September 10, 2005
Compiled by Sandra White
The prospect of a Vatican apostolic visitation of American seminaries later this month has prompted further speculation about the future of homosexuals in the priesthood. The review will focus on areas such as the quality of seminarians’ human and spiritual formation for living chastely. The visitation is a consequence of the sex abuse scandals in the American Roman Catholic Church three years ago.
Two degree courses in Jewish studies introduced in the past five years have now both been dropped. Southampton University will no longer run its BA in Jewish history and culture. Last year Leeds University ended its BA in Jewish civilisation. “The number of people who want to commit to a Jewish studies degree from day one is small,” said Tony Kushner, professor of Jewish/non-Jewish relations at Southampton.
A fifth of Church of England clergy believe they can be priests and members of Masonic lodges, according to new research. However half of the clergy said they knew of colleagues who had found problems with freemasonry, the report in Freemasonry and the Ministry said.
A new forecast suggests that church attendance in Britain could be as low as 2 per cent of the population by 2040. Christian Research, which reports on the state of Christianity in the UK every two years, says 18,000 churches might close if the current trend continues.
Pope Benedict XVI is overseeing the first makeover of the papal apartments in more than 30 years. Pope Paul VI replaced the existing ornate furnishings with a simpler monastic style in the 1970s. Benedict is understood to have opted for a modern, functional look — and a new piano.