Features

  • 11 Mar 2013

    The Conclave of the College of Cardinals starts in earnest this week, when the Master of the Papal Liturgical Celebrations, Monsignor Guido Marini, will solemnly announce extra omnes - or the “outside, all” - and the 115 cardinals will find themselves alone in the Sistine chapel alongside their faith, consciences and beliefs. Dr Harry Hagopian, an Armenian Orthodox Christian and Ekklesia associate who advises the Catholic Church in England and Wales on Middle East and interfaith issues, gives his assessment of what is at stake in the choice that is about to be made.

  • 5 Mar 2013

    “Discrimination and statelessness live side by side; it is no coincidence that most stateless people belong to racial, linguistic and religious minorities.” So says the communique issued at the end of the World Council of Churches consultation on stateless people held in Washington DC from from 27 February to 1 March 2013. This is the full document, made available by the WCC.

  • 3 Mar 2013

    Violence against women is one of the most widespread abuses of human rights around the world, says Tanja Haque, CAFOD’s Gender Advisor. Women and girls in every culture and society are affected by violence and the facts are appalling: acts of violence against women and girls cause more deaths than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war combined. The struggle against gender-based violence goes on across the world, and the Church can and must play its role in this.

  • 20 Feb 2013

    How are we to assess Pope Benedict XVI? What does his time as pontiff say about the present and future of the papacy? Weaving his way adroitly through a recent sea-wave of both condemnation and adulation, Armenian Orthodox ecumenical consultant Dr Harry Hagopian, who is also an Ekklesia associate, finds himself in agreement on many points with third-wave feminist critic Joumana Haddad, while also feeling that graciousness and acknowledgement of Benedict's strengths - including his theological reflections - better serves the cause of forward movement inside and outside the Church.

  • 15 Feb 2013

    2013 is set to be an important year for both the Catholic Church, which elects a new pope, and Croatia, which will become the 28th member of the European Union (EU), writes Alex Sakalis for openDemocracy. These two entities share a long history, with the former wielding significant, yet often ignored, influence on political life in the latter.

  • 12 Feb 2013

    One of the possibly unintended consequences of Benedict’s announcement that he is to step down as Pope - something unprecedented in the modern era - is that it might set in motion a dynamic that creates renewed opportunities for ecumenical dialogue by offering a new perspective on the role and place of the papacy, writes long time observer Dr Stephen Brown. He offers an assessment of both the plusses and minuses of the pontiff's period in office from the perspective of inter-Christian relations.

  • 11 Feb 2013

    Life in the European Union is one of continuing political negotiation. No political realist is surprised that national leaders constantly seek to protect and advance the interests of their country, says social theologian Dr Graeme Smith. The European Union is the place of permanent dialogue between different interests, and more substantially different political cultures, interestingly mirroring some different Protestant and Catholic instincts. Meanwhile, ecumenical lessons can help us to see why it's negotiation all the way, in a positive sense.

  • 10 Feb 2013

    Israeli politicians should forsake their land-grab policies and in the process help sow the seeds of hope and peace for two peoples who vie for legitimacy and rights over the same small parcel of land, says Dr Harry Hagopian, regional experts and Ekklesia associate. After all, it is axiomatic that citizenry rights are redundant unless they are vested with sovereignty, too.

  • 4 Feb 2013

    In years of conflict Colombia has seen five million people displaced, 60,000 declared as “missing”, thousands killed, and a million hectares of land snatched away from the rightful owners. Dr Marcelo Schneider addresses the justice that is bound up with peace in a troubled land, and sets the scene for the work of the the Programme of Ecumenical Accompaniment in Colombia (PEAC), inspired by the WCC’s Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel.

  • 4 Feb 2013

    Christianity and the Law have been in a more or less constant state of relational flux over the course of history, observes barrister Andrew Worthley, considering two of the recent European Court of Human Rights cases brought on grounds of religious discrimination. The idea that iron-clad secular law and immutable religion are on a collision course misunderstands both law and religion, as well as the nuances of history and of texts, he suggests.