Archive for the ‘General Articles’ Category

How safe are congregations and clergy from automation?

Judging by the fast pace at which technology is overtaking certain work tasks, clergy seem not to necessarily be exempt from the threat of automation, with several aspects of their work already being performed by artificial intelligence, writes William Young in the religion and science journal Zygon (June). Certain professions, such as medicine, law, journalism, […]

Megachurches trading relevance for liturgical reverence?

“Old-school Catholic practices and traditions” are being increasingly used in American megachurches, reports America magazine (May 13). The article focuses on New Life Church in Colorado Springs, a prominent non-denominational megachurch that has recently embraced traditional liturgies as well as social justice work without evangelization. The church now recites the Nicene Creed and has communion […]

American Southwest belatedly draws Catholic colleges

Even though Catholicism has a long history in the American Southwest and Latinos there are an influential demographic force in the church, Catholic colleges are just being established in the region, according to America magazine (May 13). Jonathan Malesic reports that while the few Catholic colleges that were established in the region in the past […]

Pacific Northwest’s “none-zone” expands, challenges religious institutions

The Pacific Northwest continues to be the bastion of religious non-affiliation it has been since the early 2000s, only more so, having a significant impact on religious communities, writes Mark Silk in his blog for Religion News Service, Spiritual Politics (May 31). Silk cites recent research conducted by the University of Victoria’s Centre for Studies […]

CURRENT RESEARCH

● Belief in the “prosperity gospel”—that God financially blesses faithful believers—does not have a strong effect in making individuals successful entrepreneurs, according to a study by Kevin Dougherty and colleagues of Baylor University. The researchers did find that prosperity beliefs can be linked to values associated with entrepreneurialism, such as power and achievement, but found […]

Orthodox Church emerges as a leading social actor amid Greece’s economic crisis

Although affected itself by the economic crisis that Greece has been experiencing since 2009, the Greek Orthodox Church has become an active source of social support for impoverished people, thus seizing an opportunity to position itself as a relevant institution in contemporary society, writes Lina Molokotos-Liederman (Archives de Sciences Sociales des Religions, January–March). As a […]

Hungary—a champion of traditional values but not religious freedom?

Even as Hungary has drawn admiration from conservative Christians for its strong support of the traditional family and maintaining its “Christian heritage,” the central European nation has appeared to change little in its tendency to restrict the freedom of minority religions in the last decade. Glowing reports on how Hungary serves as a beacon of […]

Church fires more than accidents in France and point to multiple culprits

The fire in Paris’ historic Notre Dame Cathedral in early May was mourned as a loss to French Catholicism, but there has been a trend of church fires and desecrations in France that are more mysterious and even suspicious, writes Nina Shea in the National Catholic Register (May 12–25). She writes that, “For those who […]

From top to bottom, Catholic Church in Germany pushing for liberal reform

The announcement on March 14 by Cardinal Reinhard Marx that the Catholic Church in Germany would start a “synodal process” to deal with issues of priestly celibacy, teachings on sexual morality, and clerical power marks an attempt to assert its peculiar identity and to promote a reform agenda of its own, writes Jean Bernard in […]

Islamic State turning to its African cells to maintain image and even build a new caliphate?

“Africa is emerging as an important remnant of the Islamic State, even if the continent is too divided along cultural and tribal lines to restore its caliphate,” reports Bloomberg Businessweek (May 22). Paul Wallace writes that the loss of the core of the Islamic State (IS), the caliphate, was a devastating blow to the movement. […]