Friday Five: Wuerl resignation, freed American pastor, Tebow's J-word, Texas accused, Mormon identity

Among the religion news breaking today: Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, D.C.

As the Washington Post reports, Wuerl is a “trusted papal ally who became a symbol among many Catholics for what they regard as the church’s defensive and weak response to clerical sex abuse.”

But even in letting Wuerl go, Francis offered him a “soft landing,” as the Post described it.

Stay tuned for more GetReligion analysis of media coverage of that big story.

Another major religion story today: American pastor Andrew Brunson has been released after being detained for two years in Turkey, as Christianity Today reports. Look for more commentary on that news, too.

In the meantime, let’s dive into the Friday Five:

1. Religion story of the week: Tim Funk’s exceptional Charlotte Observer deep dive into the sordid history of a North Carolina pedophile — a former United Methodist pastor — is my pick for must-read Godbeat story this week.

As I noted in a post earlier this week, Funk’s 5,000-word report “is both conversational in tone and multilayered in terms of the depth of information provided.”

2. Most popular GetReligion post: Editor Terry Mattingly is back on the Tim Tebow beat, and readers were eager to click on his excellent commentary on ESPN trimming the J-word out of a story about the former University of Florida star.

“To be blunt: It’s rather strange to edit Jesus out of a story about Tim Tebow,” tmatt noted.

Amen!

3. Guilt folder fodder (and more): In a post Thursday, I mentioned one big story with a religion angle down in the Lone Star State. That would be the high-profile U.S. Senate Race between Republican incumbent Ted Cruz and Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke.

But here’s another developing Texas story that you should know about: All 15 of the state’s Roman Catholic dioceses “will release early next year the names of clergy who have been ‘credibly accused’ of sexual abuse of a minor,” as The Associated Press noted.

Also, see coverage from the Dallas Morning News and the Houston Chronicle.

4. Shameless plug: GetReligion’s own Richard Ostling literally wrote the book on Mormons. I mean, he and his late wife, Joan, co-authored the highly respected “Mormon America: The Power and the Promise.”

So when Ostling weighs in on the church hierarachy’s declaration that believers and outsiders should stop using the term “Mormon,” readers might want to pay attention.

Be sure to check out Ostling’s thoughtful post this week on the question “How can media handle major faith’s unreasonable plea?”

5. Final thought: Wait, they want to kick the nuns off the bus!? Hahahaha.

Happy Friday, everybody!

Enjoy the weekend!

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