Photo of Ken Hackett courtesy Catholic Relief Services

Former charity head confirmed as U.S. ambassador to Vatican

(RNS) The Senate has confirmed former Catholic Relief Services head Ken Hackett to be the next U.S. ambassador to the Vatican. Hackett replaces Miguel Diaz, a theologian, and he gives President Obama an experienced voice on social justice in Rome where a new pope, Francis, has made caring for the poor a priority.

Eric Metaxas took over some of Chuck Colson's roles after Colson's death, including part of BreakPoint, a radio show Metaxas wrote for in the late 90s. Photo courtesy Eric Metaxas

Is Eric Metaxas the next Chuck Colson?

(RNS) Eric Metaxas took over some of Coloson’s roles, including part of BreakPoint, a radio show Metaxas wrote for in the late ’90s. He took Colson’s place on the board of the Manhattan Declaration, a movement Colson helped found to focus Christians’ attention on life, marriage and religious freedom issues, too. But comparisons to Colson go only so far.

RNS photo by Alan Thibault/courtesy Palgrave Macmillan

Q&A with ‘Nonbeliever Nation’ author David Niose

(RNS) In his new book, “Nonbeliever Nation: The Rise of Secular Americans,” David Niose charts the development and growth of the religious right, tackles the “War on Christmas” as a manufactured controversy, and explains why George W. Bush's election was the best thing to happen to the secular movement. By Kimberly Winston.

The end of ‘compassionate conservatism’?

(RNS) Just three years after George W. Bush left the White House, compassionate conservatives are an endangered species. Is this just a case of the Republican Party wanting to distance itself from the Bush years — or is compassionate conservatism gone for good? By Amy Sullivan.