Christopher Howse I know how many angels fit on a pin
FEATURE, PAGE 8
Rosamund Urwin Hooray! The BBC is nice about Catholics
FEATURE, PAGE 9
Michael Coren Atheists make us better believers
CHARTERHOUSE, PAGE 20
Top European court to decide if wearing the cross is a right
BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
JUDGES in Strasbourg are to decide whether Christians should be permitted to wear crosses in the workplace.
Following defeat in the British courts Nadia Eweida, a British Airways check-in clerk, and Shirley Chaplin, a nurse who wanted to wear a cross to work, have taken their cases to the European Court of Human Rights and await a judgment.
Their lawyers argue that Article 9 of the Human Rights Act, which upholds freedom of religion, should allow them to manifest their Christian belief through wearing a cross.
The Government, which is required to pass on the ruling of the British court, has argued in an official submission to Strasbourg that “in neither case is there any suggestion that the wearing of a visible cross or crucifix was a generally recognised form of practising the Christian faith, still less one that is regarded (including by the applicants themselves) as a requirement of the faith.”
A spokesman for David Cameron said that it was the Prime Minister’s personal view that the wearing of a cross at work should be permitted.
Neil Addison, a Catholic barrister who specialises in freedom of religion, expressed concern about the courts’ understanding of the wearing of the cross.
He said: “My big concern is that secular courts are determining cases on a superficial understanding of religious rules and practices. Saying that wearing a Muslim hijab is religiously compulsory and therefore protected by law but wearing a Christian cross is
My concern is that courts will decide these cases based on only a superficial grasp of religion
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Catholic news, visit CatholicHerald.co.uk optional and therefore not protected by law is theologically ignorant and socially divisive. More to the point such a distinction misunderstands the nature of religious practice which is often a complex mixture of beliefs, customs and rituals which may not be formally prescribed but which are nevertheless regarded by believers as integral parts of their faith.
“The Second Council of Nicaea in 787 noted that: “the sacred and lifegiving cross is everywhere set up as a symbol,” and for millennia the wearing of a cross has been regarded as a traditional practice of Christians even though it has not been formally required as an obligation of faith. As such it is entitled to the same legal protection as the Muslim hijab or Sikh turban.”
A spokesman for the Scottish bishops’ conference said that while the wearing of a cross was not compulsory, for many Christians it was important.
He said: “If we look at the basis upon which religious freedom is protected in Europe, specifically in Article 9 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR), we can see quite clearly that people are entitled to manifest their faith in a variety of ways.”
Newspaper reports suggested that the Archbishop of Canterbury echoed the sentiments of the British courts at the weekend when he argued that the wearing of a cross is just a “religious decoration” for many people and not an essential requirement for Christians.
Speaking in Rome, Dr Rowan Williams said: “I believe that during Lent one of the things we all have to face is to look at ourselves and ask how far we are involved in the religion factory. And the cross itself has become a religious decoration.”
March 16 2012 £1.50 (Republic of Ireland €1.80)
Anglican leader and Pope pray in Rome
Benedict XVI has invited the Archbishop of Canterbury to address a meeting of the world’s Catholic bishops in October, it emerged last weekend as the two leaders prayed together in Rome.
Dr Rowan Williams will address the Synod of Bishops in Rome on the topic of the new evangelisation, and said he hoped it was a sign that “we can work together on evangelisation in Europe”.
Dr Williams took part in a prayer service with the Pope at the Church of St Gregory. Vatican Notebook: Page 4 Report: Page 5 Editorial Comment: Page 13
Church continues to grow worldwideBYCAROLGLATZ
THE NUMBER of Catholics in the world and the number of deacons, priests and bishops all increased in 2010, while the number of women in religious orders continued to decline, according to Vatican statistics released this week.
At the end of 2010 the worldwide Catholic population reached 1.196 billion, an increase of 15 million, or 1.3 per cent, slightly outpacing the global population growth rate, which was estimated at 1.1 per cent, according to a statement published last week by the Vatican press office.
Catholics as a percentage of the global population “remained stable at around 17.5 per cent”, it said.
The statement reported a handful of the statistics contained in the 2012 Annuario Pontificio, a yearbook containing information about every Vatican office, as well as every diocese and religious order in the world.
Officials of the Vatican Secretariat of State and its Central Office of Church Statistics presented the first copy of the 2012 yearbook to Pope Benedict XVI during an audience on Sunday.
Detailed statistics in the yearbook are based on reports from dioceses and religious orders as of December 31 2010.
The percentage of Catholics declined slightly in South America from 28.54 per cent to 28.34 per cent of the regional population, and dropped considerably in Europe from 24.05 per cent to 23.83 per cent. The percentage of Catholics increased in 2010 by just under half a percentage point in south-east Asia and Africa.
The Vatican said the the number of bishops in the world increased from 5,065 to 5,104. The number of priests went from 410,593 to 412,236, increasing everywhere except Europe.
The number of permanent deacons reported – 39,564 – was an increase of more than 1,400 over the previous year. Over 97 per cent of the world’s permanent deacons live in the Americas or in Europe.
The number of men joining a religious order showed “a setback”, the Vatican said, with an increase of only 436 male religious worldwide in 2010.
Heart of St John Vianney to visit Liverpool during summer tour BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
THE HEART of St John Vianney will visit Liverpool’s Catholic cathedral, as well as the dioceses of Shrewsbury and Birmingham, during its tour of Britain this summer.
The relic of St John Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests, will be taken to the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool, on Friday July 6.
The Diocese of Shrewsbury announced in November that the heart would visit England at the invitation of Bishop Mark Davies. Since then, following interest from other dioceses, the invitation has now evolved into a short tour and the relic will visit Shrewsbury, Birmingham and Liverpool between July 5 and July 8.
Speaking about the latest tour stop for the heart of the Curé d’Ars, Archbishop Patrick Kelly of Liverpool said: “The visit of the relics of St Thérèse of Lisieux to the
Metropolitan Cathedral was an occasion of deep prayer and renewal for thousands of people. This visit, when between 10 am and 4 pm prayer in the presence of the relic of St John Vianney will be open to all, shall most surely be blest.”
Bishop Davies said he hoped that the visit of the relic would provide an occasion of prayer for the ministry of the priesthood and that it would inspire new and generous vocations.
During its visit to Birmingham the relic will be displayed at the Invocations Annual National Vocations Conference in Birmingham on the morning of July 8. The public will then have a chance to venerate the relic at Oscott in the afternoon.
Bishop Davies said that he was grateful to Archbishop Kelly for offering to host the relic “so that many more may be able to accept the invitation to prayer for priests, for vocations and for the renewal of parish life”.
Herald is nominated for newspaper award BY STAFF REPORTER
lence and innovation in news media production.
THE CATHOLIC HERALD has been nominated in the niche market publication of the year category at this year’s 2012 Newspaper Awards at the Park Lane Hilton in April.
Celebrating i ts 10th anniversary this year, the event is hosted by the print and digital industries which sponsor awards for excel
Previous winners in the niche category include Motorcycle News, Angling Times and The Countryman’s Weekly. Last year ’s main category, newspaper of the year, was awarded to the Daily Telegraph, and the international prize went to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.
Organic shirts offered to eco-friendly clergy BY ED WEST
CLERGY shirt manufacturer Reliant has introduced a new line of Fairtrade and organic certified cotton shirts.
The shirts were introduced during Fairtrade fortnight, which runs for the first two weeks of March. The company said it hoped to eventually make all its products Fairtrade-certified.
Reliant has also promised to give a percentage of the wholesale price of every shirt sold to Tearfund, a Christian relief and development charity that says it is committed to ending spiritual and material poverty.
Clergy can already buy Fairtrade and organic cotton shirts from Reliant’s competitors, Butler & Butler and Just Clergy Shirts.
Daniel Kalder Meet the self-styled pope who lives with his mum PAGE 7
Fr Ronald Rolheiser How to make Easter truly sublime PAGE 20
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