Church of England will allow divorcees to marry

"A committee of bishops released a report [Tuesday] saying priests should be allowed to conduct second weddings where there is 'a clear distance of time, of local setting and of relationship' with the previous spouse," reports the Associated Press.

Priest wanted again for murder of Guatemalan bishop

Mario Orantes was jailed for seven months for his suspected involvement in the murder of Roman Catholic bishop Juan Gerardi. Orantes, who was Gerardi's assistant, was released after protestors demanded authorities look at military involvement in the slaying. Now that several military officials have been arrested, the government wants another shot at the AWOL Orantes.

American government reportedly involved in case of nuns protesting in Jericho

One of the two American nuns who refuse to leave an Orthodox monastery in Jericho told the Associated Press that U.S. officials are negotiating her case "at the highest levels." Palestinian police have evicted other priests and nuns at the request of Yasser Arafat, who acted on the request of Moscow Patriarch Alexy II.

Did leader of Scotland's Catholics compare gays to Nazis?

Many news sources, including the Reuters wire service, said he did. But in an apology for "any offense taken," Cardinal Thomas Winning noted, "The word Nazi does not appear at any point in my address and I believe it would be inappropriate, offensive and fatuous to compare the current debate to what happened in Germany in the war years." The controversy is part of a larger issue in Scotland, which is debating the repeal of a law banning the promotion of homosexuality in classrooms.

Death toll raised in Egyptian religious clash, priest sought

With the discovery of two burned bodies in the southern Egyptian village of Al-Koshh, the known number of victims in a bloody January 2 shootout is now 23. Among the 59 people Egyptian security prosecutors have ordered to be arrested is Gabriel Abdel-Maseeh, a Coptic priest some say opened file on Muslims (see related coverage in The Irish Times)

Indian Catholics even more determined in face of opposition

"During recent years, we faced opposition and even persecution from some fundamentalist groups in our work of evangelisation," says a statement issued by the Catholic Bishops Conference of India, which concluded their week-long gathering Monday. "While affirming our duty and right to communicate the good news which we have received from the lord, we need to be prepared for any eventuality in the fulfilment of our mission."

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Christian Evangelical Association missionary guilty of sexual abuse

"A Canadian minister who operates an orphanage for boys in Zimbabwe has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for drugging and sexually assaulting a boy placed in his care by the United Nations," reports Canada's National Post.

Political disagreements over California's gay-marriage initative spills into denominational attacks

"My sisters and brothers, we are people of God," J. Edwin Bacon Jr., rector of Los Angeles's All Saints Church, said at a rally with bishops from the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Methodist Church. "It is a tragedy that the good leaders of the Mormon Church and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese have allowed themselves to be hijacked by the forces of intolerance and bigotry that gave birth to this hate-filled initiative."

Family Christian Stores' finally launches

The revamped e-commerce site, which was scheduled to launch in fall 1999, will try to attract customers by offering articles such as movie reviews, and "marital and financial advice," says an Associated Press story. The site launched quietly on Friday.

"Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" a landmark show for homosexuality, says New York Times

"In its own quirky way, the quiz show, which is a ratings juggernaut and the No. 1 show in the nation, has quietly and quite nonchalantly broken sexual and racial barriers on television," writes Bernard Weinraub. "Not only do gay couples routinely appear on the show—the word 'gay' is never used—but so do racially mixed couples, which in the past television has often avoided showing. By all accounts, the matter-of-fact presentation of these couples, without a comment from Mr. Philbin or anyone else, has altered the television landscape." (Since the article appeared yesterday, it is no longer free online, but can be purchased for $2.50 by searching for " 'Millionaire' Quietly Breaks TV Barriers" at the Times site.

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