In 1973's "The Exorcist," Kitty Winn and Jason Miller watch in horror as Regan (Linda Blair) is possessed by demons. A new book about American exorcists says the church has downplayed the importance of exorcists. Religion News Service file photo.

In 1973′s “The Exorcist,” Kitty Winn and Jason Miller watch in horror as Regan (Linda Blair) is possessed by demons. A new book about American exorcists says the church has downplayed the importance of exorcists. Religion News Service file photo.

It’s been 40 years since “The Exorcist” scared the bejeezus out of film-goers, and the creators returned to the famed “Exorcist Steps” in Georgetown for a little reunion of sorts.

The New Jersey judge who said gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to marry has rebuffed the state’s request for a stay, saying they should hurry up and start the weddings already.

Speaking of, in a storyline that might not be out of line for The Sopranos, four people have been arrested in a scheme that involved rabbis hiring goons to use electric cattle prods and other “torture” methods to get Jewish husbands to grant their wives a divorce. For a fee, of course.

More New Jersey: Our own David Gibson sits down with retired Newark Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong who, at 82, has a sly smile knowing that many of the theological fights he famously fought are largely won.

Looking for a model Muslim? Look no further than Pope Francis. All that, and more, in this week’s edition of Moozweek.

Is online/virtual Communion the same as the real thing? Some United Methodists aren’t so sure, but it actually raises some important — and fundamental — questions.

OK, fine. I’ll admit I spent too much time yesterday joining in the #addawordruinahymn thread on Twitter. Some of the best:

Last chance to vote in our online poll about whether mainline Protestants need a new name — take your pick, or suggest your own.

Sister Christine Schenk is stepping down after 23 years at the helm of the Cleveland-based Catholic reform group FutureChurch.

More nuggets from that massive Pew study on American Jews: Their views on Israel are more nuanced than many people think, our own Cathy Lynn Grossman reports.

The adoption saga surrounding Baby Veronica has ended after her biological father dropped his fight to retain custody and released her to her adoptive parents.

No Nobel Peace Prize for Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who was shot by the Taliban for promoting education for girls. The big award went to a U.N. chemical weapons watchdog group instead.

Someone should give some kind of prize to Pope Francis for providing enough fodder for a new pope comic strip over at NCR.

Christian lawyers in the U.K. will sue doctors who performed a gender-based abortion; prosecutors say since the law doesn’t specifically outlaw the practice, it must be legal.

Fast-changing Brazil is trying to provide cover for its religious minorities; calls to a new help line grew a whopping 600% last year.

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  1. Regarding “virtual” communion, although I dont know the theology of communion very well in non Catholic or non Eastern Orthodox Traditions, I’m not clear why it would matter. In Catholic, Orthodox, perhaps even Anglican and Lutheran Churches , there is the theology of the “real presence” to some extent in each of these traditions , I believe. So, in those cases, online communion would clearly NOT be ANY presence and thus be meaningless. But in traditions holding a symbolic meaning of The Lords Supper, I guess the sense of community which a congregation is supposedly celebrating in their communion rite would be somewhat of a fiction if celebrants are celebrating alone. But even there, if communion is only a symbolic meaning, then couldnt community also be symbolic in a sense? Do people in communion really have to be sitting next to each other in the same building to be united in Christ? Arent we all united if we are Christians regardless if we are in the US or Africa or in heaven?

  2. “For a fee, of course.” You’re usually equal opportunity in your approach to pointing out the ridiculous in religions, which I love, but that’s different from a slur. I expect better from you guys.

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