Pope tells church judges to limit marriage annulments

Francis X. Rocca |

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI on Friday (Jan. 29) urged church judges to limit the number of marriage annulments they grant by encouraging couples to stay together if possible. Benedict made his remarks to members of the Roman Rota, the church panel with the highest authority in marriage cases, at a ceremony marking the […]

Air Force builds worship space for Wiccans

Daniel Burke |

(RNS) The U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado will set aside a worship space for followers of “Earth-centered” religions such as Wicca and Druidism, according to an Air Force news release. A stone circle atop a hill on the base in Colorado Springs will likely be dedicated in a ceremony March 10, according to the […]

Canadian Supreme Court declines Jehovah’s Witness death case

Ron Csillag |

OTTAWA (RNS) The Supreme Court of Canada has declined to hear a wrongful death lawsuit brought by a man whose daughter was a Jehovah’s Witness. Lawrence Hughes filed the action in 2004 against the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Canada and others alleging the Witnesses’ policy against blood transfusions caused the death of his […]

Mother defends choice in Ore. faith-healing case

Steve Mayes |

OREGON CITY (RNS) Marci Beagley acknowledged Thursday (Jan. 28) that her son took a serious downturn about 12 hours before he died, and defended her family’s decision to “wait it out” rather than seek medical treatment. Nearly two weeks of testimony ended Thursday in the trial of Jeffrey and Marci Beagley, who are charged with […]

Faiths unite behind health care reform, even as details are vague

Adelle M. Banks |

WASHINGTON (RNS) As Capitol Hill appears politically paralyzed over health care reform, the prescription from many faith leaders is firm: don’t abandon ship. “The faith community has worked for decades for comprehensive health care reform and this last year … many of them have put aside other policy priorities to take this over the finish […]

Friday’s roundup

Kevin Eckstrom |

The man accused of killing Kansas abortionist George Tiller said he did it to save unborn babies. “I did what I thought was needed to be done to protect the children,” Scott Roeder said. “I shot him.” The judge also ruled out allowing Roeder to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter. [UPDATE: Jurors found Roeder guilty […]

After quake, Haiti’s missionaries ask: ‘Why (not) me?’

G. Jeffrey MacDonald |

(RNS) Having survived a devastating earthquake during a 10-day mission trip to Haiti, Freedom Gassoway now savors every minute she spends at home with her family in Beaverton, Ore. But for this 33-year-old mother of two, some of life has also lost its sweetness. Meals no longer taste good, she said, since she’s always thinking […]

Mennonite college opts to play national anthem

Daniel Burke |

(RNS) In a break with the past, a Mennonite college in Indiana will play an instrumental version of the national anthem before athletic events despite the song’s “militaristic” lyrics. Goshen College in Goshen, Ind., is owned by Mennonite Church USA, an historic peace church that advocates nonviolence. But in deference to its increasingly diverse student […]

Judge grants political asylum to German home-schoolers

Adelle M. Banks |

(RNS) A U.S. immigration judge has granted political asylum to a Christian family from Germany that wants to home-school its children. The Home School Legal Defense Association, which defended the family, announced the Tuesday (Jan. 26) decision by Judge Lawrence Burman in Memphis, Tenn. “This decision finally recognizes that German home-schoolers are a specific social […]

Church says three accused Irish priests served in Boston

G. Jeffrey MacDonald |

BOSTON (RNS) The Archdiocese of Boston, under mounting pressure to address alleged ties to Irish priests accused of sexual abuse, acknowledged that three clerics on a list of 70 alleged abusers had in fact served in the Boston area. One of the accused, the Rev. Dennis P. Murphy received permission to celebrate Mass at St. […]