FaithWorld

U.S. military giving troops more leeway for religious clothing and beards

(Indian Sikh soldiers listens to their commander in Nowgam sector, 100 kms (62 miles)
north of Srinagar, September 1, 2003. REUTERS/Fayaz Kabli)

The Pentagon took steps on Wednesday to give individual troops greater latitude to wear turbans, head scarfs, yarmulkes and other religious clothing with their uniforms, but advocacy groups said the new policy fell short of what they were seeking.

“The military departments will accommodate individual expressions of sincerely held beliefs (conscience, moral principles, or religious beliefs) of service members” unless it might affect military readiness or unit cohesion, the updated policy on religious accommodation said.

The policy was mainly expected to affect Sikhs, Muslims, Jews and members of other groups that wear beards or articles of clothing as part of their religion. It also could affect Wiccans and others who may obtain tattoos or piercings for religious reasons.

Lieutenant Commander Nate Christensen, a Pentagon spokesman, said for the first time the Defense Department’s policy encouraged acceptance in the military of beards, long hair and articles of clothing worn for religious reasons so long as they do not interfere with good order and discipline.

U.S. anti-abortion marchers brave freezing cold in Washington

(Anti-abortion demonstrators sing as they parade past the U.S. Capitol during the annual March for Life in Washington, January 22, 2014. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst )

Thousands of U.S. anti-abortion activists braved frigid temperatures to rally at the annual March for Life on Wednesday, and a top Republican lawmaker vowed that the House of Representatives would vote soon to end taxpayer-funded abortions.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor told the rally, one of the key yearly events for the anti-abortion movement, that the Republican-controlled chamber would approve the measure halting taxpayer funding for the procedure next week.

from Breakingviews:

Pope’s “authentic” economics make sense

By Edward Hadas

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Pope Francis is a Jesuit, a Catholic order which has traditionally, among other things, served the rich and powerful as teachers and confessors. At its best, a Jesuit education inspires the mighty to serve the lowly. The Pope’s address to the business and political leaders assembled at the World Economic Forum at Davos fits right into that tradition.

He flatters the “innovative” for “improving the lives of many people by their ingenuity and professional expertise.” Then he hits. Davosians, he says, “can further contribute by putting their skills at the service of those who are still living in dire poverty.”

U.S. lawyers make public Catholic clergy abuse documents in Chicago

(Abuse victim Joe Iacono looks on during a news conference where thousands of documents on victims of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy from the Chicago Archdiocese were released in Chicago, Illinois, January 21, 2014. REUTERS/Jim Young)

Lawyers for victims of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy on Tuesday released thousands of related documents from the Chicago Archdiocese, the latest in a series of such disclosures in the Midwest.

The documents concern 30 former Chicago-area priests accused of abusing minors during the last half century, according to the Archdiocese, one of the largest in the United States with 2.2 million Catholics.

Pope Francis won’t be lenient with predator priests: ex-prosecutor Scicluna

(Newly-ordained Auxiliary Bishop of Malta Charles Scicluna (C) is congratulated by fellow bishops during his ordination ceremony at St John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta November 24, 2012.  REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi )

Pope Francis will not show leniency towards pedophile priests because truth and justice are more important than protecting the Church, the Vatican’s former sex crimes prosecutor has said.

Monsignor Charles Scicluna, the most authoritative Catholic official on the Church’s abuse crisis, also told Reuters that the number of clerics defrocked by the Vatican was likely to have fallen to about 100 in 2013 from about 125 in 2012.

Hungarian Jews threaten boycott of Holocaust commemoration over anti-Semitism

(A boat sails past a memorial on the banks of the Danube river in Budapest January 27, 2006, symbolizing shoes of Hungarian Jews who were shot at the riverside during World War II. International Holocaust Remembrance Day, is being marked around the world today. REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh)

Hungarian Jewish leaders said on Tuesday they may stay away from commemorations of the Holocaust in 2014 because of resurgent anti-Semitism in a nation that has struggled to come to terms with a wartime role in deporting Jews.

The Hungarian government is planning to mark the 70th anniversary of June 1944, when 437,000 Jews were sent to Nazi death camps within weeks. In total, about half a million Jews perished before the Budapest ghetto was liberated in 1945.

Pope Francis urges Davos elites to serve humanity with their wealth

(Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Peace and Justice, reads a message from Pope Francis at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2014 in Davos January 21, 2014. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich)

Pope Francis challenged business leaders assembled in Davos on Tuesday to put their wealth at the service of humanity instead of leaving most of the world’s population in poverty and insecurity.

In a message to more than 2,500 participants at the annual World Economic Forum, the pontiff urged industrialists and bankers to promote inclusive prosperity, but stopped short of chiding them for excesses laid bare by the global financial crisis.

Malaysia’s God/Allah problem erupts, tarnishing its moderate image

(A priest and altar boys walk down the aisle after prayers were conducted during a mass service inside the church of Our Lady of Lourdes at Klang, outside Kuala Lumpur January 12, 2014. REUTERS/Samsul Said )

The Sunday Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic church seems like a model for the multicultural, tolerant Malaysia that its government likes to present to the outside world.

An ethnic Chinese priest conducts the service in the Malay language to a congregation made up of migrants from the country’s eastern Borneo island states along with a handful of Vietnamese immigrants.

Top papal ally urges Vatican doctrine chief Müller to loosen up

(Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller at the Vatican on March 11, 2010.  REUTERS/Tony Gentile )

An influential aide to Pope Francis criticised the Vatican’s doctrinal watchdog on Monday and urged the conservative prelate to be more flexible about reforms being discussed in the Roman Catholic Church.

Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, the head of a “kitchen cabinet” the pope created to draw up reform proposals, said that Archbishop Gerhard Müller – who has opposed any loosening of Church rules on divorce – was a classic German theology professor who thought too much in rigid black-and-white terms.

Islamist anti-vaccine drive makes Peshawar world’s biggest polio virus pool

(A street in Peshawar’s old city, 22 March 2010/Janki)

Pakistan’s volatile northwestern city of Peshawar is the largest reservoir of endemic polio viruses in the world, the World Health Organization said on Friday, amid concerns over continuing violence against polio vaccination teams.

Pakistan is also the only polio-endemic country in the world where polio cases rose from 2012 to 2013, the statement said. There were 91 cases last year but only 58 the year before.

Polio can permanently paralyze or kill victims within hours of infection. Intensive vaccination campaigns have almost eradicated the disease worldwide, but it remains endemic in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.