This is the season of high holy days: Passover, Pascua, Holy Friday and Easter Sunday. For many Christians, the ritual of this Easter weekend will be punctuated by bursting pink and yellow dresses on little girls, and magnificent hats on their mothers and grandmothers. There will be Easter baskets filled with chocolate eggs and plush bunnies.
This year, the most influential book you may never have read is celebrating a major birthday. The King James Version of the Bible was published 400 years ago. It's no longer the top-selling Bible, but in those four centuries, it has woven itself deeply into our speech and culture.
Let's travel back to 1603: King James I, who had ruled Scotland, ascended to the throne of England. What he found was a country suspicious of the new king.
A couple of years ago, the Philadelphia archdiocese heard about three priests who had allegedly raped two boys. It gave the priests' files to law enforcement, and a grand jury began to investigate. Then, the grand jury stumbled on a bombshell. A church employee testified that there were many other priests the panel should know about.
"The grand jury found that a policy of zero tolerance was not actually in effect," says District Attorney Seth Williams, "and that there were many priests that had allegations made against them that were still in active ministry."
The Japanese are beginning memorial ceremonies for people killed in the earthquake and tsunami. Times of crisis lead many people to turn to religion for strength and comfort. In Japan, the focus will be on honoring the dead, and moving on with life.
On Monday, Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara startled many when he said, "The Japanese people must take advantage of this tsunami to wash away their selfish greed. I really do think this is divine punishment."
The archbishop of Philadelphia has suspended 21 priests connected to allegations of child sex abuse, the latest in a series of actions by the archdiocese to deal with findings in a disturbing grand jury report released last month.
The grand jury report accused a monsignor, three priests and a parochial schoolteacher of abusing kids or failing to prevent abuse by others. It also said that as many as 37 priests remained in active ministry with allegations or reports of inappropriate behavior or sexual abuse of minors.