Still busy. But here's some stuff:
In fact, William Wilberforce was driven by a version of Christianity that today would be derided as "fundamentalist." One of his sons, sharing his father's outlook, was the Anglican bishop Samuel Wilberforce, who wrote a passionate critique of "The Origin of the Species," arguing that Darwin's then-new theory could not fully account for the emergence of human beings. William Wilberforce himself, as a student at Cambridge University in the 1770s and as a young member of Parliament soon after, had no more than a nominal sense of faith. Then, in 1785, he began reading evangelical treatises and underwent what he called "the Great Change," almost dropping out of politics to study for the ministry until friends persuaded him that he could do more good where he was.
And he did a great deal of good, as Mr. Apted's movie shows. His relentless campaign eventually led Parliament to ban the slave trade, in 1807, and to pass a law shortly after his death in 1833, making the entire institution of slavery illegal. But it is impossible to understand Wilberforce's long antislavery campaign without seeing it as part of a larger Christian impulse. The man who prodded Parliament so famously also wrote theological tracts, sponsored missionary and charitable works, and fought for what he called the "reformation of manners," a campaign against vice. This is the Wilberforce that Mr. Apted has played down.
And little wonder. Even during the 18th century, evangelicals were derided as over-emotional "enthusiasts" by their Enlightenment-influenced contemporaries. By the time of Wilberforce's "great change," liberal 18th-century theologians had sought to make Christianity more "reasonable," de-emphasizing sin, salvation and Christ's divinity in favor of ethics, morality and a rather distant, deistic God. Relatedly, large numbers of ordinary English people, especially among the working classes, had begun drifting away from the tepid Christianity that seemed to prevail. Evangelicalism sought to counter such trends and to reinvigorate Christian belief.
I invite all parishes in the Diocese of Charleston to begin the celebration of the Year of the Family by reclaiming the Sabbath for God and family. Because we have become distracted, overworked, and overcommitted to outside activities, Sunday has become just another work day. I challenge each of you to restore Sunday as a gift from the Father for the family to appreciate one another. We have lost the peace that God created for our day of rest, and we all should actively seek ways to invite God into the center of our families.
Some ideas to make this a reality:
- Once a month, pray a parish family Rosary, followed by a covered dish with fun activities for youth and children.
- Plan a pilgrimage to one of your favorite religious sites, such as the Shrine to Our Lady of Joyful Hope of South Carolina in Kingstree or Mepkin Abbey in Monck’s Corner.
- Allow a member of the family to share fifteen minutes of scripture reading.
- Refrain from any labor, shopping, and any private activity that conflicts with prayer or family involvement on a Sunday.
- While your children or youth may be involved in faith formation on Sunday, try organizing activities with other parents and adults to enrich your faith and friendships.
Myers told NCR on Feb. 22 that he has “no intention” of announcing communion bans against candidates in the 2008 presidential elections, a position he expects the “vast majority” of other American bishops to adopt as well.
Myers said debates over communion should not be restricted to politicians.
“Anyone should live their professional lives in accord with Catholic teaching,” he said. “People should be honest. If they’re struggling with one or another point, that’s one thing. But if over a spectrum of issues they are not in agreement with the church, they should withhold themselves from communion.”
As for formal bans, Myers said that while he “may have some sympathy” for the instinct behind such moves, he won’t do it himself, and regards them as “practically impossible to enforce.”
“For the most part, communion in this archdiocese is distributed by laypeople,” he said. “There’s a danger that they might not understand the issues so clearly, and end up imposing their own politics on who gets communion and who doesn’t.”
That doesn’t mean, he said, there aren’t obvious cases where some action would be required.
“If someone is running an abortion clinic, that’s fairly clear,” he said, in terms of when he might be inclined to withhold communion. Beyond such clear-cut situations, he said, “I doubt that we would be able to find consensus” as to where to draw the line.