Kenneth L. Woodward

A Question Of Life Or Death

In any political debate burdened by strong ethical differences, the first casualty is usually language itself. So it is with the ethical issues surrounding stem-cell research--specifically the question of whether days-old human embryos should be destroyed on the promise they offer of therapeutic answers to Parkinson's and other degenerative diseases.

A Cardinal Call For Change

The papacy is the last of Europe's Renaissance courts, a system that makes courtiers of the cardinals and straight talk a rare experience. And so, when Pope John Paul II summoned his cardinals to Rome last week for a three-day consistory, many of them spoke in obsequious sentences--often quoting the pope's own words--rather than giving him what he asked for: their own thoughts on issues affecting the future of the church.

Overcoming Sin

We are fascinated with evil because we are fascinated with ourselves. If the Bible is to be believed, alienation from God is the natural habitat of humanity and evil its full-blown manifestation.

The Next Pope?

If God answers the constant prayers of the people of Onitsha, Nigeria, the city will soon be known as the town that gave the Roman Catholic Church its first black pope.

The Changing Face Of The Church

It is Sunday morning in Agbor, a remote village in southwest Nigeria, where chickens peck at rutted roads and bicycles outnumber cars. All morning long women in brightly colored dresses, wide-eyed children holding hands, men in white Sunday shirts and dark pants stream toward the churches.

A City That Echoes Eternity

One man, Jesus warned, cannot serve two masters. Yet Jerusalem is sacred stone and soil to Jew and Christian and Muslim alike. A place on the map like any other city, Jerusalem exists more vividly, more powerfully, more dangerously within the longitude and latitude of the religious imagination.

The Vatican's 'Dream Man'

When ailing Cardinal John O'Connor visited the pope last February, he didn't come just to say goodbye. Though both men knew it would likely be the last time they'd see each other, there was business to discuss: who would succeed O'Connor as Archbishop of New York.

What Miracles Mean

Does God answer prayers? Do miracles--extraordinary events that are the result of special acts of God--really happen? Last week Christians and Jews around the globe celebrated the miracle stories central to each faith: the resurrection of Jesus at Easter and the deliverance of the Israelites at Passover.

The Other Jesus

To Christians, He Is The Son Of God. But The World's Other Great Religions Have Their Own Visions Of A Legendary Figure.

Finding God

In Washington, Eugene McCarthy once observed, only two kinds of religion are tolerated: vague beliefs strongly affirmed and strong beliefs vaguely expressed.

The Way The World Ends

The Christian Bible begins with the creation of the world, before time itself began. It closes with a harrowing vision of the world's end, when time will be no more.

The Case Against Pius Xii

Like attacking a toothache that refuses to go away, historians continue to probe the character of Pope Pius XII and his refusal to issue an unambiguous condemnation of the Nazis' "final solution." What did the pope know about the Holocaust and when did he know it?

A Lama To The Globe

In a small yellow temple off a rutted mountain road in northern India, a simple image of the Buddha gazes north, over the Himalayas, toward Tibet. It is dawn and across the courtyard of what was once a British colonial cantonment, the Dalai Lama is meditating on his eventual death and passage to rebirth.

Sainthood For A Pope?

In the last 900 years, the Roman Catholic Church has found only three popes worthy of veneration as saints. As part of the church's millennial celebration next year, however, John Paul II would like to beatify three 20th- century popes, the last step before canonization.

The Making Of A Martyr

Evangelical christians have been urging teens for years to just say no to drugs and sex. During the Columbine High School massacre in Littleton, Colo., 17-year-old Cassie Bernall said yes when asked if she believed in God--and instantly became an evangelical saint.

2000 Years Of Jesus

Historians did not record his birth. Nor, for 30 years, did anyone pay him much heed. A Jew from the Galilean hill country with a reputation for teaching and healing, he showed up at the age of 33 in Jerusalem during Passover.

2000 Years Of Jesus

Historians did not record his birth. Nor, for 30 years, did anyone pay him much heed. A Jew from the Galilean hill country with a reputation for teaching and healing, he showed up at the age of 33 in Jerusalem during Passover.

Talking Shop At Oscar Time

The Academy Award race is on. NEWSWEEK's Jeff Giles and Yahlin Chang talk to five of the year's most celebrated screenwriters about bright lights, dim movie executives--and the pleasures and perils of their trade.

The Holy Grandfather

John Paul'S VISIT TO ST. Louis last week seemed for all the world like a last papal hurrah. Bent, shuffling and slurry of speech, the pope these days is not at all the athletic figure whose vigor transformed the image of the Holy Father.

The Ritual Solution

I WAS INTRODUCED TO DEATH EARLY IN LIFE. IN THE Roman Catholic grade schools of my youth, funerals were part of the informal curriculum. When a classmate's parent died, we all assembled for the funeral mass, passing by the (usually) open casket and sharing--as best we could--the sorrow of the grieving family.

Requiem For A Saint

WITH A LONG sigh from the vast Asian Subcontinent, Mother India last week bade goodbye to Mother Teresa, her most celebrated adopted daughter. As the world watched live on television, the body of the woman revered as the ""saint of the gutters'' was borne through the sultry morning streets of Calcutta on the same military gun carriage that had once transported Mahatma Gandhi and India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, to their funerals.

Little Sister Of The Poor

SHE WAS BORN AGNES GONXHA BOJAXHIU, daughter of an Albanian building contractor in what is now Macedonia, but when she died last week in Calcutta--just days after her 87th birthday--she was known the world over simply as Mother Teresa.

Gift Horses With Reins

THE WANTS OF OUR UNIVERSITIES Increase with the development of the country,'' Andrew Carnegie wrote in ""The Gospel of Wealth.'' Indeed they do. In Carnegie's day, a man of wealth could build a whole new university for less than what some schools are now seeking in capital campaigns.

Hail, Mary

THIS WEEK A LARGE BOX SHIPPED from California and addressed to ""His Holiness, John Paul II'' will arrive at the Vatican. The shipping label lists a dozen countries--from every continent but Antarctica--plus a number, 40,383, indicating the quantity of signatures inside.

Was The Pope Wrong?

POPES HAVE A MOTTO: ROMA LOCUTA, causa finita--"Rome has spoken, the case is closed." Three years ago Joha Paul II issued an apostolic letter in which he declared flatly that "the Catholic 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 faith." Rome had spoken, but the case wasn't closed.