New saint’s work started small, left big legacy

Renee K. Gadoua |

(RNS) Barbara Koob moved from Utica, N.Y., to nearby Syracuse in the summer of 1862, when she was 24, to enter the convent of the Sisters of St. Francis. Twenty-one years later, the woman the world now knows as Saint Marianne Cope left Syracuse to work as a missionary among the lepers in Hawaii. Even […]

Thursday Godbytes: Church of File Sharing; Santorum’s Jewish Fraternity?; Fun With Spellcheck

Digital file sharing is now a sacred activity…In Sweden. The Missionary Church of Kopimism (yes, that’s “Copy Me-ism”) is now officially recognized as a religion in Sweden. The group asserts “communication is sacred,” and uses “Ctrl+C” and “Ctrl+V” as holy symbols. It was also reportedly created to provide legal protection for file sharers, although that […]

Church says N.Y. woman is source of sainthood miracle

Renee K. Gadua |

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (RNS) A 65-year-old woman from Chittenango, N.Y., was inexplicably healed of pancreatitis in 2005, Catholic leaders say, and is the source of the second miracle that will make Blessed Mother Marianne Cope a new U.S. saint. “I’m very happy to be here and I thank the Lord,” Sharon Smith said Tuesday (Dec. 20) […]

Tuesday Godbytes: (Mis)spelling Hanukkah; Merry Christmas in Klingon; Rob Bell’s Grammar

Today marks the first day of the eight-day Jewish celebration of Hanukkah. It also marks the beginning of a struggle journalists and bloggers know well – how do you actually spell Hanukkah? God only knows, right? Actually no. Apparently God doesn’t. Someone even wrote a song about it. (It’s ×Â?× ×Â?×Â?×Â?, by the way) Speaking of […]

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 […]