GateHouse News Service's weekly Religion News with tips on the pope's resignation, the 10 most religious states in the U.S., and Germany's religious makeup.
Week in Religion
Pope Benedict XVI announced Feb. 11 he will step down at the end of the month, becoming the first pope to step down in almost 600 years. He made his first public appearance after the announcement on Feb. 13, Ash Wednesday, to thank faithful Catholics and explain he was resigning "for the benefit of the church," according to a CNN report.
Benedict's resignation has started a flurry of speculation about who will be his successor. Canon law states that any baptized man in good standing can become pope, making for a very large pool of technically eligible people. CNN has reported that Bono, lead singer of the band U2, House Speaker John Boehner and comedian Steven Colbert are eligible to become the next pope, though their chances of receiving the majority of votes from the College of Cardinals seem low. Among the more likely picks are Cardinal Marc Ouillet of Quebec, Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri of Argentina and Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan.
While it has not yet been decided when the College of Cardinals will meet to decide who will become the next pope, the Vatican has announced that the new pope will be installed before Easter, which falls on March 31 this year..
Mississippi was found to be the most religious state in America, according to a Feb. 13 Gallup poll. Fifty-eight percent of Mississipians were classified as very religious. Mississippi was followed by Utah and Alabama, both of which had 56 percent of citizens who were very religious. The rest of the 10 most religious states are: Louisiana, 53 percent; Arkansas, 52 percent; South Carolina, 52 percent; Tennessee, 50 percent; North Carolina, 50 percent; Georgia, 48 percent; and Oklahoma, 48 percent.
History of the Catholic Church: From the Apostolic Age to the Third Millennium
The Catholic Church is the longest-enduring institution in the world. Beginning with the first Christians and continuing in our present day, the Church has been planted in every nation on earth.
The history of the Catholic Church is long, complicated, and fascinating, and in this book it is expertly and ably told by historian James Hitchcock. As in the parable of Christ about the weeds that were sown in a field of wheat, evil and good have grown together in the Church from the start, as Hitchcock honestly records. He brings before us the many characters -- some noble, some notorious -- who have left an indelible mark on the Church, while never losing sight of the saints, who have given living testimony to the salvific power of Christ in every age.
Quote of the Week
"Wonder is the basis of worship." - Thomas Carlyle
Pantheist: A worshipper of all gods or one who believes that God and the universe are one.
Religions Around the World
Religious makeup of Germany, according to CIA World Factbook:
34 percent: Protestant
34 percent: Roman Catholic
3.7 percent: Muslim
28.3 percent: Unaffiliated or other
GateHouse News Service