Archive for the ‘Catholic’ Category

An environmental tipping point? Evangelicals going to the dogs . . . and cats . . . with major statement on animal welfare

Evangelicals are turning their attention to all creatures great and small. Scores of prominent evangelical pastors, scholars, theologians and other leaders took their place in a growing national dialogue over animal welfare with a declaration resolving to confront “any and all cruelty against animals.” Some analysts see the evangelical declaration as moving toward a tipping point in raising religious awareness of animal welfare issues, building on the momentum of Pope Francis’s encyclical in June.

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Pope Francis and 6 things you need to know about the Catholic Church in the U.S.

The sky is not falling on the Catholic Church in the United States, but it faces plenty of challenges as it welcomes Pope Francis for a six-day visit. Here are six key areas you may want to keep in mind when considering the evolving state of the nation’s largest religious group.

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Older worshippers find it’s never too late to switch

Religious switching is not limited to the young. Nearly three in 10 older adults made a major change in spiritual homes within just an 11-year period, according to a study. The findings and related research indicate both why it is important for older adults to be in a supportive congregation and why leaving a long-established spiritual community late in life could jeopardize the individual’s well-being.

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‘Nones’ are ‘someones’ in vibrant U.S. religious landscape

The end is not near for religion in America – or elsewhere in the world. What analysts are trying to divine, however, is the mystery of whether the evidence fewer people are identifying with specific faith groups heralds a long-term loss of religious beliefs. While jeremiads of the decline of religion get a good deal of press, scholars said at a recent symposium, there is also evidence Americans are “living in one of the most religious countries on the face of the Earth.”

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Latin American perspective on Papa Francisco reveals genuine leader dedicated to change

BUENOS AIRES — The election of Pope Francis is raising spirits and hopes throughout the Catholic Church. But what has been the impact on the ground, and what are the prospects of a makeover for a church that often measures changes in terms of centuries rather than days and months? Many of the people who know Pope Francis best, leading Latin American journalists, scholars and religious leaders, say the genuine faith of the Argentinian pope is making a difference with people in the streets and in the pews. Convincing Catholics in high places, however, may be his greatest challenge.

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Why faith matters in battling global smoking epidemic

In addition to legal and social activism, there is another potential powerful tool in addressing a global smoking epidemic: Faith. New studies are adding to a growing body of evidence that religion may help deter smoking, particularly among marginalized groups that have the greatest health risks.

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Older seminarians, especially minority women, face tough job market with rising student debt

Pursuing a clerical career in their 40s and 50s can be a dream come true for many women and men, a chance to follow what they consider God’s call and do meaningful work in their later years. But the realities of a shrinking clergy labor market, and seminary tuition costs outpacing inflation, leave some facing debts of $80,000 or more trying to find work in a relatively low-paying profession, researchers state. The burden is falling particularly hard on prospective minority clergy with the fewest resources.

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5 ways faith may promote healthier marriages

Comedian Henny Youngman observed, “The secret of a happy marriage remains a secret.” But several new studies indicate that cultivating practices such as selfless prayer, spiritual intimacy and compassionate love can help keep couples happily together through the challenges of marriage, from becoming parents to caring for one another amid the infirmities of old age.

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Not just gay issues: Why hundreds of congregations made final break with mainline denominations

Changing stances on gay ordinations and same-sex marriages were a key factor in the exodus of several hundred churches from mainline Protestant denominations. But new research into why congregations decided to leave reveal differences on sexuality issues were only part of a much larger divide.

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Parents No. 1 influence helping teens remain religiously active as young adults

The holy grail for helping youth remain religiously active as young adults has been at home all along: Parents. Mothers and fathers who practice what they preach and preach what they practice are far and away the major influence related to adolescents keeping the faith into their 20s, according to new findings from a landmark study of youth and religion.

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