Monday's News & Ideas

  • How (not?) to be a pope in Israel
  • God, the president, and Notre Dame
  • The heavens turn politicians, scientists, into worshipers

Starting a nonprofit at your churchAlban Institute: Around the country, congregations are establishing separate nonprofits to draw new funding, people, and partnerships into their ministry.

Pope calls for a Palestinian homelandLos Angeles Times: Pope puts himself at odds with Israel's new government by calling for an independent Palestinian homeland.London Times: The Pope is deeply suspect to Jewish eyes

N.E.'s identity bolsters gay marriage toleranceBoston Globe: New England’s rapid shift to support for same-sex marriage rooted in region’s distinctive view of religion and politics as separate spheres.

Roman Catholics’ war over abortionThe New York Times: Controversy over President Obama’s scheduled appearance at Notre Dame suggests that run-of-the mill discord among American Catholics is escalating into something closer to civil war.

The Spark

The poetry of the heavens

Eighty years ago, Winston Churchill stopped at the Lick Observatory near San Jose, Calif., where he was eager to operate the site's 57-foot, 13-ton refracting telescope. Squinting toward the heavens, the future British prime minister later wrote his wife that the telescope had disclosed “an object of sublime beauty.” “Although I had often heard of the ring of Saturn, I had no conception of the perfectness and splendor of this orb,” Churchill wrote. Last month, the Wall Street Journal reports, near Churchill College at Cambridge University, astronomers and poets gathered at the Institute of Astronomy in similar wonder, whispering their way through the poetry of space.