from The Great Debate:

Avoid a classic blunder: Stay out of religious wars in the Middle East

By Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman
September 16, 2014

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Muslims in the Middle East are fighting wars of religion. Like the carnage between Protestants and Catholics that haunted Northern Ireland during the last third of the 20th century, there is little anyone can do until local peoples crave peace so intensely they are willing to cultivate it.

from Photographers' Blog:

An endangered priesthood

March 4, 2013

Tagaytay city, Philippines

By Erik de Castro

I woke at dawn to the sound of a bell ringing and Gregorian Chant music at the Saint Augustine Minor Seminary compound on Mindoro island in the central Philippines. It was still dark as dozens of seminarians in the first phase of a 12-year journey to priesthood walked towards a chapel for their morning prayers and a mass.

from Photographers' Blog:

An island of religion in a sea of secularism

February 19, 2013

Warsaw, Poland

By Kacper Pempel

When Pope Benedict XVI announced last week that he was stepping down, the mood in my country, Poland, was overwhelming. This is one of the most devoutly Catholic countries in Europe, which still proudly identifies itself as the birthplace of Benedict's predecessor, Pope John Paul II. On the day of the announcement my colleagues went to the church of the Holy Cross in Warsaw. The worshipers coming out of the church were in a state of shock. "It’s so sad. It’s such a shame. But what can we do? I can’t believe it,” said one woman as she left the Holy Cross church in the Polish capital, who gave her name as Maria. “I am very sorry because I really like the Pope. He is continuing the teachings of our Pope (John Paul II).” Janusz, another worshiper, said: “I don’t think it’s true. In my opinion it would not be a good solution. It would definitely be a huge pity for Poles and Catholics.”

from Tales from the Trail:

Washington Extra – A Deng Xiaoping Moment?

February 14, 2012

By Warren Strobel

Maybe it’s the careful, consensus-oriented system that produces them, but China’s leaders in recent years have not exactly exuded personality. President Hu Jintao is famous for his stiff manner and scripted speaking style. Jiang Zemin was slightly more relaxed, and enjoyed showing off his English language skills and knowledge of U.S. history.

from UK News:

Pope’s visit to UK runs into murmurings

June 16, 2010

Are preparations for Pope Benedict's visit to England and Scotland on track? Well, sort of.

from FaithWorld:

Support for abortion rights declines in America

October 1, 2009

Public support for abortion rights is ebbing in America while the issue's importance has fallen on the public agenda, especially for liberal Democrats, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center.

from Tales from the Trail:

The Pope blessed Ted Kennedy

August 31, 2009

KENNEDY/As a divorcee who was pro-choice on abortion, the United States's most prominent Catholic politician was not exactly in the Vatican's good books.

from Tales from the Trail:

The First Draft: Obama and the Pope

July 10, 2009

POPE-ENCYCLICAL/President Barack Obama heads to Africa on Friday on the final stop of a weeklong trip that included visits to Russia and Italy, but before leaving Rome he will visit with Pope Benedict.

from FaithWorld:

Is a papal visit to Vietnam on the horizon?

February 19, 2009

Could the Pope make a historic visit to commmunist Vietnam later this year?  A papal envoy hinted at this on Thursday, as Vietnam and the Vatican are seriously discussing establishing diplomatic ties. "This is my wish," Vatican Undersecretary of State Monsignor Pietro Parolin told reporters when asked if he thought the Pope could visit the Southeast Asian country this year. He added that the question had not been discussed in meetings with the Foreign Ministry and government's religious affairs committee.

from FaithWorld:

Exercised over yoga in Malaysia

November 26, 2008

Of all the things to get exercised about, yoga would seem to be an unlikely candidate for controversy. But such has been the case in Malaysia this week.