New guidelines for starting Southern Baptist churches ask members of new congregations to affirm biblical inerrancy and male-only deacons. The guidelines, adopted October 6 by trustees of the North American Mission Board, do not apply to existing Southern Baptist congregations but can be applied to the 1,500 new churches planted by NAMB each year.
Declaration in lieu of proceeding with sex-abuse trial
Jul 27, 2004
In a first for U.S. Catholic dioceses, the Archdiocese of Portland, Oregon, announced its intent this month to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection rather than proceed with a priest-abuse trial that was scheduled to begin the same day.
A Texas jury has awarded nearly $37 million to nine victims who accused a Lutheran governing body of hiding the history of a pastor later convicted of child abuse. The nine plaintiffs said former Lutheran Bishop Mark Herbener and his assistant Earl Eliason should have warned Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Marshall, Texas, about allegations involving former pastor Gerald Thomas.
The U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to consider an appeal of a lower court ruling that mealtime prayers at Virginia Military Institute are unconstitutional. Justice Antonin Scalia issued a strong dissent to the high court’s April 26 refusal, saying the case raised key questions about church and state.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has reached a settlement with 14 people who filed civil charges against a former pastor in Texas who has been convicted of use of child pornography and sexual abuse of children.
Inadequate screening of potential priests, not celibacy or homosexuality, is to blame for the clergy sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, according to a blue-ribbon panel formed by the nation’s Catholic bishops. The findings of the 12-member National Review Board were released late last month along with the first-ever report on the scope of sexual abuse of minors in the church.
The first-ever tally of clergy sexual abuse by the Catholic Church revealed the status of the crisis in the nation’s largest dioceses. The national report, by researchers at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, found 4,392 abusive priests and 10,667 victims, which cost the church hundreds of millions in legal settlement and counseling fees through 2002.
Exactly two years after the sexual abuse scandal erupted in the Catholic Church, 82 percent of local dioceses have implemented reforms intended to protect children from predatory priests, U.S. church leaders said this month.
The biggest religion news story of 2002 was a January-to-December drama of distressing proportions. It very well could have been a virtual nonstory, observers say, if the Roman Catholic Church in the U.S. had vigorously confronted priestly sexual abuse of minors when the crisis surfaced in the 1980s and simmered in the 1990s.