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tv   Religion Ethics Newsweekly  PBS  March 24, 2013 10:00am-10:30am PDT

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♪ coming up -- a new pope at the vatican and a new archbishop of canterbury for the anglican
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communion. kim lawton's exclusive interview with archbishop justin welby on his agenda of reconciliation. >> when god is in the middle of it there is a transforming power and presence. also, jews celebrating passover in the majesty of the utah desert. and, franciscan monks delighted that the new pope has chosen francis as his name and saint francis as his model to serve the poor and all creation. >> welcome. i'm bob abernethy. and the corporation for
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public broadcasting. >> welcome. i'm bob abernethy. it's good to have you with us. pope francis began his papacy this week amid high expectations and intense scrutiny from catholics and non-catholics alike. an emphasis on simplicity and humility marked the installation mass tuesday, where francis continued to highlight his concern for the poor and for the weakest in society. in his homily, the new pope urged protection for creation and for all human beings. he said people, including the pope, should remember that authentic power is the service of others. representatives of many faiths attended the mass, among them, for the first time in nearly a millennium, the ecumenical patriarch of eastern orthodoxy. on wednesday, francis held a special meeting with a broad range of interfaith leaders. he highlighted what he called
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"the importance of promoting friendship and respect among men and women of different religious traditions." he specifically recognized several groups, including eastern orthodox leaders and jews, with whom he said catholics have a quote "very special spiritual bond." meanwhile, the public continues to examine francis's every gesture and word, past and present, looking for signals about the direction his papacy may take. several polls have found strong approval among us catholics for the selection of francis as the new pope. but majorities of those surveyed also said they hope francis will make changes on controversial policies such as allowing catholics to use birth control, allowing priests to marry and allowing women to become priests. another major branch of christianity, the worldwide anglican communion, also has a
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new leader this week. on thursday, justin welby was enthroned as the 105th archbishop of canterbury. before the enthronement, in an exclusive interview with our managing editor kim lawton, welby spoke about his intention to promote reconciliation in the deeply divided anglican communion. >> in a ceremony filled with pomp and pageantry, justin welby was installed as the new spiritual leader to nearly 80 million anglicans around the world. the 57-year-old welby is a former oil company executive who became a priest in his mid-30s. he had been a bishop for just a year when he was chosen for the anglican communion's highest post. one of his toughest challenges may be helping the communion stay together amid profound differences over theology, gender and sexuality. the anglican body has more than
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40 separate branches, including the church of england, the episcopal church in the us and numerous churches across africa, asia and south america. >> we are struggli witvery, very significant divisions, different ways of looking at the world coming out of our context, coming out of our history. and learning how we deal with those differences, which are of themselves valuable things, is really significant. >> welby told me as archbishop, he intends to promote reconciliation as one of his top priorities. >> it is the key theological concept for christian faith, reconciliation with god and the breaking down of barriers between people. antherefore for me, i have this sense that part of the church's role is to be reconciled reconcilers. >> he has already created a new position on his staff at lambeth palace, director for
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reconciliation, and appointed canon david porter from the historic coventry cathedral to help oversee his agenda. >> i see my work in conflict areas, in helping people deal with differences and to cebrate the versity as a profound expression of the good news of jesus, and as a profound expression of my faith in practice. >> but it will be no easy task. for the past decade, the communion has been in turmoil after the episcopal church consecrated an openly gay bishop and approved blessings for same-sex unions. some african and asian jurisdictions accused the u.s. church of heresy. many conservative american congregations have broken away from the episcopal church and aligned themselves with african anglicans. there have been a series of contentious lawsuits over church property, and some congregations are now worshipping in schools. bitterness still prevails in many quarters throughout the
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communion. welby concedes in such circumstances, it's difficult to even think about reconciliation. >> reconciliation is extraordinarily painful for those involved in the conflict. >> some people have a fear maybe that when one talks about reconciliation, what they might really mean is just papering over differences in order to -- >> yes, absolutely. >> ju get along you know, the most important thing is that we get along. >> oh, fuzzy wuzzy tolerance, sort of fluffy, where it would all be nice if we were nice to each other sort of rubbish. yes, that's, that's not at all what we're talking about. it's not a magic wand that you wave over people and suddenly everyone's happy, and when they are i'm usually slightly suspicious. >> true reconciliation, welby says, requires courage, honesty and integrity. >> it is the process of enabling, of, of making yourself sufficiently transparent that people trust each other, of
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putting your most valued and passionate beliefs out for them to be examined, attacked, and then finding a way to love the person with whom you are dealing, quite probably not agreeing with each other, but disagreeing in love. >> on two of the most controversial issues, welby opposes gay marriage, and he supports allowing women to be bishops. he acknowledges many of the current divisions in the communion stem from differing views of how to interpret scriptural truth. >> we need a certain integrity about where we get our truth from. now i'm not saying that truth is up for grabs. there are truths. i believe passionately in that. there are things i believe passionately are deeply wrong. >> but, he says he sees another need as well. >> the need for, not only theological orthodoxy, but relational orthodoxy.
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in other words, right relationships as well as right understandings and ideas. >> welby also wants to emphasize peacemaking in conflicts outside the church, such as in places like nigeria, where he has traveled many times. >> the church is there in a sense as sometimes the least dysfunctional part of a conflicted society, destructively conflicted society, but very often is the only functional part. and that's where we bring a passion for reconciliation, for enabling people to continue their dispute without violence. >> over the next few months, the new archbishop plans to spend time listening to members of his flock around the world. he hopes to soon visit the u.s. >> i really genuinely believe that the united states is, remains one of the world's great hopes and potentials for development and peace under god. and so that's my prayer for the states is continue to find this radical and exciting location
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that's been yours for 230 years and challenge us. >> welby is optimistic about the future of the anglican communion, mostly, he says, because he believes in the grace of god. >> when god is left out of it then all we're left with is our own ideas and we defend those to the death and preferably the death of the other. when god is in the middle of it there is a transforming power and presence. >> and he says he'll be praying for that grace every day. >> kim, welcome back. u did a grt job. >> thanks. >> justin welby says he's going to try to reconcile things in the anglican communion. does he really have power enough to do something there? >> well, that's the big question.
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the archbishop of canterbury doesn't have, you know, a lot of authoritative power to make things happen. he has the moral authority to set a tone which is what he's trying to do, set a tone for dialogue, peacemaking but the divisions are really, really strong. anglicans have long talked about being unified amid diversity but the question is, is that diversity, are those differences so great that unity is just not possible. and also the level of acrimony, especially here in the u.s. that we've seen is still very, very strong between some of the breakaway churches and the official episcopal church and attempts at peace building have not been successful. >> and let's turn to pope francis. you got sort of close to him. >> sort of. >> what were your impressions? >> well, i was, i was in a meeting with several thousand other journalists. we got to "meet" him and certainly i saw what a lot of people talk about, that quiet warmth. he doesn't have a big
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personality. he's not jovial in that sense. but there's a warmth that really comes through. he connects with people that he's with. he went off his text, his script, many times in his talk and made some jokes with the journalists and another interesting thing i found, he, instead of doing a tradition blessing with the cross, making the sign of the cross, he acknowledged that many people in the room weren't catholics and probably weren't even believers so he said i'll pray for you in my heart out of respect. that was something interesting from a pope. >> many people say that the number one thing that pope francis needs to do is something about the sex abuse scandal. >> i hear that a lot, from u.s. catholics in particular. they want to see something from him. he's said in the past that he has a zero tolerance policy. they want to see him embrace that as pope. i hear a lot of catholics talking about there are changes he could make in the bureaucracy.
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he could meet with victims. he could meet with victims' advocacy groups. so they are hoping he really does take a firm stand on that issue. >> there have been several stories and opinion columns about whether, when he was in argentina, he did enough to stand up to a very oppressive, cruel government. is that going anywhere? >> you know, who knows what may come out. certainly there have been questions, there have been questions for a long time now about that. people say he at the very least didn't stand up as much as he could have. there were some suggestions that maybe he in some way created or enabled some of the persecution but those seem to, other people have come out and said no that's not the case. >> and very quickly, many people hope for what they call evangelization in this papacy. quickly, what does that mean? >> well for catholics they would like to see their faith spread. and so whether you're talking moderate and liberal catholics hope that francis's emphasis on issues like the environment and the poor, things that have
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always been important to the church but maybe not emphasized, maybe that will appeal to some people. conservatives hope that his pastoral demeanor, his clear love of god, of jesus, that maybe that will be appealing and help bring catholics back to the church. >> kim lawton, many thanks. in other news, during his first trip to israel as president, barack obama this week issued a strong call for peace in the region. the president repeatedly pledged his support for israel's security but he also said israel will thrive only when there is an independent palestine. so far, there's been little recent progress on peace talks between the two sides. also this week, obama visited israel's holocaust memorial yad vashem. and he toured the ancient church
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of the nativity in bethlehem, the traditional birthplace of jesus. meanwhile, in washington, as debates over the federal budget continued, religious leaders gathered outside the capitol to once again demand a budget they described as moral and fair. the group brought along fish and loaves of bread, a reference to jesus's miraculous feeding of thousands of people with a small amount of food. arguing a moral budget does not take a miracle, the speakers urged lawmakers not to cut poverty programs or give tax breaks to the wealthy and corporations. >> just like in the scriptures where jesus blessed and broke the loaves and fish and said "share among each other," there is enough to go around. in fact, there's more than enough to go around." a new poll from the public religion research institute this week shows that majorities in every faith group surveyed support an immigration policy that includes an earned pathway
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to citizenship. a little more than 60% of the population as a whole expressed the same attitude. nearly 70% of those surveyed said the golden rule, treating others as you'd like to be treated, is an important value in shaping immigration policy. gordon cosby died this week. right after world war ii in which he was a paratrooper chaplain, he founded and then led the nondenominational church of the savior in washington, d.c. in an early interview on this program, cosby spoke of how members committed themselves totally to following jesus, beginning with tithes, prayers, meditation and study. >> then out of that, we feel, comes the capacity to do that which is important to be done in the society.
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>> the church of the savior divided into many small groups, ministering to the poor and sick. it developed a national influence, especially on young christians. gordon cosby was 95 years old. it's a busy time of year on our calendar. hindus this week celebrate the colorful festival of holi. during the popular celebration, families paint each other and toss colored water and powders that represent energy, life, and joy. on sunday, western christians observe palm sunday. it marks the beginning of holy week -- days of prayers and services, among them holy thursday and good friday, all leading up to the celebration of easter, next sunday. this coming monday night, passover begins. jews remember their ancestors' deliverance from slavery in egypt, and their wandering for 40 years in the desert until, finally, they reached the
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promised land. we have a story today about jews going to arches national park in utah to commemorate passover and the exodus by walking in the desert, just as jews did in biblical times. our guide was rabbi jamie korngold, also known as "the adventure rabbi." >> the desert is absolutely the right place to be telling this story. the core of this story is that the israelites went down to egypt as a family. they come out, 600,000 people, and then they wander in the wilderness and become a nation. it's in the wilderness where they meet god. it's in the wilderness where god speaks to moses. it's in the wilderness where the people get the teachings of the torah. on passover, we're taught to embody the story, to act out the story, and so when we walk
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through the desert, we really get that idea of freedom, of being out in the wilderness and all the spiritual moments that are possible. i talk a lot about the idea of cultivating the patience to see burning bushes. the idea being that if moses had been called from god and the burning bush today, he would have just walked right by it because his cell phone would have rang. so one of the things that we work on a lot out here is just reminding people to just slow down and just be fully present noticing this amazing environment. our seder has most of the elements of a traditional seder but, ironically, we've taken the "seder," which means "order," out of the seder. we hike a mile and a half up to the seder, we do some teachings along the way. and then we have the first part of the seder underneath the arch. >> on all other nights, we eat leavened bread or matzah. why on this night only matzah?
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>> one of the practices that we do that's very unusual, is we read the story of the exodus directly from the scroll, from the torah scroll. we're trying to take this spiritually rich experience that people have out here and ignite their judaism. >>as we look back and hold on to the tradition, the story, that we come from, it's also our responsibility to continue telling, and continue writing, that story. >> and for a lot of people that come on our trips, they've never seen a torah up close. and what we're trying to do is create a relationship between the people and their torah. >> "here was the bush burning in flames, but the bush was not consumed." so you're already feeling elevated and then you read from the bible, or then you read from the liturgy. suddenly the words, the ancient words take on the power that they were supposed to take on all along. the dancing that takes place at the end of the first part of the seder up under the arch is so exuberant.
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we're joyful just that we're up here, that we can be in this gorgeous place. and then we all hike back down, and then finish the seder along the banks of the colorado river. >> we now turn to the karpas, parsley, the saltwater represents the tears of enslavement. >> this is the bread of affliction that our ancestors ate in the land of egypt. >> one of the things that i love about the adventure rabbi retreat in moab is looking back over my shoulder at this snake, this line of people, walking through the desert. it looks so much like the wilderness of zin, it looks like the negev, it looks like the land through which the people walked. it's an amazing feeling of, "hey moses, hey miriam, hey aaron! it worked. it worked. all 600,000 of you made this trek through the wilderness and
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here we are, thousands of years later, going through the wilderness as jewish people. your ideas were good. they held out guys! of all those happy about the election and style of pope francis, franciscan monks may be the most pleased of all. they see the new pope extolling the same priorities as their founder did, seeing god in all creation, ministering to the poor and being open to dialogue with people of other religions. we spoke last weekend with father larry dunham at washington's franciscan monastery of the holy land in america. >> this is our first sunday to gather as a catholic community to pray for our new pope, pope francis. the name he chose after st. francis of assisi certainly gladdens the hearts of all franciscans. one reason why everyone takes francis to their heart is because he is not perceived specifically as a catholic
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saint, he's not perceived as specifically belonging to christian people but he seems to be someone that appeals to all men and women regardless of their religious background or lack thereof. francis considers himself to be a brother to everyone. he found god's life not only in every man or women but in all creation so every living thing. and so he could preach to the birds and he could preach to the forest. he even found god in inanimate creation, the rocks and the fields, everything contained god therefore all of the environment is worthy of respect. he had his own very special vision that kind of launched him. he's praying in front of this icon, this icon cross in the chapel, in italian san damiano, but st. damians and suddenly says the icon, the figure of jesus speaks to him "francis, go and repair my church." francis left the city of assisi, goes out and put on the garb of
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the peasants. this wasn't a fancy habit this is what the poor wore. it had a hood for the elements. he had a rope just to hold it together so he simply clothed himself in the garb of the poor. our new pope francis has a reputation for service and love of the poor in argentina, in buenos aires and taking the name st. francis reminds the church of the poor who shall always be with us as scripture says, and the poor whom jesus specifically lived among, reached out to, reached out to all people, but the poor were his special charges. francis who wanted to imitate christ so perfectly, who wanted to walk in his very footsteps in everything he did, in everything he said of course would write a rule saying that's what we are to do follow in the footsteps of jesus as perfectly as is possible. st. francis, when he wanted to go on crusades and come to hopefully meet the sultan, he did it again out of his conviction that the sultan would be his brother and that he could
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cross the divides that separated them and he was able to do so. that interfaith dialogue made them really brothers. i really have hope that the pope francis taking the name of francis of assisi will re-invigorate the interfaith dialogue of our church, give it new spirit and a renewed purpose. i do hope that francis, pope francis can lead us to a simpler vision of following jesus that we can focus less on the trappings and more on the poor themselves. that we can look to the way francis did of pulling people into the church, that we'd be known for including and not exluding. that's my biggest hope. that's our program for now.
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i'm bob abernethy. you can follow us on twitter and facebook and watch us anytime on the pbs app for iphones and ipads. there's much more on our website. you can comment on all of our stories and share them. audio and video podcasts are also available. join us at as we leave you, preparations for st. joseph's day, honoring the husband of the virgin mary. the day is celebrated in new orleans with the construction of elaborate altars to the saint, who is believed to have interceded to end a famine in sciliy. major funding is provided by
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the lily endowment. an indianapolis based foundation. additional funding also provided by mutual of america. designing compromised individual and group retirement products. and the corporation for public broadcasting.


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