Death threats to Arabs and Christians written in front of a Roman Catholic Church office in Jerusalem ahead of Pope Francis' visit later this month have some officials alarmed, though a Christian persecution watchdog group said it is unlikely a direct attack on the pope will be attempted.
The Office of the Assembly of Bishops, Notre Dame of Jerusalem said that it found Hebrew writing on a column outside its building earlier this week, reading "Death to Arabs, Christians and all those who hate Israel." Heads of churches are preparing to respond.
Todd Daniels, International Christian Concern's regional manager for the Middle East, told The Christian Post in an email on Thursday that such threats and attacks are often carried out by Jewish extremists, and that Israeli security forces are taking the threat seriously. more >>
In a letter to Pope Francis, the patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church Tawadros II proposed making one date for Easter celebrations for all Christian Churches.
According to Fides News Agency, Tawadros II's letter was delivered to the Apostolic Nuncio to the Arab Republic of Egypt, His Exc. Mgr. Paul Gobel. The letter also marks the anniversary of the first meeting in the Vatican between the two popes.
Francis' representative has in turn invited a representative of the Coptic Church to the next Assembly of the Synod of Catholic Bishops, which is to be held in October. more >>
WASHINGTON – A group of about 150 Christian clergy, leaders, and Congressmen have signed a pledge to support persecuted Christians in the Middle East.
Meant as a stance of solidarity with Christians in Syria, Iraq, and Egypt, the pledge was entered into the congressional record by Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) and Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.).
"Now facing an existential threat to their presence in the lands where Christianity has its roots, the Churches in the Middle East fear they have been largely ignored by their coreligionists in the West," reads the pledge in part. more >>
A Vatican official revealed during a U.N. Committee hearing on Tuesday that the Roman Catholic Church defrocked 848 priests who raped or molested children and sanctioned another 2,572 others since 2004. Figures show that it has also paid $ 2.5 billion in compensation to victims in the U.S. alone.
"While the Holy See does not have the competency or the ability to initiate criminal proceedings against crimes that are committed in territories outside Vatican City State, it makes every effort to conduct ecclesiastical proceedings against clerics against whom credible accusations of sexual abuse of minors have been presented," the Holy See representative to Geneva, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, told Vatican Radio following the hearing.
"This is done without substitution for or prejudices of other processes that are to be applied by the competent judiciary system in the state in which the accused person resides. Civil law regarding the reporting of the crime to the authorities should always be followed." more >>
The head of the Episcopal Diocese, where the first openly gay bishop once served, has expressed "sadness" at the news of the former bishop's pending divorce.
Bishop A. Robert Hirschfeld of the Diocese of New Hampshire sent an email out to over 190 church officials in the diocese regarding the news of Gene Robinson's divorcing Mark Andrew, his partner of 25 years.
In the email, provided to The Christian Post by the Diocese, Hirschfeld forwarded Robinson's divorce announcement with comments of his own included. more >>
An Arizona church that closed its doors after failing to attract a growing attendance, recently sold its property for $1 amid struggling financially to maintain itself.
First Southern Baptist Church of Payson, Ariz., announced its closing on an outdoor sign, saying it had "given" its facilities to Expedition Church, a congregation that held services at an elementary school cafeteria during the last six years.
"…With a predominately senior church, over time membership and attendance declined and giving followed suit," said senior pastor Rick Hatch in a statement. "Budgets became tighter and tighter until we could no longer afford to maintain the church's expenses." more >>