I think he’s finally done it. I think Pope Francis has managed to offend:
Pope: Pet-focused childless couples are selfish
Do not, the pope said, be one of those couples who lavishes love on dogs and cats instead of children. Oh dear. I do think the pope — who managed to make fast friends even across the lines dividing Israelis and the Palestinians last week — may finally have sparked some indignation. On Monday, as he celebrated Mass with 15 married couples, Francis criticized those who choose not to reproduce.
You can go explore the world, go on holiday, you can have a villa in the countryside, you can be carefree . . . It might be better — more comfortable — to have a dog, two cats, and the love goes to the two cats and the dog. Is this true or not? Have you seen it?
The moral counter argument from Erica Gies, written before the pope was pope.
Now let’s talk about birth control
The Obama administration’s contraception mandate, to be specific. A new poll says four in 10 Americans are good with this most controversial part of the Affordable Care Act. But more people are comfortable with the mandate when the field of those who must comply is narrowed to public and private corporations, such as Hobby Lobby. The Christian-owned business will get an answer from the Supreme Court this month on whether they get an exemption from the law.
Pope: And don’t rush the Catholic-Orthodox Summit
Some say a lovely year for such a gathering would be 2025, to mark the 1700th anniversary of the first church council held in Nicea in 325 A.D. But despite the warm meeting between Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople in Jerusalem just days ago, the Vatican says 2025 event has not been confirmed, writes our own Josephine McKenna.
The bearded father of the released POW
Even friends have raised questions about Robert Bergdahl, whose soldier-son was just released from the clutches of the Taliban. Bergdahl-the-Dad not only grew a Taliban-looking beard, but learned Pashto and also studied radical Islamic philosophy. Then there are the tunics and the loose pants. Friends say the conservative Presbyterian remains true to his Christian convictions. But they also say they felt moved to ask if he had crossed a line.
Dragging your infant down the aisle
A woman from Tennessee tied her one month old to her wedding dress train and dragged the kid down the aisle. Then she posted the photo on Facebook, provoking all kinds of outrage. Her response:
The answer is we do what we want when we want long as Jesus on our side everything worked out fine and gone continue to be fine.
Here’s the pic.
The Osteen empire expands
The Rev. Joel Osteen preaches to 40,000 at his Lakeland Church in Houston and broadcasts on Trinity TV. Now he gets his own channel on Sirius XM radio, which will air a call-in show Osteen will host with his wife Victoria, and replay his sermons. The channel will be in place to air Osteen’s sermon at Yankee Stadium on Saturday.
FBI: Terror suspect targeted returning U.S. soldiers, Shiites
Mufid Elfgeeh is a naturalized U.S. citizen from Yemen who used Twitter to praise al-Qaeda as the “true Muslims” and to vent his hatred for the U.S. Counter-terrorism agents said he planned to kill U.S. soldiers and Shiite Muslims in Rochester, N.Y., where he managed a convenience store.
Nine killled in church attack in Nigeria
Police are accusing Boko Haram of spraying a church service with gun fire in northeastern Nigeria, and then fleeing in a car and on motorcycles into the Gwoza hills, a stronghold of the militant Islamic group. In related news, the Nigerian government has banned some demonstrations by those frustrated that the more than 200 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram last month.
A biker gang is going to protect Maya Angelou’s funeral from Westboro Baptist Church protesters.
The Westboro Baptist Church has its own version of “Let It Go,” the song from Frozen that rails against gay marriage. I’m not including the link because I’ve given them too much attention already.
Ailing top 40 host Casey Kasem has been removed from his wife’s care. Her response was to throw raw meat at Kasem’s daughter, screaming something about “King David” and “to the dogs.” Anybody know what she’s talking about?
– Lauren Markoe
In tribute to Casey, those are the top religion news stories for today. Join us here for the countdown every weekday morning. Sign up for the free, spamless Religion News Roundup every day in your inbox.