Image courtesy of Zurijeta via Shutterstock

Image courtesy of Zurijeta via Shutterstock

Yes, it’s the morning after, and the U.S. is still out of the World Cup after a valiant but ultimately losing battle against Belgium. (I’ll never waffle again.)

Is there such a thing as a moral victory? Well, if you need a boost read this WaPo story about how goalie Tim Howard learned to cope with Tourette’s syndrome while becoming a world-class keeper.

Then read this…

CNN’s Belief Blog, and the best post of the ayem:

“The 7 best tweets about Tim Howard and Jesus”

Teaser, if needed:

“Difference between Tim Howard and Jesus – Jesus had 11 guys he could trust”

Meanwhile in other faith-based soccer news…

Pope Francis wins “war” with Swiss Guards

First the pontiff refuses to take standard security precautions when visiting perilous places. Then, on the eve of yesterday’s big match between Argentine and Switzerland the guy  declines an invitation to watch the game over in the Vatican barracks with the Swiss Guards who protect him. And he jokes, “It will be war!”

Well, it was, and the pope’s team won. But Francesco, did you have to spike the ball like this?

As usual, it was Lionel Messi — the only Argentine who can match Francis in popularity and mojo — who saved the day. With an assist in extra time to Ángel di María.

Prompting the inevitable headline:

How busy is the pope?

Too busy to be sick for very long. After he called Rome’s Grand Rabbi out of the blue to express condolences for the three murdered Israeli teens — a crime that has greatly upset the pontiff — Rabbi Riccardo di Segni, who is a doctor, asked him how he was doing, given all the concerns about his health.

“Look, it’s nothing,” the pope replied quickly, cutting off further inquiries with a quip. “It’s just that they make me work too much in here.”

Our own graphics whiz, T.J. Thomson, with stats from our own Vatican correspondent Josephine McKenna, shows us exactly how much Francis is working.

In other Catholic news, and such …

  • Minnesota’s top churchman, Archbishop John Nienstedt, is facing an inquiry for the kind of sexual proclivities he himself has frequently decried;
  • So Hobby Lobby and its evangelical Christian owners beat the contraception mandate, but the Catholic nuns might not — here’s why;
  • Cathy Grossman on why LGBT workers may feel impact of Hobby Lobby ruling;
  • Mark Silk on what happens next and Tobin Grant on why we will all pay for contraception thanks to the high court decision.

Oh, and the ink on the Hobby Lobby ruling is barely dry and Rick Santorum is already working it into a movie coming this fall to a theater near you — of course. Walk, don’t run as Rex Reed would say …

Another Black Mass, another protest …

This time it’s planned for Oklahoma City, not Harvard. Yeah, if a satanic ritual doesn’t work for Harvard, you think they’re going to shrug their shoulders in the land where the corn is as high as … Well, you see where this is going.

Muslims hate terrorism, too

That’s the upshot of a new Pew poll showing that “concern about Islamic extremism is high among countries with substantial Muslim populations.”

Meanwhile, the French don’t much like Muslim face veils on women, and the European Court of Human Rights says it’s fine that the French ban them. Hello, religious freedom?

 Are Presbyterians “terminally irrelevant”?

Peter Berger argues that they are, because they are always embracing the spirit of the age, with fundamentalist fervor: “Truth is rarely all on one side, and tones of absolute certitude rarely testify to its possession.”

Well, they did remove that controversial “Zionism Unsettled” booklet from their website.

Christian radio host arrested for sex assault on child

Creepy awful: Michigan religious radio host John Balyo has been arrested for allegedly raping a child and paying a third party to arrange sexual encounters with children. Balyo was arrested at the Big Ticket Christian music festival in Gaylord.

NYT columnist David Brooks is spelunking the human condition

Uri Freedman at The Atlantic reports on Brooks’ “five-step guide to being deep.” Brooks really has been baring our national soul in his columns, and maybe giving a peek into his own?

Sneak peek: First look at Christian Bale as Jewish hero

The former “Batman” star is playing Moses. Here are some photos. Miss Charlton Heston yet?

Finally, Christian Führer, RIP

The Leipzig pastor used “peace prayer” non-violent protests to rally East Germans to resist the communist system before reunification in 1990. He died June 30.

From the WaPo obit:

“I always wanted also to move in the earthly realm,” Führer said in a 2008 interview with the New York Times. “It is not the throne and the altar, but the street and the altar that belong together.”

Onward we go.

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.

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