Stories

Mormons lower age for missionaries, setting off changes for parents, women, schools

Peggy Fletcher Stack and Lisa Schencker / The Salt Lake Tribune |

SALT LAKE CITY (RNS) In a surprising move that promises to transform Mormon social and spiritual dynamics, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is lowering the age of full-time missionary service to age 18 for Mormon men (down from 19) and 19 for women (down from 21). By Peggy Fletcher Stack and Lisa Schencker/The Salt Lake Tribune.

St. Louis Catholics react to native son Bishop Finn’s conviction

Jesse Bogan and Tim Townsend / St. Louis Post-Dispatch |

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (RNS) Bishop Robert Finn, a St. Louis native who was ordained in the St. Louis Archdiocese, is the first U.S. bishop convicted of failing to report criminal sexual activity by a priest. Local Catholics were polite but not subtle about the court ruling. By Jesse Bogan and Tim Towsend.

Aurora worshippers seek solace, guidance after movie theater shooting

Trevor Hughes, Elizabeth Weise and Jessica Tully /USA Today |

AURORA, Colo. (RNS) Worshippers in this city rocked by Friday's mass shooting flocked to church Sunday, seeking solace within their faith communities.

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Vatican wants to revive church’s role in fighting the Mafia

Alessandro Speciale |

VATICAN CITY (RNS) A Vatican-sponsored event in the mother country of the mafia, Sicily, wants to revive the church's role in fighting the cultural roots of organized crime. By Alessandro Speciale.

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One Psalm, two causes, two meanings

David Van Biema |

(RNS) For decades, Psalm 139 has been a byword of the anti-abortion movement that has used its line about being “knit together in my mother's womb.” Now, its other verse about being “fearfully and wonderfully made” has been embraced by gay and lesbian Christians. By David Van Biema

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Pope meets with Fidel Castro, urges more freedom

Alessandro Speciale |

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI called for more religious freedom for the Catholic Church on his last day in communist Cuba. Around 300,000 people turned up for a papal Mass in Revolution Square in Havana, just before an unscheduled but much-anticipated meeting with Fidel Castro. By Alessandro Speciale.

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Muslims call new religious freedom appointee a ‘puppet’ for Islam foes

Lauren Markoe |

WASHINGTON (RNS) The U.S. Commission for Religious Freedom just got two new members, both darlings of conservatives: Princeton University philosopher Robert P. George and Zuhdi Jasser, who describes himself as an alternative voice to established Muslim civil rights groups. By Lauren Markoe.

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Pope arrives in Cuba, blasts economic ‘selfishness’

Alessandro Speciale |

VATICAN CITY (RNS) On his arrival in Cuba, Pope Benedict XVI renewed the Catholic church's pledge to work with the Communist government in order to help the island look at the future, and criticized the “ambition and selfishness” which engendered the global economic crisis. By Alessandro Speciale.

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Pope to find mixed political messages in Mexico trip

David Agren / USA Today |

SILAD, Mexico (RNS) Times have changed to such a degree in Mexico that politicians now seek out the pope and prelates for support. Even so, the hostility of some in Mexico City shows how far the relationship has yet to go between Mexico and the Catholic Church. By David Agren.

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Anti-Shariah movement loses steam in state legislatures

Omar Sacirbey |

(RNS) One year ago, more than 20 state legislatures had either passed or were considering bills that prohibited judges from considering Islamic law, known as Shariah, in their decisions. But the anti-Shariah juggernaut has stumbled in recent weeks. By Omar Sacirbey.

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