Archive for the ‘Catholic’ Category

GlobalPlus: Anti-Semitism today

It came as a shock when a synagogue in my middle-class suburb in Australia recently was desecrated by Nazi swastikas painted over the front and sides of the building. But these are no longer isolated incidents anywhere. The official reports of rising anti-Semitism in Australia, where Jews number less than half of 1 percent of the nearly 25 million population, have kept pace with those in Europe, America and elsewhere. An ancient evil, defined as words and actions that dehumanize, condemn and promote hatred against Jewish people based on deceitful, false stereotypes, continues to be widespread. The question becomes: What can each of us do?
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GlobalPlus: Religious freedom

This is a perilous period for religious freedom throughout the world. There is no region or world religion or secular government that is exempt from denying religious freedoms. Moreover, a consistent research finding is that religious minorities are the most frequent targets for receiving reduced freedoms, increased discrimination and open persecution. But when freedoms are uniformly secured for all, the freedoms for even the smallest minority become the freedoms for others.

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GlobalPlus: Can the Catholic Church change?

Pope Francis, the first Latin American pontiff, was charged in his own way with opening the windows of the Catholic Church to the modern world with his election in 2013. But such a change was not going to happen without resistance from powerful forces within the ancient institution. Follow the successes and challenges of his papacy through this overview from the celebrated global religion journalist who has known Jorge Bergoglio intimately since their days together in Argentina.

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GlobalPlus: Religion and fashion

Fashion is often viewed as frivolous. But the rise of modest fashion shows another side of the industry, the ability of a major social and economic engine to influence cultural change. Today, stylish women of many faiths that encourage modesty have embraced coverings or other relevant adaptions of dress and behavior as signs of fashion and faith. In so doing, this largely women-led movement is breaking down legal and social barriers to religious freedom. Movement luminaries also are engaging the world’s leading religions with the rights of women to interpret religious texts and religious practices in everyday life in ways informed by their own conscience and authority.

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GlobalPlus: Religion and Humor

Humor can be offensive and divisive, especially jokes about sensitive issues, such as race and religion. But research is showing religious humor also can have a big upside, one that can help us move past religious stereotypes that divide communities, nations and regions. If humor works, then a key question becomes: Will we choose to laugh together?

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GlobalPlus: Sharia

For hundreds of millions of Muslims, Sharia is a way or a path to divine understanding that enables human beings to reach their full potential. So why does so much public conversation about “sharia” or “sharia law” focus on extreme interpretations grounded in intolerance and ignorance? The answers are complex, involving historical, political, cultural, regional and religious factors that need to be understood in context. Yet complexity and reason are often dangerously absent amid the emotion and politics attached to Sharia.

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GlobalPlus: Humility

In a series of scientific advances, researchers are developing a body of evidence challenging old stereotypes of humility as the province of weak-willed, stoop-shouldered individuals of low self-worth. The reality, research shows, is that it takes a strong will and courage to celebrate the gifts of others, while being honest about one’s own shortcomings. But it pays off. Just as a lack of humility can lead to a downward spiral of suspicion, distrust and violence, so, too, can the practice of humility reinforce other virtues and contribute to a more generous, inclusive, caring society.

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GlobalPlus: The Pope Francis effect

As he marks his third anniversary on the job, Pope Francis is providing encouragement, renewed optimism and a new energy to many of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. It is an appeal that extends beyond Catholics as the humble leader addresses issues from the refugee crisis to the environment. But can one person, even someone as charismatic as Francis, bring about lasting change?

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GlobalPlus: Religion and the environment

Religious communities may have come late to the environmental movement, but they are starting to make a major impact. The landmark encyclical from Pope Francis calling on the world to engage in a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet is one example of a growing religious environmentalism. Amid a global financial downturn, religious groups, with their commitments to both caring for the Earth and human development, are uniquely positioned to help seek ways to develop public policies that balance economic needs with the protection of the planet. But do they have the will, and are people ready to listen?

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GlobalPlus: Religion in China

China finds itself in the midst of a religious revival that is reshaping the global religious landscape in profound ways in the Third Millennium of the Christian era. From confounding expectations that sometime this century Islam may become the world’s largest religion to challenging Western theories of economic growth leading to the obsolescence of faith, China is in the midst of a great awakening that is transforming what once appeared to be the most secular nation on Earth to the leading edge of Christian expansion in the 21st century.

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