Rick Jervis 12-05-2016

Image via RNS/Reuters/Gregorio Borgia/pool

Even in his death, announced on Nov. 25, Castro defied the church by requesting that his remains be cremated, a practice accepted but discouraged by the Vatican.

But his death could also embolden the church to take a more proactive role on the communist island, in the years to come, and bolster its budding relationship with his brother, President Raúl Castro, said Enrique Pumar, head of the Sociology Department at Catholic University of America, who has studied the Catholic Church in Cuba.

the Web Editors 12-05-2016

Image via a katz/Shutterstock.com

The Injustice Boycott has selected three locations that it plans to affect: New York City, San Francisco, and Standing Rock. The initiative will give the government leaders of those locations until Jan. 17, the day after Martin Luther King Jr. Day, to answer to the demands of local activists and organizers, and if those demands aren’t answered by that day, the Injustice Boycott will launch several actions against the city. These actions will include a tourism boycott of those cities; pulling money out of banks, financial institutions, and large corporations that either support racial injustice and police brutality in those cities or have not come out against them; and protests in the city that will be designed to shut down the work of businesses and city government.

In a time of anti-immigrant fervor, religious distrust, and high political polarization, the peace-building Mennonites in Harrisonburg provide one robust model of how to transcend nationalism and bridge divides. Though relatively modest in size, they are showing how even a small group can affect major, positive change, shaping the hearts and minds of the local ecosystem.

Donna Schaper 12-05-2016
U.S. Capitol march

A group of faith leaders from New York pray and march around the U.S. Capitol seven times in a symbolic action called a "Jericho Walk." Photo by/Fast4Families/Flickr.com

I choose a sanctuary strategy both out of patriotism and my belief in Jesus. I love my country and I love the gospel even more. I couldn’t possibly allow the state to tell me or my people how to follow Jesus, and thus feel a need to test the “law” about the government intruding into religious spaces. So here, I offer you and your communities a six-step guide for how to offer physical sanctuary.

the Web Editors 12-04-2016

Image via Oceti Sakowin Camp/Flickr

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has denied easement to the Dakota Access pipeline, effectively blocking construction of the pipeline through sacred Sioux lands.

The easement comes shortly after the arrival of nearly 2,000 veterans to stand in solidarity with Water Protectors, and one day before the Army Corps' intended eviction of the camp.

Image via RNS/Archdiocese of Oklahoma City

An American missionary priest, killed in Guatemala in 1981, has moved a step closer to being named a Catholic saint, after Pope Francis declared him the first-ever American martyr.

The Rev. Stanley Rother, a priest from the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, served for nearly 15 years in Guatemala before being shot dead, during the country’s bloody civil war that divided the country from 1960 to 1996.

Image via RNS/Emily McFarlan Miller

Does Pope Francis have a position on the Dakota Access Pipeline?

That’s one question he hasn’t been asked, and he might demur if pressed on such a specific issue. But in his landmark encyclical on the environment published last year, and in other statements, Francis has strongly supported arguments of the Native American-led resistance movement on three core issues: indigenous rights, water rights and protection of creation.

Image via RNS/Rev. Tuhina Verma Rasche and the Rev. Jason Chestnut

For many Christians who observe the liturgical season of Advent, leading up to Christmas, an Advent devotional is a beloved companion.

Such devotionals typically include a short Scripture reading and reflection on the birth of Jesus.

But most are “crap,” according to the Rev. Jason Chesnut of Baltimore.

Image via RNS/Doctors of the World

Don’t expect a peaceful scene of Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus when you open a Christmas card from Doctors of the World.

The British branch of the humanitarian group has opted to set the characters of the creche in the midst of Mideast crises. On one card, Mary and Joseph are leaning over the baby Jesus, as a missile traverses a starry night.

“Christmas is a time people contemplate the world,” the group said in its online introduction to the cards. “Doctors of the World’s cards seek to remind the public that this year war has forced millions from their homes, and they really need our help.”

the Web Editors 12-02-2016

1. Civil Rights Group Documents Nearly 900 Hate Incidents Post-Election

More than 300 included direct references to the president-elect.

2. New Sanctuary Cities in Texas Vow to Resist Donald Trump’s Deportations

“My message to the people who fear, justifiably, in their hearts what is to come, is that before they come for you, they have to come through me.” —Austin city council member Greg Cesar

3. Advent, Explained

All the things you didn’t know you didn’t know about this season of waiting.

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