The Vatican announced Tuesday that Pope Francis will set up a panel to help process the "backlog" of appeals from priests who've been accused of committing sexual abuse against minors. The new judicial body, or college, will be overseen by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
"Hearing the appeals is a very important job, especially those on abuse of minors, and the backlog of cases is at risk of absorbing all the time of the congregation," Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi told The Tablet, a Catholic news weekly.
"[The accused] shall have his case examined by the whole body of members of the congregation, the ordinary session, which may also examine other specific cases upon papal request, and/or examine cases referred to it by the newly created college," he added. more >>
Pope Francis has removed conservative U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, who was the Vatican's highest ranking American, as head of its highest court. The move could be seen as reflecting the changing stand of the Catholic Church on some key social issues.
The Vatican announced Saturday that Cardinal Burke, formerly prefect of the Apostolic Signature, will now serve as cardinal patron of the Knights and Dames of Malta, according to Catholic News Service.
The 66-year-old cardinal and the former archbishop of St. Louis has been known as an advocate for denying communion to Catholic politicians who back abortion. Burke has also openly criticized the pope for his accommodation approach to the faith. more >>
Satanism is on the rise, according to the International Association of Exorcists, whose members recently convened with Pope Francis to receive a blessing at the Vatican.
The group, which consists of around 300 members, gathered in Rome last week to discuss the impact of the occult and Satanism with the Pope, who is adamant about the fight against Satan in his sermons. The Pope took time to commend the group for helping those who are suffering from the "devil's works."
Valter Cascioli, a spokesman for the organization, warned of an "extraordinary increase in demonic activity" during a segment on Vatican radio. He also claims that people are turning to dark practices that are damaging psychologically, spiritually and morally at an alarming rate. more >>
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York plans to merge more than 112 parishes into 55 new parishes this year, leading to the closure of as many as 33 churches.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, made the announcement of the mergers on All Saints Sunday.
"This time of transition in the history of the archdiocese will undoubtedly be difficult for people who live in parishes that will merge," stated Dolan. "There will be many who are hurt and upset as they experience what will be a change in their spiritual lives, and I will be one of them." more >>
Pope Francis is set to open the "Complementarity of Man and Woman" conference at the Vatican on Nov.17-19, which is dedicated to traditional marriage and is set to feature speakers from various Christian churches, as well as from Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Taoism and Sikhism. Russell D. Moore, the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, said that he accepted the invitation in order to bear witness to what evangelicals believe about marriage.
While noting that the different religious traditions who will be speaking have "real and ongoing differences on soteriology and ecclesiology," Moore noted on his website that he is "willing to go anywhere, when asked, to bear witness to what we as evangelical Protestants believe about marriage and the gospel, especially in times in which marriage is culturally imperiled."
Catholic News Service reported that the event will feature more than 30 speakers representing 23 countries, and will aim to "examine and propose anew the beauty of the relationship between the man and the woman, in order to support and reinvigorate marriage and family life for the flourishing of human society." more >>
An Augustinian monk named Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to a church door in Wittenberg, Germany, centuries ago on the last day of October.
As the 500th anniversary of the historic occasion is still a few years away, various groups are already overseeing ways and providing resources to celebrate the milestone.
Tom Macy, senior pastor at Faith Church in Indianapolis, Indiana, told The Christian Post in an earlier interview that he viewed Reformation Day as a better alternative to Halloween. more >>