Faith Briefs

Pope to soon declare 37th doctor of the church: St. Irenaeus

ROME (AP) — A 2nd-century saint known as a bridge between eastern and western Christianity took another step Thursday toward being declared a doctor of the church, one of the highest honors in the Catholic Church.

The head of the Vatican’s saint-making office, Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, told Pope Francis that the office’s members had agreed that St. Irenaeus should receive the honor, and proposed that Francis declare it, the Vatican said.

Thursday’s audience was something of a formality since Francis had already announced in October that he intended to soon declare Irenaeus the “doctor of unity,” though no date has been set.

The title of doctor is reserved for people whose writings have greatly served the universal church. Only 36 people have been given the title, including St. Augustine, St. Francis de Sales and St. Teresa of Avila.

Inmate wants permission for hairstyle based on his religion

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — An inmate at the Adult Correctional Institutions is suing the state Department of Corrections because it has sanctioned him for his hair style, which he says is based on his religious beliefs.

Christopher Banks, 24, of Westerly, seeks in the suit filed in U.S. District Court to remove penalties he’s been given for wearing his hair short on the sides and long on top, the Providence Journal reported Tuesday.

He says he has worn his hair in the style of Viking warriors for many years as a part of his pagan beliefs.

The Department of Corrections acknowledged that Banks has been sanctioned, lost privileges and lost good time for maintaining “an extreme hairstyle,” the newspaper reported.


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