Video footage captured on Italian TV on Sunday showed what some believe is an exorcism performed by Pope Francis at St Peter's Square after Mass, though the Vatican has explained that the pontiff was performing a healing prayer.
TV2000, the Catholic television channel, shows Pope Francis greeting and blessing a number of wheelchair-bound people after Sunday mass. In one instance, the footage shows him shaking the hand of a young man. But his expression changes quickly after a priest from the Legionaries of Christ order leans in close and says something in his ear.
The Roman Catholic Church leader then places his hands on the man's head for a number of seconds in prayer, after which the pilgrim convulses a couple of times, opens wide his mouth and drops his shoulders back. more >>
Libby Phelps-Alvarez, the granddaughter of the founder of Westboro Baptist Church, recently appeared on Anderson Cooper's "Anderson Live" program to talk about her experience growing up in the church and what it's been like since she left over four years ago. She also apologized for the hurt she had caused others.
The Topeka, Kan.-based church is known for its anti-homosexual stance and commitment to picketing social, cultural, educational, private, and public institutions with which it deems are violating its interpretation of scripture. Its Website, www.godhatesfags.com, quotes Lev. 20:23 "therefore I abhorred them" and states that in 1991 it began to conduct "peaceful demonstrations opposing the fag lifestyle of soul-damning, nation-destroying filth."
Members picketed funerals of dead service men and women, holding signs that read, "Not Blessed, Just Cursed," and "God Hates Dead Soldiers." more >>
[UPDATE: Monday, May 6, 2013 4:50 p.m.
Joseph Zwilling, director of Communications for the Archdiocese of New York, released this statement to The Christian Post in response to the gay rights supporters' protest:
"Yesterday, prior to the 10:15 a.m. Mass at Saint Patrick's Cathedral, a small group of individuals approached the Cathedral with blackened hands, as a form of protest in response to Cardinal Dolan's blog post, 'All Are Welcome.' Although organizers have attempted to call yesterday's events by another name, it is clear that they were trying to make a statement, had hoped to get media attention to spread their message, and were using the setting of the Mass in Saint Patrick's Cathedral as their forum. more >>
The Roman Catholic Church has excommunicated the popular Brazilian priest Father Roberto Francisco Daniel for teaching that same-sex marriage is OK.
Reuters reported that the church decided to impose on Daniel the rare punishment because he has "injured the Church with grave statements counter to the dogma of Catholic faith and morality."
Excommunication, or expulsion from the church, bars a believer from participating in the liturgy in a ministerial capacity, but encourages the guilty party to work toward restoring their relationship with the church. more >>
Pope Francis continues implementing changes in the Vatican and his latest decision was to redirect money from traditional bonuses to 4,500 city state employees and use it for charity purposes.
"I don't think there will be any bonus," said Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, as reported by The Telegraph.
"Extra expenses are something that might be normal in a situation of abundance, but that is not the world we find ourselves in now. It didn't seem possible or appropriate to burden the Vatican's budget with a considerable, unforeseen extra expense." more >>
The United Methodist Church says its connection to the movie "Home Run" that premieres this weekend runs deep, both in its support of Christ-centered 12-step and recovery group ministries and the film producers' use of member churches for locations.
"A growing number of United Methodist churches offer a well-known recovery ministry featured in the movie – Celebrate Recovery, a real-life addiction recovery program that grew out of California's Saddleback Church," stated the UMC public information office.
"In the case of 'Home Run,' United Methodists even played an important part in the movie's production," UMC officials said. "Several scenes in the movie were filmed at New Haven and West Tulsa United Methodist churches in Oklahoma." more >>