Dolan is No. 1 newsmaker in religion reporters’ poll

Rapid City Journal

Mary Garrigan Journal staff

Before the slaughter of innocents in a Newton, Conn., school on Dec. 14 sent a grief-stricken nation into mourning, religion journalists voted the top 10 religion stories of 2012.

While the No. 1 U.S. religion story in December 2012 was, without a doubt, the school attack that killed 20 first-grade students and six adults, it happened after the Religion Newswriters Association ballot deadline. But the mournful search for meaning that will follow, as religious people discern religion’s role in future debates about mental health and gun control, promises to remain an important story in 2013.

RNA members — professional journalists who cover religion — voted on the year’s other significant religious events and put the U.S. Catholic bishops’ opposition to national health care legislation that mandated contraception coverage at the top of the list. Related to the top story, the top religion newsmaker was Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, who became the point man for Catholic objections to required coverage of contraception, sterilization and morning-after drugs in Obamacare. …

The Top 10 Religion Stories of the Year, as chosen by RNA members, are:

5. Monsignor William Lynn of Philadelphia becomes the first senior Catholic official in the U.S. to be found guilty of covering up priestly child abuse; later Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City, Mo., becomes the first bishop to be found guilty of it.

6. The Vatican criticizes the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an umbrella group of U.S. nuns, alleging they haven’t supported church teaching on abortion, sexuality or women’s ordination.

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