Syrian Catholic Archbishop Basilios Georges Casmoussa of Mosul, Iraq, had been speaking in Bangkok, Thailand, on a mid-October day to a global gathering of Catholic media specialists about religious coexistence —despite bombings in August that struck five Iraqi churches, killing at least 12 with dozens more wounded.
The Vatican and the United States were close allies during the 1980s phase of the cold war. Republican President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II seemed to campaign shoulder to shoulder to oppose Soviet communism, especially in the pontiff’s homeland of Poland, and to combat abortion.
Reeling from stinging criticism by Jewish leaders, officials of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) said that comments made by members of a church delegation meeting last month with Hezbollah leaders were “reprehensible” and the controversial visit was “misguided at best.”
Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai, whose tree-planting movement defied political leaders, was praised by Samuel Kobia, the World Council of Churches’ general secretary—and a fellow Kenyan—for being named the Nobel Peace Prize winner for 2004.
The Episcopal Church should apologize for stirring disunity, but will not face serious sanctions for allowing an openly gay bishop, an Anglican church panel said in long-anticipated recommendations made October 18. The panel’s 92-page report, issued by Irish Archbishop Robin Eames, stopped short of calling for the U.S.