Notes on Church-State Affairs
Hendon, David W., McDaniel, Charles, Journal of Church and State
Pope Benedict XVI sparked controversy on 9 May 2007 during the first day of a trip to Brazil. During a press conference while still in flight, the pope, in response to a question, said that he supported Mexican bishops who have threatened to excommunicate left-wing politicians who support laws allowing abortion. Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican's chief spokesperson, later clarified the statement to say that the pope was not ordering such excommunications.
The next day Benedict met with 40,000 young people and warned them about the dangers of drugs, violence, wealth, and power. Although he did not speak about condoms and AIDS, he did emphasize chastity before, and fidelity within, marriage. The pope spoke at a soccer field in Sao Paulo. Traditional Brazilian dancers entertained the pope.
On Saturday, 12 May, Benedict held open-air mass for as many as one million people. Although the crowd was large, it was not as large as some had predicted. During the mass, he announced the canonization of Franciscan monk Antonio de Sant'Anna Galvao. Galvao began a tradition of handing out small pieces of rice paper with Latin prayers on them. People ingest them in the belief that they might cure various medical problems. About 5,000 people supposedly were cured by them. The Vatican verified two, which is necessary for canonization. Galvao died 185 years ago.
On the last day of his stay, the pope gave a speech to open a conference to counter the growth of evangelicalism in the country. In 1980, 89 percent of Brazilians were Catholic, but in 2000 the figure had dropped to 74 percent. Now about 15 percent are evangelicals. In his speech, the pope condemned the growing; gap between the rich and poor in Latin American and condemned both Marxism and capitalism for the development.
A poll conducted by two professors from East China Normal University revealed that about three times as many people in China are religious than official figures suggest. Tong Shijun and Liu Zhongyu polled 4,500 people and found that 31.4 percent over the age of sixteen were religious. Previously, the government had estimated that there were one hundred million religious Chinese. The new poll says that there are probably two hundred million people who are Buddhists, Daoists, or followers of legendary figures such as the Dragon King or the God of Fortune. About forty million people are Christians. Ldu said the increases were the result of increased religious liberty and social problems that the Chinese face in a time of rapid change.
The Latin American Bishops Conference, which convenes every two years, met in July 2007, in Cuba. The meeting was a show of support for Cuba's Roman Catholic Church and a sign of improved relations between the government and the church. Relations began improving in the 1990s under Pope John Paul II. At a news conference, Argentine Bishop Andres Stanovnik, general secretary of the conference, said the church does not have a special agenda for Cuba. It defends "the right to life, liberty, and truth" in all countries.
Egypt's Supreme Administrative Court ruled on 1 July 2007, that the Interior Ministry does not have to issue new identity documents to 45 Coptic Christians who converted to Islam but who now want to return to their original religion. Their lawyer, Naguib Gabriel, called the ruling "unprecedented and regressive. ' It was, he said, "a black day in the life of the Copts." Gabriel and Bishop Anba Daniel tied the decision to Article Two of the constitution that makes Islamic sharia the most important source of legislation in Egypt. They regretted that this article had not been abolished during recent constitutional changes.
The case began with a lower court ruling against the plaintiffs, which they appealed to the Administrative Court. Gabriel argued the case before Judge Essam Eddin Abdel-Aziz on 18 June. Prior to the …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: Notes on Church-State Affairs. Contributors: Hendon, David W. - Author, McDaniel, Charles - Author. Journal title: Journal of Church and State. Volume: 49. Issue: 3 Publication date: Summer 2007. Page number: 591+. © 1999 J.M. Dawson Studies in Church and State. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.