Saudi Arabia’s Shi’ites fear they are at mercy of region’s tumult

By Reuters Staff
October 24, 2014
(Shi'ite protesters carry posters of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr during a demonstration outside the Saudi embassy in Sanaa October 18, 2014. The Shi'ite Muslim minority in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province have long felt marginalised by the Sunni ruling dynasty, and protests for greater rights as part of the 2011 Arab Spring brought a crackdown on both protesters and demands for reform. But now, death sentences for three Shi'ite Muslims, including prominent dissident cleric Nimr, suggest that the region's wider turmoil is further hardening attitudes toward the sect at home. The posters (L-R) read: "He who feels dignity is restless and no power can stop him." and "We are all Sheikh Nimr al Nimr" and "Freedom for the unjustly detained Sheikh Nimr al Nimr." Picture taken October 18, 2014. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah)

(Shi’ite protesters carry posters of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr during a demonstration outside the Saudi embassy in Sanaa October 18, 2014.REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah)

Families of executed French monks say Algiers is obstructing justice

By Reuters Staff
October 24, 2014
(Tibhirine)

(Cemetery at the monastery in Tibehirine, Algeria where the slain monks are buried, 17 Sept 2010/Ps2613)

from The Great Debate:

Sykes-Picot drew lines in the Middle East’s sand that blood is washing away

By Michael Williams
October 24, 2014

sykespicot

Last week British Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond said the struggle against Islamic State was “effectively Iraq’s last chance as nation state.”

from John Lloyd:

Pope Francis and his season of struggle

By John Lloyd
October 23, 2014

Pope Francis celebrates a mass in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican

This month, Pope Francis had to come clean.

Time’s Man of the Year for 2013, the object of seemingly universal affection, is a liberal: and that means a season – perhaps a papacy – of struggle. His honeymoon as the Amiable Argentinian is over.

from The Great Debate:

What the Synod of Bishops that discussed divorced, LGBT Catholics did – and didn’t – do

By James Martin
October 23, 2014

RTR48YVP.jpg

If you told me a few years ago that a synod of bishops would make the front page of almost every newspaper, be featured prominently on almost every news website, and be the topic of heated conversation among Catholics worldwide, I would have said that you were -- to use a theological term -- crazy.

Pope Francis plays long game to reform Roman Catholic Church

October 22, 2014
(A gust of wind blows Pope Francis' mantle as he leaves at the end of his weekly audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican October 22, 2014. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini)

(A gust of wind blows Pope Francis’ mantle as he leaves at the end of his weekly audience in Saint Peter’s Square at the Vatican October 22, 2014. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini)

Science meets voodoo in a New Orleans festival of water

By Reuters Staff
October 20, 2014
(Four voodoo altars)

(Four voodoo altars in Sallie Glassman’s voodoo temple in New Orleans, 30 October 2009/Charlotte))

Catholic Church should not fear change, Pope Francis says at synod close

October 20, 2014
(Pope Francis greets cardinals at the end of a mass for the beatification of former pope Paul VI in St. Peter's square at the Vatican October 19, 2014. Former pope Paul VI who led the Roman Catholic Church during one of its most turbulent modern periods and enshrined its opposition to contraception, will be beatified by Pope Francis at the Vatican. Beatification is the last step before sainthood. The late pope's move towards canonization was made possible when the Vatican recognised a miracle concerning a pregnant woman in California whose child was at risk of dying. After praying to Paul VI, the child survived. REUTERS/Tony Gentile)

(Pope Francis greets cardinals at the end of a mass for the beatification of former pope Paul VI in St. Peter’s square at the Vatican October 19, 2014. REUTERS/Tony Gentile)

Guestview: Opus Dei pulls few strings in Spanish business

By Guest Contributor
October 17, 2014
(Catholics attend the beatification ceremony of Opus Dei Bishop Alvaro del Portillo in Madrid September 27, 2014. Thousands of Opus Dei followers from around the world attended the open air beatification mass of the former Opus Dei leader. REUTERS/Susana Vera)

(Catholics attend the beatification ceremony of Opus Dei Bishop Alvaro del Portillo in Madrid September 27, 2014. Thousands of Opus Dei followers from around the world attended the open air beatification mass of the former Opus Dei leader. REUTERS/Susana Vera)

Pakistani Christian loses appeal against death sentence for blasphemy

By Reuters Staff
October 17, 2014
(Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman who has been sentenced to death for blasphemy, sits next to Governor of the Punjab Province Salman Taseer as he talks to media after visiting her inside the central jail in Sheikhupura, located in Pakistan's Punjab Province November 20, 2010. Bibi, 36, who was handed down the death sentence by a court in Nankana district in central Punjab earlier this month, appealed President Asif Ali Zardari on Saturday to pardon her, saying she was wrongly implicated in the case. REUTERS/Asad Karim)

(Asia Bibi sits next to Punjab Province Governor Salman Taseer as he talks to media after visiting her inside the jail in Sheikhupura, Punjab Province November 20, 2010. Taseer was assassinated two months later by his own security guard  for defending her. REUTERS/Asad Karim)