The Legionaries of Christ Roman Catholic order officially apologized for the "reprehensible" behavior of its founder, who was found guilty of sexually abusing children, and announced new leadership with hopes of rebuilding the organization.
"Today we acknowledge with sadness the initial incapability of believing the testimonies of the persons who had been victims of Fr. Maciel, the long institutional silence and, later on, the hesitations and errors of judgment when setting out to inform the members of the congregation and others. We apologize for these shortcomings, which have increased the suffering and confusion of many," the Catholic organization said in a statement published on Thursday, which was approved in a plenary assembly last month.
The Catholic order also announced the election of Fr. Eduardo Robles Gil as their new general director, and Fr. Juan José Arrieta, as vicar general. more >>
Former exchange student Amanda Knox and her British ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were both convicted of the murder of Meredith Kercher for the second time by an Italian appeals court Thursday night.
Prosecutors said Knox, 26 and Sollecito, 29, killed Kercher in November 2007. Knox who now lives in Seattle, Wash., was sentenced to 28 ½ years in prison while Sollecito was slapped with a 25-year prison sentence, according to CNN.
The couple was first convicted of killing Kercher in 2009 after she was discovered with more than 40 stab wounds and a deep gash in her throat. The charges, however, were overturned in 2011 on appeal. more >>
A container that holds some of the blood of the late Pope John Paul II has been stolen from a church in Italy.
Franca Corrieri told Reuters she called the police after discovering a broken window at the church of San Pietro della Ienca early Sunday morning. Corrieri serves as a custodian of the church, which is located east of Rome in the mountains of Abruzzo near the city of L'Aquila.
When they entered the building they discovered that a crucifix and the gold case that holds the blood were missing. Dozens of police officers and some sniffer dogs then swarmed the area to search for clues. more >>
Italy's Supreme Court sparked international outcry online recently when it overturned the conviction of a 60-year-old man who engaged in a sexual relationship with an 11-year-old girl because they were in love.
According to an AFP report, the initial rulings did not take into account the "amorous relationship" the unidentified 11-year-old shared with 60-year-old Pietro Lamberti, a social services worker from Catanzaro in southern Italy.
Lamberti was convicted in February 2011 and sentenced to five years in prison for having sex with the young girl and the verdict was later upheld by an appeals court. more >>
In a generous act of kindness, Pope Francis gave 2,000 unsuspecting immigrants, who stay at a shelter within close proximity to the Vatican, practical Christmas gift packages that included a signed card, postal stamps, a pre-paid international calling card, and a free day-pass for Rome's metro.
The immigrants stay at the Dono di Maria home that was founded by Mother Teresa 25 years ago under Pope John Paul II's blessing. Many of them arrived in Rome with little to no means, after fleeing from regions in Africa afflicted by armed conflict or from poverty and human trafficking in Asia and Eastern Europe.
"The Pope is very familiar with our work here and understands the realities that people face ... the guests were very happy," said Sister Michelle, the superior of Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity in Rome, according to Catholic News Agency. more >>
Amanda Knox told the Italian court in a "highly unusual" email that she didn't rape or kill British student Meredith Kercher in 2007, but refused to show up for the hearing due to fears that she would be wrongly convicted.
"I am not in court because I am afraid. I am afraid that the vehemence of the prosecution will make an impression on you, that their smoke will get in your eyes and blind you," Knox, 26, said in the email to the court, the Associated Press reported. "I am not afraid of your powers of discernment, but because the prosecution has succeeded already in convincing a court comprised of responsible and perceptive adults to convict innocent people, Raffaele and me."
The long-standing case has gone through several twists and turns, leading to several books and a movie being developed on the subject. Knox and her former Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, were initially acquitted in 2011 after spending four years in prison for their hand in the murder of Knox's flatmate, Kercher, in 2007 in Perugia, Italy. Ivory Coast native Rudy Guede was instead convicted in October 2008 of having sexually assaulted and murdered the British student. more >>