An important part of being Catholic, for me, is the international nature of the Church. This came home to me again when I visited Norway - most of my fellow co-religious were non-European. (Including the lovely daughter of a weary and harrassed looking mother in the pew in front of me in Oslo - a restless little nymph in a shining white dress and sneakers with red LED lights that lit up when she stamped her feet. She reminded me so much of my little brothers (years back, you understand) that I hardly kept from laughing outloud during the readings.)
Anyway. Being Catholic is one of the ways I am definitely a part of the whole human race.
From Brazil: Two stories (here and here) concerning an abortion case. The mother in this case was a 9 year-old girl, impregnated by her foster-father. The local Bishop, in accordance with doctrine, excommunicated the 9-year-old's parents and the doctor who performed the proceedure.
What a horrific situation. Hard cases make bad laws. On some levels, it makes me nuts that this is an abortion news story about the Catholic Church, and not a child abuse story about the case of the rape of the girl.
It's hard to live with either solution - a child, already victimized by an adult she trusted, dealing with the physical and social reprecussions of carrying the baby to term. (The Catholic option suggested was cesearian section, not the (likely lethal)option of letting the girl go through labor.) Or, a child, already victimized by an adult she trusted, dealing with having been forced into an abortion. (IMO, if a child can't legally agree to sex, they can't agree to abortion, either.)
The idea that it would be better to go ahead with the abortion, and just let the child and her family get on with their lives hinges, I think, on the supposition that it's not an actual person that is killed during abortion. Which is...hard.
Vactican statement may put pressure on Catholic judges. Interesting. One of the not fun parts about being an American and being a Catholic is the inherent conflict between the two. It appears that the Church may have just upped the ante.
Top 10 Religion Stories of 2008; according to Time magazine.
As a bit of a counter point - an older article about Top 25 Evangelicals in America. I didn't focus too much on the personalities of the religious leaders in previous administrations. (To some extent, I was more concerned with people living principles, not preaching them. To other extents, I didn't care.) I will have to look further into the Catholic personalities mentioned. (Richard John Neuhaus)
Drug Dealers for Jesus In Mexico - As presented in the article, it's less a religous movement and more a "red-neck" outfit - where religion is part of what makes up "La Familia Michoacana" into a self-contained community. Narcotics smuggling is not on my list of "things to do for the glory of the kingdom of God." My sympathy is not with people who kill cops.
But. It's beyond the scope of this post to go into the righteousness of doing an ugly job with compassion and integrity. I'm not sure that applies here, but it bears considering.
Barbara Hagerty Interview: An NPR journalist talks about looking for God. My faith is the prism through which I look at the world and make moral decisions.
And a last one, not exactly religious, but keeping it SFF - Muggle Activists - Harry Potter fans unite to change the world. I'm not a Potter fan, but I'll say about this what I said about the books - anything that gets huge numbers of non-reading kids to read multiple lengthy novels is not all bad.