WXXI AM News

Religion

The Catholic Church is struggling with more allegations of sexual abuse and a widening scandal. Some Catholic writers have called it a civil war within the church.

So how can the church heal? Will members stay throughout the storm? Our guests weigh in:

  • Timothy Thibodeau, Ph.D., professor of history at Nazareth College
  • Nora Bradbury-Haehl, author, interfaith youth worker, and Catholic writer
  • Nancy Rourke, Ph.D., professor of religious studies and theology at Canisius College, and former director of the College’s Catholic Studies program

A new study finds that 83% of American Christians do not feel it is their personal responsibility to show mercy; they believe it is the role of church, religious nonprofits, and government. Local leaders who work in faith-based initiatives have a lot to say about that.

We talk about what mercy means -- for people struggling with addiction; for people with criminal records; for people living in poverty. Our guests:

Pope Francis is calling for a worldwide abolition of the death penalty. This represents a shift in Catholic teaching on the issue.

Our panel discusses the impact of the Pope’s new direction on the death penalty, both from a Catholic and general Christian perspective. We also discuss the meaning of life in that context. Our guests:

  • Nancy Rourke, professor of religious studies and theology at Canisius College, and former director of the College's Catholic Studies program
  • Harry Murray, professor of sociology, and coordinator of the Peace and Justice major at Nazareth College
  • Reverend Matthew Martin Nickoloff, pastor of the South Wedge Mission
  • Michael Tomb, criminal justice reform activist

Dr. Charles Kimball is an author and the chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Oklahoma. He’s in Rochester as a guest of Nazareth College for a presentation titled, “When Religion Becomes Lethal: The Explosive Mix of Politics and Religion.”

He joins us in studio to discuss how in today’s global world, the intersection of religion and politics can have volatile consequences. He discusses those consequences, and what he thinks leaders can do to build a healthy society. In studio:

Rt. Reverend Prince Singh is the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester, and he has a lot to say about the current divisions within our country and racism in our community. He joins us to discuss what he's learned and the role he thinks the church can play in healing those divides.

Polling shows that the number of Americans who self-identify as non-religious is rising. But many atheists say this is actually a difficult time for them in this country. That’s because lawmakers who cite deeply religious backgrounds often set policy. The Supreme Court is just the latest front in those battles.

We discuss it with a panel of non-religious people and leaders. In studio:

The Parliament of World Religions is coming to Toronto, and Rochester is hosting a pre-Parliament event today. The parliament goes back to 1893, when organizers sought to create an international dialogue about religions and interfaith issues. This year, the theme is about the promise of inclusion.

Our guests discuss it:

USA Today recently reported on the continuing support for President Trump among evangelical Christians. This comes a little more than a year after 81 percent of white evangelicals voted for Trump. Many leaders in the Christian conservative community sat that the administration’s list of wins – from judicial and personnel appointments to policy changes to pro-life agenda actions – has been lengthy. That has sparked conversations in the local Christian community, particularly among left-leaning faith-based organizations whose leaders say they are confused about that support.

Our panel discusses what it means to be a modern, American Christian. In studio:

On Friday, Reverend Denise Donato – the founding pastor at Mary Magdalene Parish in East Rochester – will become the first ordained female bishop of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion (ECC). The ECC broke off from the Roman Catholic Church over the issue of the pope’s infallibility in the late 19th century. In 1994, Pope John Paul II wrote, “I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful.” Both of his successors upheld that statement.

What do parishioners think? A new survey by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University shows 60 percent of American Catholic women support the possibility of women being ordained. Does this signal change?

This hour, we talk about the modern Catholic Church and the role of women in it. Our guests:

Deadly and destructive hurricanes. Shootings in churches, on college campuses and at music concerts. Acts of terrorism from the streets of New York City to a mosque in Minnesota. Anti-Semitic threats on Jewish community centers and hate marches at synagogues. And to think...these don’t even scratch the surface of the tragic incidents that continue to shake our nation. At a time when many in our community and our country feel helpless and hopeless - Rochester area religious leaders are coming together on this edition of Need to Know to discuss the challenges of our time and to offer a sense of hope at a moment when some say it's needed most. 

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