A topless abortion activist with the words "God is Woman" written across her bare chest was arrested in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Thursday, after rushing the nativity scene and attempting to flee with a baby Jesus figurine.
Iana Zhdanova of FEMEN, a radical feminist organization from Ukraine that's based in Paris, stunned onlookers in Rome on Christmas Day when she stormed the nativity display wearing only jeans and sneakers. Video footage of the incident shows the blonde-haired activist proudly raising baby Jesus above her head and screaming an inaudible message to horrified onlookers before being apprehended by Vatican police.
The protest came shortly after Pope Francis unveiled the nativity while marking Christmas with a late-night mass in St Peter's Basilica. more >>
Italy has confirmed its first Ebola case after a doctor contracted the deadly virus while treating patients in Sierra Leone. Ebola, which has killed over 15,300 people in West Africa, is splitting into different directions in the affected countries, with the situation getting worse in Sierra Leone, but vastly improving in Liberia.
"The procedures for transfer of the Italian doctor who is positive for Ebola do not present any risk to the community," Gianni Rezza, director of the Department of Infectious Disease at the Spallanzini clinic told the Corriere della Sera.
"We have been ready for this possibility and are already equipped to manage the situation. It is our moral duty to provide therapy and support to co nationals struck by Ebola: better here than in Sierra Leone. We can resolve this safely." more >>
Southern Baptist ethicist Russell Moore and megachurch pastor Rick Warren, both speaking at a Vatican conference Tuesday, warned that Christians should not succumb to the current sexual revolution or waver on the Biblical truth about sexuality and marriage.
"Western culture now celebrates casual sexuality, cohabitation, no-fault divorce, family redefinition, and abortion rights as parts of a sexual revolution that can tear down old patriarchal systems," said Moore in a prepared statement given during the "Complementarity of Man and Woman" colloquium convened by Pope Francis.
"The Sexual Revolution is not liberation at all, but simply the imposition of a different sort of patriarchy," he continued. "The Sexual Revolution empowers men to pursue a Darwinian fantasy of the predatory alpha-male, rooted in the values of power, prestige, and personal pleasure … We see the wreckage of sexuality as self-expression all around us, and we will see more yet. And the stakes are not merely social or cultural but profoundly spiritual." more >>
Satanism is on the rise, according to the International Association of Exorcists, whose members recently convened with Pope Francis to receive a blessing at the Vatican.
The group, which consists of around 300 members, gathered in Rome last week to discuss the impact of the occult and Satanism with the Pope, who is adamant about the fight against Satan in his sermons. The Pope took time to commend the group for helping those who are suffering from the "devil's works."
Valter Cascioli, a spokesman for the organization, warned of an "extraordinary increase in demonic activity" during a segment on Vatican radio. He also claims that people are turning to dark practices that are damaging psychologically, spiritually and morally at an alarming rate. more >>
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 >>