Update on the latest religion news


Santorum: Climate change shouldn’t be papal priority

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum says Pope Francis should focus on more serious problems than climate change.

Francis, whose encyclical on the environment will be published June 18, has said global warming is mostly man-made and that humanity has a moral duty to stop it.

But Santorum told Fox News Sunday that he thinks there are “more pressing problems” confronting the Earth than climate change. The former Pennsylvania senator, who is Catholic, said the question is, “What should the pope use his moral authority for?”

Santorum also rejected the idea that man-made climate change is an established fact. He said claims that the science is settled are “political science, not real science.”


209-a-04-(Rick Santorum, Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania senator, in interview)-“moral authority for”-Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum says the Earth has more serious problems than climate change. COURTESY: Fox News Sunday ((mandatory on-air credit)) (7 Jun 2015)


208-w-32-(Steve Coleman, AP religion editor, with Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum)–Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum says Pope Francis should focus on more serious problems than climate change. AP Religion Editor Steve Coleman reports. (7 Jun 2015)


211-a-07-(Rick Santorum, Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania senator, in interview)-“science is settled (second reference)”-Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum says man-made global warming isn’t settled science. COURTESY: Fox News Sunday ((mandatory on-air credit)) (7 Jun 2015)


210-a-06-(Rick Santorum, Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania senator, in interview)-“than climate change”-Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum says he would prefer to see the pope use his moral authority on more serious problems. COURTESY: Fox News Sunday ((mandatory on-air credit)) (7 Jun 2015)



Pope urges Bosnians to work for peace, reconciliation

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Pope Francis has urged Bosnia’s Muslims, Orthodox and Catholics to put the “deep wounds” of their past behind them and work together for a peaceful future.

The pope visited Sarajevo over the weekend to encourage reconciliation following the devastating three-way war of the 1990s.

Thousands of cheering Bosnians gave Francis a joyous welcome, lining his motorcade route through the mostly Muslim city of 300,000. Another 65,000 people, most of them Catholics, packed the same Sarajevo stadium where St. John Paul II presided over an emotional post-war Mass of reconciliation in 1997.

In a speech Saturday to Bosnia’s three-member presidency, Francis called for Bosnians to oppose the “barbarity” of those who sow division “as a pretext for further unspeakable violence.” Rather, he urged Bosnians to continue working for peace and respectful coexistence through patient, trustful dialogue.


Charges filed in discharge of gun in cathedral during Mass

ALTOONA, Pa. (AP) — Authorities have filed charges against a man in the discharge of a gun in a Pennsylvania cathedral during a crowded Easter vigil Mass two months ago.

Matthew Crawford of Altoona has been charged in Blair County with recklessly endangering another person, disorderly conduct and discharging a firearm within city limits.

The 20-year-old Crawford, who was grazed by the bullet, had a permit for the weapon and said the gun discharged accidentally in the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament on April 4. But authorities said in a criminal complaint that the weapon wasn’t in a holster, its four safeties weren’t on, there was a bullet in the chamber and a drop test indicated the gun couldn’t have discharged accidentally.

After the gun went off, the bishop of the Altoona-Johnstown diocese said he wanted to discourage people from carrying weapons into churches.

Crawford’s attorney told The Mirror newspaper that his client will likely seek dismissal of the reckless endangerment charge because it deals with intentional conduct.


French police arrest 2 suspects in thwarted terror plot

PARIS (AP) — France’s interior minister says police have arrested two men suspected of assisting a 24-year-old Algerian student accused of plotting a terrorist attack on a church near Paris in April.

In a brief statement at the Interior Ministry, Bernard Cazeneuve said the two suspects, aged 35 and 39, were arrested at dawn Sunday at their homes in Paris’ western suburbs. He said their exact role in student Sid Ahmed Ghlam’s plot remains to be determined.

Authorities say Ghlam, a computer science student, planned an attack on a church in Villejuif, south of Paris, and is suspected in the killing of a woman nearby. He was arrested April 26 after apparently shooting himself by accident. Investigators have said Ghlam received instructions from someone in Syria before implementing the plot.


3 suspected of kidnapping relative from religious commune

VISTA, Calif. (AP) — Three people from Puerto Rico have been arrested on suspicion of kidnapping a relative from a religious commune in California.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department says the suspects allegedly kidnapped a 23-year-old man they feared was being brainwashed by the Twelve Tribes Community.

Twelve Tribes said in a statement it was thankful the man, whom they identified as Robert Martinez, returned to the commune.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Twelve Tribes members live in a house in Vista which also serves as a church. Others live on a 66-acre avocado ranch in the eastern part of the county. The group also runs a deli in Vista and its members are often seen at farmers’ markets selling produce.

Twelve Tribes members live a communal and patriarchal lifestyle, with families working on the farm, children homeschooled, men often with full beards and women dressed plainly. Twelve Tribes follows certain Biblical scriptures but does not consider itself Christian.


Dowsers tap into far more than water at annual convention

LYNDONVILLE, Vt. (AP) — Several hundred people are attending the American Society of Dowsers’ 55th annual convention and expo in Lyndonville, Vermont.

Dowsers use metal rods, forked sticks and pendulums and what they say is their subconscious to find water or minerals underground or lost objects like a set of keys.

The six-day convention, which concludes Monday, includes workshops in dowsing and metaphysical topics like using quantum energy, stone circles, Earth acupuncture and holistic home and business harmonization.

Dowsers know they have doubters. The United States Geological Survey notes that underground water is so prevalent in many places that it would be hard not to find water.

Scientists who have studied dowsing say it is no more reliable than guessing and that dowsers subconsciously move divining rods in response to their surroundings, rather than drawn by a mystical force.


Moss men commemorate Spanish town’s liberation 800 years ago

BEJAR, Spain (AP) — Men covered from head to toe in moss have paraded through the streets of Bejar (bay-HAHR’) in western Spain to commemorate a daring raid that local legend says helped liberate the town from Muslim occupation some eight centuries ago.

Locals believe that during the reign of King Alfonso VIII of Castile (1155-1214) men camouflaged themselves in moss from local forests to enable them to approach the gates of a Muslim fortress. Once there, they waited until the drawbridge opened before ambushing the unsuspecting guards. One version of the legend says the guards took fright at the moss-men’s appearance and fled.

Every June the parade coincides with Bejar’s Corpus Christi celebration and town-dwellers shower the moss-men with flower petals as dignitaries and youngsters who have done their first holy communion accompany them.


Prominent US mosque parts ways with its top Islamic scholar

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — One of America’s largest mosques has officially parted ways with a top Islamic leader after months of acrimony.

An Islamic Center of America board member told The Associated Press that the Dearborn mosque is replacing Imam Hassan al-Qazwini with three imams. The first is Sheikh Ahmad Hamood, who has been overseeing religious instruction at the center’s school and filled in for a few months while al-Qazwini was on leave.

Al-Qazwini, who comes from a family of prominent Shiite scholars, has been leading prayers elsewhere. The Detroit Free Press reports that he plans to open a new mosque in the Detroit area.

Some board members accused al-Qazwini of financial misdeeds, which he has denied. They also clashed over other proposed reforms.


Saudi Supreme Court upholds verdict against liberal blogger

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court has upheld an internationally condemned verdict against a liberal blogger who was publicly flogged after being found guilty of insulting Islam.

State-linked news websites report that the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the sentence of Raif Badawi, a 31-year-old father of three who was lashed in January in a public square, is final and cannot be overturned without a royal pardon.

Badawi, imprisoned since 2012, initially was sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes for breaking Saudi Arabia’s technology laws and insulting Islamic religious figures through a blog he created. After an appeal, a criminal court in Jiddah last year stiffened the punishment to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes.