Two different jobs, two different bishops

c. 2008 Religion News Service (UNDATED) As Pope Benedict XVI wowed 57,000 people at Yankee Stadium on Sunday (April 20), Paraguay elected a former Catholic bishop as president. Fernado Lugo, who resigned as bishop of San Pedro to run against the right-wing Colorado Party, now joins the “pink wave” of democratically elected leaders in Latin America. Lugo told the Associated Press that his first priorities would be financial. He wants to help poor indigenous peoples of his land-locked country, and to obtain more revenue from Brazil for their common river dam.

Breaking News: The Pope Thinks We’re Sane

Pope Benedict XVI , in his weekly Wednesday audience, reflected on his recent six-day trip to our shores and has concluded that we’re not insane after all. Or, rather, that we are in fact sane. B16 (as he’s known in the press) commended the US as a “valid example of sane secularism, where the religious dimension in the diversity of its expressions is not only tolerated but valued as the ‘soul’ of the nation and the fundamental guarantee of man’s rights and duties.” He seemed positively effusive in his praise for the US: During the meeting with President George Bush in the White House, said the Pope, “I had the opportunity to pay homage to that great country, which from its beginnings was built on the foundation of a harmonious union between religious, ethical and political principles, and which still constitutes a valid example of healthy laicism, where the religious dimension, in the diversity of its expressions, is not only tolerated but turned to advantage as the ‘soul’ of the nation and the fundamental guarantee of the rights and duties of human beings”. The full Vatican summary is available here.

RNS Weekly Digest

c. 2008 Religion News Service Associated Church Press honors top publications (RNS) Religion News Service, The Catholic Sun and Mennonite Weekly Review were among the top winners of this year’s Associated Church Press awards, which were announced Tuesday (April 22) in Dallas. Awards were given in more than 60 categories for work published in religious publications in 2007. Winners were designated “Best of the Christian Press.” Religion News Service won an Award of Excellence, first-place honors, for “Best in Class” in the news service category. It was the first time RNS has won first-place honors for two consecutive years.

10 minutes with … Hunter Smith

c. 2008 Beliefnet (UNDATED) Not too many rock bands include Super Bowl champions in their ranks. But Hunter Smith, punter for the Indianapolis Colts, is finding much success with his Christian rock/worship band, Connersvine. Smith, whom Beliefnet recently named one of the “Top Evangelicals in Sports Today” along with longtime friend Chris Wilson, co-wrote all of the music on their self-titled debut album. Smith, 30, recently talked about songwriting as an act of worship and the importance of faith among the Colts.

Costs of papal visit to U.S. hard to pin down but total millions

WASHINGTON (CNS)-Pope Benedict XVI’s recent U.S. visit has been credited with improving his image among Americans, sparking greater interest about him and spurring much-needed evangelization efforts in the country. But those benefits came with a price tag of at least $12.5 million and perhaps much more.

Who’d Want to Fill These Shoes?

The AP has a profile on Rev. Otis Moss III. Who’s he? Perhaps you’ve heard of his predecessor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, at Trinity UCC in Chicago. QUOTE: Moss’ ascent follows the retirement of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whom Obama angrily denounced Tuesday for his “divisive and destructive” remarks. It’s a shift from more than three decades under Wright, a preacher born of the civil-rights era whose fiery comments about Sept.

The End of the Line for a Troubled Bishop

News comes today that the pope has finally accepted the resignation of Bishop Donald Pelotte of Gallup, N.M. These things are pretty routine, but Pelotte’s case has verged on the edge of the bizarre for a long time. It started last July when Pelotte supposedly fell down some stairs at his house. Pelotte said he hadn’t been feeling well and had been rushing to an appointment. Then Pelotte basically disappeared in a maze of hospitals and rehab centers, and the church wouldn’t disclose anything about his condition, injuries or whereabouts. Local media sued to gain access to photos taken of Pelotte’s injuries at the hospital.

Jefferts Schori to Venables: Keep Out!

Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is already dealing with the headache of a breakaway diocese in San Joaquin, Calif. She doesn’t want another one in Fort Worth, Texas. That’s why she’s telling Archbishop Gregory Venables of South America that he’s persona non grata (at least in her mind) at an upcoming convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Forth Worth. Fort Worth has already taken baby steps to leave the U.S. church and allign itself with Venables’ Anglican province in South America. Mincing no words, she calls his upcoming visit an “unwarranted invasion.”

Obama’s Judgment

Today’s WaPo editorial taxes Obama for bad judgment in L’Affaire Wright:Did Mr. Obama climb out of that hole yesterday? It seems to us that the whole sorry episode raises legitimate questions about his judgment. Given the long and close relationship between Mr. Obama and the Rev. Wright, voters will ask: How could Mr. Obama have been surprised by the Rev. Wright’s views? How could he not have seen this coming? Mr. Obama didn’t help matters much by initially seeming to dismiss the furor building over the Rev. Wright’s Washington performance, just as he did with the initial uproar last month.

Obama slams pastor’s `destructive’ comments

WASHINGTON-Using some of his strongest language to date about his former pastor, Sen. Barack Obama said Tuesday (April 29) that the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s comments in a speech on Monday were “destructive” and contradict “everything that I’m about and who I am.” Obama, who had already distanced himself from Wright in a Philadelphia speech on race last month, said the minister’s remarks at the National Press Club on Monday had taken the controversy to a new level. “I am outraged by the comments that were made and saddened over the spectacle that we saw yesterday,” Obama said at a news conference in Winston-Salem, N.C. “His comments were not only divisive and destructive but I believe that they end up giving comfort to those who prey on hate, and I believe that they do not portray accurately the perspective of the black church.”

Passover’s gone, but the matzo isn’t

It’s not just a case of post-holidays blahs. American Jews are facing another perennial challenge this week: what to do with all the leftover matzo that nobody ate. Matzo is flat baked cracker best known for its brittle consistency and bland taste. Since all bread products are off-limits during Passover, matzo-made with just flour and water-becomes the main ingredient in nearly every meal: matzo ball soup, garnishing for soups and salads, bookends for a sandwich, or covered with sauce and cheese for a “matzo pizza.” But once the holiday ended Sunday night (April 27), the last thing most observant Jews wanted to do was eat more matzo.