“We know that there have been agitations from all over the world that the church should change in the light of the new thinking,” said Reverend Father Ojaje Idoko, the director of pastoral affairs at the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria while sitting on a wooden bench after the Friday mass. He dabbed his face with a handkerchief, having just spent almost an hour celebrating Mass for about 100 in crowded room in the height of Nigeria’s hot season.
“I’m worried that if we open up too much to what the world is saying that we will be listening to the world instead of the world listening to us,” he added.
The Catholic Church has been criticized for its strong stance against homosexuality, euthanasia, abortion, stem cell research and contraception, among other things. But Idoko said on these issues, the church should ignore the chorus of complaints and remain steadfast.
“There are certain things the world cannot teach the church,” he said. “The church needs to teach the world.”
“As they set out to change the nature of the community,” explains the head of the community, Sister Mary David Walgenbach, “We received emails from all over the place. Some positive. Others thought we fell into hell for sure. But that’s just the way it is. Some people are future-oriented, broad-minded and deal with diversity and other people have a set, black-and-white perception.”
NEW DELHI, India — Almost as soon as the bombs ripped through a crowded Hyderabad street on Thursday, fingers started pointing at Pakistan.
Given the recent execution by Indian authorities of Kashmiri militant Mohammed Afzal Guru, many assumed a Pakistan-based terror outfit like Lashkar e Toiba was seeking revenge. Many braced for heightened cross-border tensions.
But, some say, the real fallout may be new conflict between Hindus and Muslims within India, rather than a further deterioration of New Delhi’s relations with Islamabad, especially with 2014 national elections looming.
“Investigations have just begun,” said Hashmi, “but the media is already saying it is the [Lashkar e Toiba-backed] Indian Mujahideen, and taking all these names.”
“There’s almost an atmosphere of terror where Muslims live together. Nobody knows whose son will be picked up for this.”
JERUSALEM — A group of Jewish women gathered in prayer Monday at the Western Wall to mark Rosh Chodesh, the beginning of the new lunar month.
Even as they gathered to pray, police closed in. The women fell to the ground, unwilling to be dragged away.
Police did not want to be seen apprehending women at prayer, so they stepped back, waiting. Only after the service ended did police arrest 10, including three American rabbis: Robyn Fryer Bodzin, Debra Cantor and Susan Silverman, sister of famed comedienne Sarah Silverman.
Their crime? Being women wearing traditionally male religious garb at what is considered the holiest of Jewish sites.
A papal resignation is a rare event. The last time a pope resigned was nearly 600 years ago in 1415, when Pope Gregory XII stepped down to end infighting caused by two men competing for the papal chair.
Muslims around the world marked the beginning of Eid al-Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice, on Friday.
Eid al-Adha is one of the most auspicious festivals in the Islamic calendar, when Muslims honor Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his first-born son Ishmael as an act of devotion to God, before God intervened and provided him with a ram to sacrifice instead. Check out the entire gallery on GlobalPost.
Egypt’s minority Christians remain in the eye of the storm of anti-American unrest in Egypt and across the Middle East.
After US authorities identified the key figure behind a crude film that denigrates Islam as a Coptic Christian of Egyptian origin living in Los Angeles, Copts in Egypt were bracing all weekend for sectarian violence to be directed against them.
There were reports of sporadic incidences, but not the wave of violence that was feared.
A 14-minute trailer of a film, titled “Innocence of Muslims,” mocks Islam and insults the Prophet Mohamed as a womanizer, a child molester and a fraud, and has ignited protests around the Muslim world as well as attacks on American and other Western embassies, including one in Libya that killed the US ambassador and three other Americans.
“It is very tense here for sure. The Copts definitely feel that tension very much,” said Sally Moore, a Copt who also served among the leaders of the Revolutionary Youth Council during the 2011 demonstrations in Cairo’s Tahrir Square that led to the toppling of the late Hosni Mubarak.
On Friday, Copts gathered in front of the Coptic cathedral in downtown Cairo holding signs that denounced the film. The Coptic Christian Church issued a statement rejecting all “defamation’’ of the Muslim faith and the church hierarchy has vowed that Christians will join their “brotherly Muslims” in protests and sit-ins against the film.
“This is part of a wicked campaign against religions, aimed at causing discord among people, especially Egyptians,” read the statement issued Wednesday by the Sacred Congregation of the Coptic Church.
The International Criminal Court has sentenced Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga to 14 years in jail for recruiting and using child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Al Jazeera reported.
The court’s first-ever sentencing since it was established a decade ago comes after it unanimously convicted Lubanga in March for using child soldiers in his rebel army in 2002 and 2003, during the DRC’s ethnic conflict.
Fifty-one-year-old Lubanga, who founded theUnion of Congolese Patriots and was commander of its military wing – the Patriotic Forces for the Liberation of Congo – denies abducting children and forcing them to commit atrocities in the DRC’s north-eastern Ituri region, Al Jazeera reported.
He told the court that although he was being presented as a “warlord,” he “never accepted or tolerated such enlistments taking place.”
During the trial, prosecutors told the ICC that while young boys were trained to fight during the DRC conflict, young girls were forced to work as sex slaves.
Then chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo pushed for Lubanga – who’s been detained in The Hague since 2006 – to be sentenced to 30 years “in the name of each child recruited,” the BBC reported.
“These children were told to kill and rape. That was the education [Lubanga] gave these children,” said Moreno-Ocampo, who has since been succeeded as ICC chief prosecutor by former Gambian justice minister Fatou Bensouda.
Human Rights Watch estimates that more than 60,000 people died in fighting between the Hema and Lendu ethnic groups in Ituri.