President Barack Obama's decision not to attend or dispatch high-ranking members of his administration to the funeral of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher Wednesday was criticized in the United States as well as the United Kingdom.
Given that the White House sent an official delegation to the funeral of Venezuela's Hugo Chávez, a "tyrannical socialist dictator," Obama's treatment of the funeral of the "Iron Lady" was an "amazing snub," said the website of the Tea Party News Network.
George P. Shultz and James A. Baker III, who both served as Secretary of State while Thatcher was in power, represented Obama's official delegation. Former U.S. vice president Dick Cheney and former secretary of State Henry Kissinger were also present. more >>
Archbishop of Canterbury the Rt. Rev. Justin Welby is set to meet on Thursday with gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who insists that Christians who are opposed to same-sex marriage are homophobic.
"I applaud the Archbishop's willingness to engage in dialogue – all the more so because he comes from the conservative evangelical wing of the church," Tatchell said, according to San Diego Gay and Lesbian News. "I hope our meeting is not mere window-dressing and good PR for the church. I'm expecting more than tea and sympathy."
In response to a letter by Tatchell accusing the Anglican leader of being homophobic for supporting traditional marriage, Archbishop Welby replied: "Dear Mr Tatchell, Thank you for your very thoughtful letter. It requires much thought and the points it makes are powerful. I would like to explain what I think to you without the mediation of the press, and listen to you in return." more >>
Pope Francis spoke during the Mass at the Papal Basilica of St. Paul's Outside the Walls in Rome on Sunday, stressing that inconsistency between what pastors and Christians preach and what they practice is undermining the Catholic Church's credibility.
Peter and the Apostles proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus courageously and fearlessly, but "are we capable of bringing the word of God into the environment in which we live?" asked the pope, who inherited a Church plagued with a series of scandals, including sexual abuse of children by priests.
"Let us all remember this: one cannot proclaim the Gospel of Jesus without the tangible witness of one's life," Pope Francis said at St. Paul's, one of Rome's four major basilicas and the second largest after St. Peter's. "Those who listen to us and observe us must be able to see in our actions what they hear from our lips, and so give glory to God!" more >>
Pope Francis has taken his first major decision by setting up an advisory board of cardinals from around the world, which includes U.S. Cardinal Sean O'Malley, to look into ways of reforming the Catholic Church, according to the Vatican.
The pope has appointed a group of eight cardinals who will help him bring changes in the church's administration, which has been plagued with scandals especially during the eight-year reign of Pope Benedict before he resigned two months ago, Reuters reported Saturday.
The eight prelates come from the United States, Italy, Chile, India, Germany, Democratic Republic of Congo, Australia, and Honduras, which point to Francis' intention to allow bishops from around the world more say in Vatican decisions that affect their areas. more >>
France's upper house of parliament voted in favor of same-sex marriage Friday, bringing the country one step closer to joining several other European countries that have already passed same-sex marriage laws.
News of the vote was met fierce opposition from conservatives and religious leaders in the country, who have maintained that any redefinition of marriage would adversely impact families and pose a legal risk to those who object to such unions based solely on their religious beliefs.
The bill, which was approved with a straight up or down vote, included minor amendments that will be debated in May when the bill comes before the lower house, where French President Francois Hollande's socialist party has an absolute majority. more >>
The immense success of the History Channel's "The Bible" miniseries has caused a major United Kingdom television network to purchase rights to the series so that it may air episode reruns beginning in fall 2013.
"The show has been nothing short of a sensation, watched by millions of people in the states. To have it on Channel 5 is incredibly exciting – these are stories that can't fail to draw you in," Marie-Claire Dunlop, Acquisitions & Channel Manager for Channel 5, which is considered to be the fifth largest television network in the U.K., said in a statement.
According to The Independent, Channel 5's decision to air "The Bible" proves uncharacteristic, as the predominately-entertainment focused network, which is owned by well-known British businessman Richard Desmond, usually airs such show as "Celebrity Big Brother," "Neighbours," and "Home and Away." more >>