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• Pope Francis cleared the way for two of his most charismatic predecessors, John XXIII and John Paul II, to be canonized as saints in 2014.
• The Boston Marathon bombings that killed three people and wounded dozens served as a wake-up call to American Muslims about the threats of homegrown extremism and lone-wolf militants. Muslims said the absence of much of a backlash showed that most Americans were able to draw a distinction between the suspects and their Muslim neighbors.
• Doug Phillips, a leading proponent of "biblical patriarchy" in which a man is called to "rule over his household" and "the God-ordained and proper sphere of dominion for a wife is the household," resigned from his Texas-based Vision Forum Ministries after acknowledging an extramarital affair. The ministry announced days later that it would disband.
• The United Methodist Church, facing a wave of open revolt from ministers who are barred from officiating at same-sex weddings, moved to defrock a Pennsylvania minister who refused to recant for presiding at the wedding of his gay son.
• A federal judge struck down key portions of Utah’s anti-polygamy law, ruling that the phrase "or cohabits with another person" is a violation of both the First and 14th Amendments. The ruling does not force the heavily Mormon state to recognize plural marriages — and he said nothing about laws against bigamy. The issue comes down to "religious cohabitation," which is beyond the scope of state laws.
• The president of the conservative Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod was forced to apologize for his role in the "debacle" of censoring a young pastor in Newtown, Conn., who joined an interfaith prayer vigil after last year’s deadly Sandy Hook school shootings. Faced with accusations of being heavy-handed and insensitive, LCMS president Matthew Harrison said he was wrong to force the Newtown pastor, the Rev. Rob Morris, to apologize for violating a ban on joint worship with other faiths.
Harold Camping, the Doomsday prophet whose predictions that the world would end on May 21, 2011, turned out to be false, died at 92; former National Council of Churches leader Bob Edgar died at 69; longtime Billy Graham soloist George Beverly Shea died at 104; Rabbi Philip Berg, who brought Kabbalah to the stars, died at 86; religious broadcaster Paul Crouch died at 79; Christian ethicist Jean Bethke Elshtain died at 72; feisty civil-rights activist Will Campbell died at 88; Karl A. Quilter, the man who designed all but 10 or so of the Angel Moroni sculptures atop Mormon temples worldwide, died at 84; Nelson Mandela, heralded as a modern-day Moses who peacefully led South Africa out of the horror of apartheid, died at 95; Evelyn Lowery, a civil-rights partner with her husband, Joseph Lowery, died at 88.
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