Archive for the ‘General Articles’ Category

Evangelical-Catholic alliance shows fissures in the era of Trump and Francis

Roman Catholics and evangelicals have shared social and political priorities over the past three decades “but now find their agendas diverging in the era of President Trump and Pope Francis,” according to a National Public Radio report by Tom Gjelten (May 25). In recent decades their shared opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage and common […]

Designing rituals minus the religion targets “nones”

Rituals, like spirituality itself, are increasingly being separated from their communal and religious contexts and being designed for and in some cases marketed to the non-affiliated (or “nones”). In The Atlantic (May 7), Sigal Samuel reports on the work of the Ritual Design Lab in Silicon Valley, where a small team of “interaction designers” is […]

Catholic Poland charting its own path from Ireland’s liberalization on abortion?

Ireland’s vote to overturn its constitutional ban on abortion was not only another sign of the country’s weakening Catholic identity but has also been seen as pointing to a pattern that may be followed by another European country, namely Poland, according to the Wall Street Journal (May 29). Ireland’s vote on abortion last month “echoed […]

Church and sports find close harmony in Russia

As the FIFA World Cup is about to start in Russia and attract football aficionados from around the entire world, Regina Elsner (Center for East European and International Studies, Berlin) looks at the way the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) is approaching sports from a position quite similar to that of the Russian state—as an important […]

Quietist Salafism shows resilience in post-Arab Spring world

Rejecting revolutionary protests as well as jihadism, quietist Salafism has proved until now remarkably resilient and has been able to preserve its position in post-Arab Spring environments, writes Laurent Bonnefoy (Sciences Po, Paris) in the Archives de Sciences Sociales des Religions (January–March). The perception that the turmoil starting in 2011 has led to a worse […]

Changing image of Sufism in Turkey’s religious education program

Previously presented as an historical phenomenon and an instance of reactionary Islam in textbooks used for religious education in Turkey, Sufi orders (tarikat) are now described in a positive light, writes Manami Ueno (Kyoto University) in Turkish Studies (June). This does not mean that the currently ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is willing to […]

On and off campus, FOCUS energizing and innovating Catholic evangelism

The new breed of Catholic campus ministry typified by the organization FOCUS has not only shown wide success among students but is influencing parish life with its “spiritual multiplication” approach to growth. A three-part series on FOCUS in the National Catholic Reporter (April 6–19, April 20–May 3) shows how in the last decade, even while […]

“Silent exodus” of second-generation Korean-Americans accelerates

Dubbed the “silent exodus” by Helen Lee in 1996, second-generation Korean-Americans are continuing a decades-long trend of leaving their parents’ churches—often to multi-ethnic congregations and, more recently, to non-affiliation. Given that the Christian church has been a shelter where marginalized Korean immigrants, mostly of the first generation, could find comfort in their common cultural identity […]

Political initiative in Argentina looks to Pope Francis’ leadership to solve social ills

Claiming inspiration from Pope Francis, especially his 2015 Encyclical Laudato si’, Argentinian politicians have been promoting since early 2016 an initiative called “Pacto de San Antonio de Padua” (Pact of Saint Anthony of Padua) that calls for implementation of the guidelines of the Papal Encyclical in government. According to Juan Cruz Esquivel (Consejo Nacional de […]

Religion alive and well in Brazil’s public square

Despite legal foundations intended to enforce a secular political framework, developments in Brazil over the past ten years have led to a larger presence of religion in the public sphere, reported Marcelo Camurça (Universidad Federal Juiz de Fora) at the April conference on “Politicization of the Sacred and Sacralization of Politics,” which took place at […]