American victims of clerical sexual abuse protested at the Vatican after a New York Times article detailed letters and documents suggesting that Pope Benedict XVI, before becoming pope, personally mishandled the case of a Wisconsin priest who molested up to 200 deaf boys more than 35 years ago.
Gene Stoltzfus, 69, the founding director of Christian Peacemaker Teams, which inspired thousands to personally resist violence and support peaceful alternatives, died March 10 of a heart attack while bicycling in Fort Frances, Ontario, Canada. Stoltzfus, a Mennonite, served as CPT director from its inception in 1988 until 2004. He went to Iraq just before the Gulf War in 1991.
About 2,000 Canadian members of a breakaway Anglican group and a small group of U.S. Anglican dissidents said in March that they have accepted the offer made by Pope Benedict XVI last October that permits disaffected congregations to defect to Rome while keeping many Anglican traditions, including married priests.
On the heels of a rally on the National Mall by advocates of immigration reform, religious leaders met at the White House on March 22 to plot strategy, despite a packed election-year political calendar.
Baylor University has announced the largest gift in the Baptist school’s history—an estate provision estimated at $200 million from an anonymous donor. Much of the gift will benefit the Baylor School of Social Work.
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has called the confirmation of a second openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church “regrettable” and said it will have “important implications” for the U.S. church’s role in the wider Anglican Communion.
State of poverty: Bread for the World has an online resource providing state-by-state information on hunger and poverty (see “State Hunger Facts” in the resources section at offeringofletters.org)—a great comparative tool. In Illinois, 11.1 percent of households struggle to put food on their table, compared to 17.4 in Mississippi and 14.6 nationally; 12.2 percent of households in Illinois live below the poverty line compared to 21.2 in Mississippi and 13.2 nationally.
A majority of dioceses in the Episcopal Church have confirmed the election of an open lesbian as a bishop in Los Angeles, bringing her one step closer to consecration. The Diocese of Los Angeles, where Mary Glasspool was elected as an assistant bishop three months earlier, announced confirmations from 61 of the denomination’s 110 dioceses on March 10.
As Congress and the Pentagon grapple with a proposal to allow gays to serve openly in the military, some chaplains— especially evangelicals—worry that the change will infringe on their religious beliefs.