Scandals prompt exodus from Catholic church in Germany

Niels Sorrells |

BERLIN (RNS) Beset by a series of sex abuse and financial scandals, the Catholic Church in Germany is seeing membership plunge as 2010 comes to a close, according to a series of surveys conducted by German media outlets. The results released did not include an overall nationwide tally, but based on figures for individual dioceses, […]

The steady drip, drip, drip of WikiLeaks

Francis X. Rocca |

Britain’s Guardian newspaper has released four more WikiLeaks documents from the U.S. embassy to the Vatican, from 2001, 2002 and 2009, all somehow related to Catholic-Jewish tensions over the possible canonization as a saint of Pope Pius XII. One of the cables, from last October, reports that the Vatican backed out of an agreement to […]

Wednesday’s Religion News Roundup

President Obama signed legislation this morning that will allow gays to serve openly in the military (pic at left). Gay rights advocates scored a victory on the international scene, too, as UN member states restored sexual orientation to a resolution opposing arbitrary executions. The Vatican sought to clarify the pope’s controversial comments about condoms, saying […]

Jews ready to roll out new `ethical kosher’ seals

Nicole Neroulias |

NEW YORK (RNS) What does it really mean for your Hebrew National hot dog to “answer to a higher authority?” For years, it’s meant a kosher certification that ensured Jewish (and non-Jewish) consumers were buying a product that met strict religious standards for slaughter and preparation that went beyond government requirements. Now a controversial Jewish […]

10 minutes with … Robby McGee

Nicole Neroulias |

(RNS) Every December, Christmas culture warriors square off in town squares and school auditoriums over nativity scenes, Christmas carols and whether it’s politically correct to say “Merry Christmas.” For Robby McGee, president of the Nashville-based evangelical group Reaching International, the strategic battleground is the shopping mall, where he believes too many retailers and restaurants eagerly […]

COMMENTARY: Lessons from 2010 for 2011

Cathleen Falsani |

(RNS) Among the many highlights of 2010 was a thread of spiritual pondering that wove its way through the year’s events — both personal and global. As is my tradition in this space, here are a few of the most intriguing spiritual insights I heard (and in some cases rediscovered) from the last 12 months. […]

Poll finds family, not JesusâÂ?Â? birth, at heart of Christmas

Adelle M. Banks |

(RNS) While nearly all Americans celebrate Christmas, most focus more on family than religious traditions, a new survey shows. Out of a list of 14 things people do at Christmas, the most common activity — at 89 percent — was giving gifts to family members, reports LifeWay Research. More than 75 percent also gather with […]

Creationism holds steady at four in 10 Americans, Gallup says

Daniel Burke |

(RNS) Four in 10 Americans believe that God created humans in something like their present form within the last 10,000 years, according to a new Gallup Poll. While that percentage represents a slight dip from 2008, when 44 percent said they do not believe divinely made humans evolved over time, it has remained remarkably stable […]

Vatican says no change to teaching on condoms, prostitutes

Francis X. Rocca |

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI’s recent comments about condoms do not mark a change in “Catholic moral teaching” or “pastoral practice” on AIDS prevention or contraception, the Vatican said Tuesday (Dec. 21). The statement by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, the Catholic Church’s highest doctrinal body, represents a rare official clarification of […]