SANTIAGO, Chile — A local church investigation of complaints of sex abuse against a prominent Chilean priest has been delivered to the Vatican for further action.
Through an attorney, the Rev. Fernando Karadima broke a two-month silence to deny claims by several men who say he sexually abused them as teenagers.
Santiago Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz said the investigation is now in the Vatican's hands. Errazuriz last year renewed an investigation of Karadima's behavior after suspending an earlier inquiry in 2005.
The allegations in Chile added to a growing church abuse scandal in Latin America, where the large majority of more than 500 million people are Roman Catholics.
Karadima's lawyer, Juan Pablo Bulnes, spoke last week.
World Communion of Reformed Churches merger approved
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the Reformed Ecumenical Council have agreed to be merged into the World Communion of Reformed Churches.
The Grand Rapids Press reported that the union approved Friday by about 400 delegates gathered at Calvin College in Grand Rapids represents about 80 million Christians from 108 countries in nearly 230 denominations.
World Alliance of Reformed Churches President Clifton Kirkpatrick says the agreement is an accomplishment in a "world that is fragmented and filled with conflict."
The Uniting General Council 2010 convention has attracted about 1,000 people. It runs through June 28.
New interreligious university to form in Mass.
BOSTON — Two theological schools, including the nation's oldest Christian graduate seminary, are joining to form a university to educate people of all religions.
Andover Newton Theological School, founded outside Boston in 1807, and the Unitarian Universalist Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago, announced Tuesday they will unite to form an "interreligious theological university" by next year.
The schools will keep their identities under the corporate umbrella of the new school.
Andover-Newton president Nick Carter said students can still receive a degree from his school, but they'll be interacting with students earning degrees in other religions from other schools on the same campus.
Carter said that experience is crucial when working in a multi-faith world.
Meadville Lombard is selling its four-building campus in Chicago and the new school will be based at the Andover Newton campus.
Crosses and letters etched in New Mexico stone might be from Spanish explorers in the 1580s
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Newly found inscriptions depicting Christian crosses and letters etched in stone have been discovered north of the Sandia Mountains - possibly the work of a Spanish expedition that visited New Mexico in the 1580s.
Albuquerque historian and author Mike Smith said he found the etchings this month while exploring a rocky, desert area east of the Rio Grande.
New Mexico's state historian, Rick Hendricks, plans to examine the inscriptions to verify their origins.
Smith said the style of the inscriptions, as well as the weathering they show, suggest the carvings were made by Spaniards who visited New Mexico four decades after Francisco Vasquez de Coronado explored the region in the 1540s.
Smith found florid lettering that appears to spell the name "Santa Maria." Smith said he believes the inscription was made by Juan de Santa Maria, who was one of three Franciscan priests who participated in a small expedition to New Mexico in 1581 and 1582.
If Smith's claim is confirmed, the find would predate New Mexico's oldest known Spanish inscriptions, which were made around 1605 during one of Juan de Onate's expeditions.
Mother Teresa's relics go on display at Boston church named in her honor
BOSTON — Relics belonging to Nobel Peace Prize winner Mother Teresa are on display at Boston church named in her honor.
The Albanian nun's crucifix, rosary beads, sandals and other items are on display for the public at Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta Parish in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood.
Mother Teresa, known for her work with the poor on Calcutta, India, visited the Roman Catholic parish 15 years ago when it was known as St. Margaret's.
Church pastor the Rev. Jack Ahern says Mother Teresa continues to inspire millions of Catholics around the world even 13 years after her death.
Widow of Salvation Army shooting victim says goodbye to community
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A Salvation Army major whose husband was shot to death in front of their children on Christmas Eve says she does not want to leave North Little Rock.
Maj. Cindy Wise told about 50 people during a farewell ceremony last Sunday that saying goodbye to Arkansas is the most difficult thing she's ever had to do.
Wise's husband, Maj. Philip Wise, 40, was fatally shot Dec. 24 after dropping off two bell ringers at the North Little Rock Corps and Community Center on the last day of the organization's fundraising campaign. His wife was inside, waiting for him.
Cindy Wise, 39, said she had asked the Salvation Army for permission to stay in North Little Rock, but was told she would have to go. Usually someone in a leadership position like hers moves every three years, she said.