City seeks tax on shuttered Catholic churches

Meghan Rubado / The Post-Standard |

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (RNS) The doors of St. Peter Catholic Church are chained and padlocked. The sign out front reads “for sale.” St. Peter and four other churches were recently closed by the Diocese of Syracuse to save money. Now the tax man wants his share. City Assessor John Gamage put St. Peter and two other […]

Black churches team up to tackle problems facing black men

Adelle M. Banks |

WASHINGTON (RNS) The leaders of three black Methodist denominations are joining together — for the first time in 45 years — to address unemployment, crime and other problems that disproportionately affect black men. “When people talk about us being in an economic downturn, that’s nice talk for the general community, but for the African-American community, […]

COMMENTARY: Same problem, different responses

Tom Ehrich |

COLUMBUS, Ohio (RNS) A church conference here was a stark contrast to rage-filled political conventions taking place elsewhere. Facing the same economic frustrations and cultural worries, as well as a grinding internal “recession” in church membership, Episcopal leaders from southern Ohio gathered with enthusiasm about tomorrow, trust in their leaders, and a palpable desire to […]

Tuesday’s roundup

President Obama released his own health care plan on Monday; it takes the Senate bill as its starting point. The Catholic Medical Association says Washington should tear up existing plans and start again from the beginning. A conservative Catholic group says Obama’s bill should be opposed because it doesn’t bar public funding of abortions. No […]

Old law, young age

Francis X. Rocca |

Blogger Andrew Sullivan is having fun today with his discovery that the age of consent in Vatican City is only twelve years old. But as his very post makes clear, the law in question was carried over from a 19th-century Italian criminal code, which reflects the norms and mores of a still pre-industrial society. Given […]

Buffalo finds success in new life for old churches

Michael O'Malley |

BUFFALO, N.Y. (RNS) Amid the closings of Catholic churches across the Northeast and Midwest, local officials — vexed by visions of vacant buildings in struggling neighborhoods — might want to take a look at what’s happening in Buffalo. Despite a weak real estate market, the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo has found surprising success in selling […]

Muslim women launch long-ditch effort to remove prayer partitions

Omar Sacirbey |

(RNS) The walls that segregate Muslim men from women inside many American mosques took a long time to go up, and it could be a long time before they come down. Just ask Fatima Thompson, 44, who on Saturday (Feb. 20) led a group of 10 women and two men in a “stand-in” at the […]

Israel adds West Bank shrines to protected sites list

Michele Chabin |

JERUSALEM (RNS) A decision to include two West Bank shrines in a list of Jewish heritage sites slated for preservation has been praised by religious and right-wing Jews and scorned by Palestinians and their supporters. Speaking at a Sunday (Feb. 21) cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would add Rachel’s Tomb and The […]

Books pulled for image of smoking, drinking Jesus

Achal Narayanan |

CHENNAI, India (RNS) Authorities in India’s majority-Christian Meghalaya state have confiscated all copies of a text book that contains a picture of Jesus holding a can of beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other. The controversial picture was discovered in a cursive writing book that was being used at a private school […]

Nuns, priests in Third World lead growth as West falters

Francis X. Rocca |

VATICAN CITY (RNS) The proportion of Catholic priests and nuns in Africa and Asia rose markedly over the last decade, while Europe’s share continued to diminish, according to official Vatican statistics released Saturday (Feb. 20). Among the figures in the 2010 Pontifical Yearbook: – Over a nine-year period from 2000 to 2008, the number of […]