FaithWorld

Two U.S. soldiers lose bid to dress according to religious custom

(U.S. army soldiers are seen marching in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York, March 16, 2013. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri )

The U.S. Army has denied requests by two soldiers to dress and groom themselves according to their religious beliefs under a revised Pentagon policy, a spokesman said on Monday.

The policy approved on January 22 was mainly expected to affect Sikhs, Muslims, Jews and other groups that wear beards, long hair or articles of clothing such as turbans and yarmulkes. It also could affect Wiccans and others who obtain tattoos for religious reasons.

Under the guidelines, the military service branches were encouraged to allow people to dress according to religious custom so long as it did not interfere with good order and discipline within their units.

But the policy has been criticized by lawmakers and members of the affected religious groups, who say the Defense Department is still setting a hurdle essentially prohibiting some people from joining the service.

‘Rebel priest’ in Ukraine prays for pro-Russian gunmen but denies covert support

(A pro-Russian armed man stands guard at a barricade near the state security service building in Slaviansk, April 28, 2014. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich)

Father Vitaly says he prays every day for the armed men who now wield power in Slaviansk, stronghold of pro-Russian separatists who have seized key buildings in a dozen towns across eastern Ukraine this month.

“There’s a point at which you just can’t take it anymore and you have to pick yourself up and stand up for yourself,” the bearded, broad-shouldered Orthodox priest said of his hostility to the Ukrainian leadership which has taken power in Kiev.

Turkey’s Erdogan calls on U.S. to extradite rival cleric Fethullah Gulen

(Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen is pictured at his residence in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania September 24, 2013. REUTERS/Selahattin Sevi/Zaman Daily via Cihan News Agency )

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday he would ask the United States to extradite an Islamic cleric he accuses of plotting to topple him and undermine Turkey with concocted graft accusations and secret wire taps.

Such a move against Fethullah Gulen, whose followers say they number in the millions, would be possible only if Turkey first issued an arrest warrant and produced evidence of a crime, according to one legal expert.

Hungarians march against anti-Semitism after far-right poll gains

(People participate in the annual “March of the Living” walk in remembrance of the more than half million Hungarian Jews who died in the Holocaust during World War Two, in Budapest, April 27, 2014. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo)

Tens of thousands of Hungarians joined a protest march on Sunday against anti-Semitism, three weeks after the far-right Jobbik party won nearly a quarter of votes cast in a national election.

Budapest’s annual ‘March of the Living’ has drawn an increasing number of participants in recent years to commemorate the deaths of around half a million Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust in World War Two.

Second dead Dutch Catholic bishop found guilty of sex abuse of minors

(Saint Catherine’s Cathedral, Utrecht, September 2004/Fruggo)

The Dutch Catholic Church, in the second such embarrassing admission this month, announced on Friday that a bishop who died in 2000 had been found guilty of sexually abusing boys decades ago.

Utrecht archdiocese, where Johannes Nienhaus was auxiliary bishop from 1982 to 1999, said a commission investigating the scandals that have shaken the Catholic Church in many countries in the past decade had confirmed four complaints against him.

Earlier this month, Roermond diocese said its late bishop Johannes Gijsen had sexually abused two boys, also decades ago.

from The Great Debate:

The uncanonized saints

The Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph in Brooklyn, nearing the end of a long restoration, has a new mural over its main doors. Surrounding the Holy Spirit, in the form of an incandescent dove, is a gathering of women and men flanked by angels. Most have soft yellow halos, but three figures, including the pair closest to the dove, do not.

The three are local icons. Activist and writer Dorothy Day wears a hat with the inscription “NO WAR” and holds a stack of Catholic Worker newspapers, the publication she founded. Beside her is Bernard Quinn, a priest who served Brooklyn’s African American community at a church just blocks away, and whose Long Island orphanage was twice burned down by racists. Pierre Toussaint, who looks intently toward the dove, was a slave-turned-philanthropist who, on gaining his freedom in 1807, adopted his surname from the leader of the Haitian revolution.

Sunday, as Popes John XXIII and John Paul II receive their halos through the Vatican’s canonization process, it may be especially hard to remember that not all saints have official halos. Nor does one have to be a world-famous pope to be a saint.

Souvenir boom as Poles set to fete their nation’s new saint John Paul II

(Sculptor Czeslaw Dzwigaj works on bas-relief of the late Pope John Paul II in his atelier near Krakow April 9, 2014. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel)

Souvenir shops at the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy in Krakow, where Karol Wojtyla was archbishop before becoming Pope John Paul II, do a brisk trade in papal memorabilia now that he is due to be declared a saint.

In one store in the southern Polish city, a saleswoman says she has sold several thousand candles with an image of the late pope on them, at prices from 12 zlotys ($3.95) on up.

Papal canonizations a lesson in subtle art of Catholic Church politics

(DATE IMPORTED:April 25, 2014Two priest walk as they hold pictures of Pope John Paul II (L) and Pope John XXIII in front of St. Peter’s square, in Rome April 25, 2014.REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini )

When the late Popes John XXIII and John Paul II are declared saints on Sunday, the Vatican ceremony will be both a spiritual event for Roman Catholicism and a lesson in the subtle politics of the world’s largest church.

Most of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics will generally agree that these two men, in their own ways, were holy and charismatic pastors who helped their 2,000-year-old Church to confront the challenges of the modern era.

Angry Muslims in Central African Republic call to partition the country

(Muslims fleeing sectarian violence are seen on top of a truck with their belongings, on the road between Bangui and Sibut, on a convoy being escorted by French peacekeepers to the south eastern town of Bambari April 20, 2014. Picture taken April 20, 2014. REUTERS/Emmanuel Braun )

In this dusty town at the heart of the Central African Republic, many angry Muslims advocate a simple solution to the threat of religious violence from Christian militias terrorising the country’s south: partition.

Bambari lies near the dividing line separating Central African Republic’s Christian south – where mobs have lynched hundreds of Muslims and torn down their homes – from a northern region controlled by the mostly Muslim Seleka rebels.

Israel rejects link of Ukraine crisis to anti-Semitism

(Jewish men attend morning prayer at a synagogue in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine April 20, 2014. REUTERS/Baz Ratner)

Israel played down on Thursday suggestions that anti-Semitism in Ukraine is linked to Kiev’s standoff with Russia, offering a more measured assessment than the Kremlin or the United States as it avoids taking sides in the East-West confrontation.

Moscow has aimed allegations of anti-Semitism against the pro-Western Ukrainian government. Washington has condemned an incident in a city with a strong pro-Russian movement where Jews were handed leaflets using language reminiscent of the Holocaust.