Pope certifies miracles for two U.S. saints

Francis X. Rocca |

VATICAN CITY (RNS) A 17th-century Native American woman who cared for the sick and elderly, and a Catholic nun who worked with lepers in Hawaii, are on the verge of becoming the newest American saints, after Pope Benedict XVI certified miracles due to their intercession, the Vatican announced Monday (Dec 19). The decrees concerned Kateri […]

On Dec. 25, Atheists celebrate a different birthday

Kimberly Winston |

(RNS) Deck those halls with boughs of apples and top that tree with a finger puppet of Sir Isaac Newton. At least that’s what Robin Zebrowski does at her home in Beloit, Wis., where she and her husband, Joshua, observe the birthday of the great 17th-century English scientist and mathematician, Dec. 25, 1642. They send […]

Poll suggests believers can be swayed on nukes, environment

Josef Kuhn |

WASHINGTON (RNS) Most Americans believers do not see preventing climate change or the spread of nuclear weapons as “spiritual obligations,” although they see both as important goals, according to a new poll. Among respondents who said they believe in God or in “spiritual obligations for behavior,” the importance of these issues ranked far behind reducing […]

UPDATE: N.J. hospital agrees not to force nurses to assist in abortions

David Giambusso |

NEWARK, N.J. (RNS) A teaching hospital will hire additional staff to help perform abortions after a group of nurses claimed they were forced to participate in the procedures despite religious objections. “No nurse is compelled to have direct involvement in a procedure to which she or he objects based on his/her cultural values, ethics and/or […]

Friday Godbytes

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been wracking your brain to figure out whether modern-day American Christmas traditions are anything like 18th-century Christmas services. What, you’re not like me? WeirdâÂ?¦Well, anyway, history.org has a whole webpage on just this topic in case you need your 18th century Christmas fix! Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is […]

Sexual abusers hard to profile or predict

Donna Leinwand |

(RNS) The grand jury report reads like a textbook profile of child sexual abuse. Jerry Sandusky, former assistant football coach at Penn State, allegedly bought one boy golf clubs and a computer, took him swimming at a hotel pool, wrestled with him and invited him to sleepovers at his home before sexually assaulting him, the […]

Nurses say they were forced to assist in abortions

Seth Augenstein |

NEWARK, N.J. (RNS) Twelve nurses on Monday (Nov. 14) accused the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey of abruptly forcing them to assist in abortion cases, despite religious and moral objections to the procedures. “In October, we were suddenly confronted with a choice between our faith and our jobs,” said Fe Esperanza Racpan […]

COMMENTARY: What did Steve Jobs see at the end?

Dick Staub |

(RNS) In my daily readings of Leo Tolstoy and George MacDonald, one thought from each converged with the other. It reminded me of an old conversation with the late great Norman Mailer, and of the late great Steve Job’s final words. From Tolstoy: “We have measured the earth, the stars, and the depths of the […]

Congress considers conscience rights in health care

Lauren Markoe |

WASHINGTON (RNS) Catholic and other Christian health care providers got their day in Congress Wednesday (Nov. 2) at a hearing Republicans called to denounce an Obama administration rule that requires insurers to cover contraception. The rule, part of the health care reform bill passed last year, is scheduled to take effect next August, and mandate […]

Penn Jillette’s 10 Commandments for atheists

Kimberly Winston |

(RNS) In his new book, “God, No!” atheist magician Penn Jillette tells how he was challenged by conservative radio host Glenn Beck to come up with an atheist’s version of The Ten Commandments. “I wanted to see how many of the ideas that many people think are handed down from (G)od really make sense to […]