Sunday Roundup: Benedict sees his shadow, two more weeks of Pope-news

And everybody cared about Catholicism for, like, a month. We’re getting closer to Benedict’s resignation, and the rumors have been circulating – namely, that the Pope’s twitter, @Pontifex is no more. But never fear – the initial report was a lie, @Pontifex shall simply be on hiatus until the next Pope decides if they want to pretend that they understand technology.

In terms of actually important news, some have suspected that leaks about gay priests at the Vatican caused Benedict to resign. This is based on the fact that the college of Cardinals made the report to him on the day he announced his resignation. My problem with this narrative is: would Benedict resign the same day he saw a controversial report? Don’t you think he would have been thinking about his historical decision for a while? The Vatican spokesman also said that this theory is a load of crap, although that almost makes me believe it more. In this whole “Is Benedict gay” insinuation, I’ve been disturbed by the ghost of older anti-Catholicism, which sexualized Catholic families, priests, and nuns. The one possibility I can see is that Benedict resigned from frustration with the hypocrisy of the papal bureaucracy. This article from Reuters, which details how Benedict was hard-hit by the betrayal of his butler and the incompetence of his staff, might offer some evidence in favor of this theory.

If you want to get excited about the next pope, Gianfranco Ravasi is probably as close as we’re going to get to a sort-of-progressive pope. He listened to Amy Winehouse, once.

Also, the US sucks at prosecuting cases of clerical sexual abuse, according to none other than the United Nations. Maybe its part of our inability to address sexual violence in general. Haha! Maybe!

In more positive news, David Briggs wrote for the Huffington Post on how mainline Protestant Congregations are getting smarter, happier, and more liberal. He’s probably right, although his data does feel a little cherry-picked at times.

Bill o’Reily “wrote” another book.

Rob Bell + YA = ? Former Mars Hill Bible Church pastor (no, not that Mars Hill) has created a version of his book, Love Wins, for teenagers. It’s called Love Wins: For Teens. The book cover asks, “If God threw a party, would everyone be invited? Would you?” Powerful stuff. At any rate, it’s already super-popular. For those of you who don’t remember, Bell’s original Love Wins set off a huge debate among Christians about the existence of hell- Bell basically says it doesn’t exist. Love Wins also my go-to example for bad writing, actually – the near ubiquitous one-sentence paragraphs Bell uses are like a laugh track. Except, instead of saying, “This is funny, you should be laughing”, they say, “this is profound, you should be feeling stuff.”

Speaking of rebranding, you know what word needs rebranding? Secularism. Hence the “Secularism on the Edge” conference at Georgetown this week. It’s a noble mission, but did you have to call it “Secularism on the Edge”?

If you’re an evangelical looking for like-minded evangelicals, Colorado Springs might be for you. It’s home of Focus on the Family, and myriad other evangelical organizations. A PBS report highlights how Colorado Springs has become an “evangelical mecca.”

I forgot what Tebowing is. Is it when you agree to speak at a horrible megachurch and then back out when everybody is horrified, and pretend you didn’t ever know the megachurch was horrible?

Hezbollah is taking a greater role in the conflict in Syria. But on behalf of who? The mainstream-media articles mention, but don’t focus on the fact that Hezbollah is coming to the aid of the Syrian dictatorship – yet another reason to support Syria’s rebels. Democracy > repressive dictatorships.

American’s might be becoming more pro-Palestine, realizing that Israel is violating some fundamental human rights. We’re a little late to that party.

Egyptian policeman may now grow beards. In theory, this will allow them to express their religion publicly. Maybe one of the ways they can express it is by not being complicit in gang-rape.

Also, it really sucks to be a Coptic Christian in Egypt right now.

In Burma, Buddhists are carrying out a genocide against Muslims. But it’s probably the Muslim’s fault for being inherently violent.

You probably didn’t hear about this because the perpetrator isn’t Muslim, but a neo-nazi amassed 18 assault weapons and 40,000 rounds in a plot to kill Jewish and Black community leaders. And all without the help of the FBI! By the way, it seems like (although its unclear) that the FBI only caught him because they were looking for counterfeit sporting goods. Oh, and he acquired all these weapons through private sales and gun shows, which don’t require a background check. So there’s that.

We now have our hands on Al-Qaeda’s twenty-two tips for avoiding a drone attack. Print it out – we might need it soon.

Hey, media! Nones aren’t atheists or agnostics, necessarily. So stop telling me who I am.

Essay time! A great essay by Mollie Griminger explores the relationship between her Judaism and how she thinks of money. Another essay looks at why evangelism has such a robust book culture. And if you want to know how Lady Gaga is part of a proud tradition of Catholic Art, this is the essay for you.

Well, that’s all for this week. Tune in next week for people talking about the pope, again.

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