Comedian Bill Maher has taken aim at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, calling the religion a "sex cult."
In comments delivered on a recent episode of the HBO television series "Real Time with Bill Maher," the atheistic comedian took a few shots at the LDS church.
The head of the Roman Catholic Church declared during a conference on Monday that marriage is by definition a union of man and woman, defying past claims by some that the Church was considering a change in its views on same-sex unions and sexuality.
Pope Francis remarks came during an address before a Church group known as a Colloquium in which he spoke about the need for strong families and to recognize "man and woman" as the "root of marriage and family."
"It is fitting that you have gathered here in this international colloquium to explore the complementarity of man and woman," stated the pontiff. "This complementarity is at the root of marriage and family, which is the first school where we learn to appreciate our own and others' gifts, and where we begin to acquire the arts of living together." more >>
Pope Francis plans to make his first visit to the United States next September, and his itinerary will include traveling to Philadelphia for the upcoming World Meeting of Families congress. The discussion topics for the meeting are set to focus on contentious issues such as premarital sex, homosexuality, infertility and celibacy, according to the congress' meeting notes.
"I would like to confirm that, God willing, in September 2015 I will go to Philadelphia for the eighth World Meeting of Families," the pope said during his opening speech at the interreligious conference on traditional marriage at the Vatican.
Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput told Catholic News Service that he was surprised at the early announcement. "You know usually they don't make these announcements. Four months out is the typical and here we are 10 months away, and the Holy Father said he is coming to Philadelphia," Chaput said. more >>
Hillsong Church and its band Hillsong United received special recognition on ABC News' "Nightline" Thursday evening.
The Pentecostal megachurch was founded in Australia in 1983 and today has over 30,000 members, according to Hillsong officials. In addition to their powerful ministry, Hillsong produced the award-winning worship band Hillsong United, which has toured the world performing at various Hillsong church location and concert venues. On Thursday, "Nightline" highlighted the achievements of the church and its music while featuring its New York leading pastor Carl Lentz. The segment aired at 12:35 a.m. ET.
Just weeks before "Nightline" featured Hillsong, the church's band Hillsong United was nominated for an American Music Award in the Contemporary Inspirational Artist category. It marked the band's first AMA nomination. The 2014 AMA's will be broadcast from Los Angeles' Nokia Theater on Nov. 23 on ABC. more >>
A new Pew survey found that Latin American Catholics are increasingly leaving the Catholic Church, either to join evangelical Protestant churches or are abandoning religion altogether. The survey participants cited a search for a personal connection with God as the biggest reason for their shift.
The wide-ranging survey, released on Thursday, reported that although 69 percent of adults across the region identify as Catholic, in almost every country surveyed there was a reported net loss of Catholics in terms of people raised Catholic and currently Catholic. Overall for Latin America as a whole, 84 percent of the population was raised Catholic, but only 69 percent identify as part of the Catholic Church now. By contrast, only nine percept of Latin America's population was raised in the Protestant tradition, but today 19 percent identify as Protestant. The number of religiously unaffiliated people is also rising, going from four percent raised without religion to currently eight percent identifying as no religion today.
As for various reasons why Latin Americans are leaving the Catholic Church, 81 percent of those who responded said that they are seeking a personal connection with God; 69 percent saidthey enjoy the style of worship at a new church, while 60 percent said that they wanted a greater emphasis on morality. more >>
While plans for the Seattle-based Mars Hill Church name and brand to completely dissolve by the end of the year are moving forward, transformation of its 13 locations are well underway.
"Everything is closing down at the end of the year, including our central offices," Mars Hill communications director Justin Dean told The Christian Post. "Mars Hill will cease to exist after Dec. 31, 2014."
Dean said that after selling or transferring all property and assets that belong to the church, it will use the money to satisfy its remaining debt and will take care of the remaining staff that will be laid off at the end of the year. more >>