Ex-Philly priest pleads guilty to decades-old sex assaults of altar boys

Religion / Religious News /

PHILADELPHIA -- After decades of dodging allegations of abusing children, a disgraced former Catholic priest pleaded guilty Wednesday to molesting two altar boys in Bucks County decades ago.

Francis Trauger, 74, admitted his guilt to two counts of indecent assault of a minor and Bucks County Judge Jeffrey L. Finley sentenced him to 18 to 36 ...Read more

'Crisis mode chaplains' seek to heal trauma of Floyd's death

Religion / Religious News /

MINNEAPOLIS -- Kelly Sherman-Conroy felt the anguish on the streets following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, concluding that people were aching for more than food and emergency relief.

So the Lutheran leader and Native American activist posted an appeal on Facebook for "clergy, spiritual leaders and mental health ...Read more

Light Notes: Life upside down? Don't let fear take you for a ride

Religion / Religious News /

Fear had pounced without warning back then. Powerless and trapped, it felt like a nightmare ... and I was afraid.

It's a vivid memory that stretches more than a few years back, a time when I was handed a long list of demands; an agenda that stretched from here to the nearest McD's. At the top were the words, "Ride a roller coaster."

Were the ...Read more

Evangelicals wrestle with racism and their own silence: 'We repent'

Religion / Religious News /

SEATTLE -- Joseph Castleberry, president of Northwest University, an evangelical school in Kirkland, Wash., was sitting at his desk in early May when he started seeing Facebook posts about a Black man killed while jogging through a coastal Georgia town.

As Castleberry read about 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery, fatally shot by white men shown on ...Read more

Trump to seek funds for private, religious school scholarships in COVID recovery bill

Religion / Religious News /

WASHINGTON -- The White House plans to ask Congress to earmark money in the next stimulus bill for scholarship programs for private and religious schools, which the administration is promoting as a way to help families affected by COVID-19 pay their children's tuition this fall.

President Donald Trump will ask for a "one-time, emergency ...Read more

Supreme Court rules religious schools should get state grants given to other private schools

Religion / Religious News /

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that states may not exclude religious schools from tuition grants that support other private schools.

The justices, by a 5-4 vote, decided that denying grants to students in church schools amounts to unconstitutional discrimination against religion.

The decision is a victory for advocates of school...Read more

Light Notes: Help! What would Mother do now?

Religion / Religious News /

My mama knew tough times.

Childhood poverty, the Great Depression, and World War II taught her as surely as my grandma's hand rocked the cradle. Together they formed her moral compass.

Even now, bits and pieces of her story are etched in my memory. How she swept their family's dirt floor, an end of day chore; how her feet ached in a big ...Read more

Spiritual Life: Thankfulness leaves less room for anxiety

Religion / Religious News /

Do you ever get caught in an inward and endless loop of, "What if?" -- "What if my health ... What if my kids ... What if my parents ... What if my plans ... What if a robber breaks in and ... ?"


Since anxiety sneaks around in human hearts like a common thief seeking to steal joy, we need to guard against its intrusions. But how?

In ...Read more

Many faithful say it's time to gather. Some governors disagree

Religion / Religious News /

WASHINGTON -- Gathering to pray feels more important than ever for many Americans of faith, as COVID-19 cases top 2 million in the United States and communities roil with anger about police brutality and systemic racism.

Yet many governors and city leaders still prohibit large religious gatherings, angering some clergy -- even those who backed ...Read more

Spiritual Life: Listen to the voice of God in life's storms

Religion / Religious News /

It was hard to miss -- the terrific thunder and lightning storm that recently lit up the early morning skies and woke up sleepy heads. I arose and with steaming cup of coffee in hand, sat in my opened garage just out of reach of the occasional torrential rains, and watched with the requisite oohs and aahs.

All who viewed were treated to thick ...Read more

Trump appeals to religious voters with battleground map in mind

Religion / Religious News /

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump is seeking to invoke religion to bolster his law and order image during the civil unrest in an appeal to evangelical and Catholic conservatives, two groups he routinely turns to when he's facing strong criticism.

Trump, not a regular churchgoer, this week stood outside St. John's Episcopal Church across the ...Read more

Spiritual Life: Listen to God's song ringing true

Religion / Religious News /

This summer many of you are going to hear wedding bells.

The ringing might be for you as bride and groom, or simply as guest and bestie. Whatever your role on that happy day of hearing marriage vows, your merriment likely will get lifted by meaningful music.

Do you listen to the music? Closely?

As a minister who has officiated at such ...Read more

French Catholic writer wants to be first female archbishop

Religion / Religious News /

PARIS -- A French Catholic writer and lay activist is putting herself forward to be the first female archbishop in the Catholic Church.

Anne Soupa, 73, has declared her candidacy for the archbishopric of Lyon -- the most senior in the French Catholic Church.

The position has been vacant since March, when Pope Francis accepted the resignation ...Read more

Supreme Court weighs California's limits on church crowds during pandemic

Religion / Religious News /

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court is set to decide on a religious freedom claim from a south San Diego County church that wants an exemption from California's COVID-19 rules, which limit large gatherings for services.

Lawyers for the South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista argue that the First Amendment's protection of the "free ...Read more

'We ask forgiveness from the dead': Why Jewish volunteers are washing bodies in a pandemic

Religion / Religious News /

PHILADELPHIA -- It used to be that David Kushner would receive a call to report to one of the area's Jewish funeral homes once every few weeks. In the pandemic, his phone has buzzed every single day, sometimes more than once.

Then, Kushner, 40, must rally the other members of the Chevra Kadisha B'nei Moshe. This all-volunteer group, which is ...Read more

A priest was saddened when the chalice his parents gave him years ago went missing. Suddenly, it's back.

Religion / Religious News /

BALTIMORE -- When the Rev. Jeffrey Dauses was starting out in his life as a Catholic priest, tradition held that the parents of a newly ordained young man should give him a special gift to mark the occasion: the chalice, or goblet, he'd use to offer Holy Communion to the faithful.

In many ways, Dauses' was more special than most. His working-...Read more

Spiritual Life: Will 'paddling our canoe' harder help in COVID-19?

Religion / Religious News /

"It's not going to do you any good to paddle harder." This piece of advice stays with me as I think about how to go forward when the coronavirus has changed so much of the world I knew.

I'm urged to pause in my paddling, and pay attention to the reality unfolding before me with its new needs and opportunities.

Tod Bolsinger, a professor and ...Read more

Justice Department warns California that coronavirus rules may violate religious freedoms

Religion / Religious News /

LOS ANGELES -- The U.S. Justice Department issued a letter Tuesday warning that California could be violating religious freedoms in its plan to reopen the state after the coronavirus stay-at-home order.

The letter from the Justice Department's civil rights division to Gov. Gavin Newsom listed several objections both to the original order and ...Read more

Spiritual Life: Veterans have made 'superhero' contributions for us

Religion / Religious News /

Americans love the idea of a superhero, someone possessed of supernatural powers used for the common good.

Joe Thomas, a professor studying this phenomenon, remarked, "They explain mystery. They model behavior. They inspire. They make mistakes ... and learn from them. They are life lessons. They give hope that no matter what the odds, even one ...Read more

Black Chicago churchgoers join one-quarter of Americans who say their faith's grown stronger during the COVID-19 pandemic

Religion / Religious News /

CHICAGO -- He was scared and had good reason to be. He was over age 60. He had health issues. And the global COVID-19 death toll was mounting.

So, as the Rev. Walter Johnson Jr. lay in the hospital bed, isolated from his family for two weeks, the doubt began to creep in. Being infected with the novel coronavirus pushed a man who has been ...Read more