The Twisted Life and Death of a Predator Priest With a Wrestling Fetish
Jun 17, 2019

By Pilar Melendez As a New Jersey priest in the 1970s and 1980s, John Capparelli liked to arrange wrestling matches for parish boys. He gave them skimpy Speedos to wear, took pictures of them grappling, and even joined in—using the rough-housing as an excuse to sadistically grope the kids. “Capparelli kind of played the role …

6 things I wish people understood about atheism in America
Jun 17, 2019

By Jay Wexler The first time I remember openly identifying as an atheist was when I announced to my high school freshman English class that I didn’t believe in God. Later that day in gym, I broke my collarbone playing dodgeball. Was it God’s revenge for my blasphemy? I didn’t think so, but for a …

Secularism is on the rise, but Americans are still finding community and purpose in spirituality
Jun 14, 2019 · 10 

By Karen Turner American secularism is on the rise. Twenty-four percent of Americans don’t affiliate with any religion, according to a 2016 Public Religion Research Institute survey, which is up 8 percentage points in the past five years. Nowhere is the trend away from religion greater than in younger generations, where more than a third of …

New York, epicenter of measles outbreak, bans religious exemptions for vaccines
Jun 14, 2019

By Eli Rosenberg New York officially ended religious exemptions for school vaccines Thursday as the state grapples with its largest measles outbreak in years. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) signed the legislation into law Thursday evening after it passed in the state’s Senate and Assembly, ending years of gridlock over the issue. “We’re putting science …

Southern Baptists face sex abuse crisis with litany of lament
Jun 13, 2019

By Adelle M. Banks BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (RNS) — The last session of the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention opened with thousands of Baptists lamenting for what their president, J.D. Greear, labeled a crisis of sexual abuse. Following along on large screens around the Legacy Arena, women, men, pastors, lay people and survivors took …

These lawmakers supported abortion rights. A bishop barred them from Communion.
Jun 13, 2019

By Reis Thebault John Cullerton grew up in the church. Long before the Illinois Democrat became one of the most powerful politicians in the state, before his party picked him to be president of the Senate, he attended Catholic school. A lot of it. Grammar school, high school, college, law school. Then he sent his …

The Nuns Are Back Before the Supreme Court, and They’re Trying to Kill the Birth Control Benefit for Good
Jun 13, 2019

By Jessica Mason Pieklo Conservatives have spent the better part of a decade arguing the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit, which provides insurance coverage for a host of contraception without additional cost or co-pay, violates religious freedom principles. Those efforts have had mixed results. Despite two turns before the U.S. Supreme Court, dozens of …

U.S. bishops will consider several actions for combating sex abuse. But will Pope Francis get in the way again?
Jun 12, 2019

By Julie Zauzmer and Michelle Boorstein On the first day of a high-pressure meeting for the Catholic Church in the United States, the bishops who lead the church debated questions about whether the church’s approach to combating sexual abuse will be adequate. “We find ourselves at a turning point, a critical moment in our history which …

Women sex abuse survivors tell Southern Baptists: ‘Our family is sick’
Jun 12, 2019

By Adelle M. Banks BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (RNS) — Three women who experienced sexual abuse took center stage on Monday (June 10) to address how the nation’s largest Protestant denomination should deal with the issue. And they didn’t mince words. Susan Codone, a Birmingham native, said she was abused by her youth pastor while growing up …

Vatican rejects gender change to alarm of LGBT Catholics
Jun 11, 2019 · 2 

By Nicole Winfield VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican issued an official document Monday rejecting the idea that people can choose or change their genders and insisting on the sexual “complementarity” of men and women to make babies. The document, published during LGBT Pride Month, was immediately denounced by LGBT Catholics as contributing to bigotry …

Three priests accused of enabling W.Va. bishop’s ‘predatory and harassing conduct’ resign
Jun 11, 2019

By Robert O’Harrow Jr. and Shawn Boburg Three high-ranking priests who allegedly enabled “predatory and harassing conduct” by Bishop Michael J. Bransfield when he was leader of the Catholic Church in West Virginia have resigned from their leadership posts, church officials announced Monday. A statement from Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore gave no reason for …

This archbishop called on the pope to resign. Now he’s in an undisclosed location.
Jun 10, 2019

By Chico Harlan and Stefano Pitrelli ROME — In the instant he became one of the most controversial figures in modern Catholic Church history, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò went dark. The retired Vatican ambassador to Washington wrote a bombshell letter last summer calling on Pope Francis to resign on the grounds that he had tolerated a known sexual …