Pope Francis said he will meet with victims of sexual abuse at the hands of Roman Catholic Church clergy for the first time in his papacy. A support group for victims, however, dismissed what it calls a "public relations" gesture, saying it doesn't address the real problems.
The Vatican leader said at an inflight news conference as he was returning to Rome from the Holy Land that priests abusing children is "such an ugly crime" and a "very grave problem," Catholic News Service reported.
"We must move ahead, ahead, zero tolerance," he stated, revealing that he would meet six to eight sex abuse victims from various countries, including Germany, the U.K. and Ireland. more >>
Speaking at a literature festival in Wales, British atheist professor Richard Dawkins admitted that while he surely doesn't believe in the supernatural elements of Christianity, he wouldn't mind being called "a secular Christian."
"I would describe myself as a secular Christian in the same sense as secular Jews have a feeling for nostalgia and ceremonies," Dawkins said at Britain's Hay Festival, according to The Telegraph.
Dawkins was responding to an American Christian minister, who was part of the audience and told the 73-year-old evolutionary biologist that he doesn't believe in miracles any longer but still sees himself as a Christian. The minister was not identified. more >>
All the 44 dioceses of the Church of England have voted to approve ordination of women as bishops, and the change in the denomination's centuries-old practice is now just one step away. The final vote is scheduled for July.
"The Church of England's dioceses have now all voted in favor of the current draft legislation to enable women to be bishops," the denomination with more than 80 million adherents worldwide announces on its website.
The voting was held Thursday as per a decision taken by the church's governing General Synod in February to send draft legislation in favor of female bishops to all the dioceses. more >>
Pope Francis warned at the Vatican on Wednesday that if humans destroy God's "greatest gift," which is creation itself, it will in turn destroy them.
"He urged people to nurture and safeguard Creation as God's greatest gift to us, because while God always forgives, Creation never forgives and – he warned – if we destroy Creation, in the end it will destroy us," The Vatican Radio reported on Francis' remarks.
The Vatican leader also reflected that the "gift of knowledge" should steer people away from wrong attitudes, such as "considering ourselves masters of Creation. Creation is not a property, which we can rule over at will; or, even less, is the property of only a few: Creation is a gift, it is a wonderful gift that God has given us, so that we care for it and we use it for the benefit of all, always with great respect and gratitude." more >>
Britain's Prince Charles set off a firestorm of criticism during a recent visit to the Canadian Museum of Immigration in Halifax, Nova Scotia, when he compared Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine with Adolf Hitler's takeover of Czechoslovakia and Poland.
According to the Daily Mail, Prince Charles, who is scheduled to meet with Putin at the D-Day commemorations in France on June 6, made the private comment during a quick tour of Canada with the Duchess of Cornwall.
While they were paying a heartfelt tribute to World War II veterans and their families over tea at the museum in Halifax's docks, Prince Charles was introduced to 78-year-old Marienne Ferguson, a museum volunteer who fled to Canada from Poland with her Jewish family when she was just 13. more >>
A group of Italian women who are in love affairs with Roman Catholic Church priests have asked Pope Francis to make the celibacy mandate for clergy optional.
Twenty six women recently wrote to the Pontiff, their letter being published on the website of the Catholic publication the Vatican Insider. "With humility, we place at your feet our suffering so that something can change, not just for us but for the good of the whole Church," reads the letter in part.
The women also stated that the celibacy mandate for priests caused "devastating suffering" within the Church and that married priests would serve "with greater passion." more >>