Pope tweets a blessing and answers questions on faith

(RNS) At 5:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday (Dec. 12), Pope Benedict XVI reached out to the world of digital seekers — 140 characters at a time. He began with a blessing: “Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart.” By Cathy Lynn Grossman / USA Today.

Martin Marty: Measuring religious intensity

Mainline Protestantism and Catholicism in America rise together, hold steady together, and decline together. The reasons for the decline may vary, from group to group, but few in church life have it easy today. “Decline,” it turns out, is contagious.

Beyond Twitter: The VaticanâÂ?Â?s other communications revolution

VATICAN CITY (RNS) After more than seven years as pope, Benedict XVI is still known as much for the public relations nightmares that have occurred on his watch as for the battle against secularism and relativism that he wants to wage. Now the pontiff has a Twitter feed and the Vatican has a plan to overhaul its antiquated communications apparatus. By David Gibson.

RNS photo courtesy Durham Cathedral

Church of England faces backlash over rejecting women bishops

CANTERBURY, England (RNS) The Church of England is facing a grave constitutional crisis as a result of last week’s failure to allow women bishops. Church leaders are urging a suspension of the rules to allow a second vote, as members of Parliament say they'll move to force the church to abide by civil anti-discrimination laws. By Trevor Grundy.

Episcopal Bishop V. Gene Robinson gives the invocation on Sunday, Jan. 18, 2009, to begin the Welcoming Ceremony for Barack Obama's presidential inauguration. Religion News Service photo by David Jolkovski

Gay bishop Gene Robinson sets sights on D.C. as retirement looms

CONCORD, N.H. (RNS) When Gene Robinson became the first openly gay Episcopal bishop in 2003, his election triggered shock waves and fears of schism worldwide. Now, as this lighting-rod figure prepares to retire Jan. 5, he’s leaving New Hampshire for a city that knows polarization all too well: Washington, D.C. By G. Jeffrey MacDonald.