Latest religion news


Evangelical pastor addresses Vatican conference

VATICAN CITY (AP) — An American evangelical leader has urged his fellow clerics at a Vatican conference to be true to the Bible’s teachings on sex and marriage.

The Rev. Rick Warren is among representatives of 14 religions at the conference on the “complementarity” of men and women in marriage and the family. Participants at the gathering believe men and woman have different God-given roles in marriage and the family.

Warren, who pastors one of America’s largest Protestant churches, said the Bible defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman. He added, “When God’s word is clear, we must not, we cannot, back up, back down, back off, backslide or just give in.”

Warren encouraged religious leaders to celebrate traditional marriage and its benefits to men, women and children.

Pope Francis opened the three-day conference on Monday, declaring that children have the right to grow up with a mother and father.


281-a-03-(The Reverend Rick Warren, evangelical pastor of Saddleback Church, at Vatican conference)-“he defines it”-The Reverend Rick Warren, evangelical pastor of Saddleback Church, says people can’t redefine marriage to include same-sex couples. (18 Nov 2014)


280-w-34-(Steve Coleman, AP religion editor, with the Reverend Rick Warren, evangelical pastor of Saddleback Church)–An American evangelical leader has urged his fellow clerics at a Vatican conference to be true to the Bible’s teachings on sex and marriage. AP Religion Editor Steve Coleman reports. (18 Nov 2014)


282-a-11-(The Reverend Rick Warren, evangelical pastor of Saddleback Church, at Vatican conference)-“just give in”-The Reverend Rick Warren, evangelical pastor of Saddleback Church, says religious leaders should continue to teach that marriage is the union of a man and a woman. (18 Nov 2014)


283-a-11-(The Reverend Rick Warren, evangelical pastor of Saddleback Church, at Vatican conference)-“a counterculture witness”-The Reverend Rick Warren, evangelical pastor of Saddleback Church, says the church must stand for the biblical definition of marriage. (18 Nov 2014)


208-a-15-(Thierry Bodin (TSHYE’-ree boh-DEN’), manuscript expert, in AP interview)-“forbid the divorce”-Manuscript expert Thierry Bodin says the collection of great women’s letters includes a letter by Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of England’s King Henry VIII’s six wives, who wrote to the Vatican hoping the pope would block the divorce planned by her husband. (18 Nov 2014)


218-v-34-(Steve Coleman, AP religion editor)–Pope Francis’s September 2015 visit to Philadelphia was announced at a Vatican conference on the complementary roles of men and women in marriage and the family. AP Religion Editor Steve Coleman reports. (17 Nov 2014)



Cupich becomes archbishop of Chicago

CHICAGO (AP) — Blase Cupich (BLAYZ’ SOO’-pihch) has succeeded Cardinal Francis George as the Archbishop of Chicago.

In an afternoon Mass on Tuesday, the 65-year-old Cupich became archbishop of the nation’s third-largest diocese at Holy Name Cathedral.

The succession process began Monday night when Cupich knocked on the cathedral door and symbolically asked to be admitted for what’s called a Rite of Reception.

Cupich was named by Pope Francis in September to succeed George, who is retiring as he battles cancer. It marks the first time that a new archbishop will assume leadership of the Chicago archdiocese while his predecessor is alive.


296-w-33-(Steve Coleman, AP religion editor, with Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich)–The new Roman Catholic archbishop of Chicago’s sense of humor was on display Tuesday at his installation Mass. AP Religion Editor Steve Coleman reports. (18 Nov 2014)


252-a-03-(Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich (BLAYZ SOO’-pihch), at installation Mass)-“be your archbishop”-Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich says his new position is a great honor. (18 Nov 2014)


253-a-11-(Chicago Cardinal Francis George, at installation Mass for Archbishop Blase Cupich (BLAYZ SOO’-pihch))-“Archdiocese of Chicago”-Chicago Cardinal Francis George opens the Mass to install his successor. (18 Nov 2014)


251-a-10-(Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich (BLAYZ SOO’-pihch), at installation Mass)-“Archdiocese of Chicago”-Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich accepts his appointment by Pope Francis. (18 Nov 2014)


254-r-22-(Orchestra and choir, at installation Mass)–Sound of orchestra and choir at installation Mass for Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich. ((BLAYZ SOO’-pihch)) (18 Nov 2014)



Israel, Palestinians react to deadly attack on Jerusalem synagogue

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel is retaliating for the deadly attack on a Jerusalem synagogue that killed three Americans and a Briton.

Tuesday’s attack, carried out by two Palestinians with meat cleavers and a gun, happened in an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood that has a large population of English-speaking immigrants. The attackers were then killed by police.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the homes of the attackers to be demolished, along with the homes of Palestinians who carried out other recent attacks.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the attack. But Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, praised it. And dozens of people took to the streets of Gaza to celebrate.

Meanwhile, thousands of people attended a joint funeral for three of the victims outside the synagogue where the attack took place.


Relative: Attack victim devoted life to Israel

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — A relative of a victim of the deadly attack in a Jerusalem synagogue says his brother-in-law dedicated his life to the people and land of Israel.

Jonathan Bein (BINE) of Boulder, Colorado, said 50-year-old Rabbi Cary William Levine had lived in Israel since his 20s and taught at a seminary there. Levine’s sister, Shelley Levine of Boulder, and other family members were grieving Tuesday.

Levine was one of four people killed in a grisly attack during morning prayers. The two Palestinian attackers were killed by Israeli police.

Levine was a native of Kansas City, Missouri, who studied religion at the University of Southern California before leaving for Israel. Bein said Levine had nine children and five grandchildren.


273-a-10-(Howard Haas, head of school, Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy, at news conference)-“in Jerusalem today”-Howard Haas, head of the Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy, says the school community is mourning after the bloody attack on a Jerusalem synagogue. (18 Nov 2014)


272-a-14-(Howard Haas, head of school, Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy, at news conference)-“lower school faculty”-Howard Haas, head of the Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy, says the school’s community was directed touched by two victims of the deadly attack on a Jerusalem synagogue. (18 Nov 2014)


274-a-16-(Rabbi Daniel Rockoff, president, Rabbinical Association of Greater Kansas City, at news conference)-“global Jewish community”-Rabbi Daniel Rockoff says he spoke with Hebrew grade school teacher Meshulam Twersky about his uncle, Rabbi Mosheh Twersky, and Rabbi Kalman Levine, two American victims of the Jerusalem attack. (18 Nov 2014)


249-a-09-(Jonathan Bein (byn), brother-in-law of Kalman Levine (KAHL’-man leh-VEEN’), in AP interview)-“completely without guile”-Jonathan Bein, brother-in-law of Kalman Levine, says Levine was a humble man with tremendous energy and light. (18 Nov 2014)


250-a-09-(Jonathan Bein (byn), brother-in-law of Kalman Levine (KAHL’-man leh-VEEN’), in AP interview)-“left the land”-Jonathan Bein, brother-in-law of Kalman Levine, says Levine was devoted to being in the land of Israel. (18 Nov 2014)


248-a-12-(Jonathan Bein (byn), brother-in-law of Kalman Levine (KAHL’-man leh-VEEN’), in AP interview)-“Israel and Jerusalem”-Jonathan Bein, brother-in-law of Kalman Levine, says for 40 years Levine had dedicated his life to teaching in Israel. (18 Nov 2014)



1 victim of Jerusalem attack had Boston roots

BOSTON (AP) — One of the three Americans killed in an attack at a synagogue in Israel had strong ties to the Boston area.

Rabbi Mosheh Twersky was one of four victims of the attack Tuesday in which two Palestinian cousins armed with meat cleavers and a gun stormed a Jerusalem synagogue during morning prayers. Police killed the attackers in a shootout.

Rabbi Twersky was the son of Rabbi Isadore Twersky, a founding director of Harvard University’s Center for Jewish Studies. He died in 1997.

Mosheh Twersky was a 1973 graduate of the Maimonides School in Brookline, which was founded by his grandfather, Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik.

Rabbi Twersky had lived in Jerusalem for about 30 years.


Panel finds religious discrimination at restaurant

WALDOBORO, Maine (AP) — The state of Maine’s Human Rights Commission says a Waldoboro restaurant worker suffered religious discrimination after she started dating her employer’s son, who also worked at the restaurant.

Waitress Allina Diaz said a Moody’s Restaurant co-owner created a hostile work environment for her.

An investigator’s report from October says there are reasonable grounds to believe the co-owner discriminated against Diaz because of her lack of religious faith. The report says Diaz described Moody’s as mostly “staffed by and frequented by persons who espouse the same Christian beliefs and attend the same church.”

The commission ruled in Diaz’s favor on Monday. The restaurant’s owners have denied any unlawful discrimination.


Right-to-die advocate’s mom blasts Vatican remarks

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Brittany Maynard’s mother is responding angrily to the Vatican’s criticism of Maynard’s decision to commit suicide under an Oregon law written to let terminally ill patients die on their own terms.

Days after Maynard’s Nov. 1 death at age 29, the Vatican’s top bioethics official called her choice “reprehensible” and said physician-assisted suicide should be condemned.

Maynard’s mother, Debbie Ziegler, issued a written response Tuesday. She says the Vatican official’s comments came as the family was grieving and were “more than a slap in the face.” Her response was made through Compassion & Choices, an advocacy group that Maynard worked with.

Maynard had brain cancer and used her story to speak out for the right of terminally ill people to die on their own terms. Some religious groups and social conservatives also criticized her decision.


Romney talks religion at Brigham Young University

PROVO, Utah (AP) — Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has told Brigham Young University students that being Mormon is a blessing even if it sometimes feels like a burden.

In a speech focused heavily on religion, Romney told about 15,000 students on Tuesday that they’ll have to deal with people who don’t think they are Christian and who are insulted that they don’t drink alcohol or swear.

But, he assured the students that their fellow Mormons will help them through life and more than compensate for challenges they’ll face because of their religion.

Romney’s address was titled “Life Lessons from the Front,” and was delivered in the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah.

Romney is a 1971 graduate of BYU, which is owned by the Mormon church.


Catholic Diocese offers plan to settle abuse claim

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena, Montana, has filed a bankruptcy reorganization plan that proposes a $16.4 million settlement for hundreds of people who said clergy members sexually abused them while the church covered it up.

The plan calls for the 362 victims identified in two lawsuits to receive a minimum payment of $2,500. An abuse claims reviewer will determine the actual payment based on the severity and long-term effects of the abuse. The plaintiffs’ attorneys and any future abuse claims also will be paid out of the trust.

Insurance companies will contribute $14.4 million while the diocese is asking the court’s approval for a $3.5 million loan so it can contribute $2 million to the trust and cover administrative expenses and operating expenses.

The plan was reached through mediation, but still must be approved by the creditors.


Pope raffling Fiat, bikes and more for charity

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis is raffling off dozens of gifts he’s been given during his short papacy, including a new Fiat 4×4, some bikes and a fancy coffee maker, with the proceeds going to charity.

The Vatican City State administration this week put up posters around the Vatican advertising the 10 euro ($13) per ticket raffle. Tickets are on sale at the Vatican post office, pharmacy and other venues open to the public. Winners will be announced Jan. 8.

Francis, known for his simplicity, has overhauled the Vatican’s finances to make them more efficient and to devote more money to charity.

The raffle is part of that effort, making sure gifts for which Francis has no use don’t just gather dust in storage but are used to help the needy.


Pope to meet with autistic kids to end stigma

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis will meet with autistic children and their families in a bid to help raise awareness and acceptance of people living with those challenges.

The Saturday audience will cap an international conference on autism being hosted this week by the Vatican’s health care office.

The Rev. P. Augusto Chendi of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers said the aim of the conference and papal audience is to “help break the isolation, and in many cases the stigma, that surrounds people affected by autistic spectrum disorders.”

Autism experts told reporters Tuesday that parents of autistic children require particular pastoral care since they are at high risk of getting divorced due to the emotional and financial stress of dealing with their child’s disorder.


Woman wears colander for driver’s license photo

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah woman says she encountered only brief resistance to getting her driver’s license photo taken while wearing a colander as a religious statement.

Asia Lemmon, whose legal name appears on her driver’s license as Jessica Steinhauser, says the pasta strainer represents her belief in the satirical Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Its adherents call themselves “pastafarians.”

Utah Driver License Division Director Nannette Rolfe says officials determined it is an established religion, so adherents can wear the headgear as long as their face is visible.

The Spectrum of St. George reports that Lemmon is a former porn star who performed under the name Asia Carrera. She calls herself a proud atheist.