A new Vatican document has condemned elective plastic surgery on women, calling it "aggressive toward the feminine identity."
Vanity-motivated procedures such as breast implant surgeries and tummy tucks are "manipulations of the body that explore its limits with respect to the concept of identity," write the authors of the document titled "Women's Cultures: Equality and Difference."
According to the report, one woman told the authors that "plastic surgery is like a burqa made of flesh." A burqa is a traditional outer garment often worn by some Muslim women in public to conceal the body. more >>
The Church of England has spoken out against a bill that British MPs are getting set to vote on which would allow "three-parent babies" to be born from DNA replacement.
"The Archbishops Council, which monitors this issue, does not feel that there has been sufficient scientific study or informed consultation into the ethics, safety and efficacy of mitochondria transfer," Rev. Brendan McCarthy, the Church of England's national adviser on medical ethics, said.
"Without a clearer picture of the role mitochondria play in the transfer of hereditary characteristics, the Church does not feel it would be responsible to change the law at this time." more >>
Alexis Tsipras, who was sworn in earlier this week as the new Prime Minister of Greece, has become his country's first openly atheist leader. A survey noted that atheist leaders in Europe are becoming more prominent, with France and Croatia also being led by non-religious figures.
Tsipras was sworn in on Monday after his Syriza party won the elections in Greece, but he chose not to take a religious oath at the ceremony. Reuters noted that Tsipras, whose left-wing party has opposed austerity measures, broke from tradition when he decided to take a civil, rather than a biblical oath.
Quartz analyzed public statements from European leaders and identified at least two others who have also said that they are atheists — French President Francois Hollande and Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanović. more >>
Pope Francis reportedly met a Spanish transsexual and his fiancée at the Vatican, after giving him a phone call on Christmas Day. Diego Neria Lejarraga, who was born a woman, wrote to the pontiff in December to tell him that a parish priest had called him "the devil's daughter."
AFP reported that 48-year-;/old Lejarraga met Francis on Saturday at the Vatican, after telling the pope that he had been treated as an outcast in his parish in Plasencia in western Spain. The Spanish citizen, who identifies as a Roman Catholic, has undergone sexual reassignment surgery.
"After hearing him on many occasions, I felt that he would listen to me," Lejarraga reportedly told the Spanish Holy newspaper. more >>
A Roman Catholic archbishop said that the Catholic Church will be keeping its ban on allowing women to serve as priests in the wake of the Church of England's consecration of its first ever female bishop.
Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham, who is also the Catholic co-chair of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, told the Vatican Radio on Tuesday that while "the conversation about women's ministry continues in parts of the Catholic Church, this development is unlikely to bring about changes in the Catholic teaching on the sacrament of ordination."
The Church of England made history earlier this week when it consecrated its first ever woman bishop, Rev. Libby Lane, who will serve the diocese of Stockport. more >>
Almost 300 survivors from the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland where over a million people were killed during the Holocaust marked the 70th year since the camp's liberation on Tuesday. Notable Jewish figures such as director Steven Spielberg attended the event and delivered a speech, with survivors warning that anti-Semitism is on the rise in Europe again.
"We survivors do not want our past to be our children's future," said Roman Kent, born in 1929, according to BBC News.
"Once again young Jewish boys are afraid to wear yarmulkes [skullcaps] on the streets of Paris, Budapest, London and even Berlin," added Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress. more >>