Lion and lamb: Pope Benedict XVI and liberal Catholic Hans Küng met in 1962 when they were both young and progressive. Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope, took a turn to the right and may have played a role when Küng was later stripped of his privilege to teach on the grounds that his theology was incompatible with Catholic doctrine. Küng called Ratzinger a “grand inquisitor.” But after a recent four-hour meeting, Küng said the pope isn’t as reactionary as many assume, and needs to be given time. The two discussed the notion that science and religion are not incompatible, and the role of the church in a secular world (New York Times, September 27).
After Hurricane Katrina produced vivid images of poverty in America, leaders of five mainline denominations renewed their call on Congress to oppose deep cuts to programs serving the working poor, children and seniors.
A federal judge in California has ruled that the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional, deciding a case that had been refiled by an atheist whose previous challenge to the phrase “under God” reached the Supreme Court.