The Roman Catholic Church in Australia has often given too much sympathy to pedophile priests and has not taken abuse allegations seriously enough, Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart admitted before a child abuse royal commission on Tuesday.
"I would see that people sometimes have a greater deal of sympathy for a church person than they should have, and they didn't sufficiently identify the crime that that person had committed for what it was," Hart told the commission, according to The Guardian.
"I think these times have made us see quite clearly both in what we think and know but also in our action what we must do." more >>
City Harvest Church pastor Kong Hee has rejected claims that he had total control over the company that managed his wife Ho Yeow Sun's music career, in the high-profile Singapore trial where he and five other church members are being accused of misusing millions in church funds.
"I was meeting people in the industry so I wanted a senior title that carried with it a certain authority," Kong said, referring to name cards he had requested stating that he was the "managing director" of Xtron Productions.
The minority Christian community in Pakistan is said to be outraged following the rape of a 12-year-old Christian girl in Lahore by two Muslim men. Christian advocates have said Muslims often use sexual violence as a means of controlling the Christian population, especially women and girls.
"In Pakistan rape is used as an instrument of arbitrary power over Christian girls, who come from poor and marginalized families. It is a form of violence that wants to reiterate the submission to Muslims. The rest of society is not outraged because the victims mostly belong to religious minorities, who are the most vulnerable. Rarely rapists are punished," Christian lawyer Sardar Mushtaq Gill told Fides News Agency.
"Furthermore, rape victims face terrible difficulties; they do not receive adequate medical treatment for sexual assault. Many girls are traumatized and become depressed and in need of psychological assistance," Gill added. more >>
Pastor Kong Hee of City Harvest Church in Singapore has been accused of having "shortchanged the faith of the church members" by the church's former investment manager, regarding the millions spent on his wife's pop-star career, as the high-profile trial resumed on Monday.
Channel News Asia reported that investment manager Chew Eng Han, who is also facing trial, accused Kong of knowing all the time that the 24 million SGD ($19.2 million) taken from the church's funds was used on singer Sun Ho's pop star career. He also said that Ho's CD sales and her position in the music charts were boosted by the money, and that her supposed success in the secular music industry was not real.
Kong, along with Chew, CHC pastor Tan Ye Peng, member Lam Leng Hung, and accountants Serina Wee Gek Yin and Sharon Tan ShaoYuen, could face 10 to 20 years in prison if convicted of having misused the money. more >>
Australian megachurch Hillsong has influenced Christian worship far and wide, with its songs like "Mighty to Save" and "Awesome God" routinely belted out in churches around the world. The Pentecostal church's music ministry has proven so pivotal to modern Christian worship that its United brand is the subject of a new documentary and, along with Hillsong's other mainstays (UNITED and Young & Free), has racked up this year 10 GMA Dove Award nominations.
But what is behind 31-year-old Hillsong Church's singing success?
According to Autumn Hardman, whose role is Worship Oversight for Hillsong Church's Australian campuses, the secret of Hillsong's success is simple — keeping Jesus front and center. more >>
Pope Francis urged South Korean Catholics to hold fast to the spirit of evangelization and reject "inhumane economic models" as their country's economy continues growing. The pope was addressing close to 50,000 people at Mass in his first ever visit to Asia.
The pontiff warned against the "allure of a materialism that stifles authentic spiritual and cultural values and the spirit of unbridled competition which generates selfishness and strife," Vatican Radio reported on Friday.
Speaking before a packed crowd at World Cup Stadium in Daejoen, Francis encouraged believers to "reject inhumane economic models which create new forms of poverty and marginalize workers, and the culture of death which devalues the image of God, the God of life, and violates the dignity of every man, woman and child." more >>