Benedict XVI is the first pope to resign since Celestine V did so in 1294 after little more than 5 months in office. (Some commentators name Gregory XII, who resigned in 1415, as the most recent papal retiree. It all depends on how voluntary one thinks resigning is. Gregory stepped down under tremendous pressure as ..
Rev. William Rowe, a Roman Catholic priest, had already been removed from his parish when Bishop Edward Braxton of the Belleville, IL, diocese, took the extra step of forbidding him to exercise any public ministry. Rowe announced the move on Monday, July 9, and observed that he had been scheduled to preside at five weddings ..
Scandal is nothing new for the Vatican. That’s been a common take on the arrest of the pope’s butler as part of the ongoing response to documents being leaked from the highest levels of the curia. Reuters called it “reminiscent of Renaissance conspiracies inside the Vatican.” And it’s true. Popes have behaved badly for millennia, ..
. . . and a more peaceful 2012? That’s not yet another take on the 12 Days of Christmas, it’s what Steven Pinker, Harvard Psychologist, concludes in his most recent book The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined. To say that violence has declined up to our own time will no doubt ..
The title of a newspaper article caught my eye yesterday: Jews Ponder Day’s Footwear. I had to read to find out what it was about and kept reading because I’ve always been at least mildly interested in observant Judaism and the Talmud. The issue, briefly, is that the Talmud adds extra restrictions to the usual ..
American churches blundered when they supported Roosevelt’s proposal for Social Security, according to Douglas E. Baker. In his essay, “The Theology of Social Security,” Baker concludes: What is disturbing when reviewing the history of this time is how many Christian ministers defended the actions of government as fulfilling Holy Scripture’s mandates to care for the ..
by Paul Robinson We were driving home from a Wednesday evening Advent service when my three-year-old daughter announced from her car seat, “I’m afraid of angels.” Her mother and I, in mild shock that our daughter should express such a sentiment, asked, “Why are you afraid of angels?” “I’m afraid they’ll talk to me,” she ..
“What would it look like to move from ‘more, bigger, faster’ to ‘richer, deeper and more satisfying?’” No, that quote is not from a church leader of any stripe; it’s from a Harvard Business Review blog by Tony Schwartz, president and CEO of The Energy Project. His basic idea is that business is currently focused ..
Pope Benedict XVI “all but gave an outright endorsement of the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin.” The shroud, which depicts the image of a man crucified in precisely the same way as Jesus, is on display in Turin cathedral for the first time in a decade, and 2 million people have made reservations to ..
Japanese pop culture has profoundly affected America. You probably recognize the words anime and manga, and you might even know that otaku (nerd or geek) is used to describe Japanese superfans of the diverse genres of animation and their characters. I know more about all of this than I used to thanks to my friend ..
What would Luther think about health care reform? I don’t know for certain, of course, but I have some ideas about what Luther would think, or perhaps, what he wouldn’t think. First of all, Luther saw caring for the neighbor as something Christians are simply supposed to do. He considered every vocation—every job or calling—to ..
Pat Robertson blamed the earthquake in Haiti on a pact Haitians made with the devil to win their freedom from the French. Vodou (or voudou or voodoo or vodun) practitioners have their own take on the catastrophe. Earl Josue, vodou priest and musician, said, “Mother nature showed us how powerful she is, how sad she ..
By Paul Robinson Preface: Sometimes a boat is just a boat Although Mark’s account of the stilling of the storm did not occur in any historic lectionary, Matthew’s version of the story was the traditional Gospel reading for the fourth Sunday after Epiphany. So the story has been preached routinely in the history of the ..