Court says French cathedral belongs to Russia

Sophia Kishkovsky |

(RNS/ENI) A French court has ruled that the St. Nicholas Cathedral in Nice, France, built with funding from Czar Nicholas II and completed just before Russia’s Soviet revolution, belongs to Russia and must be handed over. The victory is Russia’s latest in a series of battles for church property around the world — attempts by […]

Landmarking battle between city, church heats up

Michael O'Malley |

CLEVELAND (RNS) Rebuffing the concerns of church leaders over the fate of shuttered church buildings, the city’s Landmarks Commission is recommending that six more Catholic churches be designated as historical city landmarks. The designation, which would give the buildings some protection against demolition or structural changes, is opposed by the Diocese of Cleveland, which is […]

Mother found guilty in starvation case

Joe Moszczynski, Mark Mueller and Jim Lockwood |

NEWTON, N.J. (RNS) A woman who made no effort to feed her four starving children, telling them God would provide for them as they grew weaker and hungrier, was found guilty of child endangerment charges on Friday (Jan. 22). Jurors took just 30 minutes to reach a verdict in the case against Estelle Walker, 50, […]

Monday’s roundup

As intellectuals stroke their chins over God’s role (or absence) in the Haitian earthquake, the American people at large have responded by opening their pocket books and donating more than $380 million _ much of it through the Interwebs _ for Haiti, a record for a foreign disaster, the Baltimore Sun reports. “It’s clear that […]

At 88, nun keeps pushing for controversial pope’s sainthood

Jeff Diamant |

MORRISTOWN, N.J. (RNS) Nearly 20 portraits of Pope Pius XII line the walls of Sister Margherita Marchione’s office, and dozens of smaller likenesses fill shelves. There are also a pair of his shoes, his white zucchetto (or skullcap), and a gold reliquary containing two handkerchiefs and a strand of his hair. It is a veritable […]

Online archive opens the Reformers’ works

Paul R. Kopenkoskey |

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (RNS) Some surprises started unfolding when a team of Calvin Theological Seminary professors and graduate students recently launched the Post-Reformation Digital Library. Chief eye-openers included successfully tracking down rare Reformed theologians’ manuscripts once thought lost. Another revelation: 16th-18th century theologians and philosophers were brutally honest about their doctrinal positions and emotions, including […]

Boy in faith-healing death had obvious symptoms, doctor says

Steve Mayes |

OREGON CITY, Ore. (RNS) A 16-year-old boy whose parents believe in faith healing had lifelong health problems from a urinary tract blockage that destroyed his kidneys and flooded his body cavity with urine, a medical examiner testified Thursday (Jan. 21). Jeffrey and Marci Beagley are charged with criminally negligent homicide for failing to provide medical […]

`Avatar’ leads the pack in Web site’s most `spiritual’ movies

Daniel Burke |

(RNS) Movies about aliens, air travel, cooking, and the war in Iraq were all among the most “spiritually literate” films of 2009, according to the Web site SpiritualityandPractice.com Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, the Web site’s founders, say the 10 top spiritual movies all “raise our consciousness to a fuller engagement with our world” by […]

Church-state battle brews over shuttered churches

Solange De Santis |

(RNS) When a church is deemed no longer viable and is ordered to be closed, who gets to decide what happens to the building? Catholic dioceses in Ohio and Massachusetts are resisting moves by local officials to apply landmark designations to shuttered churches saying such moves raise issues of religious freedom and expression. Landmark advocates, […]

Friday’s roundup

Kevin Eckstrom |

As we slide into the weekend, here’s how it’s looking out there: As we reported yesterday, the Michigan-based defense contractor says it will no longer inscribe Bible verses on its rifle scopes. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition. Opening arguments are scheduled today in the murder trial of Scott Roeder, the anti-abortion activist accused […]