CNI NEWS @ 0600 – Feb 10, 2018

Former Dean of St Patrick’s says both C of I archbishops speak only for themselves on abortion. Reports include gay therapy claim, Bishop’s concern on Belfast Marathon, Lent resources. Plus review of published opinion artcles on paedophile priests, Gerry Adams and the Vatican ban on Mary McAleese

Former Dean of St Patrick’s says both C of I archbishops speak only for themselves

Writing to the Irish Times, Very Rev Dr Robert McCarthy states – Your headline “Church of Ireland opposes abortion proposals” (February 6th) is incorrect. Only the standing committee of the general synod is entitled to commit the church to any view. The two archbishops are speaking only for themselves.
May I quote another archbishop? In one of his books, John Hapgood, the former Archbishop of York, has written “the moral weight of personhood rests on inward attributes which enable us to be aware of ourselves, and to relate to others, attributes which cannot even have the semblance of a beginning until there is at least a rudimentary nervous system and until some actual relationship is in process of formation”.
In other words, it makes both common and theological sense to assert that life is a continuum and that the emergence of the individual occurs gradually.
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Abortion vote clarity sought from Varadkar by Church of Ireland Gazette

The Church of Ireland Gazette has called on Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to provide more clarity about the referendum vote on abortion in the Republic, Alf McCreary writes in the Belfast Telegraph. In a hard-hitting editorial, the Gazette, which has an independent voice in the Church of Ireland, stated: “The Taioseach says that ‘this is now a matter for the Irish people’. However, the people of Ireland will need to be clear exactly what they are being asked to put their name to.” The May referendum will ask people to decide whether to keep the Eighth Amendment, which affords equal status to the life of the mother and the unborn child, or to reject it and bring in more liberal abortion legislation.

An Oireachtas committee has already backed the removal of the Eighth Amendment in order to legislate for unrestricted abortion up to 12 weeks of pregnancy, and after 12 weeks on health grounds.

Earlier this week the two Church of Ireland Archbishops, Dr Richard Clarke of Armagh and Dr Michael Jackson of Dublin, confirmed the Church’s opposition to unrestricted abortion “while being concerned to ensure provision for hopefully rare circumstances, and in a secure medical setting”.

The Church of Ireland Gazette stated that the Eighth Amendment “inspires the deepest of feelings, and how could it not?”.
More at –

Referendum on Eighth Amendment ‘pivotal moment’ in Irish society, says Bishop

The possible repeal of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution is a “pivotal moment for our society and how we cherish life in this country”, Catholic Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy has said, Patsy McGarry reports in the Irish Times
“In Britain, where abortion was introduced with the conviction that it would only be in exceptional cases, today one in five pregnancies end in abortion,” he said, inviting the faithful “to be missionaries for the cause of life. It is a noble cause to uphold the sacredness of human life.”
Meanwhile the liberal Catholic We Are Church Ireland group has said people should be free to vote in favour of repealing the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution “in accordance with their consciences”.
In a pastoral message to the Catholics of Limerick diocese, Bishop Leahy said “any conversation around the upcoming referendum is not easy for people”. “While I too find it difficult to talk about it, nevertheless the Gospel and my conscience convince me that I am obliged to speak,” he said.
He knew some hearing his words “have had an abortion or know someone who has”.
More at –

See also –

Church of Ireland rejects proposal for unrestricted abortion in first trimester of pregnancy

Joint churches publication of Pilgrimage A Journey of Faith through the Holy Land

As Lent begins in the coming days, a Bible study course, PILGRIMAGE: A Journey of Faith through the Holy Land, may well prove to be a worthwhile companion. The course is designed to help all those who wish to learn more about various biblical sites, either in preparation for a visit to the Holy Land, while there, or as a Bible student. It may be used chronologically throughout the church year or geographically in various regions of the Holy Land.

As well as a course guide, there are two booklets – each incorporating six Bible studies linked to Holy Land pilgrimage – currently available which would be relevant to any Lenten Study group: one on Jesus’s later ministry and on the road to Jerusalem, and one on Jesus and the road to Calvary which is particularly germane to Holy Week.

The course has been written by the Revd Ken Rue, Chairperson of the Dublin & Glendalough Council for Mission and Assistant Priest in Wicklow & Killiskey group of parishes. The Church of Ireland and Roman Catholic Archbishops of Dublin, Archbishop Michael Jackson and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, have both written and signed the Preface to the course, which is co–published by Church of Ireland Publishing and Messenger Publications, the Jesuit publishing house.

The Course Guide is priced at €4.00 / £3.50 and each booklet costs €6.00/ £5.50. The entire course may be purchased for €33 / £30. Orders should be sent to either Heather Jestin in Church House, Rathmines (e–mail: Heather.Jestin@rcbdub.org), or to Messenger Publications, 37 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2 (e–mail: sales@messenger.ie), or online at https://store.ireland.anglican.org

‘Keep the marathon open to all’ says Bishop Miller

The Rt Rev Harold Miller, Bishop of Down & Dromore, in a statement of Feb 9, commented –
“I am pleased to hear that the Belfast City Council has deferred a decision about moving the annual Belfast City Marathon from its traditional May Day Bank Holiday slot to the Sunday of the holiday weekend. The objections raised have included the question of people being able to get to worship if the event is held on a Sunday, and roads are closed.

“In fact the issue is wider. The marathon on May Day Monday is one of those really important events in the city, because it is genuinely embraced by all. That includes a very large number of people who are practicing Christians. For such people, Sunday worship is part of the key pattern of their lives. Holding the event on a Sunday would be very difficult for many of them, and I would urge that this wider aspect of the decision be considered. Please don’t create a situation which excludes a key part of the community. Keep the marathon open to all.”

Growing numbers of Northern Irish children learn alongside those of other faiths

The Economist reports – Today around one-third of the school’s pupils are Catholic, which makes it unusual in Northern Ireland. Two decades after the Good Friday Agreement brought peace and promised “to facilitate and encourage integrated education”, schools are still divided by religion. It “is one of the pillars that holds up …


Therapy worked for me, claims head of Northern Ireland-based group behind cancelled ‘gay cure’ film

The leader of a Northern Ireland-based Christian organisation that counsels gay people to “move away from homosexual influences” says they “don’t have to choose to be victims” of their feelings.
Mike Davidson (63) is the head of the Core Issues Trust in Ballynahinch, Co Down, which claims it is “challenging gender confusion”.
Yesterday the London premiere of the group’s film featuring 15 people “emerging out of homosexual lifestyles” was cancelled by the Vue cinema in Piccadilly. The private booking for 126 people was pulled after the event drew criticism.
Mr Davidson’s group protested outside the cinema last night and is considering legal action over the cancellation.
Yesterday he said Voices Of The Silenced would be screened at an alternative, unnamed London location last night.
More at – https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/therapy-worked-for-me-claims-head-of-northern-irelandbased-group-behind-cancelled-gay-cure-film-36584158.html

Lent Resources: Church Army dares you to be salt and light in the world

The Church Army – a mission society linked with the Anglican Churches in the UK and Ireland – has produced a series of Lent reflections in which they dare people to carry out tasks designed to inspire and activate them in their evangelism. Their “Being Salt and Light” evangelism series is based on Matthew 5: 13-16. People signed up to the resource will receive a weekly reflection and two dares, which they hope will help people grow in confidence sharing their faith with the people they encounter during Lent, and afterwards.
The Church Army began as a society of lay evangelists in the Church of England. It now works also with the Church in Wales, the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Church of Ireland. It delivers its vision through what it calls the Dare strategy: Doing evangelism, Advocating evangelism, Resourcing evangelism, and Enabling evangelism.
Their Lent course was prepared by a variety of contributors with unique perspectives on everyday mission; and comes in two versions: one for individuals and another “improved version” for use by families.
More at –

Oxfam aid workers used prostitutes during Haiti relief efforts, report claims

Oxfam aid workers hired prostitutes in Haiti during a major relief effort on the earthquake-hit island, according to a UK newspaper report today which prompted the charity to deny a cover-up.
Young sex workers were hired by senior staff in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake which devastated the island and left up to 300,000 people dead, The Times said.
Groups of young prostitutes were invited to homes and guesthouses paid for by the charity for sex parties, according to one source who claimed to have seen footage of an orgy with sex workers wearing Oxfam t-shirts.
The charity launched an internal investigation in 2011 which found a “culture of impunity” among some staff and was unable to rule out that some of the prostitutes were underage, according to the newspaper.
A spokesperson has confirmed that no staff employed by Oxfam Ireland were involved in the case.



Efforts to silence Mary McAleese reveal Vatican’s fixed thinking

Mary McAuliffe writes in the Irish Times – The invitation to the 2018 International Women’s Day meeting of the Voice of Faith conference to be held in the Vatican in Rome on March 8th reads: “We live in time marked by change, but there are places where gender equality is being systematically overlooked. The Catholic Church is one of them.”
Among the panellists invited to address the issue of why the Church is so slow in recognising that women have the “expertise, skills and gifts to play full leadership roles” was the former president of Ireland, Mary McAleese. So far, so uncontroversial, one would think. Dr McAleese, a Catholic, a canon lawyer, well-known to the hierarchy in the Vatican where she visited as president, has had things to say about the secondary position of women in the church, as have many women within the church.
She did play a prominent role in the 2015 marriage equality referendum when she spoke movingly of her son Justin and the difficulties he faced as a gay man and a Catholic within a church that rejects homosexuality. However, this conference, given the theme, would be a space to address the role of women in the church, a theme McAleese is eminently qualified to address.
More at –

Why is the Church still so slow to tackle cases of clerical sex abuse?

Bishop John McAreavey’s apology over paedophile priest Malachy Finnegan was welcome but long overdue, writes Malachi O’Doherty
Home › Opinion › News Analysis
Why is the Church still so slow to tackle cases of clerical sex abuse?
Bishop John McAreavey’s apology over paedophile priest Malachy Finnegan was welcome but long overdue, writes Malachi O’Doherty in the Belfast Telegraph

Malachy Finnegan was escorted to his grave by people who revered and respected him. We don’t all get a bishop to officiate in the ceremony.
He met his end in the knowledge and confidence that he was thought well of, that he had not been found out, that the young people he had molested and abused – physically, sexually and emotionally – had not ratted on him.
We don’t know the state of his conscience then, whether he was ashamed of himself, whether he trusted in God’s forgiveness, or if, harbouring his horrid secrets and believing in the teaching of his Church, he stared Hell in the face.
One of the questions over paedophile priests is whether they were believers at all, or just opportunistic hypocrites.
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Gerry Adams sold defeat as victory in a career based on illusion…

…he’s no nearer to achieving a united Ireland than he was at the start of his journey

Although arrested and questioned by detectives about the McConville murder, he has never been charged., Suzanne Breene writes in the Belfast Telegraph.
Tomorrow, he will bow out as Sinn Fein president against a backdrop of adulation from several thousand party activists in Dublin’s RDS.
“I am not caught up in the notions of leadership. I do it through a sense of duty,” he has said.
But you don’t hang around as head honcho of the Provisional movement for 35 years if you don’t enjoy the power.
Adams’ iron grip never manifested itself by dominating proceedings through table thumping and hectoring.
Rather, he secured absolute control by isolating opponents and moving the right people into place. That took him decades.
More at –

See also The Irish News –

Bernadette McAliskey has become the latest prominent civil rights campaigner to reject the notion that the mass protest movement of the late 1960s was inspired directly by Provisional Sinn Féin and the IRA.

Alex Kane: Perhaps Sinn Féin could explain how IRA made Northern Ireland better?

Today in Christian History

February 9, 249 (traditional date): According to Dionysius (died c. 264), bishop of Alexandria, on this date, Roman officials “seized that marvelous aged virgin Apolloinia, broke out all her teeth with blows on her jaws, and piling up a bonfire before the city, threatened to burn her alive if she refused to recite with them their blasphemous sayings. But she asked for a brief delay and without flinching leapt into the fire and was consumed” (see issue 27: Persecution in the Early Church).

February 9, 1881: Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky dies. A devout Russian Orthodox Christian, the author of Crime and Punishment (1866) and The Brothers Karamazov (1880) once wrote “If someone proved to me that Christ is outside the truth, and that in reality the truth were outside of Christ, then I should prefer to remain with Christ rather than with the truth.

February 10, 60 (traditional date): The Apostle Paul is shipwrecked at Malta

February 10, 1535: A dozen Anabaptists run stark naked through the streets of Amsterdam. Such strange actions, usually by Melchoirite Anabaptists, led to the group’s ridicule by Protestants and Catholics alike. Former Catholic priest Menno Simons (1496?-1561) was finally able to bring the group into a nonresistant, discipled, and disciplined vision.

February 10, 1751: John Wesley suffers a fall on the ice-covered London Bridge and is carried to the home of Mary Vazeille, a sailor’s widow. Within a week, the two were married—with disastrous results. The unhappy couple spent so little time together that, in 1771, Wesley recorded this in his journal: “I came to London and was informed that my wife died on Monday. This evening she was buried, though I was not informed of it”