Church of England report may lead to "further liberalization"
A published report released yesterday by the Church of England's doctrine commission, "could pave the way for further liberalization" of the church's views on sex, The Daily Telegraph says today.

The 138-page document, Being Human: A Christian Understanding of Personhood Illustrated with Reference to Power, Money, Sex And Time (Church House Publishing), was approved by the House of Bishops. The Church of England website says that the book's view on sex is this:

The basic thing to be learnt is that it is created to be 'a whole-person relationship of love and loyalty involving body and self'. We teach a realism about the goodness and joy of sex together with the ways it can go wrong. This is set in the context of God's engagement with the world, and especially the encompassing reality of that engagement: the covenant relationship with God, other people and creation.

The Daily Telegraph, however, says the report is the church's attempt to "shed its puritanical image" by avoiding pejorative language, such as "living in sin." Instead, the article says that the report encourages "covenanted relationships."

The doctrine commission chairman, Stephen Sykes, told the Telegraph that a man and woman making a lifelong commitment to each other form a covenant relationship, regardless if they are married. "The Church will still urge such couples to marry, although it increasingly recognizes that the institution is far from perfect," the articles says.

The new book comes a few months after a report form the church's Southwark Diocese that questioned the church's view on cohabitation and argued that traditional teaching against sex before marriage had been inherited from a different form of society and caused guilt for the sexually active.

Malaysian theaters not showing Bruce Almighty
The Malaysian government minister for religious affairs is calling for the recent Jim Carrey comedy, Bruce Almighty, to be banned because it's message is offensive to Muslims.

The minister says that the film's theme of a normal guy taking over for God is not appropriate. "We cannot equate ourselves with God almighty even as a joke," Abdul Hamid Zainal Abidin told the Bernama news agency.

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Church and state:

  • House targets judicial 'errors' with a new strategy | The House took a rare swipe at two federal appeals court decisions last week, voting to stop enforcement of rulings that public schools may not recite the Pledge of Allegiance and that a courthouse may not post the Ten Commandments (The Washington Times)

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Missions and ministry:

Clergy sex abuse:

  • Catholic panel promises release of its findings | A panel of prominent Roman Catholics pledged yesterday to publicly release its findings from several ongoing studies on molester priests — even if their reports turn up information that will likely be used in lawsuits against the church. (Associated Press)

  • Also: Panel seeks bishops' compliance | The lay board set up to monitor U.S. Roman Catholic bishops said Tuesday that they are demanding nothing less than full compliance from bishops. (The Chicago Tribune)

  • New child sex case hits Australian church | Australia's Anglican church has been thrown into fresh controversy after the author of an influential report on paedophilia within the Tasmanian church pleaded guilty to child sex charges. (The Guardian, London)

  • New Boston archbishop brings big hopes | Bishop Sean O'Malley is to be installed Wednesday as the sixth archbishop of Boston. (Associated Press)

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