Friday, January 4, 2008

The coming year in religion

Writing over on dotCommonweal, the blog of Commonweal magazine, Peter Steinfels gives a month-by-month prediction of what he, with his tongue firmly implanted in his cheek, foresees as this year's biggest religious news stories. The one I find the most likely, perhaps because it would be, in the words of Yogi Berra, "like deja vu all over again," is his prediction for March:

"Two weeks before Easter, CNN broadcasts a special report on a newly unearthed 'Gospel of Joseph' revealing that Jesus was a troublesome teenager. Princeton University expert on early Christianity, Elaine Pagels, hails the document for making Jesus appear more human. Other scholars complain that the ancient manuscript appears to be written with a ball-point pen."

April's prediction, as Steinfels well knows, will happen:

"Pope Benedict XVI, during a brief visit to the United States, stuns reporters and commentators by indicating that he still believes in God, considers Catholic teachings to be true and opposes abortion and same-sex marriages. Consistent with four decades of findings, fresh polls of American Catholics confirm that they still revere the Pope but disagree with him about contraception, ordaining women and other issues. The newsweeklies detect a 'deep divide' and 'growing rift' between Rome and the American faithful."

While I am on media, also writing on dotCommonweal, Fr. Joseph Komonchak, professor of theology at The Catholic University of America, has some great thoughts on the Iowa caucus results, especially as regards the surprising diversity among Iowa's evangelical voters. On an unrelated matter, my Holy Family homily is now available for viewing on The Intermountain Catholic website.

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