DUBLIN — An international conference celebrating Roman Catholicism opened Sunday in Ireland against a backdrop of anger over child abuse cover-ups and evidence of declining faith in core church beliefs.
More than 20,000 Catholics, many from overseas, gathered for an open-air Mass in a Dublin stadium at the start of the Eucharistic Congress, a weeklong event organized by the Vatican every four years in a different part of the world.
The global gathering, begun in the 19th century and last held in Quebec in 2008, highlights the Catholic Church’s belief in transubstantiation, the idea that bread and wine transforms during Mass into the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ.
An opinion poll of Irish Catholics found that two-thirds of Irish Catholics don’t believe this, nor do they attend Mass weekly.
The survey, published last week in the Irish Times with an error margin of 3 percentage points, also found that just 38 percent believe Ireland today would be in worse shape without its dominant church. And just three-fifths even knew the Eucharistic Congress was coming to Ireland.
Ex-U.S. Army commander goes on trial
BERLIN — The former commander of the U.S. Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade is going on trial on suspicion of fraud, bigamy, conduct unbefitting an officer and other charges related to an alleged long-term extramarital affair he had with a woman he met in Iraq while they both lived in Europe.
Col. James Johnson III was to be court-martialed beginning Sunday in Kaiserslautern. He was relieved of his command of the Vicenza, Italy-based 173rd in March 2011, and could face decades in prison and a dishonorable discharge if convicted.
Col. Johnson has not yet entered a plea, and his attorney, Lt. Col. Charles Kuhfahl, would not comment on the case.
The court-martial of Col. Johnson, son of the former commander of the North Carolina-based 82nd Airborne Division, is scheduled through June 16.View Entire Story
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