Thousands of Catholics gathered in the capital of Spain to celebrate an open-air mass as the Western European nation's government has promised a stricter abortion law.
Led by Archbishop Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, throngs of Catholics came to Madrid for the worship service. The mass was held on the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph day on the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar.
In his remarks before those gathered at the Plaza de Colon square, Varela stated that families in Spain face a public concept of life as mere "transience." more >>
Franklin Graham, the son of evangelist Billy Graham, said during a television interview aired Sunday that Pope Francis, who appears to have a more accepting view of gays, is not the judge on homosexuality, but God is and He says it's a sin.
"I want to warn people: I think the pope is right when he says he's not the judge," Graham said on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday. "He's not the judge. God is the judge."
Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, said this after he was asked about the pope's views on homosexuality. Francis made headlines earlier this year when he said, "If a person is gay and seeks God and has goodwill, who am I to judge them?" more >>
The feminist group FEMEN crashed a Christmas service at the High Cathedral of St. Peter in Cologne, Germany, with a topless activist getting up on the altar exposing herself to the congregation with the words "I am God" written on her body.
The activist group, which says that it is based on "sextremism, atheism and feminism," was apparently trying to protest against patriarchy and the Vatican's pro-life views. According to EuroNews.com, the woman was identified as 20-year-old philosophy student Josephine Witt.
The incident, which has been captured on video, shows her running onto the altar in front of the large congregation, but clerics quickly surround her, cover her up and take her away. more >>
In his Angelus address on the Feast of St. Stephen, Pope Francis on Thursday focused on persecuted Christians around the world.
"We are close to those brothers and sisters who, like St. Stephen, are unjustly accused and subjected to violence of various kinds," Francis said on Thursday. "This happens especially where religious freedom is still not guaranteed or not fully realized."
The remarks came just a day after a Christian neighborhood market and Catholic church were bombed in Baghdad, Iraq, leaving 38 people dead. There have been growing concerns for the safety of Christians especially in the Middle East region. Notable world figures, including Britain's Prince Charles, have recently said that followers of Christ in the region are in danger of disappearing from Christianity's birth place. more >>
In a generous act of kindness, Pope Francis gave 2,000 unsuspecting immigrants, who stay at a shelter within close proximity to the Vatican, practical Christmas gift packages that included a signed card, postal stamps, a pre-paid international calling card, and a free day-pass for Rome's metro.
The immigrants stay at the Dono di Maria home that was founded by Mother Teresa 25 years ago under Pope John Paul II's blessing. Many of them arrived in Rome with little to no means, after fleeing from regions in Africa afflicted by armed conflict or from poverty and human trafficking in Asia and Eastern Europe.
"The Pope is very familiar with our work here and understands the realities that people face ... the guests were very happy," said Sister Michelle, the superior of Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity in Rome, according to Catholic News Agency. more >>
America's oldest LGBT magazine has selected Pope Francis as its person of the year.
The Advocate claimed that rooted in its decision to pick the popular Christian figure was the belief that the Pope -- better than litigation and gay marriage cases -- could change the sentiments of the "remaining holdouts for LGBT acceptance in religion."
"The pope's impact isn't on whether we're deciding to sit in the pews, it's on the people who are already in the pews," Lucas Grindley wrote. "More so, it's on the devoted who are there every Sunday plus the middle of the week and who volunteer for charity work and who are sometimes our most ardent opposition." more >>