Muslim Radicals Attack 200 Christians at Indonesian Church

Islamic radicals attacked 200 Christians at a Catholic mass in Indonesia, including children, and forced a priest to flee the church after he was threatened by the mob who harassed him as he read the Bible during a memorial service.

Source: Muslim Radicals Attack 200 Christians at Indonesian Church, Harass Priest for Reading the Bible

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Some U.S. Lutherans Approve Historic Agreement With Catholic Church

Blink and you’ll miss this incredible moment of unity.

CHR Comment: The agreement was approved by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the liberal/progressive branch of Lutherans in America. The agreement may prepare the way toward greater cooperation between the two church bodies but significant barriers to full fellowship exist, such as the ordination of women and of actively homosexual clergy.

Source: U.S. Lutherans Approve Historic Agreement With Catholic Church

Muslim Blasts Extremists at Friday Prayer with Christians

Muslims and Catholics joined in Friday prayers at the mosque in the Normandy town where an elderly priest was slain this week, with one imam chastising the extremists as non-Muslims who are “not part of civilization.”

CHR Comment: The article explains that the Catholics had sold the plot of land to the Muslims so that they could build a mosque. Moderate Muslims want to rebuild peaceful relations.

Source: Muslim blasts extremists at Friday prayer with Christians

Edicule at Church of Holy Sepulcher under Restoration

A team of experts begins restoring the ancient tomb in Jerusalem where Christians believe Jesus was buried, in the first such works for 200 years.

CHR Comment: Work on the Edicule was delayed due to disputes between the Greek Orthodox, Armenian, and Roman Catholic groups that are responsible for it. This is one of the sites where Jesus may have been buried. Scholars have proposed other locations.

Source: Jesus’s tomb in Jerusalem undergoes restoration work – BBC News

Catholics and Muslims Alike Pray at Shrine to Mary

The Blessed Virgin has become a “symbol of unity” in Lebanon.

CHR Comment: The Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon draws both Catholics and Muslims who honor Mary in different ways. The article points out how often Mary is mentioned in the Quran, which has a significant focus on Mary. This is likely due to the rising importance of Mary as a saint and example in early Christianity, which in turn influenced Mohammed as he wrote the Quran.

Source: Why Catholics And Muslims Alike Come To Pray At This Shrine To Mary

Sunni-Shiite Schism Compared with Catholic-Protestant Divide

A disagreement 14 centuries ago over Islamic leadership following the death of the Prophet Mohammed –whether it should be by merit or bloodline–divides a religion that will be world’s largest this century.

CHR Comment: Reporter Gregg Zoroya attempts to make the Sunni-Shiite conflict more understandable to western readers by comparing it to the conflicts that followed the Protestant Reformation. Both the Muslim conflict and the Christian conflict had issues of authority at their center and resulted in wars, which makes the different events comparable to some extent.

Zoroya points out that the conflict in Islam was over who would succeed the prophet Mohammed as a leader. In the Reformation, the conflict was different. Before the Reformation took place, the medieval church was developing the modern papacy and often conflicted with kings  and councils over issues of authority . Martin Luther appealed to the Scriptures as the ultimate authority since popes and councils erred. When the papacy took offense at Luther’s teaching and concluded that he was harming the church, Luther and his supporters appealed for a council to address the issues. The papacy did not wish for such a counsel to take place, which would undermine papal authority by putting the Protestants and the papal supporters on equal footing. Ultimately, the papacy did call what we know today as the Council of Trent (1545-1563), which established the doctrine and practice of Roman Catholicism in distinction from Protestantism. Not long afterward, the European wars of religion arose (Thirty Years’ War; 1618-1648), which brought horrible devastation.

When reviewing religious history, it is important to note that conflicts often have their origin not in religion itself but in the varied interests of religious people. There are always political and economic factors that attach themselves to the spiritual issues.

Source: Ancient Islamic Sunni-Shiite schism inflames a modern world

Muslim Rebels Kill Christians in Southern Philippines

A Philippine military spokeswoman says Christmas attacks by Muslim rebels against Christian communities in the country’s volatile south have left at least 14 people dead.

CHR Comment: Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters killed nine Christians in attacks on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Government forces learned that an attack was coming and repelled about 200 rebels in eight different attacks during the two days of fighting. The Philippine population is largely Roman Catholic but they have had continued conflict with Muslim terrorists on some Islands.

Source: 14 killed in Muslim rebel attacks in southern Philippines

Barbie Dolls Posed as Religious Figures

Argentine artwork featuring 33 Ken and Barbie dolls as religious figures doesn’t play well among all Catholics.

CHR Comment: What seems most offense if the description of religion as “plastic,” that is, implying that religion and religious people are fake. The article states that Roman Catholics in Peru were very offended by the exhibition. One should note that only 400 people were going to attend. This seems like a stunt by the artist to gain attention rather than saying anything substantive about religion or art.

Source: Ken stands in as martyred Jesus, Barbie as Virgin Mary