Buongiorno! Let’s start this morning’s roundup with the latest from Rome, where the Italians have a saying that’s always good to remember: “That which a pope can do, a pope can undo.” Hence:

Pope Francis cleans house at the Vatican Bank

Just before he resigned a year ago, Pope Benedict XVI reappointed five cardinals to five-year terms overseeing the scandal-plagued Vatican Bank. Now, 11 months later, Pope Francis has replaced four of them.

Bargain basement saints?

The ledger-clearing doesn’t stop there, as Francis has also ordered a “spending review” to cap the often prohibitive costs — except for the wealthy or well-connected — of saint-making, aka canonization. Dorothy Day might welcome the move, though I still think she’d rather see the money spent on the poor rather than her memory.

Clergy sex abuse: The Never-Ending Story

The pope’s emissaries at the U.N. in Geneva will face a grilling for the first time over the Vatican’s handling — or not — of clergy sex abuse cases. The Associated Press has a comprehensive look at what’s behind it, and what’s in store. Meanwhile, Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George is bracing for criticism as the archdiocese prepares to comply with a court order and release its clergy abuse files today. Wild guess: It won’t be pretty.

When a female Methodist pastor anoints a Roman Catholic cardinal

It happened in Massachusetts, at an ecumenical service with Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley and the Rev. Anne Robertson. He asked her to include him in the holy water anointing, and she thought, “Wow.” And did it. Per the Patriot-Ledger:  “What moved me was not so much that I was anointing him,” she said. “It was him being willing to accept that from my hand – to ask me, as a woman in ministry, to do that.”

Turn your church’s “cry-room” into the “judgment room”?

Andrew Kim has tried to understand the reactions of those “Janies” who get upset at the bleats and bodily eruptions of babies during worship services, but he’s kind of tired of them spending all their time focusing on their issues with kids, and he doesn’t want to be exiled into the “Catholic penalty box.”

(I)f one must have some special room for a select group to be singled out as different from the rest, and if one’s church already has a cry-room in its design, then perhaps one could just change the name of it to the judgment room. All the Janie’s of the world can go in there and seal themselves off from the distractions that vex them so. For the Janie’s are not fully involved in the Mass any way. They are too busy working up just the right combination of glare and sigh to express their frustration at whoever was rude and inconsiderate enough to bring their children to Mass that day.

Well, imagine the looks you’d get if they found out a newfangled womb transplant had produced that kid.

Speaking of ethical dilemmas…

As CNN reports, a New Mexico judge has ruled that terminally ill, mentally competent patients have the right to get a doctor’s help in ending their lives by having the doctor write a prescription for drugs that would kill them. Not quite euthanasia, but don’t expect that to quell the debate.

Survival of the Fittest?

Southern Baptist honcho Al Mohler takes on USA Today writer Tom Krattenmaker over evolution and belief:

There can be no doubt that evolution can be squared with belief in some deity, but not the God who revealed himself in the Bible, including the first chapters of Genesis.

Is the “High Church” the Christianity of the future?

Speaking of evolution, Gracy Olmstead says that Millennials are drawn to liturgy, which bodes well for the old-time churches:

The millennial generation is seeking a holistic, honest, yet mysterious truth that their current churches cannot provide. Where they search will have large implications for the future of Christianity. Protestant churches that want to preserve their youth membership may have to develop a greater openness toward the treasures of the past. One thing seems certain: this “sacramental yearning” will not go away.

American Evangelicalism as high school

More in this vein: Erik Parker, the “Millennial Pastor,” is helping real people through real life dramas and tragedies and is tired of watching Evangelicals waste all their time on arguments over “Duck Dynasty” and the like:

All Christians in North America, if they are paying attention, are forced to watch the Evangelical tribe as it rumbles and quakes about whatever is the issue of the day is. And I cannot help but see it all as some grandiose high school drama.

His dramatis personae are worth the read: “The Football Team,” e.g., and “The Rich Kids.”

Nigeria’s campaign against gays grows

Olmstead’s colleague at the American Conservative, Rod Dreher, stresses that as an Orthodox Christian he is no fan of same-sex relations, but he calls out the growing campaign against gays in Nigeria for what it is: “An abomination.” Rod writes:

I hope there are Christians in Nigeria who have the courage to hide gay men and women when the police come for them. I wouldn’t presume to speak for Islam, of course (Nigeria has a large Muslim population, in case you didn’t know), but to fellow Christians in Nigeria: Is this really how you witness to orthodox Christian truth? Really?

Ed West at the Catholic Herald weighs in too: “Nigeria’s new laws contravene Catholic teaching – and we should say so…”

The theology of Battlestar Galactica

Barrett Owen and his wife are on maternity leave and binge-watching “Battlestar Galactica.” He discovers the geeky joys of sci-fi theology that many of us may have forgotten:

When a planet is destroyed and 50,000 refugees take to roughly 10 star ships to conduct life, it’s easy to see why space becomes such an issue. In cramped, decaying quarters, the humans must find resolve and hope in an ancient, canonized prophecy that speaks of a promised land called Earth. They suffer insurmountable odds holding on to the hope of a better tomorrow. With this renewed faith, seemingly insignificant spaces become launching pads for holy encounters.

Take that, you Hobbit-lovers.

And the Best of the Rest from RNS:

And that’s it for now. Stay tuned to the site for the day’s latest news later in the day, and sign up for the daily religion news roundup in the box below — free, and easy.

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. Ronald Sevenster

    Why should Christians protect and support gays? Have they completely forgotten the verdict of St. Paul in the Epistle to the Romans (ch. I)? Gay culture is one of the most destructive spiritual forces in our society! According to Catholic moral theology homosexual acts belong to the category of peccata ad caelum clamantia (sins that cry to heaven). Be glad that there are still governments in the world who have the courage to oppose these unnatural sins.

    • Don’t forget what the scripture says —

      Christianity, would be better and greater if its adherents would take the high road and follow these few great attitudes about our very lovable LGBT friends —

      1. Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way……….Romans 14:13

      2. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God……….Romans 15:7

      3. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love……….Ephesians 4:2

      4. Be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone……….Titus 3:2

      5. Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble………1 Peter 3:8

      6. Man’s ways are of the Lord,………….Proverbs 20:24

      7. You may believe there’s nothing wrong with what you are doing or how you feel about yourself, so keep it between yourself and God.
      BLESSED are those who don’t feel guilty for doing something or thinking of themselves in the way they know is best………..Romans 14:22

      8. All things are allowable, all things are lawful, all things are permissible…….1 Corinthians 6:12…….1 Corinthians 10:23


  2. Ronald, YOU are the exact reason why I no longer attend church and am damn close to calling myself an atheist! Yeah, why don’t we just show the “love” of Christ and kill all those damn sinful gays! Funny, when the killing of Christians by people of other faiths happens I bet you are the first one to denounce it, right? Hypocrite! You and your neo-con Christian friends make me ashamed to have ever called myself a Christian. Enough of that, though. I no longer call myself a Christian because of people like you and the so called Christian leaders who say nothing as you all spew your hate, no, can’t do it and haven’t done it for awhile. Kill the gays, so Christ like isn’t it. I won’t be surprised if RNS doesn’t print this comment but frankly I am surprised that you have allowed Ronalds comment of hate. I’m so sick of “”Christian” hate by the right. They have hijacked the words and gospel of Christ and turned it into a gospel of hate! You RNS, have enabled that hate by not at least replying to that hate shown by Ronald and denouncing it as such. So Ronald, now that I’ve said all this, should I now be burned at the stake for being a heretic? Condemn me to hell if you want but I’ll have good company-you and your hate condemn you, not me!!!

    • Ronald Sevenster

      It is good to hear that persons who are fundamentally opposed to the teachings of Christ no longer attend Church. Why would non-believers and disobedient attend Church anyway? It is a deep misunderstanding that Christ’s mercy implies tolerance of sin. Sin leads us to geyhinnom (hell). Mercy is only granted to them that siincerely repent. If you don’t agree with these basics of the Christian faith, then you have no reason at all to attend Church or to prolong Church membership.

  3. By the way, I have no problem with anyone who believes being gay is a sin. Nope my problem is more with people like Ronald who applaud Uganda’s killing and imprisonment of people just for being gay! Christ never once advocated killing anyone for anything yet the neo-Christians of today think it is OK to go back and kill people for sins of any kind, They would condemn me for my previous comments yet have no problem asking for and claiming forgiveness for their sins, whatever those sins are. I, quite frankly, no longer care to believe that a person who is gay is sinning. But then, it’s not up to me to judge them is it? I’ll let Christian haters like Ronald and Brian Fisher do that, they have so much more experience in doing that!

    • Calm down about Ronald’s attitudes and allegiances.

      Your comments are noteworthy.

      Our work is cut out for us —

      Don’t be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good…….Romans 12:21

      • Belissies, 1st I apologize for the probably wrong spelling of your name. I’m blind and hear rather than see your words here. Alas, spell check also doesn’t work for me while on the internet. Now to my comment: 1. Ronald’s comment of this morning kinda proves my point doesn’t it? 2. Ronald, have you noticed that you and those evil Muslim extremists share something in common? What is it, you ask? HATE!! Hate of everyone and everything that does not share your particuler belief system. 3. Ronald’s comment of this am only further drives me ( and lots of others) further away from the church. Belisses, do you see even one of the so called Christian leaders standing up to rebuke this hate? Nope, not 1! I rest my case.

        • Kevan, you have no reason to apologize for anything you wrote. You are giving a clear and impassioned opinion. Nothing is ever wrong with that.

          I agree, Ronald wrongly thinks wrapping his hatred with the Bible make it socially acceptable.

  4. BTW, much thanks to RNS for printing my comments! I never would want free speech to be violated but Ronald’s comment of this morning pretty much is just hate speech, it certainly is not that of a loving Christian who wants others to find Christ. No, it is more like I’ve found Christ, now all you others not as good Christians as I am leave him the hell alone. BTW, Ronald, nice that you are so happy to consign me to hell. I thought Christians were supposed to try to pull others back from the brink of hell not give them a unfriendly push!

  5. Stop the Judgment: Is Homophobia Going the Same Way as Slavery? New Book Candidly Explores Changing Christian Attitudes to LGBT Community

    Masterfully crafted by Samuel Marcus Brown, ‘Stop The Judgment: Going After the Heart of Traditional Church Folk on Sexuality and Marriage Equality’ turns the spotlight onto the many contradictions and myths surrounding Christian love. Brown fuses scripture with personal experience as homophobia within Christianity is explored candidly. It begs the question; if Jesus said “love thy neighbor as thyself”, why do millions of Christians inflict pain, torment and suffering on the LGBT community?

    I would love to have conversation…

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