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Reaction mixed to Tsarnaev death sentence in Boston Marathon bombing


Reaction was mixed to the May 15 jury sentencing of death for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for his role in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

Tsarnaev had been convicted April 8 of all 30 counts lodged against him in the bombing, which killed three people and injured hundreds. Of those 30 counts, 17 carried the death penalty, and jurors imposed the death sentence on six of those -- all in connection with placing a bomb on Boylston Street along the marathon route.

Report: Only 'full recognition of religious freedom' will protect people

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.

Interfaith activists call solitary confinement immoral, ineffective

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.

Christians lose ground, 'nones' soar in new portrait of US religion

The United States is a significantly less Christian country than it was seven years ago.

That's the top finding -- one that will ricochet through American faith, culture and politics -- in the Pew Research Center's newest report, "America's Changing Religious Landscape," released Tuesday.

This trend "is big, it's broad and it's everywhere," said Alan Cooperman, Pew's director of religion research.

Texas governor says response to prayer after accident made him stronger

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has not always lived life in a wheelchair. He was on his morning jog 31 years ago when a falling tree broke his spinal cord, leaving him partially paralyzed.

Abbott, a Catholic, noted at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, held Thursday in Washington, there are times when "our prayers are answered differently than the way we expect."

He said he can recall, "I spent months praying and hoping for the best possible outcome" after the accident. God, instead, "responded by giving me challenges that made me even stronger."

What Catholics can teach America about polarized politics


Americans of all stripes bemoan political polarization. For people who claim to derive their political values from their religious traditions, polarization raises vexing questions. More than perhaps any other group, faithful Catholics struggle to reconcile their church's teachings with the platforms of the two major parties.

New documentary on Thomas Merton celebrates centennial of monk's birth

Morgan Atkinson's new documentary on Thomas Merton, the famed Trappist monk from the Cistercian abbey in Gethsemani, Kentucky, was "40 years in the making," he joked.

Actually, it was closer to two, but it was Atkinson's own pilgrimage to Gethsemani 40 years ago that not only broadened his exposure to Merton, but led him to become a Catholic himself.



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In This Issue

October 21-November 3, 2016

  • Reformation's anniversary brings commemorations, reconsiderations
  • Picks further diversify College of Cardinals
  • Editorial: One-issue obsession imperils credibility
  • Special Section [Print Only]: SAINTS