RNS photo by Gregory A. Shemitz

Cardinal Timothy Dolan asks candidates to sign civility pledge

NEW YORK (RNS) Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who sparked controversy by agreeing to deliver the closing blessing at the Republican convention in Tampa this week, on Monday raised more questions about his political role by asking both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama to sign a “civility pledge” promoted by a leading conservative Catholic activist. By David Gibson.

RNS photo by Gregory A. Shemitz

Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s GOP convention blessing prompts debate

(RNS) The news that New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the nation’s most prominent Catholic prelate, will deliver the closing blessing to the Republican National Convention in Florida next week was seen as a huge coup for Mitt Romney, the presumptive nominee. But the move has promoted a sharp debate within the church over the increasingly close ties between leading bishops and the GOP. By David Gibson.

Is skinny-dipping in the Sea of Galilee sacrilegious?

(RNS) More than 20 lawmakers and Capitol Hill aides, including one nude congressman, took a booze-fueled late-night swim in Israel’s Sea of Galilee last summer, Politico reported on Monday. Which leaves at least one question: Is skinny-dipping at the biblical site sacrilegious? By Daniel Burke.

Why Ayn Rand is Paul Ryan’s favorite philosopher and a problem for some Christians

“You've got a guy who is a rising Republican star, and who wrote the budget, saying he's read her books and Washington needs more of her values,” said Eric Sapp, executive director of the American Values Network, which is trying to tie Paul Ryan to atheist philosopher Ayn Rand. “If you're a Christian, you've got to ask some serious questions about what's going on here.”