Bishops: "It is we who need to confess; and so we do"
Weblog isn't going to read everything on the Catholic bishops' meeting in Dallas. There's just too much. Those interested in all the details should check out Poynter.org's clergy abuse tracker, Yahoo's full coverage, and the Dallas Morning News. The big story, however, is the bishops' huge mea culpa, delivered yesterday by Wilton D. Gregory, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. "The crisis in truth is about a profound loss of confidence by the faithful in our leadership as shepherds, because of our failures in addressing the crime of the sexual abuse of children and young people by priests and church personnel," Gregory said. "Both 'what we have done' and 'what we have failed to do' contributed to the sexual abuse of children and young people by clergy and Church personnel." The full text of Gregory's speech is available here.
Senate reluctantly moves on faith-based initiative bill
Remember that bill that would allow Americans who don't itemize on their tax forms to take deductions for charitable donations? It still hasn't passed the Senate. The Associated Press reports the Senate Finance Committee says it will probably move the bill along, "but only because it's one of President Bush's priorities." Chances of it expanding charitable choice (that is, to allow religious organizations to compete for more federal grants) are almost nil. And now that the bill has been watered down so much, both Democrats and Republicans are far from enthusiastic about it. Both sides wonder if the bill will actually help the poor.
Why you should support prison ministries
Jose Padilla converted to Islam in jail, changed his name to Abdullah Al Muhajir, and was arrested in May for being part of a terrorist plot. He's not alone, says Stanley Crouch in the New York Daily News. "We know that our jails and prisons breed a fringe of radical loons, most of whom cool down or die doing something dumb or return to prison, say amen, and try to convert others. We have to realize there is another theater in this unprecedented war, one headquartered in our jails and prisons." A comment, Mr. Colson?
(By the way, Colson quotes Weblog extensively in today's Breakpoint radio commentary on the martyrdom of Martin Burnham.)
Martin Burnham buried today
Speaking of Martin Burnham, the slain missionary's funeral took place at 10 a.m. Central time this morning. Weblog will link Monday to reports on the service, but there are already several good articles on it. The funeral, it turns out, was largely planned by Martin himself. In the weeks before the rescue attempt that led to his death and his wife's freedom, Burnham told her that he wanted Kansas City pastor Clay Bowlin, a longtime friend from college, to deliver the sermon. He also asked that "Ashokan Farewell" be played. As many as 4,000 mourners—including U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, Rep. Todd Tiahrt, former Sen. Bob Dole, the U.S. ambassador to the Philippines, and the Philippines ambassador to the United States—were expected to attend.
Yesterday, Gracia greeted mourners at the visitation.
The Wichita Eagle has an interesting article about a poem about the Burnhams by Ted Miller, an Oklahoman who never met Martin and Gracia. He is, however, a friend of Martin's sister-in-law, Teresa Burnham. "After I read it, I asked Gracia if she thought Martin would have liked it," she told the Eagle. "She said he would have loved it. It was perfect." Gracia then asked the Eagle to publish the poem, titled "The Final Score." Here it is. Weblog is sure it will become a popular e-mail message in the Christian world over the next few weeks.
Politics and law:
- Villagers praise contested peddling-permit law | The Supreme Court is to decide on door-to-door case this month. (Associated Press)
- Md. pastor preaches politics—his own | Office-seeker gets help from faithful (The Washington Post)
- Commandments poster barred in court | U.S. District Judge Kathleen O'Malley ruled that Judge James DeWeese's purpose for posting the commandments was "generally laudable" but "constitutionally deficient" (Associated Press)
- House to debate marriage tax repeal | Republicans attempt to make change permanent (Associated Press)
- ACLU nears settlement over religious music at graduation | Controversy began in spring 2000 when a student choir sang a chorus of "Jesus Is Coming" and other Christian hymns at a high school graduation ceremony. (The Plain Dealer, Cleveland)
- Vicar 'killed by teenage lodger' | Court told 81-year-old cleric was hacked to pieces (The Guardian, London)
- Rusnak is finding comfort in faith |Charged in a banking scandal, former currency trader John M. Rusnak has taken up good works while receiving the counsel of a former Baltimore Colt tackle who is now a pastor. (The Baltimore Sun)
- Prison rape is no joke | Because it is counterproductive to return prisoners to society more damaged than when they entered, and because it debases us all to turn a blind eye to anyone's rape, it's time to legislate in this long-neglected arena (Vincent Schiraldi and Mariam M. Bell, The Washington Post)
- Hate crimes bill dealt setback in Senate | Legislation would have extended protection on the basis of sexual orientation, gender or disability (Reuters)
- Many Catholics are hanging on to their faith| It isn't easy being Catholic these days with wrenching changes since Vatican II, the erosion of the Catholic school system, shrinking ranks of nuns and priests, and now the pedophilia crisis. (The Dallas Morning News)
- N.Y. bishop resigns | A former secretary of the late Cardinal John O'Connor admits to several affairs with women. (Fox News)
Missions and ministry:
- Shoppers in with a prayer | Supermarket chain is set to bring in priests and ministers so customers can get spiritual guidance with their weekly shop (The Daily Record, Scotland)
- Young woman drawn to life as a missionary, despite new risks | One 22-year-old's account of why she wants to serve the church abroad. (Los Angeles Times)
Sex and marriage:
- Sport encourages safe sex | Young people who play sport are more likely to practise safe sex than those who go to church, says study (Herald Sun, Melbourne, Australia)
- Court approves vote on same-sex unions | Masschusetts's highest court upheld the legality of a ballot initiative that would make same-sex marriages unconstitutional (Associated Press)
Other stories of interest:
- Kelly McLean, 84; cut hair, eased souls in South End shop | When he put his scissors down, he picked up the Bible to lead the Distinguished Brotherhood study group of septuagenarians at Twelfth Baptist Church in Roxbury, where he was a deacon. (The Boston Globe)
- Critic of 'racist' Church is first senior black bishop | Dr John Sentamu accused the Church of England of institutional racism and now becomes Britain's first senior black bishop. (The Times, London)
- Speaking in tongues evolves in meaning | Emphasis changes from missions-focused to personal spirituality. (The Colorado Springs Gazette)
- New U.S. group seeks support of evangelical Christians for Israel (The New York Times)
- Christian lifestyle 'losing appeal among young' | Increasing numbers of people, particularly among the under-40s, live without reference to institutional Christianity, according to a report from a senior committee of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. (The Belfast Telegraph)
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