Americans of all stripes bemoan political polarization. For people who claim to derive their political values from their religious traditions, polarization raises vexing questions. More than perhaps any other group, faithful Catholics struggle to reconcile their church's teachings with the platforms of the two major parties.
Morgan Atkinson's new documentary on Thomas Merton, the famed Trappist monk from the Cistercian abbey in Gethsemani, Kentucky, was "40 years in the making," he joked.
Actually, it was closer to two, but it was Atkinson's own pilgrimage to Gethsemani 40 years ago that not only broadened his exposure to Merton, but led him to become a Catholic himself.
Everyone wants Congress to stop fighting and get working, and that includes Pope Francis, a top adviser said Wednesday in a preview of the pope's upcoming U.S. trip.
The Argentine-born pope has never been to the United States, but he will make history in September as the first pope to address a joint meeting of the House and Senate on Capitol Hill.
"The pope will come humbly but will talk clearly," Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, a top adviser to Francis, told an audience at Georgetown University.
With extreme poverty having been cut in half over the last generation -- and the Millennium Development Goals target of poverty halving having been achieved five years ahead of the 2015 deadline -- veterans of the global war on poverty believe it is possible that extreme poverty can be wiped out in the next 15 years.
It will be a tall order because an estimated 1 billion people still live in extreme poverty, defined as living on less than $1.25 a day.
Becoming a father was a prime motivator for Randy Berry to accept what's sure to be a controversial new role at the State Department.
Berry, 50, is the U.S. special envoy for the human rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, the first such post created by a nation, according to the State Department.
In that trailblazing role, he said, he has an opportunity to help his two children grow up in a world more accepting than the one he was born into.
Between July 2013 and June 2014, the church spent $119 million on costs related to sex abuse allegations and $31 million on protective efforts, the report also shows.
Advocates both for and against same-sex marriage milled about in front of the Supreme Court building, looking for a place to stake a claim for their viewpoint.
The questions raised by Supreme Court justices as they considered Tuesday whether they should rule that same-sex marriage should be made legal nationwide covered a gamut of rights concerns -- religious, equal protection, states' ability to enact their own laws.
In two and a half hours of oral arguments, the line of questions and the answers by attorneys representing both sides made clear that all concerned recognize the potential for the court's ruling to be history-making.
The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops called same-sex marriage "the greatest social experiment of our time" and said that "children do not need experiments," but rather the love of a mother and father at the third annual March for Marriage rally Saturday supporting traditional marriage on Capitol Hill.
The arrests of six Minnesota men accused earlier this month of attempting to join the Islamic State group highlights an unprecedented marketing effort being waged by the militant group in Iraq and Syria, U.S. law enforcement officials and terror analysts said.
It's a campaign that is finding resonance from urban metros to the American heartland.
"This is not so much a recruitment effort as it is a global marketing campaign, beyond anything that al-Qaida has ever done," said a senior law enforcement official.