Religion Posts

  • My new Twitter handle is now live - check me out at @jackiewgibson!

  • CNN has posted a history of bias against Sikhs - more reason for people to learn about religions before they attack anyone:...

  • Sikh temple shooting unfolding, learn about Sikhism here:

  • Sikh temple shooting unfolding, learn about Sikhism here:

  • Hackers group Anonymous takes down Vatican website:

  • WGN-TV calls doomsday prophecies "an illusion":

  • RT @graceishuman: Really,? Asking people JUST LEAVING the service how they felt about it? Tacky, tacky, inappropriate

  • Whitney Houston's funeral service really took the world to church. Love Pastor Winans' honesty, very moving.

  • #teacher ? Here are appropriate responses to situations with your Jehovah's Witness student:

  • #Teachers: Want to know why your Jehovah's Witness student won't say the pledge and how to respond?

English flagItalian flagKorean flagChinese (Simplified) flagPortuguese flagGerman flagFrench flagSpanish flagJapanese flagArabic flag
Russian flagGreek flagDutch flagBulgarian flagCzech flagCroatian flagDanish flagFinnish flagHindi flagPolish flag
Romanian flagSwedish flagNorwegian flagCatalan flagFilipino flagHebrew flagIndonesian flagLatvian flagLithuanian flagSerbian flag
Slovak flagSlovenian flagUkrainian flagVietnamese flag      


Having trouble keeping all the details of the pope’s alleged cover-up straight? Use this timeline to get your facts in order.

Cardinal Joseph Ratziner becomes Pope Benedict XVI.

Mid-March 2010
The pope apologized to victims of priest sexual abuse in Ireland.

March 25, 2010
A New York Times report claims the pope, when he was just Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, decided not to defrock (fire) a priest (Rev. Lawrence Murphy) who had sexually abused deaf boys in America. The fallout hit media across the world, pushing the story that the pope does not take sexual abuse seriously. Critics of the pope continue to use a 2001 letter to prove that the then-cardinal “conspired to keep sexual abuse cases secret” and point out that the pope never pushed for a trial against the Rev. Murphy. Pope supporters say the then-cardinal DID investigate when he needed to and was likely responsible for having a cardinal-molester quit the priesthood.

April 2, 2010
The pope’s personal preacher, the Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa, compares the attacks against the pope to anti-Semitism.

April 4, 2010
Cantalamessa apologizes for his remarks and says the pope didn’t know he was going to make the comparison.

April 6, 2010
Two cardinals, speaking on Vatican Radio, called the accusations against the pope an anti-Catholic hate campaign, “targeting the pope for his opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage.”

April 9, 2010
In the morning, the pope says he’s willing to sit down with child sex abuse victims.

But by the afternoon, the Associated Press claimed to have obtained a 1985 letter proving that the then-cardinal had stalled on defrocking Rev. Murphy. One journalist is calling for the pope’s arrest.

Other opinions about what to do with the situation:
America Magazine
Newsweek/Washington Post’s On Faith

April 13, 2010
Vandals sprayed graffiti on the birthplace of the pope.

April 18, 2010
The pope sat down with eight Maltese victims of priest sex abuse. The victims had asked for the meeting. During that time, the pope prayed with them and said he would do everything he could to bring justice. The victims say they support the pope, one saying they now feel like a “convinced Catholic again.”

Created by Religion Transcends, 2010

Recently, Religion Transcends writer Jackie Walker reported on apologies from the Catholic Church, on behalf of Religion News Service (see “Got a Complaint? Chicago Catholics Want to Listen”).

In this article, local-level parishes were apologizing to disillusioned members for any actions by Catholics or the Catholic Church that may have caused them to leave the church.

Now, the pope is apologizing to victims of sexual abuse in Ireland for the wrongs of some Catholic leaders. This apology marks the second formal apology by clergy in the last four months to victims of priest sexual abuse in Ireland.

Religion News Service quotes some victims’ agencies as saying the apology isn’t enough; what’s truly needed is prevention of priest sexual abuse.

What do you think? Is an apology enough? Is it a start?

Created by Religion Transcends, 2009

You’ve probably heard by now that Pope Benedict XVI has authorized groups of Anglicans to join the Roman Catholic Church. The measure is part of an “Apostolic Constitution.”  Basically this measure allows certain Anglicans to join the Catholic Church while maintaining certain traditions – the Book of Common Prayer, married priests, etc.

Why are Anglicans leaving?
The Anglican community has had a bit of a shake-up across the world, the result of a series of controversial decisions:
• The ordination of women (to become deacons/priests)
• The blessing of same-sex unions
• The election of Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopalian Church (U.S. Anglicans)

Learn more about the sexuality/clergy debate on

Some Anglicans prefer that the Anglican Church reform itself rather than lose its members to the Catholic arena. If changes are not made, as many as 1,000 Anglican priests could be heading to the Catholic Church.

What’s the big deal?
The big deal is that this flies in the face of history. The Anglican Church began in the 6th century as a part of the Roman Catholic Church (the English portion, since Anglican means “of England”). When Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Catholic Church in 1517, he sparked a number of reformations and separations that would later come to be called the Protestant Reformation. It was around this time that discontent among Anglicans came to a head. Then in 1536, Henry VIII formally separated the Anglican Church from Roman rule. Some like to point to the Pope’s refusal to grant Henry VIII a divorce as the final straw. But the Anglican Church points to a number of issues Henry VIII had with Roman rule, divorce being just one issue among the many.  Reuniting the churches or merely pulling dissatisfied Anglicans into the Catholic fold seems to indicate a reversal of heated positions taken in the 16th century. But the Vatican seems to be attempting to ignore the politics of the past to bring unhappy church-goers into a church they can enjoy. Of course, this brings up a number of questions:
1. How will priests who have taken a vow of chastity feel about preaching alongside married priests?
2. Is this really just about getting numbers into the Catholic Church?
3. Should the ordination of women and the election of openly gay bishops be enough to cause Anglican priests to break with their tradition?
4. At what point should an Anglican priest give up the prayer books and adopt Catholic practices?

Despite stark differences, both groups do share roots in the Bible and in historical Christianity. We hope the two churches can continue to work together to realize their similarities and find compromise amidst politics. Perhaps in the process they can also bring members who have been flung aside back into the fold, transcending exclusivity in favor of love.

Created by, 2009

A recent survey from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life asked Americans whether they believe in Heaven and Hell. While 74% believe in Heaven, just 59% said they believe in Hell.

In 1999, the late Pope John Paul II said Hell is simply separation from God. Other Christians believe Hell is a physical place where you are punished in a sea of fire. Read some of the arguments in USA Today.

Here are some New Testament Bible verses about Hell:

But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. – Matthew 5:22 (NIV)

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. – Matthew 10:28 (NIV)

But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him – Luke 12:5 (NIV)

Here are some surahs from the Qur’an:

In order that Allah may separate the impure from the pure, put the impure, one on another, heap them together, and cast them into Hell. They will be the ones to have lost. –8:37

Take not, with Allah, another object of worship, lest thou shouldst be thrown into Hell — 17:39

It is he whom Allah guides, that is on true Guidance; but he whom He leaves astray – for such wilt thou find no protector besides Him. On the Day of Judgment We shall gather, them together, prone on their faces, blind, dumb, and deaf: their abode will be Hell: every time it shows abatement, We shall increase from them the fierceness of the Fire. – 17:97

Your turn:

Do you believe in Hell? What do you think Hell is? And why do you suppose many Americans no longer believe in the concept? Too scary? They like to think of everyone going to Heaven?

Created by, 2009