FBI to pull bus ads over community concerns
SEATTLE – The FBI says it’s pulling some advertisements off buses in the Seattle area, after some people complained that they stereotyped Muslims.
The ads, which began running this month in connection with a State Department program, feature pictures of 16 men wanted around the globe for terrorist activities below the words: “Faces of Global Terrorism.”
Among those criticizing the ads was U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott of Seattle, who suggested they gave the impression that “terrorism only comes from one religion or one color of people,” and said the ads might increase the risk of hate crimes against Middle Eastern, South Asian and Muslim Americans.
Seattle FBI Special Agent Fred Gutt says the agency agrees that the ads could be taken that way. The FBI is working swap out those ads with others promoting the State Department’s “Rewards for Justice” program.
Priest advocating female ordination banned from talk
BOSTON – Cardinal Sean O’Malley banned an Austrian priest from speaking at a parish because the priest advocates ordaining woman and making celibacy for priests optional.
The Rev. Helmut Schuller was scheduled to speak at Saint Susanna Parish in Dedham on July 17 as part of 15-city U.S. tour. His talk has been moved to a nearby Unitarian Universalist church, The Boston Globe reported.
Terry Donilon, a spokesman for the archdiocese, said in a statement that the archdiocese’s policy is “not to permit individuals to conduct speaking engagements in Catholic parishes or at church events when those individuals promote positions that are contrary to Catholic teachings.”
Schuller is founder of the Austrian Priests’ Initiative, which advocates allowing women and married people to become priests as a way to address a global priest shortage. The initiative organized a “Call to Disobedience,” which was signed two years by several hundred priests who pledged, among other things, to begin serving communion to non-Catholics, promote women’s ordination and let trained laity preach.
sPope names commission to probe Vatican bank
VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis took a key step toward reforming the troubled Vatican bank, naming a commission of inquiry to look into its activities amid a new money-laundering probe and continued questions about the very nature of the secretive financial institution.
It was the second time in as many weeks that Francis has intervened to get information out of the Institute for Religious Works, or IOR. On June 15, he filled a key vacancy in the bank’s governing structure, tapping a trusted prelate to be his eyes inside the bank.
On Wednesday, he named a commission to investigate the bank’s legal structure and activities “to allow for a better harmonization with the universal mission of the Apostolic See,” according to the legal document that created it.
American cardinals were among the most vocal in demanding a wholesale reform of the Vatican bureaucracy – and the Vatican bank – in the meetings outlining the priorities for the new pope in the run-up to the March conclave that elected Francis. The demands were raised after revelations in leaked documents last year that told of dysfunction, petty turf wars and allegations of corruption in the Holy See’s governance.
Groups sues over $11M in grants to 2 religious schools
NEWARK, N.J. – New Jersey’s plans to award more than $11 million to an all-male Jewish school and Princeton Theological Seminary violates state law and should be stopped, civil-liberties groups said in a complaint filed in state court.
The ACLU and its New Jersey chapter, along with Americans United for Separation of Church and State, filed the lawsuit in Trenton.
They claim the grants violate the state constitution’s prohibitions against using taxpayer money for places of worship and giving preference to a religion, as well as violate its stipulation that public money be used for public purposes. In addition, the lawuit says, the grant awarded to the Beth Medrash Govoha, an all-male Talmudic studies center in Lakewood, violates state law against discrimination based on gender.