Chaplain talks about conflict and his unusual congregation

PORTLAND, Ore. (RNS) -- After almost a year as chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives, which The New York Times called "one of the most reviled congregations in the country," the Rev. Patrick Conroy was back in Portland, Ore., for a few days to meet with his Jesuit counterparts.

Conroy, 61, was a theology teacher at Jesuit High School here when the opportunity to be House chaplain arose. He was sworn in May 25 as the chamber's 60th chaplain. In a recent interview, he talked about the challenges of his job and issued a challenge of his own to American citizens. His answers have been edited for length and clarity.

Christmas symbols are in the eye of the beholder

When is a candy cane not just a candy cane?

For some people, its red and white stripes might signify the sacrifice and purity of Jesus, or maybe just a 19th-century candy-maker's twist intended to dazzle his grandchildren. Both stories are alive and well on the Internet.

Archdiocese of Portland hands over deeds to 124 parishes

PORTLAND, Ore. (RNS) The Catholic Archdiocese of Portland is sorting out who owns hundreds of millions of dollars in church property and handing the deeds over to its 124 parishes.