• Vatican tells Legion of Christ: Reform just beginning

    VATICAN CITY — The Vatican delegate running the troubled Legion of Christ urged its priests on Wednesday to elect a new leadership worthy of authority, after suffering for years from shame and suspicion following revelations that its founder was a pedophile.

    He said the new leaders must infuse the religious order with a new spirit to finish a process of reform he said had only just begun.

  • Counting for good measure
  • My life according to Facebook

    I’m not big on reflecting upon my life, past, present or future, and now thanks to Facebook I don’t have to — Facebook has done it for me.

    Today I logged onto my page and it said to click here to see my “20 biggest moments” of 2013, culled from my status updates throughout the year. (I’m curious to know how they choose which ones are “big moments.” Where mine are concerned, I’m guessing it may be my use of exclamation points.)

  • GRACE NOTES 12/28/13: Welcome to the 'grand buffet'

    For the past several years on Thanksgiving and Christmas, my husband and I have gone to an out of the way place for their Grand Holiday Buffet — and they ain’t lying.

    That’s one honking spread they put on.

  • Walking a fine line

    ST. LOUIS — Pastor Mike Butzberger insists he only had holiday spirit in mind when his Florida church’s marquee read: “Christmas — Easier to spell than Hanukkah.”

    But after a passer-by told him she found the message offensive and a local television station inquired about it, the Lighthouse Baptist Church preacher hustled to blunt any uproar by begrudgingly changing the sign to: “Jesus Loves You.”

  • JUDI'S JOURNAL: In praise of friends

    For Nan & Linda: 48 years and counting!

    It is certainly nice when old friends get together. As we grow older, we suddenly realize how important those connections we made so long ago mean so much to us today. While we may be separated geographically, our thoughts and concerns are ever close, electronically carried to those that mean so much to us.

  • GRACE NOTES: Getting home for Christmas

    Flip on the radio this time of year and chances are you’ll hear the same dozen or so Christmas songs, including “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” ... and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”

  • GRACE NOTES 12/14/13: Jesus vs. religion

    About 10 years ago, I attended a seminar for religion writers, “How Religion Shapes Regional and Community Identity.”

    A panel of prestigious people with prestigious titles from prestigious institutions and organizations came to talk to us about how in the world we should cover this thing called religion.

  • City, Jewish congregation in legal wrangle over building

    SUNNY ISLES BEACH — A simple, five-paragraph historic plaque on the front portico of an Orthodox Jewish temple in south Florida honors a 2004 gathering of Holocaust survivors, but it signifies much more. It’s the linchpin of a federal court battle pitting a city’s powers to designate historic buildings against the free exercise of religion.

  • The darkest night

    When you’re a  pastor or spiritual leader, people look to you for any number of things. When you are in trouble, your pastor walks with you, counsels you, prays with and for you, finds you resources. When you are sick, your pastor sits by your bedside, anoints you with oil, tells you stories and shares scriptures to encourage your faith.