Pope meets with investigators of disgraced Legion

Francis X. Rocca |

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI met on Friday (April 30) with the leaders of a Vatican investigation of the Legion of Christ, a conservative Catholic movement whose founder fathered at least one illegitimate child and sexually abused minors. Five prelates from Europe and the Americas, including Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, met with Benedict […]

British judge: Christian beliefs have no legal standing

Al Webb |

LONDON (RNS) A top British judge has ruled that Christian beliefs have no standing under secular law because they lack evidence and cannot be proven. Lord Justice John Grant McKenzie Laws made the declaration on Thursday (April 29) in throwing out a defamation suit by Christian relationship counselor who refused to offer sex therapy to […]

Belgium poised to ban Muslim veil

Elizabeth Bryant |

PARIS (RNS) Belgium is poised to become Europe’s first country to ban the face-covering Islamic veil, after lawmakers approved such a measure Thursday (April 29) — just a week after the French President Nicolas Sarkozy ordered similar legislation in France. Deputies in Belgium’s lower house of Parliament voted almost unanimously for banning the face veil, […]

Is high court’s cross ruling good for Christians?

Adelle M. Banks |

WASHINGTON (RNS) Evangelicals cheered when a Supreme Court ruling on Wednesday (April 28) allowed a cross to remain as a war memorial in California’s Mojave Desert. Some Christians, however, caution that a celebration may not be in order. The high court’s decision was largely based on Justice Anthony Kennedy’s determination that “one Latin cross in […]

A war over water dries up good will between Jews, Arabs

Sarah Grooters |

JERUSALEM (RNS) Given the choice, Fatmeh Kawasmi has put her guests ahead of her flowers. With a limited supply of water, it’s comes down to giving a drink to her flowers or serving tea to her guests. So Kawasmi, as a good Middle Eastern host, pours water into the little cups instead of the soil, […]

Friday’s roundup

Kevin Eckstrom |

Pope Benedict XVI held meetings today over the fate of the Legionaries of Christ (photo, left), the conservative order that was devastated by abuse and out-of-wedlock children involving founder Marcial Maciel. The NYT says the abuse scandal spreading around the world is producing “nothing less than an epochal shift” for the Catholic Church. Washington state […]

New Vatican figures show Catholic growth is outside Europe

Luigi Sandri |

ROME (RNS/ENI) The world’s Catholic population grew 11.55 percent between 2000 and 2008, from 1.045 billion 1.166 billion, which was slightly faster than the world’s overall population growth of 10.77 percent, according to new statistics published by the Vatican. The 2010 edition of the Vatican’s statistical yearbook shows that while the number of Catholics in […]

Retired chaplains oppose Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell repeal

Adelle M. Banks |

WASHINGTON (RNS) More than 40 retired military chaplains warned President Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates that allowing gays to serve openly in the military will force current chaplains to choose between obeying God or men. “This forced choice must be faced, since orthodox Christianity — which represents a significant percentage of religious belief in […]

La. moves to allow armed worshippers

Ed Anderson / The Times-Picayune |

BATON ROUGE, La. (RNS) People qualified to carry concealed weapons should be able to keep them strapped on in a church or temple as a way to enhance security, a state House committee decided Wednesday (April 28). The House Committee on the Administration of Criminal Justice voted 8-3 for bill that would allow a church […]

Panel faults Obama for lagging on religious freedom

Lauren Bohn |

WASHINGTON (RNS) The U.S. government is not doing enough to protect religious freedoms abroad, the independent U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom said Thursday (April 29) in its annual report to Congress and the White House. “The problems are above and beyond what we saw last year, and the administration must do more,” said Leonard […]