Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Three Episcopal Dioceses Reject Presiding Bishop's Authority
- Protestors Undermine Religious Rights Forum in Malaysia
- Pope Tells Orthodox He Hopes Two Faiths Move Closer to Each Other
- Hopegivers Schools Reopen in Rajasthan Breakthrough
Three Episcopal Dioceses Reject Presiding Bishop's Authority
Three conservative Episcopal dioceses that oppose consecrating gay bishops voted Wednesday to reject the authority of the denomination's presiding bishop but stopped short of a full break with the Episcopal Church, The Christian Post reports. In separate meetings, the dioceses of Pittsburgh, South Carolina and San Joaquin, Calif., asked the spiritual head of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, to assign them an alternative leader. The decision by the three dioceses came on the same day that the liberal Diocese of Newark tested the new Episcopal call for restraint on choosing gay bishops by naming a gay priest as one of four nominees to become its next leader. Presiding bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of Nevada is due to be installed Nov. 4.
Protestors Undermine Religious Rights Forum in Malaysia
Hotels in Malaysia have refused to host a series of religious rights forums after angry protestors shut down an event on May 14 and accused the organizers of being “enemies of Islam.” According to Compass Direct, Article 11, a coalition of 13 religious and human rights groups, had organized a series of forums to discuss constitutional rights and the dilemma created by a dual legal system incorporating both civil and sharia law. On May 14, police cordons and a crowd of roughly 500 demonstrators greeted participants arriving for a forum in Penang. Eventually police insisted that the forum be shut down, despite having issued an official permit for the event. “This incident shows how serious the breakdown in constitutional values is,” National Human Rights Society deputy president and lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, a speaker at the forum, told local reporters. “If we cannot speak on the constitution, where are we as a nation?”
Pope Tells Orthodox He Hopes Two Faiths Move Closer to Each Other
Catholic News Service reports that Pope Benedict XVI said he hoped Catholics and Orthodox would continue to move closer to one another, eliminating all obstacles to their ability to celebrate the Eucharist together. As is customary, Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople sent a delegation to the pope's June 29 celebration of the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, patron saints of the Vatican. Pope Benedict told the delegation that he was looking forward to visiting Istanbul, Turkey, to participate in the Nov. 30 celebration of the feast of the patriarchate's patron, St. Andrew. The pope said he was certain the trip, reciprocating the visits Patriarch Bartholomew has paid to Rome and repeating gestures made by Popes Paul VI and John Paul II, "will strengthen our ecclesial fraternity and facilitate collaboration in common initiatives."
Hopegivers Schools Reopen in Rajasthan Breakthrough
Emmanuel Mission’s schools, bank accounts and offices reopened today in Kota, Rajasthan, after being closed for more than four months, according to a Religion News Service release. Operating licenses for all Hopegivers International institutions in Rajasthan have been temporarily restored, pending a judicial hearing July 4 at the High Court in the state capital of Jaipur. “We urge all Americans to join the churches of India in prayer on July 4, asking that the licenses will be permanently restored,” said Michael Glenn, Hopegivers International executive director. An appeals court judge on the Jaipur High Court Monday asked the Rajasthan State Government to appear in court next Tuesday and show just cause for canceling the licenses of EMI/Hopegivers International institutions in Jaipur. Hopegivers had its bank accounts frozen and licenses to operate their humanitarian outreaches revoked in February, but most of the institutions remained open throughout despite the official bans.