FaithWorld

Crown of Thorns relic paraded from Notre Dame to Sainte Chapelle in Paris

(French Archbishop Patrick Chauvet holds the Crown of Thorns relic during a procession outside Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris March 21, 2014. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer)

A relic venerated by Christians as the Crown of Thorns worn by Jesus was paraded on Friday in Paris from Notre Dame Cathedral to the dazzling Gothic chapel built to house it in the 13th century.  The relic rarely leaves the cathedral and its return to the Sainte Chapelle, a medieval gem known for its soaring stained glass windows, and the Mass said to celebrate it were the first such events there since the 1789 French Revolution.

(The Crown of Thorns relic displayed during a ceremony at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris March 21, 2014. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer )

The French Catholic Church staged the procession, the start of a weekend of ceremonies, to mark the 800th anninversary of the birth of Saint Louis, who as King Louis IX bought the relic in 1239 from Baldwin II, the cash-strapped Latin Emperor of Constantinople, and brought it to Paris. Installed in Sainte Chapelle, which was finished in 1248, it stayed there until the Revolution.

(A closer look at the Crown of Thorns relic during a ceremony at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris March 21, 2014. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer )

Israeli diplomats’ strike looms over Pope Francis’s May visit to Holy Land

(A view of  Jerusalem, December 8, 2009.  REUTERS/Ammar Awad)

A strike by Israeli Foreign Ministry staff has caused diplomats to cancel trips to the Jewish state and could endanger a visit to the Holy Land by Pope Francis in May, union officials said.

Foreign Ministry staff called the strike on March 5 in a pay dispute and said they will not handle visits by foreign dignitaries, prompting Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende and other delegations to cancel trips to Israel this month.

Pope Francis is due to travel to Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Territories at the end of May. “We aren’t handling that visit at all,” said trade union chief Yair Frommer.

U.S. company religion case on Obamacare may shake shareholder faith

(News microphones wait to capture reactions from U.S. Supreme Court rulings outside the court building in Washington, June 25, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst )

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

By Reynolds Holding

The U.S. Supreme Court may be getting ready to shake the faith of shareholders. Company boards have a legal duty to put business interests first. Yet a challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that corporate healthcare insurance cover contraception could give biblical doctrine priority. Some laws designed to protect investors could suffer collateral damage.

French parents alone against Syrian jihadists recruiting their sons

(Dominique Bons, mother of 30-year-old Nicolas, a young convert to Islam who has died fighting in Syria, speaks during an interview with Reuters in Toulouse, southwestern France, March 10, 2014. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau)

When Dominique Bons’ timid son stopped smoking overnight and started praying frequently at his home in the southern French city of Toulouse, she alerted the authorities.

They did nothing because Nicolas was not suspected of any crime. One day last year he disappeared. Then Bons was sent a text message saying the 30-year-old had been “martyred” on December 22 driving a truck bomb in the Syrian city of Homs.

from The Human Impact:

Burmese journalist beseeches brethren: Stop with the Muslim hate speech

The slight, soft-spoken woman onstage called on the media and the rest of the country to let go of narrow-minded nationalism.

“This is a time to fight for democratisation. We have to respect each and every ethnic (group) as a human being,” beseeched Mon Mon Myat, whose meek bearing veils her ferocity as a powerful freelance journalist and documentary filmmaker.

It was refreshing to hear these words in a public forum in Myanmar because - let’s face it - such sentiments have been sorely lacking.

Salvation Army in New York settles long-running religious discrimination suit

Salvation Army members sing and dance at Rockefeller Center during Black Friday Sales in New York November 29, 2013. Black Friday, the day following Thanksgiving Day holiday, has traditionally been the busiest shopping day in the United States. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

The Salvation Army has settled a lawsuit brought a decade ago by now-former employees who accused the U.S. charity of pressuring them to follow its religious mission while they worked on government-funded social service projects.

The organization’s greater New York division agreed to provide employees of its government-funded services including daycare centers and homeless shelters a document saying it will not ask about their religious beliefs or require them to profess adherence to its religious policies, said the New York Civil Liberties Union, which represented the plaintiffs.

Pakistani Islam students set Hindu temple ablaze over blasphemy rumour

A Hindu temple burns after it was attacked in Larkana, southern Pakistan’s Sindh province, March 15, 2014. REUTERS/Faheem Soormro

Hundreds of angry Pakistanis attacked a Hindu temple and set it on fire in southern Pakistan overnight following a rumour that a member of the Hindu community had desecrated the Koran, police and community leaders said on Sunday.

The incident took place just before midnight on Saturday after locals in Larkana district alleged that Sangeet Kumar, 42, had torn out pages of Islam’s holy book and tossed them down on the street from the roof of his home.

Reconstruction of Timbuktu’s destroyed tombs begins in Mali

A UN peacekeeper from Burkina Faso stands guard at the Djinguereber mosque, built in the 14th century, in Timbuktu, Mali, July 28, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney

Malian masons have begun rebuilding mausoleums in the historic city of Timbuktu destroyed by Islamists during their occupation of the country’s north, the United Nations said.

The earthen tombs of saints, located in the UNESCO listed desert city, were destroyed in July 2012 by militants who considered the local Sufi version of Islam to be idolatrous.

Vatican, Church of England and al-Azhar join forces to combat modern slavery

Australia mining tycoon Andrew Forrest (L) shakes hands with Mahmoud Azab, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar’s advisor for dialogue, during a news conference at the Vatican, March 17, 2014. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

The Roman Catholic Church, Church of England and al-Azhar, the Cairo-based seat of Sunni Muslim learning, came together on Monday for a rare display of interfaith action among them in calling for an end to modern slavery within 20 years.

Their joint statement setting up the “Global Freedom Network” they declared that “physical, economic and sexual exploitation of men, women and children” trapped 30 million people worldwide in slavery.

Israel cuts army exemption granted to ultra-Orthodox Jewish men who study Torah for life

(Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men study at Jerusalem’s Mir Yeshiva, the largest Jewish seminary in Israel July 4, 2012. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

Israel’s parliament on Wednesday approved a contentious law that abolishes blanket military exemptions for ultra-Orthodox Jewish seminary students, ending a tradition upheld since the state’s foundation.

Finalised after months of political wrangling and likely to spark ultra-Orthodox rage, the legislation will be implemented fully in 2017 and limit the annual number of ultra-Orthodox men excused from compulsory military service to 1,800 granted “gifted scholar” status.