Pope Francis became the first pope to make an official visit to a Pentecostal church, after he flew on Monday to speak at the Evangelical Church of Reconciliation in the southern city of Caserta, Italy. The pontiff apologized for persecution of Pentecostals the Roman Catholic Church was involved with in the past, and reached out with friendship to evangelicals.
"Among those who persecuted and denounced Pentecostals, almost as if they were crazy people trying to ruin the race, there were also Catholics," Francis said, according to The Associated Press, referring to Italy's fascist regime when the Pentecostal practice was forbidden.
"I am the pastor of Catholics, and I ask your forgiveness for those Catholic brothers and sisters who didn't know and were tempted by the devil." more >>
A Gallup poll released Friday shows that President Barack Obama enjoys the highest approval rating from Muslims among religious groups. Mormons are the least supportive of Obama.
The poll, which asked how Obama was doing during the first six months of 2014, found that 72 percent of U.S. Muslims approve of the job he is doing, while 20 percent disapprove.
Among "other non-Christians," 59 percent approved of Obama's job performance, 55 percent of "Jewish" adults expressed approval, and 54 percent of those under the "No religion/theist" category said they approve. more >>
The United Reformed Church in the U.K. fell short of reaching a full consensus on changing its traditional definition of marriage to include same-sex couples during its General Assembly.
The Rev. John Proctor said that a "clear majority" of the 300 delegates were in favor of seeing URC become the U.K.'s biggest church that embraces same-sex marriages, but the church body needed a "full consensus," BBC News noted on Sunday.
"A clear majority of members of Assembly expressed the view that local congregations should be permitted to offer same-sex marriage to those who seek that opportunity," Proctor said of the debate. more >>
Malta has become the 22nd European country to recognize same-sex unions and the 10th to allow gay couples to adopt children following a parliament vote, going against the warnings of the Roman Catholic Church, which is the official state religion.
The bill passed by a vote of 37-0, with the opposition abstaining because it is in favor of gay unions but not in allowing gay couples to adopt.
The vote prompted celebratory scenes for the thousands who had gathered at the central square in the capital Valletta to support the passage of the bill. more >>
Miracles are being performed by a an 8-year-old Brazilian girl in the favelas of San Gonzalo, according to reports. Alani Santos channels the power of Jesus Christ to cure HIV, cancer and arthritis, the parishioners in her father's church claim.
Alani Santos' healing miracles take place at the church of her father, Pastor Aduato Santos, who was a former car thief. He has dubbed her missionarinha, or "little missionary," for her preaching and commitment to healing the sick.
"To see God working through people and their lives, that is very pleasing," she told Vocativ. "A lot of the time I touch people, sometimes I just pray and worship and the person is cured." more >>
American philanthropist Melinda Gates talked about her Roman Catholic faith and funding contraceptives in the global fight against AIDS, noting that many Catholics disagree with official church doctrine on the contraception issue.
"Even though I am Catholic I believe in contraceptives, just like the majority of Catholic women in the United States who report using contraceptives, and I shouldn't let that controversy be the thing that holds us back," Gates, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, shared at the TED 2014 conference in Vancouver on Tuesday, The Vancouver Sun reported.
The Catholic Church teaches against the use of contraception, defining it as "any action which, either in anticipation of the conjugal act (sexual intercourse), or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible." This includes sterilization, condoms and the birth control pill. more >>