East Timor's Catholics rally behind accused Nobel bishop
East Timor’s Catholics have reacted with shock but also expressions of support for revered independence icon and Nobel Peace Prize winner Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo following allegations he sexually abused boys decades ago in the impoverished Southeast Asian nation.
Minnesota Ojibwe harvest sacred, climate-imperiled wild rice
Wild rice, or manoomin in Ojibwe, is sacred to Indigenous peoples in the Great Lakes region because it’s part of their creation story and because for centuries, even a handful made a difference between life and starvation during harsh winters.
Cruel or harmless? Pastors mixed on GOP migrant transports
As Republican governors ramp up their transports of migrants to Democratic-run jurisdictions, the practice is getting a mixed reaction from Christian faith leaders — many of whom, especially evangelicals, have supported GOP candidates by large numbers in recent elections.
Pope: Vatican seeks talks on Nicaragua's Catholic crackdown
Pope Francis says the Vatican is in contact with the Nicaraguan government about its crackdown on the Catholic Church and hoped that “at the very least” nuns from Mother Teresa’s Sisters of Charity religious order would be allowed to return to the country.
Judge rules against required coverage of HIV prevention drug
A federal judge in Texas has ruled that required coverage of an HIV prevention drug under the Affordable Care Act violates a Texas employer’s religious beliefs and undercut the broader system that determines which preventive drugs are covered in the U.S. The ruling was handed down Wednesday by Fort Worth-based U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor, who ruled in 2018 that the entire ACA is invalid.
GOP lawyer fights California governor on stay-at-home orders
She is one of Californias two elected members of the Republican National Committee, and shes a co-chair of Women for Trump that is part of the presidents reelection campaign. She chaired the city's Republican Party before winning election as vice chair of the state GOP in 2013. The governor's policies and the policies of counties are falling more heavily on Democrats than Republicans because there are more Democrats than Republicans in the state, Dhillon said. Dhillon represented the California Republican Party in a successful challenge last year to a law aimed at requiring Trump to release his tax returns to be on the California ballot. In fact its reinforcing the bad image of the Republican Party," he said of Dhillon's recent lawsuits.
Communion ritual unchanged in Orthodox Church despite virus
(AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)ATHENS One by one, the children and adults line up for the centuries-old ritual of Holy Communion, trying to keep a proper social distance. Contrary to what science says, the Greek Orthodox Church insists it is impossible for any disease including the coronavirus to be transmitted through Holy Communion. In mid-March, the Russian Orthodox Church released instructions on adjusting the sacrament during the pandemic. In Ethiopia, which has the largest Orthodox Christian flock outside Europe, the ritual is unchanged, as it is in the Georgian Orthodox Church. For scientists, concern is tempered by knowing that opposing the powerful Orthodox Church, with a majority of Greeks as believers, could be counterproductive.
AP PHOTOS: Romanian port city marks Easter late due to virus
(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)CONSTANTA Stretching the church calendar, Orthodox Easter arrived over a month late in a Romanian city on the shores of the Black Sea. Wanting to give worshippers the opportunity to take part in what is considered to be the most important Christian celebration, Romanian Orthodox Archbishop Teodosie held an unprecedented Easter service Tuesday night that continued into the early hours of Wednesday. The rescheduled event, which was frowned upon by the leaders of Romanias Orthodox Church, the countrys dominant faith, was attended by hundreds of people. Christ is risen.The great majority of worshippers used masks to cover their faces, though Archbishop Teodosie and many of the services other celebrants did not. Some people traveled to the service, held outside the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, from as far away as Romanian capital Bucharest, about 225 kilometers (140 miles) to the west.
US priest who founded Knights of Columbus to be beatified
VATICAN CITY The founder of the Knights of Colombus, the influential U.S.-based lay Catholic organization, is moving a step closer to possible sainthood. Michael McGivney, a Connecticut priest who died at age 38 of pneumonia in 1890 during a pandemic similar to the current coronavirus outbreak. He would be the first U.S. parish priest to be beatified, the first major step before canonization. The organization is also an insurer, boasting more than $100 billion in financial protection for members and their families. No date has been set for the beatification, which the Knights said would be held in Connecticut.
US warns Nevada governor about in-person worship limits
The Trump administration is warning Nevada's Democratic governor that his plan for reopening the state during recovery from the coronavirus fails to treat religious and secular gatherings equally. That phased-in reopening restricts the size of in-person worship services, while allowing restaurants and other secular establishments to reopen with less stringent occupancy restrictions, the federal official said. We are concerned, however, that the flat prohibition against ten or more persons gathering for in-person worship services regardless of whether they maintain social distancing guidelines impermissibly treats religious and nonreligious organizations unequally." Gavin Newsom later released guidelines for resuming in-person religious services in his state. A spokeswoman for Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford referred a request for comment to the governor.
California lays out pandemic rules for church reopenings
On Monday, the state released a framework that will permit counties to allow in-person worship services. Orange County supervisors may consider a resolution being introduced Tuesday to reopen houses of worship next weekend under federal and state health guidelines. The state guidelines limit gatherings to 25% of building capacity or 100 people, whichever is lower. Our church and places of worship across California have suffered greatly because our leaders chose to marginalize and criminalize faith-based gatherings," Pastor Jon Duncan said in a statement. Two church services that already were held without authorization have been sources of outbreaks; one in Mendocino County and the other in Butte County.
Muslims in India, Bangladesh celebrate Eid subdued by virus
Published: May 25, 2020, 2:53 am Updated: May 25, 2020, 9:02 amIndian Muslims gather for Eid al-Fitr prayers inside their house in New Delhi, India, Monday, May 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)DHAKA Muslims in India and Bangladesh joined prayers to celebrate a subdued Eid-al Fitr on Monday, marking the end of the Ramadan holy month by seeking blessings for a world free from coronavirus. Across India, government leaders and imams appealed to Eid celebrants to follow lockdown norms and maintain social distance. Its been 1,400 years since the Islam religion was founded, ... even our elders could never imagine that we will have to celebrate Eid in such a way, said businessman Shehzad Khan. "That money we have given them so that they too can celebrate Eid with us, Khan said.
California issues guidelines for church reopenings
FILE - In this April 6, 2020 file photo, Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez, front, celebrates the Chrism Mass for the faithful of the nation's largest Catholic Archdiocese in Los Angeles. Others with outbreaks such as Los Angeles County, which has about 60% of Californias roughly 3,800 deaths may choose to delay. Two church services that already were held without authorization have been sources of outbreaks; one in Mendocino County and the other in Butte County. The nonprofit Center for American Liberty, which has filed several lawsuits over church restrictions, said the guidelines dont go far enough. More than 150 employees at a Farmer John meatpacking plant in Vernon, an industrial city south of Los Angeles, contracted the coronavirus.
Muslims celebrate major holiday amid curfews, virus fears
Muslims wearing face masks attend the Eid al-Fitr prayers outside a mosque in Gaza City, Sunday, May 24, 2020. The three-day holiday is usually a time of travel, family get-togethers and lavish daytime feasts after weeks of dawn-to-dusk fasting. But this year many of the world's 1.8 billion Muslims will have to pray at home and make due with video calls. Al-Aqsa is the third holiest site in Islam and would ordinarily welcome tens of thousands of worshippers during the Eid. More than 1,000 worshippers gathered and prayed shoulder-to-shoulder in an open field in Karachi on Sunday, with only a few of them wearing masks.
US Muslims try to balance Eid rituals with virus concerns
Organizers hand out treats during a drive through Eid al-Fitr celebration outside a closed mosque in Plano, Texas, Sunday, May 24, 2020. Many Muslims in America are navigating balancing religious and social rituals with concerns over the virus as they look for ways to capture the Eid spirit this weekend. The Eid prayer normally attracts particularly large crowds. The Fiqh Council of North America, a body of Islamic scholars, encouraged Muslims to perform the Eid prayer at home. In Florida, the Islamic Center of Osceola County, Masjid Taqwa held the Eid prayer outdoors in the parking lot after announcing social distancing rules.
Slowly, surely, US houses of worship emerge from lockdown
Andy Beshears temporary ban on mass gatherings from applying to in-person religious services, clearing the way for Sunday church services, with guidelines. They made their plans to hold in-person services three weeks ago. Copeland said Fridays CDC release of religious guidelines made it all the more legit for the timing of their return to in-church services. While many announced they would resume in-person services next Sunday on Pentecost, others joined Stithton today in returning to their places of worship. Many in California had already announced they would violate the state order and hold in-person services next Sunday, on Pentecost.
In reversal, White House tells CDC to post church guidance
We got to get our churches open.The church guidance is coming out hopefully soon, CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said Thursday afternoon. More than a month ago, the CDC sent the Trump administration documents the agency had drafted with specific steps different types of organizations could follow as they gradually reopened. The Trump administration initially shelved all the documents, but they were obtained by The Associated Press and other news organizations. But on Thursday, Trump painted a different picture, suggesting he had prodded CDC to put out guidance to help churches reopen. Two senior administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations, said administration officials did have concerns on religious freedom but those were resolved.
Sikh kitchens feed New Delhi's masses in virus lockdown
Sikh volunteers chop vegetables outside their kitchen hall at the Bangla Sahib Gurudwara in New Delhi, India, Sunday, May 10, 2020. The Bangla Sahib Gurudwara has remained open through wars and plagues, serving thousands of people simple vegetarian food. Bangla Sahib has kept its kitchen open, with the help of about four dozen men who sleep at the temples guesthouse. Bangla Sahib is the largest of New Delhis 10 gurdwaras, whose kitchens together form a vital part of the citys strategy to feed the poor during the pandemic. The city government approached the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee just after Indias nationwide lockdown began in late March, according to the committee president, Manjinder Singh Sirsa.
Lives Lost: 'A nightmare,' says parishioner who lost parents
Martinez lost both parents to the coronavirus pandemic, which has hit New York's Hispanic population particularly hard. With her parents now gone, Martinez and her daughter dont have family in the U.S. When pandemic restrictions ease, she said she hopes to send the ashes of her parents to the Mexican countryside they loved. The family has been helped by the Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Academy, where Stephany attends third grade. My parents, my grandparents just died,' said Jeanette Felix, the schools administrative assistant.
New York opens the door to small religious gatherings
(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)NEW YORK New York will allow religious gatherings of up to 10 people as hospitalization rates continue to decline. More tests and outreach efforts are planned for hard-hit New York City neighborhoods. Coronavirus developments in New York:___RELIGIOUS SERVICESNew York will allow small religious gatherings starting Thursday as the state gradually loosens pandemic restrictions, Gov. Religious gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed statewide as long as participants wear masks and practice social distancing. ___MORE NEIGHBORHOOD TESTINGCuomo said targeted testing and outreach will be expanded in low-income New York City neighborhoods that have been hotbeds of the outbreak.
US health officials quietly release more reopening guidance
(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)NEW YORK U.S. health officials have quietly released more reopening guidance that was created more than a month ago but initially shelved. More than a month ago, CDC gave White House officials a more detailed version of decision tools and additional pages of guidance. The White House initially shelved all the guidance, though news organizations including The Associated Press obtained copies. Since then, the White House authorized release of some of the information. But the faith-related guidance was taken out after the White House raised concerns about the recommended restrictions.
Evangelist who built global ministry dies in Atlanta at 74
ATLANTA Evangelist Ravi Zacharias, who built an international ministry that strives to defend Christianity on intellectual grounds, has died in Georgia. Zacharias died Tuesday at his home in Atlanta after a brief battle with sarcoma, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries said in a statement. Billy Graham invited Zacharias to preach at the inaugural International Conference for Itinerant Evangelists in Amsterdam in 1983, the organization said. The ministry's mission is helping the thinker believe and the believer think," it said in announcing the death of Zacharias. In an emotional video message, professional athlete Tim Tebow asked for prayers for Zacharias' family and ministry.
China says boy picked by Dalai Lama now a college graduate
BEIJING China said Tuesday that a boy who disappeared 25 years ago after being picked by the Dalai Lama as Tibetan Buddhisms second-highest figure is now a college graduate with a stable job. He is generally viewed as a political figure under Beijing's control and shares none of the Dalai Lama's global fame. The Dalai Lama named the original Panchen Lama with the help of Tibetan lamas trained in reading portents and signs. Traditionally, the Panchen Lama has served as teacher and aide to the Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhisms highest leader who is now 84 and is accused by Beijing of seeking independence for Tibet. The Dalai Lama denies that and says he advocates greater autonomy for the region.
Stuck at home, looking within: self-discovery amid pandemic
This combination of photos shows selfies of, Clarence Allen Rainwater and Dawn Burton Rainwater, from left, Robert Onishi and Chris Onishi, Kathryn Ray, Quinten Daulton and Eric Little. As the pandemic has changed the world, it has also revealed surprising traits within ourselves, both dormant and newly discovered. I may not be the smartest person, but I know I have a huge heart and a lot of empathy. Most of them had to use their time much differently than when we had school, Little said. Wright, a clinical psychologist and the APA's senior director for health care innovation, also studies the effects of trauma.
Sri Lanka newlyweds cancel wedding party, help poor instead
The Sri Lankan couple cancelled a wedding party and instead, shared their wedding day with some of their neediest neighbors who have been economically hit due to the lock down following the new Coronavirus. (Darshana Kumara Wijenarayana via AP)COLOMBO As couples do all over the world, Darshana Kumara Wijenarayana and his fiance, Pawani Rasanga, spent months planning a grand wedding. And everything was on course for the Sri Lankan couple until the coronavirus struck the island nation off India's southern tip, leading to an indefinite lockdown. Then on March 11, the first Sri Lankan a tour guide tested positive for the virus, triggering fear and the closure of schools and universities and many businesses. As the couple's wedding day approached, the local curfew was lifted during daytime hours, so they were free to host the wedding as planned, albeit under strict social distancing guidelines.
Italy opens churches as virus rules dictate how to eat, pray
Italy partially lifted lockdown restrictions Monday after a two-month coronavirus lockdown. Before I became a priest I was a surgeon, so for me gloves are normal, he joked afterward. The Vatican has its own post-lockdown reopening norms, and as a sovereign state, is not beholden to the Italian government measures. But Wodzisz was thrilled anyway to be able to celebrate the centenary of John Paul's birth by visiting his tomb. We came to be close to the tomb, but we got a Mass!"
St John Paul II honored as Poland sees new abuse allegations
FILE - In this 1979 file photo, Pope John Paul II, left, poses with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was elected Pope on April 19, 2005 and chose Benedict XVI as his papal name. Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI is honoring St. John Paul II on the centenary of his birth and floating the idea that he should be called the Great, as only two other popes have been. (AP Photo/File)WARSAW St. John Paul II was honored on the centennial of his birth Monday with special Masses at the Vatican and in his native Poland, an anniversary that comes as the Polish church finds itself confronted by new allegations of clerical sex abuse. Celebrating the memory of Saint John Paul II lets remember this: The Lord loves his people, he visited his people, he sent a shepherd.To Poles, John Paul is best remembered for using the papacy to shake the foundations of an oppressive communist system that was toppled across Eastern Europe 11 years into his papacy. And that issue has also been on people's minds in recent days because of a new documentary exposing alleged sex abuse in Poland's church.
Lives Lost: An unassuming maestro of Sunday soundtracks
He delivered victorious graduation marches and bellowing birthday celebrations, blaring the pipes and vibrating the pews every Sunday in between. He was unassuming, egoless and largely anonymous, but in the lives of generations of Catholics in communities around Massachusetts, Joseph Policelli played the soundtrack. Richard Fitzgerald, pastor of St. Columbkille Parish in Brighton, where Policelli was music director. At St. Columbkilles, Policelli was mostly out of sight in the choir loft, his back to the congregation. But as Christianity's biggest week of the year approached, he fretted one last time about his duty.
In Detroit, NYC, kindness comes one slice of pizza at a time
In this April 7, 2020, handout photo, Japneet Singh, right, delivers pizza to health care workers at Kings County Hospital in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Now, hes all about pizza. Singh and his family have paid for and delivered hundreds of pies to hospitals, police stations and fire departments since the gurdwara suspended in-person services. In New York, 25-year-old Japneet Singh, a fellow Sikh, also thought of pizza for under-resourced hospitals and overworked, minimum wage employees in the crosshairs of the virus. These are minimum-wage workers, Singh said.
Tibetans demand China disclose fate of boy taken away in '95
Tibets self-declared government-in-exile marked the 25th anniversary of the disappearance of the boy named as Tibetan Buddhisms second highest figure by calling on China on Sunday, May 17, 2020 to account for his whereabouts. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia, File)BEIJING Tibets self-declared government-in-exile marked the 25th anniversary of the disappearance of a boy named as Tibetan Buddhisms second highest figure by calling on China on Sunday to account for his whereabouts. The dispute mainly focuses on political power and the arcane rituals for naming a new Panchen Lama, believed to be the reincarnation of his predecessor. Traditionally, the Panchen Lama has served as teacher and aide to the Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhisms highest leader who is now 84 and accused by Beijing of seeking independence for Tibet. The 10th Panchen Lama was imprisoned by China and died under what some consider suspicious circumstances in 1989 after making speeches calling for greater religious and social freedoms for Tibetans.
Poll: US believers see message of change from God in virus
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)NEW YORK The coronavirus has prompted almost two-thirds of American believers of all faiths to feel that God is telling humanity to change how it lives, a new poll finds. Even some who dont affiliate with organized religion, such as Lance Dejesus of Dallastown, Pa., saw a possible bigger message in the virus. Forty-seven percent say they feel that strongly, compared with 37% of Latino and 27% of white Americans. But the virus has prompted negligible change in Americans overall belief in God, with 2% saying they believe in God today, but did not before. Overall, 82% of Americans say they believe in God, and 26% of Americans say their sense of faith or spirituality has grown stronger as a result of the outbreak.
NY priest on virus front lines with embattled congregation
Fabian Arias, from Buenos Aires, Argentina, is a Lutheran pastor at Saint Peters Church in Manhattan, and has performed funeral services 14 times in the last two months. Saturdays service for Lpez was the first hes been able to perform in a private residence. Were trying to get him to our town, for his mom, his dad, who are still alive in Mexico. Everybody is afraid, not only for ourselves, but for our community and especially Father Fabian and all the services hes doing.Its very dangerous for him. He is an ordained Lutheran pastor, not a Roman Catholic priest and hes a pastor at Saint Peters Church not Iglesia de Sion.
Bill would require Bible study courses in Florida high schools
Win McNamee/Getty ImagesJACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A newly proposed bill in Florida would require public school districts across the state to offer Bible study courses as high school electives. The bill, 'Study of the Bible and Religion,' was filed last week by State Rep. Kimberly Daniels, a Democrat who represents the Jacksonville area. Under the bill, schools districts would be required to "offer specified courses relating to religion, Hebrew Scriptures, and the Bible to certain students as elective courses." The courses would include:An objective study of religion An objective study of the Bible, including, but not limited to, a course on the Hebrew Scriptures and Old Testament of the Bible, a course on the New Testament of the Bible, and a course on the Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament of the Bible, and the New Testament of the Bible. The courses would be offered to high school students in grades 9 through 12.