Archives for August 2014

Elsewhere: Ecumenism and the Church of England


I have written many times about downfall of the Episcopal church. They are the American version of the Church of England (the main Anglican church). The Episcopalians have been out-front on hard-left ideology for some time while the Anglicans have been at least a little more restrained.

A big obstacle to Christian unity, at least in the hope of full communion with Rome, is the ordination of women. For us, the male only priesthood is unchangeable dogma and not open to discussion. Anglicans have “ordained” women since 1994. I put that in quotes because the Vatican has formally declared that Anglicans do not have valid holy orders (and thus any valid sacraments requiring a priest as minister). If the Church of England were to be reunited with Rome, those who would become priests would have to be validly ordained. That is possible only for males. The women could be many things in the Catholic Church, but never priests.

In July, the Church of England, via vote (being separated from the Magisterium, this is how they decide matters of faith), decided to now also “ordain” women bishops. This doubles-down on the existing situation making full communion an even more distant possibility.

William Odie, writing for the excellent UK Catholic Herald looks at the situation:

It was, of course inevitable, having ordained women to its “priesthood” that the Church of England, mother Church of the Anglican Communion, would in the end ordain women to its “episcopate” (I place the key-words in inverted commas, not to be insulting but to indicate simply that most Anglicans use the words to describe something very different indeed from our notions of priesthood and episcopacy).

The General Synod has now decided on women bishops. All the obstacles are down. The mystery was why it took them so long: in the Catholic understanding, if a person is a priest, he is, if suitable, eligible to be ordained bishop; perhaps the fact that the Anglicans thought that special legislative procedures were necessary to make such a thing possible for women is yet another theological indication of how different our ideas of what is involved in priesthood really are.

What we all, Anglicans and Catholics alike, now need to register clearly is that this brings definitively to an end any last remaining hope of ultimate corporate reunion between us. Even Cardinal Walter Kasper, as President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, some time ago declared that the ordination of women to the episcopate “signified a breaking away from apostolic tradition and a further obstacle for reconciliation between the Catholic Church and the Church of England.” He also pointed to the internal disunity within Anglicanism, describing the protective legislation for those opposed to women’s ordination in the Church of England (‘flying bishops” and so on) as the “unspoken institutionalism” of an “existing schism.”

The possibility that the reunion of Canterbury and Rome might still be possible has of course become ever more and more obviously delusional as the years have gone by. But still it has been fostered not only by Anglican ecumenists (most Anglicans have always thought that our doctrinal objections were preposterous, since they think that doctrine is intrinsically divisive, and best made up as you go along) but also by our own dwindling – but highly placed – band of Catholic ecumenists of the old school.

Provincial episcopal visitors (a/k/a “flying bishops”) are assigned when an Anglican parish refuses to accept their normal, local ordinary. These bishops provide “alternative episcopal oversight” and are males who have not “ordained” women. This concession is meant, at least for the near term, to appease more traditional parishes.

The only real hope Anglicans have of full communion with the Church is via conversion, either at the parish level through Pope Benedict’s Anglican Ordinariate or individually. The Ordinariate should be a particularly attractive option, as a parish can move as a group keeping much of their Anglican patrimony while coming into full communion with the Church founded by Christ.

Read Odie’s whole piece: Now the Church of England has decided on women bishops, ARCIC III is futile. As the CDF says, it is the Ordinariate now which is “ecumenism in the front row”.

7 Quick Takes Friday (set #146)

7 Quick Takes Friday

This week: The latest issue of New Evangelists Monthly is ready and calling you. A question on “discriminating” against homosexuals in marriage. The Chosen program’s clip on happiness (right now). A surprising quote from Richard Dawkins. A reunion makes a young dog so happy he faints. The Bell Telephone picture phone remembered. Hamas has their very own version of Sesame Street (really).

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New Evangelists Monthly

Issue #20, August 2014, of New Evangelists Monthly is ready for your enjoyment! Scores of faithful Catholic bloggers have contributed their very best pieces from July. This month brought these great topics: dating, Sonoran, following, through children, catching up, CS and GK, ego, freedom, NFP, intimacy, sacraments, convalidation, water and spirit, provider, loved most, marriage, catholic gay, the dead, celibacy, on Dei Verbum, revenge, blanks, teen advice, support, sparkling, real men, calendar, mission, votives, for nursing, poor book, motherhood, hippies?, married clergy, chastity, ordained silence, on holiday, missionary, self(ie|ishness), sign of the cross, Daddy?, lost sheep, sacred liturgy, St. Bonaventure, pregnancy, teaching, passions, Bl. Frassati, persecution, Ginsburg, Obama orders, rejoicing, holy grandparents, doctrine, gay romance, consecration, working mom, Sarah Harkins, your cool, hope, ways to live, Mass tears, loving presence, ask for, veiling, powerful love, Priscilla and Aquila, always there, morality, happiness, St. Mary Magdalene, compliments, mistakes, future spouse, emotional purity, human dignity, outer space, only God, consolations, justification, maternity, weeds and wheat, body image, hearing, looking away, sand and God, grace in motion, 7 women, chemo, astray, premarital, coffee, Seraphim vs. Francis, transfiguration, self-gratification, one Church, annunciation art, vacation Mass, spilled and song for dad.

This monthly “meta-magazine” showcases faithful Catholicism from theology to family life and “everything in between.” Enjoy it now at

Read Now

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Ryan Anderson is asked why is it acceptable to discriminate against homosexual by denying them marital benefits such as joint tax returns?

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The choices we make in our pilgramage in this world ultimately bring us into eternal union with God or separation from Him. That is most important but it is not all they do. Choosing God “sooner than later” brings peace and happiness now that absolutely nothing else can. Chris Stefanick talks about true happiness in this clip from the Ascension Press Chosen faith formation course.

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Loud, well known atheist Richard Dawkins reportedly said this in a 2010 interview with the London Times:

There are no Christians, as far as I know, blowing up buildings. I am not aware of any Christian suicide bombers. I am not aware of any major Christian denomination that believe the penalty for apostasy is death. I have mixed feelings about the decline of Christianity, in so far as Christianity might be a bulwark against something worse.

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This is the reunion of a young dog and her owner after 2 years. The dog was so excited, she actually fainted. (WARNING: crying dog may not be suitable for work environments)

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I found this video interesting. Bell Telephone spent $500M in 1964 on the picture phone. It failed big, but came close to building something akin to the Internet.

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Palestinian children learn in school and from their mass media what their duty is relative to Israelis. Here is the Hamas version of Sesame Street:

Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas) program Tomorrow’s Pioneers on neighbors’ rights.

Phone conversation between Nahul the bee and Qais, a boy from Jenin (West Bank).

Nahul the bee, (adult in a giant bee costume): “Listen my friend. Are there Jews where you are?”

Boy (Qais): “No. Not at the moment.”

Nahul: “I heard they come to you every day.”

Boy: “Yes, but not now.”

Nahul: “Listen, friend; do like this with your hands [makes fists], and when they come to you, punch them; make their face red like a tomato.”

Boy: “Allah willing, so that we can liberate Palestine.”

Nahul: “Allah willing.” …

[Nahul talks to TV host, young girl named Rawan]

Nahul: “My friend Qais – anyway, Rawan, I tell him to take a stone, and when the Jews come, to take it and throw it at them.”

Child host (Rawan): “Of course, the Jewish neighbors.”

Nahul: “To smash them.”

Child host: “If his neighbors are Jews or Zionists? Yes.” …

[Child host Rawan talks to Tulin, a girl in the studio.]

Child host Rawan: “Tulin, why do you want to be a police officer? Like who?”

Girl Tulin: “Like my uncle.”

Child host: “Which uncle?”

Girl: “Ahmed.”

Child host: “Is he a policeman?”

[Girl nods]

Child host: “OK, so what does a policeman do?”

Nahul (adult in giant bee costume): “He catches thieves, and people who make trouble.”

Child host: “And shoots Jews. Right?”

Girl: “Yes.”

Child host: “You want to be like him?”

[Girl nods]

Child host: “Allah willing, when you grow up.”

Girl: “So that I can shoot Jews.”

[Nahul the bee cheers]

Child host: “All of them? All of them?”

Girl: “Yes.”

Child host: “Good.”

[Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas), May 2, 2014]

Some random thoughts or bits of information are worthy of sharing but don’t warrant their own full post. This idea was started by Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary to address this blogging need. So, some Fridays I too participate when I have accumulated 7 worthy items. Thank you Jen for hosting this project!

New Evangelists Monthly – August 2014, Issue #20

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Elsewhere: media deception on Hobby Lobby


There has been much press coverage of the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby case. Unfortunately, most of it has been political activism and not journalism. That is not surprising and is to be expected. What is somewhat surprising is how far they will go to deceive the public, twisting the facts, citing highly biased sources and simply outright lying. Not a little…   A LOT.

The liberal media (redundant) is very unhappy with this (far too close) decision. They see forcing the public, all of the public, to purchase abortive contraceptives as basic healthcare (for the selfish mother, not so good for the child). Their misrepresentations seem designed to shape public opinion for future legislative and legal challenges.

James Agresti has written a well-researched piece for Crisis Magazine. He presents the facts in a clear, point-by-point manner:

In the buildup to the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, and even more so in its aftermath, prominent news outlets have been aggressively spreading falsehoods about key aspects of the case. Beyond logical fallacies about who is imposing their will on others, many reports and commentaries also contain statements that are discredited by the scientific facts at the core of this case.

Although journalism standards give commentators “wide latitude” to express their views, this is not a license to mutilate the truth. In the words of New York Times deputy editorial page editor Trish Hall, “the facts in a piece must be supported and validated. You can have any opinion you would like, but you can’t say that a certain battle began on a certain day if it did not.”

Yet, the New York Times and other media outlets have repeatedly broadcast demonstrably false claims about the Hobby Lobby case. Among the most frequent of these are as follows:

  • Medical science shows that the Obama administration’s “contraception” mandate has nothing to do with abortion.
  • IUDs don’t terminate human embryos.
  • Morning-after pills don’t kill human embryos.

As detailed below, all of those claims are deceitful and derived from politicized, unauthoritative sources. In reality, data from highly credible sources shows that:

  • The Hobby Lobby case concerns the destruction of living, viable human embryos.
  • IUDs terminate viable human embryos.
  • Morning-after pills may kill embryos, and claims that they don’t are based upon crass distortions of scientific studies.

What follows is the documentation of these facts, along with the details of how media outlets have flouted basic standards of journalistic integrity in their coverage of this case.

Portraying activists as neutral authorities

The BBC’s journalism standards on “Avoiding Misleading Audiences” state that reporters should provide the “credentials” of their sources so “audiences can judge their status.” More specifically, BBC’s standards on “Impartiality” state that news professionals should not assume their sources are “unbiased” and should “make it clear to the audience when contributors are associated with a particular viewpoint, if it is not apparent from their contribution or from the context in which their contribution is made.”

That standard, which is meant to prevent journalists and commentators from portraying activists as impartial authorities, has been routinely ignored by news outlets in their coverage of the Hobby Lobby case. For example, the above-mentioned NPR and New York Times articles both rely upon claims from the following individuals to support the central narratives of their stories:

  • Susan F. Wood, an associate professor of health policy at George Washington University and a former assistant commissioner for women’s health at the FDA.
  • Diana Blithe, a biochemist and contraceptive researcher at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

What these NPR and New York Times articles fail to mention is that both Wood and Blithe are political donors to Barack Obama. More significantly, both are also donors to Emily’s List, a political action committee “dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women to office.”

Those are not isolated examples. One of the commonly cited authorities in this case is the emergency contraception website operated by Princeton University’s Office of Population Research and people associated with it. Yet, the following information is almost never disclosed: The website was founded by James Trussell, a Princeton professor who is a senior fellow with the Guttmacher Institute, an organization that operates under “guiding principles” that include support for legalized abortion. Moreover, Trussell is “a member of the National Medical Committee of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and a member of the board of directors of NARAL Pro-Choice America and the Society of Family Planning.”

Even so, Time magazine describes Trussell as “a professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University who has done extensive research on the subject” of emergency contraception. He is similarly described by MSN, Reuters, and a host of other news organizations. Would these same media outlets describe a board member of the National Right to Life Committee in such a nondescript manner?

Another commonly cited authority in the Hobby Lobby case is the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Although media outlets regularly quote this organization as if were neutral, it has a track record of consistently opposing pro-life legislation and issuing statements that are transparently false. For instance, ACOG has declared “there is no evidence” a fetus can feel pain “until 29 weeks at the earliest” despite copious evidence to the contrary from journals such as Fetal Diagnosis and Therapy, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Pain: Clinical Updates, and PLoS ONE.

Furthermore, ACOG was caught modifying its clinical findings on partial-birth abortion at the behest of a Clinton White House lawyer. Incidentally, this lawyer was Elena Kagan — who President Obama later appointed to the Supreme Court. Again, media coverage is virtually devoid of this information, which has the result of deceiving audiences through the omission of vital context.

Journalistic integrity?

In flagrant disregard for basic standards of honest journalism, media outlets have propagated claims about the Hobby Lobby case that are falsified by credible scientific publications.

Many of these news organizations have written guidelines that call for unconditional integrity. The New York Times, for example, declares that “the journalism we practice daily must be beyond reproach,” and the organization has “an ethical responsibility to correct all its factual errors, large and small.”

Whether or not those are just lofty words will be shown by how the media responds to the facts above.

Read the whole piece: Media Repeatedly Deceives Public in Hobby Lobby Coverage.