Wis. couple charged after death of daughter

A Wisconsin mother and father have been charged with second-degree reckless homicide after their 11-year-old daughter died of untreated diabetes when they prayed for her but did not take her to a doctor.

Egan angry that Giuliani took Communion at papal Mass

Cardinal Edward Egan of New York says he wants to meet with former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani after Giuliani broke their “understanding” and took Communion at a papal Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Using the Internet to scale cloistered walls

The day Lauren Franko was inspired to become a nun, she did what many people her age would do: She logged on to the Internet in search of answers. But first, the now 21-year-old had to break the news to her boyfriend, whom she had met in an online chat room a few years earlier and planned to marry. “I didn’t have the grace for marriage,” Franko said. “I just couldn’t do it. I needed to give myself entirely to God.

Increasingly global Methodists struggle with diversity

c. 2008 Religion News Service FORT WORTH, Texas _ Once the epitome of Main Street U.S.A., the United Methodist Church is rapidly becoming an increasingly international family. Put another way: The church of President Bush and Sen. Hillary Clinton is also the church of Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. And as the Liberian president stood before thousands of fellow Methodists gathered here Tuesday (April 29), she presented herself as the personification of the church’s global missions and urged a renewed effort to fight poverty in Africa. Sirleaf, who in 2006 became Africa’s first democratically elected female head of state, pointed to Methodists’ centuries-old health and education ministries in her West African nation.

Obama slams pastor’s `destructive’ comments

c. 2008 Religion News Service 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.” In remarks before journalists and ministers on Monday, Wright, who will retire from Trinity United Church of Christ of Chicago in June, declared that the media focus on his sermons was not an attack on him or Obama but an “attack on the black church.” A day later, the Illinois Democrat and presidential candidate disagreed. “I did not view the initial round of sound bites that triggered this controversy as an attack on the black church,” Obama said. “I viewed it as a simplification of who he was, a caricature of who he was.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2008 Religion News Service Egan angry that Giuliani took Communion at papal Mass (RNS) Cardinal Edward Egan of New York says he wants to meet with former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani after Giuliani broke their “understanding” and took Communion at a papal Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Egan said Monday (April 28) that he had a tacit agreement with Giuliani that “he was not to receive the Eucharist because of his well-known support of abortion.” “I deeply regret that Mr. Giuliani received the Eucharist during the papal visit here in New York, and I will be seeking a meeting with him to insist that he abide by our understanding.” Sunny Mindel, a spokeswoman for Giuliani, told The New York Times that Giuliani considers his faith “a deeply personal matter and should remain confidential.” The fact that Giuliani received the church’s highest sacrament in front of Pope Benedict XVI and Egan, and that several high-ranking Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, reportedly received Communion during the pope’s Mass in Washington, has angered some conservative Catholics. Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington has tried to avoid public confrontations over Communion with Catholic politicians who support abortion rights, and said he’s relying on local bishops to discuss the matter with those elected officials.

Passover’s gone, but the matzo isn’t

c. 2008 Religion News Service (UNDATED) 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 a 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.” Americans bought more than 8 million pounds of matzo in 2006, according to the most recent figures from the R.A.B. Food Group, which owns the matzo giant, Manischewitz.

Share and share alike

c. 2008 Religion News Service (UNDATED) At a banquet, I fell into conversation with the woman to my left and found myself explaining “cloud computing.” She hadn’t heard about using the Internet to collaborate on sharing information. So I drew a diagram and explained how it works. What was so important? Staying current on technology, of course.

Using the Internet to scale cloistered walls

The day Lauren Franko was inspired to become a nun, she did what many people her age would do: She logged on to the Internet in search of answers. But first, the now 21-year-old had to break the news to her boyfriend, whom she had met in an online chat room a few years earlier and planned to marry. “I didn’t have the grace for marriage,” Franko said. “I just couldn’t do it. I needed to give myself entirely to God.

Oops He Did It Again

When Pope Benedict XVI visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral last weekend for a Mass with U.S. priests and assorted New York dignitaries, many observers were trying to read the tea leaves about what (if anything) was meant by allowing former Gotham mayor Rudy Giuliani to receive Communion. Giuliani, you’ll recall, is an outspoken supporter of abortion rights. Turns out he wasn’t supposed to receive the sacrament, and now Cardinal Edward Egan (who concelebrated the Mass) is furious. Egan says Giuliani violated their “understanding” that Giuliani was not to approach the altar rail, but looks like he did it anyway-right under Egan’s nose!

Remember 1960

In the wake of the latest Wright/Obama tempest, a view is taking hold (see Ambinder here) that the Wrights of the world would actually prefer to see Obama lose, inasmuch as an Obama victory would give the lie to their conviction that the American deck is irredeemably stacked against people of color. This analysis might be extended to make the point that the professional black establishment, if one might call it that, has more to gain (especially at this point) from a Clinton presidency than an Obama one. In an Obama presidency their swot would certainly be reduced. This is hardly a new phenomenon. Back in 1960, the American Catholic establishment led by the redoubtable cardinal archbishop of New York, Francis Spellman, preferred Nixon to Kennedy–not that they could come right out and say so.

Obama v. Wright

“Yesterday he caricatured himself.” That sounds about right to me. Andrew Sullivan is fired up, and ready to go again. Now let’s see how it plays in the less sympathetic reaches of the commentariat.

Lest you thought the wafer watch was over

New York’s Cardinal Egan thought he had a deal with Rudy Giuliani that he’d never take Communion in his archdiocese. And then America’s pro-choice former mayor went ahead and did so at St. Pat’s, with His Holiness himself a few steps away. Nine days later, Egan fired his blast from the archdiocesan website. Giuliani, tracked down by the Daily News outside his East Side apartment, said, “It’s a personal religious matter….I never comment on those.