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Commentary: The pope's latest decree is a victory for Catholic women

Religion / Religious News /

A lot of American Catholics might not see the importance of Pope Francis’ declaration that women can take part in the formal ministries of acolyte and lector. After all, there have been “altar girls” in many American parishes for years.

But “many” is not “all.” Some parishes and dioceses allow only boys to assist the priest at the...Read more

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Seattle archbishop is stonewalling push for more transparency of church sex-abuse cases, group contends

Religion / Religious News /

SEATTLE — Their ranks include ex-federal prosecutors, a retired judge, a one-time assistant police chief, even a former priest. But a group of prominent Catholics say they still can’t get an audience with Seattle’s new archbishop in their push to address the fallout of a lingering scandal.

Members of Heal Our Church, a Seattle-based ...Read more

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Commentary: Discrimination against churches didn’t have a prayer at the Supreme Court

Religion / Religious News /

COVID-19 made 2020 an incredibly hard year for Americans. Governors and mayors made it worse by shrinking religious freedom.

It didn’t have to be this way. Most Americans have shown that they’re willing to take sensible precautions. But some of those in leadership positions have overreacted, to put it mildly. As Supreme Court Justice Samuel...Read more

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Commentary: History shows our passion for freedom runs deep

Religion / Religious News /

Christmas 2020 was a Christmas like no other in our nation’s history. Thousands of churches across the country were shuttered, others had to hold services outdoors or restrict capacity indoors. Families were not allowed to gather for the holiday.

Many Americans are rightly upset that the freedom to worship — the foundational American ...Read more

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Sexual misconduct allegations against late Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias confirmed

Religion / Religious News /

ATLANTA — Less than a year after his death, the Alpharetta-based organization founded by Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias has released a statement confirming allegations of sexual misconduct made against the influential spiritual leader.

Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, most commonly known as RZIM, said in a Dec. 23 statement from ...Read more

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On the first Christmas God did not work remotely

Religion / Religious News /

Right in the middle of my teaching session, something caught my eye.

Glancing through the shutters from a window in our compound, I saw a caravan of nomads, a dozen or more with camels, making their way across the valley.

Situated on the fringe of the Sahara Desert, Wadi Natrun had become a training base for a few dozen young men and women ...Read more

PRO: Christmas is a holy day

Religion / Religious News /

So the other day, a friend asked me a question that boiled down to this: Does Christmas have to be a religious holiday?

My immediate response — as a person of faith who follows Jesus and as an Episcopal priest — was, “Well, yeah …”

I mean, what else would it be?

And then immediately I thought of all those people who are not ...Read more

CON: The greatest gift this season — freedom of religion

Religion / Religious News /

Judging by the diversity of holidays observed this time of year, humans seem to have a need for a communal celebration in early winter. As the days grow shorter and cold weather grips much of the Northern Hemisphere, it’s comforting to be reminded that sunlight and warmth (and the crops they nourish) will return. Thus, many of these festivals,...Read more

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Calif. church depicts Black Lives Matter protest in Nativity scene

Religion / Religious News /

According to the Bible, Jesus' birth was a crowded affair — Mary and Joseph, a menagerie of animals and some shepherd visitors. But protesters?

Claremont United Methodist Church, in keeping with its tradition of eye-catching Nativity scenes, situated the Holy Family this year in front of a painting of masked people holding signs reading "I ...Read more

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During the pandemic, chaplains are a lifeline for inmates

Religion / Religious News /

Every day, Brother Dennis Gibbs sits by a window in the living room of his monastery in the San Gabriel Valley and pens a letter or two to people behind bars.

His "friends on the inside," as the gray-haired monk calls them, have kept up a growing correspondence with Gibbs for more than nine months, sharing an intimate view into life in jails ...Read more

Feds side with Michigan religious schools in suit over COVID-19 restrictions

Religion / Religious News /

DETROIT — The U.S. Department of Justice has sided with religious and private schools in Michigan that brought a lawsuit challenging the state's latest restrictions halting in-person high school instruction due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Justice Department on Friday filed a statement of interest in the U.S. District Court for the ...Read more

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With students struggling during COVID-19, this church got creative. Here's how

Religion / Religious News /

FRESNO, Calif. – For the past four months, Pastor Rici Skei has been welcoming nearly a dozen students into her Lowell neighborhood church for what some have been missing since the pandemic shut down schools in March — mentorship, meals, and socialization.

Skei has been a Lowell resident for 14 years, finding ways to lift the historic ...Read more

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Philadelphia's retired archbishop says Biden should be denied Communion over his abortion stance

Religion / Religious News /

PHILADELPHIA — Former Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput said late last week that President-elect Joe Biden should be banned from receiving Communion because of his support for abortion rights, fueling an ongoing debate among Catholic leaders in the United States over how to relate to the nation's second Catholic president.

Chaput, who ...Read more

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Amid COVID and racial unrest, black churches put faith in mental health care

Religion / Religious News /

Wilma Mayfield used to visit a senior center in Durham, North Carolina, four days a week and attend Lincoln Memorial Baptist Church on Sundays, a ritual she's maintained for nearly half a century. But over the past 10 months, she's seen only the inside of her home, the grocery store and the pharmacy. Most of her days are spent worrying about ...Read more

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COVID-19 order shows Barrett fortifies Supreme Court on religious rights

Religion / Religious News /

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court's sharply divided ruling blocking New York's COVID-19 restrictions on in-person worship has bolstered the prospects of already-successful religious legal advocates while making their adversaries fear for their future at the high court.

In its most significant public action since Justice Amy Coney Barrett ...Read more

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Archbishop Gregory stood up to Trump. Now he's about to be the first Black cardinal in the US

Religion / Religious News /

WASHINGTON — Few of his parishioners were surprised when Washington, D.C., Archbishop Wilton Gregory took on President Donald Trump.

Gregory isn't known to speak out often about issues specifically facing Black Americans. But when he does, it is unambiguous and forceful — in words unusually strong for a man of the cloth.

In June, racial ...Read more

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Detroit archbishop to lead national Catholic group on Joe Biden and abortion

Religion / Religious News /

DETROIT — The head of the Catholic Church in Detroit has been chosen to lead a new national group that seeks to guide how Catholics should respond to President-elect Joe Biden and the contentious issue of abortion.

Archbishop Allen Vigneron, who leads the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit, was named this week the president of the United States ...Read more

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Spiritual Life: A tiny spider can teach us to persevere

Religion / Religious News /

It's early morning. The sun is just peeking onto the backyard or the park or the trail or the balcony. The pale rays brighten and verify colors from their muted-grey overnight rest. Then it catches your eye — strand after carefully placed strand shimmering in stunning dewy array of iridescent nano-pearls.

You are gazing upon your basic, ...Read more

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Commentary: The McCarrick Report: A call to reform Catholic priest selection

Religion / Religious News /

The McCarrick Report investigating sexual abuse by disgraced former Washington, D.C., cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, released this month by the Vatican, catalogs facts that cannot be ignored, denied or explained away. The harm inflicted by McCarrick over decades is a source of deep remorse and shame for the Catholic Church. Like most, I am ...Read more

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Spiritual life: 'Be still' to know God and find inner peace

Religion / Religious News /

When my thoughts and feelings are in turmoil, I go up the local mountain to find inner peace.

I go up the mountain (really just a big hill) where a sense of freedom and spaciousness helps me sort out problems, soothe hurts, and feel a few hundred feet closer to God. Going up a mountain to pray is part of the spiritual history of my Christian ...Read more