Famed Cambridge scientist Stephen Hawking, 72, recently confessed that he "briefly tried to commit suicide" and said denying an individual who is in great pain and facing imminent death the right to commit suicide is "discrimination."
His comments come on the heels of church leaders in Britain who warned this week that legalizing assisted suicide would be a "grave error" as members of the House of Lords in Parliament prepare to debate a controversial Assisted Dying Bill on Friday.
"If you have a terminal illness and you're in great pain, I think you have the right to choose to end your life. We don't let animals suffer, so why should your pain be prolonged against your wishes," said Hawking in a BBC interview Wednesday. more >>
Roman Catholic Church leaders have criticized the Church of England's historic vote to allow women to serve as bishops earlier this week, arguing that such a move is an "obstacle" to Christian unity.
"The decision of the Church of England to admit women to the episcopate therefore sadly places a further obstacle on the path to this unity between us. Nevertheless we are committed to continuing our ecumenical dialogue, seeking deeper mutual understanding and practical cooperation wherever possible," read a statement by Archbishop Bernard Longley, Chairman of the Department for Dialogue and Unity, Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.
The statement was echoed by the editor of Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano. Giovanni Maria Vian said on Tuesday that the ordination of women bishops will have "an extremely negative impact" on steps to bring together the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. more >>
A prominent Church of England member and conservative politician who voted in support of traditional marriage has been promoted to the U.K.'s Education Secretary position, and has been kept in charge as minister for women and equalities.
"I am delighted to become education secretary and continue as minister for women and equalities," Nicky Morgan, a Conservative MP for Loughborough, said in a statement.
"I know that education can be the single greatest transformer of lives. It is also a crucial part of this government's long-term plan. more >>
Former Pope Benedict XVI is reportedly pleased with the outcome of FIFA's 2014 World Cup that saw Germany as the victor, although the ex-pontiff said he hopes Argentina recovers from its loss soon.
Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, the secretary for Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, confirmed Monday that the former pope had been pleased with the outcome of the final World Cup game, as some of the players on Germany's national team hailed from Bavaria, the same region Benedict calls his hometown.
Gaenswein told Vatican Radio that although Benedict did applaud the German victory, he did not in fact watch the game that aired internationally on Sunday. Rather, Benedict was asleep during the game, although his staff "all supported Germany." more >>
A debate over legalizing assisted suicide for the terminally ill in the U.K. has unfurled in the Anglican Communion after a number of former Anglican archbishops backed a proposed bill, while the Church of England confirmed its opposition.
"Some people opine that with good palliative care there is no need for assisted dying, no need for people to request to be legally given a lethal dose of medication," Anglican archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu, a Nobel Peace laureate, wrote for The Observer.
"That was not the case for Craig Schonegevel. Others assert their right to autonomy and consciousness – why exit in the fog of sedation when there's the alternative of being alert and truly present with loved ones?" more >>
The General Synod of the Church of England voted in favor of approving women bishops for the first time in its history on Monday, receiving the required two-thirds majority. While many Anglican leaders have praised the significant move, they and others have warned that the theological debate on women's place in the Church will continue.
"The challenge for us will be for the church to model good disagreement and to continue to demonstrate love for those who disagree on theological grounds. Very few institutions achieve this, but if we manage this we will be living our more fully the call of Jesus Christ to love one another. As delighted as I am for the outcome of this vote I am also mindful of those within the Church for whom the result will be difficult and a cause of sorrow," said the Archbishop of Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.
"My aim, and I believe the aim of the whole church, should be to be able to offer a place of welcome and growth for all. Today is a time of blessing and gift from God and thus of generosity. It is not winner take all, but in love a time for the family to move on together." more >>