43 min

Smuggling bibles to China; Wedding backlog; President Biden and the Catholic Bishops Sunday

    • Spirituality

It was called 'Project Pearl' and the mission was to smuggle a million bibles into China. On a moonlit night 40 years, vast crates containing the bibles were unloaded on to the sand in Shantou. It was a covert operation and Paul Estabrooks was there. He tells Emily how they managed to avoid capture by the Chinese authorities and what was driving them to get so many bibles into the country.

As the easing of COVID restrictions allow more people to attend a wedding, we investigate claims from couples who say the civil registrar system is failing to meet the growing demand for statutory ceremonies. If a couple wish to be married in a non-religious service they may have to take a low cost civil ceremony to ensure their marriage is legal. Julia and Jordan tell us that they were told to buy a more expensive wedding packages from their local authority if they wanted to have the legal paperwork in time for their humanist ceremony. Andrew Copson, the Chief Executive of Humanists UK tells us why he believes there is now a stronger case for marriage reform.

On Friday tremors could be felt across the political faultlines of America's Catholic Church. A majority of members of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops voted to go ahead with a process that could deny Holy Communion to public officials who take a position at odds with the church's teachings on issues like abortion. That could include President Biden, the nation's second Roman Catholic president. The decision was even in defiance of advice from the Vatican. Religious journalist Sarah Posner explains the background to the vote and the possible implications of the decision.


Producers: David Cook & Helen Lee

Editor: Tim Pemberton

Photo credit: Terry Madison

It was called 'Project Pearl' and the mission was to smuggle a million bibles into China. On a moonlit night 40 years, vast crates containing the bibles were unloaded on to the sand in Shantou. It was a covert operation and Paul Estabrooks was there. He tells Emily how they managed to avoid capture by the Chinese authorities and what was driving them to get so many bibles into the country.

As the easing of COVID restrictions allow more people to attend a wedding, we investigate claims from couples who say the civil registrar system is failing to meet the growing demand for statutory ceremonies. If a couple wish to be married in a non-religious service they may have to take a low cost civil ceremony to ensure their marriage is legal. Julia and Jordan tell us that they were told to buy a more expensive wedding packages from their local authority if they wanted to have the legal paperwork in time for their humanist ceremony. Andrew Copson, the Chief Executive of Humanists UK tells us why he believes there is now a stronger case for marriage reform.

On Friday tremors could be felt across the political faultlines of America's Catholic Church. A majority of members of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops voted to go ahead with a process that could deny Holy Communion to public officials who take a position at odds with the church's teachings on issues like abortion. That could include President Biden, the nation's second Roman Catholic president. The decision was even in defiance of advice from the Vatican. Religious journalist Sarah Posner explains the background to the vote and the possible implications of the decision.


Producers: David Cook & Helen Lee

Editor: Tim Pemberton

Photo credit: Terry Madison

43 min

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