Religion news in brief

  • Article by: The Associated Press
  • Associated Press
  • April 23, 2014 - 11:10 AM

Vatican investigators cite two popes' saintly qualities

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The priests who investigated the lives of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII say they found abundant evidence for the pontiffs' canonization as saints in a Vatican ceremony this coming Sunday.

Monsignor Slawomir Oder, the postulator for John Paul's sainthood case, told reporters Tuesday that when the future pontiff was a university student in Poland, his fellow students recognized his devotion to God, referring to him as a "future saint."

Oder said John Paul believed that a true Christian's life should be "an expression of God's glory."

The sainthood postulator for Pope John XXIII, Father Giovangiuseppe Califano, said the pope who convened the Second Vatican Council more than 50 years ago described his life as one of "obedience and peace."


Archbishop deposition on abuse made public

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Twin Cities Archbishop John Nienstedt (NYN'-steht) said in a recent sworn deposition that he hasn't reprimanded or disciplined anyone for the way church officials handled allegations of clergy sexual abuse, and he doesn't think he should have.

That's according to a recording of the deposition that was made public Tuesday.

During the interview, the head of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis said he does not believe any priests or church leaders mishandled allegations of abuse. He also said his staff told him there was nobody in ministry who had credible accusations of child abuse made against them, and that he believed another church official was responsible for notifying parish officials about problem priests.

Attorneys for victims of alleged sexual abuse by priests said the deposition, recorded April 2, shows an ongoing practice of denial and deflecting responsibility.

The archdiocese says Nienstedt answered every question and continually reiterated that child safety is the highest priority.


Tenn. high court to hear faith-healing case

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal by a woman who tried to heal her teenage daughter's cancer through prayer.

Jacqueline Crank was convicted of misdemeanor child neglect in 2012 and was given a sentence of just under a year, suspended to unsupervised probation.

The conviction came 10 years after the death of her then-15-year-old daughter from Ewing's Sarcoma. According to court records, the cancer caused a grapefruit-sized tumor on the girl's shoulder that appeared to give her severe pain.

Crank has argued in court that a Tennessee law protecting some faith healers but not others is unconstitutional.

The law says that a child's faith healing must be performed "in accordance with the tenets or practices of a recognized church or religious denomination" and "by a duly accredited practitioner" of that religious group.


Car hits packed Florida church, injuring 21

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Police in Fort Myers, Fla., say a car slammed into a packed church just as its Easter concert was about to begin, injuring 21 people as it barreled through the brick outer wall and several rows of pews.

Fort Myers Police Lt. Victor Medico says the Lexus sedan struck the Second Haitian Baptist Church at around 8 p.m. Sunday, when there were about 200 people inside. Investigators are looking into the crash even though they believe it was "an unfortunate traffic accident."

The News-Press reports that church members used car jacks to lift the vehicle off of people who were trapped underneath.

Mary Briggs of Lee Memorial Health System said 18 people were taken to hospitals, but none required surgery.


New Jersey school sued over 'under God' in pledge

FREEHOLD, N.J. (AP) — A family is suing a New Jersey school district, contending that the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance discriminates against atheist children.

The lawsuit against the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District was filed in state court last month and was announced Monday by the American Humanist Association. The group says the phrase, added in 1954, "marginalizes atheist and humanist kids as something less than ideal patriots."

The anonymous plaintiffs say the two words "under God" violate the New Jersey constitution.

But school district lawyer David Rubin says the district is merely following a state law that requires schools to have a daily recitation of the pledge. He says individual students do not have to participate.

The humanist group is awaiting a ruling from a court on a similar case in Massachusetts.

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