We’re playing around with the format for the daily Roundup. Let us know what you think of this one, or if you have any other ideas …
1. Pope Francis does it again: Pope Francis’ compassion brings joy to another disfigured man (Daily Mail)
You’ve got to see the photos to believe it. “In scenes strikingly similar to his encounter with the disfigured Vinicio Riva two weeks before, the pontiff first spoke with the worshipper and then put his arms around him, blessing him. The man’s identity is not known, nor are the details of what caused such terrible damage to his face.”
2. Aging icon gets his due: C.T. Vivian adds Presidential Medal of Freedom to a lifetime of activism (RNS)
“The Rev. C.T. Vivian was a stalwart activist on the march toward racial equality. Whether at a lunch counter, on a Freedom Ride, or behind the bars of a prison cell, he was unafraid to take bold action in the face of fierce resistance,” according to the White House citation read before President Obama draped the red, white and blue medal around the neck of Cordy Tindell ‘C.T.’ Vivian.
3. Contested real estate: Vatican embassy move draws ire from former U.S. envoys (NCR)
“Justified primarily on the grounds of enhanced security, the move is described by former U.S. Ambassador James Nicholson, who’s also a former Secretary of Veterans Affairs in the Bush administration and a former chair of the Republican National Committee, as a ‘massive downgrade’ in U.S./Vatican ties.”
4. A House Divided: Church trial shines spotlight on denomination’s ambivalence (RNS)
After a Pennsylvania pastor was given 30 days to recant for presiding at the wedding ceremony for his gay son, the United Methodist Church is as divided as ever on the issue of homosexuality. “I think people are really concerned for the unity of the church,” said Gary MacDonald of Perkins School of Theology. “You look at our divisions as a nation and we shouldn’t be surprised that this is happening.”
5. And then there were 16: Illinois becomes 16th state to allow gay marriage (Chicago Tribune)
“Support for same-sex marriage is far from universal in Illinois. As politicians talked up the merits of gay marriage in Chicago, down in Springfield, a crowd gathered for an exorcism by the local Catholic bishop in protest of the governor’s action. ‘It is not the church that must change to confirm its teachings to the views of the world, but it is each individual who is called to be configured to Christ,’ Bishop Thomas Paprocki said during a service delivered mostly in Latin.”
6. Another Jesus controversy in Colorado Springs: ‘Talk About Jesus’ Air Force trainer won’t face discipline (The Forward)
Professionally aggrieved activist Mikey Weinstein wants a personal apology from an athletic trainer at the Air Force Academy who pledged to “talk about Jesus Christ my Lord and savior to everyone that I work with.” The trainer “does not speak for the Air Force’s Academy and we absolutely do not tolerate proselytizing among our ranks,” said a statement sent to The Forward.
7. Back to the Future: What Dallas clergy preached the weekend JFK was killed (RNS)
“Here is the hardest thing to say: there is no city in the United States which in recent months and years has been more acquiescent toward its extremists than Dallas, Texas,” preached the Rev. William Holmes at Northaven Methodist church. “We, the majority of citizens, have gone quietly about our work and leisure, forfeiting the city’s image to the hate mongers and reactionaries in our midst.”
8. Jews honor an ally: German Jews honor pastor who backs circumcision (The Forward)
During a debate on whether to ban ritual circumcision, the Rev. Nikolaus Schneider “decried the Cologne ruling as criminalization of an age-old religious practice and said that this ‘attack on Jewish identity’ upset him ‘greatly, given history, and our German history with Jewry.'”
9. How to pray like JFK: President Kennedy’s gift of language and the art of prayer (USCCB)
Daniel Coughlin, the first Catholic chaplain in the House, reflects on the legacy of John F. Kennedy, Catholic and otherwise: “When praying for government, I suggest we do two things. First, suspend judgment – leave that to The Almighty. … Second, take steps daily to pray as someone truly free. In the presence of God, pray without an agenda. Do we really think that God needs our advice on how to settle disputed questions? Perhaps God is more interested in converting our hearts into loving care for our huge and diverse country than hearing our political opinions.”
10. You shouldn’t laugh but you just can’t help it: Chanukkah Honey
Full disclosure: the last line of this video spoof is probably pretty offensive to most viewers, but the first two minutes or so are hysterically funny. It does, after all, come from a site called “Tastefully Offensive.” “Hanukkah Honey, at the JCC you play basketball, so tall! You must be at least five-foot-eight; Hanukkah Honey, so come and flip my latkes tonight.” You’ve been warned.