Showing posts with label retirement. Show all posts
Showing posts with label retirement. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


With only two full days left of Pope Benedict XVI's papacy, more details emerged Tuesday of what the future holds both for the retiring pontiff and the cardinals who will choose his successor.

The pontiff will keep the name Benedict XVI and still be addressed as "his holiness" once he retires, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told reporters at the Vatican.

He will also be known as pope emeritus, emeritus pope or Roman pontifex emeritus.

The guidance clears up questions about how Benedict -- the first pope to resign in almost 600 years -- should be addressed as he moves into a life of seclusion and prayer after his Thursday resignation.
Not only do we learn of the proper way to address the retired pope, we learn of how he will dress.
He will wear a simple white cassock, without the customary red mantle of the pontiff. He will also no longer wear red shoes, probably adopting instead the brown shoes that he received as a gift in Leon, Mexico, during a trip last year.
I will miss the red shoes and the red mantle trimmed with ermine, with matching camauro, which reminded me a little of a Santa Claus hat.  The Vatican has not addressed such decisions in 600 years, since the last pope stepped down, and I'm sure other adjustments will follow as Benedict settles into his retirement.  Since change is in the air at the Vatican, my advice to the two popes would be to change the form of address from "Your Holiness" and "His Holiness" to something less presumptuous, but I don't expect my suggestion will be followed.

Picture of the pope's red shoes from Wikipedia.

H/T to Charles Pierce for the link to CNN.

Friday, February 22, 2013


A Facebook friend posted a link to an article in the Guardian on a possible reason for the pope's abrupt announcement of his retirement.
A potentially explosive report has linked the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI to the discovery of a network of gay prelates in the Vatican, some of whom – the report said – were being blackmailed by outsiders.

The pope's spokesman declined to confirm or deny the report, which was carried by the Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica.

The paper said the pope had taken the decision on 17 December that he was going to resign – the day he received a dossier compiled by three cardinals delegated to look into the so-called "Vatileaks" affair.

Last May Pope Benedict's butler, Paolo Gabriele, was arrested and charged with having stolen and leaked papal correspondence that depicted the Vatican as a seething hotbed of intrigue and infighting.

According to La Repubblica, the dossier comprising "two volumes of almost 300 pages – bound in red" had been consigned to a safe in the papal apartments and would be delivered to the pope's successor upon his election.

The newspaper said the cardinals described a number of factions, including one whose members were "united by sexual orientation".
A sufficient number of reports have surfaced to indicate a pattern in which those who protest the loudest against same-sexuality, whether the persons are politicians, government officials, leaders or spokespersons in religious institutions, or otherwise engaged are often enough caught in a web of deceit of their own making.  I don't know all the details of the story of what took place in the Vatican, but I would not be surprised if the existence of the factions "united by sexual orientation" proves to be true, thus the ironic title of the post.
La Repubblica said the cardinals' report identified a series of meeting places in and around Rome. They included a villa outside the Italian capital, a sauna in a Rome suburb, a beauty parlour in the centre, and a former university residence that was in use by a provincial Italian archbishop.
The men alleged to be involved don't seem to have exercised a great deal of discretion in their activities, but their actions were entirely predictable in an environment of mandatory celibacy.  I'm not interested in prying into the sexual activity of consenting adults, except when those same adults condemn the sexual activity of other adults, some of whom have been in faithful, committed relationships for years.  It's the hypocrisy...

UPDATE: The opinion piece by John L Allen, Jr in the National Catholic Reporter, may be more knowledgeable and balanced than the article in the Guardian and my commentary.  I've tried not to be a bitter ex-Roman Catholic, but I'll leave it to others to judge whether or not I've succeeded.

Saturday, January 5, 2013


Kelvin Holdsworth, Provost of St Mary's Cathedral in Glasgow, writes a moving tribute to Bishop Gene. He says what is in my heart much better than I ever could.  Kelvin invited the Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire to celebrate at St Mary's during Lambeth 2008, when Gene was locked out of the conference.  Kelvin says:
I’m grateful to him for his ministry here, one of the most electric Sunday mornings since I came here. I’m also grateful to him for keeping the faith, preaching the gospel and standing up to injustice. And yes, I’m proud of having known the first out gay man in a partnership (marriage now…) who became a bishop.  So, here’s to you, Bishop Robinson, Jesus loves you more than you can know. And I’m thankful for what you shared about that love whilst Bishop of New Hampshire.

It is abundantly clear today that it is not all about Gene Robinson any more. The compromise that has been announced in England in the last 24 hours only turns the clock back by about 18 months and I’m genuinely surprised by all the excitement in the media about it. Nothing has changed since yesterday. The key facts remain the same:

  •The Church of England behaves badly to gay people in leadership

  •The public discourse of the Church of England at major festivals is dominated by a prurient interest in Jeffrey John’s private life.

  •The media don’t understand it but like the fuss and use any excuse to put nutters on the television
Read Kelvin's lovely post in its entirety.

Bishop Gene's commentary on his exclusion from Lambeth.
The offer to be hosted at the Marketplace is a non-offer. That is already available to me. One workshop on one afternoon and being interviewed by the secular press was not anything I was seeking. I wasn't going to Lambeth to have another interview with the secular press. If interviewed at all, I want to talk with a theologian. I want to talk about the love of Christ. I want to talk about the God who saved me and redeemed me and continues to live in my life. I want to talk about the Jesus I know in my life.

But my mind boggles at the misperception that this is just about gay rights. It might be in another context, but in this context it is about God's love of all of God's children. It's a theological discussion, it's not a media show. I have been most disappointed in that my desire was to participate in Bible study and small groups, and that is not being offered. It makes me wonder: if we can't sit around a table and study the Bible together, what kind of communion do we have and what are we trying to save?

I am dismayed and sickhearted that we can't sit around a table, as brothers and sisters in Christ, and study scripture together.
Of all the voices that needed to be heard at Lambeth, Gene's was one of the most vital, but  Archbishop Rowan Williams chose rather to exclude him.  The church, for so long, persisted in talking about LGTB persons, rather than engaging with them and listening to them.  Change is taking place in churches and in secular society.  Sadly, the Church of England has not yet caught up.

I'm proud to be a member of the church that consecrated the first gay, partnered bishop in the Anglican Communion.  Gene and Mark are now married.  With his unwavering example in proclaiming the Gospel message of God's love and love for one another, by word and by deed, Gene changed many hearts.  Godspeed, Bishop Gene.
May the blessing of light be on you - light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine on you like a great peat fire,
so that stranger and friend may come and warm himself at it.
And may light shine out of the two eyes of you,
like a candle set in the window of a house,
bidding the wanderer come in out of the storm.
And may the blessing of the rain be on you,
may it beat upon your Spirit and wash it fair and clean,
and leave there a shining pool where the blue of Heaven shines,
and sometimes a star.
And may the blessing of the earth be on you,
soft under your feet as you pass along the roads,
soft under you as you lie out on it, tired at the end of day;
and may it rest easy over you when, at last, you lie out under it.
May it rest so lightly over you that your soul may be out from under it quickly; up and off and on its way to God.
And now may the Lord bless you, and bless you kindly. Amen

Monday, March 19, 2012


From News Thump UK:
As Dr Rowan Williams announced his resignation from the post of Archbishop of Canterbury, church officials began their search for a replacement sufficiently detached from reality to accurately represent their interests.

Williams is due to take up a post as Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he will be able to foist his medieval opinions on the impressionable minds of thousands of young people every year.
However, the void left by his considerable personality will need to be filled swiftly, lest the church accidentally find itself dragged into the 19th century.

As one Church official told us, “We face a homophobic vacuum unless we move swiftly. Without someone to take a stance against the gays we could find ourselves overrun within weeks – like a better dressed scene from The Walking Dead.”
Ouch!  The spoof is very funny, but a bit too suggestive of reality.   Read the rest at the link.

H/T to Leonardo.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


From the Church of Nigeria website:

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd and Rt. Hon. Dr. Rowan Williams took over the leadership of the Anglican Communion in 2002 when it was a happy family. Unfortunately, he is leaving behind a Communion in tatters: highly polarized, bitterly factionalized, with issues of revisionist interpretation of the Holy Scriptures and human sexuality as stumbling blocks to oneness, evangelism and mission all around the Anglican world.

It might not have been entirely his own making, but certainly “crucified under Pontius Pilate”. The lowest ebb of this degeneration came in 2008, when there were, so to say, two “Lambeth” Conferences one in the UK, and an alternative one, GAFCON in Jerusalem. The trend continued recently when many Global South Primates decided not to attend the last Primates’ meeting in Dublin, Ireland.

Since Dr. Rowan Williams did not resign in 2008, over the split Lambeth Conference, one would have expected him to stay on in office, and work assiduously to ‘mend the net’ or repair the breach, before bowing out of office. The only attempt, the covenant proposal, was doomed to fail from the start, as “two cannot walk together unless they have agreed”.

For us, the announcement does not present any opportunity for excitement. It is not good news here, until whoever comes as the next leader pulls back the Communion from the edge of total destruction. To this end, we commit our Church, the Church of Nigeria, (Anglican Communion) to serious fasting and prayers that God will do “a new thing”, in the Communion.

Nevertheless, we join others to continue in prayer for Dr. Rowan Williams and his family for a more fruitful endeavour in their post – Canterbury life.

+Nicholas D. Okoh
Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria

Don't hold back, Abp. Okoh.  Tell us what you really think.

The Nigerian bishops use the phrase, "two cannot walk together unless they have agreed," time and again to justify their decision to "walk apart" from the churches in the Anglican Communion with whom they do not agree.  Is the quote from the prophet Amos in the KJV?  Not really.  The words that come closest to Abp. Okoh's quote are in the form of a question.

Amos 3:3-8


Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
I first heard of the phrase from Abp Peter Akinola, who said, "The Bible says that two cannot walk together unless they are agreed."  The Bible says no such thing that I can find, therefore it appears that Abp Okoh quotes his predecessor, rather than the Bible, when he uses the words.  The two other translations below wouldn't really make the case for walking apart at all.  Of course, people cannot walk together unless they agree to walk together, but they do not have to agree about everything in order to walk together.  I find the apparent misattribution of the words to the Scriptures annoying in the extreme.  Besides, even the GAFCONites do not agree on everything,


Do two walk together
unless they have made an appointment?

Do two walk together
unless they have agreed to do so?

Abp Okoh's claim that the Anglican Communion was "a happy family" back in 2002 when Rowan Williams became Archbishop of Canterbury is absurd.  The beginning of the end of the "happy family" began at least as early as Lambeth 1998.

Friday, December 2, 2011


An interesting post from George Conger via Jim Simons at Three Rivers Episcopal:
The Anglican Mission in America (AMiA) has denied speculation that its chairman, Bishop Chuck Murphy, has offered to step down in the wake its dispute with its parent church, the Province of Rwanda.

On 28 November 2011, a spokesman for the AMiA told The Church of England Newspaper that a report in the Christian Post that stated Bishop Murphy was going to retire was incomplete.

The resignation of AMiA Bishop Terrell Glenn coupled with a show of no confidence in Bishop Murphy over the planned reorganisation of the American church group by the Rwandan Church had led to speculation the American leader would step down. Sources in the AMiA told CEN they also had been briefed by senior leaders that Bishop Murphy was going to retire, however, the AMiA’s spokesman stated this was incorrect.

“While Bishop Murphy has indicated for quite some time that he plans to step down as Chairman of the Anglican Mission sometime around December 2013, he has not made any ‘formal announcement’ either internally or externally,” spokesman Cynthia Brust said.
Read the rest.

Somehow I doubted that the American bishops who placed themselves under the authority of African archbishops were likely to have an easy journey, and it appears that the road is, indeed, a bit rocky at the moment.

The story was first published in The Church of England Newspaper which requires a subscription to read the online version.

Thanks to Ann V. for the link.

Now there's another letter (pdf) to AMiA signed by all the Rawandan bishops, which seems rather ambiguous to me.

Monday, June 13, 2011


From the Wall Street Journal:
We all think it’s a panacea. If you don’t have enough money saved for retirement, you’ve got a few ways to close the gap between what you have and what you need in your nest egg: Save more, invest more aggressively, and/or work longer.

Well, it turns out that working longer is indeed an option, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute latest study. The only problem is that the latest research shows that you’ll have to work much longer than you anticipated. In fact, many Americans will have to keep on working well into their 70s and 80s to afford retirement, according to the study, titled “The Impact of Deferring Retirement Age on Retirement Income Adequacy.”

What’s more, it’s even worse for low-income workers, according Jack VanDerhei, one of the co-authors of the study. Those who earned (on average over the course of their careers) less than $11,700 per year, the lowest income quartile, would need to defer retirement till age 84 before 90% of those households would have just a 50% chance of affording retirement.

We are blessed that Grandpère has a good pension, since I took 12 years off from the workplace while my children were young. Although I started working part-time at the age of 16, my wages were quite low. When I finished college and graduate school, I earned a small salary compared to today's wages. And even after I went back to work as my children grew older, I never made a great deal of money. Thus, my Social Security income computed from the average of my wages over the years is low enough that I'd be eligible for public assistance, if I were not married to Grandpère. My marriage saves me from poverty.

Some folks never want to quit working, and that's fine for them, but most of us get tired. What of the workers who do hard physical labor, whose bodies wear out, and they lose the ability to do the work?

All but the wealthy face a very different situation today. I most certainly would make different choices from staying out of the workforce for 12 years, and I'd have paid more attention to striving up the ladder of success in order to earn more money.

How brilliant of me to latch on to Grandpère and hang on to him for what will soon be 50 years. As I looked for a good YouTube version of Maurice Chevalier singing "I'm So Glad That I'm Not Young Anymore", I found the song below, which I like better, because it's all about me.

So I went from serious to silly in my post. So sue me.

Friday, April 9, 2010


From the New York Times:

Associate Justice John Paul Stevens, leader of the liberal wing of the Supreme Court, announced on Friday that he would retire at the end of this term, setting up a confirmation battle over his replacement that is virtually certain to dominate the political scene this summer.

In a brief letter to President Obama, whom he addressed as “my dear Mr. President,” Justice Stevens said he was announcing his retirement now because he had “concluded that it would be in the best interests of the Court to have my successor appointed and confirmed well in advance of the commencement of the Court’s next term” in October.

We will miss you, my dear Justice Stevens, especially because:

Confronted with a court far more conservative than the one he joined, Justice Stevens showed the world what his colleagues already knew: that beneath his amiable manner lay a canny strategist and master tactician, qualities he used to win victories that a simple liberal-conservative head count would appear to be impossible. A frequent dissenter even in his early years on the court, he now wrote more blunt and passionate opinions, explaining on several occasions that the nation was best served by an open airing of disagreements.

And there he is pictured with Chief Justice Roberts who, with respect to his service as a justice in the highest court in the land, is not fit to loose Justice Stevens' sandal.

There. I said it - the first thought that came to mind when I saw the picture of the two together.