Conciliatory mood a fitting ending to landmark visit
Dec 26, 2006
Defying worried predictions, Pope Benedict XVI ended a momentous four-day trip to Turkey on a high note early this month, celebrating mass for the country’s small Roman Catholic community and basking in widespread media praise of his landmark visit to a mosque.
“As Christians, we believe that war is not inevitable; people choose war and people can choose peace. . . . ‘Blessed are peacemakers,’ Jesus said.” —Lebanese Catholic cardinal Nasrallah P. Sfeir on conflict in the Middle East
The committee that interprets religious law for the Conservative Jewish movement, the centrist branch within North American Judaism, has accepted a legal opinion that allows for the ordination of gay rabbis and the blessing of same sex unions.
When Keith Ellison, the recently elected Minnesota Democrat who will be the first Muslim in Congress, announced that he would take his oath of office on Islam’s holy book, the Qur’an, he provoked sharp criticism from conservatives and some heated discussion in the blogosphere.
World Council of Churches officials have welcomed word that after 2010, the Lutheran World Federation and the World Alliance of Reformed Churches will no longer hold global assemblies of their own under current plans.
The choice between preventing AIDS by teaching abstinence or by distributing condoms is a false choice, Democratic senator Barack Obama of Illinois said to a mostly evangelical conference held at the southern California megachurch founded by pastor-author Rick Warren.
The general synod of the Church of Norway has voted for the first time to radically change the Lutheran church’s relations with the country’s government—a break toward autonomy that may take six years to complete.
Ten years ago, the World Council of Churches said the AIDS pandemic “exposes the complicity and complacency of churches, challenging them to be better involved, more active, and more faithful.” As World AIDS Day arrived December 1, religious leaders were cautiously optimistic that the moral and political will to fight the pandemic is finally being mobilized.
The National Council of Churches has applauded recommendations of a bipartisan panel that has called for a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. The panel also concluded that the Iraq policy of President Bush’s administration is not working.
A small Episcopal diocese in California distanced itself from the national church this month over disagreements about homosexuality and the Bible, but stopped short of the full split it had been considering.
Rank-and-file Texas Baptists are angry about a huge financial scandal in the Rio Grande Valley that has marred their reputation. But most say they still trust their leaders—including executive director Charles Wade—to correct abuses and restore confidence in the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
The Supreme Court of Nepal has ordered an inquiry into whether the centuries-old tradition of worshiping a virgin girl as a “living goddess”—called the Kumari Devi—has led to the exploitation of young girls and violates their human rights.