U.S. envoy Diaz: A Cuban-born Midwestern theologian in Pope Benedict’s Court

October 13, 2009

diaz-and-pope-1A few days after he presented his credentials to Pope Benedict as new U.S. ambassador to the United States, Miguel Humberto Diaz, invited a few journalists to his residence on Rome’s Gianicolo Hill for a chat. It was his first meeting with the media in his new role and I was the only member of a major international news organisation to be invited to the first round.

U.S. ambassador Diaz: theologian envoy to theologian pope

October 2, 2009

diaz-1Miguel Humberto Diaz might sound like the name of an ambassador from Spain or any Latin American country, but in fact it belongs to the new American ambassador to the Vatican.

U.S. religious/secular abortion divide is stark

October 1, 2009

Among the areas covered in the just released Pew survey of American public opinion about abortion, one that grabbed my attention asked about factors that influence people’s opinion about the issue.

Would Polanski get a pass if he were a paedophile priest?

September 29, 2009

polanskiIt’s hard to watch France’s political and cultural elite rush to support filmmaker Roman Polanski against extradition to the United States on a decades-old sex charge and not wonder exactly how they interpret the national motto liberté, égalité, fraternité.” It’s tempting to ask whether they’re defending the liberty to break the law and skip town, respecting the equality of all before the law and championing a brotherhood of artists who can do no wrong.

U.S. conservative Christians rally against Obama agenda

September 18, 2009

U.S. conservative Christians, a key base for the out-of-power Republican Party, gathered in Washington on Friday to rally the faithful against President Barack Obama’s agenda, including his top domestic priority of healthcare reform.

U.S. “Religious Right” riled but lacks committed Christian leader

September 17, 2009

USA/Wanted: a leader for the U.S. social conservative movement. Must be able to press all the right buttons, be a committed Christian and have a vision to propel the Republican Party back to power.

Adapting the U.S. “Koran for Dummies” for French readers

September 15, 2009

koran-for-dummies-175coran-pour-les-nuls-175If you don’t know anything about the Koran but want to learn, does it make any difference if you’re an American “dummy” or a French “nul”? That  isn’t meant to cast doubts about knowledge on either side of the Atlantic. But it does arise now that the French version of the American guide to Islam’s holy book has just been published in Paris.

POLL – Is reforming U.S. health care a moral issue?

September 10, 2009

obama-healthThe heated debate over United States health care reform revolves around practical issues like its expected costs or the government-run “public option.” But when President Barack Obama addressed Congress on the issue, he quoted a letter from the late Senator Ted Kennedy saying: “What we face is above all a moral issue; at stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country.”

Fewer Americans see Islam as violent-Pew poll

September 9, 2009

The percentage of Americans who believe Islam encourages violence has declined and very basic knowledge about the faith has shown modest increases, according to a new survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Thirty-eight percent of those polled believed Islam was more likely than other faiths to encourage violence, down from the 45 percent who held this view two years earlier.OBAMA/

Poll – Should Ted Kennedy have a Catholic funeral?

August 29, 2009

kennedyOur post “Catholic comments on Ted Kennedy, pro and con” showed readers were deeply split on whether the late senator should have a Roman Catholic funeral. The naysayers argued that his support for choice on abortion and other disagreements with Church doctrine disqualify him from a religious ceremony. Those for a church funeral argued that he helped advance many causes championed by Catholic social teaching.