Religion 2010 — Rose petals in Pakistan

In terms of giant headlines and spilled ink, there is no question that the lightning strike by U.S. special forces that killed Osama bin Laden was the year's most spectacular news event, featuring a deadly brew of religion, politics and violence. Thus, it isn't surprising that members of the Religion Newswriters Association selected the death of the world's most infamous radical Muslim as No. 1 in their poll to name the year's top 10 stories on the religion beat. In addition to the symbolism of … [Read more...]

St. Peter in Westminster Abbey

During his long exile in Normandy, the Saxon prince who would become known as Edward the Confessor vowed that he would make a pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Peter once he returned to England. After his coronation as king, the pope released Edward from this vow -- if he built a monastery dedicated to the first bishop of Rome. Thus, St. Peter's Abbey was rebuilt in Westminster. Pope Benedict XVI gently stressed this history in the first words of his address during his recent visit to Westminster … [Read more...]

Rosenthal refused to remain silent

During his decades as a New York Times correspondent, the late A.M. Rosenthal saw lots of dead bodies in Pakistan, Nepal, Afghanistan, Kashmir, India and other troubled lands.One day in Calcutta he started asking questions: What if some of these people are dying, but not yet dead? Was he supposed to help them? These questions stayed with him when he returned home to become an editor."I devoted a great deal of my time and thinking to wondering: When is it a sin to walk past a dying person? What … [Read more...]

Religion, relief and risk in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON -- There are rumblings from western Afghanistan that the office for the "Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice" is back.That may not sound bad. But this is the network that enforced the Taliban's codes for clothing, grooming, family life, prayers and myriad other details of daily life. It used beatings, torture, imprisonment, discrimination and other forms of terror.On the evening news, the Taliban is defeated and on the run. But the reality on the ground may be different. If … [Read more...]