This Week in Religion History - Feb. 19-25: This Week in Religion History - Feb. 19-25

Article excerpt

Feb. 19

In 1377, John Wycliffe went on trial in London's St. Paul's Cathedral after arguing against the sale of indulgences, the worship of saints and the veneration of relics. He was never convicted as a heretic.

In 1732, religious houses in New France were forbidden to shelter fugitives from justice.

In 2010, Pope Benedict approved the sainthood for Montreal's Brother Andre, the founder of St. Joseph's Oratory who was credited with miracle healings before his death in 1937. Formal canonization took place Oct. 17 in Rome.

In 2010, comments by music legend Elton John in an interview posted on the website of the U.S. magazine "Parade" caused consternation among many Christians. John said, "I think Jesus was a compassionate, super-intelligent gay man who understood human problems." The Catholic League condemned the comments, saying that to call Jesus a homosexual is to "label him a sexual deviant."

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Feb. 20

In 1790, Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II died. This left a leadership vacuum that eventually led to a series of revolutions that resulted in the end of the Christian empire.

In 1906, an appeal court upheld the conviction of a Woodstock, Ont. woman on a charge of practising voodoo.

In 2004, hard-line clerics in Iran won a majority in parliamentary elections boycotted by reformers to protest against the disqualification of more than 2,000 candidates and 87 sitting members of parliament.

In 2006, British historian David Irving was sentenced to three years in prison for denying the Holocaust.

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Feb. 21

In 1109, Anselm, founder of Scholasticism and archbishop of Canterbury, died. His treatise Why Did God Become Man is recognized by scholars as the greatest medieval treatise on the atonement.

In 1801, John Henry Cardinal Newman was born in London. While a student at Oxford University, he became a leader of the Oxford Movement, which attempted to reform the Church of England. He later left the Anglican church and joined the Roman Catholic Church.

In 1988, TV evangelist Jimmy Swaggart temporarily stepped down from his ministry after telling viewers, "I have sinned against you." He was responding to reports he had visited a prostitute.

In 1998, Toronto's Archbishop Aloysius Ambrozic was elevated to the rank of cardinal by Pope John Paul II, in a ceremony at the Vatican City, attended by 20,000 people.

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Feb. 22

In 1954, American evangelist Billy Graham began a three-month crusade in London. He filled an 11,000-seat arena every night of his tour and was mobbed by crowds wherever he went. More than two million attended the meetings.

In 2006, insurgents detonated bombs inside one of Iraq's most famous Shiite shrines in Samarra, destroying its golden dome and triggering reprisal attacks on Sunni mosques.

In 2011, 36 people were crushed to death and at least 64 others were injured in a stampede as a crowd tried to leave a stadium following a religious ceremony in Bamako, Mali. …

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