Religion

12:29pm

Thu September 19, 2013
Religion

Church Must Find Balance, Pope Says, Or Fall Like Cards

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 1:12 pm

Pope Francis waves to faithful as he arrives for his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on Wednesday.
Riccardo De Luca AP

Pope Francis, in a wide-ranging interview with 16 Jesuit publications, says "the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards" if it continues to focus on narrow issues such as abortion, gay marriage and contraception.

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6:01pm

Wed September 18, 2013
Ecstatic Voices

Sacred Strings Guide Gospel Through Thunder And Steel

The Sacred Steel tradition is an integral part of worship. From the House of God Keith Dominion Church, Aubrey Ghent (pictured) helped revive the style in 1990s.
Brad Gregory Courtesy of the artist

Some say the purpose of church is to deliver the word of God. If so, what's the role of music in the service?

"The music has always been a part of God's way of getting people's attention," says Bishop Calvin Worthem, pastor at the Church of the Living God in Toccopola, Miss. "Sometimes he speaks through the thunder, the lightning, and sometimes he speaks in the music."

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11:05am

Mon September 16, 2013
World

Brazilian Believers Of Hidden Religion Step Out Of Shadows

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 3:45 pm

Men possessed by orixas dance before getting dressed in orixa costumes. They are participating in an Olubaje party, a Candomblé ritual for cleansing life of bad things and healing. The main god at the party is Omulu (the one with straws), known for healing diseases.
Marcello Vitorino Fullpress for NPR

Amid chanting and drumming, a crowd gathers in Sao Paulo and waits for the gods to come to them from the spirit world.

They are celebrating a sacred festival day in honor of Omulu, a deity of life and death. The women wear white dresses with crinolines, colorful belts and headdresses. The men wear lace, pajama-style suits. They sing and dance in a circle for hours; the room gets warmer, the chanting more intense.

Suddenly, they are here: Orixas have possessed the chosen among the faithful. They are spirit gods, the deified ancestors who link humans to the other world.

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3:47pm

Sat September 14, 2013
Author Interviews

'The Witness Wore Red': A Polygamist's Wife Finds A New Life

Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 4:15 pm

In 2007, a breakaway extremist offshoot of the Mormon Church called the Fundamentalist Church of the Latter Day Saints made national news. Police raided an FLDS compound in Texas where they found hundreds of women and girls. The church's leader, Warren Jeffs, was sentenced to life plus 20 years behind bars for sexually assaulting children.

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1:05pm

Wed September 11, 2013
World

Vatican's Secretary Of State Says Celibacy Is An Open Question

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 2:33 pm

Pietro Parolin in 2009.
Hoang Dinh Nam AFP/Getty Images

The Vatican's new secretary of state made some comments in an interview with a Venezuelan newspaper earlier this week that have surprised many.

Archbishop Pietro Parolin, whom Pope Francis appointed on Aug. 31, said the issue of priest celibacy is open to discussion.

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