The Vatican has clarified that despite the much-publicized private meeting between Pope Francis and Kentucky clerk Kim Davis last week in Washington, D.C., the meeting should not be equated to the pontiff giving his support for Davis' position on refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
"The pope did not enter into the details of the situation of Mrs. Davis and his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects," wrote Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, the head of the Holy See Press Office, in a statement released by the Vatican on Friday.
Lombardi added that Davis was only one of several dozen people the pope privately met during his week in the U.S., and it would be incorrect to read too much into the brief encounters. more >>
It is not uncommon for congregants to seek counseling from their ministers. Whether described as marriage counseling, family counseling, or spiritual counseling, many congregants seek advice and guidance from clergy members to deal with problems they and their loved ones are experiencing.
In providing these counseling services, clergy members enjoy certain legal protection, in part because of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but the protection in not absolute. In addition, potential liability varies from state to state. Consequently, there are some best practices in which clergy should engage.
States typically impose education prerequisites on professional counselors, require licensing, and set standards of care. more >>
The state of Georgia has executed a woman despite last-minute pleas for mercy, including one from Roman Catholic Church leader Pope Francis. The woman reportedly sang the Christian anthem "Amazing Grace" as she was put to death via lethal injection, witnesses said.
NBC News reported that Kelly Renee Gissendaner, 47, was executed shortly after midnight on Wednesday. Gissendaner had been put on death row for the 1997 stabbing murder of her husband, Douglas Gissendaner, at the hands of her lover. She became the first woman executed by the state in 70 years.
Gregory Owen, who carried out the killing, is serving a life prison sentence, and is not eligible for parole until 2022. more >>
Mat Staver, attorney and founder of the Liberty Counsel, has claimed in an interview that Pope Francis met with and prayed with Kentucky clerk Kim Davis during his visit to Washington, D.C. last week. The Vatican has refused to confirm or deny that the meeting between the pontiff and the clerk took place.
Staver told CBS News on Tuesday night that the two briefly met on Thursday, Sept. 24, at the Vatican Embassy in Washington.
"Staver said Pope Francis spoke to Davis in English and asked her to pray for him. He said Davis, in return, asked the pope to pray for her. The pope told her to stay strong, according to her lawyer," CBS reported. more >>
Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of imprisoned American Pastor Saeed Abedini, has slammed the apparent offer by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to free her husband in exchange for releasing Iranian prisoners being held in the United States. Naghmeh argued that her husband is not "collateral" to be treated as such.
"My husband is not collateral. He is a father and a man who broke no law. Yet Iran is treating him like a pawn in a game of chess. President Rouhani's demand that America release 19 criminals in exchange for his consideration of releasing individuals like my husband, imprisoned solely for his faith, demonstrates that the Iran of today is no different than the Iran who took Americans hostage during the Iranian revolution," Naghmeh Abedini said.
"The environment is ripe for Iran to demonstrate it is ready to re-enter the global market and international scene of diplomats; it is time to show its good will, to change its image from one of a pariah to a member of the global society who will protect fundamental rights," she added. more >>
WASHINGTON – A conservative law firm saw a 400 percent increase in calls requesting legal help since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationwide.
At a panel event titled "Are You Ready for the Coming Legal Attack?" at the tenth annual Values Voters Summit on Saturday afternoon, Jeff Mateer, who served as the panel's moderator, of the Texas-based Liberty Institute explained that many religious organizations have contacted him and his colleagues with legal concerns centered around the possible fallout from the decision.
"At Liberty Institute we have seen our requests for legal help go up 400 percent just since the Supreme Court's gay marriage decision," said Mateer to those gathered. more >>