Catholics on Communion and ecology

Vatican correspondent Stacy Meichtry writes on Wednesday about the debate on how Catholics receive Communion, and cites as an example a group not recognized by the Vatican. “Lefebvrists,” as the Vatican calls them, or members of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), as they refer to themselves, consider themselves observant Catholics who are loyal to the late Bishop Marcel Lefebvre, whom John Paul II excommunicated in 1988. Meichtry writes: Their Mass cannot be celebrated inside a Catholic Church because it follows outdated rules that were dramatically altered by the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. As a result, the Mass has become the organization’s battle cry.

Richard Land on Religious Freedom

Quote of the Day: Southern Baptist religious liberty expert Richard Land “The greatest threat to religious freedom in America are secular fundamentalists who want to ghettoize religious faith and make the wall of separation between church and state a prison wall keeping religious voices out of political discourse.” -Richard Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, speaking Sept. 9 at a Baptist Distinctives Conference at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. He was quoted by Baptist Press.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2005 Religion News Service Nazi Hunter Simon Wiesenthal Dies at 96 JERUSALEM (RNS) Simon Wiesenthal, the Jewish concentration-camp survivor who dedicated his life to bringing Nazi war criminals to justice and combating anti-Semitism, died Tuesday (Sept. 20) in Vienna at age 96. Abraham Foxman, director of the Anti-Defamation League and a Holocaust survivor, said, “No Nazi war criminal, big or small, was able to rest peacefully because he never knew when Wiesenthal’s voice of moral outrage would find him. “His determined leadership in the fight against anti-Semitism and all forms of prejudice will be sorely missed.” Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust center, called Wiesenthal “the world’s conscience, determined to document the full extent of Nazi war crimes, and hold those responsible accountable for their actions.” Wiesenthal, who was born in 1908 in what is now the Lvov Oblast section of Ukraine, is best known for hunting down Adolf Eichmann, who along with Adolf Hitler spearheaded the genocide of 6 million Jews and many others during the Holocaust.

Oy Vey! Book Offers Guidance to Wrestling with Jewish Guilt

c. 2005 Religion News Service LOS ANGELES _ It came to her, the rabbi’s daughter, while she was sitting in her grandmother’s church. It was the voice of guilt. Ruth Andrew Ellenson, whose mother converted to Judaism and whose father runs Hebrew Union College, where most Reform rabbis are trained, had gone to church to hear her grandmother sing in the choir. But it wasn’t easy. “Was it worse to betray my Judaism by sitting in front of a giant cross, or to disrespect my beloved grandmother by bolting?” she wondered.

Some See Larger Role for Churches After Storm

c. 2005 Religion News Service MOBILE, Ala. _ While some traditional disaster responders have been faulted for their pace in the face of Hurricane Katrina, many religious organizations have quickly welcomed, clothed and fed thousands of storm victims. Their no-red-tape response follows a trend of faith-based organizations playing an increasing role in functions traditionally performed by the government and secular charities. And it has some Gulf Coast area church leaders and government officials _ emboldened by the large role houses of worship assumed after the storm _ saying they want congregations to do even more. “We have seen a paradigm shift,” said Chip Hale, senior pastor at Spanish Fort (Ala.) United Methodist Church.

COMMENTARY: When Rebuilding New Orleans, We Need Visionaries, Not Politicians

c. 2005 Religion News Service DENVER _ At a “Frontier Dinner” _ buffalo hump roast, “prairie vegetables” and sourdough bread _ guests were invited to reflect on the “frontiers” they deem most important. They cited several _ such as emerging globalism, Christianity beyond fundamentalism _ but the one that occupied almost the entire evening was New Orleans. What to do about rebuilding the city? Who should do it?

Disaster Prep Pays Off for Mormons

c. 2005 Religion News Service OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. _ Following America’s greatest natural disaster, one church stood ready to face the aftermath more than others in the area. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) always has a “disaster plan in place before the storm,” said Mary Strength, a local church member. Strength was one of more than 100 people who sought shelter in the church in nearby St.

Here’s the Church, Here’s the Steeple, but Where Are the People?

c. 2005 Religion News Service BELLE Chasse, La. _ It was shortly after 10:30 a.m. when the Rev. Argile Smith, dressed informally this remarkable Sunday (Sept. 18) in slacks and shirt sleeves, rose before a remnant of his scattered Southern Baptist congregation and summoned them to prayer. The white steeple still stood atop First Baptist Church of Belle Chasse, La., but a patchwork of blue tarps covered the bald spots on the roof.

COMMENTARY: Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Saying `I’m Sorry’

c. 2005 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Perhaps the dumbest sentiment ever uttered in a movie was in the 1970 hit “Love Story,” when actress Ali McGraw immortalized the phrase “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” At the time, I thought this sentiment was immensely profound. (In my defense, I was only 10 years old at the time.) Now I am in my mid-40s and know better: Love means always being ready to say you’re sorry. Naturally, if you are bumbling so often in your relationships that you need to apologize on a daily basis, you may need a prescription for a couple of Dr. Phil’s self-help books. But even the best among us sometimes speak or act before we think, hurt those we love, and fail to live up to our own potential _ spiritual, intellectual and emotional.

American Baptists Fear Gay Issue May Cause Split

c. 2005 Religion News Service (UNDATED) A California-based group of churches has announced plans to begin the process of withdrawing from the American Baptist Churches USA, bringing the denomination closer to a possible split over an ongoing debate about homosexuality. The divide between American Baptists and local church bodies appears to be growing wider with the action taken Sept. 8 by the American Baptist Churches of the Pacific Southwest, which national church leaders said makes them “profoundly saddened.” Two days later, executives of the West Virginia Baptist Convention appointed a special team to consider “facts and options” concerning its future relationship with the Valley Forge, Pa.-based denomination. More actions related to the denomination’s stance on homosexuality are expected at meetings at various levels throughout the fall.

Suicides a Disturbing Undercurrent to Abuse Cases

c. 2005 Religion News Service PORTLAND, Ore. _ A week before he died, Larry Lynn Craven called his lawyer, as he often did, to say that he could no longer live with the demons of his childhood sexual abuse. “He had called me, crying and depressed and saying that he wanted to commit suicide,” Daniel J. Gatti recalls. “I kept saying, `God will get us through this.”’ A week later, on July 21, Craven was dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, making him the third clergy sex-abuse plaintiff in Oregon to commit suicide or apparent suicide in the past nine months.

Jewish guilt; Faith-based disaster relief; Mormon preparedness

Sarah Price Brown starts off Tuesday’s RNS report with a review of a new book, “The Modern Jewish Girl’s Guide to Guilt,” edited by Ruth Andrew Ellenson: It came to her, the rabbi’s daughter, while she was sitting in her grandmother’s church. It was the voice of guilt. Ruth Andrew Ellenson, whose mother converted to Judaism and whose father runs Hebrew Union College, where most Reform rabbis are trained, had gone to church to hear her grandmother sing in the choir. But it wasn’t easy. “Was it worse to betray my Judaism by sitting in front of a giant cross, or to disrespect my beloved grandmother by bolting?” she wondered.

Hurricane Katrina—Act of God?

Quote of the Day: Bishop Carlton D. Pearson of Tulsa, Okla. “God is a good God and doesn’t have or need to throw temper tantrums like a spoiled and undisciplined child, in order to get his way or because he appears not to have it. We should not attempt to reduce God to such mundane human variables.” -Bishop Carlton D. Pearson of Higher Dimensions Ministries in Tulsa, Okla., commenting on his belief that Hurricane Katrina was not an act of God.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2005 Religion News Service Daughter Says Graham is `Depressed’ About Inability to Aid Storm Victims (RNS) Anne Graham Lotz, the daughter of famed evangelist Billy Graham, said her father is “a little depressed” that he can’t do more to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. In a phone interview with The Grand Rapids (Mich.) Press, Lotz said her 86-year-old father wishes he could do more. He and his wife, Ruth, took in an evacuated family at their guest house, Lotz said. “Right now he is a little depressed,” Lotz said.

Religious Leaders See Progress in Advancing U.N. Anti-Poverty Goals

c. 2005 Religion News Service NEW YORK _ With street demonstrations, urgent admonitions and determined prayer, representatives of several faith traditions pressured world leaders to commit to the U.N. Millennium Development goals of 2000, which aim to halve global poverty by 2015. By Friday (Sept. 16), the last day of their three-day rally timed to coincide with the U.N. world summit, religious activists were cautiously optimistic. Many cited President Bush’s speech to the General Assembly on Wednesday as reason to be hopeful.