10 ways to count the year’s 10 best stories

Kevin Eckstrom |

In case you haven’t gotten your fill of the annual year-in-review stories (ours ran in the Washington Post this weekend), the guys over at Religion Dispatches have created their own Top 10 list of their favorite Top 10 lists … My personal favorite: The Onion’s Top 10 list. Why didn’t we think of that?

Ky. diocese seeks foreign priests to plug clergy shortage

Laurie Goodstein / NY Times |

The Rev. Darrell Venters, lean and leathery as the Marlboro man – a cigarette in one hand and a cellphone with a ring tone like a church bell in the other – spends most of his days recruiting priests from overseas to serve in the small towns, rolling hills and farmland that make up the […]

Church searches for answers after `Santa Claus massacre’

David Finnigan |

COVINA, Calif. (RNS) This Los Angeles suburb remains numb from the Christmas Eve murders carried out by a distraught ex-husband who dressed as Santa Claus and allegedly killed 10 people at the home of his ex-wife’s family. Bruce Jeffrey Pardo killed 10 people at the Covina home of his ex-wife’s parents before torching the house […]

Focus pulls interview over Beck’s Mormon faith

Daniel Burke |

(RNS) Colorado-based Focus on the Family has pulled an online interview with conservative television host Glenn Beck after concerns were raised about Beck’s Mormon faith. Gary Schneeberger, vice president of media and public relations for Focus on the Family Action, said that “differences in the Mormon faith and the historical evangelical faith are not inconsequential.” […]

Williams says disestablished church not `the end of the world’

Al Webb |

LONDON (RNS) Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams says he believes that severing the centuries-old ties between the Church of England and the British government would “by no means (be) the end of the world.” The comment, in an interview with the British magazine New Statesman, was one of the Anglican leader’s most outspoken statements to […]

Icon exhibit hints at thaw in U.S.-Russian relations

G. Jeffrey MacDonald |

CLINTON, Mass.-In this sleepy former mill town, where geopolitical tensions seem a world away, Americans are getting a fresh look at Russia through a lens that’s seldom made available on U.S. shores: the Russian sacred icon. Weekly attendance at the two-year-old Museum of Russian Icons has doubled from about 250 to 500 since mid-October, when […]

Reading Benedict XVI

Francis X. Rocca |

Readers with an interest in religion (like you!) should be grateful to blogger Andrew Sullivan for his extensive and passionate treatment of the topic. But gratitude doesn’t preclude a demand for accuracy. In a Christmas Eve post on some recent, controversial words of Benedict XVI, Sullivan makes much of the pope’s failure to mention the […]

Wanted: inaugural sermons

If you hear a sermon during Inauguration Week that you consider memorable, the Library of Congress wants to know about it. With the Jan. 20 inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama as the nation’s first African-American president, its American Folklife Center hopes to add sermons and speeches from an array of houses of worship and secular […]

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2008 Religion News Service New Congress reflects overall U.S. religious landscape WASHINGTON (RNS) The religious makeup of the incoming 111th Congress roughly matches the overall American religious landscape, with overrepresentation among Jews and Mormons, according to new analysis by the nonpartisan Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Just over half (55 percent) of […]