Religion in the News: 19th Feb – 24th Feb

Welcome to this week’s edition of Religion in the News, for a roundup of the past week’s religion-based news.

This week in the news,


Both BBC News and Al Jazeera reports on Cardinal Marx’s speech on the destruction of files to do with child sex abuse in the Catholic Church.

Cardinal Marx, one of the Pope’s nine top advisers, known as the C9, spoke at an important Vatican conference this week, highlighting how Roman Catholic files on priests who sexually abused minors were destroyed or never made. Stating that “…the victims were regulated, and silence imposed on them”.

Cardinal Marx personally apologised to the victims of sexual abuse in the German Church.

Marx pushed for greater transparency in the Church on the issue: 

“It is not transparency which damages the church but rather the acts of abuse committed, the lack of transparency or the ensuing cover up.”


BBC News further reports: ‘Pope Francis compares child sex abuse to human sacrifice’

This article features a video of the Pope speaking on the issue of child sex abuse, and the clergy involved.

The Pope stated that clergy guilty of abuse are “tools of Satan”. Moreover, that he would face each case with “utmost seriousness”.

The Pope further stated that the cases reminded him of child sacrifice in ancient pagan rites.


The Guardian reports: ‘DC cancels comic where Jesus learns from superhero after outcry’

DC Comics new series The Second Coming, which starred Jesus learning from superhero Sun-Man was cancelled due to a petition against it by ‘anti-abortion, anti-LGBT conservative campaign site CitizenGo’.

The site claimed that the content was inappropriate and blasphemous, furthermore that DC wouldn’t have used Muhammad or Buddha in the same way.

CitizenGo viewed the cancellation as a victory, as they believe that The Second Coming portrays a “false view” of Jesus, as he is “not a failure”.

Mark Russell commented: “I think the religious fundamentalists and critics who are trying to stop Second Coming aren’t interested in protecting Christ so much as their ability to control his narrative … They probably (correctly) suspect that it’s not Christ who’s being parodied, but themselves and how they’ve twisted his teachings of mercy for the powerless into a self-serving tool of the powerful.”


The Guardian further reports: Church of England urges five days of prayer for poor as Brexit looms

Five days of prayers urged by the Church of England as the Brexit deadline comes closer.

The poorest of the country face the largest risks of Brexit, due to economic uncertainty, as claimed by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Prayers would focus on the needs of the vulnerable.

Justin Welby stated that the warnings cannot be ignored about the impact Brexit may have on the poorest of society.

Welby further stated that the Church should act as a peacemaker to unite the country, and “put the most vulnerable at the centre of national life”.


The Guardian further reports: Church of England makes Sunday services non-compulsory

Church goers are no longer required to attend Church on a Sunday after the requirement on Sunday services was dropped.

The changes were formally approved, changing canon law, after a general synod in London this week.

The change mainly affects smaller congregations in rural areas, as rural priests have multiple benefices. The change means that at least one church under a priest would hold morning and evening prayer, in place of Sunday services being at every parish church.


Al Jazeera further reports: ‘Sikhs provide sanctuary to Kashmiris caught in ‘revenge’ attacks’

 Dozens of Kashmiris were targeted by mobs in the aftermath of suicide bombings which killed forty two paramilitary soldiers in Kashmir.

The bombing triggered revenge attacks against Kashmiris.

Examples of Kashmiri people attacked are given in the article, including 18-year-old student Shadab Ahmad and his friends. 

Shadab and his friends, in Mohali were welcomed by volunteers from the Sikh community, they were sheltered in the Gurdwara, and had transport arranged for them to be taken home.

The attacks were shared in videos on social media and condemned by the Indian National Human Rights Commission & Amnesty International.


The Independent reports: ‘Shoppers unknowingly buying no-stun religious meat in supermarkets’

 Meat from animals slaughtered without being stunned has been sold without labels to show that this is the case. 

The meat was rejected as “unfit for religious consumption” a consumer watchdog said.

It is said that up to 90,500 animals were slaughtered as Kosher but ended up in shops unlabeled to how the meat was obtained.

The RSPCA and vets now call for a ban on no-stun slaughter in the wake of this revelation, as slaughter of this manner is said to be cruel by experts, due to the animals feeling pain and suffering a prolonged death.

There is currently no law which forces food companies or supermarkets to state on the product how the animal was slaughtered.

The RSPCA stated that its concern was for animal welfare, not expression of religious belief, calling for labelling on meat to be compulsory, until a no-stun ban is in place.

And finally,

This week, Religion News Service published a Photos of the week’ article, outlining important events throughout the week.

These events include: Tibetan Buddhists watching the Dalai Lama on television for a talk in the Tsuglakhang temple for the 15th day of Tibetan new year, activists in Poland tearing down a statue of a deceased priest who ‘allegedly abused minors’, and protesters throwing stones during clashes between communities while protesting an attack, on Thursday 21st, against a paramilitary convoy in Kashmir, Jammu, India.