Authoritarian Anglicans

Writes Fr Dwight Longenecker:

Here is the great irony: the people who dismantled traditional Christianity by the democratic process are now dismantling the democratic process.  In other words the tyranny of the ballot box is being replaced by just plain tyranny.

This article analyzes what is happening with the ruling ranks of the Episcopal Church of the USA. The presiding bishop–Kate Schori–sues breakaway churches and dioceses. She refuses to say how much the legal action costs. She presents her own budget to the church ending years of the budget being drafted, amended and controlled by the laity. She and her cronies have pushed through a radical re working of how the Episcopal church is governed–moving from an elected governing body of three houses to a unicameral body in which Schori’s administrative team will design and govern the agenda.

In other words, from those who criticize the Catholic Church for being overly clericalized and authoritarian–from those who trumpet that they are doing the will of the people and that majority rules–we get the most authoritarian and draconian kind of governance.

The article exposes the plummeting numbers in the Episcopal church, the downwardly spiraling finances while observing that the folks are re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic by approving funeral rites for dogs and cats, wedding ceremonies for homosexual couples, apologizing to Native Americans for evangelizing them and opening the way for transgendered people to be ordained.

Just sayin’


Rupert Murdoch Now Controls Half of Christian Publishing Market

Via the eChurch blog:

HarperCollins have now confirmed their acquisition of Christian publisher Thomas Nelson.

HarperCollins Publishers today announced it has closed on the acquisition of Thomas Nelson, a leading trade publisher providing multiple forms of inspirational Christian content including: books, Bibles, e-books, journals, audio, video, reference curriculum, digital apps and live events.

Thomas Nelson will continue to operate as an independent company with its unique editorial focus on inspirational and Christian content. Details, such as how Thomas Nelson will benefit from HarperCollins global print and digital platform, will be forthcoming.

Thomas Nelson self-report as the largest Christian publisher in the world and the seventh largest trade-book publisher in the United States.

HarperCollins is a division of Murdoch’s NewsCorp which already owns Zondervan, the main rival of Thomas Nelson and the largest publisher of bibles in the world.

It’s being reported that HarperCollins paid $200 million to private-equity firm Kohlberg & Co. for Thomas Nelson.

According to trade sales figures this aquisition will give Murdoch roughly 50% of the Christian publishing market.

As long as he doesn’t get his paws on Ignatius, I’m happy… and safe…


Turkey: Threats to Destroy the Oldest Functioning Christian Monastery

The Mongolians failed to destroy it 700 years ago despite the massacre of 40 friars and 400 Christians. Yet the existence of the oldest functioning Christian monastery in the world, the fifth century Mor Gabriel Monastery in the Tur Abdin plane (the mountain of God’s servants) near the Turkish-Syrian border, is at risk after a ruling by Turkey’s highest appeals court in Ankara.

Founded in 397 by the monks Samuel and Simon, Mor Gabriel in eastern Anatolia has been the heart of the Orthodox Syrian community for centuries. Syriacs hail from a branch of Middle Eastern Christianity and are one of the oldest communities in Turkey.

Today the monastery is inhabited by Mor Timotheus Samuel Aktash, 3 monks, 11 nuns and 35 boys who are learning the monastery’s teachings, the ancient Aramaic language spoken by Jesus and the Orthodox Syriac tradition.

Although the monastery is situated in an area at the centre of conflicts between Kurdish separatist with the armed PKK group and the Turkish army, Mor Gabriel welcomes 20,000 pilgrims every year.

The Syriac Orthodox community – estimated to be 2.5 million across the world – is under the authority of the Patriarch of Antioch and considers the monastery a ‘second Jerusalem’.

The monastery’s reputation 1500 years ago was such that Roman Emperors Arcadius, Theodosius and Onorio built new buildings around it and enriched it with art and mosaics. But in the past 150 years Mor Gabriel has gone through a decline after the massacres of Christians by nationalists at the end of the 19th century – 3,000 Christians were burnt to death in Edessa’s Cathedral in 1895 – and clashes between Turks and Kurds in the area during World War I.

In the mid 1960s the community in Tur Abdin numbered 130,000.

Today only 3,500 people are left and the ‘second Jerusalem’ is in danger. The heads of the three neighbouring Muslim villages, Kurds with the Belebi tribe, filed a lawsuit against the monastery years ago with the support of an MP member of the Islamic Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Under the lawsuit, the Syriacs are accused of practicing ‘anti-Turkish activities’ by providing an education to young people, including non Christians, and of illegally occupying land which belongs to the neighbouring villages.

After a number of contrasting verdicts, the highest appeals court in Ankara, which is close to the government, has ruled in favour of the village chiefs and said the land which has been part of the monastery for 1,600 years is not its property, Turkish newspaper Zaman reported.

The lawsuit also claimed that the sanctuary was built over the ruins of a mosque, forgetting that Mohammed was born 170 years after its foundation.

The verdict has been slammed by the Turkish media and Zaman wrote that the judges had ‘lost’ property and fiscal documents ‘proving that the land in question belongs to the monastery’.

Mor Gabriel now needs to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in order to survive, a move already undertaken with success a few years ago by the Greek Patriarch of Constantinople to re-obtain the building housing the Orthodox orphanage of Buyukada in Istanbul.


Wikipedia has more on the monastery here.



Ordinariate’s Vicar for Clergy Named: Fr Charles Hough III

US Ordinariate:

Reverend Charles Hough, III, has been named the Vicar for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations for the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.

Father Hough was ordained a Catholic priest on June 30, 2012 after serving as an Episcopal priest for 31 years, including 18 years as Canon to the Ordinary of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth. Since September 2011, he has led the St. John Vianney Catholic Ordinariate Community in Cleburne, Texas, a position he will continue to hold.

As Vicar for Clergy, Fr. Hough will be responsible for personnel matters and continuing formation for the Ordinariate’s clergy, will serve as the liaison for religious of the Ordinariate or providing ministry for the Ordinariate, and will assist those seeking vocations to the priesthood, permanent diaconate or religious life.

Monsignor Jeffrey N. Steenson, Ordinary for the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, said, “With 30 ordinations to the priesthood this summer and 30 additional men in formation, Fr. Hough is taking on a great responsibility. I am grateful for his willingness to use his gifts to further the growth of the Lord’s Kingdom in our midst, and am confident in his ability to form our clergy as we lay a solid foundation for the future of the Ordinariate.”

Fr. Hough noted, “I was certainly honored when Msgr. Steenson asked me to be the Vicar for Clergy. I hope to be of service to him in this new role and to utilize the experience I had over 18 years as the Canon to the Ordinary of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth. In that position I was greatly involved in clergy matters and enjoyed assisting clergy in their ministry. I also look forward to continuing my responsibilities with the St. John Vianney Community.”

The Ordinariate’s leadership also includes Rev. R. Scott Hurd, Vicar General, and Margaret Chalmers, JCD, chancellor. The Catholic Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter was established on January 1, 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI for Anglican groups and clergy in the United States seeking to become Catholic while retaining elements of their Anglican heritage. The Ordinariate is equivalent to a diocese, though national in scope, and is based in Houston, Texas. Only three ordinariates exist in the world, in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia.

Rev. Charles Hough, III, 57, was an Episcopal priest for 31 years, including 18 years as Canon to the Ordinary of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth before he stepped down in September 2011 to become Catholic. A graduate of the University of Texas and Nashotah House Seminary, he was rector of two parishes in the Fort Worth area from 1982 to 1993. He is pastor of the St. John Vianney Catholic Ordinariate Community, which meets at St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church in Granbury ( He and his wife, Marilyn, have two children and two grandchildren.