Some Catholic clergy blame gays for crisis
The Roman Catholic Church, which considers homosexuality a disorder and gay sex a sin, has quietly struggled for years with the growing presence of gays in the priesthood. Now that conflict has gone public.
Under siege over clerical sex abuse, church leaders are pledging to clean house. And with some blaming gays for the crisis, the debate over whether homosexuals should continue to serve has gained urgency.
Paul Shaker, above, president of Dignity Hartford, led a protest against the blaming of gay priests for sexual misconduct with children earlier this week outside the Catholic Archdiocese in Hartford, Conn.
Open houses to mark Sept. 11 anniversary
New York The National Council of Churches is asking its affiliated congregations to mark the anniversary of Sept. 11 by holding open houses and inviting Muslim neighbors to attend.
The gesture will reverse what happened last September, when many U.S. mosques held open houses for non-Muslim neighbors to build understanding.
The board of the National Council has 140,000 affiliated U.S. Protestant and Orthodox congregations. One of National Council's member denominations, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), also will promote an interfaith theme for the anniversary. The Presbyterians are inviting 10 foreign teams of one Muslim and one Protestant to visit U.S. congregations Sept. 10-23.
Teams are scheduled to visit from Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, Jordan, Lebanon, Niger and the Philippines.
Canadian Anglicans pick archbishop via e-election
Montreal Anglican Church of Canada delegates chose a new archbishop through e-mails and faxes in what's thought to be world Anglicanism's first electronic election.
Naturally, the result was announced via e-mail.
Montreal's Bishop Andrew Hutchison won a first-ballot victory to become the leader of churches in Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. He succeeds Arthur Peters, who retired in February.
Church law requires election within six months of a retirement but the next regular synod meeting was not scheduled until the fall. Since a special session would have cost $20,000, a tech-minded priest suggested the e-election.
Four branches of Judaism unite for Israel aid
New York Leaders of national organizations from North American Judaism's four branches have taken rare joint action, endorsing an Israel Emergency Campaign organized by United Jewish Communities.
The campaign, begun in April, is raising funds for the humanitarian and economic needs of Israelis affected by Palestinian suicide bombings and the Mideast conflict. Supporters have pledged $120 million so far, above regular gifts to United Jewish Communities charity appeals.
Endorsements came from officials in the religion's Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstructionist and Reform branches.
Episcopal cathedral thanks NYC firefighters
New York Members of the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine gave iron crosses to 22 firefighters Sunday in gratitude for extinguishing a five-alarm fire there last Dec. 18.
The fire at the historic Gothic cathedral destroyed the gift shop and damaged two rare tapestries. About 200 firefighters put out the blaze and saved the structure from significantly more damage.
The firefighters "put themselves in harm's way for us," the Rev. James Kowalski told parishioners who gathered for Communion. "Without their talent, dedication and courage, we might not be here today to celebrate."