Pope accepts resignation of Irish bishop; 7 of Ireland's 26 dioceses now without bishops
DUBLIN (AP) _ Pope Benedict XVI says he has accepted the resignation of another Irish bishop, leaving seven of Ireland's 26 Roman Catholic dioceses without one.
Bishop Seamus Hegarty offered his resignation two weeks ago as bishop of Derry, a northwestern diocese that straddles Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The 71-year-old Hegarty cited an unspecified "irreversible" illness as the reason.
Hegarty also is expected to feature in an upcoming church-authorized investigation into the cover-up of clerical child abuse in Hegarty's previous diocese, Raphoe.
Earlier this year senior Catholic officials visited Ireland to investigate how church structures should be reformed following a series of such scandals. Merging dioceses and eliminating bishops' posts is one option.
US Dept. of Justice investigates city of Lomita for possible discrimination against Muslims
LOMITA, Calif. (AP) _ A land-use decision by the city of Lomita to stop an Islamic center from expanding has become the subject of a federal investigation to determine whether the decision was guided by religious discrimination.
This week, federal investigators interviewed 13 people who were involved in the March 2010 decision to deny an application for expansion from the Islamic Center of South Bay.
City officials say the unanimous land-use decision was made based on space constraints, not religion.
"It surprises me that the federal government would spend so many resources second-guessing this pretty basic land-use decision," Lomita City Attorney Christi Hogin told The Los Angeles Times.
But Islamic Center officials say they believe the city has violated laws that prohibit discrimination against religious institutions.
"There was a feeling that they just don't want us here" at the March meeting, said Iraj Ershaghi, a founding member of the center.
Ershaghi said City Council members bowed to pressure from residents to reject the proposal.
The Islamic Center property was purchased in 1985, and the Muslim community has bought adjacent structures to expand services into nine buildings. The expansion plan would combine the buildings.
Oahu school inspired by Blessed Marianne unveils statue of nun who cared for leprosy patients
HONOLULU (AP) _ St. Francis School in Honolulu school has installed a statue of Blessed Marianne Cope on its campus.
Cope was a member of the Sisters of St. Francis, the Roman Catholic religious order that runs the Manoa school. The nun inspired the school's founding six years after her death in 1918.
Cope cared for patients with Hansen's disease, or leprosy, at Kalaupapa on Molokai. She died of natural causes and was buried there.
In 2004, Pope John Paul II declared Mother Marianne "venerable," the first step toward canonization after the Vatican recognized her intercession for the unexplained cure of a New York girl dying of multiple organ failure. The Vatican must authenticate another miracle for her to be declared a saint.
UN human rights chief concerned over rising religious intolerance in Maldives
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ The U.N. human rights chief expressed concerned over rising religious intolerance in the Maldives and discussed other rights issues with its leaders, a spokesman said Wednesday.
Navi Pillay met President Mohammed Nasheed, opposition politicians and other officials on her visit to the island country, according to her spokesman Rupert Colville.
Maldives is a Muslim nation where practicing other religions is forbidden. Recently, two monuments given by other nations were vandalized for allegingly un-Islamic images. A monument from Pakistan had a Buddha image and one from Sri Lanka had the image of a lion.
The government also recently closed a website run by a journalist from a minority sect.
Pillay also plans to visit Bali, Indonesia, for meetings on human rights in ASEAN countries.
South Jordan mayor resigning to take New Zealand job with LDS Church
SOUTH JORDAN, Utah (AP) _ A Utah mayor is leaving his post two years early to take an assignment with the Mormon church in New Zealand.
Officials say South Jordan Mayor W. Kent Money is resigning effective Feb. 12 after 10 years in office and 29 years living in the city.
Money will be taking a job with his employer, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He'll be developing LDS church properties associated with a closed school in New Zealand.
The South Jordan City Council is set to announce the first week of December how they plan to replace the mayor.
Lawsuit says North Charleston church officials knew pastor was abusing kids but didn't report
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) _ A new lawsuit accuses officials at a North Charleston church of knowing that its pastor was sexually abusing children but failing to report the activity to authorities.
Attorney Scott Beard says he filed the lawsuit against the Full Word Ministries church. Beard says church officials knew 44-year-old pastor Tyrone Moore was abusing his client, a young boy.
Moore is serving a 30-year prison sentence for committing a lewd act on a minor. A jury found him guilty of fondling two boys multiple times between 2004 and 2006.
Moore is on the state's sex offender registry for a 1991 conviction of second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a child between ages 11 and 14. He also was convicted in 1989 of committing a lewd act on a child under 16.