ReligionWatch Archives

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Signs of détente in relations between Vatican and China

After “months of stagnation and tension” there has been an improvement in relations between the Vatican and China—“the culmination of months-long efforts to ease tensions with Beijing,” reports journalist Loup Besmond de Senneville in La Croix International (January 30). For Pope Francis, who dreams of visiting the country, China remains a top priority. A 2018 […]

Community organizing programs changing mainline seminaries

Mainline Protestant and Catholic theological education has recently broadened its mission beyond the training of competent clergy to embrace community organizing, reports Aaron Stauffer in the Christian Century (February). It is nothing new for mainline Protestant and Catholic seminaries to be centers of social activism, but community organizing has now been integrated into the curriculum […]


More than 90 percent of American adults support religious pluralism, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty found in its latest Religious Freedom Index. In its fifth edition of the annual index, Becket polled respondents on six dimensions of religious freedom, including religious pluralism, religion and policy, religious sharing, religion and society, church and state, and […]

Baltic Neo-Pagans attempting to expand their legal status

While Neo-Pagans only constitute a tiny percentage of the population of Baltic countries, they aspire to become increasingly established in Latvia and Lithuania, although not without meeting resistance, according to media as well as reports recently published on Eurel, an academic website and network reporting on sociological and legal data on religions in Europe. In […]

Russian Orthodox clubs offering young men an alternative masculinity?

The growing number of militarized Russian Orthodox organizations and clubs for young men have replaced the far-right violent groups of earlier decades, serving to temper their radical tendencies, even as these clubs are put to use by the government and political leaders, writes Victoria Fomina (University of St. Andrews) in the Journal of the Royal […]

Findings & Footnotes

■  Media (and soon most likely book) coverage of the relationship between Artificial Intelligence (AI) and religion and spirituality is widespread. While little of such speculation has been based on research, the current issue of the journal American Religion (Fall 2023) moves the conversation along in that direction with several articles and a roundtable discussion […]

On/File: A Continuing Record of People, Groups, Movements, and Events Impacting Contemporary Religion

1) The After Party is seeking to become a leading publishing program to counteract the influence of Donald Trump and political polarization among evangelicals. Led by Duke Divinity consulting professor Curtis Chang, head of the program’s founding organization Redeeming Babel, and developed with two prominent “never-Trump” evangelicals, the New York Times columnist David French and […]

Reviewing 2023—a year of schisms and rumors of schisms

In this review and preview of annual religious trends, it seemed that much of the drama of religion in 2023 came toward the end of the year, meaning that we may have to wait to see if these events will unfold as significant trends in 2024. Yet, developments such as the divisions over the Vatican’s […]

Same-sex blessings as a new dividing line within Roman Catholicism

Released on December 18 under the title Fiducia Supplicans, the declaration of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF) allowing for non-liturgical blessings of couples of the same sex or in irregular situations led to expected divisions in the Catholic Church. A number of bishops sought to issue clarifications in answer to local […]

Schism and conflict looming for America’s most liberal church?

Controversy and signs of schism related to “woke” politics and religion have found their way into Unitarian Universalism (UU), a religious movement that has long been considered a standard bearer of progressive, tolerant, and pluralistic religion. In the Financial Times (December 7), Jemima Kelly reports that much of the recent controversy and conflict started after […]