Who’s a heretic? Martin Luther, Pope Saint John Paul, Pope Benedict and Pope Francis

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.

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 by Sally Morrow

Nuns reject Vatican takeover but seek dialogue on differences

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.

RNS photo by Sally Morrow

Do the American nuns have a future?

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 photo by Michael Lamont / courtesy Geffen Playhouse

Faith, not spinning heads, takes center stage in ‘Exorcist’ play

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.