From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Episcopalians: News Briefs
Tue, 10 Dec 2002 15:55:10 -0500
December 10, 2002
Episcopalians: News Briefs
Massachusetts bishops warn of increase in hate crimes because of
Vatican's anti-gay statements
(Boston Globe) The Episcopal bishops of the Diocese of
Massachusetts have publicly warned of an increase in hate crimes
because of statements by Vatican officials about gays in the
Bishops M. Thomas Shaw and Roy Cederholm Jr., as well as
bishop-elect Gayle Harris, all said that the danger to gays and
lesbians is so great that they felt compelled to speak out,
despite reservations about commenting on controversies in
another church. Shaw said that he was particularly upset by a
report that Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez said that gays
are "not suitable to receive the sacrament of holy orders."
Shaw said that the bishops are also expressing alarm because
of news reports that the Vatican is preparing a document that
would propose a ban on gay seminarians. "I'm really concerned
about hate crimes and homophobia that comes from supposedly
responsible people making statements like this," he said. The
bishops expressed their concern in an opinion piece in the
December 10 Boston Globe. "Suggestions that gays molest
children lead to homophobia and create a dangerous atmosphere in
which hate crimes flourish," the bishops said. Shaw said that he
was aware of only two instances of priests in his diocese
abusing minors in recent years and that both were heterosexuals.
The statement was welcomed by Dignity USA, a ministry with
gay and lesbian Roman Catholics. "We have long said that this
focus on gay priests as a cause for the sexual abuse scandal is
nothing more than a smokescreen to deflect attention away from
the complicity of the hierarchy in creating this scandal," said
executive director Marianne Duddy. "I applaud the Episcopal
bishops for speaking out on a matter of justice that is
important to the vital ministry of any Christian Church."
But Deal Hudson, editor of the conservative Catholic magazine
Crisis, said "there is credible research that suggests
the homosexuals are three times more likely to be pedophiles
than the general population."
Holloway of Scotland says church should ordain gays, lesbians
and celibate women
(Independent) Bishop Richard Holloway, retired bishop of
Edinburgh and primate of the Scottish Episcopal Church, has
publicly said that celibate women should be ordained in the
Roman Catholic Church -- and Anglicans should endorse the
ordination of gays and lesbians.
Holloway argued that the biblical argument against ordaining
women has been removed. "If you go against the express word of
Scripture in order to do justice to women, you have already
broken down the walls that protect the unchanging authority of
Church and Bible," he wrote in a Scottish newspaper.
"You have tacitly admitted that many of the church's
traditional attitudes are obsolete," he added. "Having swallowed
the camel of female emancipation, it should not be too difficult
for the church to take the next gulp and swallow the gnat of
justice for homosexuals as well. This is why the evangelical
tendency is so afraid of the advent" of Rowan Williams as the
new archbishop of Canterbury.
Holloway called Williams "probably the most gifted religious
leader there has been in Britain for centuries" and said that he
has liberal views on homosexuality but has agreed to maintain
the church's traditional practices in his new office.
The Roman Catholics can circumvent the thorny issue of gay
clergy, according to Holloway. "By allowing its clergy to marry
it would end up as bourgeois an institution as the Protestant
churches," he said. "The Holy Father could solve both the sexual
and manpower crisis of the Catholic Church by ordaining celibate
women. One of the greatest strengths of the Catholic Church is
the quality of its religious sisters. They make splendid pastors
and seem to find sexual abstinence easier to cope with than
their male counterparts."
Holloway concluded that "maintaining a celibate priesthood
would outflank the gay and lesbian issue and solve the grave
shortage of priests."
Dutch theologians urging Protestants to share Eucharist with
(ENI) In the face of an increasing disregard by Dutch Roman
Catholics and Protestants of rules against inter-communion, a
group of Dutch theologians is urging Protestants to renounce
their historic condemnation of the Catholic Eucharist in hopes
that the action might spur a response from Roman Catholics.
Dutch Catholics are officially forbidden from taking Holy
Communion in Protestant churches and the Vatican rules also
forbid Protestants from receiving in Roman Catholic churches but
the rules on both sides are routinely ignored.
One of the most celebrated instances of inter-communion was
when Dutch Prince Maurits, a Protestant, married a Catholic in
1998 and during the televised service a number of Protestants --
including Queen Beatrix's mother Juliana -- took communion from
a Catholic priest.
Although in practice the Protestant churches are relaxed
about inter-communion, the theologians argue that a formal
declaration would have great symbolic value -- especially since
the Heidelberg Catechism of 1562, one of the best known Reformed
confessions of faith, describes the Catholic Eucharist as
"idolatry to be condemned."
In a lecture earlier this year, Roman Catholic Cardinal
Adrianus Simonis of Utrecht referred to inter-communion as "one
of the greatest sources of pain" in ecumenical relations in the
Netherlands. In a letter to the joint synod of the Protestant
churches, the theologians said that the official recognition of
the Catholic Eucharist would be an "important ecumenical step
Powell urges ambassadors to make AIDS a policy priority
(ENS) During a reception on December's World AIDS Day,
Secretary of State Colin Powell urged ambassadors from 86
nations to promote awareness and to make combating the disease a
"In the global fight against AIDS every nation, large or
small, developed or developing, must be a leader," he said. "I
have made this a priority for every one of our ambassadors
overseas," he added. "In the fight against AIDS, each of your
countries will find a strong and willing partner in the United
States of America."
The Bush administration has pledged $1.3 billion this fiscal
year for international AIDS efforts. The United Nations recently
issued a report that the disease will kill 3.1 million people
this year and, for the first time, half of the 39 million adults
living with AIDS or the virus that causes it are women.
Powell said that the U.S. is the largest single contributor
to the global fund to combat AIDS, pledging $500 million over
the next two years. But the United Nations said that a "full
prevention package" of programs costing over $10 billion was
needed within the next three years to stem the spread of the
Thomas Hart, director of the Episcopal Church's Office for
Government Relations in Washington, DC, said that the Bush
administration should shore more political leadership on
combating AIDS. "What this administration needs is a plan to
address the pandemic globally and to provide the sort of
political leadership they have been able to show on other
issues," he said.
Hart said that it is misleading for the administration to
claim that the U.S. has donated more to the effort than other
countries because it has so much more money to contribute. "It's
a little like me and Bill Gates walking by a homeless guy and I
give $10 and he gives $20," Hart said. Gates, the founder of
Microsoft, has contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to
AIDS efforts and recently pledged $100 million to prevention
efforts in India.
Indian Christians pay tribute to pioneering Irish
(ENI) Christians in the Indian state of Gujarat have paid
tribute to India's first Irish Protestant missionaries at the
place where they started their work over 160 years ago.
"The church here is a child of the Irish missionaries," said
Bishop Vinod Kumar Malaviya of the Church of North India at the
November 28 ceremony in Rajkot attended by nearly a thousand
church members from the region.
James Glasgow and Alexander Kerr were sent by the
Presbyterian Church of Ireland in 1841 and were soon followed by
another 55 missionaries who founded many schools throughout the
state. Philip McDonagh, Ireland's ambassador to India, said that
his presence at the celebration was "an acknowledgment of the
strong link between the Irish Presbyterian Church and Gujarat."
He pointed out that the decision to send the missionaries was
one of the first decisions of the church's General Assembly
after its founding in 1840.
Nigel Eves, the Presbyterian Church's Asia desk secretary,
said that the church had raised 710,000 pounds sterling to
support the relief and rehabilitation work of the Church of
North India, a 1970 merger of Anglicans and other Protestants as
one of four United Churches in the region. "I cannot remember
another time when there has been such an overwhelming response,"
he said. At least 20,000 people were killed and another million
made homeless by the earthquake, according to government
Episcopal institutions elect new leadership
(ENS) A number of prominent institutions of the Episcopal
Church have elected new leadership.
The Rev. Titus Presler was recently installed as the sixth
dean and president of the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest.
Incorporating an international flavor -- Presler was born in
India to missionary parents and is a former missionary and
teacher in Zimbabwe -- a Festival Eucharist for the Mission of
the Church featured five languages: Spanish, Dakota, Shona,
Bengali and English. Bishop Mano Rumalshah, a Pakistani who is
general secretary of the London-based United Society for the
Propagation of the Gospel, preached and Bishop Claude Paine,
chair of the seminary's board of trustees, presided at the
installation. (Sermon and photos are on the seminary web site at
The Rev. Jean Smith has been appointed executive director of
Seamen's Church Institute (SCI) of New York and New Jersey,
succeeding the Rev. Peter Larom who will become a special
advisor. Smith becomes the first woman to lead the 169-year-old
maritime institution. SCI provides pastoral care along 2,200
miles of America's inland waterways, as well as training centers
in New York, Kentucky, and Texas. It also operates a Center for
Seafarer's Rights, internationally renowned for its legal
Smith has been with the institute since 1990, supervising a
seafarer's center, an international training program, and an
innovative inland maritime ministry that stretches from
Pittsburgh to Houston. Under Larom the institute, located in
lower Manhattan, played a key role in supporting emergency
workers in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the
nearby World Trade Center. (Details on the institute web site at
The board of trustees of the Episcopal Media Center has
elected Bishop Charles Duvall, who retired last year after 20
years as bishop of the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast, to
chair the board. Duvall established a reputation as an engaging
storyteller, recording "Biblical Stories Retold to Tickle the
Ear and Touch the Heart" on audiocassette. While a parish priest
in South Carolina, he helped place media center's "One Reach
One" on local television stations. He has also preached on "The
Protestant Hour" radio program. "His leadership will be pivotal
as we broaden our relationship with the whole Episcopal Church,"
said the Rev. Louis Schueddig, president and executive director
of the media center. (For more information go to the center's
web site at www.episcopalmedia.org.)
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