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Links on R&P from around the web

What Draws Women to a Religion That Says Men Should Be in Charge?

posted on September 24, 2018

The Washington Post’s Julie Zauzmer reports from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary on the tension that conservative evangelical women face in seminary. Zauzmer writes, “This is the challenge and the contradiction of being an evangelical woman today: Embracing the beliefs of a community that teaches it’s the will of God for men alone to lead churches and families, while also fiercely arguing for women’s equal worth.” The John C. Danforth Center’s own R. Marie Griffith said, “Seeing something as God’s divine order, there’s a clarity to that. I think there’s also a strong dislike in many quarters of feminism and what some of these women believe feminism stands for – an anti-child or anti-family emphasis they perceive in feminism.”

Read at The Washington Post

Pope Francis Recognizes Chinese Bishops Ordained Without Papal Approval

posted on September 24, 2018

America’s Gerrard O’Connell reports that the Vatican announced on Saturday that Pope Francis will “readmit to full ecclesial communion” the eight remaining bishops who were ordained in China without the official pontifical mandate. There are an estimated 12 million Catholics in mainland China, and around half of them are part of the unrecognized, “underground” church community. O’Connell writes, “Underground communities – bishops, priests, women religious and lay people – refuse to be part of the Patriotic Association that the Chinese authorities set up in 1957 to control the Catholic church in China.”

Read at America

Northwest Side Priest Who Burned Rainbow Banner Removed from Church

posted on September 24, 2018

The Chicago Tribune’s Ese Olumhense reports, “Days after it was revealed that the Rev. Paul Kalchik of Avondale’s Resurrection Catholic Church burned a rainbow banner that once hung in the church, Cardinal Blase Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, has removed him from his role as head of the North Side church.” Cupich said, “I act out of concern for Fr. Kalchik’s welfare and that of the people of Resurrection Parish,” and a spokeswoman for the archdiocese said that Kalchik’s removal was not related to the banner burning. Olumhense adds, “The church, in its bulletin this week, said Kalchik has received many threats. On Friday, Kalchik said he has had to have police escort him from the church to his home, out of fear he may be attacked.”

Read at Chicago Tribune

U.S. Catholic Church Creates New Process for Reporting Misconduct by its Bishops

posted on September 20, 2018

The Washington Post’s Julie Zauzmer reports, “Minors or adults can now confidentially report abuse or harassment by a bishop through a third-party phone and online complaint line not run by the church, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops announced Wednesday.” The announcement comes one week after the pope met with church leaders to address the ongoing sexual abuse crisis. Zauzmer adds, “The bishops said they also will come up with policies on restricting bishops who were removed or resigned because of allegations of sexual abuse of children or misconduct or harassment involving adults, the announcement said.”

Read at The Washington Post

Sex Abuse Scandal Deepens Divide Over Gay Priests

posted on September 20, 2018

NPR’s Tom Gjelten reports that some Catholics are blaming gay priests for the church’s systematic sexual abuse problems, exacerbating the divide among church members’ views on sexuality. He writes, “Researchers who have studied patterns of clergy sex abuse say they have found no evidence of a link with sexual orientation. But the argument continues, with some Catholic leaders and prominent theologians even saying the abuse crisis justifies a purge of gay men from the priesthood.” Marianne Duddy-Burke, the executive director a Catholic LGBT advocacy group called DignityUSA, said, “Whenever the church is under stress, particularly around the issue of sexual abuse and minors and the cover up by the clergy, gay priests have been scapegoated.”

Read at NPR

In Israel, a Conservative Rabbi’s Arrest Reopens Religious Freedom Debate

posted on September 20, 2018

Religion News Service’s Yonat Shimron reports on the July arrest in Israel of Conservative Rabbi Dov Hayun, who was detained for three hours after being accused of performing an illegal marriage. Shimron writes, “Israel doesn’t recognize marriages performed by Conservative or Reform rabbis and in 2013, the Knesset passed a law prohibiting Jewish weddings not performed through the Chief Rabbinate, which hews strictly to Orthodox Jewish tradition.” She adds, “In the two months since his arrest, Hayun has become a kind of cause celebre for freedom of religion. Hundreds were expected to crowd his small synagogue, located behind a preschool on a major Mount Carmel thoroughfare, for Yom Kippur services.”

Read at Religion News Service

“A Wrestler Never Dies,” Afghans Say. After Bombing, Their Stories Live.

posted on September 20, 2018

The New York Times’s Rod Nordland and Fatima Faizi write about a September 5 Islamic State suicide bombing at the Maiwand Wrestling Club in Kabul, Afghanistan. The bombing, which killed around 30 people and injured dozens more, targeted minority Hazaras. The community and country has national pride for their skilled wrestling community. Nordland and Faizi explain that wrestlers and other neighborhood members are fighting back: “More and more armed volunteers were seen in the neighborhood, stopping and searching strangers. Wrestlers arrived to help clean up and rebuild the gym.”

Read at The New York Times

Victims of Abuse by Pennsylvania Priests File Class Action Lawsuit

posted on September 18, 2018

The Washington Post’s Julie Zauzmer reports, “Pennsylvania Catholics are suing all eight dioceses in the state, claiming that Catholic leaders there systematically covered up ongoing sexual abuse by priests.” Zauzmer adds, “The two people bringing the lawsuit are Ryan O’Connor, a resident of the Diocese of Pittsburgh who says he was abused by a priest from age 10 to 12, and Kristin Hancock, who reads at Mass in the Diocese of Pittsburgh on Sundays. Both have children in Catholic schools.” O’Connor and Hancock allege that the dioceses in Pennsylvania are still working to cover up sexual abuse by refusing to document names of victims and incidents of abuse in the grand jury report.

Read at The Washington Post

The Tiny Blond Bible Teacher Taking on the Evangelical Political Machine

posted on September 17, 2018

The Atlantic’s Emma Green profiles Beth Moore, a prominent female evangelical leader and author who has faced backlash after speaking out against men accused of sexual misconduct, including President Trump, and their Christian supporters. Green writes, “She got messages from women who had read her Bible studies for years but said they’d never read another. Event attendance dropped.” Although Green notes that Moore has not become “a liberal, or even a feminist,” she points out, “Her objective is not to evict Trump from the White House, but to clear the cultural rot in the house of God.”

Read at The Atlantic

#MeToo in the Monastery: A Chinese Abbot’s Fall Stirs Questions on Buddhism’s Path

posted on September 17, 2018

For The New York Times, Ian Johnson writes about accusations of lewdness and financial misconduct against the Venerable Xuecheng, the former head of the Communist Party-linked Buddhist Association in China. For the past two decades, Xuecheng, who is now banished to a temple in Fujian, led a reform movement in Buddhism which emphasized active compassion through good-will missions and other social activities. Johnson adds, “Many worry that Xuecheng’s model of a supercharged Buddhism that embraces social trends lacks the very spirituality that drew people to the faith in the first place. His downfall also presents a potential setback in the Chinese government’s efforts to push Buddhism as a kind of national religion that can win friends abroad and offer moral values at home.”

Read at The New York Times