Lead Stories
Dec 24, 12:10 PM EST

Religion news in brief

AP Photo
AP Photo/Brendan Farrington

Multimedia
Mass. Catholics hold vigil in endangered churches
Convent shuts after helping generations 'overcome'
Inside a Voodoo Gede ceremony
Religion News
John Paul II gunman lays flowers at Vatican tomb

Woman who bared breasts in Vatican square is freed

Woman run over by minivan after Christmas Eve Mass

Pope wishes Christmas hope and peace for Mideast

Text of pope's Christmas Day message

Cuba relations with Catholic Church at high point

China tightens church control ahead of Christmas

Pope celebrates Christmas Eve Mass and calls Iraqi refugees

Text of Pope Francis' homily during Christmas Eve Mass

Religion news in brief

Buy AP Photo Reprints

Graham ministry tells the rest of Louis Zamperini's story

BOONE, N.C. (AP) - The Rev. Franklin Graham says the film "Unbroken," which opens Christmas day, dramatically portrays the early life of Louis Zamperini, from his troubled youth to an Olympic medal and amazing survival at sea and in a brutal Japanese prison camp during World War II.

But Graham says the movie fails to show what happened next: how the traumatized veteran became broken by hatred for his captors, alcoholism and a failing marriage.

The book "Unbroken" also described Zamperini's conversion at a 1949 Billy Graham crusade, and the healing and forgiveness that followed.

Zamperini, who died this year at the age of 97, emphasized that turning point in his life in an interview at Graham's ministry when the book was published.

Franklin Graham says excerpts of that interview can be seen in the video "Louis Zamperini: Captured By Grace," which also will be released on Christmas day. It will be broadcast on Fox and also will be viewable online at http://www.billygraham.org .

---

Satanic display at Florida Capitol damaged

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Authorities say a woman is in custody after a Satanic Temple holiday display at the Florida Capitol was damaged.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement didn't immediately release the woman's name or the charges against her. Authorities say she damaged the Satanic display Tuesday, a day after an atheist group put it up as a counter to a nativity scene that was set up by a Christian group.

The display shows an angel falling into a pit of fire with the message "Happy Holidays from the Satanic Temple."

John Porgal (POHR'-gul), the regional director of American Atheists, said he'll leave the display in its damaged state "as a sign of what the religious rights' idea of tolerance is."

Pam Olsen, who organized the manger display, said the Satanic display was offensive, but she doesn't approve of the attack.

The state allowed the display following threats of legal action from Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

---

Ohio township orders `Zombie Nativity' taken down

CINCINNATI (AP) - A suburban Cincinnati township wants a man to kill off his "Zombie Nativity" scene.

Sycamore Township has sent Jasen Dixon two notices of zoning violations. Officials have told news outlets that they received complaints, and they concluded the structure violates rules on size and placement of yard structures. Dixon was also told to remove debris. Dixon faces legal action if he doesn't comply by Friday.

Dixon manages a haunted house attraction and decided to create a zombie nativity. It has a small creature with all-white eyes sitting up in the manger where the baby Jesus would be in traditional Christmas nativities.

There's a Facebook page for the scene and Dixon says he considers it a holiday decoration.

---

Tsunami survivors recall how mosques stood firm

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (AP) - When a powerful tsunami smashed into the Indonesian city of Banda Aceh (AH'-cheh) 10 years ago, the only structures left standing in many neighborhoods were mosques.

For the hundreds who found refuge within their walls, the buildings' lifesaving role has not been forgotten - and for many, that experience strengthened their faith.

Architectural experts say the mosques in Banda Aceh survived because they were sturdily built and had stronger foundations than surrounding structures, many of which were likely constructed of shoddier materials. But many survivors believe the mosques were spared by divine intervention.

Many residents of Aceh, the most predominantly Muslim province in all of Indonesia, viewed the disaster as punishment for their lack of devotion to God. Faisal Ali, a prominent cleric, says the tsunami has actually made many more devout.

---

Pope issues blistering critique of Vatican bureaucracy

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Francis has issued a blistering critique of the Vatican bureaucracy. He has denounced how some lust for power at the expense of others, live hypocritical double lives and suffer from "spiritual Alzheimer's" that has made them forget they're supposed to be joyful men of God.

Francis' Christmas greeting Monday to the cardinals, bishops and priests who run the Holy See was less a joyful exchange of holiday good wishes than a sobering catalog of what Francis called the "ailments of the Curia" that he hoped would be atoned for and cured.

Francis has not shied from complaining about the gossiping, careerism and power intrigues that afflict the Vatican. But as his reform agenda gathers steam, he seems even more emboldened to highlight what ails the institution.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.