Documents released by the Associated Press suggest that from 2011 to 2012 Pope Benedict worked to defrock nearly 400 priests on claims that the men molested children - news that comes in the aftermath of the U.N.'s harsh critique of the Catholic Church's handling of the global sex abuse scandal on Thursday.
The reports also demonstrate a shift in the Church's approach towards handling sex abuse cases, which historically were dealt with by switching the parish where the priest served, rather than involving local law enforcement or Vatican tribunals.
But in 2001, former Pope Benedict, then a cardinal, mandated that accused priests be put on trial in church tribunals, with a maximum penalty of being defrocked. more >>
A school district in Arizona is considering adding invocation prayers at their board meetings, pending the result of a United States Supreme Court decision on a similar matter.
Officials at Gilbert Public Schools met Tuesday to discuss the possibility of including prayer on the agenda for board meetings.
Jack Keegan, superintendent of Gilbert Public Schools, told The Christian Post that various details had yet to be hammered out as to how the invocation would operate. more >>
Christopher Strickland, a 19-year-old Home Depot employee living in Anchorage, Alaska, has unexpectedly garnered national and international attention after catching a falling baby at the retail store last Thursday. A nine second video taken from security footage that documents the teen's heroic act has gone viral on multiple online platforms, including YouTube, where it's received more than 230,000 views as of Friday afternoon.
"I don't care either way," Strickland said about being considered a hero, The Anchorage Daily News reported. Store manager Brady Wilson said "it was his character," and human resources manager-turned-media-handler Cheryl Edmond emphasized that "he literally saved her life."
The video shows Strickland waiting around to assist customers when suddenly a baby lose in her car seat flipped over and off of an orange shopping cart. As the baby began to fall, Strickland lunged to catch her. He then returned the baby to her father's embrace. more >>
Former New York pastor Michael Clare pleaded guilty on Wednesday to charges that he raped two teenage girls, one of whom attended his church in the Bronx.
In 2011, Clare was accused of sexually assaulting and impregnating a then-12-year-old girl who had attended his storefront church, Harvest Worship Center International. While the girl had an abortion, investigators reportedly claimed they had been able to match his DNA with that of the baby, said The Village Voice.
Prosecutors had alleged that the abuse had lasted for nearly three years before the girl reported it to her parents. After the initial charges, the married Clare maintained his innocence and rejected a plea deal that would have sent him to prison for two years. more >>
Taking care of the spiritual needs of church members on a personal level inside a megachurch with a weekly attendance well into the thousands can be a reality, says Pastor Mark Driscoll. However, following the biblical pattern for church leadership is vital in order to do so, the leader of Mars Hill Church based in Seattle stated in a recent blog post.
"Having been the pastor of the same church for what is now 18 years, I am very certain we take much better care of our people today than we did when we were small," writes Driscoll.
Driscoll shared how the leadership team at Mars Hill is "sheep-focused" while he remains "flock-focused," which has been a successful strategy for the 14,000-member church, despite the assumption that larger churches "do not care for people as well as smaller churches." more >>
Pastors, by and large, are beginning to catch on. To reach the current culture, which is shaped in large part by its technology, we have to go digital.
This is nothing new. To reach 17th and 18th century people, you needed to use a printing press. To reach the culture of the 20th century, you needed to utilize mass media such as radio, television, or direct mail and advertising. And to reach people today, you use social networking.
But we still have a partly legitimate fear about using social technologies too heavily. We fear we will lose our edge when it comes to "real life," face-to-face relational ministry. We fear that we'll neglect those who don't use or like smart phones, that our relationships will become shallow, and that in our effort to "keep up" with the latest technologies, we'll drift from our long-held traditions and theological moorings. more >>