As the Vatican gets set to roll out its highly anticipated encyclical on the environment, it is wise to recall the greatest signal threat to the global environment is the explosion of a nuclear weapon. Even one such explosion would significantly alter the world's environment, as the radiation cloud would drift around the planet.
"It is imperative the world move systematically and relentlessly toward nuclear disarmament," Bishop Oscar Cantu, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace, wrote in a May 12 letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
"For most Americans, there is an assumption that the nuclear threat receded with the end of the Cold War," he wrote. "Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth."
No matter what the Gospel says, picking up snakes is never going to be part of my mission plan. Now that I think about it, I'm also pretty reluctant to pick fights with demons, so the commentaries that say Mark didn't really write this ending to his Gospel offer me a welcome justification for avoiding those adventures. Most scholars think that the Gospel of Mark ended at Verse 8 of Chapter 16, which states that the women who discovered Jesus' empty tomb "said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid."
A jury found Dzhokhar Tsarnaev guilty on all 30 counts related to the April 15, 2013, bomb attacks and four-day manhunt.
Shannen Dee Williams stumbled on the subject of black nuns by accident. Later, she would wonder if she had done the right thing by digging further.
The cover photograph on a new 232-page report outlining religious freedom violations around the world last year pretty much says it all.
The image is of Yezidis of all ages walking on a sandy, dusty terrain with sheep. Thousands of members of this religious minority had been executed and assaulted last year while others were forced to flee their ancient homeland in the Nineveh plains of Iraq by actions of the Islamic State, known as ISIS.
Pope Francis' concern for those suffering on the margins and for small Catholic communities that have kept the faith alive through war or repression will take him to Bosnia-Herzegovina in early June.
By making a one-day trip June 6 to Sarajevo, he said he hoped he could "be an encouragement for the Catholic faithful, give rise to the development of the good and contribute to strengthening fraternity, peace, interreligious dialogue and friendship."
They're small spaces -- sometimes 7 feet wide, 12 feet long. And they're where some inmates are held, sometimes for days, sometimes for decades.
Religious leaders across the country are speaking out against solitary confinement cells that they say should never be used by juveniles or the mentally ill and rarely by the general prison population.
The debate is taking on new resonance as a Boston jury weighs the death penalty -- or a life sentence with 23 hours a day in solitary confinement -- for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the convicted Boston Marathon bomber.
Social justice activists from around the country gathered recently to launch a "Year of Encounter with Pope Francis" to build on the pope's attention to the poor and marginalized.
A divided 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the sabotage convictions of three Plowshares protestors, one of them a nun in her mid-80s, and remanded the case to a lower court.
The three-judge panel upheld one conviction against the trio on a charge of depredation of property.
The decision was issued Friday.
Judges Raymond J. Kethledge and Jeffrey J. Helmick voted to overturn the convictions. Judge Danny J. Boggs dissented from the majority decision.