Imprimatur? Screen shot of the new Pope Francis Comics app

Imprimatur? Screen shot of the new Pope Francis Comics app Screen shot of the new Pope Francis Comics app

In a roundup last month, in the midst of a polar vortex, I linked to a meteorologically apropos discussion about whether the Disney movie “Frozen” was a Christian parable. Well, more snow is on the way and Steven Greydanus at the National Catholic Register argues that the religious arguments about “Frozen” are wrong.

Plus ca change, eh mes amis? Before you go out to buy more rock salt, here’s the latest in the rest of the religion news:

An earthquake in Shroud of Turin studies

Literally: new research claims that a temblor in Jerusalem around the time Jesus died (see: Testament, New) released neutron emissions that could have created the famous image, and also messed with radiocarbon levels — hence Carbon-14 testing that indicates the shroud was a medieval forgery.

More recently, a Christian family in northern Israel say they found an oil-streaked icon of the Virgin Mary and that it spoke to them and said not to be afraid. Hundreds are flocking to see the image, which is reportedly “weeping.”

Pope Francis? Yep, there’s an app for that

It’s the Pope Francis Comics app and it’s billed as a “fun and interesting educational app that explains the Holy Father’s words to children to help them grow and learn.” The Guardian says the app appears to be an extension of a Pope Francis comic book series launched in Italy last November.

Is believing in fate a way to avoid hard decisions?

In Pacific-Standard, Tom Jacobs looks at the latest research showing we may give into a sense of powerlessness in order to put off the emotional pain of tough decisions. So what about Providence and God’s will, asks the religion writer? Does that make us more or less fatalistic?

All you need to know about atheism…

…Is in the New Yorker, where Adam Gopnik does a magisterial roundup of a bunch of books on nonbelief, then and now. For a different take, check out Rod Dreher’s magisterial critique of Gopnik. Non-overlapping magisteria?

The United Church of Bacon holds its first wedding

Because everybody loves bacon. And atheist provocateur Penn Jillette is the “church’s” Sunday School teacher. Make it stop, please.

Mormon wedding policy up for a change?

No, not a gay marriage story. Instead, as Peggy Fletcher Stack writes, the LDS Church may eliminate the one-year waiting period between a civil marriage ceremony and a temple wedding for members in the U.S. and Canada. As of now, she explains , “Mormon couples in many European and South American countries can have a civil ceremony and then, as soon as they want, go to an LDS temple to be united, or ‘sealed,’ in an eternal marriage.” Not here. At least for now.

Get thee to a nunnery — to marry?

How did I miss this, from the New York Times:

“An Italian Monastery Becomes a Fashion Destination for Brides in a Frugal Era”

Read it all.

Where is it illegal to be gay?

The BBC has a fascinating world map of laws on gay rights, and wrongs. Interesting, and a handy reference for watching the Winter Games.

The latest on life, and death..

Don’t know what to make of all that. Then again, Abraham Lincoln was born on this day and Immanuel Kant died on this day, and that’s enough of a brain teaser.

And yes, alas, this is a thing:

The Best of the Rest from RNS:

Otherwise, bundle up, and be careful.

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.


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