Religion Today Summaries - April 20, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - April 20, 2005

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world. In today's edition:

  • New Leader of the Roman Catholic Church Announced 

  • Conservatives Applaud New Pope's Views On Abortion, Homosexuality

  • What The New Pope And Evangelicals Have In Common

  • Jordanian Christian Mom Wins Child Custody Battle with Muslim Uncle

New Leader of the Roman Catholic Church Announced
Agape Press

Seventy-seven-year-old Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany is the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church. He will take the name Pope Benedict XVI. The announcement was made yesterday (April 19) at the Sistine Chapel in Rome, and was greeted with clapping and flag waving by the thousands of people in St. Peter's Square. Ratzinger, who served as Pope John Paul II's chief theological advisor for 20 years, is the 265th pope selected to lead the Catholic Church. Ratzinger -- who was "more on the liberal side" when he was younger and is considered one of the most powerful men in the Vatican, says About.com -- has been a leading person to keep traditional values in the Catholic Church.

Conservatives Applaud New Pope's Views On Abortion, Homosexuality
Baptist Press

Those wanting a more liberal pope likely will be disappointed by the election of German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger April 19 as Roman Catholics' new pontiff. The 78-year-old Ratzinger, who took the name of Pope Benedict XVI, is seen as one of the more conservative cardinals who entered the conclave April 18. As head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Ratzinger was in charge of enforcing Catholic orthodoxy. On issues from abortion to homosexuality to female priests, Ratzinger is seen as a staunch conservative. Pro-life Catholic groups applauded Ratzinger's election. "We thankfully recognize the staunch pro-life commitment of Cardinal Ratzinger during the whole of his episcopacy and we are confident that as Pope Benedict XVI, he will continue his strong defense of the Church's teaching on the sanctity of human life," Thomas Euteneuer, president of the pro-life Catholic group Human Life International, said in a statement. Priests for Life -- which championed Terri Schiavo's cause during her final days -- also praised Ratzinger's election. Pope Benedict XVI replaces Pope John Paul II, who was considered a champion of pro-family causes and who died April 2. In a Mass that opened the conclave April 18, Ratzinger criticized postmodernism, a worldview that says there is no absolute truth. He presided over the Mass because of his senior position in the Vatican.

What The New Pope And Evangelicals Have In Common
Wolfgang Polzer, Assist News Service

Irrespective of basic theological differences evangelicals and the new Pope Benedict XVI also share areas of common concern. On ethical issues such as abortion or homosexuality conservative Protestants are in agreement with former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.The 78-year-old German theologian was elected to succeed the late Pope John Paul II., April 19. In the forth ballot more than two thirds of the 115 cardinals in the conclave opted for the former head of the Vatican congregation for the doctrine of the faith. Ratzinger shares the concern for the effects of spreading secularism in Europe. “A society without God will eventually destroy itself”, said Ratzinger. He also sent greetings to the Ecumenical Confessional Convention, which took place in Freudenstadt, Germany, in October. Ratzinger emphasized the need for Christian cooperation in the face of attempts to marginalize the Christian faith. The convention was organized by evangelical missiologist Prof Peter Beyerhaus, a former University colleague of Ratzinger. The leader of the mainline Protestant Churches in Germany, Bishop Wolfgang Huber, Berlin, wished the new Pope “God’s blessings in all his decisions, actions and his leadership”. Ratzinger has a clear theological profile and knows the ecumenical dialogue in the land of the reformation well, said Huber. According to the Bishop the future of Christianity can only be an ecumenical one. Huber also expressed hope for Holy Communion with Protestants. Ratzinger surprised the world when he handed communion to Roger Schutz – the Protestant founder of the Taizé community in France - at the funeral service for Pope John Paul II.

Jordanian Christian Mom Wins Child Custody Battle with Muslim Uncle
Allie Martin and Jenni Parker, AgapePress

More than a decade of prayer and persistence have paid off for a Christian widow from Jordan who only recently was awarded custody of her children. Eleven years ago Siham Qandah's husband lost his life while serving as a soldier in the United Nations peacekeeping forces in Kosovo. Soon afterward, when she tried to apply for orphan benefits for her children, the widow made an alarming discovery. Although Qandah and her family were Christians, her husband's brother Al-Muhtadi, had submitted a forged document to the authorities claiming his brother had secretly converted back to Islam before his death. Al-Muhtadi engaged Qandah in a seven-year court battle to take custody of his minor niece and nephew in order to raise them as Muslims. Several times during the past three years, the Christian mother was forced into hiding to avoid possible arrest and separation from her children. Qandah's long legal battle is finally over. "The Islamic Sharia court in Amman, Jordan, actually ruled that not only was she able to keep her children," he says, "but that her brother-in-law has to pay back the fund that he had basically pillaged over the past seven years, to help provide for these children."

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