Britain's largest Muslim organization has condemned female genital mutilation as "un-Islamic."
The Muslim Council of Britain has announced a public campaign to speak against FGM and encourage local mosques to do the same by arguing that one of the "basic principles" of Islam is that adherents do not harm one another or themselves. To that end, MCB will send flyers to the 500 mosques which are members of MCB and other community centers warning of the 14 years in prison that those who perform the operation may face.
According to the World Health Organization, FGM "comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons." more >>
A project named "The House of One," looking to create the world's first ever church, mosque and synagogue in Berlin, Germany, where people of different faiths can worship under one roof, is currently raising donations.
"Under one roof: one synagogue, one mosque, one church. We want to use these rooms for our own traditions and prayers. And together we want to use the room in the middle for dialogue and discussion and also for people without faith," explained Pastor Gregor Hohberg, a Protestant parish priest, according to a BBC News report.
"Berlin is a city where people come together from all over the world and we want to give a good example of togetherness." more >>
A second gay priest has married his same-sex partner in a ceremony, going against the Church of England's doctrine. Meanwhile, the first gay priest to do so has had his clergy rights revoked by his bishop.
The Rev. Andrew Cain, vicar of St. James church in West Hampstead, London, married his partner Stephen Foreshew on Saturday, The Guardian reported. The ceremony was in defiance of Church of England rules, after the House of Bishops reaffirmed marriage as a lifelong union between one man and one woman earlier this year, and banned the blessing of same-sex unions.
Cain, who posted photos of his wedding on his Twitter account, became the second known priest to make such a move. Canon Jeremy Pemberton, a hospital chaplain, who married his long-term partner back in April, was notified that his rights as a priest are going to be revoked, the Daily Mail reported on Saturday. more >>
Speaking to a gathering of tens of thousands of people at the power base of a highly dangerous organized crime group in Italy, Pope Francis Saturday condemned the mafia's "adoration of evil" and declared all mobsters as effectively excommunicated from the Catholic Church.
The pope traveled to, and held a mass in, the southern region of Calabria, the power base of the global drug trafficking syndicate 'Ndrangheta, to comfort the family of a 3-year-old boy who, along with his grandfather, was gunned down in a January shootout involving the mafia.
"Those who in their lives follow this path of evil, as mafiosi do, are not in communion with God. They are excommunicated," Reuters quoted Pope Francis as saying in impromptu comments at the mass. more >>
Secular groups in the U.K. are rejoicing after the government clarified that creationism, supported by biblical literalists, is not allowed to be taught as a scientifically valid theory at academies and public-funded schools.
The Department of Education's funding agreement, under the "Church of England and Catholic single academy model supplemental agreement" document published earlier in June, states that creationism "does not accord with the scientific consensus or the very large body of established scientific evidence; nor does it accurately and consistently employ the scientific method, and as such it should not be presented to pupils at the Academy as a scientific theory."
The statement adds: "The requirement on every academy and free school to provide a broad and balanced curriculum in any case prevents the teaching of creationism as evidence based theory in any academy or free school." more >>
Pope Francis told the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby at a meeting on Monday that their division is a "scandal and an obstacle to our proclaiming the Gospel of salvation to the world," while both Church leaders expressed hopes to move forward in unity.
"We cannot claim that our division is anything less than a scandal and an obstacle to our proclaiming the Gospel of salvation to the world," Francis told Welby according to Asia News. The Roman Catholic Church leader added: "The goal of full unity may seem distant indeed, [. . .] it remains the aim which should direct our every step along the way."
Francis added that although they share a "commitment to the great cause of reconciliation and communion between Christian believers," a problem is that "Our vision is often blurred by the cumulative burden of our divisions and our will is not always free of that human ambition which can accompany even our desire to preach the Gospel as the Lord commanded (Matthew 28:19)." more >>