Thursday, June 23, 2016

Earthquake: Britain Votes to Leave the European Union

It's about 11:00 PM here on the East Coast and 4:00 AM Friday morning in the UK. While they are still counting votes in the great BREXIT referendum, the secessionists seem to have a near unassailable lead.

Wow!

God save The Queen!

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Great & Holy Council: Potentially Huge News

 In addition to discussing the six documents prepared beforehand at previous conferences, participants at the ongoing council, begun yesterday on the Great Feast of Pentecost on the island of Crete, are also to deliberate over and publish the official "Message" of the council.

A draft of the document covers an array of topics including the questions of remarriage and marriage to non-Orthodox, the oneness and unity of the Church in the holy Eucharist, the importance of the Patristic Tradition, and the Church's vision of conciliarity which places no one bishop over all others, among other matters, according to a source familiar with the document.

While the document mainly "states the obvious" on such topics in terms that all the Local Churches can agree on, the draft document, in large part prepared by theologians of the Greek and Serbian Churches, does contain some more noteworthy passages.

In it, the current gathering is referred to as a preparatory council for a further series of councils, rather than a one-time event, noting that the absence of four Local Churches is properly speaking the failure of all involved, and that the issues preventing certain Churches from participating in the current council are to be resolved before the convening of the next, that all might attend in good conscience.

Notably, the draft document currently under consideration also recognizes as ecumenical the Photian Council of 879-880, already sometimes referred to as the Eighth Ecumenical Council, which condemned the Latin addition of the Filioque into the Nicene Creed; the hesychast councils of Constantinople held between 1341 and 1351, already sometimes collectively referred to as the Ninth Ecumenical Council, which upheld the distinction between the essence and energies of God and man's ability to commune with these energies; the 1642 Council of Iași (Jassy) which countered certain Catholic and Protestant heresies which had exercised some degree of influence on Orthodox theology; and the 1672 Council of Jerusalem which refuted Calvinism and also rejected the Filioque.

Regarding these councils, the document especially notes their statements against Western scholasticism and the imbalanced emphasis on reason as obstacles to unity, and in light of the Councils of Iași and Jerusalem, states that the Catholic and Protestant confessions in no way make up a part of the Church, while avoiding the use of the word "heretic."

The overall atmosphere at the current council is one of a favorable impression of the document, according to the source. However, it is as yet a draft document and it remains to be seen what precise message the participating bishops and Churches will release.

Source
HT: ByzantineTexas

Sunday, June 19, 2016

California's state religion

In a state ruled by a former Jesuit, perhaps we should not be shocked to find ourselves in the grip of an incipient state religion. Of course, this religion is not actually Christianity, or even anything close to the dogma of Catholicism, but something that increasingly resembles the former Soviet Union, or present-day Iran and Saudi Arabia, than the supposed world center of free, untrammeled expression.

Two pieces of legislation introduced in the Legislature last session, but not yet enacted, show the power of the new religion. One is Senate Bill 1146, which seeks to limit the historically broad exemptions the state and federal governments have provided religious schools to, well, be religious.

Under the rubric of official “tolerance,” the bill would only allow religiously focused schools to deviate from the secular orthodoxy required at nonreligious schools, including support for transgender bathrooms or limitations on expressions of faith by students and even Christian university presidents, in a much narrower range of educational activity than ever before. Many schools believe the bill would needlessly risk their mission and funding to “solve” gender and social equity problems on their campuses that currently don’t exist.

The second piece of legislation, thankfully temporarily tabled, Senate Bill 1161, the Orwellian-named “California Climate Science Truth and Accountability Act of 2016,” would have dramatically extended the period of time that state officials could prosecute anyone who dared challenge the climate orthodoxy, including statements made decades ago. It would have sought “redress for unfair competition practices committed by entities that have deceived, confused or misled the public on the risks of climate change or financially supported activities that have deceived, confused or misled the public on those risks.”

Although advocates tended to focus on the hated energy companies, the law could conceivably also extend to skeptics who may either reject the prevailing notions of man-made climate change, or might believe that policies concocted to “arrest” the phenomena may be themselves less than cost-effective or even not effective at all. So, fellow Californians, sign onto Gov. Torquemada’s program or face possible prosecution and the fires of hell.

Read the rest here.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Jo Cox - Political Assassination - And the Hypocricy of the Left

At the risk of boring everyone to tears by asking the bleeding obvious, why does the liberal-left try to link the “right wing” to the murder of British MP Jo Cox, whilst fanatically disassociating Islam from any act of Islamic unpleasantness, be it anti-Semitism, homophobia, misogyny, terrorism, supremacism, subversion, beheading, electoral fraud, gang-rape, slavery, honour violence, infanticide etc etc etc?

The double standards involved here are simply jaw-dropping. Most of the Islamic downsides mentioned above can be directly linked to the scriptures of Islam, but left-liberals will deny this until their last pseudo- sanctimonious breath. And, as far as I am aware, there are no “right-wing” groups in the West which command members to murder their political opponents, yet left-liberals will go to the most extraordinarily wicked and immoral lengths in their attempts to link just such a scenario.

The horrible murder of Jo Cox is apparently now being blamed on Nigel Farage and his anti-immigrant campaign poster. The blame is being directed toward those who wish to leave the European Union, and of course on the political party / street movement Britain First based on hearsay evidence that was later retracted. The term “hate” keeps on cropping up, as though the lunatic who murdered Mrs Cox was the product of some trained political movement rather than a lone wolf with psychiatric problems.

Read the rest here.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Adam Shaw: Enough is enough, Pope Francis should resign

Pope Francis’s three-year-old papacy, marred by controversy from the beginning, has hit a new low.

After Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected to succeed Pope Benedict XVI in 2013, he quickly justified his reputation as an unconventional character who put himself on both sides of an argument with vaguely worded pronouncements.

From his “Who am I to judge?” statement on gay people that seemed to offer a hint at a change in church teaching, to his fumbles on contraception, to his recent claim that Donald Trump is not Christian, his off-the-cuff remarks cause headlines across the globe, often followed by some sort of “clarification” from the Holy See Press Office.

His papacy has been a litany of confusing statements for the faithful on the most sensitive and delicate topics. While clear on political topics dear to his heart, but where Catholics can legitimately hold differing opinions, such as immigration, economics and climate change, on matters of doctrine, Francis muddied the waters to an extent that many well-meaning Catholics feel they no longer know where the Church stands on issues of faith.

Most recently, in his latest off-the-cuff ramble on Thursday, he was asked about marriage. He said:

“It’s provisional, and because of this the great majority of our sacramental marriages are null. Because they say ‘yes, for the rest of my life!’ but they don’t know what they are saying. Because they have a different culture. They say it, they have good will, but they don’t know.”

To say that the “great majority” of Catholic marriages are null, or invalid, is a statement that is neither true, wise, nor fair. The Vatican has since toned down his remarks in the written transcript to say “a part of our sacramental marriages are null,” in apparent recognition of the damage Francis’s statement might cause.

For a “pope of the people” he certainly doesn’t give Catholics much credit. For a Catholic marriage to be valid all that is needed is the freedom to marry, consent from both parties, and the intention to marry for life and be open to children. That’s it.

Over the years, some clerics have used an interpretation of canon law to suggest “emotional immaturity” can be a reason for not understanding the responsibilities of marriage, and therefore as invalid and open to annulment. But marriage is not hard to understand, and the Catholic rite of marriage, as well as the preparation couples go through beforehand, makes clear what marriage involves.

For Pope Francis to say the great majority of marriages are null implies that the great majority of Catholic are ignorant fools who cannot understand the responsibilities of a bedrock of society that has existed for thousands of years.

Read the rest here.

The Liturgical Abuse Photo of the Month Contest Is Officially Over

Sorry, no one is going to top this. Not sure if they are Roman Catholic or some flavor of liturgical Protestant. Does it really matter?

Update: They were Episcopalians. Why am I not surprised?

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Why a Leave Vote May Not Result in a Brexit

The officialdom in England and in much of the rest of the advanced world is suddenly in alarm over the possibility of a Brexit. US Treasury yields sank last Friday as investors ran for cover, and the flight to safety continued today as a surge in the yen led to a 3% fall in the Nikkei.

The UK's elites had been confident that frequent, loud "Don't Touch That Dial" warnings, with vivid descriptions of all of the horrors that would ensue, would herd voters into line well before the June 23 polling date.

Instead, an online poll commissioned by the Independent showed the Leave campaign to be winning by a stunning 55% to 45%. That revelation coming on top of weak economic data from the US, put Mr. Market in a funk. The Financial Times' "poll of polls" puts Leave in the lead by a smaller margin, 46% to 44%.

Moreover, the sense is that with only 10 days to the decision date, the Leave campaign is gaining momentum. The Conservatives have realized that having a bunch of toffs, big banks, and intrusive foreign leaders tell British citizens how economically damaging a Brexit would be seems only to have persuaded voters at most that the people at the top of the food chain would take a hit. Voters seem to be in a bloody-minded enough mood to be willing to take a hit if they can inflict some pain on their putative leaders and take the banking classes down a notch or two. Another sentiment (and one that the elites appear to deny) is that voters are willing to pay an economic cost, even a large one, for more national sovereignity. So now Labor leaders have been moved to the front line of the sales campaign.

But even the referendum next week results in "Leave" getting the most results, that does not mean a Brexit will necessarily happen. There are at least two ways that the will of the public could be thwarted.

Read the rest here.

Half of Turkish Germans hold Islam above state law

A wide-ranging new study by the University of Münster shows that Germany’s Turkish community still has very conservative views on the role of religion in society.
The survey provides an often contradictory picture of social attitudes among Germany’s 2.7 million people of Turkish origin.
A total of 47 percent of the 1,201 respondents said that “following the tenets of my religion is more important to me than the laws of the land in which I live.”

Read the rest here.

Monday, June 13, 2016

For the record

The Russians have confirmed... They are not attending the Pan-Orthodox Synod

Memory Eternal

O God of all spirits and of every flesh, Who didst trod down death and overcome the devil, bestowing life on this Thy world, to the soul of these Thy servants, departed this life, do Thou, O Lord, grant rest in a place of light, in a place of green pasture, in a place of refreshment, from where pain and sorrow and mourning have fled away. Every sin by them committed in thought, word, or deed, do Thou as our Good and Loving God forgive; as there is no man who shall live and sinnneth not, for Thou alone are without sin. Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and Thy Law is truth; for Thou art the Resurrection, the Life, and the Repose of Thy servants, departed this life, O Christ our God; and to Thee do we ascribe glory, together with Thine Eternal Father and All-Holy, Good and Life-creating Spirit; both now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Poll: Britain Likely to Break With European Union

The campaign to take Britain out of the EU has opened up a remarkable 10-point lead over the Remain camp, according to an exclusive poll for The Independent.

The survey of 2,000 people by ORB found that 55 per cent believe the UK should leave the EU (up four points since our last poll in April), while 45 per cent want it to remain (down four points). These figures are weighted to take account of people’s likelihood to vote. It is by far the biggest lead the Leave camp has enjoyed since ORB began polling the EU issue for The Independent a year ago, when it was Remain who enjoyed a 10-point lead. Now the tables have turned.

Even when the findings are not weighted for turnout, Leave is on 53 per cent (up three points since April) and Remain on 47 per cent (down three). The online poll, taken on Wednesday and Thursday, suggests the Out camp has achieved momentum at the critical time ahead of the 23 June referendum.

Read the rest here.

Friday, June 10, 2016

The Russians Will Skip Council

Source.

This Council as presently envisioned is now dead. It is quite possible, maybe even probably, that at some point there will be a meeting. But there are going to have to be major changes/fixes before that happens.

A Collection of Documents Related to the Forthcoming(?) Pan Orthodox Council

Most of the documents are critical but well worth perusing.

http://jordanville.org/news_160511_1.html

Pope Francis: ‘Rigid… this or nothing’ Catholics are ‘heretical’ and ‘not Catholic’

June 9, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The stunning introduction to today’s official Vatican Radio report on Pope Francis’ morning homily reads: “Pope Francis warned on Thursday against an excessive rigidity, saying those within the Church who tell us ‘it’s this or nothing’ are heretics and not Catholics. His remarks came during the morning Mass on Thursday celebrated at the Santa Marta residence.”

The specific section of the homily referred to in the opening is as follows:
This (is the) healthy realism of the Catholic Church: the Church never teaches us ‘or this or that.’ That is not Catholic. The Church says to us: ‘this and that.’ ‘Strive for perfectionism: reconcile with your brother.  Do not insult him. Love him. And if there is a problem, at the very least settle your differences so that war doesn’t break out.’ This (is) the healthy realism of Catholicism. It is not Catholic (to say) ‘or this or nothing:’ This is not Catholic, this is heretical. 
Jesus always knows how to accompany us, he gives us the ideal, he accompanies us towards the ideal, He frees us from the chains of the laws' rigidity and tells us: ‘But do that up to the point that you are capable.’ And he understands us very well.  He is our Lord and this is what he teaches us.
Read the rest here.

California Declares War on Private Religious Colleges

Legislation pending in the California State Senate threatens to strip some private colleges and universities of an exemption that protects them from lawsuits and allows them to function as faith-based organizations.

What does the proposed legislation do?

SB 1146 would amend current California laws on postsecondary education to make two main changes.

The first is limiting the religious exemption from the Equity in Higher Education Act to educational institutions that are controlled by a religious organization specifically to train ministers. Seminaries would still be allowed to retain the exemption, but most Christian colleges and universities in California would no longer qualify.

The second stipulation is that it would require postsecondary educational institutions that receive the exemption to post a notice of it in a “prominent place” on campus, on their websites, on all brochures, and so on.

An amendment removed the language that would have allowed students who were “denied equal rights or opportunities on the basis of gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation” to sue the schools for monetary damages.

Read the rest here.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Metropolitan Benjamin of Vladivostok and Primorsk on Orthodox participation in the World Council of Churches

April 19, St. Tikhon’s Orthodox University for the Humanities, with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, hosted the conference: “The Pan-Orthodox Council: Opinions and Expectations.” Taking part in the work of the conference were prominent bishops, clergy, and laity. Among those called to take part in the conference was one of the most authoritative hierarchs of our Church, Metropolitan Benjamin (Pushkar) of Vladivostok and Primorsk, head of the Primorsk Metropolia. However Vladyka was not able to be present in Moscow, but sent his judgment-presentation to the conference concerning those themes which most concerned him. A photocopy of the document was given to each conference participant. As the opinion of Vladyka Benjamin is important for many children of our Church, we offer this document to the reader’s attention, written in the form of an address to the rector of the university, Archpriest Vladimir Vorobyev.

Read the rest here.

No mincing of words here.

MPs Plot to Obstruct BREXIT if Britain Votes to Quit the EU

MPs could seek to keep Britain in the European single market even if the public vote in the referendum to leave the European Union, in a move which anti-EU Tories said was “unacceptable” and would cause a “constitutional crisis”.

Membership of the House of Commons is overwhelmingly pro-EU, with just over 70 per cent of its present members campaigning for Remain at the referendum on June 23.

However unnamed ministers have told the BBC that in the event of a vote to leave, pro-EU MPs could engage in what one called a “reverse Maastricht” process - a reference to the long parliamentary campaign fought by Tory Eurosceptic MPs in the 1990s against legislation deepening EU integration.

Read the rest here.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Fr. Peter Heers: From Vatican II to the Pan Orthodox Synod - Signposts on the Way to Crete

Delivered to the Diakideio Institute for the Education of the People in Patra, Greece, May 18, 2016.
 
It is an overused but necessary cliché to state that the Orthodox Church is the Church of the Oecumenical Councils. It is more essential to state that the Orthodox Church not only held and lived through those Councils, it also lives daily by the words spoken by the Holy Apostles in that first of all Church Councils in Jerusalem: it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us (Acts 15:28); first to the Holy Spirit and then to the Apostles and all the successors of the Apostles. This theanthropic way of being, which began in earnest in council on the day of Pentecost, is integral to, irremovable from, the life of the Orthodox Church and of Orthodox Christians.

It is the implication of this reality, or rather the absence of evidence thereof among those at the highest levels of the Church, which makes my presentation to you tonight all the more difficult, even painful.

The Orthodox Church stands just weeks away from the long awaited “Great and Holy Council,” which will convene in Crete on the Feast of Pentecost. This Council is unique in the history of the Church for the length of time it has been under preparation, but also for another first: the degree to which its preparatory meetings, organization and certain of its texts have, under the influence of a council of the heterodox, the Second Vatican Council, diverted from the Orthodox way.

This is the reason that, immediately upon the publication of the pre-synodical texts, a wave of objections arose on a Pan-Orthodox level. Certain among the more fanatical enthusiasts of ecumenism have attempted to downplay the serious and studies critiques which have been levelled against the pre-synodical texts and the Council itself asserting the criticism is coming from “extremists” and “fanatics” who are “against the council,” have no respect for the conciliar system or an ecclesiastical ethos. These critics neglect the fact that objections to the ecclesiologically abysmal texts have been expressed on a pan-Orthodox level by...

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Bulgarian Orthodox Church withdraws from Pan-Orthodox Council in Crete

The governing body of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, the Holy Synod, signalled on June 1 its withdrawal from the Pan-Orthodox Council to be held in Crete from June 16 to 26.

Strictly speaking, the Holy Synod demanded the postponement of the council unless its various demands were met, but given that this is unlikely to happen, the Synod’s decision effectively amounts to withdrawal.

The Pan-Orthodox Council has been planned as the first such gathering in about 1000 years, but has been beset by controversies – one of the most significant ones being the fact that it is being held in Crete, not in Istanbul, seat of the Ecumenical Patriarch. The move was made under Russian pressure because of the tensions between Moscow and Ankara.

The Bulgarian Orthodox Church, where senior figures are strongly influenced by their Russian Orthodox co-religionist church figures, said that it would not participate if Bulgarian proposals for “thematic and organisational changes” to the planned council were not taken account of and respected.

The Holy Synod said that at its June 1 meeting, it had held “extensive discussions” on issues related to the convening of the Great and Holy Council of the Orthodox Church in Crete in June.
The Bulgarian Orthodox Church’s leaders found a number of pretexts to call for the postponement of the Pan-Orthodox Council meeting and to say that unless the council was postponed, the church would not participate.

The Holy Synod listed six objections...

Read the rest here.
HT: Byzantine Texas

Three cheers for the Bulgarians!

Why Americans are renouncing their citizenship in record numbers (It's not Trump)

...And indeed, government statistics show record numbers of people are renouncing their U.S. citizenship. But it’s not Trump that has persuaded them to go. It’s taxes.

The IRS publishes the names of each American who gives up his or her citizenship. The list comes out every three months, and international tax lawyer Andrew Mitchel has tallied them up. In the first quarter of this year, 1,158 people expatriated — more than 10 times the number in the first quarter of 2008, when Mitchel began his count. Last year, a record 4,279 people renounced their citizenship.

Expatriations have grown steadily since 2008 but began to spike in 2013. That timing undermines the theory that Trump is responsible. (Back then, he was busy suing talk-show host and comedian Bill Maher for calling him the spawn of an orangutan.) But the increase dovetails with the implementation of new federal reporting requirements and penalties for assets held overseas by U.S. citizens.

The rules were passed back in 2010 as part of legislation intended to encourage businesses to hire more employees and jump-start the nation’s economic recovery. Attached to the law was a provision called the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) that was supposed to “detect, deter and discourage” tax evasion through offshore bank accounts. 

The law requires foreign banks to report whether their clients are U.S. citizens. The penalty for not complying is stiff: a 30 percent withholding from the proceeds of the bank's financial transactions in the United States. That has caused plenty of consternation among foreign firms, some of which have reportedly closed accounts belonging to Americans as a result.

The regulations also created new filing requirements for individuals with assets overseas and increased the fines for missing a form. The penalty for failing to file is $10,000 per form. The consequences are even steeper for intentionally not filing a document known as the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, which could result in a fine of $100,000 or 50 percent of what’s in the bank account — whichever is greater.

“They’re like, 'Oh my, God, the IRS is going to bankrupt me,'” Mitchel said of his clients. “People get terrified of this, and they don’t want to have anything to do with the IRS, and then they want to renounce.”

Mitchel said that many of his clients have been paying taxes in the country where they live now and may not have bothered filing a U.S. return. Most countries in the world expect you to pay taxes only when you live inside their borders. But two nations — the United States and Eritrea — require its citizens to pay taxes on income while living in other countries. And Mitchel said it’s not just the very wealthy who are chafing under the new regulations. Many of his clients are moderate-income households and retirees living overseas who find navigating the morass of requirements more trouble than it is worth.

Read the rest here.