Pope Francis beatified the late Pope Paul VI at the Closing Mass for the Extraordinary Synod on the Family on Sunday, describing him as a "courageous Christian" and a "tireless apostle." Paul VI, who was known for affirming the Roman Catholic Church's stance against contraception, has been credited for a miracle in California where he is said to have helped in the birth of an unborn child.
Catholic News Agency pointed out that the miracle occurred in the 1990s, where a mother asked a nun to pray for her using a photo of Pope Paul VI in response to news that her unborn child posed a danger to her life and his. After the prayers, the baby boy was born healthy.
Another requirement for beautification was fulfilled by the presentation of relics, in the form of two blood stained vests worn by Paul VI when he was attacked by a man with a bayonet in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, in 1970. more >>
A two-week summit of Catholic bishops ended Saturday without a two-thirds consensus on even a revised and watered-down section on acceptance of gays and lesbians. Nor could the bishops decide whether divorced and remarried Catholics should receive Holy Communion.
An interim report issued by the major Synod on the family at the Vatican Monday had praised the "gifts" homosexuals can bring to the church, and noted the "precious support" same-sex partners mutually provide. But the section had been watered down for voting and yet it didn't receive a two-thirds approval from the nearly 200 bishops, according to CNN.
The revised section said that homosexuality is one of the problems Catholic families have to confront. "People with homosexual tendencies must be welcomed with respect and delicacy," it added, but also said that the church's teaching remains that marriage is between one man and one woman, according to The Associated Press. more >>
Archbishop of Canterbury and Church of England leader the Most Rev. Justin Welby has shared his views on the global war against terror group ISIS, and admitted that there may be no other choice but to use force to protect people under attack. He also called on religious leaders to stand up against religious extremism that seeks to justify violence.
"Within Christian teaching there is a strong and brave tradition of absolute pacifism. Yet there are calls from Christian leaders in the Middle East for armed help. They seek temporary support while their own governments get their act together. They do not want the Middle East emptied of its Christian populations, essential to its culture, critical in many areas of life and there since before the time of St Paul," Welby wrote in an article for Prospect Magazine, to be released in November 2014.
"It may be that we cannot avoid some use of force, but that must be done in the context of a greater and more selfless ideal that renews the vision that rebuilt our own continent after the long wars that began in 1914," Welby continued. more >>
Brother Guy Consolmagno, astronomer and planetary scientist at the Vatican Observatory, has said that he finds Young Earth Creation theories that run contrary to science "almost blasphemous" in nature. He also argued that the Bible should not be used as a science book.
"It's almost blasphemous theology," Consolmagno told Fairfax Media during a visit to Australia on Wednesday.
"It's certainly not the tradition of Catholicism and never has been and it misunderstands what the Bible is and it misunderstands what science is," he said. more >>
The primates of the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Syrian Orthodox Church have urged Christians around the world to remember and reflect on the 1915 genocide of Armenians and Syriac Christians in Turkey, where up to 2 million people were killed or disappeared without a trace.
"We invite the entire Christian world to unite in prayer at the Armenian Genocide and the Syriac Sayfo centennial commemorative events in 2015. We call upon the civilized world to recognize and condemn the crimes committed against the Armenian and Syriac peoples as well as other Christian communities," read the joint statement by the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of all Armenians, Karekin II, and the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, Mar Ignatius Aphrem II, as reported by Fides News Agency on Wednesday.
The 1915 genocide during World War I in the territory of Ottoman Turkey is also known as the Armenian genocide, since Armenians made up close to 1.5 million of the victims. The attacks on Christians eliminated almost the entire Christian population in present day Turkey, leaving almost an entirely Muslim nation. more >>
A recently released midterm report from the Synod of Bishops on the family, which defended the traditional definition of marriage but used positive language toward same-sex couples in some situations, has garnered controversy among some bishops who say it does not accurately reflect the assembly's views.
"In regard to homosexuality, there was noted the need for welcoming, with the right degree of prudence, so as not to create the impression of a positive valuation of that orientation," read a summary of the remarks some bishops had toward the report, Catholic News Service reported. "It was hoped that the same care would be taken in regard to cohabitation."
The mid-term report earlier this week ruled out changes to the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, but said that the Synod bishops are working with the concept that gay people have "gifts and qualities" to offer the church. more >>