Church

Anglican Communion Covenant Latest

Secretary General of the Anglican Communion Canon Kenneth Kearon:

In the light of today’s news about the decisions of the dioceses of the Church of England about the Covenant I wanted to clarify the current situation across the Anglican Communion.

In December 2009, as requested by the Standing Committee, I sent the text of The Anglican Communion Covenant to all the Member Churches of the Anglican Communion asking that they consider it for adoption according to their own internal procedures.

I have received notifications from eight Provinces that they have approved, or subscribed, the Covenant or, in the case of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, have approved pending ratification at the next synod which is usual procedure in that Province.

These Provinces are:   The Church of Ireland   The Anglican Church of Mexico   The Church of the Province of Myanmar   The Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea   The Church of the Province of South East Asia   The Anglican Church of Southern Africa   The Anglican Church of the Southern Cone of America   The Church in the Province of the West Indies

What next steps are taken by the Church of England is up to that Province. Consideration of the Covenant continues across the Anglican Communion and this was always expected to be a lengthy process. I look forward to all the reports of progress to date at the ACC-15 in New Zealand in November.

The BBC reports:

The Church of England cannot sign up to a plan aimed at preventing the global Anglican Church from splitting up after half its dioceses voted against it.

The Archbishop of Canterbury backed the Anglican Covenant in a bid to ensure divisive issues – such as gay bishops – did not cause the Communion to split.

The Lincoln diocese has become the 22nd of 44 CofE dioceses to reject the plan.

The covenant had already been rejected by conservative global Church leaders, whom it was intended to placate…

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Church

Rev’d Stephen Sizer and his ‘Disgraceful’ Anti-Semitism

Writes Archbishop Cranmer:

From Anglican Friends of Israel:

Last weekend I debated a Christian critic of Israel. I challenged his assertion that the State of Israel ‘invites’ anti-semitism by its actions. Such thinking is very dangerous, I replied. It could provide an excuse for race hatred. He did not respond.

Our discussion sprang from a statement issued on 13 March 2012 by the much-respected Council for Christians and Jews in which they took one of Israel’s fiercest Anglican critics, Rev Stephen Sizer, to task publicly. CCJ’s Chairman, the Bishop of Manchester, called Sizer’s retaining of a link on his Facebook page to an article on an anti-semitic website for over two months, ‘disgraceful’ and conduct ‘unbecoming for a clergyman’.

The Middle East conflict arouses strong feelings on both sides: but whatever led a clergyman to overlook the hateful nature of ‘The Ugly Truth’ website having allegedly been warned twice about it? Is this an isolated incident, or just the tip of a larger iceberg?

Stephen Sizer is only one of a number of Evangelical Christians whose opposition to Israel and Zionism has arguably strayed beyond the limits of legitimate debate. Many follow the ‘Palestinian narrative’ of the ‘Naqba’ (catastrophe) of Israel’s foundation in 1948, and the Palestinian misery occasioned by Israeli oppression and injustice.

As a God of love and justice – not to mention the story of David and Goliath – are part of the Christian theological furniture, it isn’t surprising that this simple paradigm of weak vs strong and good vs evil strikes a chord with Christians. But it provides an inaccurate and perilous framework for understanding a complex conflict. It was developed by veteran terrorist Yassir Arafat – which ought to alert anyone not to take it at face value.

Christian anti-Zionists rely on two theological strands to bolster the Palestinian narrative, the first being Liberation Theology. They insist that standing against Israeli injustice and oppression becomes a Christian duty in response to The Lord’s Prayer “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”.

The trouble is, the Middle East today is not the Latin American of the 1960’s. Israel is not a dictatorship but a vibrant democracy and contrary to the official narrative, Palestinians are not helpless peasants stripped of all power over their lives. Of course Israel gets things wrong; but to present her actions – actually her existence – as the sole cause of Palestinian misery is absurd.

Christian anti-Zionists all but ignore the appalling security dilemmas Israel faces. Israel’s efforts to prevent or defend itself from terrorism are labelled ‘humiliation’ of Palestinians or a ‘disproportionate response’. When Palestinian children are killed or injured in clashes, Israel alone is blamed. Christian anti-Zionists rarely criticize Palestinian leaders for feeding their children a daily diet of hatred in schools and the media; nor do they hold them responsible for aiming rockets at Israeli children from behind their own human shields, or parading their dead and injured children for cameras in order to whip up hatred of the Jewish State.

The second strand in anti-Zionist thinking within the Church is Replacement Theology…

And so we come to Toulouse. Muhammed Merar had already killed 3 soldiers when he sought out Jewish children at their school, and murdered three of them. He explained to a horrified world that he was taking revenge on behalf of Palestinian children. Hateful ideas became flesh as Merar translated a distorted narrative into action…

Read the whole post here.

Christian anti-Zionists sadly plague the blogosphere too, with their pure hatred. Sometimes veiled, hatred and hurtful it remains. And how unbecoming those who claim to be following an itinerant first century Jewish Rabbi.

 

Church

Pope Benedict XVI’s Remarks on Arrival in Mexico

Pope Benedict XVI arrived in Mexico on Friday, at the start of his six-day trip to Latin America that will also take him to the island nation of Cuba.

In remarks during the official welcome ceremony, the Holy Father said he has come to confirm the people of Mexico, Cuba and all Latin America in their faith, at a time when the peoples of the region are celebrating the bicentenary of their independence.

“I come,” said Pope Benedict, “I come as a pilgrim of faith, of hope, and of love. I wish to confirm those who believe in Christ in their faith, by strengthening and encouraging them to revitalize their faith by listening to the Word of God, celebrating the sacraments and living coherently.”

Below, please find the full text of Pope Benedict XVI’s remarks at the welcome ceremony.

Mister President,
Your Eminences,
Dear Brother Bishops and Priests,
Distinguished Civil Authorities,
Beloved People of Guanajuato and of Mexico,

I am very happy to be here, and I give thanks to God for allowing me to realize the desire, kept in my heart for a long time; to confirm in the faith the People of God of this great nation in their own land. The affection of the Mexican people for the Successor of Peter, whom they always remember in their prayers, is well known. I say this here, considered to be the geographical centre of your land, which my venerable predecessor, Blessed John Paul II, wanted to visit during his first Apostolic Journey. Although he was not able to come, on that occasion he left a message of encouragement while flying over its airspace. I am happy to repeat his words here on land among you: “I am grateful”, he said in the message, “to the faithful of El Bajío and Guanajuato for your affection towards the Pope and your faithfulness to the Lord. May God be with you always” (cf. Telegram, 30 January 1979).

With this in mind, I offer my thanks to you, Mister President, for your warm welcome and I respectfully greet your wife and the rest of the civil authorities who have honoured me by their presence. I offer a special greeting to the Most Reverend José Guadalupe Martín Rábago, Archbishop of León, and to the Most Reverend Carlos Aguiar Retes, Archbishop of Tlalnepantla and President of the Mexican Episcopal Conference and the Latin America Episcopal Council. With this brief visit, I wish to greet all Mexicans and to include all the nations and peoples of Latin America, represented here by many Bishops. Our meeting in this place, where the majestic monument to Christ the King on Mount Cubilete, gives testimony to the deep roots of the Catholic faith among the Mexican people, who receive his constant blessings in all their vicissitudes.

Mexico, and the majority of Latin American nations, have been commemorating in recent years the bicentennial of their independence. There have been many religious celebrations in thanksgiving to God for this important and significant moment. During these celebrations, as in the Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Most Holy Mary was invoked fervently, she who gently showed how the Lord loves all people and gave himself for them without distinction. Our Heavenly Mother has kept vigil over the faith of her children in the formation of these nations and she continues to do so today as new challenges present themselves.

I come as a pilgrim of faith, of hope, and of love. I wish to confirm those who believe in Christ in their faith, by strengthening and encouraging them to revitalize their faith by listening to the Word of God, celebrating the sacraments and living coherently. In this way, they will be able to share their faith with others as missionaries to their brothers and sisters and to act as a leaven in society, contributing to a respectful and peaceful coexistence based on the incomparable dignity of every human being, created by God, which no one has the right to forget or disregard. This dignity is expressed especially in the fundamental right to freedom of religion, in its full meaning and integrity.

As a pilgrim of hope, I speak to them in the words of Saint Paul: “But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope” (1 Th. 4:13). Confidence in God offers the certainty of meeting him, of receiving his grace; the believer’s hope is based on this. And, aware of this, we strive to transform the present structures and events which are less than satisfactory and seem immovable or insurmountable, while also helping those who do not see meaning or a future in life. Yes, hope changes the practical existence of each man and woman in a real way (cf. Spe Salvi, 2). Hope points to “a new heaven and a new earth” (Rev. 21:1), that is already making visible some of its reflections. Moreover, when it takes root in a people, when it is shared, it shines as light that dispels the darkness which blinds and takes hold of us. This country and the entire continent are called to live their hope in God as a profound conviction, transforming it into an attitude of the heart and a practical commitment to walk together in the building of a better world. As I said in Rome, “continue progressing untiringly in the building of a society founded upon the development of the good, the triumph of love and the spread of justice” (Homily, 12 December 2011).

Together with faith and hope, the believer in Christ – indeed the whole Church – lives and practises charity as an essential element of mission. In its primary meaning, charity “is first of all the simple response to immediate needs and specific situations” (Deus Caritas Est, 31), as we help those who suffer from hunger, lack shelter, or are in need in some way in their life. Nobody is excluded on account of their origin or belief from this mission of the Church, which does not compete with other private or public initiatives. In fact, the Church willingly works with those who pursue the same ends. Nor does she have any aim other than doing good in an unselfish and respectful way to those in need, who often lack signs of authentic love.

Mister President, my dear friends: in these days I will pray to the Lord and to Our Lady of Guadalupe for all of you so that you may be true to the faith which you have received and to its best traditions. I will pray especially for those in need, particularly for those who suffer because of old and new rivalries, resentments and all forms of violence. I know that I am in a country which is proud of its hospitality and wishes no one to feel unwelcome. I already knew this, and now I can see it and feel it in my heart. I sincerely hope that many Mexicans who live far from their homeland will feel the same way and that nothing will cause them to forget it or to lose the wish to see it growth in harmony and in authentic integral development.

Thank you!

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You can follow Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic journey to Mexico and Cuba here.