Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 12, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 12, 2009

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

  • Study: Recruits to Catholic Orders More Traditional
  • Pakistani Christians Protest Violence with 'Black Day'
  • Public Trial Held for Chinese Church Leaders
  • Pope Likens Nazi Concentration Camps to 'Hell on Earth'

Study: Recruits to Catholic Orders More Traditional

The Associated Press reports that Catholic orders are becoming more ethnically diverse, but more tradition-bound, according to a survey released Tuesday. Despite the growing numbers of priests coming from places like Vietnam and Mexico, the number of Catholics joining a religious order remains low in the U.S. The report confirms anecdotal evidence that orders which attract new members are more traditional in their daily devotions, living arrangements, and even habits. "This younger generation is seeking an identity, a religious identity as well as a Catholic identity," said Brother Paul Bednarczyk of the Chicago-based National Religious Vocation Conference, a professional organization of Catholic religious vocation directors. "Symbolism, images and ritual is all very important to this generation, and they want to give witness to their faith."

Pakistani Christians Protest Violence with 'Black Day'

The Christian Post reports that Christians in Pakistan did not celebrate Minority Day as usual yesterday. Instead, many Christians observed a "Black Day" in continued protest against recent religious violence. “The months of July and August of 2009 will be remembered as constitutional genocide of Christians in Pakistan, when under the cover of Article 295 B and C PPC (Pakistan Penal Code) Muslim mobs ransacked Christian property and killed Christians on alleged accusations of blasphemy,” said Nazir S. Bhatti, president of Pakistan Christian Congress and editor of Pakistan Christian Post, at a press conference in Washington, D.C., on Monday. The Muslim country's blasphemy laws have provided an excuse for religious violence, because they do not require evidence.

Public Trial Held for Chinese Church Leaders

ASSIST News Service reports that three leaders of Taochuan Christian Church arrested by the Public security Bureau (PSB) have been put on trial. According to China Aid, the Luonan People's Court of Shaanxi Province on July 29 publicly tried the case for Liu Caili, Huang Shumin, and Xu Fenying, leaders of Taochuan Christian Church who were arrested and detained by the Luonan County PSB on June 14. Pastor "Bike" Zhang Mingxuan, President of the Chinese House Church Alliance, attended the trials as a visitor. Pastor Bike, who has been arrested multiple times, said he is hopeful after the public trials. "I believe the Luonan Court will handle this case with fair judgment, and the government will change the erroneous views and mentality of the religious department of Luonan through the law," he said.

Pope Likens Nazi Concentration Camps to 'Hell on Earth'

Religion News Service Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday likened the Nazi concentration camps that killed millions of Jews during World War II to "hell on earth." The 82-year-old pontiff, who was forced to join the Hitler Youth in his childhood, was speaking to a crowd of Catholic faithful during the weekly Angelus service at the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo outside Rome. "Nazi death camps, like all extermination camps, can be considered extreme symbols of evil, of the hell that opens up on earth when man forgets God and substitutes Him, usurping His right to decide what is right and what is wrong, to give life and death," he said. He made the reflections while recalling two saints who were killed at concentration camps and canonized by his predecessor John Paul II.