RNS photo courtesy www.cattoliciromani.com [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Christmas’ missing icon: Mary breastfeeding Jesus

(RNS) At its heartwarming core, Christmas is the story of a tender relationship between a new mother and her newborn child. Yet all the familiar images associated with the holy family are missing one obvious element: a breast-feeding infant. And therein lies a tale. By David Gibson.

RNS file photo by Nick Crettier / National 
Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

Colm Toibin’s Virgin Mary is far from meek and mild

(RNS) The traditional Christmas image of the Virgin Mary — silent, obedient, observant — has cemented a potent ideal in the Western imagination. Now the masterful Irish writer Colm Toibin puts a jackhammer to the cozy, safe, Christmas-card version in “The Testament of Mary.'' By Karen Long.

RNS photo courtesy The Gary Rosenthal Collection

Workers with autism find refuge in Jewish artist’s studio

KENSINGTON, Md. (RNS) John Linder and Tim Welsh aren't Jewish, and probably don’t understand the religious symbolism in the menorahs, mezuzahs and dreidels they create. But the two autistic men know that in the weeks leading up to Hanukkah, their quick and expert manipulation of glass, copper and steel are crucial to getting a truckload of Judaica into the homes of Jews around the world. By Lauren Markoe.

WednesdayâÂ?Â?s Religion News Roundup: Rowan WilliamsâÂ?Â? farewell, the PopeâÂ?Â?s PR, Rick WarrenâÂ?Â?s resurrection

Outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams writes a farewell letter to the Anglican Communion, telling the fractious flock not to become like “distant relatives who sometimes send Christmas cards to each other.” The awful death of a man pushed in front of a subway train in New York raises another agonizing moral question: did onlookers have a duty to try to rescue the victim? And did they fail that moral test? Jonathan Turley discusses… (NB: Be warned that Turley's post includes an image of the controversial NY Post cover of the victim just before he was hit. I would recommend reading NYT media columist David Carr's piece on the journalism ethics of all this — he chides his own paper for tut-tutting about the Post cover while including an image of that cover. Good point.) Another New York story, another moral quandary: that homeless guy who got a pair of boots from a kind-hearted cop in Times Square?