Pope Francis earlier this year created a stir with his talk about atheists going to heaven. Last week, he encouraged the masses to shake up staid Roman Catholic dioceses. And overnight, on the plane ride back to Rome from a week-long visit to Brazil, he voiced support for integrating gays into society instead of marginalizing them.
According to a Reuters report:
Francis defended gays from discrimination but also referred to the Catholic Church’s universal Catechism, which says that while homosexual orientation is not sinful homosexual acts are.
“If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?” the pope said. Continue reading
“I want to tell you something. What is it that I expect as a consequence of World Youth Day? I want a mess. We knew that in Rio there would be great disorder, but I want trouble in the dioceses! … I want to see the church get closer to the people. I want to get rid of clericalism, the mundane, this closing ourselves off within ourselves, in our parishes, schools or structures. Because these need to get out!”
— Pope Francis, speaking Thursday on a visit to a slum area of northern Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. (Associated Press via The Huffington Post.)
“One of my mentors once said that ‘government engagement with religion is sort of like brain surgery. You have to do it very, very carefully.’ So I’m fully aware of the pitfalls … “
— Shaun Casey, professor at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington and the head of the new State Department office tasked with reaching out to the global faith community and religious leaders. (Washington Post.)
Documented incidents of anti-Semitism in Connecticut dropped in 2012, to 17 — 13 instances of harassment, four of vandalism, the Anti-Defamation League reported Monday.
The total number of incidents was 43 in 2011 and 39 in 2010.
In the U.S., the number of incidents fell 14 percent from 2011 to 2012, the ADL reported.
In a release Monday on the Connecticut numbers, the ADL said:
“While we’re pleased to see a decrease in reported anti-Semitic incidents throughout the state, we’re not convinced that the drop off is as substantial as the numbers indicate,” said Gary Jones, Regional Director of ADL’s Connecticut office. “The audit is not an exact science. We rely on law enforcement personnel and individuals from across the state to alert us to anti-Semitic incidents. We will certainly be keeping a close watch on anti-Semitic incidents throughout the state – as we always do – over the next several years to determine whether 2012’s reported decrease becomes a trend, and we hope it does. But the bottom line is, 17 anti-Semitic incidents in Connecticut is 17 too many.”
Talk to longtime Waterbury folks about their memories of Holy Land U.S.A., and — in addition to mentioning the big lighted cross that crowned it — they will tell you about the tour buses.
“I remember the buses that used to come in, the people who would always ask for directions to Holy Land,” said Waterbury native and Mayor Neil O’Leary, who is leading an effort to resuscitate the long-neglected site (see story here and official website here).
An aide in his office, Geraldo C. Reyes Jr., who grew up in the shadow of Pine Hill, said that in the 1960s and ’70s, tour buses poured in out-of-town pilgrims from all over the United States and abroad For him, it was an opportunity to earn a few bucks as an unofficial tour guide.
A California judge, asked to decide whether yoga taught in a classroom was exercise or religious indoctrination, came out with his ruling Monday.
The Los Angeles Times reports:
A San Diego Superior Court judge Monday rejected a claim by parents in the Encinitas elementary school system that teaching yoga in the schools is an improper attempt at religious indoctrination.
The ruling by Judge John Meyer, who heard the case without a jury, means that the Encinitas Union School District can continue to teach yoga as part of its health and exercise curriculum. … Meyer said that he agreed with the school district’s explanation that it has taken out any references to Hinduism or Sanskrit from the program. Yoga, the judge said, is similar to other exercise programs like dodgeball.