Turkey, key U.S. ally, cited for religious freedom woes

Lauren Markoe |

WASHINGTON (RNS) Turkey stands as a new and controversial addition to an annual list of the worst offenders of religious freedom released Tuesday (March 20) by the U.S. Commission on International Religious. By Lauren Markoe.

Vatican ends probe of clergy abuse in Ireland

Alessandro Speciale |

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Following a yearlong investigation into decades of rampant abuse in the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, the Vatican on Tuesday (March 20) called for more rigorous screening of would-be priests and compulsory child protection classes in seminaries. By Alessandro Speciale.

Catholics eye Cleveland closures for national precedent

Michael O'Malley |

CLEVELAND (RNS) Catholics fighting church closings across the country are keeping their eyes on the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, where Bishop Richard Lennon's closure of 13 churches was overturned by the Vatican.Copies of the decrees are circulating electronically throughout the U.S. and even in Canada. By Michael O'Malley.

Judge rules for breakaway church in St. Louis

Tim Townsend / The Post-Dispatch |

ST. LOUIS (RNS) Wading into tricky church-state territory, a judge has upheld an independent-minded Catholic church's ownership of its property and its right to craft bylaws that limit the authority of the Roman Catholic Church over its governance. By Tim Townsend.

Britain starts talks on legalizing gay marriage

Trevor Grundy |

CANTERBURY, England (RNS) The British government has launched a 12-week consultation in England and Wales that is widely expected to lead to the legalization of same-sex marriage, despite strong opposition from Catholics and some Anglicans. By Trevor Grundy.

Cleveland bishop has 60 days to appeal church closures

Michael O'Malley |

CLEVELAND (RNS) The official Vatican decrees reversing the closings of 13 Catholic parishes finally reached the desk of Cleveland Bishop Richard Lennon, giving him 60 days to decide on an appeal. By Michael O'Malley.

Jews ask pope to push for aid worker’s release in Cuba

Lauren Markoe |

WASHINGTON (RNS) The Jewish community is trying to enlist the pope to intercede on behalf of Alan Gross, the Maryland Jewish man who has been in a Cuban jail for more than two years, on his upcoming trip to the island nation. By Lauren Markoe.

GUEST COMMENTARY: Disagreeing without being disagreeable

James Calvin Davis |

(RNS) It's never been easy for us to determine the boundary line between individual rights and civic responsibility. But it doesn't help when pundits resort to name-calling, nor when complexities are reduced to bumper-sticker sound bites. By James Calvin Davis.

Vatican orders Cleveland bishop to reverse church closures

Michael O'Malley |

CLEVELAND (RNS) In an extraordinary move, the Vatican has reversed the closure of 13 churches in the Diocese of Cleveland, saying the parishes must be restored and the sanctuaries reopened for worship, according to activists who fought the closings. By Michael O'Malley.