UPDATE: St. Louis Archdiocese and Defrocked Priest Head to Trial Today on Sex Abuse Cover-Up

Joseph Ross
Update 9:11 a.m.: The case settled this morning prior to the start of trial. Ken Chackes, the attorney for Jane Doe, is to make a statement later today. More as it develops.

Update 9:42 a.m.: In a prepared statement, attorney Ken Chackes confirmed that the case was settled. And, in terms of the settlement, could (and would) only state the following:

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St. Louis Archdiocese Condemns Gay Marriage, Lectures Everyone But Catholic Church on Sex

Andrew Balet/Wikimedia
The pillars of morality at the St. Louis Archdiocese are not pleased with all this gay-marriage stuff happening in the city.

One day after Mayor Francis Slay granted marriage licenses to four gay couples, the archdiocese released a statement expressing its disappointment over two things church leaders are not exactly famous for knowing much about: getting married and same-sex relationships that consist of consenting adults.

"It is disheartening to see our wonderful city, named after the great Catholic civil leader St. King Louis IX, so eagerly cast aside the laws of our state and disregard the laws of nature," the statement says. "The fact is, the union of two men or the union of two women is not the same as the union of a woman and a man."

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Cathedral Basilica Named St. Louis' Top Landmark, No. 11 in U.S.: TripAdvisor

Matthew on Flickr
Inside the Cathedral Basilica.
The Cathedral Basilica's breathtaking beauty and world-class mosaics propelled the 100-year-old cathedral to become the top landmark in St. Louis and the 11th best in the country, according to travel site TripAdvisor.

Here in St. Louis, the basilica beat out Forest Park, the Fox Theatre, the Missouri Botanical Garden, the City Museum, Busch Stadium and every other local tourist attraction thanks to TripAdvisors' users, who review each local landmark. Cathedral Basilica also ranked No. 11 on a list of U.S. landmarks, coming in behind No. 10, Washington D.C.'s Korean War Veterans Memorial, and No. 12, the Brooklyn Bridge.

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Church Group Prays Speaker Tim Jones Will Listen to Jesus, Not Special Interest Groups

Does Tim Jones need some Jesus?
Speaker of the House Rep. Tim Jones is listening to special interest groups instead of Jesus, says members of Metropolitan Congregations United. That's why they held a prayer service to help the speaker see the light.

"We're concerned that Mr. Jones, despite being vocal about his faith being a guide in his life, is really listening more to special interest groups," says Mary Chubb, chair of MCU's South County cluster of congregations, in a press release. "We know he has higher political aspirations but the well-being of Missourians should drive him. It will mean more at election time if people know he acted on their behalf."

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Missouri's D.C. Representatives Fight for Corporate Right to Put God in Your Uterus

Sen. Roy Blunt is leading the way to put God in your uterus.
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments yesterday in the Hobby Lobby case that seeks to answer the question of whether a corporation can restrict a woman's access to health care on religious grounds -- and not a single Missouri representative in Washington has spoken out against it.

Hobby Lobby, a retail chain owned by an upstanding Christian family that sells cheap arts and crafts products made by the hands of sweatshop-bound Chinese laborers who are sometimes forced to have abortions due to their communist country's one-child policy, doesn't want its female employees to have affordable access to emergency contraception, such as Plan B and IUDs, which are known to be amazingly effective and safe birth control devices. Unfortunately, the religious knickknack giant believes these medications and devices induce abortions. They don't.

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That Story About St. Louis Ordaining the First Married Catholic Priest is Mostly Click Bait

Photos Courtesy of St. Raymond's Maronite Cathedral
Deacon Wissam Akiki with his wife, Manal, and daughter, Perla.
When St. Louis deacon Wissam Akiki is ordained Thursday, he'll become the first married Maronite Catholic priest in the U.S.

At first glance, this feels like huge news for the church, especially for a town as Catholic as St. Louis. And it sort of is. After all, Pope Francis made a special, one-time exception for Saint Raymond's Maronite Church in the LaSalle neighborhood to ordain Akiki.

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16 Signs You Went to Catholic High School in St. Louis

What high school did you go to?

That question isn't just about your alma mater. In St. Louis, an extremely Catholic city where public schools are unaccredited and struggling, the high school question is really asking you to reveal your religion, socioeconomic status, intelligence and personality all at once.

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Coolest Pastor Ever Calls His Basement Full of Arcade Games a Gift from God

Jeremy Wagner
The Basement Arcade in Warrenton
When he's not at work or serving as a children's minister, Jeremy Wagner puts his engineering skills to work bringing broken video arcade games back to life.

He's Frankenstein, and he's lovingly filled his Warrenton basement with 45 of his resurrected monsters -- all free and open to anyone who wants to play.

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Lawsuit: Priest Asked Teen to Dress Like a Woman, Not a Child, Before Sexual Abuse

Joseph Jiang's mug shot
Even after a Cathedral Basilica priest asked the archdiocese to reassign him for personal reasons, the church allowed Joseph Jiang to have unsupervised contact with the minor he is accused of sexually assaulting in her home and on church property, according to a lawsuit.

Update: The criminal charges against Jiang were dropped Thursday. Read more in our story: Court Drops Teen Sex Abuse Charges for Catholic Priest Joseph Jiang

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St. Louis Lutherans Head to Philippines to Help with Recovery and Relief

Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod
Rev. James CerdeƱola, president of the Lutheran Church in the Philippines (LCP), updates church members after Typhoon Haiyan.
The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod plans to raise and distribute $1 million worth of aid and supplies over the next three weeks in the Philippines, where Typhoon Haiyan tore through on November 8, causing wide-reaching devastation and more than 10,000 deaths.

The church planned to have members from Missouri on the ground in the island nation Wednesday to help the 23,000 baptized Filipino members and their communities after houses, churches and livelihoods were washed away in giant storm-surges.

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