Hot words in top 2012 religion stories

'Twas the Sunday night before the election and the Rev. Robert Jeffress was offering a message that, from his point of view, was both shocking and rather nuanced.His bottom line: If Barack Obama won a second White House term, this would be another sign that the reign of the Antichrist is near.Inquiring minds wanted to know: Was the leader of the highly symbolic First Baptist Church of Dallas suggesting the president was truly You Know Anti-who?"I am not saying that President Obama is the … [Read more...]

Prof. Benedict addresses Catholic academia

In his latest address to American bishops visiting Rome, Pope Benedict XVI stressed that Catholic educators should remain true to the faith -- a reminder issued just in time for another tense season of commencement addresses.No, the pope did not mention Georgetown University by name, when discussing the Catholic campus culture wars.Yes, he did mention the law requiring professors who teach Catholic theology to obtain a Canon 812 "mandatum (mandate)" document from their bishops to certify … [Read more...]

So a bishop talks theology in a bar …

"Atheocracy" is not the kind of word that gets tossed around very often in bars.Nevertheless, Bishop James Conley recently defined that term and defended its use while speaking in a pub in the heart of Denver's trendy Capitol Hill neighborhood. The goal, as always, was to use this "Theology on Tap" forum for an informal, frank encounter with young Catholics and others who might be curious."America today is becoming what I would call an atheocracy -- a society that is actively hostile to … [Read more...]

Gagging the military chaplains 2.0

Every now and then, bishops write letters for their priests to read to the faithful during Mass.In 1996 the Catholic Archdiocese for the Military Services sent a letter to its chaplains instructing them to urge their flocks to back the "Project Life Postcard Campaign" in support of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.Father Vincent Rigdon wanted to follow this order in rites at Andrews Air Force Base. But there was a problem. Pentagon officials had issued a gag order against chaplains … [Read more...]

The pope, the president and religious liberty

Pope Benedict XVI cut to the chase when meeting with the visiting bishops from Washington, D.C., Baltimore and the U.S. Armed Services.The pope mentioned "religious freedom" in the third sentence of his Jan. 19 remarks at the Vatican and he never let up -- returning to this hot topic again and again.The bottom line, he said, is that America's once strong political consensus has "eroded significantly in the face of powerful new cultural currents which are not only directly opposed to core … [Read more...]

Hemlock, health care and Catholic choices

The "Your Life, Your Choices" booklet didn't cause trouble at the Department of Veterans Affairs until late in President George W. Bush's second term.That's when critics spotted an odd detail in this guide for end-of-life medical decisions. It urged aging veterans to seek expert advice from one group -- Compassion & Choices. It helps to know that this organization was created in 2005 through the merger of two groups, Compassion in Dying and End-of-Life Choices and that, until 2003, … [Read more...]

Catholic pain in health-care fight

In Catholic debates, it always helps to be able to quote the official Catechism of the Catholic Church.Consider, for example, this reference to health care in its chapter on the biblical instruction, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself.""Life and physical health are precious gifts entrusted to us by God," notes the catechism. "Concern for the health of its citizens requires that society help in the attainment of living-conditions that allow them to grow and reach maturity: food and … [Read more...]


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