Review of Dilemma: A Priest’s Struggle with Faith and Love

Meet the Author Father Albert Cutié served as a Roman Catholic priest from his ordination in 1995 until 2009.  During those years he served several parishes, but was best known for his work in media, which earned him the nickname "Padre Oprah."  He was the first clergy-person to host a daily talk-show on a major network on international secular television. After his relationship with a woman was made public, he left the Roman Catholic church, married, and was ordained as an Episcopal Read More …

Review of The World’s Christians

Meet the Author Douglas Jacobsen has taught at Messiah College in Grantham, PA since 1984.  Currently he serves as  Distinguished Professor of Church History and Theology.  Jacobsen is a member of the United Church of Christ and serves on the Theological Commission of the UCC Penn Central Conference.  Jacobsen is the author of several books including Scholarship and Christian Faith: Enlarging the Conversation (with Rhonda Hustedt Jacobsen, 2004) and The World's Christians: Who they are, Where Read More …

Do Mainline Protestants Really Have Bigger Brains?

A recent study funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Templeton Foundation suggests that mainline Protestants have larger brains than those with other religious affiliations.   Yonat Shimron's article summarizes the findings: It found an association between participants' professed religious affiliation and the physical structure of their brain. Specifically, those identified as Protestant who did not have a religious conversion or born-again experience — more common among their Read More …

Where Have All the Catholics Gone?

Established in 1964, the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) is the largest independent print and web Catholic news source in the United States.  Recently, the NCR published an article by Fr. Thomas Reese, former editor in chief of America, exploring the massive numbers of people who have left the Catholic church in recent years.  He frames the issue thusly: The U.S. Religious Landscape Survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life has put hard numbers on the anecdotal Read More …

Most Catholic Women Now Use Birth Control

Catholic Answers, a lay-run site focusing on "Catholic apologetics and evangelization," summarizes the Catholic Church's teaching on birth control: In 1968, Pope Paul VI issued his landmark encyclical letter Humanae Vitae (Latin, "Human Life"), which reemphasized the Church’s constant teaching that it is always intrinsically wrong to use contraception to prevent new human beings from coming into existence. Contraception is "any action which, either in anticipation of the conjugal act [sexual Read More …

An Overview of American Church Membership

Earlier this week the National Council of Churches released its annual analysis of church membership: 2011 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches.  According to the Rev. Dr. Eileen Lindner, editor, the data in this year's report suggests that recent membership trends have continued: "That is, churches which have been increasing in membership in recent years continue to grow and likewise, those churches which have been declining in recent years continue to decline." The yearbook reports a Read More …

Religious Under and Over Representation in the 112th Congress

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life posted "Faith on the Hill: The Religious Composition of the 112th Congress" last month.  This article explores the religious makeup of both chambers, compares the religious preferences of newly elected officials and incumbents, and provides historical data.  Shown at right is a chart showing how varying religions are represented in the 112th Congress and in the American adult population as a whole. So What? While some variance between the makeup of Read More …

Review of The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything

James Martin, SJ.  The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life.  HarperOne: 2010. ISBN: 9780061432682. Meet the Author The Rev. James Martin, S.J., is a Jesuit priest, and is the culture editor of America, the national Catholic magazine. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business with a bachelor's degree in finance. After working for six years in corporate finance and human resources, he entered the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) Read More …