The Future is Calling Us to Greatness
You’ve seen the warning signs. Is the planet on a pathway to disaster, or is there another option?
What if this time of crisis is an opportunity to awaken to our potential & discover the best of who we can be?
Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow look to “sacred science” for guidance. They call on the wisdom of spirit and faith and the evidence of the sciences to forge a positive future on our evolutionary path.
Come join the conversation. Be inspired.
September 17 & 18, 2013 in Ottawa, ON. Click here for details.
The Christian Development Committee of Ottawa Presbytery announces:
Sacred Science, Evolving Faith, Realistic Hope: How the Marriage of Science & Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World
September 13 & 14, 2013
We are thrilled to welcome Rev. Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow, on their first visit to Ottawa.
Michael‘s bestselling bridge-building book, Thank God for Evolution: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World, was endorsed by 6 Nobel Prize-winning scientists, noted skeptics, and by religious leaders across the spectrum. Connie Barlow is a noted science writer and evolutionary educator.
Friday, September 13, 2013, 7:30 to 9:30 pm – Public Presentation: “Soulful Science and Evolutionary Spirituality: A Realistically Hopeful Vision of the Future” – A dynamic multi-media presentation and lecture by Michael Dowd, followed by Q&A.
Saturday, September 14, 9:30 am to 3:30 pm – Going deeper with Dowd and Barlow: Day of workshops and conversations: ”Evolutionary Parables, Songs, and Sacred Science Anthems”, “Religious Education on a Chaotic, Warming Planet”, ”Stone-Age Instincts/Space-Age Temptations,” and more.
Sunday, September 15 – 10:00 am – Rev. Michael Dowd will offer the Reflection during Worship at Kitchissippi United Church.
Location: City View United Church 6 Epworth Ave Ottawa K2G 2L5
Cost Friday $10 Saturday $20 Full Event $25 (lunch included)
Registration: Ottawa Presbytery ph 613 224 5318 6 Epworth Ave Ottawa K2G 2L5
For more information about Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow’s work, see:
Click HERE to see the interview full size and read Peter Kirkwood’s article on eureka.com out of Australia
Click here for our latest “In The News” posts.
Conservative Christian Teenagers Prepare for Politics Generation Joshua, a program run by homeschooling advocates, aims to get young people working to “help America return to her Judeo-Christian foundations.”
By ROBERT KUNZMAN
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West Hill United Church – Spring 2013 Adult Program
The Last Dance: an intentional look at your end of life
Facilitated and Hosted by: Janice Meighan
This is a Six (6) week series and workshop that is an educational, practical and shared journey. In small and large groups we will discuss dying, death, and living. We will look at historical, cross-cultural, psychological, and spiritual aspects of death. We will look at the law and death, death in the age of technology, your legacy, and examine how you put the sacred into your life and into your death. This is a ‘hands –on’ workshop as well. You will be participating in a few activities and invited to share your thoughts, feelings, concerns and journey with one another. We will see a couple of brief movie clips, listen to music clips, and read some literature (provided). We will share food and laughter!
Two Options to choose from:
Option 1: Wednesday Evenings – beginning April 17, 2013; ending May 22, 2013
7:00 pm – 9:15 pm in the Lounge (break included)
Option 2: Thursday Mornings – beginning April 18, 2013; ending May 23, 2013
10:00 am – 12:15 pm in the Lounge (break included)
Here are the topics:
- 1. Introduction: What we will cover in six weeks; Attitudes towards death – our own and those down through the ages
- 2. Facing Death: Death in an age of technology; Process of death; Near-death experience; sudden, traumatic, illness based deaths
- 3. Death and Taxes: Sorting out the paperwork; Death benefit, estates, Wills, POA’s* –
- Are you prepared? *(This is not a legal seminar and there will be no legal advice given)
- 4. The Celebration: Part I: Funerals, memorials, disposing of the physical body; what do you want?
- 5. The Celebration: Part II: Creating your own Last Dance
- 6. Beyond Death: Various perspectives; Will you go somewhere after death? Is there an after-life? Do you have a soul? Spirit? An Essence? Or Nothing …
Cost and Sign-up:
There is a small cost for this program and workshop: $60.00 and includes photocopied materials, resource development and break-time refreshments.
Please sign up by contacting Janice at or the Office as space is limited.
Telephone: 416-282-8566 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University Congregational United Church of Christ in Seattle, Washington, USA presents Gretta Vosper as part of their 2013 Lecture Series, October 11 – 13, 2013.
As interest in mainline religion dwindles, along with it go the institutions that have long framed our civic discourse. Rather than simply repackaging what they offer, it is crucial that religions find ways to revisit their divisive core narratives and mine them for themes and elements that, connected with new and emerging ideas, can inspire and uplift us. Identifying a noble truth that will call us to a future framed by justice and compassion is our most urgent goal.
Click here for more information.
On June 17 to June 19, 2013 the Madawaska Institute for Culture and Religion will be hosting Dr. Jay McDaniel. A Spirituality for our Time
He will examine the questions of prayer, ecology, interfaith, and aesthetic so we can form a spiritually that will ground us in our faith journey. This will be a follow up to Diana Butler Bass’s comments of being spiritual and religious where we will form a spiritual that is religious and grounds our care of the earth and all who inhabit it.
- Through Buddhism and Christian traditions we will deepen our faith.
- Through poetry and jazz we will celebrate the harmonies of the universe.
- Through conversations we will add intensity to our experience.
- Taking seriously the complexities of our time we will form a theology that will sustain us and our actions. We will work on creating two kinds of harmony: harmony among people and harmony with the earth.
- We will work on a abridge between cultures that is socially just, ecologically sustainable, and spiritually satisfying.
Dr. Jay McDaniel brings with him a grounding in Buddhism and Process Theology. He will also bring his current experience of working with Process Centers in China. He teaches at Hendrix College as Professor of Religion and Director, Steel Center for the Study of Religion and Philosophy. His current work includes the development of an organization called “Ecological Civilization International.”
He says “My aim as a teacher at Hendrix is to help students understand how people live and think in different parts of the world when they are shaped by religious points of view. It is also to help students develop “philosophies” and “theologies” of their own in dialogue with the many religions and also with people who are not interested in religion. I think of myself as a “constructive theologian” and encourage my students to recognize that they, too, can be creative thinkers in their own right. Understanding others and creatively responding to what one learns: these are the guiding ideals of my teaching.”
For more go to http://www.jesusjazzbuddhism.org/
The cost will be $225. It will be located in Burnstown Ont. To register contact George Hermanson at email@example.com
The Humanist Association of London and Area
The Society of Atheists and Agnostics at Western
Present: A Debate!
“Be It Resolved: Geovernment Funding for Roman Catholic Schools Be Abolished”
Justin Trottier (PRO) vs. Patrick Dunne (CON)
When? January 24, 2013 at 5:30pm
Where? RM 40, Health Sciences Building, Western University, London ON
Admission is FREE!
UPDATE: Parking will be free on Thursday, January 24, from 5:00 – 7:00 pm at the Labatts Health Science lot at Western University (marked Closest Parking on attached map) until the lot is full (about 140 cars).
The Elborn parking lot will also be free.
All other parking lots will charge $6 to park for 2 hours. Click Debate Parking.
Central United, 150 Queen St. in downtown Moncton will be viewing Michael Morwood’s DVD series entitled: Reshaping Christian Imagination: The Challenge of articulating a Christian spirituality for our times.
Further information about Michael Morwood may be found on his website.
The discussions will take place on five Sundays: January 20, February 3, February 17, March 10, and March 17, 2013 from 12:30 to 2:00pm, following the regular 10:45am Sunday service.
Civil Rights in Public Education [CRIPE] is an organization committed to one, non-sectarian, publicly funded school system consisting of English and French language public school boards which offers neither privilege nor prejudice to anyone.
Civil Rights in Public Education [CRIPE] is hosting a public meeting on Saturday January 19, 1:30pm at the Ancaster Public Library [Murray Ferguson Room], 300 Wilson Street East. Free parking. All welcome.
The purpose of the meeting is to discuss ways to promote the one public school system proposal. Ontario currently has four duplicate publicly funded school systems: English Public; English Catholic; French Public; and French Catholic. The provincial budget to maintain Ontario’s four school systems is $21 billion dollars. Significant savings would be found in reducing the number of school boards as a result of reconfiguration of their existing boundaries into English and French language public school boards. Savings would be generated from: Fewer school board offices; fewer directors, superintendents, student transportation, bulk purchasing, capital expenses, and school maintenance. Savings would be directed to improving education programmes and services to students.
A single, nonsectarian, publicly funded school system would result in less waste of resources, reduce overlap and duplication of services, ensure best value for public money and end discriminatory student enrollment and teacher employment practices.
Ontario is a diverse cosmopolitan society consisting of many cultures, languages and faiths. A single public school system would bring students together, play together, work together and learn together. In todays society there is no need to segregate students along religious lines. It is time to move forward. A time to foster understanding and tolerance in an ever increasing diverse world.
Join the conversation. Attend the public meeting to share your experiences; learn from others; and how can we move forward to promote a single non-sectarian public school system in Ontario.
For further information contact Malcolm Buchanan 575-5639 firstname.lastname@example.org Bill Thompson 648-2089 Mac Walker 627-2820
The Quest Learning Centre
The New Testament: An Analytical Study
Understanding the New Testament for Smart People!
An online course for biblical literacy
Anyone looking for basic, scholarly, honest, informative, and enlightening
guidance to understanding the Christian New Testament will enjoy this course.
• Learn who wrote the New Testament
• Understand the New Testament in context
• Get inside information about scholarly knowledge and techniques
• Interact with a qualified scholar and other students
This course is offered online February 12 to May 7, 2013
Cost: $50.00 Canadian Dollars
Registration: online at www.questcentre.ca
Content: reading, lectures, PowerPoint, online forum, short
assignments, and interaction with the instructor.
Textbook: The New Testament: An Analytical Study (Steven Davies)
For further information contact
David Galston email@example.com
I Am is a 2011 documentary film written, narrated, and directed by Tom Shadyac. The documentary explores Shadyac’s personal journey after a 2007 bicycle accident, “the nature of humanity” and “world’s ever-growing addiction to materialism.”
Sunday, January 20, 7:00 p.m.
In the documentary I Am, Shadyac interviews scientists, religious leaders, environmentalists and philosophers – including Desmond Tutu, Noam Chomsky, Lynne McTaggart, Elisabet Sahtouris, Howard Zinn, and Thom Hartmann. The film asks two central questions: What’s Wrong With the World? and What Can We Do About it?. It is about “human connectedness, happiness, and the human spirit”. The film received a twenty minute standing ovation at its first screening.
Burlington Baptist Church
2225 New Street (west of Guelph Line)
Sunday Evening Forum is a community forum to discuss important current issues which impact our lives and faith. Outstanding speakers present cutting-edge ideas.
The public is warmly invited. Admission at the door is $5.00.
For further information call 905-335-5537 or 905-634-2477
or go to www.burlingtonbaptist.com
Early “Christians” seized on the Book of Revelation as a weapon against heresy and infidels of all kinds—Jews, even Christians who dissented from their increasingly rigid doctrines and hierarchies. But were they its original targets? Elaine Pagels persuasively interprets Revelation as a scathing attack on the decadence of Rome. She argues that its author, John of Patmos, was taking aim at the Roman Empire following the “Jewish War” in 66 ce, when militant Jews in Jerusalem, fired with religious fervor, waged an all-out war against Rome’s occupation of Judea, and their defeat resulted in the desecration of Jerusalem and its Great Temple.
Elaine Pagels is Harrington Spear Paine Foundation Professor of Religion at Princeton University. She is the bestselling author of several books, including The Gnostic Gospels (1979), Beyond Belief (2003), Reading Judas (with Karen L. King, 2007), and most recently Revelations (2012).
Theories abound as to why the church is declining so rapidly in the West. Could the reason be that no one expects anything important to happen on Sunday morning? The first Jesus people practiced pacifism, radical egalitarianism, and the redistribution of wealth (and paid for it with their lives). Today’s church largely defends the status quo. But what if churches today became, once again, an underground movement, taking on the power structures of our times? In this workshop, a minister from the reddest of states will tell how the scholars of Westar helped corrupt at least one church in Oklahoma.
Robin Meyers is a professor of philosophy at Oklahoma City University, a syndicated columnist, an award-winning commentator for NPR, and Senior Minister of Mayflower Congregational UCC Church of Oklahoma City. His books include Why the Christian Right Is Wrong (2006), Saving Jesus from the Church (2009), and The Underground Church (2012).
Mary Magdalene was a much more important figure in early Christianity than either the New Testament or traditional histories allow. Her reputation as a repentant prostitute is a fiction. The New Testament both includes and sidelines her. Beyond the canon, some early Christians regarded her as a visionary and leader. Why was her story so contested? If some speak of Petrine and Pauline Christianity, can we speak of Magdalene Christianity? This workshop explores the texts, issues, and scholarly proposals that reconfigure Mary Magdalene’s place in the history of Christianity as well as in the Christian theological imagination.
Melanie Johnson-DeBaufre is Associate Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Drew Theological School in New Jersey. She is the author of Jesus Among Her Children (2006), Mary Magdalene Understood, with Jane Schaberg (2006), and co-editor of The Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion.
Bernard Brandon Scott
The Acts of the Apostles, Irenaeus, the Canon, and Constantine tell of the pure teaching of Jesus that was handed on to the twelve apostles and then sullied by heretics. This is the orthodox story as we know it today. The real story is very different. How did a movement whose hero was crucified by an official of the Roman Empire end up as the official religion of that Empire? How did the historical Jesus become the second person of Trinity? How did a movement birthed in Judaism come to be anti-Jewish? The Christianity Seminar will tackle these and other seminal questions.
Bernard Brandon Scott (Ph.D., Vanderbilt University) is the Darbeth Distinguished Professor of New Testament at the Phillips Theological Seminary, Tulsa, OK. He is the author of several books, including The Trouble with Resurrection (2010) and Re-Imagine the World (2002).
Click here for Registration details.
Church on the Couch is the creation of Jennifer May-Anderson, a lay preacher in Belleville, ON. She has a vision of a caring and supportive group of open-minded Christians and spiritual seekers who gather regularly to explore how the Christian story is for all people of all times.
The group meets on alternate Sunday evenings from 7:00 – 8:30pm. The next session will start January 20, 2013. Click here to be kept up-to-date on this group.
UN slams Canada’s ‘excessively punitive’ justice plan, accuses authorities of widespread discrimination
Heather Scoffield, Canadian Press | Oct 9, 2012 | The National Post
OTTAWA — The federal government’s tough-on-crime agenda is “excessively punitive” for youth and is a step backwards for Canada’s child rights record, says a United Nations group.
JEFFREY SIMPSON, The Globe and Mail, Oct. 10 2012
Recent speeches by Mr. Harper and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird in New York were quite radical by the standards of traditional Canadian foreign policy, although their messages would be compatible with evangelical Christianity’s view of the world.
By LAURIE GOODSTEIN, Oct 9, 2012, The New York Times
A new study released on Tuesday by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that it was not just liberal mainline Protestants, like Methodists or Episcopalians, who abandoned their faith, but also more conservative evangelical and “born again” Protestants.
DOUG SAUNDERS, The Globe and Mail, Oct. 06 2012
For the ardent religious believer and the organized, hierarchical religious organization, “religious freedom” often refers to the right to restrict the freedoms of others, or to impose one’s religion on the larger world.
Sandro Contenta, feature writer, Toronto Star, Oct 6, 2012
” If you’re going to engage with the “signs of the times,” you’re going to have to engage modernity. The church avoided that in the past. If we’re going to live the gospel in the world then we have to look at what is happening in the world.” Professor Margaret Lavin
Posted: Oct 4, 2012 6:21 PM PT
“The minister strongly supports the freedom of religion for all Canadians, including prisoners,” the email states. “However, the government … is not in the business of picking and choosing which religions will be given preferential status through government funding. The minister has concluded … [Christian] chaplains employed by Corrections Canada must provide services to inmates of all faiths.”
By Erin Williams, The Washington Post, 3 Oct 2012
What is it like to be an African American who doesn’t praise Jesus Christ or Allah? Or one who doesn’t ascribe to a denomination of Christianity, such as Baptist, Methodist or Pentecostal, that’s part of a historically black church?
By Zack Beauchamp, ThinkProgress
04 October 12
The Court held that, because Connecticut statutes define physical incapacity for the purpose of sexual assault as “unconscious or for any other reason. . . physically unable to communicate unwillingness to an act,” the defendant could not be convicted if there was any chance that the victim could have communicated her lack of consent.
AUGUST 15 – 17
HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA
Thursday evening to Saturday evening Optional extras planned for Sunday.
Gretta Vosper and Bruce Sanguin
More details to follow as they are finalized!
When: Friday, November 30, 2012 at 7pm. – lecture
Saturday, December 1, 2012 starting at 9:30am – workshop focusing on Gretta’s book
Where: Holy Cross Lutheran Church
- 1035 Wayne Drive,
Click here to visit the Holy Cross Lutheran website.
Where: Hilton Garden Inn – 500 Beck Crescent, Ajax, Ontario, L1Z 1C9, Canada. Click here for directions.
Gretta will be an after dinner speaker focusing on her latest book “Amen: Prayer Beyond Belief”.
The data is clear: religious affiliation is plummeting across the breadth of Christian denominations. And yet interest in “spirituality” is on the rise. So what is behind the sea change in religion? Using comprehensive research and insider reporting, Diana Butler Bass offers a fresh interpretation of the “spiritual but not religious” trend.
Bass—who has spent her career teaching the history, culture, and politics of religion, and engaging church communities—brings forth her deep knowledge of the latest studies and polls, along with her own groundbreaking analysis, as she seeks to fully comprehend the decline in Christian attendance and affiliation that started decades ago—and has increased exponentially in recent years.
Some contend that we’re undergoing yet another evangelical revival; others suggest that Christian belief and practice is eroding entirely as traditional forms of faith are replaced by new ethical, and areligious, choices. But Bass argues compellingly that we are, instead, at a critical stage in a completely new spiritual awakening, a vast interreligious progression toward individual and cultural transformation, and a wholly new kind of postreligious faith.
Offering direction and hope to individuals and churches, Christianity After Religion is Bass’s call to approach faith with a newfound freedom that is both life-giving and service driven. And it is a hope-filled plea to see and participate in creating a fresh, vital, contemporary way of faith that stays true to the real message of Jesus.
Click here for further details.
When: Friday November 2, 2012 7.00pm – 9.00pm
Saturday November 3, 2012 9.00am – 2.00pm
Where: Knox Presbyterian Church
23 Melville St. Dundas, Ontario
Registration: (limited) $20.00, payable on arrival
UNDER AGE 30 FREE!
Preregistration Required, by October 22, 2012
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org., 905 529 6896
The speaker will be preaching at MacNab St. Church Sunday Nov.4, 2012
CCPC Annual General Meeting
Annual General Meeting of the Members of Canadian Centre for Progressive Christianity will be held at West Hill United Church, 62 Orchard Park Dr., Toronto, ON at 2:00 pm on Saturday, October 13, 2012 for the following purposes:
1. To receive the report of the directors;
2. To receive the Annual Financial Statements for the period ended April 30, 2012 and the report of the auditors;
3. To appoint auditors for the financial year ending April 30, 2013;
4. To receive the report of the Nominating Committee and elect Directors;
5. To transact such other business as may properly come before the meeting.
Click here for a copy of the 2012 financial statement.
This study group will meet Monday evenings and will be studying the book “Saving Jesus from the Church” by Robin Meyers, who is the minister of the Mayflower Congregational UCC church in Oklahoma City. The group is open to anyone who wants to come from any church, or even non-church. Doug can be reached at email@example.com for further info.
Prayer Beyond Belief: The Gentle (And Not So Gentle) Art of Changing the Way Congregations Pray.
Tatamagouche Centre – Nova Scotia
April 7 – 9, 2013
Leader: Gretta Vosper
An opportunity for congregational worship leaders to discuss and discover fresh words for meaningful worship.
Please put this date on your calendar now!
You’re invited to join 50 visionaries and
hundreds of citizens from around the world as we re-envision the future of the city
The City 2.0: An Online Conference
September 4 – 27, 2012
We hold a radically optimistic vision for our collective future…
And we know that creating the global solutions we hope for will require the perspectives, expertise, and passion of many people. That’s why we’re gathering together leaders and city-zens the world over for a virtual Conference to dream the future of the city — the City 2.0.
We’re putting our heads and hearts together. We’re making a bold commitment to co-creating a brighter future for the entire human hive. And we want your help.
Join this free virtual exploration
So what is the City 2.0 conference exactly?
Well, it’s a virtual conference that starts on September 4th featuring 50 visionaries, designers, teachers, and leading edge practitioners from different industries, sectors and disciplines, from all over the world, for a conversation about the future of the city.
We’ll dream, dialogue, and design together. We want your voice to be included.
Click here for details.
Earth’s land shown to have warmed by 1.5C over past 250 years, with humans being almost entirely responsible
Leo Hickman, guardian.co.uk, 29 July 2012The Earth’s land has warmed by 1.5C over the past 250 years and “humans are almost entirely the cause”, according to a scientific study set up to address climate change sceptics’ concerns about whether human-induced global warming is occurring.
Prof Richard Muller, a physicist and climate change sceptic who founded the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (Best) project, said he was surprised by the findings. “We were not expecting this, but as scientists, it is our duty to let the evidence change our minds.” He added that he now considers himself a “converted sceptic” and his views had undergone a “total turnaround” in a short space of time.
“Our results show that the average temperature of the Earth’s land has risen by 2.5F over the past 250 years, including an increase of 1.5 degrees over the most recent 50 years. Moreover, it appears likely that essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases,” Muller wrote in an opinion piece for the New York Times.
The team of scientists based at the University of California, Berkeley, gathered and merged a collection of 14.4m land temperature observations from 44,455 sites across the world dating back to 1753. Previous data sets created by Nasa, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Met Office and the University of East Anglia’s climate research unit only went back to the mid-1800s and used a fifth as many weather station records.
The funding for the project included $150,000 from the Charles G Koch Charitable Foundation, set up by the billionaire US coal magnate and key backer of the climate-sceptic Heartland Institute thinktank. The research also received $100,000 from the Fund for Innovative Climate and Energy Research, which was created by Bill Gates.
Unlike previous efforts, the temperature data from various sources was not homogenised by hand – a key criticism by climate sceptics. Instead, the statistical analysis was “completely automated to reduce human bias”. The Best team concluded that, despite their deeper analysis, their own findings closely matched the previous temperature reconstructions, “but with reduced uncertainty”.
By LAURIE GOODSTEIN, Published: July 28, 2012, New York TimesAmerican nuns are preparing to assemble in St. Louis next week for a pivotal meeting at which they will try to decide how to respond to a scathing critique of their doctrinal loyalty issued this spring by the Vatican — a report that has prompted Roman Catholics across the country to rally to the nuns’ defense.
The nuns will be weighing whether to cooperate with the three bishops appointed by the Vatican to supervise the overhaul of their organization, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which represents about 80 percent of women’s Catholic religious orders in the United States.
The Leadership Conference says it is considering at least six options that range from submitting graciously to the takeover to forming a new organization independent of Vatican control, as well other possible courses of action that lie between those poles.
What is in essence a power struggle between the nuns and the church’s hierarchy had been building for decades, church scholars say. At issue are questions of obedience and autonomy, what it means to be a faithful Catholic and different understandings of the Second Vatican Council.
Sister Pat Farrell, the president of the Leadership Conference, said in an interview that the Vatican seems to regard questioning as defiance, while the sisters see it as a form of faithfulness.
“We have a differing perspective on obedience,” Sister Farrell said. “Our understanding is that we need to continue to respond to the signs of the times, and the new questions and issues that arise in the complexities of modern life are not something we see as a threat.”
These same conflicts are gripping the Catholic Church at large. Nearly 50 years after the start of Vatican II, which was intended to open the church to the modern world and respond to the “signs of the times,” the church is gravely polarized between a progressive wing still eager for change and reform and a traditionalist flank focused on returning to what it sees as doctrinal fundamentals.
The sisters have been caught in the riptide. Most of them have spent their lives serving the sick, the poor, children and immigrants — and not engaged in battles over theology. But when some sisters after Vatican II began to question church prohibitions on women serving as priests, artificial birth control or the acceptance of same-sex relationships, their religious orders did not shut down such discussion or treat it as apostasy. In fact, they have continued to insist on their right to debate and challenge church teaching, which has resulted in the Vatican’s reproof.
The former head of the church’s doctrinal office, Cardinal William J. Levada, said after his last meeting with the nuns’ leaders in June, just before he retired, that they should regard his office’s harsh assessment as “an invitation to obedience.”
“I admire religious men and women,” Cardinal Levada said in an interview with The National Catholic Reporter. “But if they aren’t people who believe and express the faith of the church, the doctrines of the church, then I think they’re misrepresenting who they are and who they ought to be.”
By JON HURDLE and ERIK ECKHOLM, July 24, 2012, The New York TimesPHILADELPHIA — Msgr. William J. Lynn, the first Roman Catholic Church official in the United States to be convicted of covering up sexual abuses by priests under his supervision, was sentenced Tuesday to three to six years in prison.
“You knew full well what was right, Monsignor Lynn, but you chose wrong,” Judge M. Teresa Sarmina of Common Pleas Court said as she imposed the sentence, which was just short of the maximum of three and a half to seven years. Monsignor Lynn must serve at least three years before he is eligible for parole.
Monsignor Lynn, 61, was found guilty on June 22 of child endangerment after a three-month trial that revealed efforts over decades by the Philadelphia archdiocese to play down accusations of child sexual abuse and avoid scandal. He was acquitted of conspiracy and a second child endangerment charge.
Monsignor Lynn served as secretary for clergy for the 1.5 million-member archdiocese from 1992 to 2004, recommending priest assignments and investigating abuse complaints. During the trial, prosecutors presented evidence that he had shielded predatory priests, sometimes transferring them to unwary parishes, and lied to the public to avoid bad publicity and lawsuits.
The conviction of a senior official, followed by a prison sentence, has reverberated among Catholic officials around the country, church experts said.
“I think this is going to send a very strong signal to every bishop and everybody who worked for a bishop that if they don’t do the right thing, they may go to jail,” said the Rev. Thomas J. Reese, a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University. “They can’t just say ‘the bishop made me do it.’ That’s not going to be an excuse that holds up in court.”
July 24, 2012 by Common DreamsA wave of US based religious rightwing groups working in several African countries are expanding their drive to promote both homophobia and anti-abortion stereotypes and governmental policies, according to a new study by Boston-based Political Research Associates (PRA).
The report, Colonizing African Values: How the US Christian Right is Transforming Sexual Politics in Africa, claims that far right groups such as the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), founded by the televangelist Pat Robertson, the Catholic group Human Life International and the Mormon group Family Watch International, work with local people and governments to rally against LGBTI rights and craft anti-LGBTI legislation.
The report traces the “cultural colonization” of Africa. Over the the past five years, “[the groups] have launched or expanded Africa-based offices dedicated to promoting their Christian right worldview,” the report states.
“A loose network of rightwing charismatic Christians called the transformation movement joins them in fanning the flames of the culture wars over homosexuality and abortion by backing prominent African campaigners and political leaders.”
The ACLJ have opened offices in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Uganda in which they train lawyers to work on constitutions that reflect “Christian values” and include phrases such as “life begins at conception,” the Guardian reports.
For instance, a law instituting the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” in Uganda was created and introduced by a far right christian group in 2009. The bill was thought to have been defeated after PRA exposed the instigators, but has since been reintroduced in Uganda’s Parliament. Similar anti-gay laws passed in Burundi in 2009, Malawi in 2010 and Nigeria in 2011.
KAREN HOWLETT AND BILL CURRY, The Globe and Mail, Jul. 20 2012Alberta Premier Alison Redford is quietly building support among her provincial colleagues for a national energy strategy, saying Canada’s prosperity hinges on forging a united front to exploit the country’s vast resource riches.
Ms. Redford has lined up the support of other premiers in Western Canada ahead of next week’s Council of the Federation meeting of provincial and territorial leaders in Halifax.
She met privately on Wednesday with Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty over dinner at Toronto’s Windsor Arms Hotel, where they discussed how both their provinces have a vested interest in developing a strategy that pulls together Alberta’s land-locked oil sector and a wide variety of other energy sources from British Columbia to Atlantic Canada.
The relationship between the two premiers is taking on a more cordial tone in contrast to their war of words earlier this year, when Mr. McGunity blamed his province’s economic woes on an Alberta-fuelled “petro dollar.”
For Ms. Redford, the dinner meeting was her latest effort to use Canada’s global status as an energy superpower to help shape the national agenda. Aside from the premiers in Western Canada endorsing her pan-Canadian energy strategy, she has also held one-on-one meetings with other premiers in Atlantic Canada, including Nova Scotia’s Darrell Dexter, host of next week’s gathering, who is on board.
“I’m pleased that premiers have decided we can talk about this,” Ms. Redford said in an interview. “There has been some uptake on the importance of the energy economy.”