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Archive for Friday, May 25, 2001

Spirituality

May 25, 2001

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Cardinal appointment sends message to government

Caracas, Venezuela The Roman Catholic Church and President Hugo Chavez each fight for Venezuela's poor. But they have clashed in the process, and don't expect the church to back down from its confrontations with the leftist leader.

Many in Venezuela think Pope John Paul II's decision to give the Caracas archbishop the added honor of cardinal is a sign the church won't bow to the government.

"The attitude of the church is to follow the process of change and support those that appear good for the people," said 72-year-old Cardinal Ignacio Antonio Velasco Garcia, above.

But the church will also criticize leaders when their policies don't advance civil liberties and human rights, and do not "relieve the poverty among the majority of the population," the cardinal said.

Since his 1998 election, Chavez has created a single-chamber Congress and new Supreme Court, both dominated by his allies, and enacted a new Constitution that upset church leaders who fear it could ultimately permit abortion in this heavily Roman Catholic nation.

Mormon church to remove names of 200 Jews

The Mormon church, prodded to honor its 1995 agreement to halt proxy baptisms of deceased Jews, has agreed to remove the names of more than 200 Jewish people from church records.

The list includes Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis; David Ben-Gurion, first prime minister of Israel; and more than a dozen relatives of diarist Anne Frank.

"These people were born Jews, they lived as Jews and many of them died because they were Jews," said Aaron Breitbart, senior researcher for the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, in a copyright story in The Salt Lake Tribune.

"They would not have chosen to be baptized Mormons in life, and there is no reason they would want to be baptized by proxy in death," he said.

Mormons are taught that the proxy baptisms provide those in the afterlife a chance to join the faith.

Poll: Americans divided over preferred Bible translation

Americans have seemingly contradictory desires in choosing Bible translations, judging from a new Gallup Poll for the American Bible Society.

The poll showed the Bible is the category of book Americans say they most often read regularly, and that 93 percent of American homes have one.

The King James Version, with its old-fashioned language from 1611, remains by far the most revered translation, and yet Americans say the Bible should be easier to read and understand. In the poll, 36 percent said the Bible is not easy to understand.

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