COP24: It’s not about resources anymore; it’s about moral maturity

COP24: It’s not about resources anymore; it’s about moral maturity

Joan Chittister, radical Benedictine, attended the COP 24 Environmental conference Dec. 8 in Katowice, Poland. She came away with mixed emotions....

Joan Chittister, radical Benedictine, attended the COP 24 Environmental conference Dec. 8 in Katowice, Poland. She came away with mixed emotions as intergovernmental agreements fell short of what is required. Joan was heartened though by the presentations which took a different tone. Theses were, she said, presentations from religious leaders, spiritual teachers, more philosophic types who know that nothing much can happen to the world around us until something happens within us that is beyond money and power, that seeks global harmony and world peace.

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Locker Rooms, Culture Wars and the Good Samaritan

Locker Rooms, Culture Wars and the Good Samaritan

Heaven help us! The sky is falling. It’s another example of political correctness gone mad, (or is it really asks Dr Robin Bunce)...

Heaven help us! The sky is falling. It’s another example of political correctness gone mad, and religious freedoms being violated. According to the Dr Duke Show,

a weekly podcast ‘bringing you news and insightful commentary about the state of education in America and the world today’, the Chasco Middle School in Florida is the latest front in America’s ‘culture wars’.

Read full article from Robin Bunce in the attached news file.

The newspaper report is here: Tampa_Bay_Times_report

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SCM News

SCM News

recruiting for a new Chief Executive Officer and more news...

SCM is recruiting for a new Chief Executive Officer to take the charity forward in the next stage of its development. Full details available:SCM_vacancies

Join with us in praying for students on Student Sunday, 17 February 2019. The toolkit is now available to download from Student_Sunday

Help us celebrate 130 years of SCM’s life changing work with students by signing up to our 130 Challenge and commiting to raise £130.130_Challenge

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Abbot of Einsiedeln calls for a more differentiated view of homosexuality than that of Pope Francis.

Abbot of Einsiedeln calls for a more differentiated view of homosexuality than that of Pope Francis.

Swiss ask Papal Nuncio to show enough “sensitivity in order to perceive the realities of the Church in Switzerland”...

In an interview with the newspaper St Galler Tagblatt on 5 December the Abbot of Einsiedeln, Urban Federer, 50, has called for a more differentiated view of homosexuality than that put forward by Pope Francis.

The abbot said that, as a teacher, he was aware of the great pressure young people were under to define themselves sexually nowadays but this overtaxed many of them.

As the tenth-century Benedictine Abbey of Einsiedeln is a territorial abbey, the abbot is the equivalent of a bishop and only responsible directly to the Pope.

Earlier this year the progressive element of Swiss German-speaking Catholics, angry at the nomination of a conservative as papal nuncio to Bern, issued an open letter to the nuncio. The canon and co-dean of Bern, Fr. Christian Schaller, said he hoped that Archbishop Thomas Gullickson would show enough “sensitivity in order to perceive the realities of the Church in Switzerland”

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PCN Members Weekend

PCN Members Weekend

Ian and Fran Lovett report on group study of Spong’s “Unbelievable” - report in Progressive Voices magazine - complete magazine…...

Unbelievable: Why neither the ancient creeds nor the Reformation can produce a living faith today

John Shelby Spong

Spong writes in the introduction that this was written in the twilight years of his life, indeed he estimates that some of his best books have been written in these years.

Whilst one might not want to study the fulsome arguments in those books, reading and discussing “Unbelievable” can be sufficient to underpin the notion that the dysfunctionality / dissonance of 1st and 16th

century-based Christianity really is unbelievable now.

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CUF focus on homelessness

CUF focus on homelessness

CUF focusses on homelessness as we are surrounded by visions of the Christmas story:...

CUF, is a Christian social action charity working around the country tackling issues such as food poverty, homelessness and financial exclusion. This Advent they are focusing specifically on the issue of homelessness and raising awareness about this issue and what Christians can do to make a difference to the many thousands of people who experience homelessness.

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Oxford Diocese piles pressure on Dean Martyn Percy

Oxford Diocese piles pressure on Dean Martyn Percy

Private Eye suggests that bishop stung by Percy’s outspoken criticism of “Renewal and Reform” policy....

According to Private Eye Bishop Steven Croft (Oxford) has removed PTO (permission to officiate) from Martyn Percy, stopping him taking services anywhere in the Church of England. Bishop Croft has done this even though the actions of Christ Church college do not involve any actions by Martyn that would require such suspension. If Private Eye’s story, entitled “Down the Rabbit Hole” if right this is bound to add to the pressure on Martyn. Private Eye suggests that Bishop Croft was stung by Dean Martyn Percy’s outspoken criticism of the Church of England’s “Renewal and Reform” policy.

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Plans and Projects for PCN Britain

Plans and Projects for PCN Britain

Chair’s letter outlines plans and projects for PCN Britain...

Chair’s Letter

There have been a number of well-received PCN events this autumn, in particular our members’ weekend at the Hayes Conference Centre at Swanwick (reviewed in this PV) and the Marcus Borg Memorial Conference held at St Marks Church in Broomhill, Sheffield, when we had the pleasure of welcoming Marianne Borg. These and other events, such as the Future of Faith lectures in Rawtenstall, give a much needed opportunity for PCN members and friends to meet together and to feel part of a bigger progressive movement across the UK. Indeed, we know that we are also part of a global movement seeking to free Christianity from many of the constraints imposed by outdated dogmas and rigid frameworks of belief. Marianne invited us to keep in touch with the work of the Marcus Borg Foundation and you can do this by registering your email address to receive news from that organisation (see www.marcusjborg.org).

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Smiles that mask dark secrets

Smiles that mask dark secrets

Catherine Pepinster, former editor of The Tablet, reflects on the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). ....

Catherine Pepinster, former editor of The Tablet, reflects in The Tablet on the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). .- a few, of many, disturbing issues, are noted below in extracts from her support.

While the details revealed of the abuse suffered by individuals are horrifying, the inquiry went much further. It exposed the extent to which the abuse crisis in the Church has been deepened by the institutional response of those in positions of power. A culture of clericalism, secrecy and authoritarianism was laid bare. It became clear how little money is spent on safeguarding. It revealed conflicts between national organisations and those at local level, the struggle of staff to cope with their workloads and their lack of up-to-date knowledge about abuse.

What is now apparent is the extent to which efforts by the Church to improve child protection through the recommendations made in the Nolan Report in 2001 and its follow-up Cumberlege report six years later did not necessarily lead to improved systems at diocesan level. A recent audit of Birmingham carried out by the Social Care Institute of Excellence (SCIE) found that record-keeping was poor, and there was no complete record of all its volunteers in the parishes.

While many of the cases of abuse discussed occurred between 1982 and 1999, when Maurice Couve de Murville was archbishop, the inquiry focused on the response to survivors of abuse who had come forward in more recent years. And what emerged was that the interests of the institution were still being put first.

There was worrying evidence from Eileen Shearer and from Adrian Child, former head of COPCA’s successor, CSAS, that Birmingham’s safeguarding officer, Jane Jones, had shown hostility to their organisations.

A SCIE audit found recently that Birmingham’s senior clergy and protection team still did not understand the impact that abuse has on victims and their families.

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Jesuit Mark S. Massa, argues change is the companion of theological truth

Jesuit Mark S. Massa, argues change is the companion of theological truth

The preacher’s carriage “was built in such a logical way / It ran a hundred years to a day” but then “went to pieces…...

The Structure of Theological Revolutions: How the Fight Over Birth Control Transformed American Catholicism

By Mark S. Massa, SJ 232 pages; Oxford University Press

Jesuit Fr. Mark Massa opens his new book, The Structure of Theological Revolutions: How the Fight Over Birth Control Transformed American Catholicism, with a quote from Oliver Wendell Holmes’ poem “The Deacon’s Masterpiece: Or the Wonderful ‘One-Hoss Shay’: A Logical Story” first published in 1858. The preacher’s carriage “was built in such a logical way / It ran a hundred years to a day” but then “went to pieces all at once, / All at once and nothing first, / Just as bubbles do when they burst.”

The poem is, of course, a metaphor, and the destruction of the one-horse carriage Holmes is describing represents the sudden destruction of Calvinism as the essential cultural framework for New England society.

“The American Catholic community experienced a very similar, and seemingly equally quick, disappearance of a revered theological system after 1968,” Massa writes. “What passed from the scene was, as in the earlier case, a rigorously systematic, even logical, theological system, which has been traditionally labeled ‘neo-scholastic natural law.’ “

the structure of theological revolutions full review

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Martyn Percy dean of Christ Church to face tribunal

Martyn Percy dean of Christ Church to face tribunal

Adrian Alker, PCN Britain chair, has sent Martyn good wishes from PCN Britain in what is a pretty torrid affair which has taken its toll on Martyn’s…...

Martyn Percy is to face a tribunal though the complaint made against him is as yet not clear. ​The complaint does not involve the Church of England and is a purely college matter, The matter has led to his suspension from both college and chapel duties. A defence fund has been formed and has raised £54 000 on GoFundMe

. Martyn Percy Defence Fund

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Haunted by Christ: new book by Richard Harries

Haunted by Christ: new book by Richard Harries

Richard Harries reflects on the works of twenty novelists, poets and dramatists who take religion seriously. His selection of 20 authors stretches…...

W H Auden, T S Eliot, William Golding, Elizabeth Jennings, C S Lewis, Flannery O’Connor, Stevie Smith. . . These are among some of the great poets and novelists whose struggles with faith finds expression in their works, and whose works have helped countless readers to appreciate the different forms that faith can take in different times and places. Richard Harries considers the work of twenty of these writers, painting vivid pictures of their lives and times, and providing us with numerous critically sympathetic insights into the spiritual dimension of their writings.

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National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff issue open letter to the US Catholic bishops: “It’s over”

National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff issue open letter to the US Catholic bishops: “It’s over”

RC bishops in USA invited to try humility ... attend in mufti and leave all the collars and black suits,  silk and lace and pectoral crosses…...

Dear brothers in Christ, shepherds, fellow pilgrims,

We address you as you approach this year’s national meeting in Baltimore because we know there is nowhere left to hide.

It’s over.

All the manipulations and contortions of the past 33 years, all the attempts to deflect and equivocate — all of it has brought the church, but especially you, to this moment.

It’s over.

Even the feds are now on the trail. They’ve ordered that you not destroy any documents. The Department of Justice is conducting a national criminal investigation of how you’ve handled the clergy sex abuse scandal. It is a point in our history without precedent. We want you to know that you aren’t alone in this moment, you’ve not been abandoned. But this time it must be different. This time it won’t be easy.

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Gretta Vosper - Great news from Canada

Gretta Vosper - Great news from Canada

A message direct from Gretta following the unexpectedly short (and positive) censure hearing...

Hello all!

This coming Sunday, I return to my congregation without a cloud hanging over our heads and secure in the knowledge that the community we have built at West Hill United Church can continue, without conditions.

The following joint statement just went out from the United Church of Canada at 1:00 p.m. today.

Joint Statement Toronto Conference, Rev. Gretta Vosper and West Hill United Church have settled all outstanding issues between them. Rev. Gretta Vosper will remain in ordained ministry at West Hill United Church. We acknowledge the faithful work of all of those who have been involved in this process.

I cannot say how central your support, love, expressions of empathy, and constancy has meant to me over these three and a half years (plus one day!). It has strewn this difficult path with wisdom, late night and early morning insights, en-coeur-agements, letters of support, of outrage and sorrow, perspective, cups of tea, space for the expressions of anger or heartbreak, shoulders braced against the wall. You persevered and this story has been told. In the telling, in the hearing, we have been affirmed. The first denomination to allow an atheist, whose heart and mind, leadership, and theology, formed by that church’s own hand, to continue unobstructed in their ministry. Might I even say “celebrated”? It is a new day in the Christian world. And I am so grateful for your presence by my side.

With much love, gretta

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Gretta Vosper “Heresy” Trial background

Gretta Vosper “Heresy” Trial background

Gretta Vosper Judicial Hearing due 12th November resolved. ...

Scott Kearns had reported to us just the other day that Gretta was exhausted having worked on a mountain of material to submit. Gretta has had to work hard to correct the many, many misquotes and misrepresentations in the report of the Ministry Personnel Review Committee that found her “unsuitable”, to outline objections to the dozens of breaches of natural justice in the process the Church administration developed to try her. Gretta has been able to evidence scores of samples of the work she has done with West Hill to offer a non-exclusive, theologically barrier-free community united in their commonly held commitment to justice, compassion, integrity, etc. Gretta and Scott had no idea what would happen at the trial – now all the worry as to whether indeed the court would be willing to listen to a wide scope of material, or merely “sentence” (their word) her right at the start is answered . Throughout Gretta has exemplified her integrity and passion for people and that has been recognised.

There is Facebook page hosted by the Friends of Gretta Vosper Association that will be keeping folks posted almost every day regarding what’s going on related to the Hearing. Here’s the link:

Gretta Vosper Support Group

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