ROME — Pope Francis has set up a commission to study the role of women deacons in early Christianity, the Vatican said on Tuesday, a move that might lead to changes in the role of women in the Roman Catholic Church.
Deacons, like priests, are ordained ministers, and as in the priesthood, must be men. They may not celebrate mass, but they may preach, teach in the name of the Church, baptize and conduct wake and funeral services.
Scholars debate the precise role of women deacons in the early Church. Some say they were ordained to minister only to other women, such as at immersion rites at baptism. Others believe they were on a par with male deacons. more >>
Last week's killing of a French priest by radicals associated with the Islamic State has inspired atheist Wall Street Journal writer Sohrab Ahmari to come out publicly about his plans to convert to Catholicism.
After the news broke that Father Jacques Hamel had been killed by radicals who raided the Church of the Gambetta in the Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray district of Normandy last Tuesday, the Iranian-born Ahmari announced in a tweet:
"#IAmJacquesHamel: In fact, this is the right moment to announce that I'm converting to Roman Catholicism." more >>
Muslim leaders in Normandy, the French city where an 84-year-old Catholic priest, Father Jacques Hamel, was killed, have refused to bury the 19-year-old convicted terrorist Adel Kermiche, who was shot dead by police after he murdered the priest. Meanwhile, reports say one of Kermiche's friends was detained days before the attack.
"We won't participate in preparing the body for the burial," Mohammed Karabila, imam and president of the local Muslim cultural association, told local media, referring to Kermiche, according to ITV.
"What this young man did was sinful; he is no longer part of the community," Khalid El Amrani, a 25-year-old local Muslim, was quoted as saying. more >>
An elderly Belgian priest was stabbed inside his home in the town of Lanaken by an alleged asylum seeker who demanded cash after he was allowed to use the shower.
The Telegraph reported that Father Jos Vanderlee sustained hand and tendon injuries, and was rushed to the hospital. He is expected to survive, however, and make a full recovery.
Local newspaper Het Nieuwsblad revealed that Vanderlee received a knock on his door at home Sunday by a man who said he was an asylum seeker. The man asked the priest to use his shower, and was invited inside. more >>
Muslims from across France attended Roman Catholic mass on Sunday in solidarity with Christians after the murder of a priest by the Islamic State radicals on Tuesday, with many insisting that it was not Islam that carried out the crime.
"We're very touched," the Archbishop of Rouen, Dominique Lebrun, told local station BFM-TV.
"It's an important gesture of fraternity. They've told us, and I think they're sincere, that it's not Islam which killed Jacques Hamel." more >>
The church in Normandy, France, whose 84-year-old priest, Father Jacques Hamel, was killed by supporters of the Islamic State terror group earlier this week, had donated land to Muslims to build a mosque, according to a senior Catholic cleric.
The slain priest "led a pure, simple life, with an emphasis on building friendships," Father Mark Ephrem Nolan, prior of the Benedictine Monastery of the Holy Cross near Rostrevor, told Belfast Telegraph.
"Church authorities facilitated the giving of land beside his church to local Muslims to build a mosque, and they were given use of the parish hall and other facilities during Ramadan," Nolan said, referring to the Church of the Gambetta, where Hamel served. more >>