U.S. bishop says Jews have no `exclusive right’  to Israel

Francis X. Rocca |

VATICAN CITY (RNS) A special Vatican meeting on the Middle East ended Saturday (Oct. 23) with a flare-up in Catholic-Jewish tensions, after an American bishop declared the Bible does not give Jews privileged rights to the land of Israel. “We Christians cannot speak of the `promised land’ as an exclusive right for a privileged Jewish […]

Monday’s Religion News Roundup

Catholic Bishops from the Middle East summoned to Rome by Pope Benedict XVI demanded that Israel end its “occupation” of Arab lands. Benedict called on Islamic countries in the Middle East to guarantee freedom of worship to non-Muslims. Israel said the meeting was hijacked by enemies of the Jewish state. Some senior Israeli officials question […]

Hollywood probes spiritual subjects without getting preachy

Stephen Whitty |

(RNS) The New Testament warns about trying to serve two masters. But lately Hollywood’s ordered up a rewrite. Moviemakers would prefer to have it both ways. And so multiplexes have been crowded with films that wrestle with spiritual questions even while battling for box-office attention. These aren’t tiny indies, like the evangelical films that sprang […]

Exhibit offers peak inside Vatican’s `splendors’

Ann Rodgers |

PITTSBURGH (RNS) The entrance to the Vatican Splendors exhibit evokes a part of St. Peter’s Basilica that few tourists ever see: the archaeological excavation beneath the altar, where the modest grave of St. Peter lies amid elaborate first-century pagan mausoleums. The choice of beginning with the grave of Peter, the first pope, reflects organizers’ hopes […]

D’Oh! Homer not so Catholic, Vatican says

Francis X. Rocca |

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Several days after the Vatican’s official newspaper reported that characters Homer and Bart Simpson are Catholic, the source of that supposed discovery has distanced himself from the cartoonish claim. “I wouldn’t say they’re Catholic, I would say they’re people of faith,” the Rev. Francesco Occhetta told the AFP news agency. “I would […]

U.S. Sikhs urge Obama to visit Golden Temple, despite rumors

Whitney Jones |

(RNS) American Sikhs are urging President Obama to visit the famed Golden Temple in India next month, despite his administration’s reported concern that wearing the headscarf required for entry will inflame false rumors that Obama is a Muslim. The Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund said that if Obama did not visit the Golden […]

Israel a model (of sorts) on gays in the military

Michele Chabin |

JERUSALEM (RNS) Israel, like the United States, is a largely secular society with deep religious roots. And Israel, like the United States, is home to vocal religious conservatives who frown on homosexuality. But Israel, unlike the United States, has allowed gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military for 17 years. In fact, they […]

Friday’s Religion News Roundup

Kevin Eckstrom |

Breaking news: The Vatican priest who raised a few eyebrows by calling Homer Simpson a Catholic is backpedaling, saying “I don’t think that at all. I would say they’re people of faith.” Rev. Lovejoy can call off the vapors. POTUS has joined the chorus of adults (both gay and straight) telling gay teens that “it […]

ACLU questions Sunday morning voting at churches

Adelle M. Banks |

WASHINGTON (RNS) The American Civil Liberties Union is criticizing plans by two Iowa churches to host early voting during worship services. “Combining polling places with religious services is an invitation to the abuse of both religion and the civic act of voting,” said Ben Stone, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, […]