Monday Godbytes

Religion majors rejoice: Nathan Schneider at Religion Dispatches explains why he thinks the world needs religious studies. The Dalai Lama is questioning whether self-immolations should be used as a form of protest, echoing the misgivings of other Tibetan leaders. Relevant Magazine asks: should a candidate’s religion matter? CNN reports that Muslims in Britain are “optimistic […]

Bob Jones University questions ‘fundamentalist’ label

David Gibson |

GREENVILLE, S.C. (RNS) When Bob Jones III recently questioned whether President Obama is a Christian, it was a reminder not only that the fundamentalist leader is controversial but also how little the political world has heard from the man and the rock-ribbed Christian school that bears his name. The relative silence emanating from Bob Jones […]

Pope Benedict XVI calls for ‘reconciliation’ in Africa

Francis X. Rocca |

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI ended his second papal trip to Africa on Sunday (Nov. 20) with a call for “reconciliation, justice and peace” in a troubled continent that he nonetheless called a “land of hope.” The pope’s three-day visit to the West African country of Benin culminated in an open-air Mass in the […]

Threats to marriage, real or otherwise

This week the Family Research Council released its second annual report on “belonging and rejection” in U.S. families. That’s a fancy way of basically trying to measure the impact of kids not being raised by their biological parents. The report looks at several categories of sociological data to score each state, including high school graduation […]

Pope Benedict XVI begins second trip to Africa

Francis X. Rocca |

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI opened his second papal trip to Africa on Friday (Nov. 18) with a warning against economic development through unbridled capitalism. Arriving in the West African country of Benin, Benedict told the country’s president and other dignitaries that the process of modernizing traditional societies entails certain “pitfalls,” including “unconditional surrender […]

Students ‘do interfaith’ through universal language of music

Yonat Shimron |

DURHAM, N.C. (RNS) Say the word “interfaith” and the next word to roll off the tongue is probably “dialogue.” It’s hard to think of one without the other. But college students know there are other ways to communicate, and music may be chief among them. Students from three North Carolina universities — Duke, North Carolina […]

Friday Godbytes

The eyes have it: Muslim women in Saudi Arabia may be forced to start covering up ‘tempting’ eyes. The New York Times reviews a documentary about the Weissensee Jewish Cemetery, one of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in Europe. (it’s less gloomy than it sounds!) You’ve probably heard that meditation can be good for you, but […]

Crystal Cathedral is cautionary tale for pastors

Adelle M. Banks |

(RNS) The cash-strapped Crystal Cathedral’s pending transformation from a Protestant megachurch to a Roman Catholic cathedral should teach pastors not to spend millions on ornate buildings, a megachurch scholar says. A bankruptcy judge on Thursday (Nov. 17) approved of the sale of the iconic cathedral to the Catholic Diocese of Orange, Calif., for $57.5 million. […]

Austrian bishops say no to lay-led Mass

Jonathan Luxmoore |

(RNS/ENInews) Catholic bishops in Austria have rejected a call by dissident church members for lay people to preside at Mass when parishes have no priests, but the bishops also pledged to maintain a dialogue over possible changes in church life. Austria’s reformist We Are Church movement had asked for lay presiders on Nov. 5, following […]