Pope Francis and distinguished representatives of the Roman Catholic Church:
On behalf of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) and the 600 million people we represent around the globe, I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are grateful for this meeting, for the time and freedom to discuss together issues that deeply concern us all. It is with a heavy heart that we acknowledge the fact that many Christians do not enjoy such liberty, that many suffer from fear, torture and other forms of violence. For their sake and for the sake of the Gospel, we acknowledge the differences between our traditions, yet also affirm the common tasks we have shared in the past and pray that we can build on those.
Evangelicals are a very diverse group that includes peoples and churches from Pentecostal traditions, Reformed, Baptist and independents. We share a common faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and a desire to serve God's kingdom, we have a heart to encourage personal spiritual renewal and transformation and a passion to make Jesus known around the world. As we seek to obey Christ, we see this time as a new era in Evangelical/Roman Catholic relations. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, God is enlarging our tent, letting the curtains stretch out and lengthening the cords (54:2). Through strengthened collaboration we hope to see justice and peace kiss each other and faithfulness spring up from the ground (Psalm 85:10). It is our hope that this era will be characterized by a new level of cooperation in which we address social problems of injustice, violence and persecution on behalf of billions of neighbors around the world. I propose a new level and quality of public discussion of our core beliefs, including both areas where we agree and areas where we have differences, so that together we might be enabled by the Spirit to find ways to share the love, peace and justice that we have in Jesus with a world suffering from hatred and wars. more >>
Pope Francis married 20 couples at the St.Peter's Basilica at the Vatican on Sunday, in an effort to have the Catholic Church become more forgiving in its view on premarital issues as some were already living together and had children.
The Vatican views individuals, who have had sex outside marriage as being in sin, but Pope Francis emphasized that the church needed to be inclusive and open to accepting them.
"This is what marriage is all about: man and woman walking together, wherein the husband helps his wife to become ever more a woman, and wherein the woman has the task of helping her husband to become ever more a man. Here we see the reciprocity of differences," the Pope said, reports the National Catholic Reporter. more >>
During a visit to Italy's largest war memorial, Pope Francis said this weekend that the world's conflicts today, with the kind of crimes, massacres and destruction they involve, could be called a "piecemeal" Third World War.
"War is madness," Reuters quoted the Pope as saying in the homily of a mass Saturday at the Redipuglia war memorial, where more than 100,000 soldiers who died in World War One are buried.
"Humanity needs to weep, and this is the time to weep," Francis said. "Even today, after the second failure of another world war, perhaps one can speak of a third war, one fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres, destruction." more >>
Recent developments of the case pointed out the new rumors concerning an alleged relationship that occurred between Knox and a drug dealer around the time of the 2007 murder of Meredith Kercher. The connection could establish more clues in the murder case.
Knox, 27, allegedly had a contact number of a suspected drug dealer in her phone of which she met in Rome, according to Italian newspaper Giallo. It was said that the two smoked marijuana on a train traveling from Milan to France. The police report, as printed in the newspaper, further indicated that the two stayed connected even after that alleged acquaintance.
"During the course of the investigation into the Meredith Kercher murder, we have confirmed that a person whose initial is 'F' would occasionally supply drugs to Amanda Knox, as well as having a relationship with her supposedly of a sexual nature," the article read. more >>
Pope Francis spoke publicly about his death and old age for the first time earlier this week, noting that he tries to stay humble by remembering that he only has a few years left to live.
Francis was on a flight back from a five-day trip to South Korea when he made the remarks after being asked how he handles his popularity and suggested that he would consider retiring early if necessary.
"I try to think of my sins, my mistakes, so as not to think that I am somebody. Because I know this will last a short time, two or three years, and then to the house of the Father," said Francis to The Telegraph. more >>
Pope Francis' first official visit to a Pentecostal church in Italy was praised by some evangelical leaders, who thanked the pope for asking for forgiveness for Roman Catholic persecution of Pentecostals in the past. The Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance, Rev. Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, in turn apologized for evangelical discrimination against Catholics.
"It is biblical and it reflects the message of Jesus…..so my hope is that this act of Pope Francis will send a strong message around the world, particularly to those countries where there are significant tensions between Catholics and Evangelicals," Tunnicliffe said regarding the pontiff's plea for forgiveness, Vatican Radio reported on Wednesday.
"But I also need to say this: I recognize that in history there have been situations where Protestants, including Evangelicals, have discriminated against Catholic Christians and I am really sorry for these kinds of actions, because while we can disagree theologically, this should never lead to discrimination or persecution of the other. more >>