Religion in the World


Archbishop Theophilos became the second patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in colorful investiture ceremonies at Trinity Cathedral, Addis Ababa. Ethiopia, which embraced Christianity in the fourth century, received autonomy from the Egyptian Coptic Church in 1951.

Pope Paul VI has issued an apostolic letter that discusses the disparities between rich and poor nations, racial discrimination, the emancipation of women, youth protests, and urban ills. In the 12,000-word letter he restates his condemnation of artificial birth control and abortion. He warns Christians not to espouse Marxism and unbridled liberalism, but calls for a “pluralism of options” for social changes.

Committee discussions of the Church of Christ (Temple Lot) and the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have been resumed after a lapse of years. The work of the committees is exploratory, as neither has been authorized to consummate any agreement regarding doctrinal matters of the two churches, which have headquarters in Independence, Jackson County, Missouri. They hope, however, that the ensuing dialogue will serve to cement good relationships between them.

“The Patient, Death, and the Family was the title of a two-day conference sponsored by Rochester (New York) General Hospital in cooperation with the University of Rochester Medical School. Participants included psychologists, sociologists, philosophers, clergymen, psychiatrists, nurses, and physicians who commonly treat the fatally ill. One factor brought out was that during the period of bereavement, survivors of the deceased are far more likely than other persons their age to suffer physical illness and death. It was said that many dying patients pass through five distinct psychological stages as their death approaches: (1) denial—“no, not me,” (2) anger—“why me?” (3) bargaining—“yes me—but if you give me one more year, God, I promise I’ll be a better Christian,” (4) depression—a time of mourning over things already lost and of grieving over impending losses, and (5) acceptance—“my time is very close now and it’s all right.”

In the last three years some 480,000 West Germans have renounced their church membership in order to stop the government-collected withholding tax for the church from being deducted from their pay. The churches tell the people that they have built more new churches in the past two decades than in the four hundred years since the Reformation, but many of these new buildings, modern in every detail, stand nearly empty most of the time.