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Issue Date:  January 11, 2008


Monks and nuns hit the catwalk in Tokyo on Dec. 15 in a bid to spread Buddhism among younger people in this rapidly aging society. According to an Associated Press story, the fashion show opened with a Buddhist prayer set to a hip-hop beat at the centuries-old Tsukiji Honganji temple. Buddhist monks here traditionally wear simple black robes, but to appeal to more fashion-conscious youth, the monks wore green and yellow clothes, some with gold embroidery. Others wore elaborate, multilayered robes. Venerable Koji Matsubara explained, “We wanted to show the young people that Buddhism is cool, and temples are not a place just for funerals.”

James Pursley, who calls himself a “proud alumnus of Penn State University” and a “devout Christian,” is suing the university because its alumni association won’t allow him to buy a brick on the Alumni Walk. The association rejected his proposed inscription: Pursley’s name, year of graduation and “Joshua 24:15” (just the citation, not the full verse). His lawsuit cited other inscriptions on the walk, including: “May God Bless/Penn State”; “Merry Christmas”; and “For The Glory/& The Girlies.”

Nobel laureate and former vice president Al Gore has been named “Baptist of the Year” by, the Web site of the Baptist Center for Ethics, based in Nashville, Tenn., citing Gore’s environmentalism. “Regrettably no Baptist has received less applause from Baptists than Gore,” wrote Robert Parham, the center’s executive director, in an announcement of Gore’s selection.

Polish Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz’s book about Pope John Paul II and Dziwisz’s years as the pope’s personal secretary is being made into a three-part television miniseries and a film simultaneously. “A Life with Karol,” which begins with the day Polish Archbishop Karol Wojtyla of Kraków, the future pope, asked then-Fr. Dziwisz to be his secretary, will be narrated by both the cardinal and British actor Michael York. York played John the Baptist in Franco Zeffirelli’s 1977 film “Jesus of Nazareth.”

The government of Nepal announced that beginning in 2008, Christmas will be a national holiday in the Hindu nation.

National Catholic Reporter, January 11, 2008

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