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Challenges made to gay adoption law Report, page 30


Experts welcome a ‘more moral, less political’ Islam

Tom Heneghan

ISLAM EXPERTS from European bishops’ conferences say Islam is gradually becoming inculturated in Europe and welcomed the prospect of the Muslim faith’s “more truly religious and moral dimension, rather than its political one”. Meeting in Turin, they said the trend could

strengthen positive Muslim participation in pluralist European life and foster interfaith dialogue. The experts, mostly Church dele- gates for dialogue with Muslims in their countries, supported programmes to improve the education of imams and religion teachers, including the establishment of chairs of Islamic studies at public universities. They also supported Islamic religious edu- cation in primary and secondary state schools where other faith traditions are taught.

The 31 May-2 June meeting, organised by the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences, also welcomed the calls for democracy in the Middle East and stressed hope that Arab Christians “can enjoy such freedom in a sub- stantial manner”. Fr Christophe Roucou, the French bishops’

Islam expert, said only the French Church has a full-time office dealing with Muslims. State education for imams is most advanced in Germany, he said, while the Church in Spain has few official contacts with Muslims. Meanwhile, the theologian Hans Küng said

this week that a “Europeanised” form of Islam already exists. “ I believe that Europeanised Islam is already a fact. We experienced that in Egypt in February 2011. Egyptians realised that there was a different life. That was a reve - lation for them,” Küng told the Austrian daily Salzburger Nachrichten on 14 June.

GERMANY Church must communicate better says Kasper

THE CHURCHis in need of spiritual renewal “from within”, according to Cardinal Walter Kasper, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt. Speaking in an interview associated with the launch of his new book – Katholische Kirche, Wesen-Wirklichkeit-Sendung (“The Catholic Church, Essence–Reality-Mission”) – on 8 June, the former president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity said “milieu” Catholicism – where people live in communities of shared belief and understanding – had come to an end. He put his hopes in a “creative minority”

out of which a renewed Church could evolve. “The Church’s real problem today is its lack of communication and [in the book] I make

■The Archdiocese of Munich/Freising is hosting a number of festive activities in June and July to commemorate the ordination of Joseph Ratzinger on 29 June 1951, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt. Fr Ratzinger celebrated his

first Mass in Traunstein in the archdiocese and was Archbishop of Munich/Freising

certain suggestions as to how this could be overcome,” Cardinal Kasper said. As the Second Vatican Council was a “compass for the Church in the third millennium”, it must replace

its “one-sided authoritative-

hierarchical” style of communication with a “communicative, dialogical and sisterly” one. Cardinal Kasper said the best way of going about this would be to return to the Church’s old and proven synodal structures at all levels. He hoped the German Church in particular would overcome its present polarisation. It was imperative to “disarm verbally”, and end “wrong discussions” and “certain illusionary hopes” such as abolishing mandatory celibacy, and women’s ordination, he said.

from 1977 until 1982. On 18 June there will be a

“Festive Academy” dedicated to the Pope’s theology at which Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller will present Volume 12 of The Collected Works of Joseph Ratzinger, which is on the sacrament of ordination. A documentary film on the 1951 ordination with old photographic material and

commentaries by witnesses including the Pope’s elder brother, Georg Ratzinger, who was ordained together with his brother, will also be shown. Tomorrow a festive Mass will be said at St Oswald’s Parish Church in Traunstein, where Joseph Ratzinger attended the archiepiscopal seminary from 1939 to 1943 and where he said his first Mass on 8 July 1951.


Catholic schools warned against gender theory

CATHOLIC EDUCATION officials have warned that some new national science manuals for lycée pupils introduce views from gender theory that define sexual identity as an orientation individuals can choose rather than an anthropological reality, writes Tom Heneghan. The national Catholic education authority denounced this as “an ideology that contradicts the Christian conviction that one is born a boy or a girl and that God created men and women for each other, to love each other and transmit life”. In a letter to diocesan education officials, the authority urged “discernment in the choice of manuals for this subject” in the next school year. Most Catholic schools are subsidised by the French state and teach secular subjects according to national programmes, but may have a choice of books through which to do this. ■Bishop Nicolas Brouwet of Nanterre, Paris, has condemned as “disempowering” a government scheme that gives a free “contraceptive pass” to 16-year-old school students, writes Quentin Huon. Students can be given contraceptives anonymously.


First Christian MP in 50 years

THE FIRST Christian MP for half a century has been elected to parliament during last Sunday’s elections in Turkey, in which the Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) of premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan emerged victorious with more than half the national vote, writes Jonathan Luxmoore. Erol Dora, a 47-year-old Syrian

Orthodox lawyer from eastern Anatolia, was elected with backing from the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), which won 35 seats in the 550-seat Ankara legislature. Mr Dora is the first Christian MP since the military coup of 1960. Speaking after the ballot, Mr Erdogan said his Government, in power for the past decade, would work for the benefit of all citizens, and referred to Christians by name as a minority needing support.

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