BelgiumUrges Harsh Punishment for Sex Abuse Bishop

Belgium’s justice minister urged the Vaticanon Friday to impose stiff punishment on a disgraced Catholic bishop who denies being a paedophile despite admitting to sexually abusing two of his own nephews.

Stefaan de Clerck spoke out amid a media uproar after former Brugesbishop Roger Vangheluwe defended himself on television by saying the abuse he committed was only “superficial.”


Irish Catholic Church Pledges $14m to Help Abuse Victims

The Catholic Church in Irelandis pledging an extra 10 million euros (about $14 million) to help victims of abuse at the hands of priests and other Catholic officials, it announced this weekend.

“As a result of the grievous wrong of abuse, for many survivors their faith in God and the Church has been profoundly damaged”,  said Ireland’s senior churchman, Cardinal Sean Brady



Italy: Government Seeks to End Classroom Crucifix Ban

The government is appealing to the European Court of Human Rights to overturn a ban on classroom crucifixes. The appeal comes in response to a case where the court sided with a woman who argues that her children have the right to a secular education under Italy’s consitution, and that the the prescence of crucifixes in schools violates this right. The law requiring curcifixes to be hun in schools dates back to the 1920s.


Buddhist Federation of Norway Protests Depiction of Buddhist Women in Television Program

The President of the Buddhist Federation of Norway, Egil Lothe has written to the World Fellowship of Buddhist complaining of “distorted journalism” by the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. Mr Lothe said that on November 23, 2010, the station broadcasted a programme which purportedly denigrated Vietnamese Buddhists living in Norwayby implying that Buddhist women  are inferior to men.

In one segment, the presenter insinuated that “the Buddha believed that women were mentally inferior to men and unable to comprehend and practice his teachings.”

The Buddhist Federation of Norway (BFN) has reacted strongly against these untrue and denigrating statements regarding the Buddha and the Buddhist religion. To date, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation has yet to issue any statement with regards to this controversy.,9852,0,0,1,0


Non-believing Churchgoer is Winner of Templeton Prize

Lord, Rees, a former president of the royal Society, who has been described as “a churchgoer who does not believe in God”, was awarded the £1-million Templeton Prize this week. The prize, which, the John Templeton Foundation (JTF) said in a statement, “honours a living person who has made exceptional contrib­utions to affirming life’s spiritual foundation”, was an­nounced at a news conference at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, in London, on Wednesday.

The president and chairman of the JTF, Dr John M. Templeton, said: “The questions Lord Rees raises have an impact far beyond the simple assertion of facts, opening wider vistas than any telescope ever could.

“By peering into the farthest reaches of the galaxies, Martin Rees has opened a window on our very hu­manity, inviting everyone to wrestle with the most fundamental questions of our nature and exist­ence.”

Gay Adoption to Proceed: UKCatholic Agency Loses Fight over Same-Sex Parent


Vatican Enacts International Financial Transparency

The Vatican, whose bank has been embroiled in a money-laundering scandal, said on Friday it had adopted laws to comply with international standards on financial crime.

The Vatican Bank, founded in 1942 by Pope Pius XII, was in the spotlight last September when Italian investigators froze 23 million euros ($32.55 million) in funds in Italian banks after they opened an investigation into possible money laundering.