Religion News Service photo courtesy of Society of St. Pius X

Traditionalists facing showdown with Vatican

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI has drawn the ire of many Catholics with its attempt to reconcile with the Society of St. Pius X, a traditionalist breakaway Catholic group. Now, the SSPX's final answer to a Vatican offer of reconciliation is expected within days. By Alessandro Speciale.

RNS photo by Ken Lambla

Holocaust violins live to play another song

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (RNS) Another voice from the past is telling the stories of the Holocaust. Violins that outlived their owners in the Nazi camps and Jewish ghettos are being brought back to life by Amnon Weinstein in his shop in Tel Aviv, and will be unveiled for Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremonies. By Ken Garfield.

COMMENTARY: Despair has had its day

(RNS) Churches take pride in plumes of sweet smoke, glorious music, and, for at least one day, full pews. But outside our doors, fear and hatred prevail without much opposition from us. I feel a deep sadness about a Christian enterprise that cannot do what we were called to do, but retreats instead into what we enjoy doing.  By Tom Ehrich.

Rutgers University newspaper under fire for Hitler spoof

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (RNS) A satirical student newspaper is under investigation by Rutgers University after publishing a column in praise of Adolf Hitler and attributing it to a Jewish student activist. By Jessica Calefati and Ryan Hutchins.

Anti-Shariah bill defeated in Oklahoma senate

(RNS) The Oklahoma state senate voted Thursday (April 5) to kill a bill that would have prohibited state judges from considering foreign laws, including Islamic law, in their decisions. By Omar Sacirbey.

RNS photo by Jay Paul/USA Today

‘Reverts’ return to their childhood faith

(RNS) Just 9 percent of U.S. adults who left their faith say they've returned to the pews, practices and prayers that shaped them. They're not converts; they're reverts. And religious denominations are stepping up efforts to reclaim, re-energize and re-educate these fallen-away faithful. By Cathy Lynn Grossman.


Minister sees no choice but to fight for refugees

HIGHLAND PARK, N.J. (RNS) He is young and looks even younger than his 36 years. Yet in the midst of a confrontation with the federal government that could have grave consequences for his future, the Rev. Seth Kaper-Dale acts with the poise of a much older man. By Bob Braun.

RNS photo by Eliot Kamenitz / The Times-Picayune

Jesus-like shadow draws thousands of pilgrims to New Orleans church

NEW ORLEANS (RNS) The image of a bearded man that appeared on a stone pillar at the Ursuline Academy seems to be a naturally occurring shadow cast by an ornate chandelier above the sanctuary. But some say its appearance during Holy Week has deeper meaning: “It's got me believing,” said pilgrim Kim Thompson. By Bruce Nolan.

RNS photo courtesy of Standing With Hope

Vet hears God’s call in providing artificial limbs

NASHVILLE (RNS) In 2003, Allan Doyle was in Saddam Hussein's palace when a stone wall crushed his left leg. Doctor's had no choice but to amputate it below the knee. Now, Doyle has rediscovered his faith and found a new calling as a prosthetist — a medical professional who fits amputees with new limbs. By Bob Smietana.

Vicar sentenced for conducting sham marriages

LONDON (RNS) A Church of England vicar was sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison for conducting hundreds of bogus weddings and illegally pocketing more than $48,000 in fees. By Al Webb.

RNS photo public domain/ Wikimedia Commons

Catholic group leaves Vanderbilt over membership rules

NASHVILLE (RNS) One of the largest student religious groups at Vanderbilt University is leaving campus in a dispute over the school's non-discrimination policy that bars student groups from requiring their leaders to hold specific beliefs. By Bob Smietana.

GUEST COMMENTARY: A dark Easter for Palestinian Christians

(RNS) Travel restrictions on Palestinian Christians for worship are not only in force during Holy Week, but also throughout the year. Certainly, Israel can take care of its own security concerns while accommodating peaceful Palestinian Christian worship. By Richard Stearns.

RNS photo courtesy of Pete Souza/The White House.

Jewish support for Obama strong despite Israel stance

WASHINGTON (RNS) Despite all the political hand-wringing that President Obama could lose Jewish support over his Middle East policies, a new poll shows that Israel sits far down on American Jewish voters’ list of key issues, with only 4 percent calling it the most important factor in their vote. By Lauren Markoe.