Monday Mix: Failure at the top, heartbreaking ties, Sutherland Springs anniversary, black churches


Welcome to another edition of the Monday Mix, where we focus on headlines and insights you might have missed from the weekend and late in the week.

The fine print: Just because we include a headline here doesn't mean we won't offer additional analysis in a different post, particularly if it's a major story. In fact, if you read a piece linked here and have questions or concerns that we might address, please don't hesitate to comment below or tweet us at @GetReligion. The goal here is to point at important news and say, "Hey, look at this."

Four weekend reads

1. “The bishops simply do not have anyone looking over their shoulder. Each bishop in his own diocese is pretty much king.”

A massive story broke over the weekend in the Catholic Church’s ongoing clergy sexual abuse scandal: a joint investigation by the Philadelphia Inquirer and Boston Globe concerning American bishops’ failure to police themselves.

The stunning finding:

More than 130 U.S. bishops – or nearly one-third of those still living — have been accused during their careers of failing to adequately respond to sexual misconduct in their dioceses, according to a Philadelphia Inquirer and Boston Globe examination of court records, media reports, and interviews with church officials, victims, and attorneys.

At least 15, including Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington who resigned in July, have themselves been accused of committing such abuse or harassment.

2. “It was an attack on America because it challenges our right to assemble and worship our God in the way we want. It has continued a downward spiral of hate, one that’s prevalent in all corners of the United States.”

After another hate-fueled shooting at a house of worship, an African Methodist pastor from Charleston, S.C., and a Conservative rabbi from Pittsburgh are bound together by “the unspeakable grief of two unconscionable desecrations.”

The New York Times reported the story of the emotional meeting between the two religious leaders on Saturday’s front page.

3. “We gather on this anniversary day to give meaning to what happened a year ago. Because there is meaning in that. Grief is real, tears are real. Tears are expressions of love.” 

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting that claimed 26 lives at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas.

On Sunday, the San Antonio Express News’ Silvia Foster-Frau — who has covered the Sutherland Springs tragedy so remarkably — returned to the church for its poignant assembly marking the anniversary.

4. “It just got to the point where trying to carry out a ministry downtown was becoming more and more difficult. We were being squeezed.”

The Post and Courier of Charleston, S.C., has an interesting front-page religion piece today. The bottom line:

The Holy City’s historic core is losing houses of worship because of gentrification, limited parking and space to grow and do ministry, as well as high church maintenance costs. Shiloh, Greater Macedonia AME, Zion-Olivet Presbyterian, St. Matthew Baptist, Plymouth Church and New Tabernacle Fourth Street Baptist have either moved or have tried to leave downtown — some seeking new opportunities in areas like West Ashley and North Charleston.

Also in the Mix

5. Coptic Christians in Egypt have buried the victims of an attack on buses carrying visitors to a monastery in a northeastern province, Al Jazeera reports.

From the story:

Seven people were killed on Friday and at least 18 others wounded when attackers opened fire on the vehicles near the Monastery of St Samuel in Minya, which was the target of a similar attack in 2017.

On Saturday, hundreds gathered at the Prince Tadros church in Minya, a city some 260km south of the capital, Cairo, to bury six members of the same family who were shot dead in the attack. Among them were a 15-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl.

The seventh victim, an Anglican bus driver, was buried on Friday evening in a village outside Minya.

"There is a mix of sadness and pain," Bishop Anba Makarios, head of Minya's Coptic diocese, told mourners on Saturday, tears streaming down his face.

6. In Pittsburgh, Muslims are eager to join Jews in the fight against immigrant hate, reports Religion News Service’s Yonat Shimron.

Shimron writes:

Politically, American Jews and Muslims have their differences, especially on the issue of Palestinian statehood, but here in Pittsburgh, the two faith groups have cultivated a strong and mutually supportive relationship, one that precedes the terrorist strikes of 9/11.

These days, they also share a common foe: people who demonize immigrants, such as Robert Bowers, the man accused of storming the synagogue with a semi-automatic weapon and shooting indiscriminately.

In case you missed it

7. Here are four GetReligion posts that you might have missed over the weekend:

RNS points out how ICE detainees' religious rights get shafted in prison (by Julia Duin)

Question to start the week

8. How careful should journalists be on Twitter?: NBC News notes — this is not exactly breaking news! — that social media can be a minefield for reporters.

The example cited by NBC involves Politico editor-in-chief John Harris, who caused a furor with a tweet related to white nationalism and the GOP.

Happy Monday, everybody. Have a terrific week.

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