Jasper: New Pope Can Be Elected This Week
NORMAL - It's possible the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics could have a new pope next week.
The College of Cardinals will begin the conclave process on Tuesday.
Pope Benedict XVI resigned at the end of February for health reasons.
Illinois State University Professor of History Katie Jasper said the conclave is relatively new.
"It didn't exist before the 13th century," Jasper said. "It came about because in the late 13th century, the cardinals were having difficulty electing a pope and the local authorities in the town closed up the cardinals and sure enough, they came to a decision."
Jasper said they had been deliberating for almost three years. She doesn't expect a long process this time because most of the 150 cardinals were either appointed by Pope John Paul II or Pope Benedict.
"In the past when conclaves have taken an enormous amount of time, it's usually because there's some dissention among the cardinals. In this case they seem to be more politically in line," Jasper said.
Pope Benedict was elected in a little over a day. There are 150 cardinals that will discuss the slate, but 115 elector cardinals under the age of 80 get to vote. There will be three rounds of voting a day, one in the morning and two in the afternoon until a two-thirds majority of 77 cardinals agree on a new leader.
House Bill Would Protect Health Care Conscience Rights
WASHINGTON (AP) A bill introduced in the U.S. House would protect conscience
rights that backers say are threatened by the new health care law.
The Health Care Conscience Rights Act would exempt employers from providing
contraceptives or other services for which they have a religious or moral
Supporters say it would prevent the government from forcing health
care providers to be complicit in abortion. Those alleging conscience rights
violations would be able to sue.
The bill's sponsor, Congresswoman Diane Black, R-Tenn., is a nurse. She was
joined by other women in health care and business who said obeying their
consciences shouldn't subject them to crippling fines and penalties.
Black would like the bill's conscience protections to be attached to the budget
measure that Congress must pass this month to keep the government running.
O'Malley: I Don't Expect a Change of Wardrobe
BOSTON (AP) Boston's Cardinal Sean O'Malley says he expects to be wearing his
brown hooded habit for the rest of his life despite questions about whether he
may be a candidate to be the next pope.
O'Malley is in Rome along with other Roman Catholic cardinals who will choose a
successor to recently retired Benedict XVI. He met with reporters on Tuesday
along with Galveston-Houston Cardinal Daniel DiNardo.
O'Malley was asked if he'd continue to wear the habit of his Capuchin religious
order if he became pope. He replied, ``I don't expect to be elected pope'' and
added ``I don't expect to have a change of wardrobe.''
Ga. City Council Opts Against Saying Lord's Prayer
CAVE SPRING, Ga. (AP) City Council members in Cave Spring, Ga., have agreed
to forgo saying the Lord's Prayer at their meetings, a reversal from a previous
The Rome News-Tribune reports that council members had voted earlier to say the
prayer at council meetings.
City Attorney Zach Burkhalter said the law restricts what prayers can be said
at council meetings, though it doesn't prohibit all prayers from being spoken.
He told council members they can have a prayer, but, in his words, ``it just has
to be a more generic-type thing.''
Council member Peggy Allgood suggested pastors at Cave Spring's six churches
take turns saying the prayer at meetings - a proposal Mayor Rob Ware liked.
City Clerk Judy Dickinson said she would contact local ministers and arrange
the prayer schedule.
Hearing Reset on McDonald's Islamic Diet Agreement
DETROIT (AP) A hearing Detroit on a proposed $700,000 payment by McDonald's and a franchisee to settle a suit that says they falsely advertised food as being prepared according to Islamic law.
McDonald's and Finley's Management Co. agreed Jan. 18 to the settlement, with
money to be shared by Dearborn Heights resident Ahmed Ahmed, a Detroit health
clinic, the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn and lawyers.
The suit filed in Wayne County Circuit Court says Ahmed bought a chicken
sandwich in 2011 at a Dearborn McDonald's but found it wasn't halal, meaning it
didn't meet Islamic food rules.
Islam requires invoking God's name before an
`Christ' Banned from Longview Council Invocations
LONGVIEW, Wash. (AP) The mayor of Longview, Wash., says ministers should
refrain from invoking Jesus Christ in invocations for City Council meetings.
The Daily News reports that Mayor Don Jensen told the Kelso-Longview
Ministerial Association that such prayers are not acceptable because they could
expose the city to a lawsuit.
Longview resident Dan Smith, who describes himself as a ``very comfortable
atheist,'' has complained about the invocations.
The ministerial association's president, Baptist Pastor Mark Schmutz, responded
that if the ministers can't speak the name Jesus Christ, they will no longer
provide the invocation, because in his words``This is the one and only true
Federal Lawsuit Now Filed in SC Episcopal Schism
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) A lawsuit filed in federal court Tuesday by Episcopal
Bishop Charles vonRosenberg asks a federal judge to declare he is the only
bishop with authority to act in name of the Diocese of South Carolina.
The suit alleges trademark infringement and argues that the 19 parishes
remaining with the national church, of which he is the newly elected bishop, is
the only entity with the right to use the name ``The Diocese of South
The lawsuit names as defendant Bishop Mark Lawrence, the bishop of the diocese
that broke away from the church last year in disputes over ordaining gays and
other issues. The breakaway diocese has 70 congregations with about 29,000
A state judge issued a temporary injunction in January giving Lawrence the
right to use the name ``Diocese of South Carolina.'' The diocese remaining with
the national church has since been using the name ``The Episcopal Church in
Religious Broadcasters Foresee Christian Civil Disobedience
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Leaders of the National Religious Broadcasters say
Christians may have to practice civil disobedience if the courts require
recognition of same-sex marriage or uphold the health care law's birth control
At their convention this week, NRB board members Janet Parshall and the Rev.
Richard Land said those issues, and religious freedom, are non-negotiable, even
at the cost of paying huge fines or going to jail.
Land recalled that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. galvanized the civil rights
movement with his letter from the Birmingham jail.
Parshall said today's Christians may also have to decide whether to ``bow our
knee'' to government or to God.
Dozens of lawsuits have been filed against the contraceptive coverage mandate,
and the Supreme Court this month will consider cases filed by supporters of
Americans Nix Conclave Briefing; Concern of Leaks
VATICAN CITY (AP) The American cardinals in Rome for the conclave to elect
the next pope have canceled their popular daily press briefings purportedly
because of concern that details of the secret proceedings under way ahead of the
election might leak to the media.
The Vatican denied it exerted any pressure on the Americans to keep quiet. But
the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the Holy See considers
these pre-conclave meetings to be secret and part of a solemn discernment
process to choose a pope.
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