Kaitlin Curtice 4-17-2017

What if Easter is our starting over point, our "New Year" packed with resolutions to begin again in the ways of grace? What if Easter for us is like those days for Barabbas, those days after he watched this innocent man die on a cross and find him after he'd resurrected? What began again in Barabbas, what new life and fresh perspective?

Image via RNS/Reuters/Stefano Rellandini

Pope Francis used his traditional Easter Sunday message to call the bombing of a refugee convoy near Aleppo, Syria, a “despicable attack”, and urged world leaders to “prevent the spread of conflicts” despite mounting tensions in Syria and North Korea.

In his Easter blessing, known as “Urbi et Orbi” (“to the city and the world”), the pope urged the faithful to remember “all those forced to leave their homelands as a result of armed conflicts, terrorist attacks, famine, and oppressive regimes.”

the Web Editors 4-17-2017

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An analysis by the 2016 American National Election Study has revealed that racism played a bigger part in Trump’s election than authoritarianism, reports the Washington Post.

The 2016 American National Election Study consisted of about 1,200 people from across the U.S. answering survey questions for more than an hour, the questions structured to reveal their political leanings.

the Web Editors 4-17-2017

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On April 15 a bomb attack struck buses that were transporting evacuees to safety from dangerous Syrian towns, reports BBC News. The attack killed 128 people, at least 68 of whom were children. The attack occurred at a transfer point for the evacuees.

As of yet, no one has claimed responsibility for the attack, and it is believed that Syrian rebels are not to blame, since some of their supporters were slated to evacuate from those same Syrian towns.

the Web Editors 4-15-2017

Inmates Bruce Ward(top row L to R), Don Davis, Ledell Lee, Stacy Johnson, Jack Jones (bottom row L to R), Marcel Williams, Kenneth Williams, and Jason Mcgehee. Scheduled to be executed in Arkansas, beginning April 17. Courtesy Arkansas Department of Corrections/Handout via REUTERS

A U.S. judge in Little Rock on Saturday temporarily blocked plans by Arkansas to hold a rapid series of executions this month, after the inmates argued the state's rush to the death chamber was unconstitutional and reckless.

Amanda Maldonado, right, reads a poem about refugees during a ‘Women for Syria’ vigil in northwest Washington on Thursday. Photo by Maryam Saleh/Medill News Service

About 100 small groups of Syrian refugee activists held vigils Thursday evening to send a message to President Donald Trump that accepting refuges from Syria is at least as important as taking military action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

A damaged statue of Jesus Christ is seen inside a church in the town of Qaraqosh, south of Mosul, Iraq, April 11, 2017. REUTERS/Marko Djurica SEARCH

In the desecrated churches of Qaraqosh, Christians are busy removing graffiti daubed by the Sunni Muslim militants during two and a half years of control — only for new slogans to have appeared, scrawled by Shi'ite members of the Iraqi forces fighting street to street with the jihadists in Mosul.

Ruben Enaje, 57, who is portraying Jesus Christ for the 31st time, grimaces in pain as he was nailed on a wooden cross during a Good Friday re-enactment. April 14, 2017. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

Nine Filipinos were nailed to crosses in three villages in the province of Pampanga, 80 km (50 miles) north of the capital, Manila, drawing hundreds of tourists despite the Catholic church's disapproval of what it sees as a form of folk religion.

Pope Francis washes the feet of some inmates at the Paliano prison, south of Rome, Italy April 13, 2017. Osservatore Romano/Handout via REUTERS

"We are all sinners. We all have defects," the pope told the inmates, in an improvised sermon broadcast by Vatican Radio.

By washing their feet, Francis told them, he was willing to do "the work of a slave in order to sow love among us". He urged them to help each other.

Two of the 12 are serving life sentences, and the others are due to be released between 2019 and 2073.

the Web Editors 4-12-2017

Image via Reuters/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

“Fearless Girl” — a statue of a young girl standing with her hands on her hips, as though in defiance — is a temporary installation installed in commemoration of International Women’s Day. Arturo Di Modica, the sculptor of “Charging Bull,” is now calling for the statue’s removal, with his attorney Norman Siegel stating in public that there are “copyright and trademark infringement issues.”

the Web Editors 4-12-2017

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Randall Marshall, the legal director of the ACLU of Alabama, expressed the ACLU of Alabama’s opposition to both Briarwood’s request and a bill that would give churches in Alabama permission to hire armed congregants and protect them legally if they shoot anyone.

“It’s our view this would be plainly unconstitutional,” said Randall Marshall.

Layton E. Williams 4-12-2017

Princeton students listen to Tim Keller's lecture on campus, April 6, 2017. Photo courtesy of Princeton Theological Seminary. Photographer: Kevin Birch

Yesterday, we spoke with Princeton Seminary president Dr. M. Craig Barnes about the controversial decision to rescind the award — which he revealed to us was actually Keller’s suggestion — and his hopes for the school moving forward.

Pope Francis blesses with holy water as he leads the Palm Sunday Mass in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, April 9, 2017. Image via REUTERS/Tony Gentile.
 
 

As a matter of policy, popes meet with any head of state who requests an audience, regardless of any differences they have.

Besides being leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, the pope is a head of state. Such meetings allow for an exchange of views on world affairs and a chance for the pope to encourage ethical solutions to world problems.

Image via RNS/Pew Research Center 

A total of 40 percent of surveyed countries registered “high” or “very high” levels of restrictions, according to Pew Research Center’s annual study on global restrictions on religion, released Tuesday. That’s up from 34 percent in 2014, according to the data. The percentage had declined during the previous two years.

the Web Editors 4-10-2017

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On April 10, Columbia University presented 21 Pulitzer Prizes for achievements in journalism, literature, and music. Notables from the list of social justice-oriented works that received a Pulitzer Prize include: New York Daily News and ProPublica receiving the Public Service award for reporting on evictions of mostly poor minorities carried out by police abusing the law —

Image via wlablack / Shutterstock

Archbishop Angelo Becciu, the Vatican deputy secretary of state, told Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper that the events on Sunday, however tragic, "could not impede the pope from carrying out his mission of peace."

Image via RNS/Vatican Elemosineria Apostolica

First came the showers and the haircuts. Now the washing machines.

In his latest bid to help the poor with practical actions, Pope Francis has opened a free laundromat for the homeless in the heart of Rome.

Since he became pope four years ago, Francis has made it a personal priority to provide them with showers, housing, medical care, and other services to help restore their dignity.

Anna Lekas Miller 4-10-2017

Ashty Camp, Iraq— Priests begin the Palm Sunday march. Image via Anna Lekas Miller/Sojourners.

To mark this particularly special Palm Sunday — the first since ISIS was defeated in the area — many assembled today will march 80 miles, from the camp to the village of Qarqosh, one of the largest traditionally Christian villages in Iraq. Some are originally from there, while others are marching in solidarity.

The march will stretch from the city of Erbil, to the Nineveh plain — across part of Iraqi-Kurdistan, and into Iraq, taking a total of at least five days.

U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Porter conducts strike operations against Syria in the Mediterranean Sea. Ford Williams/Courtesy U.S. Navy

"Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack," President Donald Trump said of Tuesday's chemical weapons strike, which Western countries blame on Assad's forces. "No child of God should ever suffer such horror."

Image via RNS/Anti-Defamation League

For the first time, a majority of Americans has voiced concern about violence against Jews, polling by the Anti-Defamation League shows.

While 52 percent of Americans surveyed said they are disturbed about such violence, an even higher percentage — 76 percent — said they are concerned about violence against Muslims.

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