Pope Francis and the Synod of Bishops on the family heard from a married couple who asked Catholic parishes to welcome same-sex couples as a model of evangelization, and at the same time uphold traditional church teachings on marriage.
"The church constantly faces the tension of upholding the truth while expressing compassion and mercy. Families face this tension all the time," Ron and Mavis Pirola of Sydney told the synod on Monday, Catholic News Service reported.
"Take homosexuality as an example. Friends of ours were planning their Christmas family gathering when their gay son said he wanted to bring his partner home too. They fully believed in the church's teachings and they knew their grandchildren would see them welcome the son and his partner into the family. Their response could be summed up in three (sic) words, 'He is our son.'" more >>
Mike Overd, a street preacher in the United Kingdom, is facing three charges of "causing offense," a violation of Section 5 of the Public Order Act for public remarks comparing Jesus Christ and the Muslim prophet Muhammad, whom he said had married a 9-year-old girl.
Overd has argued that his comments about Muhammad were not intended to be hateful, as his speech included, "a simple comparison and it was factual."
"I have no hatred of Muslims in me at all and only preach the truth of the Gospel. Recently a Muslim man came to my defense when I was preaching and a local shopkeeper started to shout at me," said Overd, who's been a street preacher for five years and has evangelised in Glasgow, Scotland, and Sheffield, Manchester and Taunton, England. more >>
A Spanish nurse has contracted Ebola in what is being reported as the first known case that someone has come down with the disease outside of West Africa.
"We are working in coordination to give the best care to the patient and to guarantee the safety of all citizens," said Spanish Health Minister Ana Mato on Monday, CNN reported.
The woman had apparently treated a Spanish missionary and a Spanish priest who died after contracting the disease in West Africa and returning to Spain. The woman, who wasn't named, was checked into hospital this week with a fever, one of the symptoms of Ebola. more >>
A three-day summit of Vatican ambassadors from the Middle East and North Africa, called upon by Pope Francis to discuss persecution of Christians by Islamist extremists in the region, concluded this weekend with a call for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and reaffirmation of military force against ISIS.
Vatican envoys from Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Libya, the Palestinian territories, Syria and Turkey met in the Vatican for three days to discuss how persecution of Christian minorities in the region could be better prevented.
The region has an estimated 7.5 million Christians. more >>
Pope Francis on Saturday launched a two-week meeting of bishops who have come to the Vatican from around the world to discuss some of the most controversial issues facing the Catholic Church, including its teaching on marriage and sexuality.
"Let us invoke openness to a sincere, open and fraternal exchange of views, that it might lead us to take pastoral responsibility for the questions that this changing time brings with it," the pontiff said in St. Peter's Square Saturday, the day before the Oct. 5-19 synod, where a range of "pastoral challenges of the family" will be discussed in preparation for a larger world synod in October 2015.
"Let them fill our heart, without ever losing peace, but with serene trust that in his time the Lord will not fail to lead us back to unity," Catholic News Service quoted him as saying. "Doesn't the history of the church perhaps tell us of so many analogous situations, that our fathers knew how to overcome with stubborn patience and creativity?" more >>
The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights ruled on Tuesday against an earlier ruling allowing doctors to provide suicide drugs, by throwing out a case against the Swiss government. The woman at the center of the lawsuit was discovered to have committed suicide more than years ago.
"Because the government has an obligation to protect life, not assist in promoting death, we are pleased to see this bad decision thrown out despite the extraordinary circumstances," said Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Paul Coleman. "The lawsuit's claim that a person should be able to do whatever he or she pleases does not override national laws rightfully designed to protect the weak and vulnerable."
The law group, which had filed a brief with the Grand Chamber in 2013, noted that an earlier ECHR ruling against the Swiss government was nullified after the cbhamber discovered that Alda Gross, who had wanted to be provided with suicide drugs, had committed suicide in November 2011. The court was not notified of that fact, however, nor was it made known that the woman used the same poison to take her own life as the type she was attempting to secure legal rights to through the lawsuit. more >>