Pope Francis and several of the world's leading religious leaders joined together in a pledge to end human slavery by 2020, focusing on the tens of millions of people "in chains" due to human trafficking and forced labor.
"The physical, economic, sexual and psychological exploitation of men and women, boys and girls, is chaining tens of millions of persons to inhumanity and humiliation," the pope said and signed the pledge to do "all in our power, within our faith communities and beyond" to end modern slavery by 2020.
The signatories of the declaration included Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury; Rabbi David Rosen, international director of interreligious affairs for the American Jewish Committee; Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi al-Modarresi, an influential Shiite scholar; Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, as well as representatives for Ahmad el-Tayeb, a grand imam from Egypt. more >>
As Pope Francis visits Turkey on Friday for a weekend trip, Muslim religious figures have expressed hopes that the occasion can serve to restore Islam's image of peace and repair some of the negativity that has been associated with the religion.
Imam Ishak Kizilaslan of Istanbul's Sultan Ahmed Mosque said that he welcomes the pope's scheduled visit to the mosque, and said that he hopes Francis will see from the worshippers inside that Islam is a religion of peace.
"I will tell him ... that Islam is peace, the word means peace and submission," Kizilaslan said of what he plans to relay to Pope Francis during the pontiff's private stop on Saturday. more >>
The head of the Roman Catholic Church declared during a conference on Monday that marriage is by definition a union of man and woman, defying past claims by some that the Church was considering a change in its views on same-sex unions and sexuality.
Pope Francis remarks came during an address before a Church group known as a Colloquium in which he spoke about the need for strong families and to recognize "man and woman" as the "root of marriage and family."
"It is fitting that you have gathered here in this international colloquium to explore the complementarity of man and woman," stated the pontiff. "This complementarity is at the root of marriage and family, which is the first school where we learn to appreciate our own and others' gifts, and where we begin to acquire the arts of living together." more >>
Christine Weick, the Christian woman who snuck into the invitation-only Islamic prayer service last Friday afternoon at the Washington National Cathedral, said that although she interrupted the service to proclaim the name of Jesus and tell worshippers inside to stay away from U.S. churches, she loves Muslims.
"God has a love for them. He does, 'God so loved the world.' That includes Muslims. I have a love for them. They are a beautiful people. Most of them are very kind," Weick, 50, told The Christian Post Sunday.
The service held inside the Episcopal church was meant to promote interfaith prayer and improve global relations between Muslims and Christians, according to church and Muslim group organizers. more >>
The Washington National Cathedral hosted it first Muslim prayer service Friday afternoon in an effort to promote interfaith prayer and improved global relations between Muslims and Christians.
Hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the life of British aid worker Alan Henning in a multi-faith ceremony in Manchester on Sunday. Henning, who was beheaded by terror group ISIS earlier in October, was remembered as a "hero" who "put the needs of others before his own."
"We are here to remember a hero," said Dr Usman Chaudhary at the opening of the service, according to The Guardian. "A hero who left the comforts of his own home for no other reason than to help the destitute and needy refugees of Syria."
Henning, who lost his life at the hands of Islamic militants, was kidnapped in December of 2013 after crossing into Syria on a humanitarian aid mission. The 47-year-old Briton is one of several westerners in recent weeks to be beheaded on video by ISIS as a message to western powers to stay out of Iraq and Syria. more >>