Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Religion around ‘Fluffya’
RCs start ad campaign for schools to reverse declining enrolment
Well and good but
For more than a century, the archdiocese has sharply focused on providing an unparalleled education experience rooted in Gospel values such as respect, justice and service.
shouldn’t be the main selling point because it’s neither unique nor the schools’ original reason to exist. C19 and early C20 generic Protestantism, the de facto religion in the state schools, taught those ‘Gospel values’, making good citizens and so on. (Even long after higher criticism started to take away the actual Gospel!) Immigrant parents wanted their children taught eternal truths underpinning those values, the Catholic faith, and literally saved their pennies to make it happen.

Sounds more like another go at that perennial goal (unchanged from the old to the new religion) of getting government funding for those schools. (Which historically and yes understandably gave Protestants conscience problems.) Notice how what should be the main message, the one thing that should make those schools unique, seems watered down now with that end in mind.

It could be that the well-off suburban RCs (at ‘St Novus’) who I imagine are usually the archdiocese’s main focus are happy to send their children to other schools so possibly the campaign’s generic-values approach is aimed at Protestants and Muslims (lots of black families, the people in the neighbourhoods that used to be immigrant RC) in the city who want their kids to have a measure of the pious discipline those schools are famous for.

Here is David Alexander’s experience with this system (not in Philadelphia).

The Episcopal row at Rosemont
Whatever one’s views on the ‘big three’ controversial issues (not necessarily related but in practice they often come together) — Modernism, gay weddings and women’s ordination — I’m sorry but Bishop David Moyer doesn’t make sense here. So he wants nothing to do with the diocese, is sacked, becomes a bishop somewhere else but wants to sue over being sacked. What?

Granted +Pennsylvania could be nice and negotiate to sell Good Shepherd, Rosemont (the diocese’s only Anglo-Catholic parish in the upmarket ‘Main Line’ suburbs) — Bishop Bennison’s people in those parts are already served by Redeemer, Bryn Mawr; Christ Church Ithan, St Martin’s, Radnor and St Mary’s, Wayne. But legally this is an easy win for the diocese. A spiteful move to smash a Catholic parish and get a building not really needed but an easy win. (The same way the diocese won then closed St James the Less in North Philly.)

The canon used to depose Bishop Moyer (not yet a bishop when it happened) incidentally was meant as a kind of express lane for priests going over to Rome — no trial, no fuss.

Being an Anglican bishop somewhere else — a suffragan in the Diocese of The Murray — is irrelevant to the case. (Bishop Moyer is both a Continuing bishop and a suffragan in The Murray.) All that matters to the court is Bishop Moyer is no longer a priest of the Diocese of Pennsylvania.

Quotations from elsewhere:
Dr Moyer's victory in getting a trial might end up costing him his building. If he had simply continued in place as the soi-disant rector he might have had a case. Clearly Dr Bennison was using the canons in an inappropriate way, and this would have made for a decent legal argument. Religious or no, an organization is required to hire and fire people in a manner consistent with its own rules; when it fails to do this the courts can intervene.

Since he is now a bishop in another religion, from a legal point of view, and yet still occupies the building on Lancaster Avenue, he is basically trespassing. If you are unfairly fired by McDonald's you are well within your rights to sue them for restoration and damages; you cannot, however, open a Burger King in their building while you are waiting for the legal proceedings to play out. This is how it may well look to a court according to neutral principles of law.

I think there's a fair chance that Dr Moyer will take this opportunity to address the underlying theological and ecclesiological issues, and his counsel may well let him. This is suicide, as no judge will touch this with a ten-foot pole. If Dr Bennison's authority is called into question, or if the plaintiff's case is predicated on something other than the failure of the diocese to follow its own rules and regulations, then it's all over. And if the diocese wins here, an eviction order could easily be obtained, I would think.

All of that said, it's a sad business. The people of Good Shepherd don't deserve to have their building taken away, and Dr Moyer is entitled (or was before the A.C.A. business) to the protections of the canons.
What’s more, there’s already a Continuing bishop more or less locally (he was a curate at Rosemont 30 years ago), in a different jurisdiction (why should that matter?), so why have another one?

Wouldn’t it have made more sense to try to get Bishop Bennison to sell the building — which wouldn’t have worked but it doesn’t hurt to ask — or move out and start over, either way going under the existing Continuing bishop?
May God have mercy on all of us, and may he preserve the Catholic faith and religion for his faithful.
Some good news: the rector of Atonement, Morton told me the Anglican Fellowship of the Delaware Valley (a conservative group made up of Episcopal, Reformed Episcopal and Continuing clergy) will have Evensong one of these days in the Collegiate Chapel of St Andrew at what was the diocese’s theological college, the Philadelphia Divinity School (closed since the early 1970s — it merged with Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Mass.). The University of Pennsylvania owns the buildings now, a marvellous collection of Gothic architecture from the 1920s protected as a landmark. An infant school uses some of them.

Islam in Philadelphia
The centre of the black Sunni Muslim community includes the former St Thomas More High School.
Lancaster Avenue is Philadelphia's Muslim Main Street, the heart of the Islamic community for the city's 100,000-plus Muslims. Several of Philadelphia's oldest and most prominent mosques line the street.

Here, the majority of the Muslim population draws its roots from Nation of Islam (NOI). Temple No. 12 was at 42nd Street and Lancaster Avenue, in what is now the top floor of an abandoned hardware store. An early post of Malcolm X, it is also the place where the modern incarnation of African-American Islam was born, where Wallace D. Muhammad, NOI leader Elijah Muhammad's son, began introducing legitimately Quranic-based teachings into the racist stew of Islam, Christianity and bogus black supremacy that the NOI was passing off as true Islam.

Frequently out of favor with his dad, Wallace formally broke with his father's theology in 1977 and began dismantling the NOI. In 1981, Louis Farrakhan reformed the NOI along Elijah's sectarian lines, but the Philadelphia Muslim community seems to have steadfastly cast its lot with W.D. Muhammad.
That’s the same street Good Shepherd, Rosemont is in, about seven miles away.

The school I mentioned above, Clara Muhammad, is named for Elijah Muhammad’s wife even though the people are now real Muslims.

Regular readers of this blog know I don’t scare up anti-Muslim sentiment, and Iraq — once a secular state not a Muslim one — is nothing to do with it, but chaps like Paz (ironically also the Spanish word for peace) remind me why the battles of Kosovo, Constantinople, Lepanto and Vienna happened.
In cities and college towns across the nation, Paz's thick, round frame dominates the stage as he leads an audience of mostly white, middle-class college kids with gelled hair and hipster T-shirts as they gruesomely rant about the almighty supremacy of Allah. The pope is strangled with a rosary. "Pagan" Christians are converted to Islam.
To be fair Paz and these fans are apostate Christians — rebels looking for a cause — not typical born Muslims. However:
Some fans are from Lebanon.
Dhimmitude? No, thanks and this is not a pacifist blog.

Even a stopped clock like Paz is sometimes right, offering some perspective:
"Under what religion did we go to war?" he says. "Bush said God told him to go to war."
Who’s more dangerous, a daft Muslim convert from South Philly whose free speech I’ll defend, legendary Voltaire fashion, or the First Sock Puppet who listens not to rap but the ‘rapture’ crowd and has got nukes?

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