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Camden's Roman Catholic diocese suspends payments to clergy abuse victims, citing COVID-19 financial stress

Religion / Religious News /

Citing financial losses resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Camden in New Jersey said Friday that it would halt payments from a clergy sex-abuse victim fund that has paid out nearly $7.6 million.

In a statement, the diocese said it had suffered a "precipitous decline in revenue" and was rapidly approaching a ...Read more

Pilgrimage 'by proxy': Coronavirus spurs new technologies for age-old hajj

Religion / Religious News /

BEIRUT -- In the best of times, it's hard to land one of the slots Saudi Arabia parcels out for the hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca that all Muslims are duty-bound to make at least once in their lives. In the worst of times -- cue the novel coronavirus -- it's well-nigh impossible, with the numbers for this year's event, now underway, ...Read more

Muslim pilgrims begin curtailed Hajj in Saudi Arabia

Religion / Religious News /

AMMAN, Jordan -- Muslim pilgrims started performing the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, although Islam's largest gathering has been significantly curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A few thousand people are taking part, a fraction of the usually 2.5 million people from all over the world who usually gather annually ...Read more

Twin Cities Black clergy hope to seize power of the moment

Religion / Religious News /

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Rev. Edrin Williams, pastor of one of the most racially diverse churches in the Twin Cities, quickly launched an emergency food distribution center when rioting after the death of George Floyd destroyed neighborhood stores. Now he's taken on another role as well: dispensing food for thought to white faith leaders grappling ...Read more

Outdoor religious gatherings draw warnings and rebukes from health officials

Religion / Religious News /

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. -- Along Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach, electronic road signs were programmed to read: CANCELED SATURATE OC.

But the evangelical worship event took place on the sand near Lifeguard Tower 20 for the fourth Friday in a row, despite warnings that it was violating public health orders and permitting rules, ...Read more

'Where do we draw the line?' Some California church leaders question order barring indoor worship

Religion / Religious News /

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- As California Gov. Gavin Newsom once again bars houses of worship in much of the state from conducting indoor religious services, some Christian leaders are critical of the governor's decision.

The order restricting indoor worship services applies to any county on the state's COVID-19 monitoring list. On Monday, Newsom ...Read more

Spiritual Life: Learn from mistakes of others to finish well in life

Religion / Religious News /

It shook the ground like a sudden clap of thunder. Stunned, we stood silently near our car looking around for a few minutes -- before realizing the sound came from nearby Fairchild Air Force Base.

It was Friday, June 24, 1994, and Lieutenant Colonel Bud Holland had just crashed a B-52 Stratofortress bomber, killing himself and three crew ...Read more

Austin's religious leaders both embrace, grapple with racial reckoning

Religion / Religious News /

AUSTIN, Texas -- Rabbi Neil Blumofe and the Rev. Daryl Horton are no strangers to uncomfortable conversations about race.

On their annual summer road trips, Blumofe and Horton have visited sites related to Black and Jewish history and documented their experiences on Facebook.

So when demonstrators took to the street to protest police brutality...Read more

San Jose Catholic school releases sex abuse report, apologizes 'with heavy hearts'

Religion / Religious News /

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Nearly three years after a former student exposed sex abuse complaints dating back decades at San Jose's Presentation High School for girls, its leaders released a damning outside investigation Thursday that found administrators failed to seriously pursue credible allegations against six former staffers.

Investigators the ...Read more

Ex-Philly priest pleads guilty to decades-old sex assaults of altar boys

Religion / Religious News /

PHILADELPHIA -- After decades of dodging allegations of abusing children, a disgraced former Catholic priest pleaded guilty Wednesday to molesting two altar boys in Bucks County decades ago.

Francis Trauger, 74, admitted his guilt to two counts of indecent assault of a minor and Bucks County Judge Jeffrey L. Finley sentenced him to 18 to 36 ...Read more

'Crisis mode chaplains' seek to heal trauma of Floyd's death

Religion / Religious News /

MINNEAPOLIS -- Kelly Sherman-Conroy felt the anguish on the streets following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, concluding that people were aching for more than food and emergency relief.

So the Lutheran leader and Native American activist posted an appeal on Facebook for "clergy, spiritual leaders and mental health ...Read more

Light Notes: Life upside down? Don't let fear take you for a ride

Religion / Religious News /

Fear had pounced without warning back then. Powerless and trapped, it felt like a nightmare ... and I was afraid.

It's a vivid memory that stretches more than a few years back, a time when I was handed a long list of demands; an agenda that stretched from here to the nearest McD's. At the top were the words, "Ride a roller coaster."

Were the ...Read more

Evangelicals wrestle with racism and their own silence: 'We repent'

Religion / Religious News /

SEATTLE -- Joseph Castleberry, president of Northwest University, an evangelical school in Kirkland, Wash., was sitting at his desk in early May when he started seeing Facebook posts about a Black man killed while jogging through a coastal Georgia town.

As Castleberry read about 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery, fatally shot by white men shown on ...Read more

Trump to seek funds for private, religious school scholarships in COVID recovery bill

Religion / Religious News /

WASHINGTON -- The White House plans to ask Congress to earmark money in the next stimulus bill for scholarship programs for private and religious schools, which the administration is promoting as a way to help families affected by COVID-19 pay their children's tuition this fall.

President Donald Trump will ask for a "one-time, emergency ...Read more

Supreme Court rules religious schools should get state grants given to other private schools

Religion / Religious News /

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that states may not exclude religious schools from tuition grants that support other private schools.

The justices, by a 5-4 vote, decided that denying grants to students in church schools amounts to unconstitutional discrimination against religion.

The decision is a victory for advocates of school...Read more

Light Notes: Help! What would Mother do now?

Religion / Religious News /

My mama knew tough times.

Childhood poverty, the Great Depression, and World War II taught her as surely as my grandma's hand rocked the cradle. Together they formed her moral compass.

Even now, bits and pieces of her story are etched in my memory. How she swept their family's dirt floor, an end of day chore; how her feet ached in a big ...Read more

Spiritual Life: Thankfulness leaves less room for anxiety

Religion / Religious News /

Do you ever get caught in an inward and endless loop of, "What if?" -- "What if my health ... What if my kids ... What if my parents ... What if my plans ... What if a robber breaks in and ... ?"

Same.

Since anxiety sneaks around in human hearts like a common thief seeking to steal joy, we need to guard against its intrusions. But how?

In ...Read more

Many faithful say it's time to gather. Some governors disagree

Religion / Religious News /

WASHINGTON -- Gathering to pray feels more important than ever for many Americans of faith, as COVID-19 cases top 2 million in the United States and communities roil with anger about police brutality and systemic racism.

Yet many governors and city leaders still prohibit large religious gatherings, angering some clergy -- even those who backed ...Read more

Spiritual Life: Listen to the voice of God in life's storms

Religion / Religious News /

It was hard to miss -- the terrific thunder and lightning storm that recently lit up the early morning skies and woke up sleepy heads. I arose and with steaming cup of coffee in hand, sat in my opened garage just out of reach of the occasional torrential rains, and watched with the requisite oohs and aahs.

All who viewed were treated to thick ...Read more

Trump appeals to religious voters with battleground map in mind

Religion / Religious News /

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump is seeking to invoke religion to bolster his law and order image during the civil unrest in an appeal to evangelical and Catholic conservatives, two groups he routinely turns to when he's facing strong criticism.

Trump, not a regular churchgoer, this week stood outside St. John's Episcopal Church across the ...Read more