Religion news in brief

AP News
Posted: Apr 02, 2014 12:07 PM

Bishops celebrate Mass along Mexico border

NOGALES, Ariz. (AP) — A delegation of Roman Catholic leaders has celebrated Mass on Arizona's border with Mexico to mourn those who have died trying to enter the U.S. and to pray for immigration reform.

Several hundred people attended the ceremony Tuesday and a few dozen people peered through the border fence from Mexico to watch the Mass. Catholic clergymen offered Holy Communion through the fence to people in Mexico.

The Catholic leaders earlier did a tour of Nogales to see spots where immigrants come into the country. The church leaders on Monday walked along a notorious section of border, an area that once was one of the most popular crossing points for drug and immigrant smugglers.


Atlanta archbishop apologizes over $2.2M mansion

ATLANTA (AP) — The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Atlanta has apologized for building a $2.2 million mansion for himself.

Archbishop Wilton Gregory said in a column published Monday that he will sell the new residence and move elsewhere if that's what the people of his diocese want.

Gregory said that he failed to project the cost in terms of his "integrity and pastoral credibility."

The nearly 6,400-square-foot home sits in one of Atlanta's most exclusive neighborhoods. A group of Catholics met with Gregory in January to ask that he sell the residence and move back to his original home. His old home was purchased by the Cathedral of Christ The King so it could become a residence for its priests.

The cathedral purchased Gregory's old home using $1.9 million from a charitable donation.


Crowe meets Anglican leader after 'Noah' premiere

LONDON (AP) — The pope said no but the leader of the world's Anglicans was happy to meet Russell Crowe, star of the Biblical epic "Noah."

Crowe was denied a private audience with Pope Francis when he was promoting the movie in Rome last month. But Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby met the actor at the cleric's Lambeth Palace home Tuesday, the day after the movie's British premiere, to discuss faith and spirituality.

Director Darren Aronofsky's film is a box-office hit in the U.S. but some Christian conservatives have complained it takes liberties with the Biblical account of the flood. It has been banned in parts of the Muslim world where it's taboo to depict a prophet.

Welby's office said the archbishop had seen "Noah" and found it "interesting and thought-provoking."


Boy Scouts removes gay troop leader in Seattle

SEATTLE (AP) — The Boys Scouts of America has removed an openly gay troop leader in Seattle, saying he made an issue out of his sexual orientation.

The organization told Geoff McGrath in a letter Monday that it "has no choice" but to revoke his registration after he said he was gay while being profiled by NBC News.

McGrath, who is married to another man, has been leading Seattle Troop 98 since its formation was approved last fall. He said the pastor of Rainier Beach United Methodist Church, the chartering organization, asked him to lead the troop.

The Boy Scouts began accepting openly gay members for the first time this year, over the objections of some participants who eventually left the organization. Gay-rights groups applauded the move, but it angered people who consider homosexuality a sin and a violation of Scouting values.

The Rev. Monica Corsaro at Rainier Beach United Methodist Church said she and her congregation are standing by McGrath as troop leader.


Christian rock pioneer's album added to National Recording Registry

WASHINGTON (AP) — A 1972 album by Christian rock pioneer Larry Norman has been added to the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress.

"Only Visiting This Planet" included two of the controversial singer's best-known songs. "I Wish We'd All Been Ready" was about someone who missed the Rapture, while "The Great American Novel" harshly critiqued modern culture.

A statement by the Library calls the album "the key work in the early history of Christian rock." It says Norman, who died in 2008 at the age of 60, "commented on the world as he saw it from his position as a passionate, idiosyncratic outsider to mainstream churches."

Each year, Library of Congress officials select 25 recordings that are at least 10 years old that they judge to be "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

Other new additions to the National Recording Registry include Linda Ronstadt's "Heart Like A Wheel" and U2's "The Joshua Tree."