WEEK IN RELIGION
Pope Francis caused a stir in the Catholic church last week when he agreed to explore the idea of ordaining women as deacons during a chat with hundreds of sisters from the International Union of Superiors General in Rome. Currently, deacons (which are ministers specifically dedicated to doing charitable works) are “mature” men over 35 that have been ordained. Despite the role being traditionally male, the growth in participation of women in ministry and church life has been enormous during the past few decades and has brought about questions of what a deacon is. Although some in the church disapproved of the Pope’s willingness to open controversial debates, such as women being ordained as deacons, and others celebrated his words, the Vatican released a statement a day after the meeting with the IUSG saying that Francis wanted to set up a commission to study the question of female deacons. Pope Francis has regularly called for greater roles for women in the church and has called for a “deeper theology of women.”
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SURVEY SAYS
Religious services could be good for your health, according to a new study. The study, which was conducted by the American Medical Association, found that those who attend church services live longer than those that don’t. During the 20-year study of a group of 76,000 female nurses, more than 13,000 nurses had died during that span and it was found that the women who went to religious services more than once per week were 33 percent less likely to be in the group who had died. The study also found that the nurses who began going to religious services were more likely to quit smoking and less likely to show signs of depression.
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GOOD BOOK?
“John Calvin’s ‘Institutes of the Christian Religion:’ A Biography (Lives of Great Religious Books” by Bruce Gordon
John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion is a defining book of the Reformation and a pillar of Protestant theology. First published in Latin in 1536 and in Calvin’s native French in 1541, the Institutes argues for the majesty of God and for justification by faith alone. The book decisively shaped Calvinism as a major religious and intellectual force in Europe and throughout the world. Here, Bruce Gordon provides an essential biography of Calvin’s influential and enduring theological masterpiece, tracing the diverse ways it has been read and interpreted from Calvin’s time to today.
— Princeton University Press

THE WORD
ordination: The process of authorizing a person to perform ministry in an official capacity for a specific religious organization, usually Christian or Jewish.
— ReligionStylebook.com

RELIGION AROUND THE WORLD
According to the CIA World Factbook, the religious makeup of Philippines is:
— Catholic: 82.9 percent
— Muslim: 5 percent
— Evangelical: 2.8 percent
— Iglesia ni Kristo: 2.3 percent
— Other Christian: 4.5 percent
— Other: 1.8 percent
— Unspecified: 0.6 percent
— None: 0.1 percent
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