Pope Francis and Netanyahu, Magic Johnson's Son, and More: This Week in Religion

In case you missed it, here's your weekly update on this week in religion: the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against a Catholic hospital, claiming that the hospital's religious beliefs prevented it from giving the best care possible to a woman who later suffered a miscarriage. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave Pope Francis a book on Jewish/Catholic relations during the Inquisition, and Pope Francis launched a committee that would examine child sex abuse within the Catholic Church. Magic Johnson talked about supporting his openly gay son, EJ, as a Christian, while Rick Warren opened up about his son's suicide. A Fox News column critical of the pope lost a Catholic News Service writer his job, and Turkish leaders want to turn the Hagia Sophia back into a functioning mosque as part of a long list of efforts to reclaim a religious Muslim identity.


Here are some longer pieces you shouldn't miss from the last week.

She was a young girl who kissed Elvis, but she chose to take her vows and become a nun. Mother Dolores Hart was born Dolores Hicks and starred in Loving You alongside Elvis Presley. The movie launched a successful film career before Hart realized her true vocation.

My vocation was never a matter of leaving Hollywood. Hollywood taught me to be an actress. Regina Laudis helped me to live the part for which I was born, within a monastic vocation.

In the American Prospect, Kathryn Joyce looked at the Christian homeschooling movement and those who broke free. Because homeschooling operates outside the view of many government agencies, Joyce found that many of the children brought up in such environment suffered abuse at the hands of their parents. Together, they launched organizations to help them share their stories.

For Jennifer, matters grew worse in the six years after Lauren left home. She rarely went out on her own except to walk the dog or attend a co-op class taught by other homeschooling parents. When she would ask to go to a friend’s house, she says, her mother would begin to cry; after a while, Jennifer stopped asking. She never had a key to the house. Tensions escalated after she went vegan. Animal-rights activists were communists and terrorists, her parents told her, and the Bible said she should eat meat.

In Jerusalem, some Jewish activists are trying to win the right to pray on the Temple Mount. Though they had traditionally been seen as a fringe movement, a recent Washington Post article looks at how the growth of Israel's far-right makes them a likelier cause. The Temple Mount is a holy site for Muslims and Jews alike, but Muslims have called it their own in Jerusalem. Jews pray at the Western Wall of where their Temple once stood, but are forbidden to pray atop the Mount itself, although visitors of all faiths are welcome.

The site, like all of Jerusalem’s Old City, was under Jordanian control until 1967, when it was captured by Israel during the Six-Day War. The Waqf administers and protects the site. Israeli police also patrol the area and accompany Jewish visitors while they visit.Non-Muslim tourists are welcome to wander freely around the grounds. But non-Muslim prayer is forbidden. Jews in religious garb are taken aside at the entrance by Israeli security officers, screened more closely and sternly warned not to pray, bow, sing, tear their clothes in mourning or display any religious items.

Finally, check out the video of young Muslims that took the internet by storm: