Religion

Vatican to rein in sales of papal blessings, vendors cry foul

By Philip Pullella By Philip Pullella (A calligrapher makes a papal blessing on parchment at a workshop in Rome November 7, 2014. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini) Rino Pensa has been making personalised papal blessings on parchments for 65 years, a mainstay of his small business creating intricately lettered scrolls marking milestones like baptisms and marriages. The Vatican has decided that as of Jan. 1 his workshop and about 60 other producers and stores that have been in the papal blessing business for decades will no longer be allowed to make or sell them, a decision vendors say could cost up to 500 jobs. The Vatican’s office of papal charities, the Apostolic Almonry, sent a letter to calligraphers and stores in April reminding them of a 2010 decision that their concessions would end this year. The Vatican would resume making all parchments, as it did before the 1950s. “After more 60 years, I feel like an old rag that is being thrown away,” Pensa said in his calligraphy workshop in Rome, where he, his wife and son produce parchments for the Vatican as well as diplomas and elaborate certificates for other clients. Calligraphers and store owners sent several appeals to Pope Francis arguing the move contradicted his defence of workers’ rights. …read more Source:: Reuters Faithword       ...
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Religion

Iraq’s top Shi’ite cleric says graft in army helped Islamic State

By Reuters Staff By Reuters Staff (Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in Najaf, July 24, 2014. REUTERS/Eskinder Debebe/United Nations/Handout via Reuters) Iraq’s most influential Shi’ite cleric said on Friday corruption in the armed forces had enabled Islamic State to seize much of northern Iraq, criticism that will add to pressure for reforms in the face of an insurgency. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has become increasingly critical of Iraqi leaders following Islamic State’s lightning advance created Iraq’s worst crisis since a U.S.-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003. Iraq’s army, recipient of $25 billion in U.S. training and funding, collapsed in the face of the onslaught. Further Islamic State gains and the beheading of Western hostages triggered U.S.-led air strikes. Speaking on live television through an aide in the holy southern city of Kerbala, Sistani asked rhetorically what would happen if the military were corrupt. “We think that the security deterioration that happened some months ago can answer that,” Sistani said. “Objectivity demands that the different military positions should be occupied by those who are professional, patriotic, faithful, courageous and not affected in doing their duties by personal and financial influences.” Read the full story by Raheem Salman here. Follow all posts on Twitter @ RTRFaithWorld <img …read more Source:: Reuters Faithword       ...
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