Marriage ruling said to leave unanswered questions for religious groups

Unanswered questions remain about the legal implications of June's Supreme Court same-sex marriage ruling, but analysts agree religious institutions face big challenges in the months and years to come.

R U texting in church? Put the phone down!

Entire families navigate their smartphones at restaurants. Students text in class. Parents take calls at their children's plays. It's no surprise that cellphones affect church.

Church leaders speak against Jerusalem evictions

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Catholic leaders have joined leaders of other faiths in expressing concern about the early August evictions of Palestinians from East Jerusalem.

In an Aug. 7 letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the leaders sought the immediate reversal of the evictions and the restoration of houses to former residents. A U.S. response must go beyond official protests, they wrote in the letter, released by Churches for Middle East Peace, a coalition of 23 Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox national church bodies and organizations.

Club-wielding Israeli riot police evicted two Palestinian families -- more than 50 people -- from their homes in the Arab neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah Aug. 2, according to The Associated Press. Police later allowed Jewish settlers to move into the homes where the families had lived for more than 50 years.

In their letter, the U.S. religious leaders said the evictions raised significant international political issues because it occurred close to the 1949 armistice line or Green Line, which separates Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Encyclical calls for solidarity in promoting education

WASHINGTON
Catholic educators and nonprofit groups said Pope Benedict XVI in his latest encyclical continues to inspire them to build awareness of global poverty and to address issues of access to education in vulnerable communities.

In his encyclical "Caritas in Veritate" ("Charity in Truth"), the pope only mentions education by name in one paragraph, but there are implications for education throughout the document.

"The whole document is related to education just because of the link between charity and truth," said Jesuit Father Charles Currie, president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.

The pope wrote that global solidarity can be seen in the promotion of greater access to education.

This is evident in the Jesuit Commons, an international collaboration bringing online courses to Burmese refugees in Thailand. It also is evident in Magis Americas raising $50,000 to build a wing for a school in Peru and in Catholic Relief Services partnering with H2O for Life to provide access to water and education on good hygiene to communities in developing countries.