Vatican Library makes 15,000 manuscripts available online for free

public domain

Archbishop Jean-Louis Bruguès, Prefect of the Vatican Library, announced on Wednesday the opening of the DigiVatLib, a shortening of digital Vatican Library. The Archbishop explained that over the last five years the Vatican Library has become involved in a vast undertaking to digitize the manuscripts belonging to its catalogue. Now, the fruits of their labors can be enjoyed by anyone with internet access, at no charge.Once the tedious process of scanning all the individual pages of each manuscript is complete, the works are compiled and uploaded to their dedicated DigiVatLib website, where they can be viewed by the public. Currently they have about 15,000 of their collection uploaded and ready to view. If they keep pace at 3,000 uploads per year, they should have the whole library of 80,000 manuscripts scanned by 2041.

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Young activists push interfaith gathering to act on climate change, justice

Opening ceremony participants of the Religions for Peace 10th World Assembly on Aug. 20, 2019, in Lindau, Germany. Photo by Christian Thiel/Religions for Peace

LINDAU, Germany (RNS) — On the eve of the 10th — and the largest and most cosmopolitan yet — Religions for Peace World Assembly, young participants in the forum said they are pushing more senior representatives to be more active in addressing issues such as global warming and terrorism.

The young activists are among  the 1,000 attendees, including representatives from religious groups, governments, multilateral organizations and nongovernmental groups, hailing from more than 100 countries, gathered for an international, interfaith event this week.

“We are the ones who will live with the consequences of the decision the world will make,” said Meera Santosh, a 25-year-old activist from Myanmar.

Santosh said that while the desire to help foster positive change is common, it is difficult to know how to do it.

“That is what makes a forum like this so valuable,” she said. “I really only know what is happening in my country, in Myanmar. But here I can share experiences and learn and grow and make new contacts. We all come out ahead.”

Santosh said it was helpful that participants from her generation come into the process with “fresh eyes” that can help them see challenging problems in a new way.

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Gaskill cites Holy Envy to mean the desire to learn from other’s religions

BYU Church history and doctrine professor Alonzo Gaskill said every religion has worthwhile practices and is worthy of study. Gaskill spoke on the topic of “holy envy” at an Education Week presentation Monday.

BYU professor Alonzo Gaskill speaks at Education Week about the importance of making room for holy envy. (Addie Blacker)Holy envy is the ability to recognize goodness in other religions — even to the point of wishing your own religion incorporated similar practices, beliefs or methods of worship. Gaskill said this admiration of, and even longing for, other religions does not and should not destroy faith in one’s own religion.

“We don’t have to give anything up in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ to have holy envy, except personal prejudices that we struggle with,” Gaskill said.

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Muslims clash with Israeli police at Jerusalem holy site. Commentary

Article by Frank Kaufmann 

On the morning of Sunday, August 11, 2019 clashes broke out among Muslim protesters and Israeli police on Temple Mount/Haram Al Sharif. This happened in relation to the confluence of Holy Days among Muslims and Jews, Eid Al Adha for Muslims, commemorating the end of the annual hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, and Tisha B’Av, the Jewish fast day when Jews mourn the destruction of the Temple, one of which stood at the current site of Masjid Al-Aqsa, as well as other tragic events in Jewish history.

AP Photo, Mahmoud Illean

At least 61 Muslim worshipers were injured, and at least four police officers wounded, at the time of this writing.

This development is unnecessary and upsetting. Leaders in all areas, and from all communities had more than sufficient advance warning of the confluence of these Holy Days. Care and preparation plainly were lacking, at levels to meet a day so obviously rife with potential for conflict.

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Trouble in Jerusalem During Muslim and Jewish Holy Days

This podcast analyzes the clash today at Temple Mount/Masjid al-Aqsa during the Holy Days of Ed al-Hadr, and Tisha B’av

AP Photo, Mahmoud Illean


Thoughts on Psalm 85 and our current political climate

I have tried my first podcast, and as an experiment, spoke for 12 minutes and 35 seconds on Psalm 85:10.

The piece has two brief sound interruptions, which I mention here so as to guide listeners away from thinking prematurely at the interruption that you’ve reached the end of my thoughts

Thank you for listening [Frank Kaufmann, Director, IRFWP]


6 facts about what Americans know about religion

Many Americans say that religion is very important in their lives. But how much do people in the U.S. actually know about their faith tradition – or about religions besides their own?

A new report from Pew Research Center tries to answer this question by asking U.S. adults 32 fact-based questions about a variety of religious topics. The survey includes questions about the Bible and Christianity, as well as atheism, agnosticism, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism. Respondents also were asked about religious demographics.

The average U.S. adult is able to answer slightly fewer than half of the religious knowledge questions correctly (14.2 of the 32). But the survey finds that Americans’ level of knowledge varies based on who is answering the questions.

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UN envoy meets Myanmar interfaith leaders

UN Special Envoy Christine Schraner-Burgener (centre) visting Myanmar. (ANSA)

The United Nations special envoy, Christine Schraner-Burgener met a delegation of faith leaders of Myanmar earlier this week over internal conflicts that continue to plague the nation, particularly the Rohingya Muslim crisis in Rakhine State.

During the July 9 meeting, they talked about the greater role for religious leaders in striving for a more tolerant society.

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