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During the Anglican Communion’s Lambeth Conference in Canterbury this summer, the U.S. Episcopal Church’s Bishop Catherine Roskam surprised the gathering by accusing male bishops of beating their wives: “We have 700 men here. Do you think any of them beat their wives? Chances are they do. The most devout Christians beat their wives…many of our bishops come from places where it is culturally accepted to beat your wife.” Bishop Catherine’s remarks provoked astonishment among bishops at the conference. Anglican Bishop David James of Bradford, England, told reporters that he is unaware of any bishops who beat their wives. “Nor do I know if any of the wives beat their husbands,” he added (London Times, July 31).
Catholic nuns and priests in Italy followed their flocks to the beach this summer, establishing an inflatable church and a beach-convent in the sands to lure sunbathers to Mass and prayer. The 98-foot-long blow-up church — staffed by priests ready to hear confessions — debuted on the Adriatic coast in the Molise region. The first attempt to inaugurate the inflatable church on the island of Sardinia failed after strong winds forced organizers to relocate. “The concept of a beach-convent is something that is appreciated by vacationers and the nuns themselves,” Fr. Antonio Rungi, who helped spearhead the initiative, told Italian news agency ANSA (Aug. 5).
The Archdiocese of Cincinnati has issued a detailed list of inappropriate behaviors for priests, saying they should not kiss, tickle, or wrestle children. The newest version of the archdiocese’s “Decree on Child Protection” also prohibits bear hugs, lap-sitting, and piggyback rides. But it says priests may still shake children’s hands, pat them on the back, and give high-fives. Victims’ advocates who have criticized the archdiocese for its handling of clerical sex abuse cases say they support the new measures, that eliminating piggyback rides is surely “a step toward better protection of children” (Cincinnati Enquirer, Aug. 11).
A Mexican Catholic priest’s condemnation of miniskirts on an official church website has caused outrage among some women who say the Church is making it easier to justify sexual violence against women. Fr. Sergio G. Roman sounded the alarm against miniskirts in an online publication to prepare Catholics for a family-values forum next year in Mexico City. “When we show our body without prudence, without modesty, we are prostituting ourselves,” wrote Fr. Roman. Women dressed in miniskirts and low-cut shirts protested the priest’s message by rallying at the doors of Mexico City’s cathedral during Sunday Mass, carrying signs that read, “Clothed and naked, I am the same” (San Jose Mercury News, Aug. 19).
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