Posts Tagged ‘Volume 39 No. 2’

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 […]

Hispanic folk healers at the border move into mainstream

Folk healing traditions and rituals that have long existed among Hispanic communities along the U.S. Southern border and more often been associated with the elderly and poor have been revitalized as they have “entered the age of Instagram. More and more younger people are taking on rituals they learned from their grandmothers and deploying them […]

Crossbreeding of witchcraft and spirituality with the help of technology?

Magic and witchcraft groups and movements are merging with organizations holding to Eastern and other forms of spirituality and are being offered together on the same digitized platforms, writes Lionel Obadia in the journal Social Compass (online in December). “At the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries, references to magic and witchcraft seem to […]


A recent Pew Research Center survey suggests that beliefs in spirits or a spiritual realm beyond this world are widespread, even among those who don’t consider themselves religious. The survey finds that 83 percent of all U.S. adults believe people have a soul or spirit in addition to their physical body, while 81 percent say […]

Ukrainian Orthodox Christmas date change challenges Russian influence, finds mixed response

As part of the process of Ukrainization in opposition to Russian influence, both the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) have celebrated Christmas this year according to the revised Julian calendar, on December 25, while the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), which used to be under the Moscow Patriarchate but […]

Faith-based social services in Czech Republic torn between tradition and secularism

A study of faith-based social services in the strongly secularized Czech Republic reveals a growing dilemma that these groups face, needing the identity and resources provided by sponsoring churches while not wanting to alienate a predominantly unchurched and secular clientele. The study, conducted by Andrea Beláňová of the Czech Academy of Sciences and published in […]

Findings & Footnotes

■  The journal Religion, State, and Society devotes its current issue (51:4–5) to the state of religion in the European Parliament (EP) and opens with the provocative observation that “The ongoing secularization of Europe…is little contested. Its outcomes, especially regarding European integration, are much more controversial.” This is borne out in several contributions, where it […]

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

Romana Didulo, the self-proclaimed “Queen of Canada” has been among the most successful in starting a new religion based on QAnon conspiracies. Using Theosophical ideas found in earlier new religious movements, such as the I AM and the Church Universal and Triumphant movements, Didulo, who is almost 50 years old and originally from the Philippines, […]