With Roman Catholics in Crimea fearing a new wave of oppression, arrests and church confiscation under Russian rule, many moving to other parts of Ukraine.
"No one knows what will happen. Many people are trying to sell their homes and move to other parts of Ukraine," Father Mykhailo Milchakovskyi of Kerch told Catholic News Service on Wednesday.
"Our church has no legal status in the Russian Federation, so it's uncertain which laws will be applied if Crimea is annexed. We fear our churches will be confiscated and our clergy arrested," the priest stated, ahead of Sunday's referendum in Crimea in which the territory could decide to join the Russian Federation. more >>
The Roman Catholic Church in Germany elected on Wednesday a new leader in Munich, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, who has reportedly challenged the Vatican on major doctrine, such as divorce and sacraments, and is a close aid of Pope Francis.
Reuters reported that 60-year-old Marx, along with many in the German Church, have called for Vatican doctrinal reform to allow remarried and divorced Catholics to be readmitted to the sacraments.
Marx apparently clashed in 2013 with Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, the Vatican's doctrinal chief, after the latter criticized the diocese of Freiburg for suggesting that people who have remarried could be allowed to receive the sacraments, which goes against the Catechism of the Catholic Church. more >>
The Swedish Evangelical Alliance has responded to former megachurch leader Ulf Ekman's decision to convert to Roman Catholicism, praising him for all his efforts in bringing the Word of God to Swedes and people around the world, but also highlighting the "crucial dividing lines" between Catholics and Evangelicals that can not be ignored.
"Ulf Ekman, despite all the controversies along the way, is undoubtedly the most dynamic and influential Christian leader we have had in Sweden during the past half century. His international significance goes far beyond what most Swedes understand; countless people around the world thank God for the ministry of Ulf Ekman," Stefan Gustavsson, general secretary of the Swedish Evangelical Alliance, stated, as reported by IRD President Mark Tooley on Tuesday.
"In other matters, there are crucial dividing lines which can't be avoided," he added. more >>
Megachurch leader Ulf Ekman of the Word of Life ministry in Sweden has announced that he and his wife Birgitta have converted to Roman Catholicism. The announcement, according to reports, has left some in his congregation "partially stunned."
In his explanation onhis website, Ekman says the conversations he and Birgitta had with Catholics challenged their "protestant prejudices" and led them to the realization that they "in many cases did not have any basis for our criticism of them."
"We needed to know the Catholic faith better. This led us to … realize that it was actually Jesus Christ who led us to unite with the Catholic Church," the pastor stated. more >>
Lawmakers in Crimea sent Ukraine and the international community into a tizzy Thursday when they voted in favor of leaving Ukraine for Russia and will put the decision to a vote in 10 days. Ukraine, however, has declared that will not happen.
"Crimea was, is and will be an integral part of Ukraine," said Ukrainian Interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk in a CNN report Thursday after calling the referendum "an illegitimate decision."
In a statement on the crisis Thursday, President Barack Obama said Russia's actions in Ukraine was a "violation of international law" and "the resolve of the United States and our allies and the international community will remain firm." more >>
WASHINGTON – Experts denounced the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child's recent report in which it suggested the Catholic Church alter its positions on fornication, contraception, homosexuality, and abortion. The report, they said, is an attack on the Catholic Church and an overreach of U.N. power.
While the committee's report emphasized the Catholic Church's clerical sexual abuse scandals, it also called on the Vatican state to alter its positions on other, unconnected moral issues. The Geneva report criticized the Vatican's opposition to contraception, homosexuality, and abortion in cases of child rape and incest.
Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), called the panel's report "a dagger to the heart of motherhood," and denounced it as an overreach of U.N. power. "A treaty-monitoring organization has told a religion to change its teaching on fundamental issues," Ruse declared at a Family Research Council panel on Wednesday. more >>