Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 29, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 29, 2009

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

  • Vatican Welcomes Choice of New Russian Patriarch
  • Faith-Based Charities May Fare Better than Other Non-Profits
  • Holocaust-Denying Bishop 'Silenced'
  • Rick Warren Launches Purpose Driven Connection

Vatican Welcomes Choice of New Russian Patriarch

Reuters reports that the Russian Orthodox Church has chosen Metropolitan Kirill, 62, to replace the late Patriarch Alexiy II. Pope Benedict welcomed the announcement, expressing hope for reconciliation between the Roman Catholic and eastern Churches, which are the first and second largest Churches worldwide. "I assure Your Holiness of my spiritual closeness and of the Catholic Church's commitment to cooperate with the Russian Orthodox Church," he said in a message released by the Vatican. Alexiy rebuffed Poe John Paul's efforts to visit Moscow and discuss common goals, as Alexiy accused the Roman Church of invading its own ecclesial territory to convert believers. Kirill favors closer ties with the Vatican than Alexiy did, as he acted as the Church's interlocutor with the Vatican for years.

Faith-Based Charities May Fare Better than Other Non-Profits

Christian Post reports that although 43 percent of Americans are trimming their giving to non-profits, faith-based organizations may not experience so many donation cuts as other non-profits will. According to a new study by Wilson Research Strategies, 81 percent of those who attend religious services more than once a week have no intentions of cutting their donations, and may actually give more. These donors form the base group for most religious charities. “There’s little doubt that most charities are in for a bit of a rough ride. However, for faith-based charities, I believe the picture is much brighter,” Rick Dunham, president and CEO of Dunham+Company, which helps ministries with their fundraising, marketing and media strategies.

Holocaust-Denying Bishop 'Silenced'

The Washington Times reports that members of a traditionalist society reunified with the Vatican silenced one of its bishops Tuesday, repudiating his assertion that the Jewish Holocaust was grossly exaggerated. Bishop Richard Williamson's outrageous comments jeopardized the public reception of Pope Benedict's removal of Williamson's 20-year-old excommunication, and Williamson's superior quickly issued a statement distancing him from the group. Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the Society of St. Pius X, said Williamson's views "don't reflect in any way the position of the society." Bishop Fellay himself referred to the "genocide of Jews" by Nazis. "We ask forgiveness of the supreme pontiff and all the men of good will for the dramatic consequences of this act," Bishop Fellay said.

Rick Warren Launches Purpose Driven Connection

Dr. Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Connection (PDC), a comprehensive bundled suite of personal growth tools, resources and experiences, launches this week with the release of the premier issue of the "Purpose Driven Connection" quarterly magazine. Included inside each issue is a small group discussion guide with a DVD offering Warren's teaching on spiritual growth, and is the first of a dozen multimedia resources to be introduced in 2009. "With the collapse of our economy, the tools, resources and experiences we've bundled into the Purpose Driven Connection are arriving at the exact moment when Americans need them most," Warren said. "[W]e can now see how the Purpose Driven Connection is going to provide urgent and essential spiritual support and encouragement for millions of people in the difficult days ahead," Warren added. "God's timing is always perfect."