(Photo: Alexander Kalistratov leaves a court building in Gorno-Altaysk, December 16, 2010/Alexandr Tyryshkin)
When armed Russian security officers forced their way into Alexander Kalistratov’s home, he hardly imagined they were after his books. The local leader of a congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Siberia now faces up to two years in prison if found guilty this week of inciting religious hatred for distributing literature about his beliefs.
Canadian police have charged a senior Orthodox prelate with sexually assaulting two boys during the 1980s, the latest in a tide of such charges worldwide involving church officials. Winnipeg police said on Thursday that Archbishop Kenneth William Storheim, 64, flew from Edmonton, Alberta, to Winnipeg to turn himself in and was charged with two counts of sexual assault.
The Vatican has told Roman Catholic bishops around the world that they will have to take more responsibility to prevent sexual abuse of children by priests. It also said in a statement issued after a day-long meeting of cardinals on Friday that it was preparing new guidelines for bishops on how to deal with the sexual abuse, including cooperation with local authorities.
Apart from the strikes against pension reform, one of the big stories in France that made headlines around the world these past few days has been about 12 people of African origin who reportedly jumped out of an apartment window in a Paris suburb to flee from a man they thought was the devil. A four-month old baby died in the incident. The initial stories spoke of satanic rituals, maybe something to do with voodoo, and a crazed collective leap into the dark.
Pope Benedict said on Sunday the Mafia represented “a path of death” that Sicily’s young should shun but he dismayed activists who said he was too timid and should have given the crime group a moral hammering.
(Photo: Girl waves papal flag before a Mass with Pope Benedict in London September 18, 2010/Kevin Coombs)
Pope Benedict apologized to victims of sexual abuse on Saturday, saying pedophile priests had brought “shame and humiliation” on him and the entire Roman Catholic Church. It was the 83-year-old pontiff’s latest attempt to come to grips with the scandal that has rocked the 1.1 billion-member Church, particularly in Europe and the United States.
Foreign countries should not interfere in Iran’s legal system and stop trying to turn the case of a woman sentenced to be stoned to death for adultery into a human rights issue, Tehran said on Tuesday.
The Vatican made sweeping revisions on Thursday it its laws on sexual abuse, doubling a statute of limitations for disciplinary action against priests and extending the use of fast-track procedures to defrock them.