Faith in God’s protection

Quote of the Day: Mississippi Investigative Reporter Jerry Mitchell “If they kill me, they kill me. I try not to do anything stupid. My faith plays a big role. I really believe God’s hand has been in this.” -Jerry Mitchell, award-winning investigative reporter for the Jackson Clarion-Ledger in Mississippi, commenting about how he has received threats for his coverage of members of the Ku Klux Klan.

RNS Weekly Digest

c. 2005 Religion News Service Swedish Pastor’s Acquittal of Alleged Hate Crime Called Free Speech Win (RNS) American legal groups defending religious liberty say they are pleased with the acquittal of a Swedish pastor who had been charged with a hate crime after calling homosexuals a “cancerous tumor” in society. Pastor Ake Green was acquitted Tuesday (Nov. 29) by Sweden’s Supreme Court. Green had received a one-month jail sentence for his statement in a sermon about gays and lesbians.

Vatican Renews Rejection of Gay Priests, Says Homosexuality Not Normal

c. 2005 Religion News Service VATICAN CITY _ The Vatican on Tuesday (Nov. 29) officially published a document barring openly gay men from entering the priesthood and immediately rushed to defend the guidelines, renewing its rejection of homosexuality as normal. Although the document draws from decades of church teaching that regards gays as “objectively disordered,” a Vatican cardinal who signed the document and the Vatican’s official newspaper stepped forward to buttress the new guidelines, which have come under heavy fire inside and outside of the Catholic Church. Critics have claimed that the widely leaked document’s ban on men with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” is too ambiguous for local Catholic officials to effectively screen the sexual orientations of priestly candidates.

At Large Seminary, New Rules to Have Little Impact on Screening of Gay Men

c. 2005 Religion News Service EMMITSBURG, Md. _ When Joe Yokum considered a call to the Catholic priesthood five years ago, the first thing a seminary official asked him was not his understanding of the Trinity or salvation, or even why he wanted to be a priest. “Do you consider yourself to be a homosexual man?” recalled Yokum, now 27 and a third-year seminarian at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary here.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2005 Religion News Service Swedish Pastor’s Acquittal of Alleged Hate Crime Called Free Speech Win (RNS) American legal groups defending religious liberty say they are pleased with the acquittal of a Swedish pastor who had been charged with a hate crime after calling homosexuals a “cancerous tumor” in society. Pastor Ake Green was acquitted Tuesday (Nov. 29) by Sweden’s Supreme Court. Green had received a one-month jail sentence for his statement in a sermon about gays and lesbians.

COMMENTARY: Confession Still Good for the Soul, But It’s Bad for Your Career

c. 2005 Religion News Service (UNDATED) In the original spirit of Advent _ penitence, not shopping _ I could suggest we all confess our sins. Imagine the good it would do us to confess the sordid side of our adolescence, poor decisions made at college, slacking off at work, stupid petitions signed, harsh words spoken, bizarre ideas tried and found wanting, plans abandoned, promises not kept, bills paid late, creeds mouthed without conviction, and votes cast without forethought. Oh, the weight we could shed! But where?

Former Catholic Cleric Predicts Gay Exodus from Priesthood

c. 2005 Religion News Service RIDGEFIELD, N.J. _ He left the Catholic priesthood in 1998, he said, because he was tired of shielding his identity as a gay man from a church that condemns homosexuality. The Rev. Mariano Gargiulo, now an Episcopal priest in the Newark diocese, said he believes Tuesday’s (Nov. 29) Vatican edict banning most gay men from entering the seminary also will force many priests from the clergy. Gargiulo, who said he remains friends with dozens of gay Catholic priests from his days in the Archdiocese of Newark, predicted the ruling will heighten tensions within the church even though it doesn’t apply to current priests.

Terminated teacher

Quote of the Day: Fired Catholic Teacher Michelle McCusker “I don’t understand how a religion that prides itself on being forgiving and on valuing life could terminate me because I’m pregnant and am choosing to have this baby. I held the Catholic religion to a higher standard.” -Michelle McCusker, a Catholic-school teacher who was fired after telling her employers that she was pregnant and did not plan to marry the father of the child. The New York Civil Liberties Union has filed suit against the Diocese of Brooklyn, on behalf of McCusker, who was quoted by the Los Angeles Times.

Vatican’s document on gay priests

Tuesday’s RNS report offers three articles on the Vatican’s official document on gay priests, release today, Nov. 29. Stacy Meichtry reports from the Vatican City: The Vatican officially published a document Tuesday (Nov. 29) that bars openly gay men from entering the priesthood and followed that up with an editorial rejecting homosexuality as abnormal. Critics had claimed that the widely leaked document’s ban on men with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” is ambiguous and open to interpretation by local church officials.

To Protect Kids, an Orthodox Jewish Community Unplugs the Internet

c. 2005 Religion News Service LAKEWOOOD, N.J. _ Like so many Americans, Mesh Gelman relies on the Internet for work. But in a move that’s likely to complicate his business in international trade, he plans to unplug his home computer from the wired world, shutting out all that’s good _ and bad _ about the Web. Gelman’s reasoning is simple: His religious leaders have told him to do so. The father of four is a member of Lakewood’s tight-knit Orthodox Jewish community, whose leaders have declared that Internet access should be removed from homes with school-age children to better protect them from the bounty of sexual images online.

Keeping Mikvah: Many Jewish Women Still Immerse Themselves

c. 2005 Religion News Service (UNDATED) For many Jewish women, keeping mikvah _ immersing themselves in natural, flowing water _ is a private matter. Their husbands probably know when they leave home to visit a mikvah. Attendants may know if a woman immersed herself so completely that not a strand of her hair floated to the surface. But only God knows the sincerity of a woman’s prayer.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2005 Religion News Service On Anniversary, New York Defender of the Poor Called `Future Saint’ NEW YORK (RNS) On the 25th anniversary of Dorothy Day’s death, the former New York Catholic and defender of the poor was called a 21st-century saint worthy of canonization. On Sunday (Nov. 27), Cardinal Edward Egan celebrated a Mass in observance of the 25th anniversary of Day’s death. It was held at Our Lady Help of Christians Church _ where Day was baptized _ and was the final event of several organized by the parish to help publicize the story of Day’s life.

Meaning of mikvah; Internet ban for Orthodox Jews

Nancy Haught writes in Monday’s RNS report on the practice of keeping mikvah, in which Jewish women immerse themselves in a ritual bath: For many Jewish women, keeping mikvah-immersing themselves in natural, flowing water-is a private matter. Their husbands probably know when they leave home to visit a mikvah. Attendants may know if a woman immersed herself so completely that not a strand of her hair floated to the surface. But only God knows, quite literally, the sincerity of a woman’s prayer. Water flows through many religions in rituals that symbolize transformation, from death to life, rebirth and renewal.

Pet Chaplains Help Grieve Losses of Man’s Best Friends

c. 2005 Religion News Service (UNDATED) When her cocker spaniel died last June, Pam Carpenter was devastated. Niki was the family clown. Abused as a puppy, he thrived after Carpenter adopted him and wielded control over her husband, Don, and their seven other dogs on their North Carolina farm. So when chronic bronchitis meant Niki had to be euthanized, Pam needed support.

NEWS STORY: Religious Freedom Activists Praise Bush’s China Focus

c. 2005 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Human rights activists on Monday (Nov. 21) praised President Bush’s call for religious freedom during his recent visit to China, but said the Communist government’s apparent unwillingness to make concessions is discouraging. The topic came to the foreground during the president’s week-long diplomatic swing through East Asia, which ended Monday. He visited Japan, South Korea, Mongolia and China, where his appeals for religiouse freedom were largely ignored by the Chinese government and press.