Clergy from 18 Orthodox Christian and Protestant churches joined Pope John Paul II in a candlelight service honoring twentieth-century Christian martyrs. "The precious heritage which these courageous witnesses have passed down to us is a patrimony shared by all the Churches and Ecclesial Communities," said the pope in his homily. "It is a heritage which speaks more powerfully than all the causes of division. The ecumenism of the martyrs and the witnesses to the faith is the most convincing of all; to the Christians of the twenty-first century it shows the path to unity. It is the heritage of the Cross lived in the light of Easter: a heritage which enriches and sustains Christians as they go forward into the new millennium. If we glory in this heritage it is not because of any partisan spirit and still less because of any desire for vengeance upon the persecutors, but in order to make manifest the extraordinary power of God, who has not ceased to act in every time and place. We do this as we ourselves offer pardon, faithful to the example of the countless witnesses killed even as they prayed for their persecutors." The rest of this powerful sermon can be read at the Vatican's Web site, which also includes other documents about the service. (See also the Associated Press' coverage.)
An Australian ad for McDonald's shows a bunch of teenagers sitting in a dark room performing a séance. Once summoned, the spirit asks for one thing: a Big Mac. The New South Wales Council of Churches (composed of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, Baptist denominations; the Churches of Christ; Presbyterians; the Fellowship of Congregational Churches; the Salvation Army and the Reformed Church) says it will launch a boycott of the restaurants if the burger chain does not pull the ad immediately.
The Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC) has taken the New York-based Chosen People Ministries to court, saying its use of a menorah in its trademark is deceptive. "People who accept Christ as the messiah are called Christians. That's fine," says the CJC's executive vice president. "But when they call themselves Jews and reject that fundamental aspect of the faith and then go and expropriate a symbol of Judaism and try to convert people … that's the problem." Chosen People Ministries says their Jewish identity is very important to them and that, as Jews, they have a right to the Jewish symbol.
Since John Cardinal O'Connor's death, there've been several memorabilia items offered at the popular online auction site. "It's in very poor taste. They should of at least had the decency to wait until after the funeral," said William Donohue, president of the watchdog group. "This is a cheap exploitive move to make a quick buck. I'm not against the auctioning of these items, but there should be a waiting period." (By the way, there were no takers for most of the auctions mentioned in the New York Post article—including the URL cardinaloconnor.com, for which bidding began at $500.)
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