The hugely talented singer-songwriter Sting recently extolled the new American President in messianically reverential tones, declaring that, “In many ways, he’s sent from God.”
I’ll tell you what. I don’t ever want to see one of these things walking (or running) in my direction. [Strains of David Bowie: “Put on your red shoes and dance the blues . . .”
Switzerland announced plans yesterday to crack down on “suicide tourism”, signalling that it might close the Dignitas clinic that has helped hundreds of terminally ill people to take their lives.The plans — in the form of two draft Bills that will be offered for public debate — are likely to set off a rush of patients from Britain and elsewhere in Europe since Switzerland has become the main destination for those seeking assisted suicide.Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, the Justice Minister, said that two options would be presented to parliament. Either clinics such as Dignitas and Exit, which deals chiefly with Swiss patients, will have to accept much stricter regulation or they will be closed down.The tightening of the rules would require patients to present two medical opinions declaring their disease incurable, that death is expected within months and that they have made their decision of sound mind and fully aware of their options.These guidelines, said the minister, appeal to common sense. And even in the most controversial clinic, Dignitas, these rules are already broadly adhered to. But critics have accused Dignitas of widening its criteria. Some patients are not terminally ill and at least a few would-be suicides are suffering from clinical depression.The plan is thus to slow down the process and make it a more considered, and carefully policed, decision. . . . (continue reading)
Who even knew Hans Kung was still around? Like a rickety old submarine that surfaces now and then to vent the noxious fumes that have built up inside, this disgruntled Vatican II peritus pops up every so often with a querulous screech about how the pope (JPII & BXVI) hasn’t been driving the big ol’ Churchbus in the leftward direction he so badly wants it to go.
Dissident theologian Father Hans Kung criticized Pope Benedict XVI for his recent opening to discontented Anglicans, charging the pope was “fishing” for the most conservative Christians to the detriment of the larger church.
Father Kung said the invitation to traditionalist Anglicans to join the Roman Catholic Church went against years of ecumenical work on the part of both churches, calling it instead “a nonecumenical piracy of priests.”
The pope’s basic message is: “Traditionalists of all churches, unite under the dome of St. Peter’s!” Father Kung wrote in an editorial Oct. 28 in the Rome daily La Repubblica.
“Look: The fisherman is fishing above all on the ‘right’ side of the lake. But the water is muddy,” he said.
The Vatican announced Oct. 20 that the pope was establishing a new structure to welcome Anglicans who want to be in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church while maintaining some of their spiritual and liturgical traditions. Many of the Anglicans who have asked the Vatican for such a provision are dismayed by the ordination of women and by the blessing of homosexual unions and the ordination of openly gay bishops in some provinces of the Anglican Communion.
While emphasizing the importance of celibacy for priests, the Vatican said a dispensation would be made for former Anglican priests who are married to be ordained Catholic priests. However, they will not be able to become bishops.
Father Kung, a Swiss theologian who has taught in Germany for decades, warned that married newcomers will cause resentment on the part of celibate Catholic clergy.
In 1979 the Vatican withdrew permission for him to teach as a Catholic theologian, although it did not restrict his ministry as a Catholic priest.
In the editorial, Father Kung also lambasted Pope Benedict’s recent efforts to bring back into the fold members of the Society of St. Pius X, a group of breakaway Catholics opposed to the changes in the church following the Second Vatican Council.
“After reintegrating the anti-reformist Society of St. Pius X, now Benedict XVI wants to flesh out the thinning ranks of Roman Catholics with like-minded Anglicans,” Father Kung wrote in the editorial.
He also criticized Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury, head of the Anglican Communion, who “in his desire to ingratiate himself with the Vatican apparently didn’t understand the consequences of the papal fishing trip in Anglican waters.” (source)
I’m delighted to be reprising my earlier role as guest speaker for several Immaculate Heart Radio “Listener Appreciation” events in San Francisco (Nov. 3), Oakland (Nov. 4), and San Jose (Nov. 5), as well as Salt Lake City (Nov. 10) and Albuquerque (Nov. 12). Click here for details.
The following message (though not this picture) was posted yesterday on the Mormon Church’s public affairs blog. It explains the group’s unhappiness with recent news reports that refer to “splinter groups” which hive off from the Salt Lake City-based “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (AKA “the Mormon Church”) as “Mormons.”
These splinter groups (AKA “Mormon Fundamentalists”) assiduously devote themselves to the practice of the doctrine of polygamy (which was renounced by THE Mormon Church in 1890) and around whichever Viagra-addled alpha male has set himself up as the prophet, seer, and revelator for that particular harem.
Yes, it’s kind of weird, especially since the real Mormon Church used to officially teach (and practice with gusto) the doctrine of “plural marriage” (c.f., D&C 132:51-52, 61-64). But when you consider this issue from the standpoint of the LDS Church, their concern makes sense. And in any case, I personally find the whole wild and wonderful world of Mormonism rather fascinating anyway.
During the past few years most journalists in the U.S. have done an excellent job in clarifying the differences between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and small, polygamist, splinter groups that often call themselves “Mormons” but have no connection with the Church. Since these groups are covered in the press frequently, we appreciate journalists’ efforts to make this distinction.
However, today The Times in London ran a story about a polygamist group, not at all associated with the Church, with the headline “Mormon polygamist Raymond Jessop on trial after raid on sect’s compound.” Journalists who use the word “Mormon” in relation to polygamist groups unassociated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints cause enormous amounts of confusion in the minds of their readers. Particularly internationally, readers do not distinguish between these groups and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of which there are over 13.5 million members worldwide.
A few weeks ago I was in Korea and spoke with some of the Church’s Public Affairs media representatives there. They expressed frustration with international wire services that inappropriately use the term “Mormon” in their stories in association with fringe polygamists groups. The Korean press often reruns these stories with the wire service inaccuracies. The effect of such misinformation in Korea, and other countries where the Church has fewer members and is less well known, is much greater. . . . (continue reading)