Religion

Pope Pleads For God’s Help As Italian Deaths Soar

Reuters reports: The gloom over Italy darkened Friday as the country reported nearly 1,000 new deaths, its worst single-day toll in an accelerating coronavirus pandemic that has brought the world to a standstill. Grim-faced Italian officials in Rome announced 969 new deaths at a daily briefing while, not far away and at the same time, Pope Francis held a stirring …

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Dozens In Congregation Ill At Small Chicago Church

Suburban Chicago’s Daily Herald reports: An estimated 43 people, more than half the people who attended a service March 15 at The Life Church of Glenview, are sick and at least 10 have tested positive for COVID-19, Pastor Anthony LoCascio [photo] confirmed Thursday evening. “A lot of people are sick,” said LoCascio, who says 11 days after starting to feel …

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Vatican Bars Public From Pope’s Easter Week Services

Reuters reports: Pope Francis’ Holy Week and Easter services, which normally draw tens of thousands of people, will be held without the public attending because of the coronavirus outbreak, a step believed to be unprecedented in modern times. It was not clear how the massive events will be scaled down but sources said officials were studying ways to hold them …

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Vatican Closes St. Peter’s Square To Tour Groups

Yahoo News reports: St. Peter’s Square and St. Peter’s Basilica have been closed to tourists and guided groups because of coronavirus but individual members of the faithful can enter the basilica to pray, the Vatican said on Tuesday.  A statement said the Vatican would also be closing its post office in the square, which draws many tourists, as well as …

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Canada Sees Bill To Ban Ex-Gay Torture Nationwide

CTV News reports: Justice Minister David Lametti has added another bill to the government’s agenda, tabling new amendments to the Criminal Code, to impose a ban on conversion therapy. The legislation — a campaign promise and evolution on the government’s position last parliament — is proposing to prohibit religious counselling seeking to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, …

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Virus Spurs Pope Francis To Livestream Sunday Mass

The New York Post reports: Pope Francis livestreamed his prayers to giant screens in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday — breaking centuries of tradition because of Italy’s deadly spread of the novel coronavirus. The 83-year-old pope — who tested negative for COVID-19 after suffering from a cold — appeared for a few seconds at a Vatican palazzo window to wave …

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Vatican City Reports Its First Case Of Coronavirus

The Daily Beast reports: The Vatican has closed its health care facilities after treating a patient who tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a memo sent to the Vatican press corps Friday morning. The Vatican emergency room remains open. The Vatican clinic serves around 1,000 people who live inside Vatican City, including Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, countless …

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FRANCE: Catholic Cardinal Quits In Molestation Coverup

The Associated Press reports: Pope Francis on Friday accepted the resignation of a French cardinal who was convicted and then acquitted of covering up for a pedophile priest in a case that fueled a reckoning over clergy sexual abuse in France. Lyon Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, 69, had offered to resign when the Lyon court in March 2019 first convicted him …

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Virginia Becomes 20th State To Ban Ex-Gay Torture

The Washington Post reports: Gov. Ralph Northam has signed a bill banning conversion therapy for minors, the first LGBT rights measure to reach the Democrat’s desk this year. Virginia will become the 20th state — and the first in the South — to outlaw the therapy, a widely discredited practice that purports to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender …

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Buffalo Diocese Bankrupt Amid Hundreds Of Lawsuits

The Buffalo News reports: The Buffalo Diocese, awash with lawsuits alleging child sex abuse by priests, nuns and others, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Friday, marking another chapter in a scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church in Western New York since early 2018. The Buffalo Diocese already is named as a defendant in 260 cases, more than …

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SOUTH KOREA: Secretive Christian Sect At Center Of Coronavirus Outbreak, Hundreds Of Thousands Tested

Reuters reports: An So-young had a gut feeling that the 31st person in South Korea to test positive for the coronavirus might be a member of the controversial religious sect she quit four years ago. What caught An’s attention was how health authorities were struggling to track the woman’s movements before she was tested. “That’s their culture, they have to …

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Pope To Catholics: Try Giving Up Trolling For Lent

Reuters reports: During Lent, Catholics are called on to give up something, like sweets. On Wednesday, Pope Francis added a modern twist to the list of things to quit during the season and beyond: insulting people on social media. The pope made his appeal to tone things down while speaking to tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square …

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Pope Rejects Trump’s Middle East Peace Proposal

Reuters reports: Pope Francis on Sunday warned against “inequitable solutions” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying they would only be a prelude to new crises, in an apparent reference to U.S. President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace proposal. It was believed to be the first time the pope, who has often defended both Palestinian rights and Israel’s need for security, has …

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Preachers Win Right To Harass At Chicago’s Bean

Courthouse News reports: A Chicago-area Christian outreach ministry resumed evangelizing in Millennium Park on Friday night after a federal judge ruled the city violated the ministry’s constitutional rights by trying to prevent it from preaching in the public space. Jeremy Chong, a sophomore at Wheaton College and member of the Wheaton-sponsored Chicago Evangelism Team, said in a phone interview Friday …

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PA Diocese Declares Bankruptcy Amid Abuse Lawsuits

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports: The Diocese of Harrisburg filed for bankruptcy Wednesday, becoming the first of Pennsylvania’s eight Roman Catholic dioceses to seek protection from financial claims in the aftermath of a scathing 2018 grand jury report that revealed decades of sexual abuse and cover-up by the church’s top leaders. In its petition with the bankruptcy court, the diocese reported …

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Papal Envoy To Abuse Victim: Recant And We’ll Pay You

The Associated Press reports: The cardinal’s response was not what Yolanda Martínez had expected — or could abide. Her son had been sexually abused by a priest of the Legion of Christ, a disgraced religious order. And now she was calling Cardinal Valasio De Paolis — the Vatican official appointed by the pope to lead the Legion and to clean …

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Atheist Wins $150K In Legal Fees Over “IM GOD” Plate

The Christian Post reports: A federal judge ruled last week that the state of Kentucky violated the First Amendment by denying an atheist a license plate saying “IM GOD,” and has ordered the state to pay more than $150,000 in legal fees to the attorneys who represented the lawsuit. Freedom From Religion Foundation and American Civil Liberties Union-Kentucky attorneys represented …

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Oklahoma Lawmakers Advance Ban On Ex-Gay Torture

CNN reports: Oklahoma’s state House of Representatives has advanced a bill that would ban so-called “conversion therapy,” a widely rejected practice that seeks to change the sexuality of LGBTQ individuals, for minors. The “Youth Mental Health Protection Act” moved past committee with bipartisan support and will soon move to the full legislature for a vote. Efforts to ban conversion therapy …

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Ohio Lawmakers Get Bill To Ban Ex-Gay Torture

Cleveland.com reports: A new bill in the Ohio House would ban conversion therapy — programs intended to end same-sex attraction and make a gay person straight. The conversion therapy bill is sponsored by Rep. Mary Lightbody, a Columbus-area Democrat. “Human beings are complex, and each individual is unique,” Lightbody said in a statement. “As children grow, we all learn about …

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Vatican Sends 600,000+ Face Masks To China

The Catholic News Service reports: In an email to Catholic News Service Feb. 3, the Vatican press office confirmed a report that appeared in the Chinese newspaper The Global Times, which said that since Jan. 27, the Vatican has sent 600,000-700,000 protective masks to China. “The masks are destined to the provinces of Hubei, Zhejiang and Fujian,” the press office …

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