Wednesday, October 28, 2009


A very nice way of saying you are low on funds is to not say anything at all. And invite others in under the guise that all intentions are of good will.

The one sentence that sticks out at me in the article below is the following:

"The process will enable groups of Anglicans to become Catholic and recognize the pope as their leader."

A) A true non-elitist Christian church should always recognize Jesus Christ as their leader. Not the pope.

B) The Catholic Church's rules are made up and agreed upon by a Board of Directors (The Holy See). The Board of Directors wanted a broader range of shareholders. My, how mergers and acquisitions can produce great media PR opportunities.

C) Matthew 15:8-9 "All of you praise me with your words, but you never really think about me. It is useless to worship me, when you teach rules made up by humans."

D) The Catholic Church's obsession with social issues such as gay rights and married / women priests get put on the back burner at the prospect of Anglicans making the coffers fuller, don't they?

E) While I think an alliance between these two groups will produce some good things, it should be done for one reason and one reason only: because they all share in the true Love of Christ and for others. I wish full transparency was the case here, but, as it goes with any institutional bureacracy, I'm afraid it is not.


Vatican welcomes Anglicans into Catholic Church

ROME, Italy (CNN) -- The Vatican said Tuesday it has worked out a way for groups of Anglicans who are dissatisfied with their faith to join the Catholic Church. The process will enable groups of Anglicans to become Catholic and recognize the pope as their leader, yet have parishes that retain Anglican rites, Vatican officials said. The move comes some 450 years after King Henry VIII broke from Rome and created the Church of England, forerunner of the Anglican Communion. The parishes would be led by former Anglican clergy -- including those who are married -- who would be ordained as Catholic priests, said the Rev. James Massa, ecumenical director of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. "This sets up a process for whole groups of Anglicans -- clergy and laity -- to enter in to the Catholic Church while retaining their forms of worship and other Anglican traditions," Massa said. The number of Anglicans wishing to join the Catholic Church has increased in recent years as the Anglican Church has welcomed the ordination of women and openly gay clergy and blessed homosexual partnerships, said Cardinal William Joseph Levada, the head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Their talks with the Vatican recently began speeding up, Vatican officials said, leading to Tuesday's announcement. "The Catholic Church is responding to the many requests that have been submitted to the Holy See from groups of Anglican clergy and faithful in different parts of the world who wish to enter into full visible communion," Levada said. Levada said "hundreds" of Anglicans around the world have expressed their desire to join the Catholic Church. Among them are 50 Anglican bishops, said Archbishop Joseph Augustine Di Noia of the Congregation for Divine Worship. While married Anglican priests may be ordained as Catholic priests, the same does not apply to married Anglican bishops, Levada said. "We've been praying for this unity for 40 years and we've not anticipated it happening now," Di Noia said. "The Holy Spirit is at work here." One interested group is the Traditional Anglican Communion, an association of churches that is separate from the Anglican Communion and has hundreds of thousands of members worldwide. The TAC in 2007 petitioned the Vatican for unity with the Catholic Church with the stipulation that the group retain its Anglican rites. The TAC's primate, Archbishop John Hepworth of Australia, said in a statement Tuesday that the Vatican's announcement "more than matches the dreams we dared to include in our petition two years ago." That is because the Vatican's move involves not only the TAC but other Anglican groups that want to unite with the Catholic Church, said the Right Rev. Daren K. Williams, bishop ordinary of the western diocese of the Anglican Church of America, which is part of the TAC. The Vatican has yet to release all details of the offer, and the TAC's leaders will meet and discuss how to respond when it does, Williams said. But Williams said he believes much of TAC will respond favorably. Williams, who also is rector of All Saints Anglican Church in Fountain Valley, California, said his parishioners have generally been "very warmly receiving" Tuesday's announcement. "It is encouraging for them to know their worship experience wouldn't be turned upside down by the Roman Catholic Church," Williams said. "The person in the pew should see very little difference in the way we pray. We might be asked to pray aloud for any pope who happens to be in office, in addition to praying for our primate. "Really, there'd be very little other difference." The parishes retaining the Anglican rites would answer not to Catholic bishops but to regional or nationwide "personal ordinariates" who would report to the pope, Massa said. Those officials often will be former Anglican clergy, Vatican officials said. The Church of England said the move ends a "period of uncertainty" for Anglican groups who wanted more unity with the Catholic Church. Both groups have a "substantial overlap in faith, doctrine and spirituality" and will continue to hold official dialogues, the archbishops of Canterbury and Westminster said in a joint statement. "Those Anglicans who have approached the Holy See have made clear their desire for full, visible unity in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church," Levada said. "At the same time, they have told us of the importance of their Anglican traditions of spirituality and worship for their faith journey." Preserving Anglican traditions, such as mass rites, adds to the diversity of the Catholic Church, he said. "The unity of the church does not require a uniformity that ignores cultural diversity, as the history of Christianity shows," he said. "Moreover, the many diverse traditions present in the Catholic Church today are all rooted in the principle articulated by St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians: 'There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism.' "

Friday, October 9, 2009

God Is Within

This article speaks for itself. It is not surprising that faith and spirituality are evolving and taking on individually organic forms in peoples' lives. I think we've come full circle into an era where "God is within".

I attribute this in part to the age in which we live where ANY AND ALL questions CAN be asked without being socially shunned. Nothing is taboo and many atrocities of organized religions have been exposed over the past decade. The truth always surfaces. Information and exploration into religious questions can be accessed through many different sources (the Internet being one of these sources) and I think people are becoming more reliant on their own internal interpretation of God and the Bible and are acknowledging and abandoning the flawed religious institutions that all seem to be wrought with abuse and politics.

"The Most High does not dwell in houses made with hands..."-- Acts 7:48

Where Have All the Christians Gone?
Bruce Feiler - AP / - September 25, 2009

The number of people who claim no religious affiliation, meanwhile, has doubled since 1990 to fifteen percent, its highest point in history. Christianity is plummeting in America, while the number of non-believers is skyrocketing. A shocking new study of Americans’ religious beliefs shows the beginnings of a major realignment in Americans’ relationship with God. The American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) reveals that Protestants now represent half of all Americans, down almost 20 percent in the last twenty years. In the coming months, America will become a minority Protestant nation for the first time since the pilgrims. The number of people who claim no religious affiliation, meanwhile, has doubled since 1990 to fifteen percent, its highest point in history. Non-believers now represent the third-highest group of Americans, after Catholics and Baptists.Other headlines:

1) The number of Christians has declined 12% since 1990, and is now 76%, the lowest percentage in American history.
2) The growth of non-believers has come largely from men. Twenty percent of men express no religious affiliation; 12% of women.
3) Young people are fleeing faith. Nearly a quarter of Americans in their 20’s profess no organized religion.
4) But these non-believers are not particularly atheist. That number hasn’t budged and stands at less than 1 percent. (Agnostics are similarly less than 1 percent.) Instead, these individuals have a belief in God but no interest in organized religion, or they believe in a personal God but not in a formal faith tradition.

The implications for American society are profound. Americans’ relationship with God, which drove many of the country’s great transformations from the pilgrims to the founding fathers, the Civil War to the civil rights movement, is still intact. Eighty-two percent of Americans believe in God or a higher power. But at the same time, the study offers yet another wake-up call for religious institutions. First, catering to older believers is a recipe for failure; younger Americans are tuning out. Second, Americans are interested in God, but they don’t think existing institutions are helping them draw closer to God. Finally, Americans’ interest in religion has not always been stable. It dipped following the Revolution and again following Civil War. In both cases it rebounded because religious institutions adapted and found new ways of relating to everyday Americans. Today, the rise of disaffection is so powerful that different denominations needs to band together to find a shared language of God that can move beyond the fading divisions of the past and begin moving toward a partnership of different-but-equal traditions. Or risk becoming Europe, where religion is fast becoming an afterthought.