Bishop bridges the chasm between faith and science

s a trained oceanographer, pilot and high-profile prelate, Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori seems like the ideal ambassador to bridge the widening chasm between faith and science.

She will step up to that challenge Friday in Chicago when she champions collaboration between the religion and health care communities at two area hospitals.

During a public lecture at Rush University Medical Center, Jefferts Schori is expected to discuss healing ministries that Episcopal congregations have developed around the world. Later that day, she is expected to ordain Stroger Hospital’s first paid trauma chaplain.

Elected in 2006 for a nine-year term, Jefferts Schori immediately set out to make the United Nations Millennium Development Goals – eight global priorities to help the world’s poorest – the hallmark of her tenure.

“Religion is one of those institutions that crosses national boundaries, said the Rev. James Risk, the executive director of Bishop Anderson House, the Episcopal Church’s ministry serving the Illinois Medical District, who invited her to Chicago soon after she was elected.

“If we’re going to meet human needs, we need to be working together. … Science and faith will do more together to meet the challenges as a species than we will apart.”

Chicago’s Episcopal Bishop Jeffrey Lee says he hopes that Jefferts Schori will reinforce the symbiotic relationship between faith and science. “Like our presiding bishop, many scientists are also people of faith,” he said.

In an interview with the Tribune, Jefferts Schori said the clash between faith and science is “a particularly American conflict.”

Much of the clash “has been framed around issues of evolution and Darwin. That is simply a signpost for the challenge of living with different worldviews,” Jefferts Schori said.

But she contends that the two disciplines go hand in hand and every nation, including the U.S., owes its children the best of scholarship in science and comparative religions.

“The ethical and moral issues that face people in the U.S. have a great deal to do with how we see the world, whether we see it as interconnected or not, our responsibility for our neighbors nearby and far away, how we’re going to use the resources and the gifts we have to the benefit of somebody beyond our own selves,” she said.

“Science is a significant piece of that, she said. By studying how fossil fuels impact people locally and globally, people have concrete examples of why it’s important to be conscious of their own behavior. [Science] teaches us about our interconnections in the world,” Jefferts Schori said.

Manya A. Bracbear, Tribune reporter


St John’s, Calgary

Fr Lee Kenyon writes from Canada, asking our prayers for the people of St John’s Church, Calgary, as they prepare for a parish vote to ratify the unanimous decision by the members of the Vestry to seek entrance into the Ordinariate when it is established for that country. St John’s was founded in 1905, and presently is a parish of the Anglican Diocese of Calgary within the Anglican Church of Canada.

This is what was approved by the Vestry, and the parish vote will be taken sometime near the end of November:


On 16th February 1993 the Rector, Wardens and Vestry of the Parish of St

John the Evangelist, Calgary adopted a Mission Statement which committed us to “faithfulness to Scripture and Holy Tradition . . . based on traditional classical Anglicanism”, the faith of which was to be expressed in “living traditional Anglo-Catholic Prayer Book worship”. While holding firm to these principles ever since, theological, ecclesiological and sacramental developments within the Anglican Communion over nearly forty years have led us, as a Parish, walking, in peace and in love, a different path from that of the Anglican Church of Canada as it now stands.

“Endeavour[ing] to give full expression to the Faith once delivered as evidenced in Scripture and attested to in the Creeds and Councils of the undivided Church”, as we have maintained on our Parish website for many years, the Parish of St John the Evangelist, Calgary has, since its Annual Parochial Meeting in February 2010, been engaged in a period of exploration and discernment as to its future direction as a parish of Anglo-Catholic conviction and practice.

A Future Committee, appointed at the Annual Meeting, voted by a majority in April to recommend to the Vestry that it explore, with the Parish as a whole, the invitation of Pope Benedict XVI for Anglicans to enter into full communion within the Catholic Church whilst “maintain[ing] the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions of the Anglican Communion within the Catholic Church”, as set out in the Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum Coetibus, issued 20th October 2009.

In unanimously receiving and approving the recommendation of the Future Committee, the Vestry set in motion a formal period of parochial exploration, discussion and study of the terms of Anglicanorum Coetibus and of the faith and practice of the Catholic Church.

This has been achieved through: a series of Open Forums, one involving the Ecumenical Officer for the Catholic Diocese of Calgary; the study of the Catechism of the Catholic Church through the catechetical programme Evangelium; informal discussions and meetings with parishioners; sermons; and, significantly, a formal meeting of the Priest-in-Charge, the Church Wardens and a member of the laity with His Grace the Archbishop of Toronto, The Most Revd Thomas Collins, appointed by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops to be the liaison for groups of Anglicans exploring Anglicanorum Coetibus. The Anglican Bishop of Calgary and the Archdeacon of the Bow Valley have been fully informed of this process of exploration within the Parish.

After nearly half a year spent on this process, it is the desire of the Vestry of the Parish of St John the Evangelist, Calgary to affirm certain key principles of the Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum Coetibus, namely that:

“Every division among the baptised in Jesus Christ wounds that which the Church is and that for which the Church exists; in fact, ‘such division openly contradicts the will of Christ, scandalises the world, and damages that most holy cause of preaching the Gospel to every creature.’” (Anglicanorum Coetibus, p.5)

“The communion of the baptised in the teaching of the Apostles and in the breaking of the eucharistic bread is visibly manifested in the bonds of the profession of the faith in its entirety, of the celebration of all of the sacraments instituted by Christ, and of the governance of the College of Bishops united with its head, the Roman Pontiff.” (ibid., p.6)

“This single Church of Christ, which we profess in the Creed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic ‘subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him.’” (ibid., pp.6-7)

Desirous of that unity willed by Christ on the night before he died, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (St John 17.21), and remaining committed to “endeavour[ing] to give full expression to the Faith once delivered as evidenced in Scripture and attested to in the Creeds and Councils of the undivided Church” and “faithfulness to Scripture and Holy Tradition” we, the Vestry of the Parish of St John the Evangelist, Calgary do hereby resolve the following:


We accept, unreservedly and with humility and gratitude, the invitation of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church through the provisions of Anglicanorum Coetibus in a corporate manner. Upon the ratification of this motion by parishioners at a Special Meeting, we instruct the Church Wardens to negotiate with the Anglican Diocese of Calgary the transfer of the Parish of St John the Evangelist, and its property, to the Anglican Ordinariate for Canada, to be effective on its establishment by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, under the terms of the Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum Coetibus and its Complementary Norms.


The British Ambassador to the Holy See

Francis Campbell, British Ambassador to the Holy See:

After [Archbishop] Williams’s departure, Campbell said that Anglican -Vatican relations were facing their worst crisis in 150 years as a result of the Pope’s decision [to establish Ordinariates].

The Vatican decision seems to have been aimed primarily at Anglicans in the US and Australia with little thought given to how it would affect the centre of Anglicanism, England, or the Archbishop of Canterbury [this is just wrong: the whole thing was in the first place a response to an initiative by English Anglo-Catholic bishops].

Benedict XVI, Campbell said, had put Williams in an impossible situation. If Williams reacted more forcefully, he would destroy decades of work on ecumenical dialogue [actually virtually non-existent for 20 years]; by not reacting more harshly, he has lost support among angry Anglicans. The crisis is also worrisome for England’s small, mostly Irish-origin Catholic minority.

There is still latent anti-Catholicism in some parts of England and it may not take much to set it off. The outcome could be discrimination or, in isolated cases, even violence [what??] against this minority. As for the Pope’s visit to England the following year [the conversation took place in 2009] Campbell said he now expected a chilly reception, especially from the Royal family – which was not a great supporter of ecumenical dialogue even before the crisis.


Bank mired in laundering scandal

This is no ordinary bank: The ATMs are in Latin. Priests use a private entrance. A life-size portrait of Pope Benedict XVI hangs on the wall.

Nevertheless, the Institute for Religious Works is a bank, and it’s under harsh new scrutiny in a case involving money-laundering allegations that led police to seize euro23 million ($30 million) in Vatican assets in September. Critics say the case shows that the “Vatican Bank” has never shed its penchant for secrecy and scandal.

The Vatican calls the seizure of assets a “misunderstanding” and expresses optimism it will be quickly cleared up. But court documents show that prosecutors say the Vatican Bank deliberately flouted anti-laundering laws “with the aim of hiding the ownership, destination and origin of the capital.” The documents also reveal investigators’ suspicions that clergy may have acted as fronts for corrupt businessmen and Mafia.

The documents pinpoint two transactions that have not been reported: one in 2009 involving the use of a false name, and another in 2010 in which the Vatican Bank withdrew euro650,000 ($860,000) from an Italian bank account but ignored bank requests to disclose where the money was headed.

The new allegations of financial impropriety could not come at a worse time for the Vatican, already hit by revelations that it sheltered pedophile priests. The corruption probe has given new hope to Holocaust survivors who tried unsuccessfully to sue in the United States, alleging that Nazi loot was stored in the Vatican Bank.

Yet the scandal is hardly the first for the centuries-old bank. In 1986, a Vatican financial adviser died after drinking cyanide-laced coffee in prison. Another was found dangling from a rope under London’s Blackfriars Bridge in 1982, his pockets stuffed with money and stones. The incidents blackened the bank’s reputation, raised suspicions of ties with the Mafia, and cost the Vatican hundreds of millions of dollars in legal clashes with Italian authorities.

On Sept. 21, financial police seized assets from a Vatican Bank account at the Rome branch of Credito Artigiano SpA. Investigators said the Vatican had failed to furnish information on the origin or destination of the funds as required by Italian law.

The bulk of the money, euro20 million ($26 million), was destined for JP Morgan in Frankfurt, with the remainder going to Banca del Fucino.

Prosecutors alleged the Vatican ignored regulations that foreign banks must communicate to Italian financial authorities where their money has come from. All banks have declined to comment.

In another case, financial police in Sicily said in late October that they uncovered money laundering involving the use of a Vatican Bank account by a priest in Rome whose uncle was convicted of Mafia association.

Authorities say some euro250,000 euros, illegally obtained from the regional government of Sicily for a fish breeding company, was sent to the priest by his father as a “charitable donation,” then sent back to Sicily from a Vatican Bank account using a series of home banking operations to make it difficult to trace.

The prosecutors’ office stated in court papers last month that while the bank has expressed a “generic and stated will” to conform to international standards, “there is no sign that the institutions of the Catholic church are moving in that direction.” It said its investigation had found “exactly the opposite.”

Legal waters are murky because of the Vatican’s special status as an independent state within Italy. This time, Italian investigators were able to move against the Vatican Bank because the Bank of Italy classifies it as a foreign financial institution operating in Italy. However, in one of the 1980s scandals, prosecutors could not arrest then-bank head Paul Marcinkus, an American archbishop, because Italy’s highest court ruled he had immunity.

Marcinkus, who died in 2006 and always proclaimed his innocence, was the inspiration for Francis Ford Coppola’s character Archbishop Gilday in “Godfather III.”

The Vatican has pledged to comply with EU financial standards and create a watchdog authority. Gianluigi Nuzzi, author of “Vatican SpA,” a 2009 book outlining the bank’s shady dealings, said it’s possible the Vatican is serious about coming clean, but he isn’t optimistic.

“I don’t trust them,” he said. “After the previous big scandals, they said ‘we’ll change’ and they didn’t. It’s happened too many times.”

He said the structure and culture of the institution is such that powerful account-holders can exert pressure on management, and some managers are simply resistant to change.

The list of account-holders is secret, though bank officials say there are some 40,000-45,000 among religious congregations, clergy, Vatican officials and lay people with Vatican connections.

The bank chairman is Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, also chairman of Banco Santander’s Italian operations, who was brought in last year to bring the Vatican Bank in line with Italian and international regulations. Gotti Tedeschi has been on a very public speaking tour extolling the benefits of a morality-based financial system.

“He went to sell the new image … not knowing that inside, the same things were still happening,” Nuzzi said. “They continued to do these transfers without the names, not necessarily in bad faith, but out of habit.”

It doesn’t help that Gotti Tedeschi himself and the bank’s No. 2 official, Paolo Cipriani, are under investigation for alleged violations of money-laundering laws. They were both questioned by Rome prosecutors on Sept. 30, although no charges have been filed.

In his testimony, Gotti Tedeschi said he knew next to nothing about the bank’s day-to-day operations, noting that he had been on the job less than a year and only works at the bank two full days a week.

According to the prosecutors’ interrogation transcripts obtained by AP, Gotti Tedeschi deflected most questions about the suspect transactions to Cipriani. Cipriani in turn said that when the Holy See transferred money without identifying the sender, it was the Vatican’s own money, not a client’s.

Gotti Tedeschi declined a request for an interview but said by e-mail that he questioned the motivations of prosecutors. In a speech in October, he described a wider plot against the church, decrying “personal attacks on the pope, the facts linked to pedophilia (that) still continue now with the issues that have seen myself involved.”

As the Vatican proclaims its innocence, the courts are holding firm. An Italian court has rejected a Vatican appeal to lift the order to seize assets.

The Vatican Bank was founded in 1942 by Pope Pius XII to manage assets destined for religious or charitable works. The bank, located in the tower of Niccolo V, is not open to the public, but people who use it described the layout to the AP.

Top prelates have a special entrance manned by security guards. There are about 100 staffers, 10 bank windows, a basement vault for safe deposit boxes, and ATMs that open in Latin but can be accessed in modern languages. In another concession to modern times, the bank recently began issuing credit cards.

In the scandals two decades ago, Sicilian financier Michele Sindona was appointed by the pope to manage the Vatican’s foreign investments. He also brought in Roberto Calvi, a Catholic banker in northern Italy.

Sindona’s banking empire collapsed in the mid-1970s and his links to the mob were exposed, sending him to prison and his eventual death from poisoned coffee. Calvi then inherited his role.

Calvi headed the Banco Ambrosiano, which collapsed in 1982 after the disappearance of $1.3 billion in loans made to dummy companies in Latin America. The Vatican had provided letters of credit for the loans.

Calvi was found a short time later hanging from scaffolding on Blackfriars Bridge, his pockets loaded with 11 pounds of bricks and $11,700 in various currencies. After an initial ruling of suicide, murder charges were filed against five people, including a major Mafia figure, but all were acquitted after trial.

While denying wrongdoing, the Vatican Bank paid $250 million to Ambrosiano’s creditors.

Both the Calvi and Sindona cases remain unsolved.

Victor L. Simpson and Nicole Winfield

Associated Press


Bishop Charles E. Bennison

Despite repeated calls for returning Pennsylvania Bishop Charles E. Bennison to resign, the disgraced bishop has steadfastly refused to heed calls for him to step down.

On December 8, eight members of the Standing Committee drove to New York City to meet with Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, her chancellor David Booth Beers, and Bishop Clayton Matthews, officer for Pastoral Development.

According to a memo VOL received, the meeting was arranged at their request “to offer support and leadership for the diocese.” TRANSLATION. We want your help to get rid of Bennison.

They noted that at the recent Diocesan Convention, 73% of delegates called for Bennison to resign saying that his continued presence stands in the way of attending to the important word of proclaiming the love of God in Christ Jesus and carrying forth the mission of the Church.”

The eight described their time with Episcopal Church leadership as a time of “good conversation; we felt heard, understood, supported and encouraged.”

Charges of conduct unbecoming a priest or bishop still remain against Bennison. He was found guilty of covering up his brother’s sexual abuse of a minor. The verdict against the bishop was overturned because of a narrow interpretation of the “Statute of Limitations”.

Since his return, there have been repeated calls for him to resign including from the Presiding Bishop, the entire Episcopal House of Bishops, Bonnie Anderson, HOD President, numerous priests (both liberal and conservative) in the Diocese of Pa, entire deaneries, a neighbor Bishop Paul Marshall, (Bethlehem), the Diocesan Standing Committee and a number of outraged laity and VOL, all to no avail.

Although he stated that he would be a listener, six weeks back on the job, the Diocesan Standing Committee wrote Bennison accusing him of throwing up obstructions, creating dissent through distrust and misinformation, and investing heavily in anything that stretched the finances of the diocese beyond anything realistic, causing more and more parishes to withhold funds.

They expressed shock that Bennison said witnesses at his trial intentionally perjured themselves. “These are shocking words, and words which we feel you need to address immediately. Can you possibly have meant what you said? If so, this is one more indication of a serious problem.

You have managed to ignore or discount the opinions and conclusions of three courts, two Presiding Bishops, the House of Bishops, and untold numbers of lay and clergy in the diocese of Pennsylvania, and now all the witnesses at your trial. We find it amazing that you are able to think that this is in any way normal behavior.

“Bishop, the letter of the law has allowed you to return. Please consider the spirit of the law as you determine your way forward, for yourself and for the Diocese of Pennsylvania.”

Clearly angered by Bennison’s highhanded approach to running the diocese, its leaders still are pressuring the National Church to get rid of Bennison.

The revised Title IV Changes to the canons which grants the National Church greater authority to the church’s presiding bishop over other bishops, and to diocesan bishops over their clergy, when they are accused of misconduct, could give Jefferts Schori all the authority she needs to remove Bennison permanently from his position.


Bishop of New Hampshire condemns Archbishop Williams

The Archbishop of Canterbury has been accused of being ‘abducted by aliens’ over the issue of homosexual clergy. Controversial American Anglican bishop Gene Robinson condemned Dr Rowan Williams for failing to stop internal rows over the ordination of women and gay priests.

The Bishop of New Hampshire said: ‘I pray for him every day.

‘I have clergy friends who literally studied at Archbishop Williams’ feet and who have said to me it is almost as if aliens have come and taken Rowan away from us. They have left something that looks like him but we don’t recognise him any more.’

Bishop Robinson who is openly gay and whose sexuality caused controversy when he was elected in 2003, told The Times that Dr Williams is a wonderful human being and a faithful Christian.

But he added: ‘I’m not at all sure that his attempts to hold us together as a communion at all costs is the kind of leadership that this time calls for.’

Bishop Robinson claimed Dr Williams had been tougher on the American church and demanded a ‘higher standard’ than in other parts of the world.

Dr Williams had earlier insisted that women clergy should not be an issue between the two faiths.

It comes just days after it was revealed that five senior CoE bishops were quitting and converting to Catholicism under a scheme launched by the Pope last year.

Known as the English Ordinariate, it allows for Anglicans unhappy at plans to introduce female bishops to ‘switch to Rome’ but still maintain aspects of their CoE faith. ND