ENI news highlights – January 1996

 — Jan. 31, 199631 janv. 1996

Turkey’s biggest church faces critical shortage of clergy
Istanbul (ENI). Turkey’s biggest Christian church Orthodox Church, is facing a critical shortage of clergy. The church’s membership in Turkey is 82,000, 60,000 of them in Istanbul. However, the Istanbul diocese has only 28 priests, 10 of them aged over 60, for its 38 churches. Over the past five years, only five new priests have been ordained in the church. [ENI-96-0001, 612 words]

Churches decry greed prompted by ‘obscene’ lottery jackpot
London (ENI). Leading church officials in Great Britain have expressed grave misgivings about the country’s national lottery, whose record 33 million pounds sterling jackpot – to be drawn this weekend (6 January) – has prompted a nationwide rush for tickets. One bishop said the “obscene” jackpot encouraged greed on a massive scale. [ENI-96-0003, 621 words]

Pope warns Catholics against extremes of devotion to Virgin Mary
Rome (ENI). Pope John Paul II warned Roman Catholics against “unhealthy extremes” in their devotion to the Virgin Mary. [ENI-96-0004, 150 words]

Canadian theologian can no longer worship ‘male God’
Ottawa (ENI). A leading Canadian theologian has renounced Christianity, proclaiming that she can no longer accept the maleness of God in the Christian tradition. [ENI-96-0006, 139 words]

Guatemalan president admonishes churches for election role
Guatemala City (ENI). As Guatemala prepares for the final round of presidential elections, the country’s president has accused leading churches of “politicising the evangelical rather than evangelising the political.” [ENI-96-0007, 549 words]

Theologian calls on Pope to reduce his title to Patriarch of Rome
Rome (ENI). A German theologian and former Roman Catholic priest has claimed that the papacy is the main obstacle to the unity of Christians. The theologian told an Italian religious journal: “The unity of the church … could be so simple – all that is needed is for the Pope to say that he is just the Patriarch of Rome.” [ENI-96-0009, 399 words]

Figures reveal boost to Orthodox since communism’s fall
Warsaw (ENI). The world’s Orthodox population is growing as a result of the Christian revival in former communist countries, and because of an increase in conversions among diaspora communities. Estimates of the total world membership of Orthodox churches range from more than 200 million up to 250 million. [ENI-96-0011, 685 words]

American nuns refuse to accept Vatican ban on women priests
New York (ENI). An organisation representing nuns across the United States has publicly defied the Vatican by stating that it cannot accept the church’s recent declaration that the Catholic ban on women priests is an infallible teaching of the church. The organisation urged women who felt called to the priesthood to ask their bishops to ordain them. The organisation “believes that the Spirit of God, Who cannot be thwarted, will ultimately lead the church to correct its error.” [ENI-96-0014, 754 words]

Nazareth peace advocate consecrated bishop in Jerusalem
Jerusalem (ENI). A Palestinian priest from Nazareth, widely known as a peace advocate and ecumenist, was consecrated on 6 January as coadjutor bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem. The new bishop told ENI that “a comprehensive and just peace in which Palestinians enjoy freedom and equal rights on the land, side-by-side with Israelis” was his main goal. The bishop supports the idea of an eventual confederation that would include both Palestine and Israel. “Our two peoples have a great deal in common,” he said. “Both peoples would benefit from such a confederation.” [ENI-96-0015, 652 words]

Polish bishop questions church’s role in presidential election
Warsaw (ENI). A Polish Roman Catholic bishop has called on his church to abandon the “commanding attitude” it adopted in the run-up to the election in November which saw a former communist win the Polish presidency. “Authoritarianism represents a dangerous phenomenon in the church in Poland,” the bishop said. “We shouldn’t treat people who voted differently than the church advised as enemies who rejected the faith and their Polishness. We should try to analyse their motives.” [ENI-96-0017, 555 words]

Methodists reveal high yields of their ethical investments
London (ENI). Britain’s Methodists have proved so successful at combining morals and money-making that they are opening up their financial services to other churches and to charities. The Methodist Church today (9 January) announced the creation of an offshoot of the church’s Central Finance Board (CFB), which manages assets of more than 550 million ($825 million), based on the principles of ethical investment. [ENI-96-0018, 614 words]

Sarajevo greets its Orthodox leader four years after appointment
Sarajevo (ENI). A Serbian Orthodox church leader responsible for Sarajevo has celebrated his first church service in the Bosnian capital since his appointment four years ago. During a service at the capital’s Church of Archangels Michael and Gabriel, the metropolitan – or archbishop – urged Sarajevo’s remaining 30,000 Bosnian Serbs to stay put when their districts revert to Bosnian government control under the US-brokered Dayton peace accord. [ENI-96-0022, 471 words]

Guatemala’s Christians welcome ‘lesser of two evils’
Guatemala City (ENI). As Alvaro Arzu prepares for his inauguration on 14 January as Guatemala’s new president, church leaders here are cautiously hopeful that his election will mean greater political space in which Guatemala’s poor majority can organise for reform. A conservative Roman Catholic, Arzu won 51.2 per cent of the vote on 7 January against Alfonso Portillo. Vitalino Similux, executive secretary of the Guatemalan Council of Evangelical Churches, told ENI: “I agree with … a peasant who told me that voters had a choice between one candidate who would kill us with arms, with war, and another candidate who would kill us with poverty. In the end, with either one we’re going to die.” [ENI-96-0023, 643 words]

Bosnia’s Roman Catholics fear growing ‘Islamicisation’
Sarajevo (ENI). The Roman Catholic vicar-general of Sarajevo has accused the Bosnian government of “only proclaiming rather than practising tolerance” since the US-brokered Dayton peace accord in November last year. The vicar-general warned of a mass exodus by Bosnian Croats and Serbs from Muslim-controlled areas. “Croats are already being treated as second-class citizens,” he said. [ENI-96-0026, 960 words]

Churches condemn Britain’s ‘draconian’ plans for refugees
London (ENI). The Anglican bishop of Southwark and other leading church officials spearheaded a rally in central London at the weekend (13 January) to protest at British government plans for tougher policies on refugees and immigrants. The bishop said the “draconian” measures had caused “fear and anger” among black and refugee communities. The Asylum and Immigration Bill will mean tougher checks for illegal immigrants among welfare recipients. It will remove housing and social security benefits for many asylum-seekers. [ENI-96-0027, 660 words]

Theologian claims Vatican will fall like Berlin Wall
Perth, Australia (ENI). The Vatican has become heretical and schismatic, and is destined to crumble and fall almost overnight like the Berlin Wall, according to a controversial American theologian and former Roman Catholic priest, lecturing at a university summer school in Australia. [ENI-96-0029, 620 words]

Simply divine: Frei Betto cooks up ideas for eating like a friar
Sao Leopoldo, Brazil (ENI). “It is possible to live without the Vatican, but impossible to live without food or drink,” according to the Brazilian liberation theologian Frei Betto. The priest was explaining his decision to publish a cookery book in February with the title: Comer como un frade – Divinas receitas para quem sabe que temos um ceu na boca (Eat like a Friar – Divine recipes for those who know that we have a heaven in our mouths). [ENI-96-0032, 295 words]

Churches condemn plan for suicide centre in Sydney
Sydney (ENI). A Buddhist millionaire has prompted a debate across Australia by publicising his plans to set up a suicide centre in Sydney, the nation’s biggest city. The plan has already been condemned by the local Council of Churches, the Roman Catholic Church and Jewish organisations. [ENI-96-0033, 529 words]

Ousted French bishop virtually launches a diocese of his own
Paris (ENI). A controversial French bishop who was dismissed by the Vatican last year has now started a new diocese – in cyberspace. [ENI-96-0034, 279 words]

The victims of modernism – a new challenge for Europe’s churches
Vienna (ENI). A leading Austrian Jesuit priest has urged the churches to undertake a major rethinking of social priorities by replacing emphasis on “the poor” with a concern for the much wider category of those marginalised by modern society, particularly in Europe. [ENI-96-0035, 568 words]

Conservative Latvian church leader re-elected by huge margin
Riga, Latvia (ENI). The leader of Latvia’s Evangelical Lutheran church has been overwhelmingly re-elected, despite domestic and foreign criticism of his conservative stance on key theological issues, including his stiff opposition to the ordination of women as pastors. [ENI-96-0038, 966 words]

America’s black churches pool their massive purchasing power
New York (ENI). Black churches in the United States have agreed to channel the economic power of black consumers in a programme set up to strengthen the churches and the black community as a whole. The new initiative – the Revelation Corporation of America – is intended to benefit both churches and the community almost every time a church member makes a purchase of goods or services. Profits from the corporation would in turn be ploughed back into the black community. [ENI-96-0039, 608 words]

Brazilians see themselves differently, thanks to Protestant faith
Porto Alegre, Brazil (ENI). A nationwide survey in Brazil has found that Brazilians are undergoing a major transformation of their self-image – from lazy, pessimistic people to optimistic hard workers – and the Protestant churches and their members are largely responsible for the transformation. [ENI-96-0049, 380 words]

World Baptists lodge complaint about Bulgarian authorities
Washington, USA (ENI). The Baptist World Alliance (BWA) has written a letter of protest to the mayor of Sofia, capital of Bulgaria, complaining that the municipal authorities are preventing local Baptists from building an orphanage and church in Sofia, even though approval for construction has been granted by the Bulgarian government. [ENI-96-0050, 222 words]

‘Jerusalem must be shared or become black hole of Middle East’
Jerusalem (ENI). The minister for Jerusalem affairs in the Palestinian National Authority told an international conference here today that if negotiations with Israelis succeed next May “the warm sun of Jerusalem will shine across the whole Middle East. “If we fail, Jerusalem can also be the ‘black hole’ of the Middle East – swallowing everything including the peace process.” [ENI-96-0051, 399 words]

Palestinians show commitment, despite ‘ambiguous’ situation
Jerusalem (ENI). A 19-member ecumenical team of election observers said that Palestinians who voted for the first time on 20 January showed a strong “sense of purpose and commitment,” despite the “ambiguous” circumstances of Israeli control. [ENI- 96-0052, 947 words]

‘No one wants a Jerusalem wall’
Jerusalem (ENI). A prominent member of the Israeli Knesset (Parliament) has joined two leading Palestinians to affirm that an “undivided Jerusalem” could serve as the capital city for both Israel and Palestine. The three were speaking at a Christian conference on the future of Jerusalem. [ENI-96-0055, 503 words]

Tutu speaks out in defence of Norway’s gay Christians
East London, South Africa (ENI). Desmond Tutu, Anglican Archbishop of Capetown and a winner of the Nobel Prize for peace, has spoken out in defence of gay Christians belonging to the Lutheran church in Norway. His comments imply that discriminating against people on the basis of their sexual preference is as immoral as discriminating against them on the basis of their race or colour. [ENI-96-0056, 776 words]

Jury’s ruling underlines British churches’ concern for refugees
London (ENI). Church concern over Britain’s treatment of refugees was voiced at the highest level yesterday 25 January when two church leaders -the Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, and Cardinal Basil Hume – held a joint meeting with a senior government minister. Churches fear that changes to British law will leave many refugees destitute, relying on soup kitchens, emergency hostels and blankets to survive on the streets. [ENI-96-0058, 618 words]

Polynesian church accuses Chirac of ignoring voices for peace
Papeete, Tahiti (ENI). The Evangelical Church of French Polynesia has criticised the French President, Jacques Chirac, accusing him of refusing to listen to the people of peace who had called for an end to France’s nuclear tests. France’s latest nuclear test took place at Fangataufa Atoll in the Pacific Ocean on 27 January. [ENI-96-0060, 301 words]

Arrests on the rise as Nicaragua prepares for papal visit
Managua, Nicaragua (ENI). Nicaragua’s police have dramatically increased arrests of Sandinista and student activists as their country prepares for a visit by Pope John Paul II next month. More than a dozen opposition leaders have been arrested, including several members of the Sandinista youth organisation. [ENI-96-0063, 288 words]

Two Russian Orthodox priests taken hostage by Chechen rebels
Moscow (ENI). Two high-ranking Russian Orthodox priests were yesterday (29 January) kidnapped by Chechen rebels, about eight kilometres from Grozny, capital of the predominantly Muslim breakaway republic. The two priests, one of whom is a special peace envoy of the Russian Orthodox leader, Patriarch Alexei II, were on a humanitarian mission to help negotiate an exchange of Russian and Chechen rebel hostages. [ENI-96-0064, 714 words]

Orthodox leader finds Iran respects church members’ rights
Tabriz, Iran (ENI). Catholicos Aram I, a leader of the Armenian Orthodox Church and a leading officer of the World Council of Churches, has declared during his current visit to Iran that the rights of local members of his church are respected by the Iranian authorities. [ENI-96-0065, 260 words]

Church leader demands that Guatemala step up hunt for murderer
Guatemala City (ENI). The moderator of the Church of Scotland has warned Guatemala’s government that it must capture the person who killed two Presbyterian human rights workers. “If they want trade with Europe, improving their human rights situation is a quid pro quo,” the moderator said after meeting government officials in Guatemala City. “It’s pressure, alright, but that’s the only language they understand.” [ENI-96-0066, 674 words]

Don’t just party, Prince Charles says in advice for millennium
London (ENI). The Prince of Wales, heir to the British throne, has called for celebration of the new millennium to harness the “resurgence of spirituality across the world.” The celebrations at the end of the century should, the prince said, be more than “a giant, but essentially meaningless, party.” [ENI- 96-0067, 340 words]

Buddhist master plans museum of world religions for year 2000
Taipei, Taiwan (ENI). A Buddhist master in Taiwan hopes to establish a museum of world religions in Yungho, near Taipei. The museum, which will open in January 2000, has the approval of the local Catholic archbishop. [ENI-96-0068, 86 words]

Episcopal diocese says suicide acceptable in some cases
New York (ENI). Committing suicide or helping someone else commit suicide may be morally acceptable for Christians under some circumstances, a diocese of the Episcopal Church in the United State has ruled. [ENI-96-0069, 262 words]

Posted: Jan. 31, 1996 • Permanent link: ecumenism.net/?p=8550
Categories: ENI
Transmis : 31 janv. 1996 • Lien permanente : ecumenism.net/?p=8550
Catégorie : ENI

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