A California pastor made headlines in January when he announced that he will live like an atheist for a year to see what it’s like on the other side of belief. Ryan Bell was actually just the latest “stunt pastor” to use unorthodox means to draw attention to his message.
(RNS) In naming his first batch of new cardinals on Sunday (Jan. 12), Pope Francis made some surprising choices that largely confirmed the characteristics he wants in the Catholic Church he leads: a greater focus on the poor, a bigger voice for the Global South and a reduced emphasis on the traditional hierarchical perks.
A post-Christmas court decision that freed a senior Catholic cleric in Philadelphia who had been jailed for shielding an abusive priest was a symbolic setback for victims’ advocates and one with a substantial and discouraging message for their cause: none of the churchmen implicated in cover-ups during the worst decades of abuse is likely ever to face charges.
(RNS) The Philadelphia priest whose conviction for failing to report child-abusing clerics to authorities was overturned last week was granted a $250,000 bail on Monday (Dec. 30). But it could take at least another week before Monsignor William Lynn is free.
(RNS) Twin Cities Archbishop John Nienstedt, already under fire for failing to take action against priests suspected of abuse, announced Tuesday (Dec. 17) that he is stepping aside temporarily after a minor accused the outspoken archbishop of touching his buttocks during a group photo after a 2009 confirmation ceremony.
(RNS) Dozens of Catholic leaders are protesting the decision by the Catholic University of America to accept a large donation from the foundation of Charles Koch, a billionaire industrialist who is an influential supporter of libertarian-style policies that critics say run counter to church teaching.
As world leaders and ordinary citizens gathered in a South African sports stadium on December 10 to remember Nelson Mandela, abortion foes pushed a message that went against the global outpouring of praise: the antiapartheid leader, they argued, backed a sweeping abortion rights law that negates any good he achieved.
(RNS) Michael Griffin says it was no secret that he is gay at the suburban Philadelphia Catholic high school where he taught for more than a decade. But last week when he told administrators at Holy Ghost Preparatory School that he was going to marry his partner he was fired.
Pope Francis is creating a special commission to deal with the clergy sexual abuse crisis on a global scale, a step that comes amid growing criticism that Francis had not given sufficient attention to the scandal.
(RNS) The Supreme Court announced on Tuesday (Nov. 26) that it will decide whether for-profit businesses can be treated like religious entities in a politically and constitutionally freighted test of the Obama administration’s mandate that employers include free contraception coverage as part of their health plans.
(RNS) After a closed-door session at their annual meeting in Baltimore this month, the U.S. Catholic bishops issued an unusual “special message” reaffirming their long-standing opposition to the Obama administration’s birth control insurance mandate.
(RNS) While the first months of Pope Francis’ pontificate have been marked by his attention to the poor and his “Who am I to judge” attitude on homosexuality, his pledge to tackle the ban on Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics could have the biggest impact for Catholics in the pews, especially in the U.S.
(RNS) The election of Pope Francis in March heralded a season of surprises for the Catholic Church, but perhaps none so unexpected – and unsettling for conservatives – as the re-emergence of the late Chicago Cardinal Joseph Bernardin as a model for the American Catholic future.
Pope Francis rocked the Catholic Church and surprised the wider world with a free-ranging interview in which he envisioned a church that is not “obsessed” with a few sexual and moral issues and is more pastoral, less clerical and less doctrinaire.
(RNS) Catholic military chaplains cannot be forced to witness or bless a same-sex marriage, nor are they allowed to take part in any marriage counseling retreats that are open to gay couples under new rules issued by the Archdiocese for the Military Services.
(RNS) Pope Francis’ comments this week on everything from gays to abortion (less talk, more mercy), the hierarchy (be pastors, not bureaucrats) and religious faith (doubt is part of belief) continue to reverberate through the church and the media.
Of all the novelties that Pope Francis has brought to the Vatican, few have endeared him to the public—and unsettled his aides—as much as his penchant for picking up the phone and calling someone out of the blue.
NEW YORK (RNS) New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the most famous funny man in the American hierarchy, went on “The Colbert Report” Tuesday (Sept. 3) night to trade quips with another funny guy — and another well-known Catholic — host Stephen Colbert.