The Deacon's Bench
Ripped from the headlines Archives

Over at America magazine’s blog, Austin Iverleigh has some intriguing background and analysis about the pope/condom story: The point argued by moral theologians was always this. The Church is opposed to artificial contraception, not condoms per se. Just as, in […]

Don’t be surprised if the Vatican begins “clarifying” these remarks soon. But here’s what’s being reported at this hour: Pope Benedict XVI says that condom use is acceptable “in certain cases”, notably “to reduce the risk of infection” with HIV, […]

It was one of the most horrific stories of the 20th century — a century that didn’t lack for horrors — and now plans are underway to erect a permanent memorial to the victims of the mass suicide at Jonestown: […]

Exorcism is getting renewed attention by the Church — and even the New York Times is taking notice: The rite of exorcism, rendered gory by Hollywood and ridiculed by many modern believers, has largely fallen out of favor in the […]

Details: A gay educator lost her job at a Downstate Catholic university after she posted a wedding announcement for herself and her lesbian partner in the local paper. Laine Tadlock, 60, says bosses at Benedictine University in Springfield knew she […]

Just in time for the holidays, atheists and humanists are out to spread their message of non-belief: Four separate and competing national organizations representing various streams of atheists, humanists and freethinkers will soon be spreading their gospel through advertisements on […]

Details, from the British paper the Telegraph: A Christian woman has been sentenced to hang in Pakistan after being convicted of defaming the Prophet Mohammed. Asia Bibi, a 45-year-old mother-of-five, denies blasphemy and told investigators that she was being persecuted […]

How is this for a testament of faith? From UPI: A California priest accused of sex crimes against a 12-year-old boy has been freed on bail with money raised by parishioners who say they believe he’s innocent. The Rev. Alejandro […]

A Syriac Orthodox archbishop is urging Christians in Iraq to get out now — while they still can. From CNN: Archbishop Athanasios Dawood slammed the Iraqi government for not doing enough to protect the rights of minorities and urged Christians […]

And it’s much earlier than expected. Details: Bishop V. Gene Robinson, whose consecration as the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church set off a historic rift in the global Anglican Communion, announced to his New Hampshire diocese on […]