Catholicism

Duane Shank 4-20-2012

Quote of the day.
“I don’t want to overemphasize my Catholicism here. But I know my religion. I know religions in general. In the New Testament, the one place where Jesus talks about the death penalty, he says, ‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.’ When I’ve reflected on the death penalty, the reality is I frequently ponder that passage.” Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy, who will soon sign a bill abolishing the death penalty in the state.
(Washington Post)

Annalisa Musarra 4-18-2012
Tony Magdaraog/Shutterstock.com

Devotees celebrate the feast of The Black Nazarene in Manila, Philippines. Tony Magdaraog/Shutterstock.com

Belief in God is slowly declining in most countries around the world, according to a new poll, but the truest of the true believers can still be found in developing countries and Catholic societies.

The “Beliefs about God Across Time and Countries” report, released Wednesday (April 18) by researchers at the University of Chicago, found the Philippines to be the country with the highest belief, where 94 percent of Filipinos said they were strong believers who had always believed.

At the opposite end, at just 13 percent, was the former East Germany.

Bob Smietana 4-04-2012
Public domain, Wikipedia Commons

Public domain, Wikipedia Commons

One of the largest student religious groups at Vanderbilt University is leaving campus in a dispute over the school's non-discrimination policy that bars student groups from requiring their leaders to hold specific beliefs.

Leaders of Vanderbilt Catholic, which has 500 members, says the rule make no sense. P.J. Jedlovec, the group's president, says the group's meetings are open to all students, but only people who share the group's beliefs can be leaders.

"If we were open to having non-Catholics lead the organization, we wouldn't be Catholic anymore," Jedlovec said.

Peggy McGlone 3-26-2012
"Leaving." Photo by Cathleen Falsani for Sojourners.

"Leaving." Photo by Cathleen Falsani for Sojourners.

TRENTON, N.J. — As part of a survey to understand why they have stopped attending Mass, a few hundred Catholics were asked what issues they would raise if they could speak to the bishop for five minutes.

The bishop would have gotten an earful.

Their reasons ranged from the personal ("the pastor who crowned himself king and looks down on all") to the political ("eliminate the extreme conservative haranguing") to the doctrinal ("don't spend so much time on issues like homosexuality and birth control").

In addition, they said, they didn't like the church's handling of the clergy sex abuse scandal and were upset that divorced and remarried Catholics are unwelcome at Mass.

Elizabethe Holland 3-02-2012
(Catholic classroom photo by Shutterstock.com)

(Catholic classroom photo by Shutterstock.com)

NORMANDY, Mo. — A popular music teacher at a Catholic Church was fired after church officials learned that he planned to marry his male partner of 20 years in New York, where same-sex marriage is legal.

The teacher, Al Fischer, confirmed that he was fired Feb. 17 from his job of four years at St. Ann Catholic School. When asked to comment on his firing, Fischer declined and referred to a letter emailed to his students' parents shortly after his termination.

In the letter, Fischer tells parents of "my joyful news, and my sad news" — the former being his plans to marry his longtime partner in New York City, and the latter, "that I can't be your music teacher anymore."

Fischer's partner, Charlie Robin, told the Post-Dispatch that the couple's relationship was not a secret at St. Ann, and that Fischer was fired after a representative of the St. Louis Archdiocese overheard him talking to co-workers about his wedding plans.

Daniel Burke 2-12-2012
Pope Paul VI. Image via Wiki Commons, http://bit.ly/xCeHRU.

Pope Paul VI. Image via Wiki Commons, http://bit.ly/xCeHRU.

Editor's Note: The following aritcle was written in 2008, around the 40th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, the papal document that reinforced the Catholic Church's ban on artificial birth control. 

Some say Pope Paul VI predicted the dangers of loosening sexual morals: widespread divorce, disease and promiscuity. Others say he cracked open a culture of dissent that has seeped into every corner of the church.

Either way, more than 40 years after Paul VI released ``Humanae Vitae'' on July 25, 1968, the papal encylical banning most forms of birth control continues to be a flashpoint in the Catholic Church.

Earlier this year, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago said Humanae Vitae set up ``a direct conflict between many people's experience ... and the authority of the church.''

An empty contraceptive pill container. Image via Wylio http://bit.ly/AEEpk5.

An empty contraceptive pill container. Image via Wylio http://bit.ly/AEEpk5.

A majority of Americans — including Catholics — believe that employers should be required to provide employee health care plans that cover contraception and birth control at no cost, according to a new survey.

But the research by the Public Religion Polling Institute shows that when it comes to providing religious exemptions from free contraceptive coverage – something the White House is sharply criticized for failing to do – the public is much more divided.

The Catholic bishops have slammed the Obama administration in recent weeks, urging priests to read letters from the pulpit blasting a new Health & Human Services rule that will require some Catholic institutions, such as universities, to cover employees' contraceptive costs. 

On Monday, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued "Six Things Everyone Should Know About the HHS Mandate." Included on the list was, "Catholics of all political persuasions are unified in their opposition to the mandate."

The survey released today, however, paints a more nuanced picture.

"Galileo Galilei - Church of Santa Croce" via Wylio http://bit.ly/wpKD02

"Galileo Galilei - Church of Santa Croce" via Wylio http://bit.ly/wpKD02

VATICAN CITY — Nearly four centuries after the Roman Catholic Church branded Galileo Galilei a heretic for positing that the sun was the center of the universe, the Vatican is co-hosting a major science exhibition in his hometown.

The Vatican is teaming with Italy's main physics research center to host "Stories from Another World. The Universe Inside and Outside of Us," in Pisa.

The exhibit will illustrate the progress of knowledge of the physical universe, from prehistoric times to recent discoveries. The exhibit is organized by the Specola Vaticana — the Vatican-supported observatory — and Italy's National Institute for Nuclear Physics, together with Pisa University's physics department.

The exhibition aims to tell "the history of the universe, from the particles which make up the atoms in our bodies to distant galaxies," the Rev. Jose Funes, director of the observatory, told reporters on Thursday (Feb. 2).

the Web Editors 1-06-2012
Rick Santorum. Image via Wylio http://www.wylio.com/credits/Flickr/6184431370

Rick Santorum. Image via Wylio http://www.wylio.com/credits/Flickr/6184431370

Republican presidential contender Rick Santorum is a darling of the Christian right, and made a tremendous showing among evangelicals in the Iowa caucuses. But Santorum himself is a Catholic, and while many of his more socially conservative positions have endeared him to the evangelical community, they actually conflict with the teachings of his own church. The theological tensions in Santorum's record pose potential political problems for his candidacy: Can he bring Catholics into his camp despite advocating unorthodox positions? And can he maintain his reputation among conservative Christians as a principled man of religious integrity, despite taking political stances that violate the teachings of his own faith?

Santorum has often defended the role of religion in political affairs, stating that his own faith was a significant factor in his Senate career.

"The social teachings of my faith were a factor in my work as a senator," Santorum wrote in a 2007 opinion piece for the Philadelphia Enquirer, explaining his votes in favor of global AIDS relief as rooted in Christian teachings to "care for the poor."

But on two issues in particular, Santorum has broken with official Catholic doctrine to side with hardline evangelicals against accepted scientific conclusions. On several other matters, Santorum's political positions have sparked ire among Catholics concerned with social justice.

Karen Sue Smith 1-01-2012

Fifty years after Vatican II, will a new generation of lay Catholics lead prophetic change in the church and in the world?

Cathleen Falsani 11-14-2011
Sister Annunziata, in a favorite photo from her days in Rome.

Sister Annunziata, in a favorite photo from her days in Rome.

All of my life, religious sisters have had a special place in my heart and imagination.

I love nuns. LOVE them.

So a story in today's New York Times caught my eye (and my heart) immediately when I saw the headline: "Sisters of St. Francis, Quiet Shareholder Activists" and then the even-better headline on the story's web page at NYT.com: "Nuns Who Won't Stop Nudging."

Joshua Witchger 11-09-2011

Looking at reality TV’s latest sensation: All American Muslim, stories of Missouri's Chocolate University harvesting more than cocoa beans, exploring the terms behind the latest anti-bullying legislation, Bill McKibben, social media meets religion, God and sports, Proposition 8, and more.

the Web Editors 10-19-2011

The high cost of anti-immigration laws. Why candidates' faith matters. ABC News' exclusive interview with President Obama. U.S. Hispanics choosing churches outside Catholicism. Three U.S. Congressmen tour the Canadian tar sands. Who are the death penalty's most ardent supporters? Investors worth a collective $20 trillion (with a T!) call for urgent action on climate change. And God's economy.

the Web Editors 9-28-2011
Aide: Obama faces 'titanic struggle' in 2012
Eboo Patel 5-19-2011
Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker and high-profile conservative intellectual, announced that he is officially in the running for the Republican nomination for president.
Chris LaTondresse 3-01-2011

"Farewell Rob Bell." With this three word tweet John Piper -- senior pastor at Bethlehem Baptist church in Minneapolis, Minnesota and elder statesman of the neo-reform stream of American Christianity -- triggered an online firestorm over the weekend.

Debra Dean Murphy 1-24-2011
I used to live in a world where God was a given and unapologetic faith was the lens through which the world was seen and interpreted.

Multiple Authors 4-19-2010
We wanted to make sure that folks saw this letter that circulated in the Irish Times
Julie Clawson 3-10-2010
I was intrigued recently over a story I saw on the news

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