A Catholic friend texted me this morning: "Any Baptist churches have services in Latin? Asking for a friend." I texted back, "No, but the Feast of Saint John the Baptist lasts all year long." His was a sort of gallows humor, as he watched with dismay what some are calling a "pastoral earthquake" in the Roman Catholic Church on questions of marriage and family.
We don't yet know exactly what the report means, but reports indicate that the synod is asking for a more "pastoral" and "more inclusive" approach to cohabiting couples, same-sex partners, and others, while retaining the traditional Catholic views on sexuality and the family.
Should all of this even matter to those of us who are Protestants? We do not, as Martin Luther put it, accept the authority of popes and councils "since these have often contradicted one another." And yet, there are some important questions posed here, that we should consider. more >>
Inspired by the concept of "flash mobs," an organization based in Buffalo, New York, has opted to perform "Mass Mobs" wherein large numbers of people agree to meet at a given local Catholic congregation.
Whereas a "flash mob" will do various performances or things in a random public space and then disperse, this group will surprise a given church to attend mass at their facility.
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 >>