Russell Crowe (foreground) is Noah in "Noah", from Paramount Pictures and Regency Enterprises. Photo by Niko Tavernise, courtesy of Grace Hill Media

Russell Crowe (foreground) is the title character in “Noah,” from Paramount Pictures and Regency Enterprises. Photo by Niko Tavernise, courtesy of Grace Hill Media

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Happy Father’s Day! That is, if you are a follower of the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar, which today celebrates the Feast of St. Joseph — the adoptive pop of Jesus and a strong, silent type and hero to some of us older dads. Except my carpentry skills need serious work. So instead I will build you a news roundup…

Pope Francis, meet “Noah”

Russell Crowe got some face time with the pontiff this morning, at the general audience in St. Peter’s Square, if not the private audience the “Noah” star was seeking. The Aussie star (photo here, waiting like a good altar boy) had been lobbying hard for an audience on social media. Does the film need help? Some of our coverage of religious reactions here and here.

Can we eat Chick-fil-A again…?

Dan Cathy, CEO of the enormously popular fried chicken-and-fries chain, and an observant Christian, hasn’t changed his mind but two years after sparking controversy by publicly opposing gay marriage he says he regrets firing shots in the culture wars:

“Every leader goes through different phases of maturity, growth and development and it helps by (recognizing) the mistakes that you make,” Cathy tells the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “And you learn from those mistakes. If not, you’re just a fool. I’m thankful that I lived through it and I learned a lot from it.”

Do we have to stop drinking Guinness…?

Meanwhile, Bill Donohue of the Catholic League isn’t quite so retiring, and is continuing to press a boycott of Guinness by laying out a very detailed and rational plan — that will go absolutely nowhere — to get Irish Catholics to boycott beer. The Irish brewer, you see, decided not to take part in St. Patrick’s Day parades that barred gay people. Donohue says that Bostonians can take care of boycotting Sam Adams, another offender, and that nobody wants to drink Heineken anyway.

Eric Metaxas observes Godwin’s Law

Hey, Home Depot founder Ken Langone and other rich guys say economic populism is leading to Nazism, so of course Eric Metaxas, the popular conservative Christian author and speaker, had to double down and declare that gay rights are turning us into Nazis — because churches aren’t resisting. “You had the exact same thing happening in Germany,” he said. “It’s just setting things up so that when evil comes, where do people turn?”

Gay heaven for Fred Phelps?

Lucien Greaves of the Satanic Temple in New York says he will turn Westboro Baptist founder and notorious gay-basher Fred Phelps gay after the ailing patriarch dies. Yep, just when you thought the whole “gay conversion therapy” issue was going away. And a setback for those who thought religious nuttiness would disappear with Phelps.

Florida pastor offers to pay for congregants’ tattoos: Oops…

Don’t you hate when the flock actually pays attention? In a sermon about rules that divide Christians, Lutheran pastor Zach Zehnder was sort of joking when he told his members that he would pay if they got tattoos of the Cross Mount Dora’s church logo — tattoos being considered bad by some believers. A dozen of them took him up on the offer. Pass the basket, Rev.

Oklahoma delays executions, needs more poison

An AP lead, that is actually happening in America: “An Oklahoma court on Tuesday rescheduled a pair of executions set for this week and next so state prison officials will have more time to find a supply of drugs for the lethal injections.”

Salvation Army settles religious discrimination suit

A decade-long legal action has ended with the New York division of the red-kettle charity agreeing to pay $450,000 to a former employee and lawyers to resolve charges that Salvation Army officials pressured employees to follow its religious mission while they worked on government-funded social service projects. Now the charity cannot ask employees about their religious beliefs or require them to profess adherence to its religious policies.

Embattled New Jersey archbishop finds an ally

And it’s the archbishop who will succeed John Myers in a couple years. Newark Archbishop-in-waiting, Bernard Hebda, penned a column for a local newspaper defending Myers against criticism over Myers’ decision to build a pricey retirement home. Hebda says Myers is actually a very good guy, and besides, the Archbishop of Newark has been living in — gasp — Newark, “a zip code that few would consider enviable,” as Hebda writes. Yeah, the comments on this story in the Bergen Record pretty much sum up the reaction.

But the Bishop of Rome is still doing okay…

Indeed, Loyola University in Baltimore hosted a blue-ribbon panel last night on the pontiff’s first anniversary — featuring Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, a top Francis adviser — and generated a bunch of nice tweets:

And this is very funny, if you’re into Catholic religious order humor:

And there’s this:

It’s Fashion Week in Istanbul…

And this Newsweek Instagram says it all.

Finally, check out the Best of the Rest on RNS

Plenty of great offerings, updated throughout the day, on our home page.

That’s it for now. Do you like what I built? If not, check back tomorrow and every other weekday when my colleagues do truly wonderful craftsmanship in this space.

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. Eric Metaxas is correct. You can see how churches, Christians, and clergy in America are either expressing outright support for the growing evil, or else they’re too intimidated or too uncaring to even speak up. Same thing happened in Nazi Germany.

    When the churches fail, the country fails.

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