Culture

Music, art, literature, food, language, and all that makes us Louisianians.

In the Saint Anthony of Padua Church in the Bronx, Wednesday night is prayer meeting night.

Fifty people gather in the spare assembly room for a ceremony that looks very different from a Catholic Sunday Mass.

For one thing, the service is led by a woman rather than a male priest. She preaches excitedly while a rock band of young Salvadoran immigrants backs her up.

Some people in the audience hold up their hands; others are swaying gently. There are tears in the crowd.

Suddenly, the woman stops speaking in Spanish and begins speaking in tongues.

President Obama plans to meet this spring with Pope Francis.

On Tuesday, a White House spokesman announced the president will visit the Vatican as part of European trip in March. The president is said to be looking forward to talking with the pope about their "shared commitment to fighting poverty" and income inequality.

You've probably heard a lot about "the Latino voter" or the way companies are trying to win over "the Latino consumer."

It's a cliché to point out that Latinos, like every other ethnic group, are not monolithic. But let's say it one more time, anyway: Latinos are not monolithic.

Today, the voices of Roebuck "Pops" Staples and his four children — Cleotha, Mavis, Pervis and Yvonne — are woven into America's DNA. As the Staple Singers, the family created a sound that was part blues, part gospel and part folk, breaking down musical walls and inspiring civil rights leaders.

Clayton Sherrod was just 19 in 1964, when he became the executive chef at an all-white club in Birmingham, Ala. Sherrod, who is African-American, had started working in the kitchen there when he was 13, after his father had a heart attack.

"My mother said, 'You can't go back to school. You're going to have to find a job.' So I went to the country club."

The Vatican came in for tough public scrutiny over its handling of the clergy sex abuse scandal at a United Nations hearing Thursday in Geneva.

The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child took church officials to task during what The Associated Press described as a "grilling" that insisted the Holy See "take all appropriate measures to keep children out of harm."

The U.S. teen birthrate — one of the highest in the developed world — has been dropping in recent years. There are a number of reasons for the decrease, and a new study attributes a portion of the decline to an unlikely cause: MTV's 16 and Pregnant, a show that takes a brutally honest look at what life is like for pregnant teens.

Pope Francis, criticized by some conservative Catholics as not speaking out forcefully against abortion, said Monday that the practice is "horrific" and evidence of "the throwaway culture."

In an annual speech known as the pontiff's "State of the World" address, Francis told diplomats and journalists gathered at the Holy See that it "is horrific even to think that there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day."

Hunger, he said, is a threat to world peace, noting that food, like human life, is being discarded as unnecessary.

Rosanne Cash's Mythic Southern Road Trip

Jan 13, 2014

Let's take a musical road trip through the American South. Think of yourself crowded into the back of the car, next to the guitar case. The driver is Rosanne Cash, whose new album was inspired by her Southern travels in the Mississippi Valley.

As the White House continues dealing with well-publicized problems with the HealthCare.gov website, there's at least one big question related to the Affordable Care Act that's outside the president's control: Can employers with religious objections be compelled to provide access to contraception coverage for their workers?

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has granted a temporary injunction while she considers a challenge to the contraception requirement by a group of nuns called the Little Sisters of the Poor. The Catholic organization serves the poor elderly.

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