The Church of England recently clarified its move to offer alternatives to phrases such as "repent" of one's sins and "reject the devil" in baptism services after it was accused of "dumbing down" the official text.
The church body said in a statement Saturday that a 2011 motion requesting for additional materials with "culturally appropriate and accessible language" "would not replace or revise the current Baptism service but would be available for use as alternatives to three parts of the service."
The motion had been proposed by a group of clergy from the Diocese of Liverpool who felt "they were losing touch with congregations at important moments," such as baptisms. They felt a "tension between understandability and historic theological reference in our rites" especially when unchurched persons, such as godparents, were involved. more >>
Extracts of a Pope Francis speech have recently been published in Italian websites, where the Vatican leader warns educators that they need to be careful when engaging with children of gay couples and those living in complex family situations, and make sure they are not administering "a vaccine against faith to them."
A Vatican spokesman has moved to clarify, however, that the pope's remarks are not political and do not serve as a recognition of gay civil unions.
"On an educational level, gay unions raise challenges for us today which for us are sometimes difficult to understand," Francis said in a speech to the Catholic Union of Superiors General in November, according to reports in Italian media websites on Saturday. more >>
Pope Francis announced Sunday he plans to visit Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian territories on May 24-26, and meet with the leader of the Orthodox Christian Church. He will be the fourth pontiff to visit the Christian Holy Land in the modern era.
The pope made the announcement Sunday, which was the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI's first trip to Jerusalem six months into his papacy to meet the leader of the Orthodox Christian Church.
Francis told the crowd in St. Peter's Square that he was announcing his three-day visit to Amman, Bethlehem and Jerusalem "in the climate of joy that is typical of the Christmas season," according to The Associated Press. more >>
Pope Francis has urged religious orders of the Catholic Church to strive to mold both the hearts and the minds of those studying in seminaries to become priests, warning that they can otherwise become "little monsters."
"We must form their [seminary students'] hearts. Otherwise we create little monsters. And then these little monsters mold the people of God. This really gives me goose bumps," Italian Jesuit journal La Civiltà Cattolica quotes the pope as telling the superiors general of religious orders in a conversation.
The pope stressed that sinners, not corrupt people, were admitted in the seminary. "I am not speaking about people who recognize that they are sinners: we are all sinners, but we are not all corrupt. Sinners are accepted but not people who are corrupt," Francis said in the three-hour conversation that took place in late November. more >>
Italy's Supreme Court sparked international outcry online recently when it overturned the conviction of a 60-year-old man who engaged in a sexual relationship with an 11-year-old girl because they were in love.
According to an AFP report, the initial rulings did not take into account the "amorous relationship" the unidentified 11-year-old shared with 60-year-old Pietro Lamberti, a social services worker from Catanzaro in southern Italy.
Lamberti was convicted in February 2011 and sentenced to five years in prison for having sex with the young girl and the verdict was later upheld by an appeals court. more >>
The Coca-Cola Company is defending itself after receiving criticism from gay activists for cutting a gay marriage scene from a new television commercial in Ireland.
The beverage company is the latest to be targeted by gay activists, who also recently attempted to get hit reality TV show Duck Dynasty dropped from the A&E network after one of its stars, Phil Robertson, said in an interview that he believed the Bible labeled homosexuality a sin.
Coca-Cola is currently airing a series of television commercials throughout Europe for its new "Reasons to Believe" campaign. The campaign's purpose is to inspire viewers by showing that for every negative situation in life there is an equally positive experience. The commercial includes a sequence of negative experiences, such as losing a wrestling match or public vandalism, juxtaposed with positive situations, such as a mother frosting a cake or people dancing to live music. more >>