FaithWorld

Lutherans bristle at idea of joining Catholic Church like disaffected Anglicans

(The Leipzig Disputation of 1519 between Martin Luther (R) and Catholic theologian Johannes Eck (L), by Julius Hübner) 

Two leading Lutheran clerics have rejected suggestions from the Vatican that it could create a subdivision for converted Lutherans similar to its structures for Anglicans who join the Roman Catholic Church.

The dispute, concerning tiny numbers of believers but major issues in ecumenical relations, comes as the churches mark the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity this week.

Rev Martin Junge, the Chilean-born secretary general of the World Lutheran Federation (WLF), said in a statement that the suggestion caused great concern and would “send wrong signals to LWF member churches around the world.”

Bishop Friedrich Weber, the German Lutheran liaison with the Catholic Church, said the idea was unthinkable and amounted to “an unecumenical incitement to switch sides.”

German Catholic Church shuts down sexual abuse hotline after demand tapers off

(Stephan Ackermann, Bishop of Trier attends a news conference on the launching of a telephone hotline for victims of sexual abuse, in south western German city of Trier March 30, 2010. (Text reads: “victims of sexual abuse”) REUTERS/Johannes Eisele)

Germany’s Roman Catholic Church has shut a national hotline for victims of sexual abuse by priests because demand for it has dropped since the peak of the scandal in 2010, the bishop overseeing the project said.

The Church plans to continue studying clerical sex abuse and is in contact with potential research partners after sacking the criminologist it originally hired for an independent report on the issue, Bishop Stephan Ackermann told journalists.

French government determined to legalise gay marriage despite huge demo

(Thousands of demonstrators march in Paris, to protest France’s planned legalisation of same-sex marriage, January 13, 2013 .The banner reads ” Long live the parity in the marriage, one mother, one father it is elementary” REUTERS/Charles Platiau)

A huge weekend protest against the legalisation of same-sex marriage and adoption has not dented the French government’s determination to pass the planned reform into law soon, leading cabinet ministers said on Monday.

In one of the largest protests in decades, roughly half a million people marched through Paris on Sunday demanding that President Francois Hollande withdraw the reform bill and hold a national debate before any change in the definition of marriage.

French protest at Eiffel Tower against plan to legalise gay marriage and adoption

(French humorist and TV host Virginie Merle (C), also known as “Frigide Barjot” demonstrates against the gay marriage, adoption and procreation assistance in Paris, January 13, 2013. The women with her wear hats from the French Revolution. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier )

Several hundred thousand people massed at the Eiffel Tower in Paris on Sunday to protest against President Francois Hollande’s plan to legalize gay marriage and adoption by June.

Three columns of protesters, waving pink and blue flags showing a father, mother and two children, converged on the landmark from different meeting points in Paris. Many came after long train and bus rides from the provinces.

Timeline: Marriage and homosexual rights in France

(A demonstrator waves a flag on the Champ de Mars near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, to protest France’s planned legalisation of same-sex marriage, January 13, 2013. REUTERS/Charles Platiau)

Marchers filed through the French capital on Sunday to protest against President Francois Hollande’s plan to legalize gay marriage and adoption.

Here is a timeline on marriage and the rights of homosexuals in France.

1791 – Following the French Revolution, the penal code is amended to decriminalize homosexual acts. But social disapproval in the traditionally Catholic country remains strong until recent years.

Sassy French comedian rallies broad front against gay marriage law

(French humorist and TV host Virginie Merle, also known as “Frigide Barjot” poses after a news conference in Paris, January 10, 2013.  REUTERS/Charles Platiau)

When the opponents of gay-marriage take to the streets in Paris on Sunday, their protest will be led neither by politicians nor priests, but by a sassy comedian in a pink T-shirt who goes by the stage name Frigide Barjot.

With her on the march, expected to be one of the capital’s biggest demonstrations in years, will be a young gay man who campaigns against homosexual marriage and an an older activist from the right-to-life movement.

Leading African Anglicans denounce Church of England’s gay bishop rule

(Kenyan worshipers arrive at the All Saints Cathedral Church for a evening mass at the capital Nairobi, November 3, 2003. REUTERS/Anthony Niguna)

Senior African Anglican leaders have lined up to denounce the Church of England’s decision to allow celibate gay bishops, warning it would only widen the divisions within the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Archbishop Nicholas Okoh of Nigeria, effectively the largest province in the Communion, said such reforms “could very well shatter whatever hopes we had for healing and reconciliation within our beloved Communion.”

German Catholic bishops sack head of independent sex abuse study

(Stephan Ackermann, Bishop of Trier attends a news conference on the launching of a telephone hotline for victims of sexual abuse, in south western German city of Trier March 30, 2010. REUTERS/Johannes Eisele.)

Germany’s Roman Catholic bishops sacked a criminologist studying sexual abuse of minors by their priests on Wednesday, prompting him to accuse them of trying to censor what was to be a major report on the scandals.

The independent study, examining church files sometimes dating back to 1945, was meant to shed light on undiscovered cases of abuse after about 600 people filed claims against molesting priests in 2010 following a wave of revelations there.

About 100 million Christians are persecuted around the world: Open Doors report

(School children listen to a speech by a Christian leader during a protest rally in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata August 29, 2008 after Hindu mobs ransacked a church and clashed with Christian villagers in the eastern state of Orissa. REUTERS/Jayanta Shaw)

About 100 million Christians are persecuted around the world, with conditions worsening for them most rapidly in Syria and Ethiopia, according to an annual report by a group supporting oppressed Christians worldwide.

Open Doors, a non-denominational Christian group, listed North Korea, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan as the three toughest countries for Christians last year. They topped the 50-country ranking for 2011 as well.

French Muslims join opposition to same-sex marriage law

(A woman looks at books inside an exhibition hall during the 29th annual meeting of French Muslims organized by The Union of Islamic Organizations of France (UOIF) at Le Bourget, near Paris April 7, 2012. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes)

French Muslims have begun joining a mostly Catholic-led movement against same-sex marriage, widening opposition to the reform that the Socialist-led government is set to write into the law by June.

Fifty Muslim activists issued an open letter on Monday urging fellow Muslims to join a major Paris protest against the law on Sunday. That followed a similar appeal last Saturday by the influential Union of French Islamic Organisations (UOIF).