Here’s what’s in the news this week:
• In these troubled economic terms, the Russian Orthodox church seems to be sensitive about their patriarch wearing a watch that costs 30,000 euros, which is why they tried to doctor a photo of him to hide the evidence. Unfortunately for them, they forgot to also edit out a reflection of the watch on his wrist. As I’ve said before, it’s fortunate that most censors are unintelligent, unimaginative people.
• In a story I definitely want to return to later, the Pope assailed a priests’ group calling for the ordination of women and an end to celibacy. He bluntly proclaimed that the church would never change its ways, and in place of free speech and independent thought, he called for a “radicalism of obedience”. In a related story, the Vatican has silenced a liberal Irish priest, holding that any attitude different from formal church teachings is “not the authentic path”.
• In other news, the Catholic church has threatened to cut off funding to Compañeros, a nonprofit that gives legal and medical aid to Hispanic immigrants in Colorado. Their crime, according to the diocese, was joining an immigrant rights coalition that also included a gay and lesbian advocacy group. The article lists other nonprofits across the country that have cut ties with the Catholic church over similar disputes.• And one more Catholic story: Trial begins for William J. Lynn, an official of the Philadelphia archdiocese accused of helping to conceal sex predators in the clergy.
• Since I’ve written about governing by the happiness index, I was pleased to read about a U.N. resolution to put gross national happiness on the global agenda.
• In case you missed it: Big Think published a post last week by Faisal Saeed Al-Mutar, the 20-year-old Iraqi founder of a secular humanist group. I can’t even imagine the courage it must take to found a group like this in a country as torn by religious violence as Iraq. Humanists are incredibly brave people!