NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — Evangelist Greg Laurie read a recent letter from Pastor Saeed Abedini, who is still being held as a prisoner in Iran two years after being arrested for his Christian faith, to his daughter during a somber prayer vigil held at the city of Newport Beach's civic center Friday at noon.
The imprisoned pastor was able to write a letter to his daughter, Rebekkah Grace, for her eighth birthday on Sept. 12.
"You are growing so fast and becoming more beautiful every day," he wrote in the letter released by the ACLJ. "I praise God for His faithfulness to me every day as I watch from a distance through the prison walls and see pictures and hear stories of how you are growing both spiritually and physically." more >>
Paraguayan Bishop Rogelio Ricardo Livieres Plano, who has been accused of protecting a priest suspected of sexually abusing minors, has been officially removed from his post by the Roman Catholic Church. In a subsequent letter to the Vatican, Plano hit back against the decision and said that Pope Francis "will have to answer before God."
The Vatican explained in a statement on Thursday that Francis has decided to replace Plato following an investigation, and named Ricardo Jorge Valenzuela Ríos, Bishop of Villarrica del Espíritu Santo, to fill his vacancy.
"The grave decision taken by the Holy See, under the weight of serious pastoral concerns, is for the greater good and unity of the Church of Ciudad del Este and episcopal communion in Paraguay," the statement read. more >>
The Southern Baptist Convention withdrew a California church known for its "third way" on gay unions and homosexuality from its church membership, officials announced Tuesday.
New Heart Community Church of La Mirada was removed SBC's Executive Committee by a unanimous vote.
SBC made the move after New Heart's pastor Danny Cortez and some of its members declared that homosexual unions could be blessed by God. more >>
The center of the Roman Catholic Church has put a defrocked archbishop under house arrest, pending his criminal trial over accusations of sexual abuse.
Vatican City officials placed 66-year-old Jozef Wesolowski, former ambassador of the Holy See and archbishop, under house arrest due to the city-state lacking a proper jailhouse.
"It is the first time the Vatican will hold a criminal trial on charges of child sexual abuse, and it comes as Pope Francis has been trying to set a new tone of rigorous attention in the long-running abuse scandal," reported the New York Times. more >>
The leaders of a Roman Catholic peace movement and network have stated that they disagree with American-led airstrikes on terror group ISIS in Syria, arguing that all they do is place more innocent people in danger and serve as a recruiting tool for the Islamic militants.
"We believe that especially the expansion of bombing is more likely to create significant recruiting bonanza for some of the extremist groups, ISIS included," Marie Dennis, Pax Christi International co-president, told Catholic News Service.
"The Islamic State, ISIS, is very well funded and steps must be taken to identify the sources of their funding and to stop them." more >>
The head of The Episcopal Church has announced that she will not seek re-election, ending speculation as to whether or not the mainline denomination will have a change in leadership.
The Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori announced Tuesday that she will not seek a second nine year term as Presiding Bishop.