Ex umbris et imaginibus in veritatem: Cardinal John Henry Newman (pictured left) died on August 11, 1890 and was buried in the same grave as his long-time companion, Father Ambrose St John (d. 1875, pictured right). The memorial stone marking the two men's grave is inscribed: Ex umbris et imaginibus in veritatem (From shadow and images into truth).
In 1991 the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints declared Newman "venerable", and after 17 years, it appears that Cardinal Newman will be declared a saint later this year or early in 2009.
Anticipating Newman's beatification, the Vatican has requested that his remains be exhumed from the cemetery at Rednal and reburied in a marble sarcophagus at the Birmingham Oratory.
A nineteenth century law prohibits the removal of a body from a graveyard to a church tomb. On August 11 (the anniversary of Newman's death), the U.K. Ministry of Justice granted the Vatican an exception to this law.
Father Paul Chavasse, provost of the Birmingham Oratory and postulator for the beatification of Cardinal Newman, said:
Part of the established procedure prior to a beatification requires that, if the body of the new Beatus exists, then it must be exhumed, inspected, and transferred to a place of honour befitting the person's new status.
It should be noted that, at the specific request of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the exhumation will be an entirely private event but that the re-interment in our church will be a public ceremony.
No schedule has been announced for the exhumation and reburial, but it is expected to take place before the end of the year.
Gay rights activist Peter Tatchell described the Vatican order as "an act of religious desecration":
The re-burial has only one aim in mind: to cover up Newman's homosexuality and to disavow his love for another man. It is an act of shameless dishonesty and personal betrayal by the gay-hating Catholic Church.
Peter Jennings, the press secretary to Fr. Chavasse, said:
The bodies do not lie side by side. The coffins are separated by about three feet of earth.
Many Stories, One Voice: Many Stories, One Voice, the North American convocation of pro-LGBT Christians, will be held Sept. 4 - 7 in New Orleans. Feature speakers include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Rev. Angela Denise Davis, Rev. Dr. Miguel De La Torre, Bishop Yvette Flunder, Rev. Debra Haffner, Amber Hollibaugh, Rev. Dr. Horace Griffin, Rev. Dr. Erin Swenson, Rev. Tiffany Steinwert, and Rev. Rebecca Voelkel
Structure and Governance (SAG): In 2005, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) created a Blue Ribbon Task Force on Synod Structure and Goverance (BRTFSSG) which was charged to:
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Pr. Sophie is all a-Twitter. Again.
Pr. Sophie's Tweets:
Hot Dish Hotline: "We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." What have you seen or heard that other people really need to know about? Use the Hot Dish Hotline to submit your item online.
...do a thorough, zero-based assessment of the entirety of the system of governance and organizational structure ... [with] recommended improvements [that] ... suggest a form of structure and governance for the decades ahead that is appropriately representative, incorporating sufficient checks and balances of authority without being cumbersome, clumsy, or excessively complex. It should facilitate maximum operating efficiency in behalf of and in support of the members of our Synod in accomplishing the mission of our Lord and His church…
In 2007, the BRTFSSG released a report on the theological principles behind LCMS polity: Congregation - Synod - Church.
On August, 20, 2008, the task force released two documents: Who Is the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod? and Walking Together - The LCMS Future.
The new documents re-affirm the congregation's role as the "primary mission center" of the LCMS and list various "possibilities" (some mutually exclusive) for the structure and governance of the Synod. The task force's final report is scheduled to be presented at the Synod's 2010 convention, and much work remains to be done.
The newly released documents are eliciting considerable commentary: see for example, the Wilken Plan proposed by Pr. Todd Wilken who hosts Issues, Etc.
Readers are encouraged not to confuse Walking Together with the ELCA's Journey Together Faithfully.
Form of Government (FOG): Not to be outdone, on August 22 the Presbyterian Church's newly-expanded Form of Government Task Force (FOGTF) concluded a 24-hour meeting to establish a plan and timeline for its work leading up to the 2010 PCUSA General Assembly.
The task force plans to release its first draft of revisions to the Form of Government at the Fall Polity Conference in Snowbird, UT, which begins September 24, 2008. Feedback will be collected and the draft revised. A deadline of than Jan. 15, 2010 has been set for the revised report to be distributed to the church-at-large. The report will be submitted for consideration by the 219th General Assembly (2010).
By What Authority Redux: A special event sponsored by four WordAlone Chapters (St. Cloud area, Alexandria area, Fargo area, and Starbuck area) will be held on Sunday, September 14, 2008, at the Mount Carmel Ministries 800 Mt. Carmel Drive, Alexandria, Minnesota. The event theme (borrowed from the title of the Word Alone Network's recently released book) is By What Authority?. Presentations on the state of the church in the present culture will be featured. Other ministries connected with Word Alone and Lutheran CORE will be in attendance.
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