Language, language…

U.S. Bishop Mounts a Rare Public Campaign Against the Vatican RNS’s Daniel Burke covers Bishop Donald Trautman’s increasingly vigorous campaign against a new translation of the Catholic Mass for American churches, which was ordered by John Paul II to bring it “more in line with the original Latin,” in this week’s full text article, linked above. Quote: In a January speech to the Catholic Academy of Liturgy, Trautman called the new translations confusing and predicted they will “contribute to a greater number of departures from the Catholic Church,” according to the Rev. Keith F. Pecklers, the academy’s executive director. Pecklers, a professor of liturgy at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, said Trautman challenged the liturgists to “be courageous in questioning those developments that would render the liturgy incomprehensible.” He received a standing ovation after his speech.

Religion Takes Hold in Second Life’s Cyber Universe

c. 2007 Religion News Service SAN FRANCISCO _ In Second Life, the online virtual universe that is attracting some 3.7 million users, you can light virtual candles for Shabbat, teleport to a Buddhist temple or consult the Oracle for some divine guidance. Second Life is a three-dimensional, online game produced by San Francisco-based Linden Lab in which participants create a virtual world, buy and sell land and products and interact in all the usual ways. Now religion has a growing presence there too, users say, and religious diversity and participation have skyrocketed since last June, when basic membership to Second Life became free. And just like in real-life churches, mosques and synagogues, there is diversity, debate, schism and yes, more than a few holier-than-thou types.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2007 Religion News Service Clinton, Obama, Edwards to Debate Faith and Poverty WASHINGTON (RNS) The three top Democratic presidential candidates will discuss faith, values and poverty and take questions from religious leaders Monday (June 4) at a forum sponsored by Sojourners/Call to Renewal, the progressive social-justice group. Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y. and Barack Obama, D-Ill. as well as former North Carolina senator John Edwards will all take part in the forum, to take place at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The Rev. Jim Wallis, best-selling author and evangelical activist who heads Sojourners/Call to Renewal, said having only three candidates participate allows for “a more thoughtful, more in-depth conversation.” “This gives us a good long time to really engage with them,” Wallis said.

Canadian Church Leader Is Looking for a Few Good Men

c. 2007 Religion News Service VICTORIA, British Columbia _ The new moderator of Canada’s largest Protestant denomination wonders why there are so few men in his church. David Giuliano, elected last year as head of the 600,000-member United Church of Canada, believes liberal religious institutions aren’t as welcoming of males as they think they are. Even though Catholic and evangelical churches, Orthodox Jewish synagogues and Muslim mosques continue to be run almost exclusively by male clergy, he says most liberal religious institutions have in the past few decades experienced a sea change regarding gender. While Guiliano celebrates the empowerment of women in Christianity and other religions, he worries that one side effect has been that negative views of manhood have almost become institutionalized in liberal Christian circles.


c. 2007 Religion News Service (UNDATED) They’re late. The cicadas. I’ve been sitting on the chaise all week, staring at the grass in anticipation of their creepy arrival. Each time a blade of grass moved, I leaned over expecting to see an army of arthropods fighting their way through the top soil, all alienesque and icky, before attaching themselves en masse to Henry, my mulberry tree, where they will sound like an opera of lawn mowers for a few days before they die and become one more thing we have to sweep up.

10 Minutes With … Zarqa Nawaz

c. 2007 Religion News Service (UNDATED) What do “Desperate Housewives,” the racy ABC drama, and “Little Mosque on the Prairie,” a Canadian sitcom created by a devout Muslim woman, Zarqa Nawaz, have in common? They were both picked up by Canal Plus, a French pay-TV giant to be broadcast in France and French-speaking parts of Switzerland and Africa. It’s gratifying recognition for Nawaz, a mother of four who never imagined becoming a comedy writer. Born in Great Britain to Pakistani parents and raised in Toronto, Nawaz, 39, started in radio and television journalism before jumping into filmmaking.

RNS Weekly Digest

c. 2007 Religion News Service NCC’s Edgar to Take Helm of Common Cause (RNS) The Rev. Bob Edgar, the outgoing general secretary of the National Council of Churches, has been named president of the public interest advocacy group Common Cause. Edgar, 63, a former congressman from Pennsylvania and an ordained United Methodist minister, was elected by Common Cause’s governing board on Friday (May 18). His tenure at the NCC ends Dec. 31 and he will split time between the two organizations until then, according to representatives.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2007 Religion News Service Pope Upgrades Interfaith Outreach Office VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI will upgrade a Vatican office in charge of dialogue with the Islamic world, a little more than a year after subordinating it to another body. The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue will become “a dicastery in its own right,” Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who as secretary of state is the Vatican’s No. 2 official, said in an interview with the Italian newspaper La Stampa. Dicasteries _ committees that implement policy and are typically staffed by cardinals and archbishops _ are the Vatican’s equivalent of government ministries.

U.S. Bishop Mounts a Rare Public Campaign Against the Vatican

c. 2007 Religion News Service (UNDATED) In a rare show of defiance, a Roman Catholic bishop is using increasingly fiery language to spark a grassroots revolt against a new Vatican-ordered translation of the Mass. Bishop Donald Trautman of Erie, Pa., chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy, has used several critical essays and speeches to denounce the proposed translations, which he frankly calls “not acceptable.” Before the new Mass is rolled out in U.S. parishes _ still several years away, officials say _ Trautman is urging U.S. Catholics to lobby their local churches, bishops and even the Vatican to get the translations changed. “Church of God, judge for yourselves. Speak Up!

New Museum Blends Creationism With the Gospel

c. 2007 Religion News Service PETERSBURG, Ky. _ Ken Ham stood outside his $27 million Creation Museum before its official opening on Monday (May 28) and declared its mission is not just to counter evolution. He also wants to create a few Christians. “We don’t just want to see people converted to creationism,” said Ham, president of the Answers in Genesis ministry, which built the museum on a site officials say is a convenient travel distance for two-thirds of all Americans.

Some Sobering Facts Behind the Pomp and Circumstance

c. 2007 Religion News Service (UNDATED) I doubt that this year’s commencement speakers will venture too deeply into reality. Too depressing for a celebratory day. No one will address the study that showed only 18 percent of high school freshmen enter college and finish their degrees in less than six years. Too invisible.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2007 Religion News Service American Legion, Legal Groups To Defend Religious Symbols on Memorials WASHINGTON (RNS) The American Legion has joined forces with two conservative legal groups in a campaign to defend religious symbols on veterans’ memorials. Reacting to suits by the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups that have challenged crosses at memorials in San Diego and the Mojave Desert, the veterans organization hopes to halt future efforts that would remove religious symbols. “We stand here today to put the ACLU and any other organization on notice that filing self-enriching lawsuits for the removal of religious symbols that are on veterans’ memorials will not be tolerated,” said American Legion Past National Commander Tom Bock at a news conference on Thursday (May 25). In an interview, Bock said memorial religious symbols other than crosses would also be defended.

Comic Strip Artist Follows Faith to a Big Museum Honor

c. 2007 Religion News Service CLEVELAND _ When Jordan Gorfinkel got a call from the Munich Jewish Museum asking if his comic strip on Jewish life could permanently grace the entrance, he was taken aback. At first, he thought the museum wanted Art Spiegelman, the cartoonist who won the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for his Holocaust graphic novel, “Maus: A Survivor’s Tale.” “I’ll give you his number,” Gorfinkel said. But the museum didn’t want Spiegelman. They wanted Gorfinkel, also known simply as “Gorf.” “I was stunned and honored,” Gorfinkel said.

Muslim Hookah Bar Opens Its Stage to Christian Musicians

c. 2007 Religion News Service MORRISTOWN, N.J. _ Three Muslim brothers plan to open their cafe and hookah bar for Christian music nights starting next month. Every Thursday night from June 7 through July 26, Cafe Arabica will set up the stage for several Christian rock bands that have traveled from around the country. The Christian Concert Series will try to build bridges between Christianity and Islam, said Ali Hablawi, who owns the cafe along with his brothers, Adnan and Adel. “I would like to have unity between the two religions, so I thought, why not have a night when we could have Christian music so everyone can see that the religions have a lot in common?” Hablawi said.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2007 Religion News Service Radio Station Refuses Ads About Female Pastor SYRACUSE, N.Y. (RNS) Mars Hill, a local Christian radio network, won’t accept paid advertising for an upcoming Christian crusade in Syracuse because a female pastor is participating. “We can’t comfortably promote women in the role of pastor,” said Wayne Taylor, the general manager. Mars Hill’s nine-member, all-male board of directors voted unanimously Tuesday (May 22) to accept an interpretation of Scripture that prohibits women from serving as church elders or pastors. That means the Syracuse-based network of four stations will not advertise or promote the two-day City Wide Crusade, which features a June 8 appearance by televangelist Pastor Paula White.