The head of the Roman Catholic Church declared during a conference on Monday that marriage is by definition a union of man and woman, defying past claims by some that the Church was considering a change in its views on same-sex unions and sexuality.
Pope Francis remarks came during an address before a Church group known as a Colloquium in which he spoke about the need for strong families and to recognize "man and woman" as the "root of marriage and family."
"It is fitting that you have gathered here in this international colloquium to explore the complementarity of man and woman," stated the pontiff. "This complementarity is at the root of marriage and family, which is the first school where we learn to appreciate our own and others' gifts, and where we begin to acquire the arts of living together." more >>
Pope Francis plans to make his first visit to the United States next September, and his itinerary will include traveling to Philadelphia for the upcoming World Meeting of Families congress. The discussion topics for the meeting are set to focus on contentious issues such as premarital sex, homosexuality, infertility and celibacy, according to the congress' meeting notes.
"I would like to confirm that, God willing, in September 2015 I will go to Philadelphia for the eighth World Meeting of Families," the pope said during his opening speech at the interreligious conference on traditional marriage at the Vatican.
Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput told Catholic News Service that he was surprised at the early announcement. "You know usually they don't make these announcements. Four months out is the typical and here we are 10 months away, and the Holy Father said he is coming to Philadelphia," Chaput said. more >>
Janina Kolkiewicz stunned doctors by waking up in the morgue 11 hours after she was declared dead on Nov. 6 in Poland.
The 91-year-old woman was reported dead by Wieslawa Czyz, a physician who examined her after receiving a call from her family. She reported finding "no basic life functions" during the examination, which included checking for a pulse and checking Kolkiewicz's pupils for dilation, but the patient showed no signs of vitality.
"If I had had doubts, I would have called the ambulance, done an electrocardiogram, but I was sure that the patient is dead," Czyz told the Associated Press. more >>
Euthanasia does not reflect dignity but is, in fact, a sin against God and creation and a "false sense of compassion," Pope Francis said Saturday, denouncing the right-to-die movement. The pontiff also rejected abortion, in vitro fertilization and embryonic stem cell research.
"We're are living in a time of experimentation with life. But a bad experiment… (we're) playing with life," he said, addressing about 4,000 doctors from the Association of Italian Catholic Doctors in the Vatican, according to Catholic News Agency.
"Be careful, because this is a sin against the Creator: against God the Creator," the pope said, adding that the assisted suicide movement can be attributed to a "throw-away culture" that sees the sick and elderly as a burden on society. more >>
The Bible has been crowned the book "most valuable to humanity," beating out Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species and George Orwell's 1984.
In a survey of 2,044 British adults, 37 percent of respondents named the Bible most valuable, versus 35 percent for Origin of Species.
Conducted by YouGov on behalf of the Folio Society, other literary works ranked included Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time (17 percent), Albert Einstein's Relativity (15 percent), Orwell's 1984 (14 percent) and Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird (10 percent). more >>
Russian troops and tanks have been photographed entering Ukraine as the ceasefire in the Eastern European country has all but collapsed. The U.S. responded by accusing the Russian administration of talking peace while at the same time fueling war with its every action.
"The pattern is clear," Samantha Power, the American envoy to the U.N., told the Security Council on Wednesday. "Where Russia has made commitments it has failed to meet them."
"Russia has negotiated a peace plan and then systematically undermined it at every step. It talks of peace but it keeps fueling war." more >>