Pope Benedict XVI has congratulated President Barack Obama on his re-election on Nov. 6, but has used the occasion to further remind him of the big differences that have surfaced between the Roman Catholic Church and the current White House administration.
"In the message, the Holy Father sent his best wishes to the president for his new term and assured him of his prayers that God might assist him in his very great responsibility before the country and the international community," the Vatican said in a statement, although Reuters reported that the exact contents of the text were not released.
While wishing Obama well and hoping that he will "be able to serve law and justice in respect of the essential human and spiritual values and the promotion of the culture of life and freedom of religion, which have always been so precious in the traditions of the American people and their culture," the Vatican also noted that the issues Catholics have with Obama's healthcare decisions cannot be swept under the carpet. more >>
Despite fears by Egypt's Coptic Orthodox church that the country's Muslim Brotherhood majority government will draft a constitution mirroring Islamic Sharia law, the denomination's new pope is encouraging politicians to not ignore Christians.
"The beauty of Egyptian society is the presence of Muslims beside Christians. Diversity is strong and beautiful," said Pope Tawadros II during an interview with Reuters news service earlier this week. Tawadros was appointed last Sunday to replace Pope Shenouda III, who died in March after leading Egypt's Orthodox Christians for four decades.
"If a good constitution is presented in which every person finds himself [represented], there is no doubt Egypt will develop," the pope said. "But if the constitution addresses one part of the community and ignores another it will take society backwards." more >>
More than 2,400 clergy and community leaders gathered in Cairo, Egypt on Monday for the first time in nearly forty years to elect a new Coptic Christian Pope.
Pope Shenouda III, who died at the age of 88 earlier this year, had been an important part of the lives of the 8 million-plus Christians who live in Egypt, and who have faced many hardships and violence from the majority Muslim population in the past number of years.
With the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in government, Coptics say a new pope is needed to bring some stability and sense of authority for Christians worried about the future. more >>
A Vatican City newspaper has claimed that a controversial ancient document that alludes to Jesus possibly being married is a fabrication.
L'Osservatore Romano ran an article by Alberto Camplani, a leading scholar on Coptic documents, who said that the Coptic papyrus recently unveiled as saying Jesus was married is a fake.
"In spite of the drift in the media marked by tones which are quick to shock, unlike so many other items presented at the conference, the papyrus was not discovered in the process of excavation but came from an antiquarian market," wrote Camplani. more >>
Pope Benedict XVI recently delivered a message in response to the scandal involving a Vatican butler who was arrested for stealing confidential documents from the Roman Catholic Church.
In his remarks on Wednesday, the Pontiff spoke about the "Vatileaks" scandal publicly for the first time since the news was reported, with the intention of reassuring Catholics.
"The events of recent days involving the Curia and my collaborators have brought sadness to my heart," said the pope at the close of the Vatican's general audience. more >>
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) said Tuesday in a statement issued to the Health and Human Services (HHS) that prospective changes in the contraception mandate, offered by the Obama administration as a form of compromise after a massive backlash, are still "morally objectionable."
The mandate, part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, requires employers – including most religious nonprofits such as hospitals and colleges (although not churches) – to provide health insurance that includes birth control for workers. The plan sparked protests from faith leaders and the public, and the Obama administration duly started working on a compromise in February, meant to "accommodate" religious institutions. Under the new rules, rather than requiring religiously affiliated charities and universities to pay for contraceptives, the cost would be shifted to health insurance companies, Obama said in February.
But after scrutinizing the proposed changes, titled the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM), lawyers representing the USCCB said this week that religious employers and other stakeholders would still have their employee health insurance plans and premiums "used for services they find morally objectionable." The USSCB is the main Catholic Church body in the United States. more >>