Pope Francis went to Israel and the West Bank and all I got was this dumb t-shirt. Well, actually, much more came out of the trip than that.

T-shirt by brizbunny.com

T-shirt by brizbunny.com(Image source)

Pope to meet with sex abuse victims

Winging his way back from Israel Monday, Pope Francis said he will meet with a group of sex abuse victims next month at the Vatican, a first for this pope. He also said the church would have “zero tolerance” for any member of the clergy who molested a child. Francis further said that three bishops are under investigation by the Vatican for abuse-related reasons. This is what Francis had to say about priests abusing children:

It’s like celebrating a black mass.

David Clohessy of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, isn’t so impressed.

Francis: the rules on celibacy are not dogma

That flight back home was a field day for Vatican reporters. Out of the hour’s worth of questions they got to lob at the pope, came one on celibacy and priests. “It is a gift to the church,” Francis said, but not “dogma” and therefore open to discussion.

Save the date for Francis, Mahmoud and Shimon

Both Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli President Shimon Peres have accepted Pope Francis’ invitation to pray with him at the Vatican, but they need to set a date. Could be as early as early next month.

What language did Jesus speak?

Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanhayu and the pope had a little biblical linguistic spar: The pm said Jesus spoke “Hebrew.” The pope said “Aramaic.” They’re both right, of course.

Fire at the Church of the Nativity

It happened today, two days after the pope visited. A candle tipped over. The damage is minor. But still, it’s the church over the site where Jesus is believed to have been born.

Nigerian soldiers have found the kidnapped girls

They know where Boko Haram is holding them, but haven’t figured out how to rescue them without getting them killed. Since they were captured a month ago, Boko Haram has killed more than 470 civilians.

Belgium police release video of Jewish museum killer

The man who fired at AK-47 at the Jewish Museum of Belgium Saturday is still at large. Police have distributed a video, which does not clearly show his face, and are asking the public’s help in finding him. An Israeli couple in their 50’s, visiting from Tel Aviv, is dead. So is a French woman. A Belgian national who works at the museum is in critical condition. Police said they do not know whether the killer is a neo-Nazi, an Islamic extremist or something else.

The interment of ashes from Dachau  . . . in North Carolina

Our own Yonat Shimron spent Memorial Day weekend reporting on the story of a remarkable memorial. She watched the ashes of an unknown person or persons, salvaged from the concentration camp at Dachau, find their final resting place in Durham, N.C.

Pilgrimage funds? What pilgrimage funds?

The religion minister of the most populous Muslim nation in the world (Indonesia) resigned Monday after an anti-corruption agency accused him of misusing funds intended to send Indonesians on the hajj.

- Lauren Markoe

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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. “Celibacy is not dogma” – Pope Francis.

    This is nonsense, of course. In order to have sex one must be married. But marriage is not allowed for priests so…there’s your dogma.

    This Pope is all smoke and mirrors.

    • Oi vey. You are very mixed up. The imposition of celibacy on Catholic priests is not dogma to Catholics. Celibacy was once a voluntary practice for Catholic priest, but then was administratively imposed on the priests to keep priest from leaving church property to their kids.

      The rule of celibacy could be lifted at any time and priests marry and therefore have sex, as married people. There are already married priests – some with kids – in the various Eastern branches of the Catholic church. These branches are united with the pope but not Roman Catholic and therefore subject to different administrative rules.

      Religion may or may not be a fraud, but you need to get you facts straight on what the pope said.

  2. Just a few of many of my favorite things

    CHRISTMAS TREES – (Jeremiah 10:24)
    SHAVING – (Leviticus 19:27)
    CURSING – (Ephesians 5:4)
    Gossip – (Leviticus 19:16)
    Football on Saturdays (Exodus 20:8)
    Eating Lobster – (Leviticus 11:10)
    Eating Pork – (Leviticus 11:7)
    Cotton/Polyester – (Leviticus 19:19)
    Associating with women who are having their periods – (Leviticus 15:19-20)

    But in religion we can make things up as we go.
    The Pope can just decide it isn’t Dogma and everyone goes to Heaven!

    How can grown ups allow themselves to be talked to this way?
    And still call themselves free?

    • Jer 10:24Correct me, O LORD, but with justice; Not with Your anger, or You will bring me to nothing.
      This is against Christmas trees how?

      Exodus 20:8 – football and many other things – depends on your definition of “work”, no? That said, I force others to work on Sunday (or Saturday) when I shop those days.

      But let’s say you’re right on all these things. Plus a bunch you left out like no tattoos, no hitting people below the belt, slavery is good, don’t pray with “vain repetition” etc. There are really two commandments. The Law and the Prophets rest on those – Love the Lord Your God… and Love Your Neighbor as Yourself.”

      In the end, the Bible is about Forgiveness and Love. If you’ve missed that among the bickering and divisiveness of us Christians, I cannot be more sorry.

    • Christ said taht the Sabbath (religious rules) are made for the benefit of humanity, not humanity made for rigid conformity to harmful religious rules. A;l the rules yo cite were thrown out form the beginning of Christianity. Unfortunately the Leviticus silliness about homosexuals has not yet been thrown out. But the rlue about killing adulterers, which you did not mention, was also thrown out and it was m,ore important than the blast at homosexuality.

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