The newSpin Newsletter, May 28, 2012
By Bill Lewellis
Published Monday, occasionally also on Thursday
Enjoy the start of summer but take time to recall the sacrifices of those who have been killed in service to our nation. Monday, May 28 is Memorial Day. Observe a minute of silence to pay tribute to men and women who've died in military service. Find Memorial Day prayers here. Visit USA.gov's Memorial Day page to learn about the origins of this federal holiday. Also see A List and a Prayer, posted by Bishop Paul.
• Faces of Poverty: A War Veteran ... [Odyssey Networks] After serving in Iraq, a young father returns to Reading, Pennsylvania and battles unemployment as he and his wife fight to get a leg up in a tough economy. Very well done video here.
• John Courtney Murray helped to replace the RC onetime self-serving church-state theology ... [Bill] As RC bishops advance a "religious freedom" argument to oppose the "imposition" of health insurance policies that cover contraception, I think of the pre-Vatican II position of the RC Church that advocated state-sponsored religion in countries where Catholics were in the majority (by numbers or power) –– an "error has no rights" theology –– while advocating secular pluralism or religious liberty in countries where Catholics were in the minority. Jesuit theologian John Courtney Murray made crucial contributions to the Second Vatican Council, specifically to its declaration on religious liberty, Dignitas Humanae, which opposed this doublespeak. Thank God for Murray. It was no less the conservative Cardinal Spellman of New York who called Murray to Rome to be his peritus (expert) at the Council. Prominent American conservatives rallied around approval of the document. The vote to approve was 2,308 to 70. One of the most theologically reactionary websites I've read, Super Flumina Babylonis, refers now to the "the collective folly of 2,308 bishops gathered in the Vatican in 1965." An article on that website concludes: "The Church’s episcopacy erred in submitting themselves to the masonic agenda at the Second Vatican Council. Until the Pope exposes the falsity of the reasonings of John Courtney Murray on which the bishops relied, the ghost of that theologian manqué will continue to haunt the Catholic Church, and the rest of civilisation." Murray would be proud.
• The Politics of Religion ... [NYTimes editorial] Thirteen Roman Catholic dioceses and some Catholic-related groups scattered lawsuits across a dozen federal courts last week claiming that President Obama was violating their religious freedom by including contraceptives in basic health care coverage for female employees. It was a dramatic stunt, full of indignation but built on air. More here.
• A Time for Prophets ... When any person first has the apprehension that God is real everything changes. Bishop Paul Marshall's sermon at the ordination of Mary Lou Divis and Charles Warwick. Read it here. Warwick of Swoyersville is a volunteer firefighter and employee of PennDot, in the winter; plowing highways, summer; road construction crew Currently he is also deacon-in-charge at St Mark's Episcopal Church, New Milford. He has been called to serve there as priest-in-charge. Divis of Tunkhannock is a Behavioral Specialist at Children's Service Center in Wilkes-Barre and serves as deacon-in charge to St Peter's Episcopal Church, Tunkhannock, where she will now serve as priest in charge.
• Faith is golden – Beliefs are overrated ... [Bill Lewellis, The Morning Call] Faith is golden. Beliefs are overrated, as are works. When one reduces religion to either beliefs or good works, both are overrated. Reductionism (think "nothing but") usually destroys anything it attempts to explain, as in: religion is nothing but belief or religion is nothing but morality. Morality itself has for many been reduced to nothing but sexual morality. It is so much more, embracing personal, business and community relationships. And faith is so much more than belief, as in "I set my heart on" God rather than purely intellectual acts of belief. Beliefs and good works are overrated especially when we think of them as prerequisites to being befriended by God. More at The Morning Call and the newSpin blog.
• What priests want you to know ... [Dirty Sexy Ministry] 1. Your minister has a personal life. 2. Sundays are long days for us. 3. Clergy have to flip switches in ways that are not good. 4. We miss the parishioners we bury. 5. We are not particularly good at disappointment. 6. Life happens at the church every day of the week. 7. Many clergy only get one day off a week. 8. Church life is often feast or famine. 9. We don't remember what you tell us on Sunday. 10. We make mistakes. Read expansions here. [h/t Canon Andrew Gerns]