In a move that many onlookers saw as inevitable, the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland this week formally asked its embattled Bishop Suffragan, Heather Cook, to resign from her post in light of ongoing criminal proceedings launched against her by local authorities for the fatal DUI incident that took the life of 41-year-old married father of two, Thomas Palermo.
"At our meeting on January 22, 2015, we, the members of the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, agreed unanimously that you are no longer able to function effectively in the position of Bishop Suffragan given recent events. Therefore, we respectfully call for your immediate resignation from the position of Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of Maryland," noted a one-page letter from the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland.
"The Standing Committee arrived at this decision after significant and prayerful discernment, and with due and proper consideration for the best interests of the diocese and its people. We continue to hold you in our prayers," the letter ended. more >>
A new Vatican document has condemned elective plastic surgery on women, calling it "aggressive toward the feminine identity."
Vanity-motivated procedures such as breast implant surgeries and tummy tucks are "manipulations of the body that explore its limits with respect to the concept of identity," write the authors of the document titled "Women's Cultures: Equality and Difference."
According to the report, one woman told the authors that "plastic surgery is like a burqa made of flesh." A burqa is a traditional outer garment often worn by some Muslim women in public to conceal the body. more >>
Stan Mitchell, pastor of Gracepointe Church, a diverse congregation in Franklin, Tennessee, announced this month that the leadership of his church have decided to fully support the inclusion of gays in their church, including the right to marry same-sex partners.
In an emotional sermon on Jan. 11 first highlighted by Time magazine, Mitchell explained that the decision was the result of a two- and-a-half year evolution on sexual orientation and gender identity. The announcement in the video below, begins at 44:40.
"Some two- and-a-half years ago, we were thrust, I believe, by a divine wind into a prayerful, mindful, painful, invigorating, careful, and hopeful conversation regarding sexual orientation and gender identity," explained Mitchell in the run-up to the announcement to his congregation. more >>
Influential megachurch Pastor Rick Warren and 49 other Catholic and Evangelical scholars and intellectuals have signed their names to an eight-page declaration that opposes society's growing acceptance of same-sex marriages and labels homosexual unions as a "graver threat" to marriage than widespread divorce and cohabitation because it is a parody of marriage.
The declaration entitled "The Two Shall Become One Flesh: Reclaiming Marriage" was written by the alliance called Evangelicals and Catholics Together and is set to be published in the March edition of the religion journal First Things.
Although the Catholics and Evangelicals involved in the writing of this overarching declaration against sexual sin still hold differences when it comes to the legitimacy of divorce and use of contraception, their differences were set aside as they focused on tackling what they consider to be the biggest problem facing marriage in society today. more >>
The Church of England has spoken out against a bill that British MPs are getting set to vote on which would allow "three-parent babies" to be born from DNA replacement.
"The Archbishops Council, which monitors this issue, does not feel that there has been sufficient scientific study or informed consultation into the ethics, safety and efficacy of mitochondria transfer," Rev. Brendan McCarthy, the Church of England's national adviser on medical ethics, said.
"Without a clearer picture of the role mitochondria play in the transfer of hereditary characteristics, the Church does not feel it would be responsible to change the law at this time." more >>
For the first time in its history, Washington D.C.'s National Cathedral had a United Methodist minister oversee the sacrament of Communion for an Episcopal service.
The Rev. Canon Gina Gilland Campbell of the UMC presided over the Eurcharist, alongside Episcopal clergy at a service on Sunday.