Pope John Paul II, the popular Polish pope who served from 1978 until his death in 2005, has had a second miracle attributed to his name, setting him on course toward the fastest canonization in modern Roman Catholic Church history.
The Vatican Insider reported on Tuesday that doctors and a commission of theologians agreed to attribute a second miracle to his name, meaning that now the final step for Pope John Paul II to become a saint is for cardinals and bishops to agree on the decision.
The miracle is the healing of a Costa Rican woman, who suffered from severe brain damage before she had an "inexplicable recovery." According to The Independent, Italian newspaper Il Giornale quoted Vatican officials who claimed that a double miracle had actually been performed, because not only was the woman healed, but the faith of her family had been restored. more >>
A British woman convicted of aborting her baby just two days before her due date has had her prison term reduced after London's Court of Appeal found her original 8-year sentence "manifestly excessive."
Sarah Catt, 36, pleaded guilty in court in 2012 to taking poison with the intent to induce birth after a search of her computer revealed that the married mother of two had purchased a drug known for such effects over the Internet from a company in India.
While acknowledging that deciding on Catt's sentencing was difficult, the Court of Appeal, a three-judge panel, ruled that her original term of eight years of incarceration was excessive, and reduced it to three-and-a-half years. more >>
The law change approved by the Church of England at the turn of the year that allows gay clergy to be considered for consecration will be put to a test by a legal briefing sent out to General Synod members that says priests in civil partnerships will have to prove to archbishops that they are not in a sexually active relationship.
"To be admitted to Holy Orders a person must be 'of virtuous conversation and good repute and such as to be a wholesome example and pattern to the flock of Christ,' the Legal Office document sent in June reads. "Once in Holy Orders a cleric must be diligent to frame and fashion his life and that of his family according to the doctrine of Christ and to make himself and them, as much as in him lies, wholesome examples and patterns to the flock of Christ."
The legal briefing reminds Church of England members that a clergy's sexual orientation is "irrelevant to their suitability for episcopal office" and that it should not be taken into account when considering nominations for the position. more >>
Pope Francis blessed thousands of bikers on Sunday when Harley-Davidson riders descended on St. Peter's square at the Vatican for their 110th anniversary, which coincided with an all-day long pro-life event.
The Vatican Radio noted that as many as 1,400 bikers were to be blessed by the Roman Catholic Church leader following the Angelus prayer on Sunday.
The riders were dressed in their trademark leather vests as they gathered around the Vatican, and waited for the pope to drive up in his open-top jeep to greet them and offer his blessings. The event coincided with the Vatican kicking off its "Evangelium Vitae" celebration, a full-day event aimed at defending life by standing up to abortion, murder and euthanasia. more >>
Pope Francis, the leader of the 1.2 billion-large Roman Catholic Church, met for the first time on Friday The Most Rev. Justin Welby, the head of the 80-million strong Anglican Communion, as the two Christian leaders talked about the differences, the similarities, and the road ahead for the two traditions.
The Vatican leader noted that the visiting Welby was officially installed as senior bishop of the Church of England just days after Pope Francis was elected to succeed Benedict XVI, meaning that the two leaders "will always have a particular reason to support one another in prayer."
The Anglican ordination of women as priests has been one of the main causes of strain between the two Christian traditions, since only men are allowed to serve as priests in the Catholic Church. more >>
Belgium might become the first country in the world to allow seriously ill children the right to choose to die if lawmakers in the Federal Parliament decide to expand on the already controversial euthanasia laws.
"We all know that euthanasia is already practiced on children," Peter Deconinck, president of the Belgian medical ethics organization Reflectiegroep Biomedische Ethiek, said before the Belgian Senate committee. "Yes, active euthanasia."
While the Netherlands has also stopped prosecuting doctors who perform euthanasia on minors, as long as strong medical guidelines are followed, Belgium could become the first country in the developed world to openly embrace the practice, according to a report in Belgian daily newspaper Der Morgen, translated by French news agency Presseurop. more >>