Sunday, I was the master of ceremonies for the 9-11 Unity Walk, which brought people of many faith traditions together to express mutual respect for each other’s faith traditions. And an amazing event it was. Where else can you hear a Muslim call to prayer in a synagogue? Where else can you hear “Amazing Grace” over the loudspeakers at a mosque? Where else would you find the Vatican Embassy serving cookies to everyone who comes by on the front lawn?
On this day in 1759, on the Plains of Abraham at Quebec City, the British, commanded by General James Wolfe, defeated the French, commanded by General Louis-Joseph de Montcalm. The battle lasted less than twenty minutes. Both generals were mortally wounded.
Wolfe, 32 years old, died on the field.
The Guardian Pope accused of crimes against humanity by victims of sex abuse. Victims' complaint to the international criminal court accuses Pope Benedict and three others of failing to prevent abusers
Press Release from the Center for Constitutional Rights ICC Vatican Prosecution
In the days right after 9/11, it was a constant refrain in the television business: nothing would ever be the same here, either. And things have changed in the decade since, but not in the way many foresaw.
Writing in the entertainment trade paper Variety, columnist Brian Lowry recounts that early reaction: irony was dead, seriousness would reign. I was a network news producer at NBC back then, and we all thought 9/11 signaled a sea change. How could supposed-entertainment shows with names like "Fear Factor" keep going? How could the then-emerging genre dubbed "reality television" continue in the wake of such "real" reality as 9/11? And the news: a nation obsessed for years with topics like O.J. Simpson and Michael Jackson would no doubt shake itself sober and pay attention to more important matters.
But, as Lowry writes, little of that came to pass. O.J. was replaced by, well, another O.J. trial -- this one in Las Vegas. And news-based soap operas like the Casey Anthony trial continued to dominate, along with coverage of politics that had no more depth than it did on 9/10.
As part of Fashion Week in New York City, this story is from Friday's New York Post:
"Father Andrew O'Connor presided over a "wedding" at designer Tara Subkoff's Imitation of Christ presentation at the W Hotel Union Square yesterday afternoon, where Lydia Hearst played the bride. But it's not O'Connor's first foray into the fashion world -- he runs Goods of Conscience, a Guatemala-sourced sustainable-fabric clothing manufacturer that made a pair of shorts Cameron Diaz wore on Vogue's cover two years ago."
In church circles in Italy, Andrea Riccardi, founder of the Community of Sant’Egidio, is sometimes half-jokingly referred to as un cardinale laico, a “lay cardinal.” Technically, that’s not accurate – the last of the lay cardinals died in 1899, and even those guys were in minor orders and thus technically clerics. Yet the phrase nonetheless captures Riccardi’s exalted status as a papal confidante, Vatican insider, and molder of Catholic opinion.
Known as the "U.N. of Trastevere" for the Roman neighborhood where the group is headquartered, Sant'Egidio is celebrated for its work in ecumenism, inter-religious dialogue, and conflict resolution. Among other things, Sant'Egidio has negotiated peace accords in global hotspots such as Mozambique and Uganda.
tThis week, Sant’Egidio’s annual interreligious meeting for peace is taking place in Munich, Germany. (Just to illustrate that the cachet of Riccardi and Sant’Egidio is not limited to ecclesiastical venues, Germany’s President Christian Wulff attended the opening ceremonies, and Chancellor Angela Merkel made a point of meeting Riccardi.)
On this day we celebrate the feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary.
For an explanation of the feast, see The Liturgical Year, the great classic by the Right Reverend Dom Prosper Guéranger, Abbot of Solesmes, pages 171-195. From that:
"Two glorious triumphs, two victories won under the protection of our Lady, have rendered this present day illustrious in the annals of the Church and of history.
Australia: An archbishop leading a breakaway Anglican faction that wants to reunite with Rome has revealed that he fled the Catholic priesthood after experiencing systematic sexual abuse over more than a decade.
Mollie Ziegler in a "Get Religion" column provides a welcome correction to the idea that religious officials are offended by being left out of the 9/11 ceremonies.
Her own tradition, the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church, is among many religious groups who disapprove of rubber stamping secular causes because their theology requires a separate critique of worldly affairs. Their mission, broadly speaking, is to honor the integrity of the secular realm from a spiritual vantage point rather than becoming contiguous with it.
The New York memorial is especially fraught with temptations to endorse unintended purposes. While religious leaders would pray as one in memory of the dead the healing of survivors, the setting lends itself to other ends. For example, does it become a virtual acceptance of the wars waged in reaction to that terrible event? Does it imply support for the legal restrictions in its wake? And how does it keep from reawakening anti-Muslim sentiments?
Perhaps ministers, imams, rabbis, priests and all other clergy wouldn't be faced with such potential conflicts with their consciences but being on the platform would run the risk.
A story today in The Australian about Archbishop John Hepworth:
"AN Australian archbishop leading a breakaway Anglican faction that wants to reunite with Rome has revealed that he fled the Catholic priesthood after experiencing systematic sexual abuse over more than a decade."
Read the full story here