Hopey and Changey: Iran's New President and the Vatican's New Pope

Ken Layne · 09/20/13 02:28PM

A good way to routinely bum yourself out is to set "Google News" as your Internet home page. But last night, something magical happened on that usual grid of gloom: The top stories were good news: Pope Francis and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, the elderly men recently chosen to lead their respective communities, had again made headlines for words of kindness and reconciliation.

Bejeweled European Skeleton Gods Discovered By "Macabre Art" Expert

Ken Layne · 09/10/13 12:00PM

In the middle of the European Renaissance, these fantastic skeleton gods were being constructed in the bowels of Europe's Catholic churches. Los Angeles art historian and photographer Paul Koudounaris found these secret saints in catacombs and storage bins across the old Holy Roman Empire.

New "Nice Pope" Spends Workday Calling Sad People

Ken Layne · 09/06/13 12:16PM

It was fun having a Nazi supervillain as pope, but it wasn't very good for the Catholic Church brand. The new pope, Francis, is working hard at giving the papacy a nicer public image. If you're bummed out about a relationship, for example, he'll call you and talk you through it.

Reform-Minded Pope Francis Vows He'll Crack Down... on Feminist Nuns

Adam Weinstein · 04/15/13 01:02PM

Oh, dreamy South American Pope Francis, restoring hope in a vibrant, evolving Catholic Church. He's just the pontiff we need to root out the perverted scourge that for so long has besmirched the clergy's ranks: ladies with opinions on things.

The Catholic Church Should Not Expect to Be Taken Seriously

Hamilton Nolan · 06/05/12 09:12AM

A few years ago, Sister Margaret Farley, a nun and a teacher at Yale's Divinity School, published Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics—a book that did not say that your sexual urges are nothing more than the shameful pangs of demon penises fucking your soul which should be repressed and repressed and repressed until you are absolutely warped, underneath that church outfit. Burn the witch! Ahh, apparently we don't do that any more? Well... censure the witch!

Catholic Leaders: Providing Birth Control to People in Need Raises "Serious Moral Concerns"

Louis Peitzman · 02/11/12 05:44PM

Well, this isn't exactly surprising. Under pressure from the religious right, Barack Obama made a concession about birth-control insurance coverage — while religious employers will not have to offer free contraceptives to workers, the insurers themselves will have to. It's a compromise he shouldn't have had to make in the first place, and Catholic Church officials (along with prominent Republic leaders) are being dicks about it, anyway.

Catholics Take on the Republican Cult of Ayn Rand

Jim Newell · 06/06/11 12:50PM

Right-wingers have long been fascinated by Ayn Rand, the mid-century pop philosopher who defined moral behavior as doing whatever will make you, the individual, happy, and opposed any government intervention in the economy or charitable giving. Based on her economic beliefs, you can understand why, for example, Rep. Paul Ryan makes each of his staff members read her most famous novel Atlas Shrugged. But shouldn't it bother some of these right-wingers that she was, to use their own language, a "radical atheist," too?

Catholic Church Blames Hippies, Not Celibacy, for All That Kid-Molesting

Hamilton Nolan · 05/18/11 09:45AM

A lengthy, in-depth report on the child sexual abuse scandals of the Catholic Church—a report paid for primarily by the Catholic Church—has found that it wasn't the whole "celibate, sexually frustrated men in close proximity to vulnerable children" thing that caused all the molestation. It was hippies.

Stephen Colbert Becomes a Jew for Lent

Matt Cherette · 03/09/11 11:50PM

On tonight's Report, Stephen Colbert—with his forehead still adorned with ash—decided that he'd give up Catholicism for Lent. Interesting! Then, Colbert decided to take up Judaism. And then, he gave up "not eating bacon" for Jewish Lent.

No More 'Booty' In the Bible

Adrian Chen · 03/06/11 03:15PM

Catholic Bishops have ordered that a new translation of the bible replace the word "booty" (heh) with "spoils" of war. "We needed a new translation because English is a living language," said one of the members of the team in charge of the revisions. So now when God comes down from heaven and says to Abraham that his wife has a "banging booty," it will be "banging spoils of war". Wait... that was part of the Bible, right? [USA Today]

Topless Acrobats Perform For the Pope

Whitney Jefferson · 12/15/10 05:14PM

Here comes another bizarre video! In one of the more disturbing clips we've seen all day, four acrobatic males disrobe down to their pants and perform for Pope Benedict XVI. Sexually charged or not? You decide.