Jews angry after pope moves Pius XII closer to sainthood

Francis X. Rocca |

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Jewish leaders warned of new strains in Catholic-Jewish relations after Pope Benedict XVI moved his controversial wartime predecessor, Pope Pius XII, one step closer to possible sainthood. Benedict signed a decree on Saturday (Dec. 19) recognizing Pius’ “heroic virtues” and declaring him “venerable.” That new status makes the late pope eligible for […]

New Merton book stirs up controversy

Daniel Burke |

(RNS) Rarely has a romance seemed so star-crossed. He was 51, she 25. She was a pretty, petite student-nurse; he was stocky and bald, with a roving intellect and a boisterous laugh. He was also the most celebrated Catholic monk in America. Margie Smith had read at least one of the books that made Thomas […]

Monday’s roundup

Senate Democrats scored a major health-care victory early Monday morning, as they brokered a compromise on abortion and broke through a Republican filibuster. No one seems very happy with the abortion compromise, with NARAL, NRLC, and the Catholic bishops all denouncing it. The bishops said the bill “should not move forward in its current form.” […]

Survey: Two-thirds of Protestant pastors consider Islam ‘dangerous’

Adelle M. Banks |

(RNS) Two out of three Protestant pastors believe Islam is a “dangerous” religion, according to a new survey from a Southern Baptist-affiliated research group. The survey of more than 1,000 Protestant clergy by LifeWay Research, released Monday (Dec. 14) found that 45 percent strongly agree with the statement “I believe Islam is a dangerous religion” […]

Anti-abortion group cites slain activist as `Person of the Year’

David Harris |

OWOSSO, Mich. (RNS) James Pouillon, the anti-abortion activist who was killed in September in Owosso, has been named “person of the year” by the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue. Pouillon and gravel pit owner Mike Fuoss were gunned down Sept. 11 in Owosso. Authorities have charged Owosso resident Harlan Drake, 33, with first-degree murder in the […]

DisciplesWorld magazine to cease publication

Chris Herlinger |

(RNS) DisciplesWorld, an award-winning magazine that covered the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) as an independent journal, is shutting its doors after eight years of publication. “We made a valiant effort,” publisher and editor Verity A. Jones said in a Dec. 16 statement announcing the closure, citing declining subscription and advertising revenue and a decrease […]

Reports say John Paul II could inch closer to sainthood

Francis X. Rocca |

VATICAN CITY (RNS) The late Pope John Paul II is expected to take another step toward sainthood on Saturday (Dec. 19). According to Italian media reports, Pope Benedict XVI will sign a decree that recognizes the “heroic virtue” of his predecessor and declares him “venerable,” leaving him eligible for beatification, the rank just below sainthood. […]

SIDEBAR: Can’t choose your religious game? Here are some options

Leanne Larmondin |

(RNS) “Toying with God” authors Rebecca Sachs Norris and Nikki Bado-Fralick offer a list of recommended religious toys and games. “This is a highly personal evaluation, of course, based on our perspective on religious games and dolls,” Norris said, “and even so this is not a `seal of approval’ on every item.” It is not […]

Friday’s roundup

Kevin Eckstrom |

Seems to be a lot of stories out there this morning on crime and punishment … On the topic of punishment, the stepfather of a 2-year-old Brazilian boy found with 42 needles in his body (X-ray at left) has confessed to jabbing them into the toddler as part of a religious ritual, Brazilian police said […]

Book finds that religious toys are more than child’s play

Leanne Larmondin |

(RNS) On the first day of her introductory religion class at Merrimack College just north of Boston, professor Rebecca Sachs Norris put her students to work at having some fun. She assigned teams of three or four students to play some of the many religious board games that fill her office shelves. Weeks later, they […]