Priest pleads guilty to theft

offering plate One of two priests — who authorities say for years stole cash from their Florida church’s offering plate and hid it in the church ceiling and offshore bank accounts to pay for lavish lifestyles — has pleaded guilty

Prosecutors say the priests plucked cash from the offering plate and spent it on upscale homes, gambling trips to Las Vegas with a mistress, even a $275,000 rare coin collection.

Spain: Parents win fight to remove class crucifix

Crucifix The ongoing row between the Catholic Church and the Spanish Government has erupted again after a judge banned the crucifix from a primary school.

The ruling came after parents won a three-year legal battle with the local authorities over a crucifix in Macias Picavea school in Valladolid, northern Spain.

Catholics ordered to keep quiet over Virgin visions

Virgin Mary Catholics who claim they have seen the Virgin Mary will be forced to remain silent about the apparitions until a team of psychologists, theologians, priests and exorcists have fully investigated their claims under new Vatican guidelines aimed at stamping out false claims of miracles.

The Pope has instructed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly the Holy Office of the Inquisition, to draw up a new handbook to help bishops snuff out an explosion of bogus heavenly apparitions.

Beatles bigger than Jesus? Just a Lennon joke: Vatican paper

John Lennon The Vatican’s daily newspaper marked the 40th anniversary of the “The White Album” by dismissing as a “quip” John Lennon’s notorious claim that the Beatles were bigger than Jesus Christ.

At the time, the comment by Lennon to a London newspaper in 1966 infuriated Christians, particularly in the United States, some of whom burned Beatles’ albums in huge pyres. [video]

Rome hosts Vatican-Muslim summit

Catholic Islamic interfaith dialogue Muslim and Vatican officials are holding historic talks in Rome to establish a better inter-faith dialogue and defuse any future tensions.

CatholicMuslim ties soured after Pope Benedict XVI’s speech in 2006, in which he linked Muslims with past violence.

The speech provoked Muslim outrage and triggered violent protests.

Baltimore archbishop tells Virgin Mary ‘visionary’ to stop activities

Gianna Sullivan The Roman Catholic Church has told a disputed visionary to stop disseminating within the Archdiocese of Baltimore messages she purportedly receives from the Virgin Mary.

Archdiocese spokesman Sean Caine said O’Brien’s letter was prompted by confusion and anxiety among the faithful stemming from the heightened apocalyptic language in a recent ‘vision’ by Gianna Sullivan.

Pope: Millions are losing their religion and declaring God is dead

Pope Benedict XVI Modern culture is so devoid of faith that some people are declaring God “dead” and entire nations are losing their identity, Pope Benedict XVI warned yesterday.

His comments, made during a Mass at the start of a month-long synod of Roman Catholic bishops from around the world, come amid growing concern about the decline in church attendance and interest in religion in many Western nations.

UK: Reforms would allow non-Protestant heir and end male priority

England reforms monarchy Downing Street has drawn up plans to end the 300-year-old exclusion of Catholics from the throne.

The requirement that the succession automatically pass to a male would also be reformed, making it possible for a first born daughter of Prince William to become his heir.

Church lists banned touches

Shake hands The Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s new Decree on Child Protection includes the most detailed rules yet for how priests, employees and volunteers should interact with children.

The latest version of the decree, which is updated every five years, lists for the first time examples of physical contact that would be appropriate or inappropriate under church rules.

Dissident group claims three women ordained as priests

women priests The ceremony, like several others that have taken place around the world over the past six years, was denounced by the Roman Catholic Church, and critics said the event was a stunt with no religious significance.

The Catholic Church has consistently taught that only men can be ordained as priests, and the Archdiocese of Boston said that the women who participated in yesterday’s ceremony had automatically excommunicated themselves by participating in what it said was an invalid ordination ceremony.

Italian bishop refuses wedding to impotent paraplegic: media

religious insanity A couple, legally married, is denied a church wedding by a Catholic bishop — who in so doing has added himself to our collection of stories filed under ‘religious insanity.’

Pope says Vatican will excommunicate women priests

Advocates of women ordination cite the letters of Saint Paul, some of the earliest texts of Christianity, to show that women played important roles in the early church.

Germany: Exorcists are summoned from abroad to drive the demons away

Hundreds of Germans, tortured by inner voices, are on the search for priests who can free them from what they believe to be the grip of the Devil, according to an extraordinary radio documentary that has stirred an awkward debate about exorcism in the Catholic Church.

The Virgin Mary’s place in the Kern County sun

Twenty years after a woman said the Virgin Mary appeared to her, hundreds still attend Our Lady of the Rock gatherings in the Mojave. Despite disavowal by the church, followers say they draw comfort.

Church disowns activist bishop

Australia’s bishops have released a public statement suggesting that Bishop Robinson is wrong about the authority of Christ and the authority of the church to “teach the truth”.

Vatican says aliens could exist

Just as there are multiple forms of life on earth, so there could exist intelligent beings in outer space created by God. And some aliens could even be free from original sin, the Vatican’s astronomer speculates.

Vatican trying to avoid baptism by proxy

The Roman Catholic Church has recently directed dioceses worldwide not to give parish information to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The move is to prevent LDS Church members from baptizing by proxy Catholic ancestors.

Church recognizes Virgin Mary appearances in France

Officials at Notre-Dame-du-Laus church say that after four months of daily apparitions starting in May 1664, the Virgin Mary asked Rencurel to build a church and a house to receive priests.

Faithful gather as remains of Stigmata Saint go on display

Padre Pio’s body is unusually central to the cult that surrounds him, and exceptionally controversial.
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