The Vatican's Secretary of State, the second in command behind Pope Francis, said in recent comments that the Catholic Church's tradition of requiring priests to remain celibate is a discipline, not a dogma, and therefore it has the possibility of being revised in the future. The Vatican official was quick to clarify, however, that the Church's long-held practice of priest celibacy was still a strongly-held Church value.
"Celibacy is not an institution but look, it is also true that you can discuss [it] because as you say this is not a dogma, a dogma of the church," Archbishop Pietro Parolin, the Vatican's Secretary of State, told the Venezuelan newspaper El Universal. Parolin added that changing Church tradition does take a lot of thought.
"We cannot simply say that it is part of the past," the archbishop continued. "It is a great challenge for the pope, because he is the one with the ministry of unity and all of those decisions must be made thinking about the unity of the church and not about its division. Therefore we can talk, reflect on these subjects that are not definite, and we can think about some modifications, but always with the consideration of unity, and all according to the will of God. It is not about what I would like but what God wants for His church." more >>
Pope Francis has called for a peace vigil on Saturday, urging the world to pray and fast for peace in war-stricken Syria.
"I appeal strongly for peace, an appeal which arises from the deep within me," Pope Francis said in his weekly remarks on Sunday.
"There are so many conflicts in this world which cause me great suffering and worry, but in these days my heart is deeply wounded in particular by what is happening in Syria and anguished by the dramatic developments which are looming," he added. more >>
A Florida Catholic academic institute has filed a second lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services' abortion-drug "accommodation."
Ave Maria University, a recently founded institute located in Naples, filed the suit Thursday in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Ft. Myers Division.
"The University's sincere religious beliefs forbid it from facilitating, participating in, paying for, training others to engage in, or otherwise supporting contraception, sterilization, or abortion," reads the suit in part. more >>
Pope Francis continued his unorthodox reign from the Vatican this week by placing a surprise call to tell a 44-year-old Argentinian woman who claims she was raped by local police, "you are not alone."
"The Pope told me he receives thousands of letters each day, but that what I wrote moved him and touched his heart," the woman told the National University of Cordoba's Canal 10 TV station, according to an EWTN News report.
The woman said in the report that she had written to Pope Francis for help, explaining to him how she had been raped twice by the local police officer who then turned around a threatened her. more >>
Pope Francis has condemned the current civil war in Syria where hundreds of people, many of them children, are suspected to have been killed in a chemical weapons attack last week, while another Vatican official said the country has "descended into hell."
"With great suffering and concern I continue to follow the situation in Syria," Francis said following the Angelus prayer at the Vatican on Sunday.
"The increase in violence in a war between brothers, with the proliferation of massacres and atrocities, that we all have been able to see in the terrible images of these days, leads me once again raise my voice that the clatter of arms may cease. It is not confrontation that offers hope to resolve problems, but rather the ability to meet and dialogue." more >>
Pope Francis spoke out on the Egypt crisis on Sunday, praying for peace but also declaring that violence is incompatible with Christian faith.
"The word of the Gospel does not authorize the use of force to spread the faith. It is 'just the opposite: the true strength of the Christian is the power of truth and love, which leads to the renunciation of all violence. Faith and violence are incompatible," the leader of the Roman Catholic Church said following the Angelus prayer at St. Peter's Square.
Government forces in Egypt are confronting fierce protests from Muslim Brotherhood-backed supporters over the past several weeks, which has led to violence all throughout the North African country and has left hundreds of people dead. more >>