Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Scouting Medal Presented to Distinguished Scout Leader

HUNTSVILLE 9 NOV 2011 (ACNS) - The Imperial Distinguished Scouter Award of the Holy Roman Empire was presented to Dr. Walter E. Whitacre, Scoutmaster of Troop 364 in Huntsville, Alabama. During Dr. Whitacre's long tenure with Boy Scouts of America, he not only led Troop 364 and an affiliated Sea Explorer ship, he served at all levels of Scouting and was instrumental in the development of several key programs.
The significance of the award is discussed with the Scouts.
The Imperial Distinguished Scout Award (called "Scouter Award" for adult leaders) is part of the Scouting ministry of the Anglican Rite Roman Catholic Church. It is given to those Scouts and Scout leaders who fulfill set requirements. These involve demonstrating distinguished service, both within Scouting and in the community, religious education within their particular denomination, and writing a paper on the ways in which a chosen aspect of the history of the Holy Roman Empire can be applied to the modern era in making the world a better place.
Dr. Whitacre receives the Imperial Distinguished Scouter
Award medal and certificate as Imperial Chief Scout,
Chev. John Refieuna looks on.
Dr. Whitacre, though his service in Boy Scout, Cub Scout, Sea Exploring, and other Scouting programs, not only has personally rendered great service to humanity, he has inspired countless others to do the same. This is the chief principle of the award. Our actions should not only be in service of others, our actions should set an example to inspire others to service.

Following this link for more information on the Imperial Distinguished Scout Award of the Holy Roman Empire.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Life is cheap in Communist China

BEIJING 20 October 2011 (ACNS) - Life is cheap in Communist China. Not only do they lead the world by far in the number of executions, but as people lay dying in the streets, no one does anything to help. Those who help are often blamed as being the guilty party. This should be no surprise to anyone who has studied the history of the Cultural Revolution and its after-effects. A Godless society like China lacks a moral compass. Without the fear of punishment from God, Chinese act merely out of selfish interests rather than according to morals.

Recently, a toddler was injured in China and completely ignored by passers-by. (See more here.)  This is a trend in China. People are told not to intervene. People who do intervene are often accused of being the responsible party for the death or injury, or are even sued by the very same victims they helped.

One cannot be fooled by China's apparent adoption of capitalist principles. Just because they resemble in many ways the Christian nations of the West does not mean that they have a Christian moral compass, or any moral compass at all. They remain a Godless society, persecuting Christians who seek to instill morality into Chinese society. With a lot more influence of Jesus Christ in China, perhaps people won't lay dying in the streets as people pass them by.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Stock market investing book the first of the new Personal Empowerment Series

ALBUQUERQUE 30 September 2011 (ACNS) - Crossing Wall Street - The Road to Independent Financial Security, by Robert L. Clark, CPA, is the first book of Saint George Seminary Press's new Personal Empowerment Series. Check out more of this fantastic new book by following this link.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Unviersal Church Unity Theme of Patriarchal Address

8 September 2011 (ACNS) - The Patriarchal Address on the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary had as its chief theme the unity of the universal church. This concept was addressed in detail and in regard to efforts by the Anglican Rite Roman Catholic Church.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Catholicism and Obedience


29 August 2011 (ACNS) - There is an interesting phenomenon in Catholicism as a whole lately. There seems to be a lack of respect for the hierarchy. This goes beyond irritation at some distant, high-up bishops over the sexual abuse scandal. It is something far closer to home. It is about the parish priest. It is about laity telling priests their job. It is about priests telling bishops, even senior bishops how to do their job. All of this flies in the face of basic obedience that is a fundamental cornerstone of the Catholic Faith. It is inconsistent for a layman to call himself (or herself) Catholic and then tell the parochial leadership what they should be doing. It is inconsistent for a priest to call himself Catholic and then tell bishops and archbishops what they can and cannot do. 

These actions are more Protestant than Catholic. The Continuing Anglican churches are rife with this problem. Laymen tell their priests what to do and what to say all the time. Vestries often hijack parishes, even in the mainstream churches. Independent Catholics even exhibit this trait, especially among the clergy. The possible reasons are many. Whatever the reason in any given individual case, it is not Catholic behavior. It is not a demonstration of the humility and obedience required of all Catholics, lay and clergy.

Monday, August 22, 2011

New Encyclical Released on Church Unity

By Rev. George Smith

22 August 2011 (ACNS) - On the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Cardinal Johnson, Patriarch of the Anglican Rite Roman Catholic Church, released an encyclical regarding matters of unity within the worldwide Church, and especially within the Anglican Church. This encyclical, entitled Christus Desiderat, follows a lengthy set of initiatives and talks designed to heal the wounds of the past and move forward to the future. It also precedes the Patriarchal Address on the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, which is expected to involve talks of unity.

When asked what is needed now for unity, Card. Johnson said "We need cooperation, not compromise. Least common denominator approaches do not work. Neither does it work when those who are upset, troubled, or concerned by current situations in the church create divisions through schism or seek the destruction of another church."

Other clergy have expressed concern at the various implicit or explicit attempts by some Continuing Anglican churches to seek the destruction of other Continuing Anglican churches and the Episcopal Church. One Continuing Anglican leader once remarked that his would be the only "Episcopal Church" left after a certain number of years. "This type of inharmonious behavior is highly counterproductive, and it is most definitely not Christian behavior. If your raison d'etre as a church is to syphon members off from another church, especially when the justification is that said church is having problems as you perceive it, then you have no firm foundation and commit grave sin against charity," Card. Johnson said. In the encyclical, the Cardinal also urged Church leaders to come together and find common ground on which they can cooperate. There appears to be growing concensus among major church leaders that the time has long since come for us all to come together, not comprising on our sincerely-held beliefs, but working together as Christ intended.

The complete text of the encyclical is below:

Encyclical regarding Unity in the Church

To the Bishops, Regular Clergy, and Faithful of the Anglican Rite Roman Catholic Church, greetings and Apostolic Blessings.

1. Christ desires unity in his Holy Church. Natural segments of the Church have developed over the many centuries, though they all remain one as the Trinity is One, through the closest possible bonds of Apostolic Succession and valid Sacraments.

2. Yet, for various reasons, various schismatic factions have arisen. Even when formed through the best of intentions, such as maintenance of true doctrine, they nevertheless create fractions within the Church. Walls are erected, and animosity, mistrust, and confusion develop on both sides of that wall.

3. Some of these factions further seek the destruction of other branches of Christ's Holy Church. This is the worst possible result, even if the initial intentions of those factions were good. No entity of the Church can consider itself truly Christian if it seeks the destruction of other entities of the Church.

4. Schism is by far worse than heresy. Schism contains with it heresy, viz. the heresy that promotes fraction of the Church and is opposed to unity and charity. Saint Augustine said that a schismatic is one who holds the same faith as the rest, but takes pleasure in the mere disunion of the Church. No one can be fully Christian if they seek, promote, or take pleasure in mere disunion.

5. When the formation of a faction or even a new and otherwise legitimate Apostolic branch of the Church is carried out for the preservation of doctrine and the Faith handed down from the Apostles, there exists a strong possibility to become exclusionary against other parts of the Church. Continuing Anglican churches, for example, often are hostile against the Church that they left, i.e., the Episcopal Church or another branch of the Anglican Communion, even to the point of seeking its ultimate destruction. Continuing Anglican Churches and Independent Catholic Churches are often hostile against Rome. Even validly-formed entities of the Church lose their doctrinal validity when they act in hostility, whether active or passive, against the other branches of the Church. This is not to say that they cannot and should not maintain their doctrinal position, or that they cannot express their belief that the opposing side is wrong. This is, however, different from hostility, as it implies an inherent respect for other members of the Corporate Body of Christ.

6. All Particular Churches must strive for unity. It must be remembered that doctrinal issues are beyond the capability of one person to decide. These matters will not be decided or resolved necessarily according to our time table. What is left to us is to be faithful stewards of what we have been given to preserve, doing this the best possible way that we can. While we have very strong reasons for our beliefs, doctrine, practices, and procedures, it must be acknowledged that other parts of the Church have equally strong reasons for their beliefs, doctrine, practices, and procedures, even when they differ from ours. It is, therefore, cooperation that is needed, not compromise or hostility.

7. We are all, therefore, called to work for cooperative unity.

8. The Anglican Rite Roman Catholic Church has inherited a unique lineage and legacy to maintain that puts us in a prime position to heal wounds and work towards unity. With this comes a great responsibility. All the clergy and faithful of this Particular Church are expected to work for unity, shun schism, maintain the Faith, seek cooperation where possible, build bridges, and serve the needs of those whom God puts in our path to help. This is our mandate and our cause.

9. Furthermore, it is our firm belief that those churches in the Anglican Continuum should work to cooperate amongst themselves and with the various entities of the Anglican Communion, e.g., the Episcopal Church and the Church of England. Similarly, the various branches of the Anglican Communion should extend a hand in Christian fellowship and seek ways to cooperate for the greater good. Independent Catholic Churches and the Roman Communion ought to do similarly, as well as the western Church and the great Orthodox Churches of the East. No person, group, faction, sect or church ought to seek the destruction of any other branch of Christ's Holy Church. Those who are suffering due to internal doctrinal and structural crises within their Church need not give hope. Always trusting in Christ, it is our firm belief that they must not participate in schism, but wait and hope in the Lord. In all these situations, differences need not be laid aside, and compromise is not suggested. Cooperation and Christian brotherhood, however, are essential, for how can anyone call themselves Christian without those fundamental Christian traits?

Rutherford Card. Johnson
Patriarch of the Anglican Rite Roman Catholic Church

Given at the Court of Saint Mary of Walsingham
on the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary
22 August A.D. 2011.

(1) Eph. 4.4-6; 37.19.
(2) Acts 4.32; I Peter 2.17; Rom. 15.6.
(3) Thomas Aquinas S.T. Question 39
(4) Contra Faust. xx, 3; Contra Crescon. ii, 4

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Corpus Christi Patriarchal Address

(ACNS) - The video of the address for Corpus Christi by the Patriarch of the Anglican Rite Roman Catholic Church is now available to the public. This address is one of the five regular Patriarchal Addresses given throughout the year.

Monday, May 23, 2011

New Encyclical - Sine Roma

Encyclical regarding the Roman Nature
of the Anglican Church

To the Bishops, Regular Clergy, and Faithful of the Anglican Rite Roman Catholic Church, greetings and Apostolic Blessings.

1. Without Rome, there would be no Anglican Church. Saint Augustine of Canterbury was sent to England in the Sixth Century by Pope Saint Gregory the Great with a mission of building the Church in that country. (1)

2. The Anglican Church proper, having been thus founded by Saint Augustine of Canterbury, naturally evolved as part of the Roman Church, while retaining and developing its own customs, still within the framework of the Roman Church. In A.D. 597, Pope Saint Gregory the Great authorized special liturgy for the English people be developed by Saint Augustine of Canterbury. (2)

3. The political break with Rome by Henry VIII occurred in 1529 over the matter of divorce and annulment. However, while the Anglican Bishops were forcibly cut from communion with Rome, the mass remained the same Latin mass as had been used before. (3)

4. In 1592, the Book of Common Prayer, in English, is revised to suit Protestants, with the doctrine of the Real Presence removed, as well as vestments, holy oil, the sign of the Cross at Confirmation, the reserved Sacrament, and prayers for the departed. However, when Mary Tudor ascended to the throne, 1553, succeeding Edward VI, the connection to Rome was again restored. However, it had become clear that the Protestant influence had thoroughly taken root in England. When Elizabeth I, a staunch Protestant, became Queen upon the death of Mary Tudor, the break from Rome for religious reasons was carried out, and the Anglican Church went into doctrinal schism. (4)

5. During and after the reign of Elizabeth I, the Protestant influence has been felt within the Anglican Church, even to the present day. While many Catholics, generally referred to as Anglo-Catholics, remain present within the various jurisdictions of the worldwide Anglican Church, even in some cases at Anglo-Catholic parishes professing Catholic doctrine, they are largely discriminated against. Attempts are made to suppress Anglo-Catholics.

6. At many Anglican parishes and within many Anglican dioceses, this suppression takes the form of catering to vocal low-church Protestants who criticize their ecclesiastical leaders and other parishioners who profess Catholic doctrine and seek Catholic worship in the Anglican tradition. The result of this is to bring worship and catechesis to the least common denominator, watering down the Faith of the Ages to suit the heretical whims of low-church Protestants within the Church. The Catholics are forced to suppress their views and further suffer by not receiving the fullness of the liturgical and catechetical life of the Church. The Catholics within such parishes or dioceses are often left feeling disenchanted, offended, and as second class citizens whose needs are insignificant to the other parishioners and to the clergy.

7. While low-church Protestants may be welcomed in Christian brotherhood, clergy and faithful alike fail in their duty to God and to his Holy Church when they uphold, adopt, or profess heresies. They need not openly adopt said heresy, but may nevertheless be guilty of its promulgation by not opposing it. (5)

8. One of the greatest strengths of the Anglican tradition is that there is ability for variation in worship. This tradition is strengthened by the fact that Pope Saint Gregory the Great charged Saint Augustine of Canterbury with the task of developing new liturgy for the Anglican Church. Yet, any such variation of change made must in all cases be consistent in fact and in spirit with the doctrine of the Church and must never imply or promote doctrinal changes. The liturgical changes within the Protestant Reformation were made to promote a break with Rome, the true heritage of the Anglican Church, and to imply changes in doctrine to be consistent with Protestant thought. Such liturgy cannot be permitted or tolerated within any Anglican jurisdiction professing the Catholic Faith.

9. In 1560, "An Apology for the Church of England" was written by John Jewel, in which Rome is declared to be the schismatic force, not England. In 1563, the Thirty-Nine Articles were drafted as a statement of the new Protestant doctrine of the Church of England. Rome was viewed as the enemy, then, by the Protestants. Fear and dislike of Rome is a byproduct of the Protestant Reformation and its influence on the Anglican Church. It is not and cannot be a product of the Anglican Church simply being different, as the Anglican Church was founded by Rome. As such, the history, doctrine, and traditions of the Anglican Church cannot exist, cannot function, and cannot be explained or understood outside of the context of Rome.

10. To claim to be Anglican and take offense at Rome is both to deny one's own heritage and to profess a steadfastly Protestant viewpoint. To claim to be Anglican and Catholic (or Anglo-Catholic) while denying Roman heritage is either to be not Catholic at all or at the very least not to have a thorough understanding of one's own heritage, history, and tradition.

11. It is incumbent upon all Catholic clergy of the Anglican Rite to impress the history and doctrine of the Church upon all the faithful. The simple truth must be promulgated that to be Anglican is to be Roman. The history of the two cannot be separated if one is going to profess the Catholic Faith.

12. A further problem that stems from procedural changes beginning in the Protestant Reformation is that of a Parish Vestry or a Parish Council taking upon itself far more authority than it is due. Far too often the laity of a parish, organized often in the form of a Parish Council or a Vestry, seeks to be the ultimate authority in the parish, usurping the authority of the clergy and often mistreating them.

13. In the Anglican Rite Roman Catholic Church, it must be remembered that the authority of the Vestry or Parish Council is limited to an advisory or operational role only. (6) Furthermore, as the principal authority in a parish is vested in the Rector, a parish need not have lay officers. (7) In this way, the Church keeps with the historic nature of its organization.

14. The Church is and has always been organized from the top down. Jesus Christ gave the authority to the Apostles at the first Pentecost. The Apostles gave authority to the Bishops. The Bishops have passed their Apostolic authority down through the ages to the present day through unbroken Apostolic succession. Bishops ordain priests and deacons, and commission to the Minor Orders in order to carry out the functions of the Church's ministry.

15. The Church is not a grass-roots organization in which the laity gives authority to the Rector, who gives authority to the Bishop, and so forth. To assume that it is organized in such a fashion is an affront to the Church and ultimately to Jesus Christ himself, who established the Church in a particular way.

16. Those clergy who wish to usurp the positions of higher authorities within the Church, as well as those members of the laity who seek to usurp the rightful position of the clergy commit the sin of pride. If such usurpations continue, it breeds an atmosphere of discontentment and instability within a parish, a diocese, or even the Church as a whole, rather than a prayerful, peaceful atmosphere that is intended.

17. The clergy and faithful who seek to impose their own will in matters of liturgy, doctrine, and ecclesiastical law and practice in contravention of Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and higher ecclesiastical authority, lay no claim to call themselves Catholic. This individual arrogance is one of the largest impediments to Christian unity today, even unity within the Anglican Church.

18. Therefore, all members of the clergy and faithful are exhorted to keep the Catholic Faith in all matters of life, upholding the doctrine, and never forgetting the completeness of our Anglican heritage. This heritage includes, as a matter of historical fact, the heritage of the Roman Church. This heritage is not merely a point of history, but rather an inseparable aspect of the spiritual nature of our Church. Only the Protestants seek to deny this. To be Anglican is to be Roman. Without Rome, there is no Anglican Church.

Rutherford Card. Johnson
Patriarch of the Anglican Rite Roman Catholic Church

Given at the Court of Saint Mary of Walsingham
on the Fourth Sunday after Easter
22 May A.D. 2011.

(1) New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia; St. Augustine of Canterbury.
(2) Anglican Timeline. E. Friedlander.
(3) Idem.
(4) Idem.
(5) Eph. 4.25.; 2010 Anglo-Catholic Book of Common Prayer. Ways of Being an Accessory to the Sin of Another.
(6) Can. 276, Sec. 5, Code of Particular Canon Law.
(7) Can. 276, Sec. 1, Code of Particular Canon Law.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

BREAKING NEWS: Was God shocked to learn there is no Heaven?!

This article is intended as a piece of satire regarding the recent nonsensical claim of Stephen Hawking that there is no God and no Heaven.

18 May 2011 (ACNS) - Sitting on the heavenly throne, God was no doubt shocked and surprised to learn that his abode did not actually exist. The revelation came from Stephen Hawking, alleged brilliant physicist, who declared that neither God nor Heaven existed. Upon hearing the news, though, it is highly unlikely that God felt compelled to look in his mirror (if there even is such a thing in Heaven) to confirm that he was still there.

Mr. Hawking is considered brilliant by some, but some top physicists around the world consider him to be highly overrated and his ideas in general to be those of a crackpot. Unfortunately for him, this recent "scientific revelation" confirms the latter.

His behavior is a bit like that of a rebellious teenager against his parents. Such a teenager says to his parents "I don't have to listen to you. I don't have to do what you say. I don't have to acknowledge you." Mr. Hawking's attitudes towards his Creator are very similar.

Fortunately we need not worry, get upset, or even bother to refute his comments. Writers such as Thomas Aquinas have already done that a long time ago. We need merely sit back and wonder whether or not, if we claim Stephen Hawking does not exist, he will suddenly disappear.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Neighbor helping neighbor after a disaster

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. 14 May 2011 (ACNS) - More than two weeks after the worst tornado outbreak in history ravaged the Southern United States, volunteers are still out in force. They come from all over the country, even as far away as Los Angeles and New York, and many come from neighboring communities and neighborhoods. Those who were spared are helping those who were hit the hardest. Even those who suffered terrible damage help others. Some even risked their lives in the midst of the storms to save other people. Recovery from the disaster will take years, and the volunteer spirit still shines strong.
Volunteers in a badly-damaged neighborhood.
In true Christian spirit, people turned out in droves to help those in need and those who had lost everything. People took time off of work to help. Even those who have job obligations during the week are giving their time to join in the cleanup effort on the weekend.
A trash pile from cleanup efforts.
Volunteers come from all walks of life, all professions and trades, and all ages. Churches, civic groups, associations and club, and even just ad hoc groups of people coming together for a common purpose are working hard to return life to normal for those who were hit so hard.

High school girls who lost their prom dresses in the storm thought the prom would have to be missed. Donations of thousands of prom dresses from all over the country, though, made their dreams come true. Temporary housing is being constructed. The stories go on and on. This just goes to show that the true human spirit that God gave each and every one of us is still alive and well.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tornadoes tear through Alabama - Anglican Rite Catholics help victims

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. 4 May 2011 (ACNS) - While most of America seemed to be swooning over the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton and cheering the death of Osama bin Laden, most Alabamians were picking up the pieces after what was perhaps the worst tornado outbreak in history. As many as 150 or more tornadoes ripped through Alabama on the 27th of April. Some of these reached strength of EF-5, the highest category, with winds over 200 mph. Many people lost their homes. There were many deaths. All of North Alabama was left without power for days, and some without telephone. The devastation was immense.

What is left of a home in one of the worst hit areas.
Cardinal Johnson, Patriarch of the Anglican Rite Roman Catholic Church, was present throughout the day of storms, and while he escaped damage and injury, it brought back memories of his own experience as a tornado survivor more than twenty years ago. "We had an EF-5 tornado pass right over our house, imploding the windows and causing major damage," he said. "It picked up our dog, who survived with only minimal injury. It flattened several of the houses behind us down to the foundation. When I toured some of the most affected areas, it brought back many memories."  
A neighborhood ravaged by a tornado.
Even in the worst of time, the human spirit has a tendency to shine through. Well before FEMA started operations, Alabamians took care of the situation. The government, church and civic groups, and scores of volunteers turned out immediately to help out. Neighbors helped neighbors.
Cardinal Johnson arrives at a the scene
of destruction from an EF-5 tornado.
The volunteer spirit is immense. People volunteered their time and resources to use their skills to help those in need. Anglican Rite Catholics, operating largely through the Church's humanitarian wing, the Anglo-Catholic Relief Service, provided help in the affected areas through clean-up, information services, assistance for medical responders, food delivery, and more. Anglican Rite Catholic volunteers worked alongside those from other churches and faith based and civic organizations, as well as people who just walked into the volunteer coordination center asking what they could do to help.

The tornado and the resulting power outage left many with food and other supplies, even if their homes did not sustain any damage. Anglican Rite Catholics, including Cardinal Johnson, joined local volunteers at a faith-based organization in distributing food all over North Alabama.
Cardinal Johnson delivers food to those left in need
after the tornado, one of many volunteers helping out.
Relief workers have come from all over the country, even as far away as Los Angeles. Those who wish to contribute financially may consider a donation to the American Red Cross, marked for the tornado disaster fund. Much is needed to achieve a recovery, not the least of which is prayer. In time, the buildings will be rebuilt and the area cleaned, and life will return to normal. The memories and the emotions, however, will always remain.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Tornado Disaster Relief

MADISON COUNTY, Ala. 2 May 2011 (ACNS) - Members of the Anglican Rite Roman Catholic Church are participating in the disaster relief effort in Alabama following the devastating tornado outbreak last week. Unfortunately, both An Anglo-Catholic Sunday and the Patriarchal Easter Address will be delayed. Please consider donating funds to the effort through the American Red Cross. And, of course, contribute through prayer.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A GREAT new spiritual book!

A review by
Rutherford Card. Johnson

I have had very little time for discretionary reading these days, so when I not only read a book, but call it a page turner, that ought to say something. That is precisely what I would call A Time To... by Ronald Louis Peterson. The novel claims to be a baby boomer's spiritual journey, and it is just that. But, the message is one that ought to resonate with every man, woman, and child, no matter what their age.

A Time To... tells the story of Al Masterson, a man working in the World Trade Center on that fateful September 11th in 2001. He is trapped in the building, close to death, and is mysteriously taken on a journey of his whole life. It begins when he is a young boy who just moved to New York from Kentucky and continues on through being a Peace Corps volunteer to a media professional. He experiences many ups and downs, and even some personal crises and tragedies. He goes through several tries at self-discovery. As he progresses through his life, he becomes acutely aware of the deeper meaning of everything he experienced. Even those terrible times in his life turned out to be mechanism for spiritual growth that helped to make his life better. Al learns that what seems bad at one particular moment in time may actually have a greater purpose according to God's plan. We cannot hope to understand the vast magnitude of that plan, and thus must go forward in faith. This is the lesson that Al learns.

As the story progresses, Al comes back to the present time, where he is still trapped in the World Trade Center. I will not give away the interesting ending, as that would truly spoil the book. However, suffice it to say that he finds through the spiritual journey he took just what a great, wonderful, and positive impact his life experiences have had, not just on himself, but on those whose lives he has touched in ways he did not even know. 

Ronald Louis Peterson drew on his own experience growing up in New York, working as a Peace Corp volunteer in Ethiopia, and as a media and public affairs professional. This gives the book a great deal of realism. Also, the novel is filled with historical facts from the various periods of Al Masterson's life. While some younger readers might not know about all of these events, I do not believe this detracts from the message of the story at all. Whether young or old, and no matter where you are in your own faith journey, A Time To... will speak to your heart.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ash Wednesday Metropolitan Address released

9 Mar. 2011 (ACNS) - The video of the Metropolitan Address for Ash Wednesday has been released. In the address, Archbishop Johnson discusses success in church growth, social responsibility of people and especially of worldwide government leadership, and proposes a number of intentions that should be especially prayed for during Lent.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Failure is fast becoming an unpleasant reality


By Keith Patrick Steinhurst

SAN ANTONIO 5 Mar. 2011 (ACNS) - Interestingly enough, the only word in standard English usage to have the letters UFA in order, in the word is "manufacture" - we don't do enough of that in our Country any more - in fact (based on the book, "Failure is Not an Option" by Gene Kranz, we could have gone to Mars based on our Apollo technology functioning in 1972, but we lost the will, got into the 'bus' business, lost the infrastructure as well as the engineers to fabricate a program, and no longer even posess a complete set of technical documents for the Saturn V heavy lift launch vehicle. If we started today it would take us more than 20 years just to get back to where we were in '72 - really sad . . .I find it a microcosm of the macrocosm - we are broke, morally, insitutionally, and sytemically - perhaps individually we can effect some small change within our own spheres of influence, but by and large, we are witnessing our national decline . . .

Our grandfather's generation was perhaps the single, most ingenious and prosperous generation in our Nation's history - in the words of my late bishop - the one who ordered me and was himself a member of that generation, a veteran of WWII and Korea - they 'built the machine,' 'understood it,' could 'operate' it, and as needed, 'repair' it - they passed it to the 'boomers' (our father's generation) who neither built it, nor understood it, but could operate it and perhaps fix it. It is now left to us, operating, but in a growing state of disrepair, the design and even the reasons for its creation largely unknown or misunderstood. This is the legacy we leave our children who don't know how to fix it as they do not know what is broken and are content to let it operate on cruise until it breaks as they seem oblivious to the potential danger in failure. This takes us back to Kranz's posit - failure is not an option - but it is fast becoming an unpleasant reality . . .

Friday, February 25, 2011

College fraternities raise ethical questions


By Wanda Deffenbaugh, ORSS(T)

25 Feb 2011 (ACNS) - Mention a college fraternity, and the first image in the minds of many is a drunken collection of oversexed college men as seen in movies like Animal House. While fraternities typically claim to be about the character development of young men, the behavior of their members and of the organizations in general often raise questions about the true ethics of such programs. Fraternities in general have suffered problems that would be expected when such young men, barely more than children, are put in control of the local chapter frat house. Excessive hazing, even sometimes resulting in severe injury, psychological damage, or even death have occurred, especially during the 1980s and 1990s.

The '80s and '90s were known in the fraternity world for their out-of-control nature. A former member of Phi Kappa Sigma (aka "The Skull House") Alpha Nu Chapter at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) stated that things were well beyond wild there in the 1990s to the point that he would not consider it a worthwhile organization. Another student spoke of drunken parties he claimed to witness at the Phi Kappa Sigma house in which underaged drinking was allegedly promoted. Similar allegations were made against the Chi Phi fraternity by a student who witnessed freshmen pledges allegedly being required to supply alcohol, as well as apparent heavy promotion of underaged drinking. This same student witnessed a party at the Chi Phi house in which two police officers were standing outside the door, apparently blind to what was going on inside. Other fraternities at numerous universities have been expelled, suspended, or otherwise disciplined for excessive and underaged drinking. The matter was apparently so significant that some fraternities seemed to realize that they had better clean up their act or risk the future of their organization. The national office of the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity instituted the so-called "Dry Skulls" policy, making it against the rules to possess or consume alcohol in the fraternity house.

Even ignoring the issues of drinking and hazing, the question still remains as to whether or not fraternities in general truly serve the purpose that they claim to serve. Critics of the "Greek System" in general say that fraternities are simply "buying friends." Indeed, while members of fraternities may forge lifelong friendships, there is no reason why those same individuals cannot make lifelong friends outside of a fraternity. Perhaps fraternities prey on the insecurities of young freshmen just arrived at college who have not, of course, yet developed a social network. Along these lines is the criticism of the recruitment process, saying that it is called "Rush Week" because they attempt to rush you into joining before you really have time to think it through.

Fraternities also are criticized for being nothing more than party organizations rather than service organizations. Their main purpose is social, and while they may engage in some charity or service projects, this cannot be used to mask their negative aspects. For example, Phi Kappa Sigma purports to be "Men of Honor," yet their earlier apparent drinking problems hardly lend credence to that theory. Neither did some of their apparent recruitment practices. One legacy reported that he was denied entry into the fraternity for apparent reasons of religious and other discrimination. Attempts to handle the matter with the national office were reported to be unsuccessful.

No organization is without its problems. Campus organizations, even fraternities, can be good experiences for students. However, all such organizations have a responsibility to behave in an ethical and legal manner in their recruitment process and in how they treat their members, new and old. For example, one fraternity, Delta Upsilon, is reported to have a "no hazing, no secrets" policy to help deal with these issues. Perhaps the other Greek Societies on college campuses should take a lesson from them.

Monday, January 10, 2011

"An Anglo Catholic Sunday" Series Launched

10 Jan. 2010 (ACNS) - The Traditional Old Anglo-Catholic Church launched a new video series on Sunday called "An Anglo-Catholic Sunday." The series features weekly Sunday discussions with Archbishop Johnson. The discussions feature the readings for the day from the Holy Mass and/or the Daily Offices and how they relate to what it means to be an Anglo-Catholic.

In the first episode, released yesterday, the Archbishop discussed the Gospel from the mass for the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. The discussion continued with some thoughts and history on the Anglican Rite and its Catholic nature.