February 17, 2024

THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: They say Pope Francis is Catholicism’s most liberal leader in modern times. So there was some surprise January 8 when he declared that nations should outlaw the morally “deplorable” practice of surrogate motherhood to produce human children. He said surrogacy “represents a grave violation of the dignity of the woman and the child” and “a child is always a gift and never the basis of a commercial contract,” asserting the  fundamental belief that human life must... Read more

February 3, 2024

THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: Many readers, including regular churchgoers, may be perplexed that this question is even being asked. Whatever their own concept of marriage, they’ll feel that accepting a wedding invitation is a matter of basic courtesy and kindness. Moreover, Pew Research Center polling after the Supreme Court ruling on this shows 61% of U.S. Catholics and 66% of “Mainline” Protestants accept legalized same-sex marriage. And a much-debated December edict from Pope Francis’s Vatican now allows priests to offer... Read more

January 18, 2024

  THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: The new year began with the surprise revival of this perennial issue by a prominent Catholic insider who asserted that the mandate for priests to be unmarried and celibate “was optional for the first millennium of the Church’s existence and it should become optional again.” This came in a media interview with Archbishop Charles Scicluna, 63, named by Pope Francis in 2015 to lead the church in the nation of Malta. As he indicated, celibacy... Read more

January 4, 2024

THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: As it looks toward the annual meeting in June, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), by far America’s largest Protestant denomination, faces difficult issues. What tactics might halt its recent membership decline? Should women be forbidden clergy ordination even as assistants, educators, or chaplains? What steps might soothe racial tensions? Are churches too political this election year? And most important, how can the SBC cleanse itself from sexual abuse scandals? With all that’s going on, one matter... Read more

December 19, 2023

THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER It probably perplexed some people, Catholics included, when the Vatican declared November 13 that Masonic lodge membership by a church member is “forbidden because of the irreconcilability between Catholic doctrine and Freemasonry.” The announcement reaffirmed Rome’s 1983 declaration that a Catholic who joins the group is “in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion.” That earlier statement was issued to clarify this penalty because the new revision of the Code of Canon... Read more

December 7, 2023

THE RELIGION GUY’S RESPONSE: The quandary above is not posed by The Guy himself but by Keith Giles in a December 5 piece titled “Deconstructing Christmas,” one of his Progressive Christian columns for the multi-faith site patheos.com. Giles departed from his career as the pastor of a conventional church and now participates in an anonymous  “house church” with no salaried staff. For purposes of this article, what’s pertinent about the writer is his vocation of encouraging people in the process... Read more

November 16, 2023

Mirrors with telescope: counting stars vs. the cells in one brain. / Pixabay.com     THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: The question above was the headline with a November 14 psychologytoday.com article by Joseph Pierre, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco – the latest of so many that address this perennial issue. His answer was yes or no, depending. Atheists may say no, period. As we’ll see, prominent scientists have replied with a yes. Pierre... Read more

November 3, 2023

THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: In the leadup to Diwali, the Festival of Light on November 12, an article by Richa Karmarkar, the Hinduism specialist with Religion News Service, brings the faith’s vegetarianism up to date. First, it observes that Hindus can make good use of the increasing availability and variety of plant-based mock “meat” under such brand names as Beyond Meat and Impossible. Second, the article reports on an interesting futuristic issue that faces Hindu authorities: Will meat be permissible... Read more

October 19, 2023

THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWERS: In almost every case, No, and No. This issue erupted in the news with the surprise decision by Pope Francis to clamp unusual strict secrecy upon the Synod of Bishops he has summoned to the Vatican this month. (The Synod’s second and concluding session will occur a year from now). This indicates that church leaders the extent to which bishops are facing internal difficulties. The media typically portray Francis as a relatively liberal pontiff. But it... Read more

October 2, 2023

THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER:             Well, that’s impossible to say with any accuracy since there’s no one agreed-upon statistical source and some groups do not collect or issue good numbers. We do know two things for sure about the U.S. 1) It remains predominantly Christian despite a recent decline, and 2) There’s been notable growth in non-Christian religions through immigration and conversion. Recently, some noteworthy new numbers about U.S. Christianity became available. We’ll review those below, but let’s begin with complexities... Read more

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