Image courtesy of Sam 72 via Shutterstock

Image courtesy of Sam 72 via Shutterstock (Image source)

What has become of the roundup? What’s with all the perversion? Why all the sex stories?  Fair questions. The religion news is just a little raw today.

Who is the tougher judge, Simon Cowell or the Russian Orthodox Church?

It might be the Russian Orthodox Church, because it condemned the Eurovision Song Contest’s selection of a drag queen as its winner, saying it was a sign of the world’s moral decline and part of an effort to “reinforce new cultural norms.” But doesn’t the winner look like Jesus? Or Jesus’ knockout sister? Or a combination of the two?

“Black Mass” at Harvard

Our esteemed humanist blogger Chris Stedman (who also happens to be a Harvard chaplain, thank you very much) has a problem with this one. The Cultural Studies Club of Harvard’s extension school planned a “black mass” last night, led by the New York based Satanic Temple. Here’s the issue, Stedman writes:

This event, however, is not merely a “different cultural practice.” It is designed to specifically parody and mock a sacred Catholic ritual.

The club eventually dropped its sponsorship of the ceremony, but the Harvard Crimson reports that about 50 people gathered off campus last night for a black mass in Harvard Square’s Hong Kong restaurant.

A Christian path out of the sex industry

Bobby Ross Jr. profiles an ex-stripper turned Christian who helps other women escape the strip club, where — he reports — legal sex work is too often only part of a life that also includes prostitution and sexual abuse.

OK, time out. Let’s venture outside the underworld for some more traditional news . . . .

Pope Paul VI headed toward sainthood?

He banned contraception. He visited Israel before the Vatican recognized the Jewish state. And now Pope Francis has authorized the beatification of Pope Paul VI, less than two weeks after the canonization of two other iconic popes of the 20th century — John XXIII and John Paul II. So here’s the biggie question: will Francis waive the usually required second miracle for Paul, as he did for John?

Vatican gets tough with the American nuns, now the Rev. Michael Amaladoss

The Vatican is confusing some Vatican watchers. It’s investigating a Jesuit theologian from India for allegedly espousing unorthodox beliefs. This comes on the heels of a similar “get with the program” warning from the Vatican’s doctrinal watchdog, Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, to a group of American nuns. It’s raising new questions, our own David Gibson writes, as to whether Pope Francis “is in fact moving the Catholic Church in a new direction.”

No need for Anglican women clergy to look dowdy

Camelle Daley, a London-trained fashion designer who founded the label House of ilona, has launched a new range of clerical wear for women in the Church of England. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Self

Camelle Daley, a London-trained fashion designer who founded the label House of ilona, has launched a new range of clerical wear for women in the Church of England. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Self

This image is available for Web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

A London fashion designer has launched a new line of clerical clothing for women. They’re selling like hotcakes. I think I could wear that to work, minus the collar.

9/11 museum documentary under fire

Muslim scholars and civil rights activists want the Sept. 11 museum to edit a documentary that the New York museum plans as part of its exhibitions. They worry that the film unfairly links Islam and terrorism in a way that could exacerbate anti-Muslim feelings among the public. The museum is slated to open next month.

Protests over upcoming papal visit to Last Supper site

A group of fervently Orthodox Jews doesn’t want Pope Francis to pray at the Cenacle, the site believed to have been the location of Jesus Christ’s Last Supper. They say Christian prayers at the Jerusalem building conflict with Orthodox Jewish teachings. About 200 protested at the site, which is also the tomb of King David.

Amid anti-Muslim violence, Myanmar Buddhists gather

The state-sponsored governing body for Buddhist monks Monday held a conference that included Buddhism’s nine main local sects in Myanmar as international concerns mount over Buddhist extremism against the nation’s Muslim minority. The meeting brought together more than 2,500 monks, and was the first time the “all-sects” conference was held in 19 years, the Associated Press reported.

Bonus Tracks

French Jews are feeling increasingly unwelcome in France, and emigrating to Israel in record numbers.

Muslim parties make a resurgence leading up to Indonesian elections.

The top cleric in the Russian Orthodox Church says he was refused entry to Ukraine. 

– Lauren Markoe

OK, how did we do with this slightly raunchier than usual roundup? You want more? Sign up for the roundup below. It’s free and spamless but usually not topless.

Categories: Beliefs

Lauren Markoe

Lauren Markoe

Lauren Markoe covered government and features as a daily newspaper reporter for 15 years before joining the Religion News Service staff as a national correspondent in 2011. She previously was Washington correspondent for The State (Columbia, S.C.)


  1. You did okay with this Tuesday’s version of the roundup!. Sex, in all it’s forms, both good and bad, is part of life isn’t it? UUnfortunately, religion itself is the basis for quite a bit of the conflicts you talked about in today’s rundup. If we, as humans, would stop getting so hung up on whether our particuler brand of religion is the “right” one, with all of it’s particuler beliefs, then the world would be a helluva better place. Whatever happened to that most precious, tenet of most religious faiths, to do unto others as we would have done unto us? If we, all of us, all faiths, would follow that admonition then most conflicts between faiths could be avoided!!

  2. St. John Francis Regis, for whom many luxury hotels have been named, helped a huge number of women out of prostitution. It can be done, with dedicated people.

  3. David: All Rabbi’s and Pharisees wore long hair & beards back then so it’s not just “Jesus’ knockout sister? Or a combination of the two?” but the whole Hebrew
    Faith. St. Paul changed the hair style, men short hair, women long hair. So long hair and beards are not Christian anymore since the Apostles took over. Of course the change over took time.

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