A German church has far exceeded its initial expectations in so far distributing more than 200,000 black bracelets intended as a symbolic protest against human rights abuses in China during the Olympic Games in Beijing.
The scale of the challenge and the glimmer of new possibilities in interreligious understnading is on display at the 16-18 July international interfaith conference convened in Madrid by the Muslim World League.
Legal restrictions imposed for Pope Benedict's visit to Sydney this week, which could see protesters arrested for "annoying" Catholic pilgrims, are unconstitutional, the Australian Federal Court has ruled.
Roman Catholic social justice advocates have joined in widespread criticism of new laws restricting protests during World Youth Day in Sydney this month, which Pope Benedict XVI will attend in his first visit to Australia.
A key church figure in the struggle against Robert Mugabe's abuses in Zimbabwe, Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube, has said he may soon return to the country, still reeling from post-election conflict, hunger and economic chaos.
The Chinese government has given permission for special distribution of booklets of the Gospels, copies of the New Testament and full Bibles during the Olympic Games, but other concerns about freedom of speech and expression remain.