According to The Huffington Post newsite, American nuns have rejected Vatican plans to assume control of their leadership organisation, and have instead proposed a negotiated solution to their dispute with the Vatican over perceptions they are not sufficiently "orthodox".

According to the report, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which acts as the umbrella organisation for Catholic nuns and women in religious vocations in the United States, stated its "deep disappointment" with the Vatican's decision to appoint a group of bishops to take over and "reform" the LCWR, but also stated that the group wanted to remain in dialogue with the Vatican with a view to "creating more possibilities for the laity and, particularly for women, to have a voice in the church."

The nuns, however, have reiterated their undertaking to disband the LCWR and form a new organisation beyond the control of the Vatican if the Church leadership remains intransigent on the issue of "orthodoxy".

The full story can be found here.


 
 
According to The Huffington Post newsite, the Franciscan Action Network has strongly criticised US presidential candidate Mitt Romney for recent statements and advertisements on the issue of welfare policy.

The newsite cites a press release issued by FAN which states: "Our Christian tradition teaches that we are to treat the poor with dignity and to prioritize the poor in our policies as a society. At a time when millions are struggling financially, it is degrading to talk about the 'dependency' of people hurting in this economy, as Gov. Romney did recently."

The report cites FAN spokesperson Lonnie Ellis claiming that Romney's recent statements and advertisements are "worse than ignoring" poor people. "It's saying look, 'President Obama is actually supporting poor people too much, or he's just giving a free ride to poor people.  So it's actually using poor people in a really bad way."

The full story can be found here.
 
 
According to The Guardian newsite, the BBC Trust's editorial standards committee has ruled that comments about religion made by Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman were "offensive" and lacked "clear editorial purpose".

The comments were made during an interview with outspoken atheist Professor Richard Dawkins, who is promoting his latest book, The Magic of Reality

According to the report, while the committee has rejected accusations of anti-Christian bias, it has ruled that Paxman overstepped the mark with comments about "religious hogwash" and "stupid people who believe in the Old Testament".

In making this finding, the committee added that it regretted any offence caused by the remarks.

The full story can be read here.


 
 
According to an opinion piece published on The Huffington Post newsite, recent homophobic remarks attributed to evangelist Billy Graham were not made by him but by his son.

Steve Knight, founder and CEO of SogoMedia.TV, who worked for Graham for six years, claims in the op. ed. that the remarks are being made by Graham's son Franklin, who is the current president of the evangelism organisation, BGEA, which Billy Graham founded.

Graham is 98 and in the advanced stages of Parkinson's Disease. Knight claims that Franklin Graham's activities are part of an attempt to re-direct the BGEA toward a partisan political stance favouring conservative Republicans, in opposition to his father's policy of strict political neutrality.

"...how things like this continue to work: Franklin Graham (or Franklin and his sister Anne Graham Lotz) have an agenda (in all three of these cases, "traditional marriage"), they get a BGEA copywriter to draft the text, then a BGEA graphic designer does the layout (in the case of the ad), Franklin approves the copy and/or design, then Franklin drives out to Little Piney Cove (Billy's cabin home outside of Asheville, N.C.) and holds the piece of paper in front of Billy and asks, "Daddy, can we publish this?" And Billy nods (or whatever he's capable of doing at this point in his life), and Franklin goes back and publishes this stuff with his good father's name all over it." Knight claims.

The full story can be found here.


 
 
According to the Age Online newsite, new French President Francois Hollande has admitted to French complicity in the deportation and murder of Jews during World War Two.

The newsite quotes Mr Hollande as saying: "(this was a) crime committed in France by France".

The comments came during ceremonies to mark the 70th anniversary of a notorious round up of Parisian Jews known as the ''Vel d'Hiv Rafle''.

The full story can be found here.

 
 
According to an article published in the Daily Mail website, Melinda Gates, co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has spoken about the tensions between her faith background as a practicing Roman Catholic, and her work for the Foundation, which includes discussing contraception with poor women in Africa.

Asked if the teaching of the Catholic Church on this issue and her own commitment to family planning made this aspect of her work difficult, Gates replied with a simple: "Yes".

According to the article, while Gates' faith is a significant part of what drives her to do her work for the Foundation, nonetheless, there are times when her commitment to Catholicism and the Foundation co-reside in uneasy tension.  Gates, however, says there are two things which help her mediate this tension: a quote from the Gospel according to Luke ('For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.’) and what gates calls 'the voluminous Catholic literature on God’s commitment to the poor'.

The full story can be read here.
 
 
According to the Addicting Info website, Conservative American congressman Jim Sensenbrenner has weighed into the debate surrounding US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton's aide Huma Abedin, dismissing suggestions that she is connected to the Muslim Brotherhood.

The statement by Representative Sensenbrenner came during a town hall meeting in Wisconsin, Illinois, when he responded to calls from one member of the audience that the Republican party back claims by former Presidential aspirant Michelle Bachmann that Abedin is part of an "Islamic conspiracy" and ought to be investigated.

According to the website, Sensenbrenner said: "Let me say that I do know Huma Abedin and I think that the comments that were made about her in that letter, whether or not they were taken out of context, were the wrong thing to do,” Sensenbrenner stated. “I think the Constitution in saying that there shall never be a religious test for any office of trust and profit under the United States meant that people should not be judged on the basis of their religious beliefs or lack of religious beliefs."

His statement followsearlier denunciations of Bachmann's claims by noted conservatives Senator John McCain and Congressman Mike Rogers.

The full story can be read here
 
 
According to the newsite of the 13th Triennial Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia, the UCA's Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress has unanimously condemned the ongoing Federal Government intervention in the Northern Territory.

The condemnation comes as part of a report issued by the Congress to the Assembly outlining the ongoing severe disadvantage experienced by indigenous people in housing, health, education, and criminal justice.

The Congress reported that many indigenous people were experiencing despair that, despite the intervention's stated objective of assisting indigenous communities, the appalling inequalities continue to grow worse.

The newsite quotes Ms Gapany Gaykamangu describing the intervention as an "indiscriminate flood".  “The Northern Territory Intervention of 2007 came like a flood and inundated our communities”, said Ms Gaykamangu. “And this flood that came, it doesn’t discriminate. Whether we are living lawful lives or unlawful lives, it doesn’t discriminate.”

The full story can be accessed here.

 
 
According to The Melbourne Anglican newsite, the Chair of the Social Responsibilities Committee for the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne has called for a regional summit on asylum seekers.

The website quotes Bishop Philip Huggins as saying that Australia "cannot solve this issue" on its own, and that a "durable regional solution" will require the co-operation of Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and agencies such as the UNHCR.

According to the website, Bishop Huggins stated: "Our Prime Minister is urged to initiate such a Summit, the like of which, surprisingly, we are yet to see.”

For the full story click here.
 
 
According to The Guardian website, the new French government headed by Socialist President Francois Hollande has "let down" Muslim women and their hopes for equality within French society.

The accusation comes in the wake of the appointment of 34 year old Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, a Muslim woman of North African origin, as the Minister for Women's Rights in the Hollande cabinet.  Vallaud-Belkacem has been accused of "naivety" and "giving radical governments a bad bame" with her first policy announcement: a pledge to see "prostitution disappear".

Critics have suggested that such a policy would criminalise prostitution and drive it underground, resulting in greater danger to workers in the highly regulated French sex industry.  Other critics have suggested Vallaud-Belkacem ought to focusing on reversing some of the policies of the former Sarkozy government, such as the controversial "burqa ban", as well as improving the rights and living conditions of French Muslim women.

The whole story can be found by clicking here.