Pope Francis has said that Roman Catholic priests can begin pardoning women who've had abortions and doctors who have performed the procedure starting in 2016, changing long-standing Catholic practice. The Vatican insisted, however, that it continues to look at abortion as a sin.
Archbishop Rino Fisichella, the president of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelisation, announced Francis' decision earlier this week, and said: "The missionaries of mercy are priests sent out by the Holy Father at the beginning of Lent. The Pope is sending them out [to dioceses and parishes] as a tangible sign of how a priest should be a man of pardon, close to everyone ..."
The Irish Times pointed out that Catholic tradition only allows bishops or the pope himself to absolve women of having an abortion, which is a sin that leads to excommunication from the Church. more >>
Italian forensics investigators have used the Shroud of Turin, believed by some to be the burial cloth of Christ, to produce an image of how Jesus might have possibly looked like as a child.
The Independent reported that police generated a photo-fit image from the negative facial image imprinted on the famous shroud. They then used a reversed aging process which included reducing the size of the jaw, raising the chin, and other techniques to produce the image of the young Jesus. Photos released online show the step-by-step reversed aging process used.
The shroud's authenticity has been the subject of much debate and scientific testing. It is recognized by the Vatican as an important relic, but the Roman Catholic Church has never proclaimed its stance on whether the face imprinted in the shroud really belongs to Jesus. more >>
European powers collide in the UEFA Champions League semifinals as Barcelona and Bayern Munich face-off for a place in the tournament finale. The first leg of their match is on May 6, 2015 at 2:45 p.m. and will be at Camp Nou.
Barcelona booked their place in the semifinals by eliminating Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain in the quarters. Dominating both legs, the Catalans won away from home 3-1, before finish the job at home and winning 2-0 to advance behind a 5-1 aggregate.
They have been excellent in all competitions as they currently lead the Spanish La Liga table by two points over rivals Real Madrid with only a handful of matches remaining. more >>
Only four teams are left in the UEFA Champions League and defending champions Real Madrid are tasked to play Juventus in the tournament semifinals. The first leg of their match is at Juventus Stadium and will be on May 5, 2015 at 2:45 p.m. ET.
Juventus is looking for their third European title in club history and seem to have the proper players to make a march for the championship.
In the quarters, the Serie A club met French up-and-coming squad Monaco and did a decent job in their home leg, winning 1-0. more >>
Only with five games left in their English Premier League schedule, Arsenal travel to Kingston Communications Stadium to face Hull City.
The match is on May 4, 2015 at 3:00 PM ET.
Currently, the Gunners are sitting in third place in the league table, which is good for an automatic spot in next year's UEFA Champions League. more >>
The Roman Catholic Church in Ireland has sent out pastoral letters insisting that opposing gay marriage is not homophobic, as the country prepares for a national referendum on whether to legalize the practice on May 22.
"We have got ourselves into the situation that many people won't even raise these issues in their families and workplaces for fear of being ridiculed or condemned as homophobic," said Archbishop Eamon Martin, who leads Ireland's Catholic Church.
Martin added, according to the Irish Independent, that it's a "fact of nature" that same-sex unions are "fundamentally and objectively different" from the sexual union of a woman and a man, which is "naturally open to life." more >>