Tag Archives: religion

Germany’s top bishop regrets ‘shameful’ image of church | World | Instant News


BERLIN (AP) – The president of the German bishops’ conference said on Thursday that the country’s Roman Catholic church was suffering from a “disgraceful image” amid mounting anger over the Cologne archbishop’s handling of reports of past sexual abuse by priests, but he defended self. his overall record of dealing with the problem.

The Archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, faces discontent after hiding for months a study he was conducting into how local church officials reacted when priests were accused of sexual harassment.

Woelki cited legal issues regarding the publication of studies conducted by law firms. He has created a new report, which is supposed to be published on March 18.

There has been criticism within Woelki’s German church. The chairman of the German bishops’ conference, Bishop of Limburg Georg Baetzing, described crisis management in Cologne as “catastrophic” but said earlier this week that the conference had no “sovereignty” to intervene.

After a regular meeting of the country’s bishops, Baetzing said on Thursday they are taking the impact on the church “very seriously”.

A Cologne court this month announced that it increased the number of appointments available to people wishing to leave the church officially to 1,500 from 1,000 starting in March, amid strong demand.

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Brazilian churches sparked controversy with LGBT + support for the Lenten campaign | Instant News


SAO PAOLO (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A large Brazilian church group has come under fire for supporting LGBT people for the first time in an annual LGBT fundraising campaign launched on Wednesday, in which they say homophobia causes the killings.

Every year, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Brazil (CNBB) begins its Brotherhood Campaign on Ash Wednesday, with a message from Pope Francis this year urging people “to overcome divisions and be united in life” with Brazil’s COVID-19 death toll reaching 240,000.

The declaration from the Brotherhood Campaign added that denial of LGBT + rights also led to deaths, with some 420 LGBT + killed in 2018 in Brazil, while levels of violence were also high against blacks and indigenous people as well as women.

“These killings were caused by hate speech, religious fundamentalism, by voices (from them) against the recognition of the rights of the LGBTQI + population,” said the declaration posted online.

The declaration, which was formally launched on Wednesday, sparked a backlash from senior conservative Catholic leaders, with some refusing to use fundraising campaign materials and unveiling plans to divert donations to their own programs.

About 80% of Brazil’s 210 million people are Christian – mostly Catholic and Evangelical – and the church tends to criticize LGBT rights, while President Jair Bolsonaro is known for making homophobic remarks.

“Special times, like Lent, are not the time to discuss controversial topics that go against the authentic doctrine of our church,” said Fernando Guimaraes, Archbishop of the Military Archdiocese who serves Brazil’s armed forces.

Guimaraes did not directly mention the LGBT + element of fundraising in a letter he wrote to CNBB, the country’s highest Catholic body, which usually leads campaigns.

Every five years, including this year, the campaign covers other Christian denominations, including Baptists and Anglicans, and is coordinated by the National Council of Christian Churches (CONIC), a non-denominational national body.

CNBB said in a statement responding to critics of the declaration that they still adhere to traditional Catholic thinking about gender and the declaration would have had a different style if it had been written on its own.

“Words are chosen and taken out of context,” Eliel Batista, an evangelical pastor and member of the CONIC committee who wrote the Brotherhood Campaign declaration, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“With this attitude, these groups prove that everything we talk about is true,” he said, noting that his opponents had chosen to call people LGBT +.

The CNBB campaign in 2019 raised around 3 million reais ($ 555,000), with 60% of Catholic dioceses and 40% of national CNBB funds for social causes.

LGBT + supporters welcome the church’s support.

“Everyone should be welcomed without discrimination,” said Toni Reis, president of the LGBTI + National Alliance, who is Catholic. “After all, we are all brothers and sisters, whether we are gay, lesbian or trans.”

($ 1 = 5.4057 reais)

Reporting by Jennifer Ann Thomas; Additional reporting by Fabio Teixeira; Edited by Rachel Savage and Belinda Goldsmith; Please acknowledge the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the Thomson Reuters charity, covering the lives of people around the world who struggle to live free or fair. Visit news.trust.org

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Brazilian churches sparked controversy with LGBT + support for the Lenten campaign | Instant News


SAO PAOLO (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A large Brazilian church group has come under fire for supporting LGBT people for the first time in an annual LGBT fundraising campaign launched on Wednesday, in which they say homophobia causes the killings.

Every year, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Brazil (CNBB) begins its Brotherhood Campaign on Ash Wednesday, with a message from Pope Francis this year urging people “to overcome divisions and be united in life” with Brazil’s COVID-19 death toll reaching 240,000.

The declaration from the Brotherhood Campaign added that denial of LGBT + rights also led to deaths, with some 420 LGBT + killed in 2018 in Brazil, while levels of violence were also high against blacks and indigenous people as well as women.

“These killings were caused by hate speech, religious fundamentalism, by voices (from them) against the recognition of the rights of the LGBTQI + population,” said the declaration posted online.

The declaration, which was formally launched on Wednesday, sparked a backlash from senior conservative Catholic leaders, with some refusing to use fundraising campaign materials and unveiling plans to divert donations to their own programs.

About 80% of Brazil’s 210 million people are Christian – mostly Catholic and Evangelical – and the church tends to criticize LGBT rights, while President Jair Bolsonaro is known for making homophobic remarks.

“Special times, like Lent, are not the time to discuss controversial topics that go against the authentic doctrine of our church,” said Fernando Guimaraes, Archbishop of the Military Archdiocese who serves Brazil’s armed forces.

Guimaraes did not directly mention the LGBT + element of fundraising in a letter he wrote to CNBB, the country’s highest Catholic body, which usually leads campaigns.

Every five years, including this year, the campaign covers other Christian denominations, including Baptists and Anglicans, and is coordinated by the National Council of Christian Churches (CONIC), a non-denominational national body.

CNBB said in a statement responding to critics of the declaration that they still adhere to traditional Catholic thinking about gender and the declaration would have had a different style if it had been written on its own.

“Words are chosen and taken out of context,” Eliel Batista, an evangelical pastor and member of the CONIC committee who wrote the Brotherhood Campaign declaration, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“With this attitude, these groups prove that everything we talk about is true,” he said, noting that his opponents had chosen to call people LGBT +.

The CNBB campaign in 2019 raised around 3 million reais ($ 555,000), with 60% of Catholic dioceses and 40% of national CNBB funds for social causes.

LGBT + supporters welcome the church’s support.

“Everyone should be welcomed without discrimination,” said Toni Reis, president of the LGBTI + National Alliance, who is Catholic. “After all, we are all brothers and sisters, whether we are gay, lesbian or trans.”

($ 1 = 5.4057 reais)

Reporting by Jennifer Ann Thomas; Additional reporting by Fabio Teixeira; Edited by Rachel Savage and Belinda Goldsmith; Please acknowledge the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the Thomson Reuters charity, covering the lives of people around the world who struggle to live free or fair. Visit news.trust.org

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British Muslims complain to UN over Sri Lanka’s cremation policy | Coronavirus Pandemic News | Instant News


Muslim families in Britain whose loved ones have been cremated in Sri Lanka have filed a complaint with the United Nations, labeling the South Asian nation’s controversial policies “unfair and discriminatory” and calling for an immediate suspension.

Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka made cremation mandatory in March for people who died, or are thought to have died, from the coronavirus.

This action greatly disappointed Muslims, because according to Islam, the dead must be buried.

Christians also buried their bodies, and several people in Sri Lanka were also injured by the act, which was carried out despite World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines allowing burials of people who died from COVID.

The UK complaint was filed with the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Friday by the British Muslim Council (MCB) in partnership with UK-based law firm Bindmans on behalf of the family.

Zara Mohammed, secretary general of the MCB, described the country’s cremation policy as “unprecedented”.

“No other country has committed such unfair and discriminatory acts,” he said in a statement issued on Monday. “We sincerely hope the Sri Lankan government will change its policies in line with the advice of the World Health Organization.”

Tayab Ali, a partner at Bindmans who represents MCB and his family, described the practice as “heartless”.

“Our client is already suffering from the loss of a family member to COVID,” he said in a statement. “It is heartless for the Sri Lankan government to add to the distress by unnecessarily forcing the bodies of loved ones to be cremated.”

Ali also asked the UNHRC to “take immediate action after receiving this complaint by taking temporary measures to stop this cremation”.

UN experts urge to rethink policy

The complaint said there was “no justification, in fact, for the burial ban being maintained by the Sri Lankan government”.

“This has been recognized by many UN agencies,” he said. “There are, as scientific experts have suggested, various protective measures that can be implemented to protect public health without a complete denial of the right of individuals to practice their religion and to be buried according to their beliefs.”

Sri Lankan officials claim that the bodies of COVID victims will contaminate groundwater if buried.

But some experts have disputed these claims, noting that if the burial site was well planned, groundwater would not be affected.

In January, a panel of experts appointed by Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Health said burying those who died from COVID-19 was permitted, in line with precautionary measures to reduce the pandemic.

The UN special rapporteurs, for their part, have twice asked the Sri Lankan government to reconsider its mandatory cremation policy in letters sent to authorities in January this year and last April.

In their most recent notes, UN experts said the practice was against the beliefs of Muslims and other minority communities in Sri Lanka, and could “give rise to existing prejudice, intolerance and violence”.

The WHO says there is no evidence to suggest that cremation is preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

“While we must be alert to the serious public health challenges posed by the pandemic, COVID-19 measures must respect and protect the dignity of the dead, their cultural and religious traditions or beliefs, and their families as a whole,” said UN experts.

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s critic has accused his government of using the pandemic to marginalize Muslims, who make up about 10 percent of Sri Lanka’s 21 million population.

More than 70,000 COVID-19 infections have been recorded in Sri Lanka since the pandemic broke out, and 365 people have died after contracting the virus, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

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Afro-Brazilian religious rituals before Carnival | Instant News


RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) – Laura D’Oya, a priest from the Afro-Brazilian religion, was at the center of the ceremony. Curled up, he held a cigar in one hand and a hat in the other. Temples in Rio de Janeiro are lit by red lights and dozens of practitioners sing and dance to the beat of the atabaque, the traditional hand drum.

Umbanda, a religion that was born in Brazil, always performs rituals of spiritual protection as part of the pre-carnival tradition. A spiritual mentor walks past Laura at the Casa de Caridade Santa Barbara Iansa temple and prays to activate a protective field to protect her from bad energies.

“Many people take advantage of this period to do good deeds, but others do bad things. It (the ceremony) is for protection against more public events (at the carnival), “Laura said before the ritual.

When Portuguese colonizers brought African slaves to Brazil, the enslaved men and women developed a mixture of their religions with Catholicism, which now includes Candomble and Umbanda. They are practiced by a small minority – about 600,000 of Brazil’s more than 200 million people, according to the 2010 census – and the state of Rio de Janeiro is home to a quarter of them. Afro-Brazilian religions have faced increasing intolerance over the past few years, with some of their temples being destroyed.

Despite the fact Rio suspended street parties and Carnival parades due to COVID-19, Laura’s shrine held a ceremony because they considered the period one of disturbed energies. The exposure to the human body and its sensuality is greater, increasing the risk of accidents and other negativity, he explained.

Some protective rituals are even regularly performed at the Carnival parade ground, known as the Sambadrome, which this year has been reused as a coronavirus vaccine station. Elderly black women dressed all in white known as Bahianas usually wash the streets before the parade to gather good energy for the public and the samba schools staging the spectacle. Last year, a parade of one samba school centered on pleas for people to respect the Afro-Brazilian religion.

Ceremonies at Laura’s shrine are for spiritual and physical protection, he said. At the end of the ritual, all the practitioners left the temple, once again protected from the bad energies of the Carnival.

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