Light Notes: Could their Christmas wish come true? Not until this 'miracle' happened

Religion / Religious News /

Long before twinkling lights or gingerbread houses dot the scene, the Christmas Wish List appears. Traditionally it's filled-to-the-brim and stretching long, holding possibilities certain to bring joy.

But for one family this holiday season, the list was surprisingly short.

"When I asked our boys, 'What do you want for Christmas?' the first ...Read more

At this church, many see a divine image of the Virgin of Guadalupe written in concrete

Religion / Religious News /

LOS ANGELES -- The parishioners at Holy Family Catholic Church in Artesia walked out into the chilly morning darkness to gawk at the puddle on the sidewalk.

Just minutes before, they had witnessed the spectacle that is the mananitas Mass: plumed Aztec dancers and traditional hymns to celebrate the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico's ...Read more

Supreme Court will decide if religious freedom shields Catholic schools from teacher suits

Religion / Religious News /

WASHINGTON -- In 2014, Kristen Biel told her principal at St. James Catholic School in Torrance that she had breast cancer and would need time off for chemotherapy.

The school dismissed her two months later, citing concerns for "classroom management." Biel sued.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court announced it would hear an appeal by the school ...Read more

Light Notes: Through connection with others our light shines and brightens theirs

Religion / Religious News /

My local supermarket, which never has enough open checkout lines, has gone Big Time into self-checkout stations and people seem to love them. I choose to stand in the regular checkout line.

I'm not anti-technology, but I love casual contact with people, and the checkout line is a great place for that.

The woman buying 50 cans of cat food, the ...Read more

Spiritual Life: God's family tree reveals a tapestry of storylines that can include you

Religion / Religious News /

Over decades, my dad collected and collated data that related to our family history.

In a letter dated August 31, 1962, he reached out to "Dear Kinfolks -- near & far," seeking assistance in adding to the records he had already accumulated, including "some forty old letters, telegrams, newspaper clippings, etc., and the Davis Family Bible, ...Read more

Religious exemptions for childhood vaccinations could end in New Jersey

Religion / Religious News /

Controversial legislation that could do away with New Jersey's religious exemption for vaccinating children is scheduled for a state Senate vote Monday.

In a hearing that drew hundreds of parents opposed to the bill as well as public health advocates who support it, the New Jersey Senate's Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee ...Read more

California attorney general to issue subpoenas to 6 Catholic dioceses in priest abuse inquiry

Religion / Religious News /

LOS ANGELES -- California prosecutors plan to issue subpoenas to half of the state's Catholic dioceses as part of a growing investigation into the church's handling of sex abuse cases, according to several dioceses and the California Catholic Conference.

The move marks another escalation of the California attorney general's investigation of the...Read more

Spiritual Life: Your name? There may be more to it than you imagined

Religion / Religious News /

How did you get your name? Most of us know the answer. Most are proud of their given name and of the story behind it.

For reasons beyond the scope of this article, in many cultures one marriage partner may adopt the surname of the other. In other situations, one may move the family name to a middle name, or may hyphenate both last names, or ...Read more

Spiritual Life: Who are you? Find your identity in whose you are

Religion / Religious News /

I ran into Ted, a longtime campus minister I served with in the 1980s. I asked him what has changed with students over the past 30 years.

He responded immediately with matter-of-fact lament, "Oh, they don't know who they are!" He walked among those facing an identity crisis.

Who am I?

Nowadays, that shows up as a popular, and quite personal, ...Read more

Department of Justice supporting Christian academy's lawsuit over Maryland voucher program

Religion / Religious News /

BALTIMORE -- The U.S. Department of Justice intervened to support a Howard County Christian academy in a lawsuit that pits religious freedom against Maryland's right to prohibit discrimination in a tax-funded school voucher program.

In the motion filed in federal court Tuesday, the Justice Department said the state is discriminating against ...Read more

Light Notes: I discovered the secret to gratitude when a Facebook post shocked me

Religion / Religious News /

Do you ever find yourself challenged to see the blessings in life?

Sometimes, what I call "First World" problems can send a great day south. It can happen when our internet connection is less than a nanosecond or the barista steams our latte lukewarm, all trivial to be sure.

But it's easy to let those minor irritations start to fill our glass ...Read more

More sexual misconduct claims found 'credible' against former Charlotte Diocese official

Religion / Religious News /

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Four more claims of sexual misconduct against a former top official of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte have been found "credible," Bishop Peter Jugis said Tuesday night.

Monsignor Mauricio West stepped down as vicar general and chancellor of the diocese -- second in command -- in March after an initial claim of sexual...Read more

Christians turn to artificial intelligence to stop porn use

Religion / Religious News /

Evangelical groups are turning to artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to help their members fight addiction to online pornography in a budding industry that one scholar calls an emerging "purity-industrial complex."

As pornography has exploded beyond just websites to apps and social media platforms such as Instagram, ...Read more

Seattle faith groups reckon with AI … and what it means to be 'truly human'

Religion / Religious News /

On a recent Sunday at the Queen Anne Lutheran Church basement, parishioners sat transfixed as the Rev. Dr. Ted Peters discussed an unusual topic for an afternoon assembly: "Can technology enhance the image of God?"

Peters' discussion focused on a relatively new philosophical movement. Its followers believe humans will transcend their physical ...Read more

Spiritual Life: Seek God for relationship, not control

Religion / Religious News /

"Herding cats" describes the futility of trying to control little house cats. Anyone who's ever lived with one understands the situation.

What about controlling big cats? A true story, that I've shared previously, comes from a young Irish priest working in Africa. He knew people who rehabilitate captive lions and release them into the wild. One...Read more

Spiritual Life: An old barn prepared his heart for a major life event

Religion / Religious News /

The Bible has literally shaped my life, and I have loved it from my earliest days as a Christ follower. To this day I read its pages, ponder its insights, dig into its depths, and wrestle with applying its truths through the ups and downs of life. The teaching never stops.

But God uses other teachers, too.

In my love of the outdoors and ...Read more

Australian High Court to hear Cardinal Pell's appeal application

Religion / Religious News /

CANBERRA, Australia -- The Australian High Court has agreed to hear an appeal bid by Cardinal George Pell, a convicted pedophile who is serving a six-year jail sentence for child sex abuse.

Pell's lawyers had filed a 12-page application for leave to appeal in September to the highest court in the Australian judicial system in an effort to ...Read more

LA archbishop, an immigrant from Mexico, becomes first Latino to lead US bishops

Religion / Religious News /

Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez, the highest-ranking Latino in the U.S. Catholic Church, was elected president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on Tuesday, marking the first time that a Latino bishop has held the position.

Gomez's election, which kicked off the second day of the bishops' fall meeting in Baltimore, was regarded by ...Read more

Crisis of spirit: An Army chaplain's journey with PTSD

Religion / Religious News /

SAN DIEGO -- With a name like Robert Blessing, he seemed destined to become a preacher.

But the decision to join the U.S. Army as a chaplain? That was all his doing.

And his undoing.

Like thousands of others, the 61-year-old San Diegan struggles with memories of what he saw while he was away at war, struggles with what was lost.

Eighteen men...Read more

Exorcisms make a 21st century comeback

Religion / Religious News /

MINNEAPOLIS -- They arrive with a crucifix, a book of prayers, holy water and a conviction that the Holy Spirit is at their side.

Infrequently summoned for decades, Catholic exorcists say they are now being beckoned across Minnesota and the nation, as pleas from the faithful to "cast out the devil" are on the rise.

"Sometimes they hear voices ...Read more