Reuters blog archive
from John Lloyd:
The British Isles are sentries in a turning world. The monarchy, pageantry, the mediaeval House of Lords, titles, accents, the established Church of England with the Queen at its head -- they all give the adroit illusion of continuity and the primacy of tradition over change.
But this summer there are diverse changes modernizing the Isles. These revolutions, small and large, will not be reversed, and will contribute significantly to a redefinition of what it is to be British (and Irish). The illusions of tradition will remain, as diligently served as ever. The core is hollowing out.
These changes are not unique to these wet and windy islands. But it’s more remarkable because for many centuries Britain and its offshoots punched above their weight, making history and creating (or inventing) traditions. The French are famed for having a beautiful and mostly efficient country and for grumbling furiously about it. The British change everything all the time, and worship the old customs whose essence they have long since destroyed, or are destroying.
Ireland, the smaller and much younger of the two sovereign states on the Isles, found its independence in the 1920s. That independence was fought for so hard in part because its majority religion, Catholicism, had been treated as an inferior, even a treacherous, affiliation for centuries. The Republic came into independent statehood with its religion militantly at the forefront of national, social and cultural life.
from Tales from the Trail:
The comment aligned Santorum with a lineup of conservative critics bashing Democratic President Barack Obama's rule requiring religious institutions -- but not churches -- to provide health insurance plans that cover birth control.
Regular attendance at religious services is associated with a more optimistic outlook and a lesser inclination to be depressed, compared to those who do not attend services at all, according to a recently published study.
The study's findings supports previous research that religious participation can promote psychological and physical health -- and reduce mortality risks -- possibly by calming people in stressful times, creating meaningful social interactions and helping curtail bad habits.
A majority of American Roman Catholics feel strongly about the sacraments and traditional church values such as caring for the poor, but they may not agree with the church teachings on topics such as abortion, same-sex marriage and maintaining a celibate, male clergy, a survey has found.
The "Catholics in America" survey of Roman Catholics published by the National Catholic Reporter found 86 percent said Catholics can disagree with aspects of church teaching and still remain loyal to the church.
The Episcopal Church's diocese of Nevada sought to calm an uproar over a former Benedictine monk who admitted sexual indiscretions with a parishioner before he was ordained an Episcopal priest by Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, who is now leader of the 2.3 million member U.S. church.
"It looks to me like she handled the situation by the book," Bishop Dan Edwards said of Jefferts Schori's actions regarding Fr. Bede Parry, a church organist and former Episcopal priest.
A survey of 3,000 Americans by the Public Religion Research Institute found 42 percent said the terms "pro-choice" and "pro-life" both described them well, illustrating the complexity of the abortion issue in the minds of many.
People who criticise gay sexual relations for religious or moral reasons are increasingly being attacked and vilified for their views, a Vatican diplomat told the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday.
Archbishop Silvano Tomasi said the Roman Catholic Church deeply believed that human sexuality was a gift reserved for married heterosexual couples. But those who express these views are faced with "a disturbing trend," he said.
In spite of, or perhaps because of, Roman Catholic church teachings condemning homosexuality, many lay Catholics in the United States be more accepting toward same-sex relationships than the general public, a new survey found.
“The big finding here is that American Catholics are at least 5 points more supportive than the general population across a range of gay and lesbian issues,” said Robert Jones, chief executive of the Public Religion Research Institute, which conducted telephone surveys of 3,000 Americans.
(Photo: Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels at a parliamentary committee hearing on child sexual abuse in the Belgian Catholic Church, in Brussels December 21, 2010./Francois Lenoir)
Belgium's former top Roman Catholic bishop told a parliamentary inquiry on Tuesday into the sexual abuse of children by clerics that he was not responsible for other Belgian bishops.
Belgium's lower house set up the inquiry to examine an issue that has rocked the Catholic Church worldwide and resulted in hundreds of victims coming forward. Widespread sexual abuse of minors by Belgian clerics drove at least 13 victims to suicide, a Church commission said in September, recording 475 cases.
The use of condoms to stop the spread of AIDS may be justified in certain cases, Pope Benedict says in a new book that could herald the start of sea
change in the Vatican's attitude to condoms.
In excerpts published in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano on Saturday, the pope cites the example of the use of condoms by prostitutes as "a first step toward moralization" but says that condoms were "not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection."