Religion Today Summaries - March 23, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - March 23, 2010

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

  • Pope Apologizes to Victims of Priest Abuse in Ireland
  • Christians in Burma Face Mass Genocide
  • Pastors Still Value, Use Seminary Education

Pope Apologizes to Victims of Priest Abuse in Ireland

Religion News Service reports that Ireland's leading prelates have welcomed Pope Benedict XVI's pastoral letter to the Catholic Church in Ireland. In the letter, he apologized to abuse victims and strongly criticized the church's failure to deal with "these sinful and criminal acts." The pontiff wrote, "It is understandable that you find it hard to forgive or be reconciled with the Church. In her name, I openly express the shame and remorse that we all feel." He continued, "No one imagines that this painful situation will be resolved swiftly. Real progress has been made, yet much more remains to be done... Perseverance and prayer are needed, with great trust in the healing power of God's grace." Many prelates praised the pope's acknowledgement, while some victims and their advocates say the apology didn't go far enough.

Christians in Burma Face Mass Genocide

Mission News Network reports that Burmese army's policy of ethnic cleansing continues to spread among the Karen minority in Burma. Many in the Karen demographic are Christians, marking them as a greater target for the junta. "We could see, in the next couple of months or a year, a huge genocide of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people slaughtered," said Patrick Klein of Vision Beyond Borders, "because the government wants to present this image that everybody in Burma is supportive of the military government; that is not true," says Klein. "The only ones that support it are the military." According to Klein, more than 500,000 Karen people have died at the hands of the military or for lack of medical care afterwards. "It's surpassing what happened in Rwanda and Darfur," he said, "and yet nobody seems to notice."

Pastors Still Value, Use Seminary Education

Lifeway Research reports that Protestant pastors put high value on their seminary education and regularly integrate their learning into their ministry, newly released information from LifeWay Research shows. The telephone survey of more than 1,000 Protestant pastors shows two-thirds have obtained at least a Master's degree, and 71 percent strongly agree that they regularly use things they learned in their seminary classes. Among the surveyed pastors, 85 percent say they have taken seminary classes, and 96 percent of that group say they would repeat those seminary classes if "they had it to do over again." The survey also examined the ongoing usefulness of seminary training, education and instruction. Seventy-one percent of seminary-educated pastors strongly agree with the statement, "I regularly use things that I learned in my seminary classes," and 24 percent somewhat agree. Just 1 percent strongly disagree with the statement.