Former NBA star lashes out about missionary held by North Korea
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is denouncing an angry outburst by former NBA star Dennis Rodman in North Korea.
Rodman is in North Korea for a basketball exhibition honoring the regime's leader, Kim Jong Un (kim jawng oon). The former Chicago Bull didn't like being asked during a CNN satellite interview if he would bring up the detention of American Kenneth Bae (bay). The missionary, who is in poor health, is being held on charges of "anti-state" crimes. Bae has been held for more than a year.
White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters he wouldn't dignify Rodman's outburst. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki (SAH'-kee) says the U.S. remains very committed to securing Bae's release and is gravely concerned about his health. She said those listening to Rodman's comments should remember that he's not representing the U.S.
Pope strikes 'monsignor' title for most priests in keeping with humble aims
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has done away with the honorific title "monsignor" for all but a few priests, further evidence of his desire for priests to be simple, humble servants.
The Vatican's Secretary of State sent a letter to its embassies asking them to inform bishops' conferences of the change. From now on, the Vatican says only diocesan priests who are "chaplains of the Holy Father," can use the honorific, and then only after they turn 65.
Bishops, vicars and archbishops still get to be called "monsignor" and Holy See officials will have the title if their office warrants it.
Coroner: Priest beaten to death with stake, pipe
GRANTS PASS, Ore. — An autopsy shows a priest who was killed on New Year's Day in the Northern California city of Eureka was beaten to death with a wooden stake and a metal gutter pipe.
A coroner declined to release further details about the beating death of Rev. Eric Freed because the investigation has not concluded.
But at his arraignment, Gary Lee Bullock, was charged with murder with a special allegation of torture. He is also charged with burglary, arson and auto theft. Bullock pleaded not guilty and bail was set at $1.2 million.
Freed Pa. monsignor told to report weekly
PHILADELPHIA — A judge in Philadelphia has told a Roman Catholic church official convicted in a sex-abuse scandal that she already has signed an arrest warrant that she would issue if he violates the term of his release.
Monsignor William Lynn's conviction was overturned last week and he was released from prison on Friday after serving 18 months of a three- to six-year prison term for felony child endangerment.
Lynn was the first U.S. church official ever convicted in the handling of abuse complaints. But a state appeals court ruled Dec. 26 that the state's child-endangerment law in the late 1990s did not apply to supervisors like Lynn.
Lynn attorney Thomas Bergstrom says Lynn is restricted to the two floors of a rectory at St. William Parish in northeast Philadelphia. Lynn has to get permission to leave for appointments with his doctor, lawyer or to attend to anything else. There is no school at the parish.
His diocese put up bail money for Lynn, which has drawn criticism.
As cohabitation gains favor, shotgun weddings fade
WASHINGTON — Living together is a growing arrangement for America's dating couples who become parents.
The share of unmarried couples who opt to move in together after a pregnancy surpassed what demographers call "shotgun marriages" for the first time over the last decade. That's according to a forthcoming paper from the National Center for Health Statistics.
About 18.1 percent of all single women who became pregnant opted to move in with their boyfriends. That is compared to 5.3 percent who chose to have a post-conception marriage.