Popes have been interested in heresy and heretics for centuries, and language linking “papacy” and “heresy” continues to prosper down to our own day. The language root of “heresy” connects with “to choose,” and the heretic is someone who, in the eyes of someone else, makes bad choices. Those of us who are not of the papal obedience, particularly of the Lutheran tribe, will commemorate, this very Wednesday, the condemnation of Martin Luther, called a “heretic” on June 15, 1520. According to best estimates, .0001520% of the world’s Lutherans and even fewer Protestants and other heirs of the Reformation will be aware of this, or will observe the day. Never mind: the date provides us with an excuse to update dealings with the papacy and heretics.
ATLANTA (RNS) Pope Francis and contemporary Roman Catholicism oppose the death penalty. This is a huge change from the past. How do religious traditions decide when doctrines should, or should not, be updated?
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.
KALAUPAPA, Hawaii (RNS) With the Oct. 21 canonization of Mother Marianne Cope at the Vatican, the remaining patients at the Hawaiian leper colony where she worked want to ensure their stories are recorded and their home preserved. By Renee K. Gadoua.
VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI embarks Friday (Sept. 14) on a high-risk trip to Lebanon, as the country's stability is threatened by spillover from the conflict in neighboring Syria. By Alessandro Speciale.
VATICAN CITY (RNS) The death of Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, considered a leader by liberal Catholics, has been mourned by hundred of thousands of people last week. As their leading light passes away, advocates for reform in the church are left without a uniting figure. By Alessandro Speciale.
(RNS) Vice president Joe Biden sits to the left of Catholic doctrine on abortion and other life issues. Fellow Catholic Paul Ryan, the newly minted GOP vice presidential candidate, sits to the right of his church on fiscal policy. If the 2012 presidential campaign proves anything, it's that there is no perfect Catholic politician. By Daniel Burke.
ST. LOUIS (RNS) American nuns facing a Vatican takeover of their leadership organization on Friday (Aug. 10) rejected Rome’s plans to recast the group in a more conservative mold but declined – for now – to respond with an ultimatum that could have created an unprecedented schism between the sisters and the hierarchy. By David Gibson.
ST. LOUIS (RNS) Catholic sisters gathered at their annual assembly intensified discussions on Thursday (Aug. 9) aimed at thwarting a Vatican takeover of their group, but hanging over the meeting was an even larger, existential question: Do the nuns have a future? By David Gibson.
(RNS) Attempts to favor one faith — historically Protestant Christianity — over others in the public square are doomed to fail in the new religious America of the 21st century. But that won't stop many in the majority from trying. By Charles C. Haynes.
LOS ANGELES (RNS) Mention the word “exorcism” to most people, and you get descriptions of levitating bodies, spinning heads, oozing green bile and hissing serpentine tongues. But don’t expect to see these eye-popping visual effects in this summer’s stage version of “The Exorcist” at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. By Angela Aleiss.