New York’s new archbishop, back in Rome, looks to future

Francis X. Rocca |

VATICAN CITY — In a ceremony in St. Peter’s Basilica on Monday (June 29), Pope Benedict XVI placed a thin strip of white lamb’s wool around the necks of 34 recently appointed archbishops from around the world, including five from the United States. The band of wool, known as a “pallium,” symbolizes the responsibilities that […]

LAPD’s first Islamic chaplain

Lindsay Perna |

The Los Angeles Police Department will soon be spiritually guided by its first Islamic chaplain. Sheik Qazi Asad will spend eight hours a month infusing culture and faith into the SoCal officers and community members. But, turns out not everyone was too happy about the Pakistani-born chaplain: “Some Muslim religious and civic leaders who belong […]

Muslims missing MJ

Lindsay Perna |

If President Obama can’t strengthen ties with the Islamic world, rest assured that Michael Jackson will take things over from here. Turns out the pop icon will be sorely missed in the Middle East, despite his sinful dance moves and antics. Rumored to have converted from Jehovah’s Witness to Muslim, those in the Middle East […]

Obama picks a church, and it’s not in DC

Kevin Eckstrom |

The ever on-top-of-things Amy Sullivan over at Time magazine is reporting today that President Obama isn’t going to pick a D.C. church after all, and intends to follow George W. Bush’s lead and attend quiet Sunday services at Camp David. There’s no official word (yet) from the White House on all this, but I trust […]

Cutie’s not the only one

Kevin Eckstrom |

Now that “Father Oprah” has tied the knot (again, this time in an Episcopal church), Jim Davis down at the Sun-Sentinel talks to other formerly Catholic priests who left the church for love. From Davis’ story: “Given the stigma, studies of priest-women relationships are rare. But some numbers are available. “In 2002, the late sociologist […]

On eve of closure, church becomes a tourist magnet

Robert L. Smith |

CLEVELAND — Sightseers are something new to members of St. Casimir Catholic Church. In fact, it’s been awhile since their landmark church drew any kind of attention at all. They’re doing what they can to accommodate the tourists who have descended since the bishop decreed St. Casimir will be shuttered in a bid to create […]

In his own words: Michael Jackson on childhood Sabbaths

Michael Jackson |

(Editors: This essay was originally written by pop icon Michael Jackson and published by Beliefnet in December 2000. It is available for use by RNS subscribers. Please use the Beliefnet byline.) (UNDATED) In one of our conversations together, my friend Rabbi Shmuley (Boteach) told me that he had asked some of his colleagues — writers, […]

State Department appoints special representative to Muslims

Adelle M. Banks |

(RNS) Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has appointed a special representative to Muslim communities, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said Thursday (June 25). Farah Pandith, who has worked in the State Department’s European Bureau, was appointed earlier in the week. “She was a special adviser for outreach to Muslim communities in Europe,” Kelly said. […]

Dalai Lama donates to Florida International University

Amy Green |

ORLANDO, Fla. (RNS) Florida International University has announced a $5 million endowment campaign, seeded with an “unprecedented” $100,000 gift from the Dalai Lama, to save its department of religious studies. It is the first time the exiled Tibetan leader has given such a gift to a Western university, said Nathan Katz, a professor of religious […]

Struggling Reform seminary opts against closing campuses

Nicole Neroulias |

(RNS) Reform Judaism’s flagship institution will keep all three of its U.S. campuses open, despite its serious financial crisis, officials announced this week. Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, which trains 400 rabbinical students in New York, Los Angeles, Cincinnati and Jerusalem, had announced in April that one or more campuses might be closed due […]