It’s always a bad idea to try to follow Cathy Grossman in anything, but here goes …

Speaking of our newest stellar hire, be sure to check out Cathy’s new Faith & Reason blog, which was resurrected from her days at USA Today. She’s already gotten more comments in two posts than I’ve gotten in three years of the Roundup. Sigh …

shutterstock_161686553Billy Graham turned 95 yesterday. The Donald was on the invite list and Kathy Lee Gifford helped lead the singing of “Happy Birthday.” I take it those presents didn’t come with a gift receipt.

Jonathan Merritt says the grand old man is still “America’s pastor.”

I’m sorry, but this is rich: Doug Phillips, a proponent of “biblical patriarchy” who believes God wants to keep women at home, has resigned for an affair with a woman not his wife. But not to worry, they didn’t “know each other in the biblical sense.”

Our pal (and former colleague) Dan Burke has a good wrap-up of atheists who are swooning over Pope Francis.

The photo that inspired that lovefest for Pope Francis? Britain’s Catholic Herald calls it the pope’s first real encyclical.

Francis was rocking at this morning’s Mass, saying that officials who take bribes are feeding their children “dirt” and “unclean bread” that corrupts even if the children are “educated in expensive colleges, perhaps raised in learned environments.”

Meanwhile, the archbishop of Naples, Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, said polluters are committing a grave sin and should not take Communion.

BTW, the Vatican is apparently still trying to figure out how to say “Twitter” in Latin. Interesting. Any classicists out there want to take a crack at it?

The newest evangelizer for messianic Jews: Former President George W. Bush, who’s headlining a fundraiser for the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute. Yeah, that’ll go over well.

The Senate passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act — which would grant workplace protections to gay, lesbian and transgender employees — and all the usual suspects are either usually happy or usually not happy. Most significant: the lopsided 64-32 vote.

There were some unusual bedfellows in this political battle, however: Mormon Republicans (not always one in the same) whose change of heart reflected the dramatic shift in their own church’s approach. The New York Times has the goods:

“The church does want to be helpful where we can be, without violating our own conscience,” said Gordon H. Smith, a Mormon and former Republican senator who lobbied for the bill.

Swastikas, Holocaust jokes, anti-Semitic jokes are apparently rife in schools in a district that was once the home of a KKK chapter president. And it’s all just north of New York City. Eye-opening story from the NYT.

U.S. seminaries are expanding their online degree programs despite “huge” hesitancy about dropping the residential model, but they’ve got to do something to keep up with Liberty University’s 9,000 online seminarians.

Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis — she of the 11-hour filibuster in support of abortion rights — says she’s “pro-life,” and then goes on to discuss what she means by that.

If you’re a Catholic bishop boarding a plane for Baltimore for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting next week, our pal Tom Reese has some reading from Pope Francis he’d like you to do. As in: “By losing women, the church risks becoming sterile.”

Speaking of bishops, their outgoing president, Gotham’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan, has a parting shot message for the Catholic Speaker of the House: Enough already. Pass immigration reform.

Someone get these guys an editor: Government leaders in Quebec formally introduced a bill to promote “secularism” by banning religious symbols in the public square. Here’s the mouthful of a name: “Charter Affirming the Values of Secularism and the Religious Neutrality of the State, As Well As the Equality of Men and Women, and the Framing of Accommodation Requests.”

Irish PM Enda Kenny has already crossed swords with the Catholic Church in once-Catholic Ireland, and now he’s coming out in support of a measure to legalize gay marriage.

“House of Cads”? If you think life in an ancient Catholic religious community is all chanting and silent meditation, well, think again.

And finally, if you thought the New York Post would ever let a bad pun — or a chance to invoke something Islamic — go to waste, there’s this:

And with that, it’s off to the weekend. Before you go, make sure we’ve got your email address so we can send you the Roundup, for free, every Monday through Friday.


  1. Good to see that the atheists are liking Pope Francis. Let’s hope the accolades are for his clearly compassionate deeds, and not for the implicit green light he has given to gay marriage.

    As for former President Bush headlining the Messianic Jewish fundraiser, that’s merely what you would expect of a Christian. (Let’s hope Obama is able to do the same once his term of office has ended.)

    • I too appreciate the Pope’s emphasis on corporal acts of mercy and his gay marriage green light. In fact, I hope he also endorses priestly marriage and that he himselfs marries a couple of prelates under the Baldacchino at St. Peter’s on the feast of Sts. Sergius and Bacchus (not likely, but a boy can dream). As to Pres. Bush, par for the course for a crusader.

    • There is a lot more skepticism of Pope Francis than the CNN article would suggest. Many on both sides of the fence think he talks a great game but probably won’t do anything besides steer the course of status quo.

      As for the Messianaic Jewish group, its only the most obnoxious Christian proselytizers take them seriously. Anyone who has a modicum of respect for Judaism steers clear of them. The fact that you consider it as a duty of a Christian shows the level of contempt you hold those of the Jewish faith.

      • Doc Anthony, I couldn’t agree with you less On either subject. I, too, am impressed with the Pope so far, seems he’s trying, and trying to reverse a culture of non- inclusiveness takes time to reverse, so please at least give the man a chance. . On the MJBI thing, I’m a former, I guess, Messianic Jewish attendee who never saw anything but respect towards the Jews and Jewish culture. But I object much to Bush 43 and his alleged $100,000 speaking “fee” and I also object to MJBI itself. If my congregation had been a MJBI member I would have left long ago. Does the name Rlaph Messner or Messer ring a bell? Well, that’s what this particuler sect of Messianic Jews believe and I would advise any self respecting Christian, MessianicJew, or follower to steer clear of them and their cult. There, I said it, anyone disagree? O, yes, see that I spelled Ralph wrong, now corrected but since I’m blind and would have to go back and rewrite the whole thing I’ll consider it corrected here.

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