from UK News:

UK Catholics warn against “decriminalising” suicide

November 20, 2009

BRITAIN/Catholic bishops in England and Wales warned against people thinking they may be exempt from prosecution in assisting suicide after new guidelines were issued.

El Salvador honors Jesuit priests slain during civil war

November 17, 2009

painting
(Photo: A painting commemorating six slain Jesuit priests,16 Nov 2009/Luis Galdamez)

El Salvador has honored six Jesuit priests killed by the army 20 years ago in one of the most notorious atrocities of the country’s long and vicious civil war.Leftist President Mauricio Funes, the first leader from a party of former Cold War rebels that fought in the conflict, granted the priests El Salvador’s highest honor posthumously in a ceremony on Monday.U.S.-backed soldiers shot the priests at their home at a local university on the night of Nov. 16, 1989, to silence their strong criticism of rights abuses committed by the army during the 12-year civil war that ended in 1992.  Five of the priests were Spanish and one was Salvadorean.Read the whole story here. More on this at … Vatican RadioBBC (photo essay)Catholic News ServiceLos Angeles TimesNational Jesuit News.

Follow FaithWorld on Twitter at RTRFaithWorld

Russian Orthodox wants joint traditional front with Catholics

November 16, 2009

(Video: Archbishop Hilarion holds a news conference in French during his Paris visit, 13 Nov 2009/courtesy of Orthodoxie.com)

Archbishop Hilarion Alfeyev, the Russian Orthodox Church’s top official for relations with other churches, has been busy this past week putting his revived church’s stamp on the world Christian scene. Over the weekend, he urged Catholics and Orthodox to join forces to defend their traditional version of Christianity. His comments, made during a visit to Paris to inaugurate his Church’s first seminary outside of Russia, come only days after positive remarks he made last week about how the Vatican and Moscow were slowly moving towards a meeting between Moscow’s Patriarch Kirill and Pope Benedict. Also last week, Hilarion indicated the Russian Orthodox might end their ecumenical dialogue with Lutherans after Germany’s Protestants elected a divorced woman, Bishop Margot Kässmann, as the new head of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD). After all this, he planned to take off for a visit to China.

Pope, Moscow patriarch moving slowly towards possible meeting

November 12, 2009

hilarionA senior Russian Orthodox leader has said the idea of a meeting between Moscow’s Patriarch Kirill and Pope Benedict could be moving towards the preparation stage. Archbishop Hilarion Alfeyev, the “foreign minister” of the Russian church, made clear that neither a date nor a location for such the long-awaited meeting was under discussion. But given the glacial pace at which progress on this issue is made, even the change in tone from Moscow is worth noting.

Italian invents an anti-swine flu holy water dispenser

November 11, 2009

holy-water-1 (Photos: Anti-swine flu holy water dispenser, 10 Nov 2009/Stefano Rellandini)

An Italian inventor has combined faith and ingenuity to come up with a way to keep church traditions alive for the faithful without the fear of contracting swine flu — an electronic holy water dispenser. The terracotta dispenser, used in the northern town of Fornaci di Briosco, functions like an automatic soap dispenser in public washrooms — a churchgoer waves his or her hand under a sensor and the machine spurts out holy water.

from UK News:

Testing the limits of animal lab experiments

November 10, 2009

CHINAA mouse that can speak? A monkey with Down's Syndrome? Dogs with human hands or feet? British scientists want to know if such experiments are acceptable, or if they go too far in the name of medical research.

Vatican’s Anglican plan won’t alter celibacy for most priests

November 9, 2009

benedict-waveThe Vatican said on Monday its plan to allow married Anglican priests to convert to Catholicism does not signal any change to its age-old rule of celibacy for the overwhelming majority of Catholic priests. It set out its position in a preface to Pope Benedict’s Apostolic Constitution “Anglicanorum Coetibus” (Groups of Anglicans) regulating the admission of Anglican converts to Catholicism, including married priests and bishops.

Some east German Protestants feel overlooked as Wall recalled

November 6, 2009

thomaskircheAs Germany celebrates the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, some Protestants feel the crucial role their church played in shepharding the democracy movement to success is quietly being overlooked. This seems strange to someone like myself who reported on those events back then. Any reporter in Berlin in the tense weeks before Nov. 9, 1989 knew the Protestant (mostly Lutheran) churches sheltered dissidents and was working for reform. But the idea that this was fading from public view came up during my recent visit to Leipzig when, at an organ recital in Johann Sebastian Bach‘s St. Thomas Church (Thomaskirche), the pastor mentioned the point in a sermon.

Founder of Catholic Opus Dei group focus of movie

November 4, 2009

opus-deiIf Opus Dei had a rough ride in the blockbuster movie based on Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code,” it looks set for an altogether more sympathetic portrayal in another film that deals with the Catholic organization.

UPDATE: Uproar after court says no crucifixes in Italian schools

November 3, 2009

crucifix-italy (Photo: A crucifix in a Rome classroom, 3 Nov 2009/Tony Gentile)

Here’s an update from Phil Pullella in Rome: