FaithWorld

German Catholic seminarians expelled for Nazi jokes and Hitler salute

(Würzburg cathedral, July 2007/Zairon)

An investigation into rumors of neo-Nazi activity at a seminary in Bavaria has resulted in two student priests being expelled for imitating the Nazi salute and making jokes about death camps, two bishops announced.

The commission probing rumors of neo-Nazi activity at the seminary in Wuerzburg also found a third student had said participants in recent anti-racism marches in the southern German state deserved “a smack in the face”, the bishops said.

Rumors of a “brown (Nazi) network” at the seminary began circulating in early May, including talk of a party in its basement pub to mark the Nazi leader’s April 20 birthday. Using the symbols of Nazism or glorifying it is illegal in Germany.

The independent commission found no proof it had taken place but even the hint of neo-Nazi sympathies was deeply embarrassing for a Church still struggling with the fallout from revelations of sexual abuse of minors by priests in recent years.

“All forms of xenophobia, racism and extremism are incompatible with Christianity,” Bamberg Archbishop Ludwig Schick told a news conference in Wuerzburg on Wednesday.

French Muslims split over start of Ramadan despite prior accord on date

(A child is seen near members of the Muslim community attending midday prayers at Strasbourg Grand Mosque in Strasbourg on the first day of Ramadan July 9, 2013. REUTERS/Vincent Kessle)

An agreement in France to set the start of Ramadan according to scientific calculations fell apart on Tuesday when many mosques opted to wait as the new moon was not yet visible to the naked eye here or in the Middle East.

The Islamic lunar calendar is 10 to 11 days shorter than the solar Gregorian one developed in Europe, so the Muslim holy month starts a week and a half earlier each year, when a new crescent moon is seen.

Vatican contests charges against WWII Italian official praised for saving Jews

(A street named in honour of Giovanni Palatucci in Caggiano, Italy, 23 Oct 2006/Viaggiatore)

The Vatican newspaper said on Saturday a decision by scholars to brand a wartime Italian previously praised for saving Jews as a Nazi collaborator was part of an attempt to smear the Catholic Church during the papacy of Pope Pius XII.

An article, titled “To Strike at the Church of Pius XII” and written by historian Anna Foa, said the decision to re-classify Giovanni Palatucci, a Catholic, as a collaborator was at best hasty and more study was needed.

German court backs gay couples’ tax rights in setback to Merkel

(Revellers wearing flowers on their heads talk at the fringes of the Christopher Street Day parade in Berlin, June 23, 2012. REUTERS/Thomas Peter)

Germany’s top court said on Thursday that gay couples are entitled to the same tax benefits as married heterosexuals in a ruling which threatens to deepen rifts within Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives just three months before an election.

The verdict requires a change in the law and is a red rag to some in Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and its traditionally Catholic Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), who worry that conservative values are being diluted.

New book asks: Could Germany have a Jewish chancellor?

(A huge Menorah at a ceremony marking the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, December 4, 2007. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke)

A new novel about a neo-Nazi plot to assassinate Germany’s first Jewish candidate for Chancellor has shed a timely light on the right-wing extremist violence that has plagued the country since 1990 and was swept under the carpet for years.

Political thriller “The Jewish Candidate” by British journalist David Crossland has been published just as Germany’s September election campaign is heating up and at the start of a trial of a neo-Nazi cell blamed for a spate of racist murders that went undetected for more than a decade.

Turkish hadith project presents Prophet Mohammad’s sayings for the 21st Century

(The new seven-volume encyclopaedia of hadiths is pictured at the library of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate in Ankara May 21, 2013.  REUTERS/Umit Bektas)

Scholars around the Muslim world were alarmed five years ago by news reports that Turkey planned a new, possibly heretical compilation of the Prophet Mohammad’s sayings that might scrap those it thought were out of date.

Turkish religious leaders and theologians received anxious calls asking about Western media reports they would edit a “radical” new set of hadiths, scriptures that are second only to the Koran in Islam. “Will you write a new Koran next?” one irate Arab scholar asked a baffled Turkish academic.

from Nicholas Wapshott:

Austerity is a moral issue

Security worker opens the door of a government job center as people wait to enter in Marbella, Spain, December 2, 2011. REUTERS/Jon Nazca

In the nearly five years since the worst financial crash since the Great Depression, the remedy for the world’s economic doldrums has swung from full-on Keynesianism to unforgiving austerity and back.

The initial Keynesian response halted the collapse in economic activity. But it was soon met by borrowers’ remorse in the shape of paying down debt and raising taxes without delay. In the last year, full-throttle austerity has fallen out of favor with those charged with monitoring the world economy.

Europe needs more appropriate powers to fight extremism: Germany’s Westerwelle

(Eniko Kovacs Hegedus, parliamentary member of Hungary’s far-right Jobbik party, delivers a speech to hundreds of far-right supporters during a rally against the World Jewish Congress Plenary Assembly in Budapest May 4, 2013. REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh)

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle told Jewish leaders on Monday that the European Union needed better legal means to fight racism in member states.

Speaking amid growing racism against Jews and Roma in Hungary, he told the World Jewish Congress (WJC) assembly that the EU’s legal options to curb violations of democratic norms were either as weak as toothpicks or as strong as bazookas.

Ex-Catholic has no right to keep his Church job, German court rules

(A sign reading ‘Arbeitsgerichte’ (Labour courts) is pictured in the late evening in Hamburg September 1, 2012. REUTERS/Morris Mac Matzen )

Germany’s top labor court ruled on Thursday the country’s Catholic charity network had the right to fire an employee who quit the Church in protest against the sexual abuse crisis and disputed decisions by ex-Pope Benedict.

The 60-year-old teacher, challenging his 2011 dismissal, had claimed his constitutional right to freedom of opinion trumped the Church’s right to employ only Catholics who agreed with the religious mission of their jobs.

Insight – After cathedral clash, Copts doubt their future in Egypt

(Coptic Christians run from tear gas fired by police inside the main cathedral during clashes with Muslims standing outside the Cathedral in Cairo, April 7, 2013. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)

When Egyptian Christian Kerollos Maher watched on television as petrol bombs and rocks rained on Cairo’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral he had only one thought – emigration.

“Egypt is no longer my country,” said the 24-year-old construction worker, standing in the courtyard of the country’s largest cathedral where one Copt and one Muslim died in sectarian clashes this week.