FaithWorld

Vatican acts to protect Michelangelo frescoes as Sistine Chapel visitors swell

(Pope Benedict XVI leads a special meeting with artists in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican November 21, 2009. Pope Benedict meets up to 500 artists from around the world, as part of efforts to turn the page on the Vatican's sometimes conflicted relationship with the contemporary art world. Picture taken with fish-eye lens. REUTERS/Osservatore Romano)

(Pope Benedict XVI leads a special meeting with artists in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican November 21, 2009. REUTERS/Osservatore Romano)

Dust, sweat and carbon dioxide brought into the Sistine Chapel by a swelling number of tourists risk damaging priceless Michelangelo frescoes, the Vatican said on Wednesday, hoping a new air conditioning and lighting system will protect them.

Some six million people a year visit the chapel, home to Michelangelo’s famous ceiling frescoes – one of the wonders of Western civilization that are over 500 years old.

The number of visitors to the chapel – where popes are elected in secret conclaves – can reach 20,000 a day in summer. Their numbers have grown by 300 percent from around 1.5 million a year in 1980, said Antonio Paolucci, the head of the Vatican museums.

“Today, the Sistine Chapel risks being a victim of its own success,” Paolucci, writing in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, said.

Thousands raid South Korea church in futile search for ferry family boss

(A mourner cries as she pays tribute, at a temporary memorial altar for victims of the capsized passenger ship Sewol, in Ansan April 26, 2014. The Sewol ferry sank on April 16 on a routine trip south from the port of Incheon to the traditional holiday island of Jeju. More than 300 people, most of them students and teachers from one high school on a field trip, have died or are missing and presumed dead. REUTERS/Issei Kato)

(A mourner cries as she pays tribute, at a temporary memorial altar for victims of the capsized passenger ship Sewol, in Ansan April 26, 2014. REUTERS/Issei Kato)

Thousands of South Korean police and prosecutors raided a sprawling religious compound for a second time on Wednesday in their search for an elderly businessman linked to a ferry disaster that reduced the nation to tears.

Helicopters flew overhead as officers moved from building to building at the site, believed to cover the size of a dozen soccer pitches, with church members in pursuit, some singing hymns, others chanting “Let’s fight with prosecutors and police!”

Child graves prompt Irish to ask why so many babies died in Catholic Church care

(The entrance to the site of a mass grave of hundreds of children who died in the former Bons Secours home for unmarried mothers is seen in Tuam, County Galway June 4, 2014. Local residents on Tuesday said they hoped a campaign is making headway to commemorate the unmarked mass grave of nearly 800 babies found in Tuam. The infants were buried without coffins in the grounds of a former home for unmarried mothers between 1925 and 1961. A total of 796 babies toddlers and children were buried in this mass grave. Death records show the children died from malnutrition and infectious disease. REUTERS/Stringer )

(The entrance to the site of a mass grave of hundreds of children who died in the former Bons Secours home for unmarried mothers is seen in Tuam, County Galway June 4, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer )

In the leafy grounds of a center for the disabled in rural central Ireland, a small tombstone hints at the building’s previous role as a “mother-and-baby home”. It reads: “In Memory of God’s Special Angels”.

No names, no dates, just an acknowledgement that buried in the garden of the Manor House in Castlepollard are children born to unwed mothers at the Church-run institutions that dotted Ireland half a century ago.

Prominent N.Y. church picks woman as pastor for first time in its history

(The casket carrying the remains of Gordon Parks lies at the altar in a packed Riverside Church in New York March 14, 2006, during Parks' funeral service. Parks, the pioneering black photographer and filmmaker who explored the African-American experience in his work, including landmark movies "The Learning Tree" and "Shaft," died on March 7 at the age of 93. REUTERS/Mike Segar)

( Riverside Church in New York March 14, 2006. REUTERS/Mike Segar)

New York’s Riverside Church, one of the best-known liberal Protestant congregations in the United States, selected a woman to lead it for the first time in its 84-year history, the church said on Monday.

The Rev. Amy Butler was elected on Sunday as the church’s seventh senior minister after a two-year search. Butler has served as the senior minister of the Washington-based Calvary Baptist Church since 2003 and spent years before that ministering to homeless women in New Orleans, according to the church’s website.

The previous senior minister for the church, the Rev. Brad Braxton, resigned in 2009 about a year after being selected, citing divisions in the congregation about the church’s future.

Egypt bans unlicensed preachers and tightens grip on mosques

(Saudi preacher Mohamed al-Eraify speaks during Friday prayers in Amr Bin Aaas mosque in Cairo June 14, 2013. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany )

(Saudi preacher Mohamed al-Eraify speaks during Friday prayers in Amr Bin Aaas mosque in Cairo June 14, 2013. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany )

Egypt has banned unauthorized preachers from giving sermons or teaching Islam in mosques and other public places, according to a decree on Saturday marking a further step in official efforts to curb Islamist influence.

The decree issued by interim President Adly Mansour’s office also threatened fines and jail for freelance imams, especially if they wore clerical garments associated with the respected Al-Azhar center of Sunni learning in Cairo.

Protests erupt over new Emir of Kano, Nigeria’s second-highest Islamic authority

(Nigeria's central bank governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi attends an interview with Reuters at the World Islamic Economic Forum in London October 30, 2013. Nigeria's central bank now wants inflation in a range between 6-9 percent, its governor Sanusi told Reuters on Wednesday, lowering the regulator's previous target of simply keeping it under 10 percent. To match Interview NIGERIA-INFLATION/ REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth)

(Nigeria’s former central bank governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi at the World Islamic Economic Forum in London October 30, 2013. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth)

Hundreds of youths protested on Monday against a decision to appoint Nigeria’s former central bank governor as the country’s second-highest Islamic authority.

Sunday’s state government decision to make Lamido Sanusi the Emir of Kano, one of the most influential positions in the largely Muslim north, surprised many who had expected the job to pass from father to son as a sign of stability when the north faces an Islamist insurgency.

France’s Marine Le Pen rebukes her father in new anti-Semitism row

(France's far right National Front party leader Marine Le Pen hugs her father Jean-Marie Le Pen, France's National Front political party founder, during a campaign rally before the European Parliament elections in Marseille May 20, 2014.  REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier )

(France’s National Front party leader Marine Le Pen hugs her father Jean-Marie Le Pen at a campaign rally before the European Parliament elections in Marseille May 20, 2014. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier)

Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s far-right National Front (FN), rebuked her father and former party head on Sunday for remarks reviving long-standing allegations of anti-Semitism soon after a major poll victory.

Marine Le Pen, who took over the anti-immigrant and anti-EU party from Jean-Marie Le Pen in 2011, said a controversial quip he made about a French Jewish singer that included an implied reference to concentration camp ovens had been misinterpreted.

Indian gov’t vows to uphold free speech after Hindu book withdrawal

(A worker reads a newspaper in front of stacked sacks of onions and potatoes at a wholesale vegetable market in Jammu June 14, 2012. India's wholesale price index (WPI) rose 7.55 percent in May from a year earlier, driven by double-digit rises in food and fuel prices, government data showed on Thursday. REUTERS/Mukesh Gupta)

(A worker reads a newspaper in front of stacked sacks of onions and potatoes at a wholesale vegetable market in Jammu June 14, 2012. EUTERS/Mukesh Gupta)

India’s new government sought to ease concerns that freedom of expression is under threat on Saturday, promising to strengthen the independence of the state-run broadcaster and to consider allowing more foreign investment in Indian media.

Fears for freedom of expression have grown this year, particularly after a controversial book on Hinduism was withdrawn from sale following criticism from hard line Hindus.

Update: UK schools report finds ‘campaign’ linked to Muslim extremism

(Muslims arrive at Al Hidayah, a youth camp at Warwick University in Coventry, central England, August 9, 2009. Preacher Muhammed Tahir ul-Qadri, who addressed participants, conveyed a message of moderation, peace, inclusion and understanding. Photograph taken on August 9, 2009. REUTERS/Kieran Doherty )

(Muslims arrive at Al Hidayah, a youth camp at Warwick University in Coventry, central England, August 9, 2009. REUTERS/Kieran Doherty )

A culture of “fear and intimidation” exists in some British schools due to an alleged Muslim extremist plot, the top school inspector said on Monday, citing faith and gender segregation and funding misuse.

A government investigation, launched after an anonymous letter reported a campaign dubbed “Operation Trojan Horse”, found evidence of a drive to impose Muslim cultural norms in some schools in the central city of Birmingham, said Michael Wilshaw, head of the Ofsted schools inspectorate.

Nigeria’s ex-central bank governor takes throne as Muslim monarch

(Nigeria's Central Bank Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi attends the World Islamic Economic Forum in London October 30, 2013. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth )

(Nigeria’s Central Bank Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi attends the World Islamic Economic Forum in London October 30, 2013. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth)

Nigeria’s ousted central bank governor, Lamido Sanusi, was named Emir of Kano on Sunday, making an outspoken government critic one of the most influential leaders in the largely Muslim north.

Sanusi, who regularly railed against the government’s record on corruption, was suspended from his post at the bank in February by President Goodluck Jonathan in a decision that alarmed international investors.