Faith around the world: Religion news in brief

Published: Sunday, Oct. 21 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

A spokesman who briefed journalists on the closed-door session said some bishops questioned the statistics and appropriateness of it being aired. Vatican Radio called the clip a "4-year-old, fear-mongering presentation of statistics" that have been widely debunked.

News reports said Turkson subsequently apologized, saying he didn't mean to cause any harm.

Associated Press

Myanmar won't let Islamic group to open liaison office in Yangon

YANGON, Myanmar — Myanmar's government will not allow the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to open a liaison office after thousands of Buddhist monks and laypeople marched to protest the plan.

Sectarian tensions have been running high in Myanmar's western Rakhine state after clashes in June between Rakhine Buddhists and Bengali Rohingya Muslims that left nearly 90 people dead and displaced tens of thousands. Muslim mosques and Buddhist temples were burned down during the unrest.

Myanmar's state press had reported that the government and the OIC agreed last month to open an office in Yangon to provide aid for people displaced by the fighting, and the OIC sent a team to investigate the violence.

On Monday, the Information Ministry cited the President's Office as saying that "the opening of the OIC office will not be allowed as it is contradictory to the aspirations of the people."

The OIC has 57 member states and seeks to be the voice of the Islamic world.

—Associated Press

Archbishop allows group that wants gays to be chaste to open chapter

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A group that preaches chastity among gays and lesbians is starting a local chapter in Louisville with the permission of Roman Catholic Archbishop Joseph Kurtz.

Kurtz says the Connecticut-based group known as Courage has a goal to "promote chaste living" by abstaining from sex outside of a heterosexual marriage. The group was founded in 1980.

The chapter meetings operate under the Twelve Step concept used by Alcoholics Anonymous and similar groups. Steps include such things as admitting one's addiction or compulsion, striving for moral reform and seeking help from a higher power.

Angelo Sabella, an assistant to the national director of the group, said Courage does not conduct therapy that seeks to change a person's sexual orientation. But he said the group has invited advocates for change therapy to talk with Courage groups to let participants know about it.

The director of a gay rights group in Louisville says Courage is asking gays and lesbians to suppress part of their identity.

"It's repressive and really unhealthy for people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, to suggest one can suppress an entire part of who they are," said Fairness Campaign director Chris Hartman, who identifies himself as a Catholic.

Associated Press

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