the Web Editors 8-25-2018

Pope Francis smiles next to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Dublin Castle during his visit to Dublin, Ireland, Aug. 25, 2018. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar delivered a firm challenge to Pope Francis and the Catholic Church Saturday in Dublin Castle, where the two met with authorities, civil society, and diplomatic corps. Pope Francis visits the country after decades of revelations of abuse of women and children at the hands of clergy. Hundreds died from apparent malnutrition, unwed mothers lived in servitude, and many of their babies were illegally adopted.

Cathleen Falsani 8-25-2018

Before the papal visit, a sign in Dublin references to the Magdalene laundries, run by the Catholic Church, where unwed mothers were abused. Photo by Cathleen Falsani for Sojourners

When Pope Francis steps off of his chartered Alitalia flight from Rome at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, he will be walking into a country that is in some ways barely recognizable from the last time he visited the Irish Republic nearly 40 years ago.

Cathleen Falsani 8-24-2018

Photo courtesy Greg Fromholz

Whenever people try to exclude LGBT Catholics from the life of the church, they are “tearing apart the body of Christ,” Fr. James Martin told the standing-room-only crowd that packed a tented hangar Aug 23. at an international meeting of Catholic families in Dublin, Ireland. “At the World Meeting of Families, this is an important aspect: By not welcoming, by excluding LGBT Catholics, the church is falling short of its call to be God’s family."

Christina Colón 8-22-2018
Shutterstock

The Trump administration’s proposed replacement, known as the Affordable Clean Energy proposal or “ACE,” would grant individual states more flexibility in how to regulate and reduce emissions. According to the EPA Fact Sheet, it would also “promote investments to make coal plants cleaner, modern, and more efficient.”

A pilgrim is blessed by the newly ordained Father Gerard Quirke after Mass at the summit of Croagh Patrick holy mountain during an annual Catholic pilgrimage near Lecanvey, Ireland, July 29, 2018. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

Francis will pray at the Knock shrine as part of his two-day visit to Ireland this week, the first by a Pope in almost 40 years that have transformed the once staunchly Catholic country into a far more secular and liberal society. 

the Web Editors 8-21-2018
LUCAS JACKSON

2018 MTV Video Music Awards - Show - Radio City Music Hall, New York, U.S., August 20, 2018 - Logic performs "One Day". LUCAS JACKSON

Joined by OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, Logic used his VMA stage time as a powerful protest of the Trump aministration’s family separation policy that has removed thousands of children from their parents.

the Web Editors 8-20-2018

FILE PHOTO: Pope Francis delivers a speech after a meeting with Patriarchs of the churches of the Middle East at the St. Nicholas Basilica in Bari, southern Italy July 7, 2018. REUTERS/Tony Gentile/File Photo

Pope Francis has responded today to recent reports of clerical sexual abuse and ecclesial cover-up through a letter titled “Letter to the People of God.” This letter comes on the heels of a 884-page reportdocumenting clerical abuse in Pennsylvania and ahead of the World Meeting of Families taking place Aug. 21-26 in Dublin, Ireland, where Pope Francis is scheduled to speak later in the week.

Parishioners arrive for Mass at Saint Patrick Catholic Church in York, Penn. Aug. 18, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Many churchgoers said they were sickened and saddened by a grand jury report detailing widespread sexual abuse by hundreds of priests in Pennsylvania but they would not let the Roman Catholic Church's cover-up dissuade them from their faith. 

FILE PHOTO: Cardinal Donald William Wuerl from U.S. waves as he arrives for a meeting at the Synod Hall in the Vatican March 7, 2013. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

The Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, withdrew on Saturday from next week's World Meeting of Families in Dublin, the second senior cleric to pull out of the Roman Catholic event amid clerical sexual abuse scandals in the United States.

Elizabeth Evans 8-16-2018

St. Joseph Catholic Church is seen in Hanover, Penn., Aug. 16, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Outraged Pennsylvania child welfare experts, parents, and advocates say that if the Catholic Church doesn’t change its self-protective stance and behaviors, the church remains guilty of privileging predators over victims, and imperils its own credibility as a religious institution.

FILE PHOTO - Aretha Franklin sings during the inauguration ceremony for President-elect Barack Obama in Washington, Jan. 20, 2009. REUTERS/Jason Reed/File Photo

Franklin started touring as part of her father's gospel show as a teenager and got a musical education from gospel greats of the time — the Staple Singers, the Soul Stirrers, James Cleveland and The Mighty Clouds of Joy.

Undocumented immigrant families walk from a bus depot to a respite center after being released from detention in McAllen, Texas, July 26, 2018. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

Over the past four months, news from the border has chronicled the stories of families detained and separated — many of them seeking asylum from gang violence in Central America. Children as young as 8 months have been taken from their parents and sent across the country to children’s shelters, privately run detention centers, and, some, to foster families. Now, 20 days after a court-imposed deadline, more than 550 children still have not been returned to their parents, at least 300 of whom have been deported.

This conflict has implications far beyond cake shops or even adoption. Most states still don't protect LGBTQ individuals from discrimination in the workplace, housing, and public accommodations., and under the Trump administration, the Justice Department has taken the position that the 1964 Civil Rights Act does not cover sexual orientation or gender identity. Wherever advocacy groups are able to secure legal protections for LGBTQ individuals, we should expect pushback from certain religious groups hoping to gain an exemption from those rules.

the Web Editors 8-14-2018

Image via REUTERS/Max Rossi

The report cited 301 priests who are accused of abuse. As a consequence of the cover up, only two priests are subject to prosecution — some abusers died and other cases are too old to prosecute. There were more than 1,000 victims identified in the report, mostly boys, but more victims are believed to exist.

Siblings Charlotte and Sean Kratovil-Lavelle stand on the perimeter of the Unite the Right counterprotest on Sunday. Photo by Holly Honderich.

About 1,000 protesters gathered a few blocks from a white nationalist rally Sunday, far outnumbering the fewer than two dozen Unite the Right activists who walked to Lafayette Park near the White House one year after the deadly riots in Charlottesville, Va.

Dhanya Addanki 8-09-2018

Image via Ric Urrutia

When Velasquez came to the border, she was taken to a detention center in Texas where she was held for a month and a half before making her way to Colorado. She met her husband in Colorado and the couple have three children who are American citizens. She lost a request for asylum in 2016 and was given a year-long stay of deportation in the U.S. Immigration officials indicated that they would not renew her stay of deportation any longer. So instead of going to her Aug. 9, 2017 check in with ICE, Velasquez and her family went to Park Hill and Temple Micah

the Web Editors 8-09-2018

Image via Willow Creek D/CH / Flickr

The mass resignation comes in the wake of an admitted mishandling of sexual harassment allegations made against the church’s founder and former pastor, Rev. Bill Hybels.

Dhanya Addanki 8-08-2018

Image via Wikimedia Commons 

“This is a great time for two churches that have been impacted by racial division to come together through the symbols of prayer, communion, focus on love and justice rather than racial division and hatred,” Roberts said. 

the Web Editors 8-08-2018

Children and family members take part in a sit-in following a march to mark “the court-ordered deadline for the Trump Administration to reunify thousands of families separated at the border, in Washington, U.S., July 26, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

According to a report by The Intercept, the agents took Salazar behind an abandoned Walmart where they shackled him and emptied his pockets before transporting him to the South Texas Detention Complex in Pearsall. Once there, Salazar says he was taken to a room where the FBI probed him for information and told him his immigration status had been revoked because he was a “bad person.” When he refused to talk to them, he was transferred to the Webb County Detention Center in Laredo, Texas.

Rishika Pardikar 8-07-2018

After being reunited with her daughter, Sandra Elizabeth Sanchez, of Honduras, browses through a rack of clothes at Catholic Charities in San Antonio, Texas, U.S., July 26, 2018. REUTERS/Callaghan O'Hare

“The Bible tells us, in numerous places, to care for the foreigner and stranger among us. As those who were once ‘aliens’ from the family of God and have now been given full citizenship through the blood of Christ, we should, of all people advocate for the flourishing and welfare for refugees,” said Elizabeth Bristow, Press Secretary at The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. “We should see those settling into our communities, not as obstacles to our flourishing, but people created in the image of God."

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