The Hajj is expected to return in full, Cardinal Pell remains controversial even in death, and Jordanian Christians celebrate Christ's baptism


On this week's AP religion roundup. The Hodge pilgrimage is expected to return in full cardinal pal remains controversial, even in death, and Jordanian Christians celebrate Christ's baptism. A God. Sydney, Australia's archbishop paid tribute Wednesday to cardinal George Powell. The controversial archbishop died Tuesday. Pell was a one time financial adviser to Pope Francis. He spent over 400 days in solitary confinement in his native Australia on child sex abuse charges before his convictions were unanimously overturned. Pell was a divisive figure. He lived to see Vatican rivals charged with financial crimes after he worked to reform the church's finances. In Australia, he was a lightning rod for disagreements over whether the church had been properly held to account for historic child sex abuse. It was revealed after his death that he pinned a secret memo on his growing concern about what he considered the disaster and catastrophe of the papacy under Pope Francis. Jordanian Catholics prayed for health and peace as they gathered near the eastern bank of the Jordan River Friday to mark the baptism of Jesus Christ. The baptism celebration closes out the liturgical Christmas season among western churches, where it celebrated anywhere from January 7th to the 13th. More than 3000 pilgrims attended the event, where according to Christian tradition, John the Baptist baptized Jesus. The Latin patriarch of Jerusalem led prayers at a church located near the eastern bank of the river, UNESCO has declared the area a World Heritage Site of immense religious significance. Saudi Arabia announced that Islam's annual Hodge pilgrimage will return to pre-pandemic levels this year. In previous years, the annual religious commemoration was curtailed over concerns about the coronavirus. The Hajj is required of all able bodied Muslims once in their life and represents one of the world's largest gatherings of people. Before the pandemic, the pilgrimage drew millions each year to Islam's sacred city of Mecca. This year the Hajj begins during the last week of June. I'm Walter ratliff

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