Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sunday -- early afternoon posts.

Germans reconsider religion

September 17th, 2006 posted by kendall at 1:48 pm

This is the continent where some leading thinkers are talking about a “post-Christian Europe.” And this is the country of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who infamously quipped, “God is dead.”

So some may be surprised at the receptivity in Germany this week to visiting Pope Benedict XVI’s message: Europe needs to rethink the thesis that secularism and economic progress go hand in hand. Coincidentally, some of Europe’s stalwart secularists are challenging the idea that religious reasoning inevitably retreats from the public sphere as countries modernize.

Germans themselves are modeling a growing acceptance of religion’s role in shaping society:

• Head of state Angela Merkel - the daughter of a Protestant minister - this month renewed calls to include a specific reference in the EU constitution to Europe’s Christian heritage.

• There are more theologians in the German parliament than in any other Western parliament, including the US Congress. And when the last government cabinet was sworn in, nearly every member - instead of the usual 50 percent - opted for the religious version of the inaugural oath, according to Karsten Voigt, coordinator of German-American relations at the foreign ministry.

• In a recent survey gauging the perceived credibility of different professions, pastors were ranked in the Top 5.

• German students must take either ethics or religion classes, though Berlin recently made ethics compulsory, and religion optional. Mr. Voigt reports that “more and more” high schoolers in the state of Brandenburg are opting for religion too.

• Church attendance is no longer declining, and in one state the number of young churchgoers is going up, says Voigt.

Approximately two thirds of the 82 million citizens are church members. About 26 million are Roman Catholics, and a similar number are Protestants.

“Germany is a place where one can imagine a rethinking of this stultifying secularism and the moral relativism” prevalent in much of northern and western Europe today, says George Weigel, an American biographer of Pope John Paul II, and the author of “The Cube and the Cathedral: Europe, America, and Politics Without God.”

Read it all.

Diocese of Quincy Press Release

September 17th, 2006 posted by kendall at 1:48 pm

Diocese of Quincy Concludes Special Synod In Galesburg

The clergy and elected leaders of the Diocese of Quincy, a diocese of 2200 Anglicans headquartered in Peoria [Illinois] under the leadership of Bishop Keith Ackerman, has taken action to further distance themselves from the troubled Episcopal Church in the U.S.

At a special Diocesan Synod on Saturday [September 16, 2006] that was planned just after the Episcopal Church’s General Convention in June, the Quincy Diocese passed a strong resolution affirming the historic faith and practice of the Christian Church and repudiating actions of the Episcopal Church’s national leadership that have sent the denomination into turmoil over the last three years and has driven many Episcopalians around the country to other churches.

The Special synod was marked by a spirit of harmony, unity and grace as the clergy and delegates passed all resolutions by a wide margin. An air of mutual respect filled the church at Grace Church , Galesburg where the synod met.

The Synod reaffirmed its relationship to the Archbishop of Canterbury in England, the spiritual head of the 80 million member Anglican Communion. As both an evangelical and catholic church, the Diocese made clear that it upholds historic Christianity grounded in the Bible. The Quincy Diocese, along with the wider Anglican Communion, has rejected revisions of faith and revisions of moral teaching on sexuality and marriage that have splintered the Episcopal Church over the last several decade.

The Diocese of Quincy also joined seven other dioceses of the Anglican Communion Network in asking the Archbishops of the Anglican Communion to provide someone other than Episcopal Presiding Bishop-elect Katharine Jefferts Schori to preside over the Network dioceses. Quincy and the other dioceses are unwilling to accept the leadership of the controversial Schori, who in 2003 agreed to the election of Gene Robinson, a practicing homosexual living with another man, to become Bishop of New Hampshire. Schori has also approved blessings of homosexual marriages in the Diocese of Nevada where she serves until taking office as Presiding Bishop in early November.

The Diocese of Quincy will gather again for its regular Synod in October at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Peoria to consider what further actions may be needed at that time.

The Diocese of Quincy seeks alternative oversight

September 17th, 2006 posted by kendall at 1:42 pm

A special synod of the Episcopal Diocese of Quincy decided Saturday to seek oversight from an Anglican province other than the Episcopal Church.
About 100 priests and deacons and 50 lay people overwhelmingly approved resolutions that “further distance themselves from the troubled Episcopal Church in the U.S.,” according to a diocesan news release.

The request, made during the meeting at Grace Church in Galesburg, will go to the archbishop of Canterbury and leaders of the other Anglican Communion provinces.

The Diocese of Quincy joins seven other U.S. dioceses, including the southeast Illinois Diocese of Springfield, that have asked for alternative oversight since the Episcopal Church’s triennial convention in June failed to declare a moratorium on election of noncelibate homosexual bishops. The moratorium had been requested by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and other Anglican primates.

Bishop Keith Ackerman said the convention’s actions could cause the U.S. province to be expelled from the 80 million-member Anglican Communion. The west-central Illinois diocese’s constitution requires it to remain in good relationship with the other

Anglican provinces, Ackerman said.

The bishop said the day’s focus was on “how can we stay in the Anglican Communion?”

“That’s really the bottom line,” Ackerman said.

Read it all.

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