For the first time, the Roman Catholic Church is publishing resources and documents pertaining to clergy sex scandals to help promote healing and reconciliation, and to protect children from clerical sexual abuse in the future. This week, the Vatican launched a website with the mission of protecting minors which includes a template for local churches seeking to protect minors, guidelines on how to handle complaints and options for education and healing. The site is sponsored by the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, which was set up by Pope Francis. Francis established the commission in 2013 and is headed by Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley. The site also provides news and information about the commission with the hopes of promoting a greater sharing of information within the church. Currently, the website is in English and will eventually have Spanish, French Italian and Portuguese versions. “It is very important to the commission that we are transparent as possible,” Emer McCarthy, coordinator of the project for the commission, told CNN. “Our members want people to know that they are doing their level best to carry out the commission of the Holy Father.” For more information about the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, visit www.protectionofminors.va.
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Religious devotion can trigger reward response
Feelings of religious devotion are associated with the activation of the parts of the brain that process reward, according to a new study. In the study, researchers at the University of Utah studied 19 devout male and female Mormons’ brain activities while they performed typical religious practices, such as praying, reading quotations from world religious authorities and passages from he Book of Mormon. Using a magnetic resonance imaging machine, researchers found that the Mormons’ religious activities were associated with the activations in the region of the brain central to the reward circuit as well as the region associated with decision making and attention. Although the study only included devout Mormons, researchers said the results have implications for devotees of other religions.
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“Pilgrimage: My Search for the Real Pope Francis” By Mark K. Shriver
In “Pilgrimage,” Mark K. Shriver retraces Pope Francis’s personal journey, revealing the origins of his open, unpretentious style and explaining how it revitalized Shriver’s own faith and renewed his commitment to the Church. To help us understand how Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Pope Francis, Shriver travels to Bergoglio’s native Argentina to meet with the people who knew him as a child, as a young Jesuit priest, and as a reformist bishop. Shriver visits the confessional where Bergoglio first felt called to a faith-based life and takes us to the humble parish where the future pontiff’s pastoral career began: In a church created from a converted vegetable shed in an area just outside the city of Buenos Aires. In these impoverished surroundings, Bergoglio answered Christ’s call to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and shelter the homeless, following the example set by his papal namesake, St. Francis of Assisi.
— Random House

om: In Hinduism, the mantra of the divine. The ancient Sanskrit name for the absolute. All mantras being with “om.”
— ReligionStylebook.com

According to the CIA World Factbook, the religious makeup of Ecuador is:
— Roman Catholic: 74 percent
— Evangelical: 10.4 percent
— Jehovah’s Witness: 1.2 percent
— Other: 6.4 percent
— Atheist: 7.9 percent
— Agnostic: 0.1 percent
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