A diocese that recently voted to break away from The Episcopal Church has alleged that the denomination is "holding hostage" the retirement accounts of over 80 lay employees.
The Diocese of South Carolina alleged that The Episcopal Church's insurance entity, the Church Pension Group, is refusing to allow lay employees to roll over their 403B plans. The Rev. Canon Jim Lewis, spokesman for the Diocese, explained to The Christian Post, "Similar to a 401K, a 403B is a tax-advantaged retirement account available for employees of non-profits or educational institutions.
"There are currently over 80 lay employees of the diocese and our parishes whose retirement savings are held in a 403B account controlled by the Church Pension Group. The Episcopal Church is not allowing these employees to roll their funds over to another qualified plan of their choosing." more >>
The number of churches that were dismissed from Presbyterian Church (USA) last year has increased by fivefold compared to 2011, says a recently released report.
According to statistics released Thursday by the Office of the General Assembly for PC(USA), 110 congregations were granted dismissal in 2012 in order to join other denominations; in 2011, the reported number was only 21. In 2010, at the 219th General Assembly of PC (USA), a majority of presbyteries, or regional bodies, voted to approve Amendment 10a, which lets presbyteries allow for the ordination of openly homosexual clergy. Because of this amendment, many conservative congregations in PC (USA) decided to pursue dismissal from the mainline denomination, usually for more conservative Presbyterian sects.
Emily Enders Odom, communications coordinator for the OGA of PC(USA), talked about the issue of dismissal within the denomination in a press release sent out on Thursday. Odom noted that most of the mainline protestant denomination did not experience these dismissals. "Even as congregations and their respective presbyteries faithfully, although often painfully, sought to discern their denominational affiliation in serving Christ's mission…only 29 percent of the denomination's 173 presbyteries dismissed churches in 2012," said Odom. more >>
The Rev. Andrew Greeley, a best-selling Roman Catholic priest who sometimes criticized the hierarchy of the church, especially over the child sex abuse scandal, has died aged 85 at his Chicago home.
"Father Greeley was an often controversial priest, with deep convictions and a ready wit. He dedicated his life to research, writing and speaking. In his last years, the words he could still respond to were prayers, especially the Eucharist. We should keep him in our prayers now," said Francis Cardinal George OMI, Archbishop of Chicago.
The Associated Press noted that he authored more than 50 best-selling novels, which have been translated into 12 languages, and wrote a weekly column for the Chicago Sun-Times for a number of the years. more >>
An Ohio school teacher who was fired by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for getting pregnant through artificial insemination claimed on Wednesday during a trial that she was discriminated against.
Christa Dias was fired in 2010 from Holy Family and St. Lawrence schools in East Price Hill, Cincinnati, because she was deemed to have violated the archdiocese's code which requires employees to follow the principles of the Roman Catholic Church. Although Dias claims that church policies aren't enforced equally on men and women, the archdiocese is denying any accusations of discrimination.
"What's at stake here is really very simple: Parents who pay to send their children to a Catholic school have a right to expect that those children will be educated in an environment that reflects Catholic moral teaching. That's why our standard school contract specifies that employees will abide by the teachings of the Catholic Church. That's the contract that Ms. Dias signed and she violated the contract," Dan Andriacco, Communications director for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati told The Christian Post on Wednesday. more >>
Chinese Christians are speaking out against new government regulation passed earlier this year requiring a government body to select and approve all Roman Catholic bishops, which goes in direct opposition to the Vatican's wishes.
"The revision is a regression as it blocks the normalization of Church life in China," Anthony Lam Sui-ki, a senior researcher at Hong Kong diocese's Holy Spirit Study Center said, according to UCA News. "But it also reminds Vatican-approved bishops to be brave and not to be frightened by the authorities."
The regulation means that a Chinese-run religious bureau must select and approve all bishops before they can legally serve in the communist country. The Vatican has said on numerous occasions that it is against such a law, since bishops are usually appointed by the Roman Catholic Church alone. more >>
Pope Francis, the leader of 1.2 billion Roman Catholics around the world, said that non-Catholics and atheists can do good and that God has redeemed everyone, in a recent speech that is making waves.
"The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! 'Father, the atheists?' Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class! We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all! And we all have a duty to do good. And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace.
"If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: we need that so much. We must meet one another doing good. 'But I don't believe, Father, I am an atheist!' But do good: we will meet one another there," the pope said during Mass on Wednesday at the Domus Santae Martae in the Vatican. more >>