According to a new investigation, at least 231 boys suffered physical abuse—at least 50 of them also claimed to be sexually abused—in a famous children’s choir which was run by Monsignor Georg Ratzinger at the time. He’s the brother of Pope Benedict XVI. An attorney hired by the Diocese of Regensburg led the investigation into the German choir and two schools related to the program, and said that abuse happened over a four decade-span. For 30 of those years, Ratzinger served as the choir conductor.
The investigator claimed Georg Ratzinger must have known about the repeated abuse of the children. In an interview with the AP, the attorney said that even though there was knowledge of the abuse internally, there were “almost no consequences.” As RNS notes, back in 2010, Georg Ratzinger told the German newspaper Passauer Neue Presse he didn't know about the sexual abuse: "The problem of sexual abuse that has now come to light was never spoken of." Discuss
One of the world's largest college ministries is embracing the Black Lives Matter movement. This weekend at “Urbana”—the huge missions conference put on by the college ministry InterVarsity Fellowship—activist, speaker and the director of Faith for Justice, Michelle Higgins, discussed why the Church needs to embrace the growing and, at times, misunderstood movement. As RNS notes, it’s a major move for a such an influential Christian organization. The ministry currently has more than 41,000 people involved in chapters around world. This year’s conference hosted well-known leaders including David Platt, Francis Chan and Christena Cleveland.
During her session (which you can watch below), she discusses issues of systematic injustice that parts of the Church are often silent on and the need for unity. Higgins explains, “Black Lives Matter is not a mission of hate. It is not a mission to bring about incredible anti-Christian values and reforms to the world. Black Lives Matter is a movement on mission in the truth of God.”
UPDATE: InterVarsity has released an additional statement called "InterVarsity and #BlackLivesMatter" (which you can read in its entirety here) saying,
We chose to address #BlackLivesMatter at Urbana 15, InterVarsity’s Student Missions Conference, because it is a language and experience of many college students. Many Black InterVarsity staff and students report that they are physically and emotionally at risk in their communities and on campus. About one-half of those at Urbana 15 are people of color, including more than 1,200 Black participants. InterVarsity chose to participate in this conversation because we believe that Christians have something distinctive to contribute in order to advance the gospel.
InterVarsity does not endorse everything attributed to #BlackLivesMatter. For instance, we reject any call to attack or dehumanize police. But – using the language of Francis Schaeffer and Chuck Colson – we are co-belligerents with a movement with which we sometimes disagree because we believe it is important to affirm that God created our Black brothers and sisters. They bear his image. They deserve safety, dignity and respect. InterVarsity believes all lives are sacred – born and unborn. Interim president Jim Lundgren says, “Scripture is clear about the sanctity of life. That is why I’m both pro-life and committed to the dignity of my Black brothers and sisters.”
Evidentially, the Diocese of San Pablo in the Philippines now frowns on priest riding hoverboards while singing hymns at mass. To be honest, this seems like a theologically grey area to us, but the church sees things differently. They’ve released a statement outlining exactly why they disapprove of such blatant displays of swag: "That was wrong. It is not a personal celebration where one can capriciously introduce something to get the attention of people. The priest said that it was a wake-up call for him. He acknowledged that his action was not right and promised that it will not happen again.” So basically, they’re saying “Farewell, hoverboards.” The priest "will spend some time to reflect on this past event." For what it’s worth, the congregants didn’t seem all that offended. His hovering rendition of "May the Good Lord Bless and Keep You" brought the house down. Discuss
Teen Mania, the massive youth outreach ministry founded by evangelist Ron Luce—is shutting down after nearly three decades. In a long interview with Christianity Today, Luce said,
Scripture talks about old and new wineskins. Sometimes old wineskins don’t need to be used anymore. There are plenty of Christian organizations that become institutions, that are dead and dry, and they’re old wineskins. We don’t want to become that. Teen Mania has completed this assignment.
At the height of its influence, Teen Mania attracted 10s of thousands of young people a year to evangelistic “Acquire the Fire” events, sent teens on missions trips through their “Global Expeditions” program and ran a controversial, “Honor Academy” internship program. In recent years, Teen Mania has also faced several high profile financial issues including getting sued by Compassion International after they paid for their child sponsorship programs to be promoted at Acquire the Fire events that were later canceled. Several churches have also said they haven’t received refunds after paying to send teens to the events that never happend. Luce told CT, “We’re doing everything we can to make it right with youth groups and churches.” Discuss
The newly named leader of the Episcopal Church, the Most Rev. Michael Bruce Curry, has released a video message discussing his vision of the Church. “Now is our time to go. To go into the world, to share the Good News of God and Jesus Christ. To go into the world, to help to be agents and instruments of God’s reconciliation. To go into the world, and let the world know there is a God who loves us; a God who will not let us go; and that that love can set us all free. This is the Jesus movement.” The denomination currently has nearly 2 million members around the world. Discuss
This Sunday, the congregation of Sycamore Creek Church in Pickerington, Ohio, was listening to a sermon about the importance of generosity, and decided they would bless someone with a financial gift. During the message, the pastor called in a pizza order, and while it was being delivered, took up a special offering. When Domino’s Pizza delivery woman Natasha Boyer entered the sanctuary, she was invited on stage. Pastor Steve Markle explained to her, “We’ve been teaching our church this last month about being generous, and so we did something special for you today. We took up a special offering for a tip for you.” He then gave her the $1,046 tip on the $5.99 order. Boyer, a 21-year-old single mother, broke down in tears.
As the Washington Post explains, the money meant so much to her, because she had fallen behind on rent after recently being hospitalized, but would now be able to pay her bills. She told the paper, “I was trying to come up with a way to get almost $1,000 to try and figure out how to keep my home so I didn’t lose my job. My prayers were literally answered in a matter of hours.” You can watch the video below: Discuss