Declaration of the 6th Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions

Eighty-two delegations from 46 countries representing the world’s religions gathered in Astana Oct. 10-11 for the Sixth Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions. Its objectives are to seek universal guidelines among world and traditional religions and to be a permanent platform for international interfaith dialogue.

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Muslim Women: Please do not tell us to ‘pray away’ our mental health issues

“You don’t need to see a psychologist. Just pray.” A well meaning and otherwise caring individual said these words to me. At a time when I was very clearly struggling with my mental health, this was a painful reminder of how so many people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) and faith communities are widely misguided and uninformed when it comes to mental health and well being. This deep lack of awareness severely hinders treatment and early diagnosis, which results in victims suffering in silence.

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Buddhism: Pema Chödrön apologizes for dismissing allegation of sexual assault from young woman

On Saturday, famed Buddhist teacher Pema Chödrön released a statement responding to an allegation that she once dismissed a woman’s report that she was raped by a Shambhala Center director.

Chödrön is a Buddhist nun, best-selling author, and senior teacher in the Shambhala community. She is a member of Shambhala’s “Transition Task Force,” the temporary committee appointed to appoint a new Shambhala board after the previous board resigned after allegations of sexual misconduct by leaders in the community.

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Pope Francis dialogues with Christian leaders on combating racism

Pope Francis met on 20 September with leaders of different Christian churches who have been taking part in a Rome meeting on combating racism and xenophobia, saying he hoped their encounter would give rise to many other such shared initiatives.

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Human Rights Council: Human dignity should be main focus among climate change and foreign debt concerns

Climate change and foreign debt are intersecting human rights issues, and faith communities can contribute to better understanding and addressing these concerns, agreed many who attended a side event held on the occasion of the 39th Human Rights Council at Palais des Nations in Geneva on 18 September.

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Religious leaders from diverse traditions share candid thoughts on xenophobia

At a global conference on xenophobia in Rome, a panel of four religious leaders from, respectively, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu and Islamic traditions, spoke candidly about how xenophobia can sometimes be woven deeply into the fabric of these traditions.

The World Conference on Xenophobia, Racism, and Populist Nationalism in the Context of Global Migration is running 18-20 September.

The world conference is organized by the World Council of Churches and the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU)

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Living the Change: Climate Science is Unfolding

The nurturing and respect for Life is a central doctrine of all faiths on Earth. Yet today we are endangering life on Earth with unacceptably high and rising levels of greenhouse gas emissions. These gases are destabilizing the global climate system, heating the Earth, acidifying the oceans, and putting both humanity and all living creatures at unacceptable risk.

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Tibetan Buddhist Rinpoche confirmed to have engaged in “physical, sexual, emotional abuse”

The author of the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, Soygal Rinpoche, has been subject of abuse claims by his followers. An independent investigation confirms “physical, sexual, emotional abuse” by Sogyal Rinpoche.

The report by law firm Lewis Silkin details multiple allegations of physical, sexual, emotional and psychological abuse, as well as accounts of “living a lavish, gluttonous and sybaritic lifestyle,” and “tainting the appreciation of the Dharma.

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Europe: Ecumenical pilgrims start journey to advocate for climate justice at UN climate talks

A group of ecumenical pilgrims started a journey towards the 2018 World Climate Conference hosting city Katowice, in Poland, where high level talks about the preservation of creation will take place. “Go then!” (Geht doch!, in German) is the motto of the Ecumenical Pilgrimage for Climate Justice that took off in Bonn, Germany, on 9 September.

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Royal Commission: Catholic Church must reform canon law in wake of child sex abuse royal commission

Amid international media hype and confusing reporting, Australia’s Catholic leaders delivered their official response to the Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Sexual Abuse last week.

So, has the Australian Catholic Church “rejected mandatory reporting“, as Al Jazeera published? Or did The Hindu get it right with their headline: “Australian Catholic leaders vow to end abuse cover-up“?

The devil is, as always, in the detail. And there is a lot of detail.

The joint response from the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) and Catholic Religious Australia (CRA), which represents nuns, sisters and brothers, monks and friars, says bishops and religious leaders accept most of the recommendations of the royal commission.

Simultaneously, the long-awaited Truth, Justice and Healing Council (TJHC) report, a self-analysis commissioned by the ACC and the CRA, was made public — it’s a bitter medicinal pill Catholic leadership themselves had paid for and asked to be administered.

The bottom line is that the diverse and independent parts of a complex Catholic Church in crisis have managed — for better or for worse — to pull themselves together and form a coordinated response.

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Royal Commission: exploring the task of rebuilding and renewal for Australia’s Christian churches

The conference Health and Integrity in Churches and Ministry calls for a ‘reformation’ of Australia’s churches following Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Participating churches were the Catholic Church (and Catholic Religious Orders), the Anglican Church, the Uniting Church, Churches of Christ and members of the Salvation Army along with representatives of other Christian denominations.

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UN calls on China to free 1 million Uighurs from alleged re-education camps

United Nations’ human rights experts have voiced alarm over alleged Chinese political re-education camps for Muslim Uighurs and called for the immediate release of those detained on the grounds of what China describes as “countering terrorism”.

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Victoria: Living the Change

Living the Change is a national faith-based event curated by Australian Religious Response to Climate Change, Religions for Peace Australia and United Religions Initiative. It will be launched in many locations in Australia including Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. There is also an online tool for reducing your carbon footprint as per your faith.

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Pope Francis condemns church sex abuse in response to new revelations in US

Pope Francis has issued a letter to Catholics around the world condemning the “crime” of sexual abuse committed by priests — and its cover-up — and demanding accountability.

The Vatican issued the three-page letter on Monday in response to new revelations in the US of decades of misconduct by the Catholic Church.

The Pope begged forgiveness for the pain suffered by victims and said lay Catholics must be involved in any effort to root out abuse and cover-up.

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