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Religion Today Summaries - May 5, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - May 5, 2006

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

  • Sudanese Church Damaged by Arson Attacks
  • Pope Expresses Hope that Catholic, Orthodox Re-evangelize Europe
  • China Installs Bishop Without Vatican OK
  • Christians Maximize Web Outreach

Sudanese Church Damaged by Arson Attacks

Facing threats from a local Muslim militia leader, Christians in central Sudan have decided to leave their church half-built after it went up in flames the day after Christmas last year, Compass Direct reports. The Episcopal Church of Sudan congregation in the Nuba Mountains town of Shatt Damam hopes that partial reconstruction will help prevent the church building from being burned for the fourth time. Muslim militia leader Kafitiyar Al Yideen has often threatened church members, and a local Muslim chief said that Al Yideen had hired area criminals to burn down the church each time it was rebuilt. “Why is it still standing?” the Muslim militia leader, who commands several hundred soldiers, was said to have asked.

Pope Expresses Hope that Catholic, Orthodox Re-evangelize Europe

Pope Benedict XVI expressed hope that a landmark meeting between Catholic and Russian Orthodox representatives would result in the two churches working together to re-evangelize Europe, Catholic News Service reports. The May 3-5 meeting in Vienna was titled, "Give a Soul to Europe: The Mission and Responsibility of the Churches." Cardinal Paul Poupard and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow generated the idea for the event, marking the first time a Vatican office and the Moscow Patriarchate jointly organized a meeting on culture in Europe. Participants were to look for ways the Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches could work together to help Europe better cherish its Christian heritage and prompt Christians to infuse European policies and culture with ethical and moral values. The papal message said that only by preserving and promoting Europe's Christian values, while respecting "the different spiritual traditions which enrich" Europe, could the continent turn a new page in history and experience wholesome development.

China Installs Bishop Without Vatican OK

A story in The Christian Post reports that China's official Catholic church on Wednesday installed a bishop without Vatican approval — the second in three days — as the two sides seek to re-establish ties severed after communists took control of China in 1949. The Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association ordained Liu Xinhong as bishop at the St. Joseph's Church in the eastern province of Anhui. Hong Kong's Cable TV showed Liu, dressed in a yellow robe, bowing his head to receive a yellow head piece from a clergyman. On Sunday, China's state-sanctioned Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association ordained Ma Yinglin as a bishop in the southwestern province of Yunnan. The installments come as China and the Holy See try to resume diplomatic relations. Beijing cut ties with the Vatican in 1951 shortly after the Chinese Communist Party took power. Worship in mainland China is allowed only in government-controlled churches, but millions of Chinese Catholics belong to underground churches.

Christians Maximize Web Outreach

As cities and suburbs go wireless, more people are finding themselves in close range with Wi-Fi hot spots which are becoming increasingly available. The Christian Post reports that as the Internet takes new heights, Christians are getting on board to make the Gospel just as accessible as wireless is becoming. Christians around the world have tagged their web pages for Sunday's second annual Internet Evangelism Day. An internet evangelistic ministry reported seeing up to 1,400 indicated decisions for Christ every day on the Web. According to a survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, nearly two-thirds of online Americans use the Internet to perform spiritual and religious activities. Tony Whittaker, who initiated Internet Evangelism Day, hopes more Christians and churches will be inspired to join the worldwide Web outreach.