The Pope has spoken out against gay marriage this week affirming the need for society to "acknowledge and promote the natural structure of marriage as the union of a man and a woman."
Pope Benedict XVI helped officially open the Christmas season at the Vatican on Friday with the traditional lighting of a Christmas tree in Vatican City's St Peter's Square. On the same day the Holy See released an official statement made annually by the pope for the World Day of Peace 2013.
The statement from the Catholic Church leader said: more >>
The Cambridge University Library in the U.K. has released a copy of the Ten Commandments dating back two millennia in what is one of the oldest known manuscripts from the Old Testament.
"Cambridge University Library preserves works of great importance to faith traditions and communities around the world," University Librarian Anne Jarvis said in a statement.
"Because of their age and delicacy these manuscripts are seldom able to be viewed – and when they are displayed, we can only show one or two pages. Now, through the generosity of the Polonsky Foundation, anyone with a connection to the Internet can select a work of interest, turn to any page of the manuscript, and explore it in extraordinary detail," Jarvis added. more >>
A European pro-life law expert has said that Ireland may be on the verge of caving in to the Council of Europe and revising its abortion laws, which its citizens had firmly objected to until now.
"How can a country, that refused abortion three times by referendums, be pressured to legalize it in the name of a Convention which does not enshrine a right to abortion," asks Grégor Puppinck, Ph.D., Director General of the European Center for Law and Justice (ECLJ), an organization that advocates for defending religious freedom in law.
Puppinck explains in an article that Ireland "is a symbol of resistance against abortion," being one of the only countries in Europe that prohibits abortion in almost all forms. The island-nation has rejected the legalization of abortion three times since the 1980s in voter referendums, but the recent tragedy of the Hindu woman who passed away after being denied an abortion procedure. more >>
The Vatican has come forward to reassure the public that, despite claims of the world ending on Dec. 21, 2012, the Mayan calendar cited in much of the speculation does not portend Earth's doom. The U.S. government also issued a statement seeking to assure Americans that "scary rumors about the world ending in 2012 are just rumors."
The Rev. Jose Funes, director of the Vatican Observatory and the Roman Catholic organization's leading astronomer, came out this week to insist that the world will not end four days before Christmas and that the issue should not even be discussed.
The Associated Press reported that Fuentes wrote, addressing one of the theories surrounding the calendar, that indeed the universe is expanding and "if some models are correct, will at one point 'break away' – but not for billions of years." The AP added that the reverend and top Vatican astronomer reminded readers that, despite the unfounded claims of a Dec. 21 doomsday, Christians believe that "death can never have the last word." more >>
In an effort to address the concerns of religious leaders, the British government has announced that it will be illegal for the Church of England to perform same-sex marriages, while other religious institutions will be allowed to perform such unions if they wish.
The government is pushing on with efforts to legalize same-sex marriage by 2015, although it has met opposition from the Church of England, Britain's major denomination, which has insisted that the traditional definition of marriage between one man and one woman needs to be preserved. It has also shared fears that its churches will be forced to conduct same-sex marriages if the practice is legalized around the country.
Culture Secretary Maria Miller tried to alleviate these fears on Monday, however, announcing before the parliament that the Church of England will be banned from conducting same-sex marriages, although other religious institutions will be provided with the opportunity of "opting in" should they express the desire, BBC News reported. more >>
There has been a huge 13 percent drop in the number of people in Britain identifying themselves as Christian, according to new data released from the 2011 Census.
The shocking statistics reveal that the number of Christians has fallen from 37 million to 33 million since 2001. Christians now make up only 59 percent of the population, as opposed to 72 percent in 2001.
Meanwhile, the number of Muslims has risen from 1.5 million to 2.7 million - or 5 percent of the population - while the number of people describing themselves as having no religion rose by 10 percent to 25 percent of the population. more >>