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Faith

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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Pope Francis blasts supermax prisons as ‘torture’

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Francis said Thursday (Oct. 23) that keeping inmates isolated in maximum security prisons is “a form of torture,” and called life sentences “a hidden death penalty” that should be abolished along with capital punishment. “All Christians and people of good w...
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Top Anglican calls for lifting seal of confessional in child abuse cases

CANTERBURY, England (RNS) Anglican priests should no longer be bound by the centuries-old principle of confidentiality in confessions when they are told of sexual crimes committed against children, the Church of England’s No. 2 official said. Speaking at the end of an internal inq...
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Italian priest, unfazed by death threats, goes after the Mafia

ROME (RNS) Half a dozen men stand nonchalantly in front of a grubby building on one of Rome’s busiest streets as cars whizz past. They stiffen whenever a stranger approaches. But few would guess they’re undercover cops protecting Italy’s most endangered man. Inside is the Rev. L...
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Southern Baptist seminary clears president after dispute over Muslim student

(RNS) The trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary have affirmed the school’s president, Paige Patterson, after investigating his decision to admit a Muslim student into the school’s Ph.D. program. Patterson, one of the most revered Southern Baptist figures and an arc...
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Rabbi accused of spying on women took students to his mikvah

WASHINGTON (RNS) New allegations against a prominent Washington rabbi involve him bringing students from his class at a Maryland university to his synagogue’s ritual bath, the same place where prosecutors say he spied on naked congregants. Prosecutors charged Rabbi Barry Freundel...
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Mormons try to demystify temple ‘garments’

Eds: A version of this story originally appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune in Salt Lake City. It is available for use by RNS subscribers. Please use the Salt Lake Tribune byline. SALT LAKE CITY (RNS) Mormon temple “garments” have been maligned, mocked and misunderstood by outsiders...
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Now you can eat with Pope Francis ... or at least cook his favorite dishes

VATICAN CITY (RNS) They say you can feast like a king, and now you can eat like a pope after a young chef from the Vatican’s Swiss Guards published a cookbook featuring the favorite recipes of Pope Francis and his predecessors. David Geisser, 24, who joined the elite Vatican secur...
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Mark Driscoll speaks for first time after resigning Seattle megachurch

(RNS) Mark Driscoll is back. Sort of. Days after stepping down as head of Seattle’s Mars Hill megachurch, Driscoll spoke briefly Monday (Oct. 20) at the Gateway Conference in suburban Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas. Initially, he and conference organizers agreed that he would not give a...
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Archbishop Chaput blasts Vatican debate on family, says ‘confusion is of the devil’

NEW YORK (RNS) Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, a leading culture warrior in the U.S. hierarchy, says he was “very disturbed” by the debate over church teachings on gays and remarried Catholics at this month’s Vatican summit, saying it sent a confusing message and “confusion...
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Israeli rabbis say accused rabbi’s conversions are kosher

JERUSALEM (RNS) A major crisis between American and Israeli rabbis was averted Tuesday (Oct. 21) when Israel’s Chief Rabbinate said it will not question the validity of conversions performed under the auspices of a modern Orthodox rabbi in Washington who was arrested on charges of s...
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