Dear Thoughtful Pastor: I’ve been noticing of late how intrusive I’ve let social media and media consumption in general become. So I’ve been banishing the tablet from my bed three nights a week, which has made me antsy and itchy.
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis is wrapping up a Caucasus pilgrimage that began in June in Armenia and ends this weekend with a visit to two other countries with tiny Catholic communities: the Orthodox Christian bastion of Georgia and the largely Shiite Muslim nation of Azerbaijan.
Dear Thoughtful Pastor: To say the religious right wreaked havoc with my spiritual life would be an understatement. It has been several years since my wife and I made our exit from that world and we still have not recovered.
Dear Thoughtful Pastor: I have family members who believe that using birth control is sinful because children are a blessing from God. They believe that people who use birth control are not only sinful but exceedingly selfish for not wanting children. They also believe that barrenness is a curse from God. I think they are wrong but am not sure. Can you help out here?
HILDALE, Utah (AP) — Members of a polygamous community on the Utah-Arizona border gathered for a memorial service marking the anniversary of flash floods that killed at least a dozen people. The Salt Lake Tribune reports that members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Short Creek on Wednesday night cursed the flood but praised relief efforts and first responders. About 150 people stood about a mile downstream from where the Hildale victims were swept away.
VATICAN CITY — Retired Pope Benedict XVI has acknowledged that governing the church wasn’t his strong suit but says he doesn’t see his papacy as a failure and that he succeeded at least in breaking up the Vatican’s so-called “gay lobby.”
Dear Thoughtful Pastor: What are traditional family values and who decided? Why is it such a buzz word and why is it a red flag to some of us?
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis on Saturday denounced what he called the modern-day sin of indifference to hunger, exploitation and other suffering, while commending the example of Mother Teresa on the eve of a sainthood ceremony for the nun who cared for India’s destitute.
SALT LAKE CITY — A polygamous sect member who believes writing to imprisoned sect leader Warren Jeffs is essential to his eternal salvation will be allowed to continue sending monthly letters while he awaits trial on food stamp fraud charges.
Dear Thoughtful Pastor: My question: I have been an active member of the United Methodist Church for years. I know the discipline is supposedly biblically based, but the recent appointment in Arizona of an openly lesbian person to a bishop position is totally contrary to what I know that the Bible teaches! I am considering rethinking my position of belonging to the United Methodist Church.
Dear Thoughtful Pastor: You know how the Jews in the Bible were forbidden to work on the Sabbath? If I want to practice the Sabbath today, what is considered “work?” Would folding laundry be work? What about using appliances?
Dear Thoughtful Pastor: Can you explain the Book of Acts to me in simple words a heathen can understand?
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis recently outlined his vision for how the Vatican will promote family and life issues, naming an American moderate to head the new Vatican office for families and laity and directing related institutes to give merciful care to spiritually wounded Catholics.
Dear Thoughtful Pastor: I have been astonished at the Wayne Grudem support of Trump. I am like some who believe part of the hatred of Hillary Clinton and support of Donald Trump derives from the belief of inferiority of women and the “headship” of men, which the right wing is so strong about.
CAIRO — Inside a large mosque in the Nile Delta, an Egyptian cleric looked over his congregation as he climbed the pulpit clutching a piece of paper and began to speak — delivering a 13-minute discourse on the virtues of personal hygiene.
Dear Thoughtful Pastor: I have friends who are Christians and tell me that science is wrong and destroys faith. And I have friends who are squarely on the side of science. Who is right?
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has set up a panel to study whether women could serve as deacons, a role now reserved for men.The Vatican said Francis “after intense prayer and mature reflection” decided to set up the commission, with 12 members — six men and six women — including priests, nuns and laywomen.
CZESTOCHOWA, Poland — Pope Francis blessed hundreds of thousands of faithful Thursday at a shrine in Poland, paying tribute to a beloved native son, St. John Paul II, honoring the countless “ordinary yet remarkable” Poles who defiantly clung to their faith during Soviet-bloc communism and establishing this pontiff’s drawing power in a country where being Catholic is often equated with being Polish.
Dear Thoughtful Pastor: I have been reading both sides of the argument and praying about it, and I’m just a little stumped. Is cremation frowned upon?
MINNEAPOLIS — Lawyers investigating a Minnesota archbishop in 2014 found compelling and credible allegations from nearly a dozen people that he engaged in sexual misconduct and harassment, then retaliated when his advances were rejected, according to an internal church document made public this week.
Dear Thoughtful Pastor: I love my parents very much. But I wish my dad would quit being so racist in front of my nieces. How do I tell them that what he is saying is junk without making them lose respect for him?
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — The Rev. Scott Killgore remembers looking out at the congregation during communion and seeing a particular member in prayer, focused on the expansive stained glass window in the sanctuary.
Dear Thoughtful Pastor: A lot of Christians insist that the best way for a homosexual to be reformed and “made whole” is in heterosexual marriage. Do you think any of these Christians would volunteer their child (or grandchild) to live in a marriage to a gay person?