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Biden says he doubts US bishops will deny him communion

Religion / Religious News /

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said he doesn’t believe U.S. Catholic bishops will adopt a policy denying him communion.

“That’s a private matter and I don’t think that’s going to happen,” Biden told reporters Friday at the White House.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops voted Friday at their annual spring meeting to create...Read more

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Light Notes: What is worth the risk? Step up to save what matters

Religion / Religious News /

Two soldiers waved our van to the side of the road, where a mangy dog finished his scratch before ambling out of our path.

I was drenched with sweat in the tropical heat and humidity, as were my traveling partners. Along with 11 other men, I had traveled to this area to make the first contact with an isolated hill tribe.

About that time, the ...Read more

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Local priests group releases statement in support of same-sex unions

Religion / Religious News /

PITTSBURGH — A group representing some Pittsburgh priests and lay people issued its support for same-sex unions and LGBTQ people in response to the Vatican’s declaration this spring that the Catholic Church does not have the authority to bless same-sex unions.

In a statement released Monday, the Association of Pittsburgh Priests argued that...Read more

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The fight within the Southern Baptist Convention: Will an ultraconservative faction 'take the ship'?

Religion / Religious News /

As thousands of members of the Southern Baptist Convention gathered in Nashville, Tennessee, on Tuesday to determine the future of the nation’s largest and most powerful evangelical Christian denomination, the Rev. Dwight McKissic Sr. got ready to consign the group to his past.

The 65-year-old Black pastor in Arlington, Texas, who has been ...Read more

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Commentary: Sino-Vatican cooperation a threat to religious liberty

Religion / Religious News /

If you’re free to worship as you see fit, chances are you’re not in China these days, where religious persecution is rampant.

Examples abound. Last month, the Catholic press agency AsiaNews reported that “in the space of just two days, almost all the ecclesiastical personnel of the apostolic prefecture of Xinxiang were wiped out with an ...Read more

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Light Notes: Learn to deeply listen and quiet the noise

Religion / Religious News /

I remember my mother calling me in from play, usually to do chores. I’d ignore the first couple of calls, because they challenged my desire to live life on my terms. Then I’d give in and show up at home.

“Didn’t you hear me?" she would always ask.

I did hear her — but I wasn’t really listening to her.

I heard the noise of her call...Read more

Rick Warren to retire as lead pastor of Saddleback Church

Religion / Religious News /

LOS ANGELES – Rick Warren, the founder of a sprawling megachurch, a bestselling author and one of the most influential figures in American evangelicalism, is retiring as lead pastor of Saddleback Church in Orange County, California.

In a video service streamed to thousands of congregants on Sunday, Warren explained that he will take the title...Read more

'He's guiding us': Pittsburgh family restores Tree of Life's stained-glass windows

Religion / Religious News /

PITTSBURGH — More than 50 years ago, Nicholas Parrendo designed stained-glass windows for the Tree of Life congregation in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood.

Now his children, David and Celeste, along with artisans and master glaziers at Hunt Stained Glass Studios, are restoring them for the synagogue, the site of America's worst ...Read more

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Light Notes: A smartphone app can't match God's face-to-face connection

Religion / Religious News /

When I was 7 years old, I liked to watch a futuristic cartoon character named George Jetson and his wife, Jane, on our old black-and-white TV. It was amazing to see George, and his boss, Mr. Spacely, on a video phone. This was a piece of hardware that allowed them to actually see and speak to people in other locations.

Back in 1962, that was a ...Read more

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As Black faith communities deal with COVID-19 fallout, deacon helps raise mental health awareness

Religion / Religious News /

PHILADELPHIA – As an ordained deacon, Laverne Williams noticed in the 1990s that many congregation members at Black churches often went to clergy members for help with mental health issues. But honest conversations about mental health in churches were not regular occurrences then, and health was a “very small part of the curriculum,” she ...Read more

Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Armenian church sees a post-pandemic revival: 'It's our home'

Religion / Religious News /

LOS ANGELES – On the outskirts of Boyle Heights, a remnant of the neighborhood's historic Armenian past is having a revival.

The faithful are traveling from as far away as Simi Valley and Cerritos to pray at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, a church once deemed the center of Catholic Armenian life in Los Angeles.

Founded in 1952, the church hosted...Read more

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Light Notes: Like sea anemones and clownfish, we need each other

Religion / Religious News /

Recently I wrote about common challenging emotional stressors that appear to be mostly stimulated of late by the pandemic’s social isolation. These conditions generate a strange combination of listlessness, undirected anxiety and inability to concentrate. Together they make up the paradoxical emotion of acedia.

If that is an accurate ...Read more

Dump the mask? Some places of worship say not so fast

Religion / Religious News /

ATLANTA — To mask or not to mask?

That’s the question some houses of worship are grappling with following revised recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that fully vaccinated people don’t have to wear masks or practice social distancing indoors and outdoors in most situations.

“We’re scrambling right now ...Read more

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Light Notes: Now may be the time to revive this ancient term

Religion / Religious News /

The practice of diagnosis, or “full knowing,” is important in medicine and other disciplines, including mental, emotional, social, and spiritual care and treatment.

We want and need to accurately know the issue or problem before we can accurately prescribe. For example, pancreatitis (inflammation) is different than pancreatic cancer (...Read more

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Elizabeth Wellington: There's a word for the thing we need most right now: Grace

Religion / Religious News /

There was a time when I ran three to five miles before work and trained for half marathons. Three years ago, however, I tore a muscle in my right hip flexor. I limped for months. I could barely walk, let alone run.

It took 18 months for my leg to heal. And when I finally tried running again, I sucked. My pace was slow. My knees buckled. My ...Read more

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Light Notes: My mama was an influencer ahead of her time

Religion / Religious News /

An influencer, that was my mama.

Oh, not like the ones we see nowadays, catching themselves in perfect light, a string of followers and fame. No, my mama had just three followers, my two older brothers and then me.

As near as I can recollect, we didn’t have much, least of all fame. Living on a piece of dirt in the top half of California, my...Read more

Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/TNS

During Ramadan, every night is a 'date' night

Religion / Religious News /

LOS ANGELES – The table was laden with food: a rack of lamb, well roasted and succulent. A platter of chicken over rice. A tray of tabbouleh, a bulgur salad speckled with parsley. A rainbow of watermelon, orange slices and grapes.

But the first things guests reached for as they gathered at the Fejleh family's home to break fast together on a ...Read more

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Pope allows cardinals, bishops to be tried by Vatican's lay criminal tribunal

Religion / Religious News /

Cardinals and bishops will now be allowed to be tried by the Vatican’s lay criminal tribunal, according to a decree issued Friday by Pope Francis.

Until now, the Catholic Church’s most senior officials accused of criminal offenses could only be tried by their peers in the "Corte di Cassazone" (Court of Cassation), which is presided over by ...Read more

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Supreme Court conservatives may reset balance between LGBTQ rights and religious liberty

Religion / Religious News /

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court is set to decide soon whether conservative Christians have a constitutional right to refuse to work with same-sex couples while participating in a city-funded foster care program that forbids such discrimination.

It is the latest and possibly most significant culture-war clash between the First Amendment’s ...Read more

Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun/The Baltimore Sun/TNS

After a year of COVID-related isolation, Muslim community thankful for drive-thru dinner to break Ramadan fast

Religion / Religious News /

BALTIMORE – It’s 2 1/2 hours before sunset, a drizzle is falling under gloomy skies, and the cars are lined up by the dozen in the parking lot of the Islamic Society of Baltimore.

Drivers and passengers, many wearing headscarves or skullcaps, wait in minivans, luxury sedans and old beaters for a signal to move forward. On reaching the ...Read more