Religion Today Summaries - Apr. 22, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Apr. 22, 2009

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

  • Chinese Businessman Waits for Court Ruling, Exoneration
  • Study: Almost Half of New Priests Advised against Seminary
  • Pirates Attack 2nd Ship Carrying Food Aid
  • Promise Keepers Invites Women to Anniversary Event

Chinese Businessman Waits for Court Ruling, Exoneration

Baptist Press reports that Shi Weihan, the Chinese Christian bookstore owner who has been imprisoned for more than a year, finally appeared in court April 9. His family reported that he appeared thin but healthy, according to a news release by China Aid Association April 17. Shi's attorney spent three hours defending him in court, noting that Shi's acts "did not constitute a crime because he was not engaged in illegal business acts and he did not disturb the social or market order." Shi, jailed since March 19, 2008, has been accused of printing and giving away Christian books and Bibles without government permission. In the past, a judge has ruled there is insufficient evidence to convict Shi of "illegal business practices," but police have continued to hold him in order to collect additional evidence for a conviction.

Study: Almost Half of New Priests Advised against Seminary

Religion News Service reports that that conversations around the kitchen table may be more responsible for the shortage of Roman Catholic priests in the U.S. than influences from American culture, a new study suggests. Almost 45 percent of Catholic priests planning to be ordained this year said they were discouraged from considering the priesthood, according to a survey produced by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA). Of those, nearly 6 in 10 said a parent or family member was the source of the discouragement; fifty-one percent said a friend or classmate and 15 percent said a priest or other clergy had. Respondents could select more than one category. The number of Catholic priests in the U.S. has dropped steadily since the 1970s. The U.S. church will ordain 465 priests in 2009; 310 responded to the CARA survey.

Pirates Attack 2nd Ship Carrying Food Aid

The Christian Post reports that pirates mounted an unsuccessful attempt last week against another ship carrying World Vision food aid off the coast of Somalia. The Liberty Sun has continued to Kenya under naval escort, laden with supplies destined for Rwanda. “We’re relieved that no one was hurt in this attack and that the ship was able to continue to its destination,” said World Vision spokesperson Amy Parodi. “This food is critical to our efforts in Rwanda,” she added. “Farmers as well as malnourished children and people living with AIDS all depend on this product. It’s vital that we’re able to deliver this food as quickly as possible." This is the second attack that also threatened a World Vision project -- the Maersk Alabama was carrying 320 metric tons of vegetable oil for a project in Rwanda when it was captured and retaken two weeks ago.

Promise Keepers Invites Women to Anniversary Event

ASSIST News Service reports that for the first time in its 20-year history, Promise Keepers (PK) is returning to its roots with a single event this year in Boulder, Colorado. "This year we are calling men to bring the women in their lives," said Bill McCartney, founder and chairman of Promise Keepers. "To celebrate our 20th year of ministry, we are called to do three things: honor our wives, daughters, and sisters, be a tangible blessing to the poor and oppressed, and embrace our Messianic Jewish brothers as our spiritual fathers in the faith," he said. More than 6 million men have attended the organization's conferences around the globe since they began in 1990. This year's conference, "A Time to Honor," is scheduled for July 31 through Aug. 1, 2009.