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Today's Top Five

1. Ireland not very Catholic now, says Chicago Tribune
At a Dublin Catholic church, the Chicago Tribune's Tom Hundley writes, "you might expect to see Father O'Sullivan at the altar. Or perhaps Father O'Reilly or Father O'Flaherty. Father Owuamanam comes as a bit of a surprise." Ireland isn't turning out enough priests to minister to its churches, the paper reports, so it's importing them from places like Nigeria. But soon it might not be a problem: there might be dramatically fewer churches. "As recently as the 1970s, 90 percent of the Irish identified themselves as Catholic and almost the same number went to mass at least once a week; now the figure for mass attendance is closer to 25 percent, according to church officials in Dublin," Hundley reports. His chronicle of the reasons behind the exodus are worth reading—and adding to prayer lists. (One unanswered question is whether Ireland is becoming secular, or whether at least some of those Catholics are turning to evangelical Protestantism, as seems to be happening in Boston.)

2. Billy Graham preaches in Baltimore
You know the song—one of our favorites—so everybody sing along: Billy preached what may be his last public sermon to tens of thousands, and about four percent responded to his invitation to commit their lives to Jesus. His sermon drew heavily upon Scripture and pop culture references, and contained numerous allusions to whether his listeners were prepared for death. It's a great song, isn't it?

3. Church of England votes to allow female bishops It's "a huge change in centuries of policy for a church that ordained its first female priest just 12 years ago," The New York Times explains. The vote itself argued, in essence, just the opposite: ...

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July 2006

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