Kenneth L. Woodward

Who's Sorry Now?

It isn't often that a pope apologizes. But in an unusual personal letter addressed to "every woman" in the world this week, John Paul II does just that. Acknowledging that women "have often been relegated to the margins of society and even reduced to servitude," the pope offers a brief, somewhat stilted mea culpa for the church's complicity in their oppression. "If objective blame, especially in particular historical contexts, has belonged to not just a few members of the Church," the pope...

Thou Shalt Not Patent!

There are more than 50,000 human genes, and scientists are working as rapidly as they can to identify the functions of each one. Right behind them are the biotechnology companies, and they are working as fast they can to patent those genetic processes that show commercial promise.

The Stages Of Grief

The rescue squads have pulled out of Oklahoma City. Already the attention of the national media has turned elsewhere--to Africa, to O.J., to the hunt for John Doe No. 2.

Life, Death, And The Pope

EVERY POPE LEAVES HIS MARK ON THE CHURCH. JOHN XXIII IS remembered for "Pacem in Teryis," his magnificent invitation to world peace. Paul VI will forever be associated with "Humanae Vitae," the agonized encyclical condemning contraception.

The Mantle Of Prophecy Comes Only In Gray

When the apostles who govern the Mormon Church appointed their 15th ""president, prophet, seer and revelator'' last week, their choice was no surprise. By tradition, the prophet's mantle falls automatically on the apostle who has served longest as a member of the church's Council of the Twelve -- in this case, 84-year-old Gordon B.

The Giggles Are For God

On a recent weeknight in Toronto, 1,500 worshipers gathered in the Vineyard Christian Church and had a good laugh. It began when a dozen pilgrims from Oregon got up to introduce themselves and then began to fall to the floor, laughing uncontrollably.

What Ever Happened To Sin?

Before there was shame or guilt or blame, there was sin. As the Bible tells it, Adam and Eve first disobeyed their creator, finding his command not to eat the fruit of a particular tree in Eden an intolerable limit on their freedom to choose.

Religion: To Forgive Is Human, Too

In a culture of victimization and blame, it is rare to witness a public act of forgiveness. That's what happened last week when Chicago's Cardinal Joseph Bernardin revealed his tearful reconciliation with Steven Cook, the man who in 1993 accused the cardinal of sexually abusing him in the 1970s.

On The Road Again

For most of human history, no one had to search for the sacred. At the core of every culture was a cult, with sacred times and places set aside for public rituals that enabled everyone to commune with the divine.

Soulful Matters

Hillary Clinton: In the middle of a crucial and bitterly fought political season, the First Lady speaks exclusively with NEWSWEEK'S Religion Editor about her spiritual life.

The Flying Pope Gets Grounded

He doesn't walk, he shuffles. On trips abroad he no longer kneels to kiss the ground. When he visited Croatia two weeks ago his energy was so low he was unable to perform his favorite function: blessing the handicapped children brought to see him.

Hot Under The Roman Collar

He's hot as hell under his white Roman collar. When he mentions the subject, which he does almost daily, the veins stick out on his neck. Nothing -- not Polish communism or dissident Catholic theologians -- has upset Pope John Paul II like the United Nations Conference on Population and Development, which opens in Cairo this week.

The Gospel Of Guyhood

Goodbye, macho man. Kiss off, Sensitive Man. Get lost, Wild Man. Make room, brothers, for the latest icon in the quest for masculine identity: the Godly Man.

What Is Virtue?

VIRTUE: FOR TOO MANY AMERICANS, the word suggests only a bygone bluenose era, prim lectures on sexual purity -- at best, something you ""lose'' when you finally give in or give up.

A Heavyweight Contest

FORGET THE KNICKS VS. THE PACERS OR the Rockets vs. the Jazz. The major contest this week is a scheduled one-rounder at the Vatican where Bill Clinton, America's pro-choice president, will meet for an hour with John Paul II, the world's pro-life pope.

An Identity of Wisdom

WHEN HE WAS APPOINTED to the faculty of the Harvard Medical School in 1934, Erik H. Erikson had never studied medicine. He had no college degree, either, only a standard diploma from a German high school.

The Death Of Jesus

THE PASSION AND THE DEATH OF Jesus, which Christians celebrate this week, may well be the world's best-known story. For believers, it is the core of Christian faith and identity, the drama that gives Easter its meaning.

Pink Collars For Anglicans

THIRTY-TWO NEW PRIESTS WERE ordained to the Church of England last weekend, and all 1,100 tickets to the ceremony at Bristol Cathedral were sold out months in advance, The reason: the new priests were women, the first to be ordained in the church's 460-year history.

Was It Real Or Memories?

HE HAS BEEN A PRIEST FOR MORE than 40 years, a bishop for nearly 30 and a cardinal since 1983. But nothing in the life of Chicago's Cardinal Joseph Bernardin compares to the public humiliation that began three months ago when he was accused of sexually molesting an adolescent boy 17 years earlier.


AS CHANTAL LAKEY TELLS THE STORY, she and her fiance, Dale, were exploring the Oregon coast when he lost his footing. As Dale plummeted to his death, Chantal shouted, "Please God!

Misty, Watercolored Memories

IN A MINNESOTA COURT, A woman is suing her father for alleged sexual abuse as a child. This is hardly news. What makes this lawsuit special is age: the plaintiff is 60, her father is 91 and the alleged abuse occurred 57 years ago--something the daughter claims to have remembered only recently, with the help of a therapist. "This may be as extreme an example of repressed memory as you are likely to find," says the defendant's attorney, Michael Stern, who will divulge neither of the parties'...

The Rites Of Americans

SOCIOLOGISTS HAVE LONG PUZZLED over surveys that show that the United States is the most religious nation in the advanced industrialized West. When asked, more than 90 percent of Americans profess a belief in God, More than half say they pray at least once a day and, in any given week, more than 40 percent claim to have attended worship services.

Did You Know?

are more likely to belong to a church than nongraduates.attend worship services less often than the poor.are not Muslims, and most American Muslims are not Arabs.are Protestant than Catholic; they led the first St.

Making Room For Religion

The Culture of Disbelief STEPHEN L. CARTER 328 pages Basic Books $25 STEPHEN CARTER IS A FORMER CLERK to the late justice Thurgood Marshall, a professor of constitutional law at Yale University and, at 38, an accomplished African-American scholar.

Mixed Blessings

John Paul II comes to America, where he'll be welcomed by a pro-choice president and celebrate with a church divided over sexual issues Pope John Paul II arrives in Denver this week "to celebrate life--the value of life, the beauty and joy of life." The occasion is World Youth Day, an international Roman Catholic jamboree that this pope has previously celebrated in Poland, Spain and Brazil--but never in the United States.

Dead End For The Mainline?

To join it, one would never know that the Community Church of Joy in Glendale, Ariz., is Lutheran--or that Pastor Walther Kallestad had been educated in a traditional Lutheran family, college and seminary.