In Australia Roman Catholic Archbishop Barry Hickey of Perth has been taking a lot of heat for his declaration that Catholic politicians who vote in favor of a therapeutic cloning bill should not receive communion. Fred Riebeling, the speaker of the legislative assembly of West Australia has accused the Archbishop of making threats against a member of parliament. He has called for +Hickey to be questioned on the matter.
Iowa University Astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez has been effectively sacked (denied tenure) for co-authoring a book in which he opines that the universe's complexity suggests some form of intelligent design. This opinion was never expressed in any class room or taught in any way to students. However a number of his colleagues acknowledged that his opinions expressed in the book were a factor in their rejection of his tenure application. This seems rather peculiar given at least one other individual who was given tenure at IU despite making some highly controversial statements in class.
The Episcopal Church is not the only mainline denomination seeing a mass exodus of members. The Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) lost another 45,000+ members last year. They have now lost about 45% of their numbers since 1965. For a detailed breakdown of their membership woes go here.
In Great Britain an effort is underway to add some English/ Western saints to the official calendar of the Russian Orthodox Church. Rev. Andrew Phillips the rector of St. John of Shanghai Orthodox Church says that although largely unknown to many Orthodox, there are more than 300 Orthodox saints and martyrs of English origin. One bishop has confirmed that at least nine English saints are already in the process of being added to the Russian Orthodox calendar and may soon be approved for worldwide veneration and commemoration.
The Brotherhood of St. Moses the Black has been formed with its first chapter in Detroit MI. This is a society of black Orthodox Christians whose mission is to help spread the truth of Orthodoxy in the African American community. Those seeking more information will find contact information at the linked news article. Let us all pray for this very important missionary work.
The Orthodox Archbishop of Cyprus +Chrysostomos II has offered to mediate a possible meeting between Patriarch +Alexei II of Moscow and Pope +Benedict XVI of Rome.
``I asked to see the pope, and I thank him for the opportunity,'' the archbishop was quoted as saying about the mediator possibility. ``We want to help him in every way to improve the relations between the two churches, because we are children of the same Father. I would be happy if he accepted the offer.''+Chrysostomos acknowledges the difficulties in this endeavor but believes that with good intentions, "obstacles can be surmounted."
Asked if the conditions were right for Benedict to meet with Russian Patriarch Alexy II, the archbishop was quoted as saying: ``Every moment is a good moment because the aim is that of doing what is best for both churches. It's clear that we're not talking about organizing a meeting in 24 hours.''