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Hockey nun — Sister Helena Burns wears a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey while sitting at her desk in her Toronto office, Ontario, Canada, Thursday January 9, 2014. Sister Helena is an avid hockey fan. (Darren Calabrese/National Post) Full story…

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Hockey nun — Sister Helena Burns wears a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey while sitting at her desk in her Toronto office, Ontario, Canada, Thursday January 9, 2014. Sister Helena is an avid hockey fan. (Darren Calabrese/National Post) Full story…

York University stands by controversial decision to allow female-free schooling for religious student
York University appears to be standing by its controversial decision to permit a student to be excused from a group project because the presence of women interfered with his “firm religious beliefs.”
In a statement Thursday by provost Rhonda Lenton, the university affirmed its commitment to “gender equity, inclusivity and diversity,” but did not retract an October order authorizing the much-criticized “religious accommodation.”
The statement comes one day after York University sociology professor J. Paul Grayson went public with documents showing that university brass had backed a request from one of his students to be separated from female classmates for religious reasons.
“Seventy per cent of the students at York University are female,” Mr. Grayson told the National Post. “This kind of situation, from that point of view, is simply intolerable.”

York University stands by controversial decision to allow female-free schooling for religious student

York University appears to be standing by its controversial decision to permit a student to be excused from a group project because the presence of women interfered with his “firm religious beliefs.”

In a statement Thursday by provost Rhonda Lenton, the university affirmed its commitment to “gender equity, inclusivity and diversity,” but did not retract an October order authorizing the much-criticized “religious accommodation.”

The statement comes one day after York University sociology professor J. Paul Grayson went public with documents showing that university brass had backed a request from one of his students to be separated from female classmates for religious reasons.

“Seventy per cent of the students at York University are female,” Mr. Grayson told the National Post. “This kind of situation, from that point of view, is simply intolerable.”

Grant student’s request to avoid women for religious reasons, prof told 
After refusing to honour a male student’s request to be separated from his female classmates for religious reasons, a York University professor has found himself at odds with administrators who assert he broke their “obligation to accommodate.”
“It represents a great leap backwards,” said sociology professor J. Paul Grayson. “When I was a student, you couldn’t have gotten away with that — it wouldn’t even have been considered.”
The issue arose last September in the opening days of SOCI 2030, an online course taught by Mr. Grayson.
A student, who remains nameless due to privacy reasons, asked to be counted out of a scheduled group project due to the course’s heavy preponderance of female students.
“One of the main reasons that I have chosen internet courses to complete my BA is due to my firm religious beliefs, and part of that is the intermingling between men and women,” he wrote, adding “it will not be possible for me to meet in public with a group of women (the majority of my group) to complete some of these tasks.” (Photo: Tyler Anderson/National Post/Files)

Grant student’s request to avoid women for religious reasons, prof told 

After refusing to honour a male student’s request to be separated from his female classmates for religious reasons, a York University professor has found himself at odds with administrators who assert he broke their “obligation to accommodate.”

“It represents a great leap backwards,” said sociology professor J. Paul Grayson. “When I was a student, you couldn’t have gotten away with that — it wouldn’t even have been considered.”

The issue arose last September in the opening days of SOCI 2030, an online course taught by Mr. Grayson.

A student, who remains nameless due to privacy reasons, asked to be counted out of a scheduled group project due to the course’s heavy preponderance of female students.

“One of the main reasons that I have chosen internet courses to complete my BA is due to my firm religious beliefs, and part of that is the intermingling between men and women,” he wrote, adding “it will not be possible for me to meet in public with a group of women (the majority of my group) to complete some of these tasks.” (Photo: Tyler Anderson/National Post/Files)

Satanic group unveils plans for 7-foot-tall devil statue to stand next to 10 Commandments in Oklahoma
A satanic group unveiled designs Monday for a 7-foot-tall statue of Satan it wants to put at the Oklahoma state Capitol, where a Ten Commandments monument was placed in 2012.
The New York-based Satanic Temple formally submitted its application to a panel that oversees the Capitol grounds, including an artist’s rendering that depicts Satan as Baphomet, a goat-headed figure with horns, wings and a long beard that’s often used as a symbol of the occult. In the rendering, Satan is sitting in a pentagram-adorned throne with smiling children next to him.
“The monument has been designed to reflect the views of Satanists in Oklahoma City and beyond,” temple spokesman Lucien Greaves said in a statement. “The statue will also have a functional purpose as a chair where people of all ages may sit on the lap of Satan for inspiration and contemplation.” (Photo: AP Photo/Satanic Temple)

Satanic group unveils plans for 7-foot-tall devil statue to stand next to 10 Commandments in Oklahoma

A satanic group unveiled designs Monday for a 7-foot-tall statue of Satan it wants to put at the Oklahoma state Capitol, where a Ten Commandments monument was placed in 2012.

The New York-based Satanic Temple formally submitted its application to a panel that oversees the Capitol grounds, including an artist’s rendering that depicts Satan as Baphomet, a goat-headed figure with horns, wings and a long beard that’s often used as a symbol of the occult. In the rendering, Satan is sitting in a pentagram-adorned throne with smiling children next to him.

“The monument has been designed to reflect the views of Satanists in Oklahoma City and beyond,” temple spokesman Lucien Greaves said in a statement. “The statue will also have a functional purpose as a chair where people of all ages may sit on the lap of Satan for inspiration and contemplation.” (Photo: AP Photo/Satanic Temple)

Maybe Monty Python’s Life of Brian wasn’t blasphemous after all; theologian says Church missed true message
It was once denounced as blasphemous and an insult to Christians, but Monday one of Britain’s most respected theologians insisted that Monty Python’s Life of Brian is in fact a “remarkable tribute to the life of Jesus”.
The Rev. Prof. Richard Burridge, Dean of King’s College London, said that Christians who called for the satire to be banned after its release in 1979 were “embarrassingly” ill-informed and missed a major opportunity to promote the Christian message.
Prof. Burridge said that the film’s depiction of faction-ridden messianic movements in 1st century Judea was probably a more historically accurate portrayal of the setting than many Hollywood films about Jesus. He was speaking as Michael Palin devoted a slot on BBC Radio 4’s Today program, as its guest editor, to reliving the controversy over the film.

Maybe Monty Python’s Life of Brian wasn’t blasphemous after all; theologian says Church missed true message

It was once denounced as blasphemous and an insult to Christians, but Monday one of Britain’s most respected theologians insisted that Monty Python’s Life of Brian is in fact a “remarkable tribute to the life of Jesus”.

The Rev. Prof. Richard Burridge, Dean of King’s College London, said that Christians who called for the satire to be banned after its release in 1979 were “embarrassingly” ill-informed and missed a major opportunity to promote the Christian message.

Prof. Burridge said that the film’s depiction of faction-ridden messianic movements in 1st century Judea was probably a more historically accurate portrayal of the setting than many Hollywood films about Jesus. He was speaking as Michael Palin devoted a slot on BBC Radio 4’s Today program, as its guest editor, to reliving the controversy over the film.

'Earliest Buddhist shrine in the world' uncovered at the sacred site of Buddha’s birthplace
Archaeologists in Nepal say they have discovered traces of a wooden structure dating from the sixth century B.C. that they believe is the world’s oldest Buddhist shrine.
Kosh Prasad Acharya, who teamed with archaeologists from Britain’s Durham University, said Tuesday that the structure was unearthed inside the sacred Mayadevi Temple in Lumbini. Buddha, also known as Siddhartha Gautama, is generally thought to have been born in about the sixth century B.C. at the temple site. (AP Photo/National Geographic, Ira Block)

'Earliest Buddhist shrine in the world' uncovered at the sacred site of Buddha’s birthplace

Archaeologists in Nepal say they have discovered traces of a wooden structure dating from the sixth century B.C. that they believe is the world’s oldest Buddhist shrine.

Kosh Prasad Acharya, who teamed with archaeologists from Britain’s Durham University, said Tuesday that the structure was unearthed inside the sacred Mayadevi Temple in Lumbini. Buddha, also known as Siddhartha Gautama, is generally thought to have been born in about the sixth century B.C. at the temple site. (AP Photo/National Geographic, Ira Block)

Tagged with:  #death  #religion

‘Keeping up with the Steins’: The 500-year-old religious ritual meets the over-the-top bar mitzvah party

Bar and bat mitzvahs have indeed become more elaborate in recent decades and in certain circles, party planners, rabbis and guests say. It’s a shift that coincides with the escalating value Western society places on children and the Jewish day school system’s move to schedule bar and bat mitzvahs two years in advance, so to avoid conflicts. Since these 12- and 13-year-olds have a year packed with bar and bat mitzvah parties, everyone wants to be different — and that often means more impressive.

Many cost tens of thousands of dollars. The really elaborate ones graze a quarter million or more: One Toronto boy had pop band Maroon 5 flown in to perform at his bar mitzvah. Another flew to Las Vegas with his friends and a film crew to make a seven-minute spoof of blockbuster movie The Hangover in which they had over-imbibed on grandma’s matzo balls. Legendary boxer Mike Tyson had a cameo. Justin Bieber sang at a Toronto bat mitzvah before he made it really big.

But as the standard ratchets higher, so too do the tensions. Rabbis voice concern about fetes that may overshadow the true meaning of the day. There’s a trope that the synagogue door seems to slam shut once Hebrew classes are through and the party’s over.

“The classic line is sometimes there’s too much bar and not enough mitzvah,” said Rabbi Shachar Orenstein of The Spanish & Portuguese Synagogue, Canada’s oldest Jewish institution, in Montreal. (Philip Cheung for National Post)

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Umbrellas for shade — Thousands of people line up for charity packages being given out by the politically-influential Filipino sect, Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ) in Manila on October 14, 2013, as they hold a massive evangelical event in five arias in the city that attracted over a million people and brought Manila to a standstill with gigantic traffic jams. The sect of about three million is dwarfed by the country’s huge number of Roman Catholics but is known for the unity and the discipline its followers show to their leaders. Its members vote as a bloc which gives them great political weight. During elections, many Filipino politicians seek the ‘anointment’ of the leaders of the sect to win the votes of their followers. (JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images)

nationalpostphotos:

Umbrellas for shade — Thousands of people line up for charity packages being given out by the politically-influential Filipino sect, Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ) in Manila on October 14, 2013, as they hold a massive evangelical event in five arias in the city that attracted over a million people and brought Manila to a standstill with gigantic traffic jams. The sect of about three million is dwarfed by the country’s huge number of Roman Catholics but is known for the unity and the discipline its followers show to their leaders. Its members vote as a bloc which gives them great political weight. During elections, many Filipino politicians seek the ‘anointment’ of the leaders of the sect to win the votes of their followers. (JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images)

Erich Priebke, Nazi war criminal, gets funeral from Italian schismatic Catholic group to jeers of ‘murderer’ from protesters
Shouting “murderer” and “executioner,” hundreds of people jeered the remains of Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke as his coffin arrived Tuesday for a funeral Mass celebrated by a splinter Catholic group opposed to Vatican outreach to Jews.
Ever since Priebke died Friday at age 100, debate has raged over what to do with his remains, with Pope Francis’ vicar for Rome refusing him a funeral in a Catholic Church. Priebke participated in one of the worst massacres in German-occupied Italy during World War II, the slaughter of 335 civilians at the Areatine Caves outside Rome.

No one appeared ready to take him until, in a surreal turn, the schismatic Society of St. Pius X in the city of Albano Laziale stepped forward to celebrate the funeral Mass. (Photo: Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

Erich Priebke, Nazi war criminal, gets funeral from Italian schismatic Catholic group to jeers of ‘murderer’ from protesters

Shouting “murderer” and “executioner,” hundreds of people jeered the remains of Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke as his coffin arrived Tuesday for a funeral Mass celebrated by a splinter Catholic group opposed to Vatican outreach to Jews.

Ever since Priebke died Friday at age 100, debate has raged over what to do with his remains, with Pope Francis’ vicar for Rome refusing him a funeral in a Catholic Church. Priebke participated in one of the worst massacres in German-occupied Italy during World War II, the slaughter of 335 civilians at the Areatine Caves outside Rome.

No one appeared ready to take him until, in a surreal turn, the schismatic Society of St. Pius X in the city of Albano Laziale stepped forward to celebrate the funeral Mass. (Photo: Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

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Colorful sand mandala — Tibetan Monks from the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery complete a Chenrezig Sand Mandala in Salisbury Cathedrals Chapter House  on October 3, 2013 in Salisbury, England. The monks, who started the painstaking process of creating the sand mandala with millions of grains of colored sand on Monday, will end it on Friday in a destruction ceremony and procession to the River Avon.  The monks who currently live in exile in India are visiting various places in the UK and Europe and will complete two more sand mandalas - which are an artistic tradition of Tibetan Buddhism and are a symbolic picture of the universe representing an imaginary palace - before returning home to their monastery in late November.  (Photos by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Catholic church warns Quebec government its secular charter will create ‘cultural ghettos’
There’s a warning from the Catholic church to the Parti Quebecois government: the push for a more secular state could backfire.
Msgr. Pierre-Andre Fournier, the head of the Assembly of Quebec Catholic Bishops, suggests the proposed charter could have unintended consequences.
Instead of a more secular Quebec, he foresees more resistance: more protests in the street, and more women isolated at home in what he calls cultural “ghettos.”
“The more you try to have an identity by pushing back others, the more you create ghettos,” Fournier told a news conference Thursday in Trois-Rivieres.
“Women will stay at home and will not integrate — and neither will their children.”
He suggested the PQ plan would be particularly unfair to Muslim women, pushing some to the margins while religious Muslim men could continue wearing beards while working for the state. (Ryan Remiorz / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Catholic church warns Quebec government its secular charter will create ‘cultural ghettos’

There’s a warning from the Catholic church to the Parti Quebecois government: the push for a more secular state could backfire.

Msgr. Pierre-Andre Fournier, the head of the Assembly of Quebec Catholic Bishops, suggests the proposed charter could have unintended consequences.

Instead of a more secular Quebec, he foresees more resistance: more protests in the street, and more women isolated at home in what he calls cultural “ghettos.”

“The more you try to have an identity by pushing back others, the more you create ghettos,” Fournier told a news conference Thursday in Trois-Rivieres.

“Women will stay at home and will not integrate — and neither will their children.”

He suggested the PQ plan would be particularly unfair to Muslim women, pushing some to the margins while religious Muslim men could continue wearing beards while working for the state. (Ryan Remiorz / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Church could ‘fall like a house of cards’ if it doesn’t temper stances on contraception, gays and abortion, Pope says
Pope Francis has warned that the Catholic Church’s moral structure might “fall like a house of cards” if it doesn’t balance its divisive rules about abortion, gays and contraception with the greater need to make the church a merciful, more welcoming place for all.
Six months into his papacy, Francis set out his vision for the church and his priorities as pope in a remarkably lengthy and self-critical interview with La Civilta Cattolica, the Italian Jesuit magazine.
“The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently,” Francis said. “We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.” (TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images)

Church could ‘fall like a house of cards’ if it doesn’t temper stances on contraception, gays and abortion, Pope says

Pope Francis has warned that the Catholic Church’s moral structure might “fall like a house of cards” if it doesn’t balance its divisive rules about abortion, gays and contraception with the greater need to make the church a merciful, more welcoming place for all.

Six months into his papacy, Francis set out his vision for the church and his priorities as pope in a remarkably lengthy and self-critical interview with La Civilta Cattolica, the Italian Jesuit magazine.

“The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently,” Francis said. “We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.” (TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images)