Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York said that religious freedom concerns in America pale in comparison to the severe persecution Christians experience throughout the world in his final address as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on Monday.
"Brother bishops, our legitimate and ongoing struggles to protect our 'first and most cherished freedom' in the United States pale in comparison to the Via Crucis currently being walked by so many of our Christian brothers and sisters in other parts of the world, who are experiencing lethal persecution on a scale that defies belief," Dolan said in his final address to the USCCB General Assembly in Baltimore.
"If our common membership in the mystical body of Christ is to mean anything, then their suffering must be ours as well." more >>
Methodist pastor the Rev. Frank Schaefer is facing a church trial on Nov. 18 in Pennsylvania for violating his pastoral vows by performing his son's marriage to another man at a 2007 ceremony in Massachusetts.
The pastor has argued that he went against church law "because I love him so much and didn't want to deny him that joy," but his credentials as a pastor are on the line because of this decision, The Associated Press reported. The 51-year-old pastor said that he is "charged to minister to all people, regardless of who they are and what they are, then it should be just so," even though performing same-sex marriage weddings goes against United Methodist Church teaching, which says homosexuality is incompatible with Christianity.
In 2012, the 1,000-member General Conference reaffirmed the church's 40-year-old policy on the issue. more >>
A Presbyterian Church (USA) special committee has recommended that the denomination look to add more racial and ethnic diversity to its process for clerical ordination.
The PC (USA) General Assembly special committee filed its interim report late last month and included recommendations for the "Standard Ordination Examinations" clergy candidates undergo.
"That presbyteries be encouraged to broaden the pool of readers of the exams to be more representative of the diversity of the PC (USA) and to include more representation from racial/ethnic persons," recommends the report. more >>
Three chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have criticized the LGBT-backed Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) of 2013, which was passed on Thursday by the U.S. Senate, arguing that it punishes those who show a disapproval of same-sex sexual conduct.
"Our dignity as children of God extends to our sexuality. Being a male or a female is a reality which 'is good and willed by God,' and this complementarity is essential for the great good of marriage as the union of one man and one woman (CCC, no. 369). Sexual acts outside of marriage serve neither these goods nor the good of the person and society as a whole," Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, California; Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco; and Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore said in a joint statement addressed to the U.S. Senators.
"Given these principles, the USCCB continues to promote the dignity of both work and marriage and to oppose unjust discrimination on any grounds, including those related to homosexual inclination or sexual identity. But we cannot support a bill, like ENDA, that does not justly advance the dignity of all workers and authentic non-discrimination." more >>
While legal disputes continue over the name and property of The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, the two competing parties are holding their annual church conventions separately.
In 2008, the leadership of the Texas-based diocese voted to cut its ties with The Episcopal Church over growing theological differences. Since then, dispute over who owns the diocese's property has been debated in court.
This weekend, The Episcopal Church's faction is holding its 31st Annual Convention at the Ray Clymer Exhibit Hall of the Multi-Purpose Events Center in Wichita Falls. more >>
Angola Archbishops speaking at the Plenary Assembly of the CEAST (Episcopal Conference of Angola and Sao Tomé) have warned that abortion is not only something that goes against the law of God, but also threatens the very existence of the African nation.
"Remembering that life is sacred 'from conception' because 'we are faced with an independent life with one own's DNA', the message stresses that 'no human being can claim the right to suppress it under any pretext. Thus, parents, friends, educators and health care operators should not recommend or facilitate abortion. Rather, they should encourage the acceptance of a new life, regardless of the circumstances in which it was conceived," Agenzia Fides reported on the bishops' comments on Thursday.
The bishops argued that the Angola culture states that abortion is a disregard for the fundamental values of society, as regardless of religion, life is always viewed as sacred. Any threat against life, including unborn life, therefore destabilizes the society, they added. more >>