S.C. Episcopal diocese declares itself `sovereign’

Daniel Burke |

(RNS) A South Carolina diocese has declared itself “sovereign” within the Episcopal Church, the latest salvo in a long-running skirmish between the conservative diocese and the denomination. The Diocese of South Carolina, which covers 47 parishes in the eastern and coastal parts of the state, voted on Friday (March 26) to assert the local authority […]

Indian high court says couples can legally cohabitate

Achal Narayanan |

CHENNAI, India (RNS) India’s highest court has ruled that unmarried couples have the right to live together and there is nothing illegal in live-in relationships between consenting adults. “When two adult people want to live together, what is the offense? Living together is a right to life,” a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court in […]

Church reformers have second thoughts on pope

Jeff Diamant |

(RNS) To many advocates of reform in the Catholic Church, the election of conservative Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as pope in April 2005 was a blow to hopes the Vatican would change positions on gender, sexuality, divorce, and the church hierarchy. Yet the result encouraged three prominent reformers who were appointed to a U.S. bishops’ National […]

Hierarchy rallies around beleaguered pope

Francis X. Rocca |

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Prominent bishops in Europe and North America are rallying behind a beleaguered Pope Benedict XVI, trying to fend off charges that Benedict mishandled cases of clerical sex abuse before becoming pope. “Our earthly shepherd (is) now suffering some of the same unjust accusations, shouts of the mob, and scourging at the pillar, […]

Monday’s roundup

It’s a stormy beginning to Holy Week for the Catholic Church, as it continues to deal with accusations that Pope Benedict XVI failed to punish pedophile priests, or at least remove them from ministry. Protesters took to the streets in London, an Austrian bishop announced an investigation into charges of rape and molestation by Catholic […]

Lilies Just for Easter

The Ledger: (RNS) To the untrained eye, the graceful lilies that arrive on church altars each year on Easter Sunday (April 4 this year) are a familiar symbol of resurrection and renewal. Like poinsettias on Christmas, it just wouldn’t be Easter without them. Full story.

Faith leaders call for civility after attacks

Kimberlee Hauss and Adelle M. Banks |

WASHINGTON (RNS) As Democratic lawmakers reel from violent attacks and threats, religious leaders have issued a “covenant for civility” pledging that they will pray for politicians and model respectful behavior. “The church in the United States can offer a message of hope and reconciliation to a nation that is deeply divided by political and cultural […]

Oregon parents cite religion to opt out of vaccines

Noelle Crombie / The Oregonian |

PORTLAND, Ore. (RNS) The number of parents in Oregon opting out of vaccines for their children is on the rise, state public health officials say. In 1992, 1.2 percent of kindergartners went unvaccinated. By last year, the rate had jumped to 4.9 percent — about 2,255 Oregon kindergartners. That so many Oregon parents have rejected […]

Pope and president lead press coverage, study says

Kimberlee Hauss |

(RNS) The pope and the president dominated religion news in the American media last year, according to a new study. The Obama administration’s “faith-based initiative” accounted for three of the top 10 religion-focused stories, while two of the top 10 focused on Pope Benedict XVI. The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and […]

Will the pope resign?

Francis X. Rocca |

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Will Pope Benedict XVI resign? Less than two weeks ago, that question was just a publicity-grabbing ploy by an Irish online bookmaker. Now, following charges that he personally mishandled cases of pedophile priests in Munich and Milwaukee, the idea of Benedict stepping down is actually being taken seriously, at least in some […]