed by our thoughts, alone have value - all our actions. Therefore, we should be mindful to train our thoughts to produce actions of positive value rather than negative value.
We are justified by our actions and our actions are justified by our belief (however you may define it) in God. This is because God is that against which our actions are valued at the same time as being that which values our actions.
LEAVE IT LAY WHERE JESUS FLANG IT:
During the autumn months, I worked with many others in this Diocese to write some Resolutions for the Diocese to consider --to encourage the blessing of same-sex couples and to accept LGBTQ persons in ordained ministry... The Bishop himself said he hoped these things would happen by June of this year. He said it TO. MY. FACE.
Then during the Council, in his address he said this: “I do regret that, in this address, some important matters in our common life will seem to be slighted while others are omitted, such as the several topics arising from the debate on sexuality. But I look for us to address these issues thoroughly in regional forums in 2010. It is unfortunate that some of the weightiest deliberations that come before us cannot be adequately and justly dealt with in the very short time allowed by Annual Council...”
I held my breath.... but I was confident the Resolutions would pass --there is a ground swell. Truly.
Then Council was interrupted by snow, we debated the Resolutions --but Council was adjourned to meet and conclude at a later date.
That later date is this Saturday. The work by the Resolutions Committee was published. Our Resolutions are gone. Gone.
Most people do nothing about injustice. Some people, such as myself, moan loudly about it. A very few people actually get off their backsides and do something practical. Margaret is one of the latter. Unfortunately, such people risk the most and the constant set backs can be very draining. Please go read the rest of Margaret's post in which she talks about how this latest set back has led to making big changes in her ministry and offer her your prayers and support.
SKATING IN THE GARDENS IN HIGH HEALS UNDER MY ALB:
I noticed last night she didn't come up to bed with me which was a little unusual. Then this morning when she did not come to eat I knew something was wrong. I found her sitting in the basement, lethargic and with labored breathing. By the time I got her to the vet she was having an extremely difficult time breathing and so we put her out of her pain. She had fluid on the lungs. Lots of reasons for that. It was something of a shock since it came on so suddenly. My pretty little Mollie. I'm so glad I took her in and gave her the home she so obviously longed for.
ZEN AND THE ART OF TIGHTROPE WALKING:
I always find when I come back from a trip or a holiday, I have a strong sense of anti-climax, like a sudden surge of depression. Last night I was very relieved to be home, and a few hours later we were watching a tv programme we all enjoy when I noticed blood in my dog’s mouth. Now, she’s got cancer of the tongue and her tongue has been in a mess for a while, but the amount of blood that appeared was alarming. She’s been treated for an infection in it, and what I think happened was the pocket of infection emptied, and bled clean. Needless to say she was unconcerned and after we mopped up the mess, it stopped. By the time we went to bed, she was OK. This morning, she was also fine. Her tongue looked ok; well, as ok as it’s ever likely to be and we headed out for a long walk. As I may have said before, she’ll be fine until she’s not. Last night I had a real fright that suddenly she was not fine. I slept badly. I couldn’t stop shaking for hours.
To all intents and purposes, there was nothing wrong this morning that wasn’t already wrong, but today has been a tough old day. Dog walkers talk. We stop and talk about our dogs; it’s the one thing we have in common and today I talked to several people. Holly’s cancer came up. I was upbeat and cheerful about it, but the second time, after I headed up the beach, I found myself crying.
By the time I got off the beach and into the woods, I was sobbing. Thankfully no one was about so I didn’t have to worry. I was thinking about all the much loved animals we’ve shared our lives with and what sent me almost into hysterics was the sudden memory that it’s actually been ten years this year since Watson, my legendary ginger tom, died. Ten years. It doesn’t feel like it. I miss him still. I miss William, my big black shaggy cat, who slept on my pillow curled round my head, now gone twelve years.
I sat under an old oak and howled for a few minutes. Holly came over and put her head on my knee and we sat there like that for a while until I couldn’t let myself stay any longer.
Thursday, 18 February 2010
The Wurzels came from Somerset.
Claiming it cannot operate its 80-year-old foster-care program if the city somehow "forces" the Church to officiate gay unions and recognize same-sex partners of employees, the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington is getting out of the foster care business before the M-word comes to the nation's capital. The church's Catholic Charities unit, which receives $20 million annually from the city (read: taxpayers), on Feb. 1 transferred its 43 children, 35 families and seven staff members to the National Center for Children and Families, another foster care provider, reports the Washington Post.
"Now we're in a position where we need to scrutinize everything," says Catholic Charities chief Edward Orzechowski. "From our point of view, it's important that we don't in any way compromise our religious teaching."
Full report at QUEERTY.
JAKARTA, Indonesia — Conservationists slammed a government plan Wednesday that would allow Indonesians to keep endangered Sumatran tigers as pets if they give a $100,000 deposit and build a large enough enclosure.
It is an open secret that many wealthy people illegally keep tigers in Indonesia, where owning the large cats is seen as a status symbol, though the number held is not known. They also have been known to decorate their homes with tiger skins and heads.
"We hope that this program will eradicate poaching as a means of fulfilling a high demand by rich people in Indonesia ... who want to have tigers as pets or dead tigers for their home decoration," said the government's head of protection and conservation, Darori.
COMMENT: Kill the rich.
Authorities in Malaysia caned three Muslim women for having extramarital sex, making them the first women in the country to receive such punishment under Islamic law, an official said Wednesday. Each woman received between four and six strokes of a rattan cane, the official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make public statements.
Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein announced the caning earlier Wednesday. He did not release details of their identities or when they had been sentenced but said that one of the women was released last week after spending a month in prison. Home Ministry officials did not describe where on their bodies they received the strikes, but authorities have previously said that the caning of women would be done with a thin stick on the back - not the buttocks.
It was not clear whether the men who had sex with the women were also caned.
BUT, don't you lot think for a moment that Islam is a sexist religion. The caning service they offer is available to everyone regardless of gender.
From ARABIAN BUSINESS:
A Saudi court has sentenced an employee of the kingdom's religious police to 120 lashes for marrying six women. The man said he was not educated enough to know that Islam does not allow men to marry more than four women at any one time, said an official at Ahad al-Massarha court in the southern province of Jazan.
"The judge did not believe him. Nobody believed him. I honestly did not," the official told Reuters.
Victims of clerical child sexual abuse and groups representing them reacted with a mix of anger and disappointment to a Vatican statement issued after a papal meeting with Irish bishops.
Marie Collins, who was abused by a Dublin priest, told Catholic News Service that she thought it was "pathetic" that the statement was "so far away from accepting that there was a policy of coverup."
"I wasn't expecting much from the meeting, but the fact that the resignation of bishops was not even on the agenda had been insulting," she said.
Irish bishops visited Rome Feb. 15-16 for a summit with Pope Benedict XVI and senior officials from the Roman Curia. Following the meeting a Vatican statement said "together they examined the failure of Irish church authorities for many years to act effectively in dealing with cases involving the sexual abuse of young people by some Irish clergy and religious."
Christine Buckley, who was abused in a home run by the Sisters of Mercy, said in a statement that the meeting was "an absolute and utter charade from beginning to end."
"It was a pretend slap on the hand from Pope Benedict," she said.
Buckley said she had hoped the pope would announce that he was coming to Ireland to meet with victims of institutional and sexual abuse.
"He has washed his hands of it," she said, appealing to Pope Benedict to include a visit to Ireland in his itinerary when he visits Britain in September. "I really thought he would have said that all bishops who knew about abuses had to resign. And to reinforce this, he was coming to Ireland and (would) meet victims and abusers. But none of this happened. We got absolutely nothing from it."
Full report at THE NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER.
Thanks to WhiteyCat for sending
this report into MadPriest Towers.
‘A voice for the voiceless in the Anglican Central African Province’
Homophobia in Africa a compassionate view to counter the infamous Nolbert Kunonga
Such intrusions into Africa have been eagerly taken up by renegade ‘Archbishop’ Nolbert Kunonga, a Zimbabwean bishop who broke away from the Church of the Province of Central Africa in 2008. He has repeatedly accused the Central African Bishops of being gay, pro-gay or variations on this theme as an excuse for his actions against Anglican Christians of the Diocese of Harare. Kunonga, a sometime protégé of former Archbishop Bernard Malango, has been closely implicated in numerous acts of terror and violence against worshippers. Kunonga has been instrumental in resisting both Bishops Sebastian Bakare and latterly Bishop Chad Gandiya in their efforts to oversee the Diocese of Harare.
ANGLICAN-INFORMATION have received a letter, parts of which we publish below, that shows a rather more compassionate and reflective view from within the Diocese of Harare. Reflecting the current febrile atmosphere we have withheld the names of the senders for their own security.
Hats off to Bishop Chad Gandiya!
Please publish this article for the benefit of faithful Anglicans in Harare:
‘The downfall of the former Bishop of Harare, Nolbert Kunonga, was a result of his dinosaur mentality, by which he has remained trapped in the past. Today’s Church needs progressive bishops who are in step with the changing world, where human rights are respected and observed without reservation. Time and culture continue to transform the face of the earth, as humankind becomes more civilized and liberation from the mindset of the middle ages continues. Kunonga has been a cause of immense pain because of unaccommodating thinking, which has seen many leave the Anglican Church, even before the present crisis, for churches where the human nature is better comprehended in line with a transforming world of science.
Sexual preference, or homosexuality is not a sin as Kunonga would like to have people believe. This is a condition over which no one has any control, a genetically motivated behaviour. We are profoundly grateful for the emergence of such progressive bishops such as our beloved Bishop Chad Gandiya, who realize that homosexuality is not simply a scourge of darkness. This reality has remained suppressed because of backward and unreasonable bishops such as Kunonga. Such people are concealed behind conservatism, and offer utterly nonsensical words such as orthodoxywhen they mean a particular view of sexuality.
The former bishop Kunonga, or better, the disgraced and defrocked clergyman he is, deserves the present desertion by most, if not all, the faithful because he continues to profess archaic ideas of a long dead world. Homosexuals and lesbians exist as a fact, and caring bishops such as Chad Gandiya, should continue to hold high the flag of human rights. With our beloved Chad Gandiya at the helm of the Anglican Church, Zimbabwe will at last be free from an oppressive mentality and experience growth in a free society.
Hats off to Bishop Chad Gandiya, who joins other luminaries such as bishops Sebastian Bakare, Albert Chama and Trevor Mwamba who have openly resisted the persecution of gay and lesbian people’.
Wednesday, 17 February 2010
Paul Richardson was given a made up job in Newcastle on full pay by the Church of England when he wanted to leave his job of bishop of Papua New Guinea (via a brief stint as diocesan bishop of Wangaratta in Australia, where there were certain problems) and return to be near his mum in England. They foisted this arrogant misogynist on our liberal minded bishop who had to put up with his media whoring and troublemaking in our diocese for ten years or so (he basically made himself the flying bishop of women haters in Newcastle Diocese and stirred them up something rotten). Not only that, but the unmarried, boyish looking Richardson also took a load of cash every week from The Church of England Newspaper (weird bedfellows these haters choose). Then he retires and a month or two later, he pops down the road to Durham and popes.
And after cynically taking the cash and, no doubt a decent bishop's pension, he has the bare faced, baby faced cheek to say:
“I would have become a Catholic even if the Church of England wasn’t ordaining women bishops,” he says. “In a sense I feel it’s what I’ve always been, so this is like coming home.”
Damien Thompson has the full story at THE TELEGRAPH.
ARTE Y MISA is not as good as PAGAN SPHINX'S art blog because it hasn't got pictures of nudey women on it. But, allowing for that, it's still worth a visit. So, go visit!
The Church of England has launched a campaign through Manchester's And Partners to engage with a new audience, using a dedicated website to allow people to submit their personal prayers and thoughts, which will then be "offered to God by a bishop." The 'say one for me' initiative launched today, Ash Wednesday, and will run throughout Lent.
The prayers will be relayed up to God by one of the Bishops of Birmingham, Huntingdon, Leicester, Manchester, Worcester or the Archbishop of York in their own personal submissions.
The portal is being marketed as "a web version of the public prayer boards popular at many cathedrals and churches."
COMMENT: I'm surprised thousands of Christian bloggers throughout the world didn't think of this one years ago.
At OCICBW... we can't guarantee that a real life (human) bishop will send your prayers heavenward. But we do get the "odd" bishop dropping by occasionally, so you never know your luck (well, I do, but I don't want to go on about it).
However, if you don't mind your prayers slumming it with the humble prayers of sinners and ne'erdowells, please post them in the comment facility below this post.
From David G:
My Father died at 8:35 pm EST.(2-16-10) I'm a mess...and I'm okay!! ...but...wellll
I just wanted to let you know...
all this life is ash wednesday
Malawi has been criticised by international groups for the prosecution of Steven Monjeza, 26, and 20-year-old Tiwonge Chimbalanga, jailed in December for holding a wedding ceremony. The men were charged with unnatural acts and gross indecency and could be imprisoned for up to 14 years if found guilty. A 21-year-old man was recently sentenced to two months' community service for putting up pro-gay rights posters, and a senior minister expelled a woman from her town even after a court acquitted her on charges of having sex with two girls.
Phumi Mtetwa, executive director of the Lesbian and Gay Equality Project, based in South Africa, said the recent series of incidents was no accident but rather the work of US evangelical Christian groups. "It's very well calculated. It's exploding at the moment but it's been happening for a year and a half. We have proof of American evangelical churches driving the religious fundamentalism in Uganda."
Full report at THE GUARDIAN:
Thanks to Greg for sending this story into MadPriest Towers.
Music-lovers should give up their iPods for a day during Lent. Other suggestions for a ‘carbon fast’ included eating less meat, flushing the toilet less often and eating by candlelight.
‘Instead of giving up chocolate for Lent, why not fast for justice... to help those suffering from the effects of climate change,’ said Bishop of Liverpool James Jones.
COMMENT: Has Bishop Jones finally lost it completely? No iPods? Smelly toilets? What does he think we are - savages?
A Vatican theologian said today that veneration of relics ran the risk of compensating for empty churches with a boom in religious happenings, substituting miracle-performing sensationalism for authentic faith.
The warning came as pilgrims began queuing to pray before the 13th-century remains of St Anthony of Padua, one of the Catholic world's most popular saints. The skeleton of the saint, who is credited by many Catholics with miracle-working powers, went on display in a glass case at St Anthony's Basilica in Padua to mark the transfer of his remains to their final resting place in February 1350. Today is also known as the Feast of the Tongue because when St Anthony's coffin was opened 30 years after his death his tongue was found to be miraculously incorrupt, seen as a divine tribute to his gift of preaching.
Monsignor Pietro Principe, a theologian whose Biblical commentaries are published by the Vatican, said that the "display of the mortal remains of saints and the cult of relics are part of our tradition. However we nowadays run the risk of crossing the boundary from popular devotion to superstition."
COMMENT: You think, Father Principe?
More than 150 clergy from across Iowa have signed a letter of support for equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. The letter was announced by Interfaith Alliance of Iowa Action Fund, a statewide organization that frequently advocates for civil rights. The group delivered the letter yestoday to lawmakers during a press conference at the Capitol.
February 16, 2010
Dear Senators and Representatives,
As clergy representing a broad spectrum of theological beliefs, we join together to state our public support of civil marriage equality for same-gender couples and our opposition to any current or future legislation diminishing the marriage rights rightfully given by Iowa’s Supreme Court. We are compelled by our deepest beliefs to stand for fairness in our common civic life. We oppose the use of sacred texts and religious traditions to deny equal protection and responsibility under the law for gay and lesbian couples.
From a religious perspective, marriage is about a couple entering into a holy covenant with their God and making a long-term commitment to share life’s joys and sorrows. Moreover, as many faith traditions affirm, where there is love, the sacred is in our midst. This belief is the same for couples comprised of a man and a woman, two women, or two men. As such, a marriage based in love and commitment must be honored and supported.
Civilly, marriage is commonly valued in society because it creates stable, committed relationships; provides a means to protect and be responsible for each other; and nurtures the individual, the couple, and children. All families must be supported in building stable, empowering, and respectful relationships. Marriage equality is a means to strengthen families and is especially beneficial to children who are raised by gay and lesbian couples.
We affirm freedom of conscience in this matter. Marriage equality honors the religious convictions of those communities and clergy who officiate at, and bless, same-gender marriages. We recognize the state does not and should not require clergy or religious traditions who disagree with same-gender marriage to officiate at, or bless, the ceremonies of gay and lesbian couples. The state must respect the convictions of all religious groups and individuals, while also allowing the fundamental right of marriage to be granted fairly to all people.
As clergy, we stand together in support of civil marriage equality for ALL families. We ask for your support of civil marriage equality and ask that you oppose any resolution or attempt to diminish the marriage rights of Iowa’s families.
Bishop Alan Scarfe; Bishop; Episcopal Diocese of Iowa et al.
Click HERE for full list of signatories.
Monday, 15 February 2010
For more than three and a half centuries, the death of René Descartes one winter's day in Stockholm has been attributed to the ravages of pneumonia on a body unused to the Scandinavian chill. But in a book released after years spent combing the archives of Paris and the Swedish capital, one Cartesian expert has a more sinister theory about how the French philosopher came to his end. According to Theodor Ebert, an academic at the University of Erlangen, Descartes died not through natural causes but from an arsenic-laced communion wafer given to him by a Catholic priest.
Ebert believes that Jacques Viogué, a missionary working in Stockholm, administered the poison because he feared Descartes's radical theological ideas would derail an expected conversion to Catholicism by the monarch of protestant Sweden. "It is very likely that he saw in Descartes an obstacle to the Queen's conversion to the Catholic faith," Ebert told Le Nouvel Observateur newspaper.
THE TOP TEN (In order of release)
1. Revolver (the Beatles)
2. If I could Only Remember My Name (David Crosby)
3. The Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd)
4. Rumours (Fleetwood Mac)
5. The Nightfly (Donald Fagen)
6. Thriller (Michael Jackson)
7. Graceland (Paul Simon)
8. Achtung Baby (U2)
9. What's the story Morning Glory (Oasis)
10. Supernatural (Carlos Santana)
COMMENT: Well, we knew they would never go for "Rubber Soul."
The Church of England has never ditched patronage. It is far too easy for a few, aggressive people to get their own way in the election of bishops mainly because it is so easy for serving bishops to make sure their successor will be in their own image (a recent example of this being the replacement of Dow in Carlisle with Bishop Dow Lite). The vacancy in see committees are just quangos and, although they will pay lip service to the concept of listening to the people of the diocese, in practice, like in all walks of life, it is only a few of their number that have the integrity to put other people's views before their own.
I don't know what the answer is. I don't like the competitive element that is so much a part of TEC's, democratic election system (although it's a damn sight fairer than the English one). Perhaps the apostles had it right. Put the names of all possibles into a hat and draw one out. If the Church did a deal with one of the leading bookmakers we could even make some good money out of it. And, at least, it would make it possible for geographical regions to be rescued from an eternity of one churchmanship, whatever the existing ethos might be.
COMMENT: I am, probably, the least qualified male on the planet to talk about video games. I can remember playing "Space Invaders" in pubs when I was a young lad and Mrs MadPriest and myself had a rather pathetic go on a game called "Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom" in a seaside arcade about twenty years ago in which the thugees made mincemeat out of us. And, I did have a look at a promo for something called "Doom" that came with a Mac magazine over ten years ago which, as it entailed trying to shoot as many dogs as possible, did not stay open on my screen for more than a couple of minutes.
So, I can't really comment as to whether some of them should be banned or not. I assume that the same rules apply to video games as they do to video films, that they were certified for specific age groups. But I may be wrong about this.
However, there does appear to me to be a difference between video games and films. To a large extent horror films, including slasher films, exist to satisfy the viewer's need to be frightened and, maybe in some cases, to watch bloodshed and violence. I don't know for certain, but it seems to me that violent video games exist to satisfy the player's need to win and, maybe in some cases, their need to commit violence, in the same way that a flight simulator is for people who want to become pilots.
So, I have a similar view of people who get their kicks from violent video games as I do to people who get their kicks from fox hunting. Wanting to hurt is part of the male psyche, as is rape, but most of us rise above and control these base instincts. Pretending to kill is, in essence, of the same level vileness as pretending to rape. I doubt if there are many psychologists who would recommend rapists deal with their pent up sex drive by watching violent pornography, so, maybe it is not a good idea for potentially violent males to deal with their aggression by playing graphically violent video games. But, on the whole I would go for self-censorship rather than legal censorship and encouraging the video "Comic Book Guys" to address their addiction by getting attractive women to go up to them regularly, look at them pitifully and say to them "You, poor, sad loser. Get a life!"
I sincerely thought that the reason the Quakers hadn't launched a revenge attack on those ne'erdowell Mennonites following the drive-by tasering incident was that they are a righteous people intent on following our Lord's instruction to turn the other cheek. But, nothing could be further from the truth.
The truth, as the following headline proves, is that they are just a bunch of pansies who can get roughed up by even the most insignificant opponent. Obviously their no revenge policy is down to pure cowardice.
From SPORTING LIFE:
MadOne -- Molly the WonderDog has just had a bad and long seizure and is still wondering about quite freaked out. Prayers please.
(Apostle of Sweden)
pray for us.
(founder of SPCK and SPG)
pray for us