Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
Vatican: Priests Cannot Be Active Homosexuals, Support Gay Culture
John Thavis, Catholic News Service
A Vatican document took a strong line against priestly ordination of men who are active homosexuals, who have "deeply rooted" homosexual tendencies, or who support the "gay culture." The six-page document, signed by Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, did not define what it meant by "deeply rooted" homosexual tendencies, but contrasted them with the "transitory problems" of adolescence. Such transitory tendencies must be clearly overcome at least three years before ordination as a deacon, it said. It did not explain what was meant by "overcome" and did not say that celibacy or chastity was the criteria for measuring suitability of such candidates for the priesthood. A line at the end of the text said that on Aug. 31 the instruction was approved by Pope Benedict XVI and ordered published. The document cited the church's teachings that homosexual acts are gravely sinful and that homosexual tendencies are "objectively disordered." In the light of those teachings, it said, the church, while deeply respecting homosexuals, "cannot admit to seminaries and to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, who present deeply rooted homosexual tendencies or who support the so-called gay culture."
Liberal Colleges and the SBC
Kim Trobee, Family News in Focus
Southern Baptists are tiring of colleges that take their money and ignore their teaching. An increasing number of state Baptist conventions are finding themselves severing ties with Baptist colleges and universities over differences in doctrine. The latest example is in Georgia where the state association voted overwhelmingly to discontinue funding to Mercer University. J. Robert White, the Executive Director of the Georgia Baptist Convention, said “This is just another in a long history of incompatible experiences that have taken place… I think the convention is weary of being told that things are corrected and then learning later that things have merely continued but underground.” The agency will withdraw nearly 3.5 million dollars in annual support to Mercer and sever all ties with the school. Kenyn Cureton of the Southern Baptist Convention stated, “When a majority of the state convention messengers decide that a college or university no longer reflects their Biblical foundations, it’s not uncommon for them to withdraw their support. We back up their decision whatever it is.” Wake Forest, Baylor and Belmont are also no longer supported by their state conventions because of liberal policies.
Pope Urged to Convert Jews, Others
A leader of an ultra-traditionalist Catholic group that broke with the Vatican said Nov. 22 that Pope Benedict XVI should tell Jews and members of other religions to convert because they are part of "false systems." Father Franz Schmidberger, a top official of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX), said, "Other religions, instead of leading their members to our Lord Jesus Christ, to Baptism and the confession of faith in his divinity, refrain from this and so we consider these other religions as very dangerous." The SSPX rejects the reforms of the Second Vatican Council and sticks to the old Latin mass. "St. Peter, the first pope,’’ Schmidberger continued, ‘’preached to the Jews and told them that ‘if you want to be saved you must do three things: you must regret your sins and convert, believe in our lord Jesus Christ and, thirdly, be baptized.' We expect that every pope who claims to be the successor of St. Peter should take the same stand.’’ While Benedict shares the SSPX's concern for some parts of Catholic tradition and has encouraged wider use of Latin in the Church, he has vowed to continue the dialogue with other religions begun by his predecessor John Paul, having recently met with Jews, Protestants and Muslims.
University of Kansas Religion Course seeks to Debunk Creationism, Intelligent Design
The University of Kansas is about to start a course in creationism and intelligent design, but supporters of those concepts may not like it. Next semester's course in the religious studies department is titled "Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism and other Religious Mythologies." The department chairman says "the KU faculty has had enough." Paul Mirecki says intelligent design "clearly is not" science though supporters try to paint it that way. Earlier this month, the Kansas state Board of Education adopted new science teaching standards that treat evolution as a flawed theory. Science groups oppose that view. The vote was seen as a major victory for proponents of intelligent design, which says that the universe is so complex that it must have been created by a higher power.