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GustavSo, we’re sure you all remember my son Gus, he of the gaucamole-eating fame. He and his twin brother Alton are about to turn 2 next month, and he wanted to swing by to endorse the new RNS fundraising drive. Gus says if you can help us meet our goal of $10,000, he’ll be more than happy to model your favorite team jersey (altho he’s quite loyal to the Red Sox, thank you very much). He — and we — would appreciate any help you can give.

Now on to the news:

Pop culture

Joseph Laycock tries to break down exactly what went down with that Satanist Black Mass at Harvard earlier this week. Juicy tidbit: Harvard officials asked the Satanic Temple to use a piece of broccoli instead of a consecrated Communion wafer. These guys should be happy they didn’t suggest a different vegetable.

God grant me the serenity to accept that I could be wrong: Turns out famed theologian Reinhold Niebuhr did write the Serenity Prayer after all, says the Yale librarian who first cast doubt on the popular prayer’s origins.

Can’t keep up with the break-neck pace of gay marriage court rulings? Neither can we. But the good folks at Vox make it easy in two maps. The takeaway: The only two states not facing a challenge to their bans on same-sex marriage are Montana and North Dakota. Meanwhile, over in Idaho, gays and lesbians will have to wait a few more days before tying the knot.


A group of left-leaning U.S. Catholic groups wants an apology from Pope Francis for the way American nuns have been smacked down by the Vatican. Says the letter: “a public apology … would speak volumes about the institutional Church’s intent to truly listen to women and honor their voices.”

St. Oscar Romero? Not so fast, says the Vatican.Cartoon popes

If you just can’t get enough of the pope — and really, who can’t? — there’s now a cartoon guide to the life of St. John Paul II and this recap of Pope Francis that came out last year:

Our own David Gibson sits down with Cardinal Walter Kasper, the pope’s go-to theologian, who finds himself enjoying the spotlight afforded by his boss. Speaking of, Francis plans to take his favorite rabbi and imam from Argentina with him when he travels to the Holy Land later this month.

It’s not just gay teachers who are getting fired from Catholic schools; now the lesbian director of a Kansas City food pantry has been fired.

And, FWIW, Rob Astorino, who ran the Catholic Channel at Sirius XM, is now the GOP nominee for governor of New York.


Three years after “Elevatorgate” exposed the secular community to charges of sexism and sexual harassment, Kimberly Winston finds there’s been some improvement, but still a long way to go. Fun fact: Did you know there’s a whole MRA (Men’s Rights Activists) community? I didn’t.


The Atlantic tries to figure out why the Southern Baptists’ baptism rate is dropping. And they also call the nation’s largest Protestant denomination a “sect.” Well, it’s a pretty big sect.


Looks like India will have a new prime ministerNarendra Modi from the Bharatiya Janata Party, after years of dominance by the Gandhi-led Congress party. Still, there are some concerns about the future of religious tolerance in a diverse nation like India under the leadership of a hardline Hindu nationalist. NPR has more on the new PM. (h/t Howard Friedman)

And with that, dear readers, it’s off to the weekend. Before you do, please make sure we have your email address so you can receive the Roundup every day, for free, in your inbox.


    • So Stan, what exactly is your point? That RNS has some double standard or is hypocritical because it has not published something which would be offensive to most Muslims? Pope cartoons are not inherently offensive to Catholics, and this particular cartoon did not strike me as offensive. While your comment suggest that there would be some equivalency between a cartoon of the pope and one of Muhammad – it is a false equivalency.

  1. Thank You RNS, particularly: Kimberly Winston, Cathy Grossman and Chris Stedman for some very important reporting in the past few months.

    Religion (and the rejection of religion) continues to be at the center of so many important stories. You provide a great glimpse of the major supernatural claims around the world.
    Thanks also for supplying a place for lively commentary and for allowing atheists to get a word in edgewise.

  1. […] Cartoon popes * Satanic broccoli * Serenity solved : Friday's Roundup A group of left-leaning U.S. Catholic groups wants an apology from Pope Francis for the way American nuns have been smacked down by the Vatican. Says the letter: “a public apology … would speak volumes about the institutional Church's intent to truly … Read more on Religion News Service […]

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