Death threats to Arabs and Christians written in front of a Roman Catholic Church office in Jerusalem ahead of Pope Francis' visit later this month have some officials alarmed, though a Christian persecution watchdog group said it is unlikely a direct attack on the pope will be attempted.
The Office of the Assembly of Bishops, Notre Dame of Jerusalem said that it found Hebrew writing on a column outside its building earlier this week, reading "Death to Arabs, Christians and all those who hate Israel." Heads of churches are preparing to respond.
Todd Daniels, International Christian Concern's regional manager for the Middle East, told The Christian Post in an email on Thursday that such threats and attacks are often carried out by Jewish extremists, and that Israeli security forces are taking the threat seriously. more >>
In a letter to Pope Francis, the patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church Tawadros II proposed making one date for Easter celebrations for all Christian Churches.
According to Fides News Agency, Tawadros II's letter was delivered to the Apostolic Nuncio to the Arab Republic of Egypt, His Exc. Mgr. Paul Gobel. The letter also marks the anniversary of the first meeting in the Vatican between the two popes.
Francis' representative has in turn invited a representative of the Coptic Church to the next Assembly of the Synod of Catholic Bishops, which is to be held in October. more >>
A lawsuit seeking to remove a Jesus statue from a ski slope in Montana will be heard before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Known as the "Big Mountain Jesus" and located in Whitefish, briefs were filed by multiple parties to the Ninth Circuit, which will then schedule oral arguments for the case.
The lawsuit was brought by the Madison, Wisconsin-based group the Freedom From Religion Foundation. more >>
The Roman Catholic Church is set for an important discussion in October on some of its most central social teachings, such as gay unions, divorce, contraception, cohabitation and others in a meeting of senior Vatican officials called by Pope Francis.
The LA Times described the upcoming assembly as "an urgent meeting of senior clerics this fall to reexamine church teachings that touch the most intimate aspects of people's lives," and said that the meeting could potentially pave the way for a new direction by the church on these issues.
The report further said that the run-up to the synod is a departure from usual practice, and highlights Francis' commitment to take a new approach when it comes to dealing with church matters. The initiative is part of the pope's instructions last year to diocese leaders around the world to survey local attitudes on social issues. The results have not yet been released, but reportedly are being analyzed by the Vatican behind closed doors. more >>
Half a million people attended the canonization ceremony at St. Peter's Square Sunday where Popes John Paul II and John XXIII were declared saints by the Roman Catholic Church, according to the Vatican.
"We declare and define Blessed John XXIII and John Paul II to be saints and we enrol them among the saints, decreeing that they are to be venerated as such by the whole Church," Pope Francis formally proclaimed in Latin, Reuters reported.
Delegates from over 100 countries attended the ceremony, including more than 20 Heads of State such as King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain, King Albert II and Queen Paola of Belgium, Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein, Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, ex-president of the Republic of Poland Lech Walesa, and president of the Argentine parliament Julian Dominguez, among others. more >>
More than half a million people gathered in St. Peter's Square Sunday to join Pope Francis and Retired Benedict XVI for holy mass and the sainthood ceremony for Popes John XXIII and John Paul II.
Pope Francis canonized the two post-World War II era pontiffs, Pope John XXIII, who reigned from 1958 to 1963, and called for the modernizing Second Vatican Council and allowd for Mass to be celebrated in local languages instead of Latin; and Pope John Paul II, who reigned for nearly 27 years and is credited for working with U.S. President Ronald Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to bring down Communism.
Canadian sculptor Tim Schmalz had the honor of meeting Pope Francis and Pope John Paul II and told The Christian Post that both pontiffs have encouraged the 1.2 billion Catholics around the world and Christians of all denominations to help the poor and marginalized in society. more >>