Fort Hood, Texas, shooter Nidal Hasan, who killed 13 people in 2009 and has been sentenced to death, has sent a warning letter to Pope Francis and other religious leaders, describing himself as a "soldier of Allah" and praising jihadism.
Fox News reported on Friday that the six-page hand-written letter was titled "A warning to Pope Francis, members of the Vatican, and other religious leaders around the world." Hasan apparently directed his attorney, John Galligan, to mail the letter.
The former U.S. Army psychiatrist, who killed 13 people and wounded over 30 others during the mass shooting on Nov. 5, 2009, at Fort Hood — that the Obama administration has declined to classify as a terrorist attack — refers to himself by the acronym "SoA," or soldier of Allah several times in the letter. He referenced the Quran, and praises "the willingness to fight for All-Mighty Allah," in a subsection titled "Jihad." more >>
The Catholic Church remains opposed to the Department of Health and Human Services' birth control mandate that was modified in August.
In comments submitted to the HHS, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops stated that the mandate remains a threat to the religious freedom of numerous faith-based organizations.
Anthony Picarello, USCCB general counsel, and Michael Moses, associate general counsel, submitted the comments to the HHS on Wednesday. more >>
Churches across the United States and the globe plan to observe the annual World Communion Sunday, and much of the focus will be on persecuted Christians.
The focus for many will be on the sacrament of Holy Communion and the sense of solidarity it gives among Christendom. This includes remembering those in the Christian faith who suffer persecution for their beliefs, be it in the Middle East, East Asia, or elsewhere.
Rev. C.K. Robertson, canon to the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, told The Christian Post that World Communion Sunday was a way that the Church "recognizes its solidarity with fellow Christians across the globe in our prayers and corporate worship." more >>
Paraguayan Bishop Rogelio Ricardo Livieres Plano, who has been accused of protecting a priest suspected of sexually abusing minors, has been officially removed from his post by the Roman Catholic Church. In a subsequent letter to the Vatican, Plano hit back against the decision and said that Pope Francis "will have to answer before God."
The Vatican explained in a statement on Thursday that Francis has decided to replace Plato following an investigation, and named Ricardo Jorge Valenzuela Ríos, Bishop of Villarrica del Espíritu Santo, to fill his vacancy.
"The grave decision taken by the Holy See, under the weight of serious pastoral concerns, is for the greater good and unity of the Church of Ciudad del Este and episcopal communion in Paraguay," the statement read. more >>
The center of the Roman Catholic Church has put a defrocked archbishop under house arrest, pending his criminal trial over accusations of sexual abuse.
Vatican City officials placed 66-year-old Jozef Wesolowski, former ambassador of the Holy See and archbishop, under house arrest due to the city-state lacking a proper jailhouse.
"It is the first time the Vatican will hold a criminal trial on charges of child sexual abuse, and it comes as Pope Francis has been trying to set a new tone of rigorous attention in the long-running abuse scandal," reported the New York Times. more >>
Pope Francis will still travel to Albania this weekend despite warnings from Iraq's ambassador to the Vatican that there are clear assassination threats coming from Islamic State militants.
On Sunday, Francis will become the first Pope since 1933 to visit Albania, although The Telagraph reported that Iraq's Ambassador to the Holy See, Habeeb Al Sadr, told the Italian newspaper La Nazione that Islamic State militants have made it clear that they want to kill the leader of the Roman Catholic Church.
"What has been declared by the self-declared Islamic State is clear – they want to kill the pope. The threats against the Pope are credible," Al Sadr said. "I believe they could try to kill him during one of his overseas trips or even in Rome. There are members of ISIL who are not Arabs but Canadian, American, French, British, also Italians. ISIL could engage any of these to commit a terrorist attack in Europe." more >>