Scottish Cardinal Keith O’Brien, an ardent opponent of gay marriage, created a scandal just before the conclave in March when it was revealed that he had a series of affairs with men.

star trek

Photo from the new Star Trek Into Darkness movie courtesy

O’Brien did not travel to Rome then, and today the man who was elected in that conclave, Pope Francis, dispatched O’Brien to an undisclosed location “for several months for the purpose of spiritual renewal, prayer and penance.”

“Any decision regarding future arrangements for His Eminence shall be agreed with the Holy See,” a Vatican press release concluded.

Does this herald a new, tougher line with bad bishops?

Another possible signal: At his morning mass today, Francis had strong words for vainglorious bishops and priests, and asked his listeners to pray for their clergy not to give into temptations:

“When a bishop, a priest goes on the road to vanity, he enters into the spirit of careerism – and this hurts the Church very much – (and) ends up being ridiculous: he boasts, he is pleased to be seen, all powerful – and the people do not like that!”

No, they don’t, and many of them might have a list of other prelates they’d like to send along with O’Brien…

What of Kermit Gosnell? The rogue abortionist made a deal to serve the rest of his life in prison and thereby avoid the death penalty, which he probably wouldn’t have been given anyway.

Not everyone is happy about that, among them a number of pro-lifers who might have preferred a rougher justice, as Mark DeMoss signaled in his post-conviction tweet:

Screen Shot 2013-05-15 at 10.14.39 AM

But others, like Ashley McGuire, say no death for Gosnell – it would undermine the pro-life message. Abby Johnson had one of the more impassioned critiques of the “vitriol”she has heard directed at Gosnell from “Christian pro-lifers,” as she put it:

“Hate comes from hell. Mercy comes from Christ. When we have hate in our hearts, our spirits are damaged. Be careful with your words. Not only are you a living witness of Christ and His truth, but you could put your own soul at risk.”

Princeton’s Robby George is also on the prayer train for Gosnell’s conversion – and for the conversion of the rest of America.

But will the Gosnell trial change the abortion debate in this country, as abortion foes are hoping? They might want to temper their high expectations, as I write in this analysis.

Photo of the cast of new Star Trek Into Darkness movie courtesy

Photo of the cast of new Star Trek Into Darkness movie courtesy

The new “Star Trek” movie premiers tonight – at midnight for all you serious diehards. Among them is Jason King, who is a serious “Theo-Trekkie” and explicates this moral universe at the Catholic Moral Theology blog.

If that isn’t enough, Matthew Yglesias at Slate has watched all five of the “Star Trek” television series and all 11 movies and finds that, Hillel-like, the heart of the franchise’s ethos can be summed up in one phrase: The Golden Rule.

If this is what it’s like for another “Star Trek” flick, just imagine what it will be like when the new “Star Wars” movie comes out. By then I will need what our President would call a “Jedi mind-meld.”

Actually, you might need one of those to figure out all the controversies and scandals rocking Washington these days, but Franklin Graham is pretty clear about the IRS problem: The revenuers were targeting his ministries “and attempting to intimidate us.” That was apparently after the nonprofit Graham ministries weighed in for Mitt Romney in last year’s election. The younger Graham has now gone straight to the top, writing to President Obama to complain.

So, is the notion of Christian persecution a myth? And was it always thus? Author Candida Moss talks to our own Lauren Markoe about the thesis of her controversial new book.

Check out Mark Silk on gay marriage in Minnesota and the partisan divide in America, not just the Beltway.

Paige Patterson, who led the Southern Baptist Convention’s turn to social conservatism, is being hailed as a “modern-day Martin Luther” who saved the SBC from “a quagmire of ecumenism, pluralism, universalism and drifting further to the left.” Well, he could do no other, no?

Mormon Works vs. Evangelical Grace? Not so fast, says Jana Reiss.

In a similar vein: Can Evangelicals and Catholics sort their difference on Purgatory? Interesting conference next month will try to come up with an answer. Unfortunately, I doubt it will compete with Dan Brown’s new novel.

Speaking of evangelicals and purgatory, quarterback Tim Tebow – who was named by Forbes this month as America’s most influential athlete, has been unceremoniously dumped by the New York Jets and looks to have few if any prospects of catching on with another team. But he told a crowd at a Michigan college that helping people is more important than playing football:

“I don’t know what the future holds but at the end of the day I know who holds my future.”

Good words, though not the words of a fantasy pick, I think.

Then there’s my former hero, pitcher R.A. Dickey, who left the Mets – or rather, they didn’t want to pay him what he deserved – and signed with the Toronto Blue Jays. It’s been a tough season so far, but Dickey, also a prominent Christian athlete, has told graduates to persevere. That’s what he does, even in the “very dysfunctional lifestyle” of pro baseball.

Doomsday prophet Harold Camping was right! At least his ministry, if not the whole world, appears near the end.

An update on Bishop Robert McManus of Worcester, Massachusetts, who was nailed for drunk-driving: that charge will be dismissed and he will plead to a lesser count of refusing a chemical sobriety test. No driver’s license for six months and $950 in fines and court costs. Beats having the pope send you into exile.

Speaking of the pope – again – Austrian Cardinal Christophe Schönborn said that he personally received two signs from the Holy Spirit that he should vote for Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, who was elected Pope Francis. One, he said, was when a friend whispered into his ear: “Bergoglio.”

So that’s how it works.

Cardinal Dolan of New York isn’t whispering about Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to expand abortion access in the state:

“I am going to hope that the better natures prevail here, but boy if you come out you can expect us to be as vociferous and rigorous as possible in our opposition to this,” Dolan said during an interview with an Albany radio station Tuesday. “I hope we don’t go there.”

He did not, as initially reported, question Cuomo’s standing as a Catholic, his spokesman later clarified.

Couple of interesting reads:

First, Judith Shulevitz at TNR on “the Lethality of Loneliness.”

Then, the latest research at Scientific American on why rituals work.

Which is the perfect segue to our FINAL Daily Religion News Roundup fundraising plea – feel less lonely by making a habit of supporting the Roundup, even after we cease with these annoying but necessary appeals. Thanks for all your support, even if its only your eyeballs on the Roundup and your fine word of mouth that has made this such a popular venture.

LLAP, as they say…

David Gibson

Categories: Culture

David Gibson

David Gibson

David Gibson is an award-winning religion journalist, author and filmmaker. He is a national reporter for RNS and has written two books on Catholic topics, the latest a biography of Pope Benedict XVI.


  1. A question to all the Pro Lifers?

    where are you when this life is born:
    in squalid conditions
    to a drug addict
    in poverty
    sold into human trafficking
    to name a few issues Life has to face, when conceived
    and not wanted or able to be cared for as a Human.

    • Great statement… what’s the point? If you’re not going to stand against all injustice… don’t stand against any?… or… you fight to get them born and then don’t care for them?… or… let’s decide who should live and who shouldn’t based on my idea of quality of life?

      I’m just curious as to where this holier than thou statement is going…

  2. “Scottish Cardinal Keith O’Brien, an ardent opponent of gay marriage, created a scandal just before the conclave in March when it was revealed that he had a series of affairs with men.”

    Hilarious! And predictable. Haggard’s Law rears its ugly head again.

    “will the Gosnell trial change the abortion debate in this country, as abortion foes are hoping?”

    Why would the abortion foes see this as ammunition for their side? With Gosnell, we’re seeing a post-Roe world where abortion is illegal.

    You don’t like Gosnell? Then work to minimize unwanted pregnancies by making sure teens are educated about how to not get pregnant. (I think that saying, “Don’t get pregnant!” isn’t working, even with a stern finger wag.)

    “after the nonprofit Graham ministries weighed in for Mitt Romney in last year’s election”

    Franklin Graham can’t understand what a promise is? You get nonprofit status, and in return, you promise to stay out of politics. And if that’s too high a price to pay, don’t be a nonprofit.

    I thought Christians understood things like keeping your word … ?

  3. Cardinal exiled: at some point the R.C. church has to realize that celibacy is a destructive policy. It is not a Christian doctrine (it is a 1st and 2nd century heresy). It has practically destroyed their church. Abortion doctor: we are told not to judge one another. He is despicable (for sure) and so is the practice (abortion) but we can only pray for them (on judgment day there are only two directions of travel — in or out). Christian persecution? Well yes it does happen (with license). The IRS versus Tea Party is an example of how the left takes license to ..impose itself .. because they go spastic when others do it. (they know what they are doing)

  1. [...] Wednesday's Religion News Roundup: Cardinal exiled * Theo-Trekkies … Wednesday's Religion News Roundup: Cardinal exiled * Theo-Trekkies * Tebow's future. David Gibson Follow @gibsonwrites | May 15, 2013 | 3 Comments. Scottish Cardinal Keith O'Brien, an ardent opponent of gay marriage, created a scandal just before … Read more on Religion News Service [...]

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