Archives For Roman Catholic church

The Briefing

SBDR Irma response to begin; Harvey relief work continues
Preparations are being made by the Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Pennsylvania/South Jersey, New York and Virginia Baptist conventions to respond to the needs of hurricane survivors as Irma continued to crawl up Florida and into Georgia and S. Carolina. As of Sept. 11, Hurricane Harvey SBDR response has witnessed 29 professions of faith and initiated 508 Gospel conversations; provided 444,765 meals, 7,240 showers and 4,534 loads of laundry; and completed 109 construction jobs including 47 roof repairs.

Justice Dept. backs Christian baker
Christian baker who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding has a major backer as his case heads to the US Supreme Court this fall: the Trump administration. The Department of Justice has sided with Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips, arguing that governments “may not … truncate the First Amendment by compelling a person to create a piece of artwork—particularly one that violates the artist’s conscience.”

Churches no longer face overtime pay increase
Just before Labor Day, a federal judge in Texas struck down a US Department of Labor (DOL) mandate that full-time, salaried workers—including church and parachurch staff—who earn up to $47,476 must be paid time-and-a-half for any overtime they work. This week, the Justice Department announced that it would not pursue the matter.

Tillerson decries ISIS genocide
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson released the U.S. State Department’s annual report on international religious freedom Tuesday, highlighting the Islamic State as one of the biggest threats to liberty around the globe. “ISIS has and continues to target members of multiple religions and ethnicities for rape, kidnapping, enslavement, and death,” he wrote.

Senator criticized for religious questions
Senator Dianne Feinstein is coming under criticism from prominent academics and university leaders for her “chilling” line of questioning of a Roman Catholic judicial nominee last week during a Senate hearing.

Sources: Baptist Press, Christianity Today (2), World Magazine, Christianity Today

The Briefing

Protestors target Chicago church for stand on marriage
Demonstrators flocked to one of Chicago’s South Side’s largest churches Sunday morning after its pastor removed a woman from the congregation because of her same-sex wedding. The situation renewed a long-standing debate in churches around the country, pitting tolerance and acceptance against tradition and teaching. There has been a massive culture shift over the last decade on gay marriage, but the Apostolic Church of God is staying put, saying it’s defending faith and family.

New reason churches end up in court
For more than a decade, sexual abuse of a minor was the No. 1 legal matter involving US congregations. It made up more than 1 in 9 of all church lawsuits, according to Church Law & Tax. But last year, the top reason for church litigation became a different problem: property disputes. More churches went to court in 2016 due to their building itself rather than any abuse that occurred inside of it.

Targeted for marriage beliefs, judge appeals to high court
A longtime municipal judge and circuit court magistrate is seeking relief from the U.S. Supreme Court after the state of Wyoming fired her for telling a reporter she believes marriage is between a man and a woman. Judge Ruth Neely petitioned the Supreme Court Aug. 4 to hear her case after the Wyoming Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics forced her to stop solemnizing marriages, ending her career as a part-time magistrate.

President’s evangelical advisers request papal meeting
President Trump’s evangelical Christian advisers are requesting a meeting with Pope Francis after a Vatican-approved magazine published a piece condemning the way some American evangelicals and Roman Catholics mix religion and politics. That request came in an Aug. 3 letter to the pontiff from Johnnie Moore, an evangelical author, activist, and public relations consultant. Moore asked Francis for a meeting of Catholic and evangelical leaders — and quickly.

People assume serial killers are atheists
A new study published in Nature Human Behaviour found that people around the world are predisposed to believe that atheists are more likely to be serial killers than religious believers — a bias even held by atheists themselves. The study included 3,256 participants across 13 diverse countries that included highly secular nations like Finland and the Netherlands as well as highly religious ones like the United Arab Emirates and India.

Sources: WGN, Christianity Today, Baptist Press, Religion News, Axios

As the smoke clears

Meredith Flynn —  March 14, 2013

TravelCOMMENTARY | Meredith Flynn

One member of our reporting team describes working for a newspaper when Pope John Paul II was gravely ill in 2004. “My editor called it ‘Pope Watch.’ We knew the world’s eyes were trained on the Vatican, and pope news would exceed in importance anything else we’d put in the paper.”

For the past few weeks, Catholics and non-Catholics alike were back on Pope Watch. From Pope Benedict’s surprise retirement announcement, to yesterday’s announcement that Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio would assume the post, media outlets have provided extensive coverage of the search for a new leader. Software manufacturers even jumped on cultural wave, creating smart phone apps to help people more closely follow the conclave’s progress.

As the world watched for a puff of white smoke from the Vatican chimney, Southern Baptists also had occasion to consider more closely relationship to the Roman Catholic church. We are deeply divided on key doctrines, but have compatible positions on marriage and family issues and the sanctity of human life. And we share the struggle of protecting the children in our care. The Catholic church’s very public failures have forced us to ask: Are our churches doing enough to secure children’s safety?

We face many of the same challenges. A new study by Barna Research shows that is especially true when it comes to young people in the church.

Barna surveyed young Catholics (age 18-29) with a variety of faith journeys – some still attend a Catholic church, while others admit to dropping out. In fact, 56% of those surveyed say they stopped going to church at some point after attending regularly. Previous Barna research found the dropout rate among Protestants is 61%. A majority, 65%, of young Catholics also admit to being less active in church than they were at age 15, compared to 58% of Protestants.

The numbers point to a common story that seems to transcend denomination or religion: Many young people are leaving the church. Barna’s research also gives clues as to why. Of young Catholics surveyed, 60% say the church’s teachings on sexuality and birth control are out of date, and 57% say mass feels like a “boring obligation.”

Protestant church leaders – including Southern Baptists – also can attest to the tension between youth and experience, between progress and tradition. There’s anecdotal evidence aplenty that suggests denominational leadership isn’t skewing younger as a rule.

Most people of faith want to leave a legacy of belief in God – they want to pass on what is most important to them. As we seek to do so, it’s increasingly apparent that it will take more than smoke and mirrors to show younger generations the truths in the Bible, and to convince them of the value of cooperation. It will require the utmost authenticity, and we’ll have to give young people space to wrestle with issues that come naturally to older believers. It’s essential, and it’s what they’re watching for.