As the one year anniversary of Pope Francis' installation as the head of the Roman Catholic Church draws near, many Catholics consider his tenure to be "extraordinary."
"Pope Francis has had an extraordinary first year and shown his unique ability to present Catholic teaching in down-to-earth terms and people hear him," Sister Mary Ann Walsh, spokesperson for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, told The Christian Post. "He has emphasized on numerous occasions his concern for the family, especially in its brokenness. He has said the Church should be a field hospital and he intends to heal. His emphasis on real pastoral needs of the church will be important."
Next week will mark one year since Argentinian Jorge Mario Bergoglio was installed as the Bishop of Rome, being elected after Pope Benedict XVI announced his retirement. more >>
Pastor Mark Driscoll of Seattle-based Mars Hill Church has taken an apologetic tone recently, even during Sunday sermons, while the most recent controversy surrounding the normally unashamedly brash Christian leader entails criticism of the way his book, Real Marriage, was marketed.
"I love you (the church) very much and I want to do the best job that I can, and I'm devastated when I don't," said Driscoll during a sermon about the power of "the tongue." "Jesus gave His best and you deserve the best."
On Friday, after a report that Mars Hill paid a promotional company $210,000 three years ago to make sure that Real Marriage, co-written by Driscoll's wife, Grace, made the New York Times best-seller list, the church released a "Note From Our Board of Advisors and Accountability." more >>
The Rev. Seth Pickens, senior pastor of Zion Hill Baptist Church in Los Angeles, has come under the scrutiny of members of his congregation after writing an op-ed titled "10 Reasons I Love LGBTQ Folk" for a community newspaper, but he insists that the situation was not as dire as some have perceived it to be.
Teka-Lark Fleming, the irreligious publisher of the Morningside Park Chronicle, the newspaper that published Pickens' controversial op-ed, said she was inspired when she first met the Christian minister and found him to be "a good guy" partly because he was "doing a lot of good work in the community, the way you're supposed to if you're a pastor."
Fleming, who had invited Pickens to submit the op-ed, claims in her outraged response to the subsequent church fracas that Pickens would be subjected to a "tribunal" and grilled about what he believes the Bible teaches about homosexuality and whether he had ever "communicated to anyone that homosexual behavior or homosexual marriage aligns with the Word of God." more >>
A California congregation once affiliated with Presbyterian Church (USA) has voted to leave the mainline Protestant denomination for missional and administrative differences.
Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, a congregation with an estimated 3,400 members, voted overwhelmingly last Sunday to leave PCUSA.
Passing with a vote of 2,024 members in favor and 158 against, Menlo Park Presbyterian plans to join the Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians (ECO). more >>
A Roman Catholic Church cardinal has criticized the Ugandan anti-gay law that expanded punishment for gay people and threatened life in prison for certain offenders, arguing that gay people "are not criminals."
Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, made the comments Tuesday in Bratislava, Slovakia, during a church and human rights conference, according to CatholicHearald.co.uk. He urged the international community, however, to keep sending much needed aid to Uganda, which is now facing cuts and sanctions because of the law.
Uganda's decision to expand the legal punishment for homosexuality has been criticized by some world leaders, though the nation's political and church leaders have insisted that it is their right to manage the country according to their ways. more >>
Newark Archbishop John Myers in New Jersey is reportedly facing the anger of parishioners who are withholding donations to the church after finding out that more than $500,000 is going into expansions for his lavish retirement home.
A detailed report in The Newark Star-Ledger on Sunday stated that parishioners are "infuriated by what they call a tone-deaf show of excess at a time when Catholic schools are closing and when the pope has called on bishops to shed the trappings of luxury."
"If this is the only way I can be heard, so be it," said 70-year-old Joe Ferri, after finding out about the expansion plans. "I'm disgusted. The archdiocese is not going to get another penny out of me." more >>