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COMMENTARY: Lent isn’t just a second chance at New Year’s resolutions

(RNS) So here we go again. It's that time of year _ Lent, when many Christians give something up. Often it's food, although my mom told me when I was a kid that giving up vegetables doesn't count.     A few years ago, as we approached Lent, a few of my friends (who during the rest of the year rejected religion), announced they, too, were giving something up. W...
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Southern Baptists change their tone but not their substance on homosexuality (COMMENTARY)

(RNS) The Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission wrapped up a conference in Nashville this week outlining the denomination’s posture toward cultural changes and challenges on issues of marriage and sexuality. In a brief, 48-hour span, dozens of speaker...
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Bishops object as Catholic universities offer same-sex benefits

(RNS) The decision by a Jesuit university in Nebraska to provide benefits to spouses of gay employees has prompted a strong protest from the local archbishop, the latest skirmish in a battle that seems likely to widen as gay marriage becomes more common. The Rev. Timothy Lannon, p...
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Pope Francis: The devil is real and don’t underestimate him

VATICAN CITY (RNS) As millions of revelers around the world dress in ghoulish costumes to mark Halloween and the darker side of life, Pope Francis warned that the devil is no myth and must be fought strenuously with “God’s armor.” Francis described Christian life as a continuous b...
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Does purgatory have a prayer with Protestants?

(RNS) This Sunday (Nov. 2), on what is known as All Souls’ Day, Roman Catholics around the world will be praying for loved ones who have died and for all those who have passed from this life to the next. They will be joined by Jerry Walls. “I got no problem praying for the dead,”...
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Negotiations with Boko Haram a farce, says Catholic priest

NAIROBI, Kenya ( RNS) While the Nigerian government negotiates with the Islamic militant group Boko Haram for the release of 200 abducted schoolgirls, some church leaders in the country’s conflict-ridden north are expressing doubts about any impending resolution. Nearly two weeks...
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Pope Francis: Judas was a sinner, but no worse than anyone else

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Francis says Judas Iscariot was not the only sinner among the Twelve Apostles but he was the one who “closed himself to love.” In a homily during his morning Mass at the Vatican on Tuesday (Oct. 28), the pope spoke of the universality of sin while encouragi...
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The ‘Splainer: What is a mikvah, and does it have anything to do with sex?

The ‘Splainer (as in “You’ve got some ‘splaining to do”) is an occasional feature in which Kimberly Winston and other RNS staff give you everything you need to know about current events to hold your own at a cocktail party. (RNS) Earlier this month we learned that Washington, D.C....
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Pope Francis thanks exorcists for showing ‘love’ to the possessed

ROME (RNS) Just in time for Halloween and against an unspecified “steady increase” of demonic possession, Pope Francis thanked exorcists for showing the church’s “love for those possessed” by the devil. About 300 exorcists from around the world attended a convention in Rome last w...
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2 percent of English ministers say humans invented God

CANTERBURY, England (RNS) A new survey finds 16 percent of the Church of England’s licensed ministers are unclear about God, and 2 percent think God is a human construct. The survey of 1,500 Anglican clergy in England, Scotland and Wales conducted by the international market resea...
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Evangelical leader Russell Moore denounces ex-gay therapy

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (RNS) Southern Baptist leader Russell Moore denounced reparative therapy at a conference here, saying the controversial treatment that attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation has been “severely counterproductive.” Moore, who serves as president of the Sou...
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