COMMENTARY: The Short, Happy Life of Rudolph Giuliani

c. 2000 Religion News Service (Dale Hanson Bourke is the mother of two sons and author of “Everyday Miracles.”) (UNDATED) He could have been a contender. Instead, he turned contemplative. And in doing so, Rudolph Giuliani, the brash mayor of New York, stunned more people than had any of his harsh rhetoric in the past. Even his week earlier admission of infidelity and a broken marriage seemed to pale in comparison to Giuliani’s reflective statements about his prostate cancer and his decision not to seek the New York Senate seat.

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c. 2000 Religion News Service School-Prayer Proponents Rally in Washington (RNS) Proponents of increased prayer rights in public schools rallied in Washington over the weekend (May 20-21), saying approval of their cause would reduce school violence. “Legislation and politicians are not where the answers lie _ the answer lies in prayer and our youth,” said Darrell Scott, father of Rachel Scott, one of the students killed in last year’s massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. The rally on the National Mall was sponsored by Truth Broadcasting, a North Carolina-based organization that said the assembly was designed to “restore prayer back to the public schools of the United States of America.” State-mandated prayer was removed from public schools in 1962 after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional. In 1992, the high court ruled that school-invited clergy could not give prayers at graduation ceremonies.

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c. 2000 Religion News Service School-Prayer Proponents Rally in Washington (RNS) Proponents of increased prayer rights in public schools rallied in Washington over the weekend (May 20-21), saying approval of their cause would reduce school violence. “Legislation and politicians are not where the answers lie _ the answer lies in prayer and our youth,” said Darrell Scott, father of Rachel Scott, one of the students killed in last year’s massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. The rally on the National Mall was sponsored by Truth Broadcasting, a North Carolina-based organization that said the assembly was designed to “restore prayer back to the public schools of the United States of America.” State-mandated prayer was removed from public schools in 1962 after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional. In 1992, the high court ruled that school-invited clergy could not give prayers at graduation ceremonies.

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c. 2000 Religion News Service Prince Charles Warns of Lost `Sacred Trust’ (RNS) Britain’s Prince Charles on Wednesday (May 17) warned that a growing reliance on reason and science threatens to rupture “the sacred trust between mankind and our Creator.” The heir to the British throne has long been a supporter of the environment and earth-friendly agricultural policies. Charles has also used his position to cast doubt on bio-engineering science and has urged a return to traditional farming methods. Speaking on a BBC radio program, the Prince of Wales said a faith in science has dangerously replaced a faith in “the Creator” and threatens to reduce humanity and the natural world to “a mechanical process.” “If literally nothing is held sacredly any more _ because it is considered synonymous with superstition or in some other way `irrational _ what is there to prevent us from treating our entire world as some `great laboratory of life’ with potentially disastrous long-term consequence?” the prince asked, as reported by Ecumenical News International, the Geneva-based religious news agency. Charles warned that seeing the natural world as a system that can be manipulated and re-engineered for human needs reduces the “guiding hand” of the Creator to a dangerously low level of significance.

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c. 2000 Religion News Service Prince Charles Warns of Lost `Sacred Trust’ (RNS) Britain’s Prince Charles on Wednesday (May 17) warned that a growing reliance on reason and science threatens to rupture “the sacred trust between mankind and our Creator.” The heir to the British throne has long been a supporter of the environment and earth-friendly agricultural policies. Charles has also used his position to cast doubt on bio-engineering science and has urged a return to traditional farming methods. Speaking on a BBC radio program, the Prince of Wales said a faith in science has dangerously replaced a faith in “the Creator” and threatens to reduce humanity and the natural world to “a mechanical process.” “If literally nothing is held sacredly any more _ because it is considered synonymous with superstition or in some other way `irrational _ what is there to prevent us from treating our entire world as some `great laboratory of life’ with potentially disastrous long-term consequence?” the prince asked, as reported by Ecumenical News International, the Geneva-based religious news agency. Charles warned that seeing the natural world as a system that can be manipulated and re-engineered for human needs reduces the “guiding hand” of the Creator to a dangerously low level of significance.

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c. 2000 Religion News Service Catholics Give $31 Million Toward Religious Order Retirement Fund (RNS) U.S. Catholics are slowly chipping away at the massive retirement costs facing aging nuns, brothers and priests after churches collected $31.4 million for a retirement fund last year, the largest amount ever collected to pay for health care, housing and services for retired religious workers. The amount, collected in the denomination’s annual Christmas offering to pay for the retirement costs of religious communities, was up from $30.2 million in 1998. Religious orders face a daunting financial challenge with escalating health care costs for an aging population and declining numbers of new entrants to help support retiring members. The first study in 1987 put the retirement shortfall at $7 billion.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service Catholics Give $31 Million Toward Religious Order Retirement Fund (RNS) U.S. Catholics are slowly chipping away at the massive retirement costs facing aging nuns, brothers and priests after churches collected $31.4 million for a retirement fund last year, the largest amount ever collected to pay for health care, housing and services for retired religious workers. The amount, collected in the denomination’s annual Christmas offering to pay for the retirement costs of religious communities, was up from $30.2 million in 1998. Religious orders face a daunting financial challenge with escalating health care costs for an aging population and declining numbers of new entrants to help support retiring members. The first study in 1987 put the retirement shortfall at $7 billion.

NEWS PROFILE: Pope Reportedly Taps Scholar, Linguist for New York Post

c. 2000 Religion News Service BRIDGEPORT, Conn. _ The scouting report on the new archbishop of New York is that he is a sharp-witted scholar and linguist _ and an accomplished pianist _ with a reputation as a solid administrator. Bishop Edward Michael Egan, 68, has spent 12 years honing his pastoral skills in the minor league Diocese of Bridgeport after a long career spent mostly in Rome as a powerful but not especially public church lawyer. Through the patronage of Pope John Paul II, he has now reportedly been tapped for the major leagues.

NEWS STORY: 172 Arrested in Protests During United Methodist General Conference

c. 2000 Religion News Service CLEVELAND _ The Archbishop of Canterbury came to the United Methodist Church’s General Conference bearing a message of Christian unity, but what he found was a church deeply divided over homosexuality as police officers arrested 191 people _ including one bishop of the church _ in a peaceful protest outside the Cleveland Convention Center. A crowd of more than 200 marched around the complex in silent prayer as the Rt. Rev. George Carey, spiritual leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, greeted the church and an array of ecumenical leaders to say there is more than enough room for “theological wrestling together.” Methodists are meeting here this week for their quadrennial General Conference, which will set policy and doctrine for the nation’s second-largest Protestant body. Despite the overtures to unity, the church is engaged in an emotional fight over the role of gays and lesbians in church life.

NEWS STORY: 172 Arrested in Protests During United Methodist General Conference

c. 2000 Religion News Service CLEVELAND _ The Archbishop of Canterbury came to the United Methodist Church’s General Conference bearing a message of Christian unity, but what he found was a church deeply divided over homosexuality as police officers arrested 191 people _ including one bishop of the church _ in a peaceful protest outside the Cleveland Convention Center. A crowd of more than 200 marched around the complex in silent prayer as the Rt. Rev. George Carey, spiritual leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, greeted the church and an array of ecumenical leaders to say there is more than enough room for “theological wrestling together.” Methodists are meeting here this week for their quadrennial General Conference, which will set policy and doctrine for the nation’s second-largest Protestant body. Despite the overtures to unity, the church is engaged in an emotional fight over the role of gays and lesbians in church life.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service Methodists Begin Pivotal Votes on Homosexuality (RNS) Having voted decisively not to make opposition to homosexuality a litmus test for clergy, the United Methodist Church still appears likely to retain its position that homosexuality is “incompatible with Christian teaching” and to uphold its ban on same-sex unions. The church _ the nation’s second-largest Protestant body _ is meeting in Cleveland for its quadrennial General Conference, which sets doctrine and policy for the denomination. The meeting will wrap up on Friday (May 12). On Monday, delegates voted 705-210 to reject a proposed oath for the church’s clergy that read, “I do not believe that homosexuality is God’s perfect will for any person.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service Methodists Begin Pivotal Votes on Homosexuality (RNS) Having voted decisively not to make opposition to homosexuality a litmus test for clergy, the United Methodist Church still appears likely to retain its position that homosexuality is “incompatible with Christian teaching” and to uphold its ban on same-sex unions. The church _ the nation’s second-largest Protestant body _ is meeting in Cleveland for its quadrennial General Conference, which sets doctrine and policy for the denomination. The meeting will wrap up on Friday (May 12). On Monday, delegates voted 705-210 to reject a proposed oath for the church’s clergy that read, “I do not believe that homosexuality is God’s perfect will for any person.

NEWS STORY: Cardinal O’Connor, A `Priest of the People’ Laid to Rest in New York

c. 2000 Religion News Service NEW YORK _ A packed St. Patrick’s Cathedral bid farewell to Cardinal John O’Connor in a solemn liturgy Monday (May 8) marked with sadness at his death and rejoicing in his commitment to the principles of the Roman Catholic Church. Although he was known as the spiritual leader of one of the nation’s largest archdioceses, he was recalled as a priest of the people. “There was no burden too heavy, no problem too complex for his genuine compassion and desire to help,” Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston said in his homily.

NEWS STORY: Cardinal O’Connor, A `Priest of the People’ Laid to Rest in New York

c. 2000 Religion News Service NEW YORK _ A packed St. Patrick’s Cathedral bid farewell to Cardinal John O’Connor in a solemn liturgy Monday (May 8) marked with sadness at his death and rejoicing in his commitment to the principles of the Roman Catholic Church. Although he was known as the spiritual leader of one of the nation’s largest archdioceses, he was recalled as a priest of the people. “There was no burden too heavy, no problem too complex for his genuine compassion and desire to help,” Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston said in his homily.