Saint Ignatius, founder of the Jesuits.  Photo via Wikipedia.

Saint Ignatius, founder of the Jesuits.
Photo via Wikipedia.

The Vatican Bank has a website as of today! Yes, that counts as an innovation for them.

The Jesuit pope, Francis, and his many brothers in the Society of Jesus are marking the Feast of Saint Ignatius today; the founder of the order, Ignatius Loyola, died on this day in 1556.

Francis is still basking in the glow of his successful Brazil trip, but the Masons maybe aren’t too happy with the pontiff singling them out for criticism. Father Alexander Lucie-Smith looks at the possibility of a Masonic lobby in the Vatican. Really.

Debate over the pope’s kindly remarks on gays continues, but the Vatican still isn’t as gay-friendly as Georgetown, the oldest Catholic university in the U.S. – and Jesuit to boot. Those guys.

Reuters has a story on how Northern Ireland is still trying to heal its sectarian divisions between Catholics and Protestants.

Protestants still have their own issues: a new Presbyterian hymnal that drops a song about the wrath of God has stirred up an intense debate.

Jayson Bradley says evangelicals seem prone to passing around Internet hoaxes, and he gives four reasons why they shouldn’t.

(The Daily Religion News Roundup is the real deal, by the way, and you can sign up below for free.)

Pranks and summer camp go together, but some mischief at a Baptist camp in Maryland went seriously awry – and introduced me to a product whose name I won’t reproduce here. Bob Allen at ABP has the details

Atheists wonder why Christians should have all the fun anyway: they’ve got their own summer camps now, as our own Corrie Mitchell reports.

The New Orleans city council has ended a ban on nighttime preaching. That should clean up Bourbon Street.

A Saudi website editor gets 600 lashes and seven years in prison for starting a site deemed too liberal.

A Kenyan lawyer wants the World Court to overturn Pontius Pilate’s conviction of Jesus. There’s a lot of theology at stake.

Patton Dodd discusses what he says is the most overlooked movie of the summer: “The East.” It has a serious religious theme, and it’s pretty good, he says. Which puts it way ahead of the new Lone Ranger stinker and all those all blockbuster flops.

The viral debate over the, ahem, awkward Fox News interview with author Reza Aslan about his book on Jesus continues. But Steve Thorngate wants to cut through it and find out how exactly Aslan’s Muslim faith does inform his views:

I’m puzzled by what both Aslan’s on-air defense and many subsequent commentators imply: that academic/professional credentials inform a person’s writing to the exclusion of personal convictions. Do we really think this is true, or should be? Yes, honest research and fair analysis are different in kind from ideological hackery, and it’s quite clear that Aslan’s doing the former. But that doesn’t mean it makes no difference whatsoever that he’s a Muslim. If postmodernism has taught us anything, it’s that we all speak and write and do whatever from a particular location. That location doesn’t mean you’re biased, but nor does it mean nothing.

Israel’s new chief rabbi makes some ugly remarks about blacks as he disses basketball.

And that’s it for this morning – stay tuned to Religion News Service on our website and on Facebook and Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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. Thanks for pointing out Steve Thorngate’s article. Very well written and thoughtful. I am sure that Aslan’s faith has some bearing on his work, but probably not as much as say Pamela Geller’s faith has on her views on Islam. The fact that Muslims believe in Jesus makes them much more respectful in their scholarship of that period. My family sat around the iftaar table a few nights ago and had a good laugh watching the Fox News interview. Just another indication of how far removed that channel is from reality.

    • Saudia F. is exactly right! What really upsets me is that so many Christians think Fox is the only legit News on the planet. So much disinformation and the sheople just eat it up and believe it without once even giving any thought to the crediability of the story at all. I think it would be great if all people atheist or not were forced to take a comparitive religion course in high school. That way we would all be at least sort of familiar with what each religions basic tenets were and so many of the misconceptions that one group has about the other could have at least a fighting chance of being dispelled. Same goes for the story of the Christians passing along fake news items designed to play on the fears and stereotypes of some very obviously fearful people. If it sounds incrediably unbelievable it probably is! Oh, by the way, a great and informative RNS roundup today. So many stories, so little time!

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