Author: CBCP News

Vatican, Al-Azhar team up to counter religious justification for violence

VATICAN, Feb. 21, 2017-– The Vatican and one of Islam’s most renowned schools of Sunni thought are joining forces to discuss how they can work together in combating religious extremism that uses God’s name to justify violence. On Feb. 21 the Vatican announced that Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, will travel to Cairo to participate in a special seminar at the Al-Azhar University. He will be joined by the council’s secretary, Bishop Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, and the head of their Office for Islam, Msgr. Khaled Akasheh, to discuss the theme “The role...

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Pope Francis: To love your enemies, prayer is a game-changer

VATICAN, Feb. 19, 2017-– The path to holiness and sainthood, Pope Francis said, requires imitating Christ by loving our enemies and praying for those who wrong us even when it is difficult. “It’s true, God the Father is merciful,” he said Feb. 19. “And you? Are you merciful, are you merciful with the people who have hurt you? Or who do not love you?” “If He is merciful, if He is holy, if He is perfect, we must be merciful, holy and perfect like Him,” he continued. “This is holiness. A man and a woman who do this deserve...

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Christian florist loses religious liberty case, will appeal to US Supreme Court

SEATTLE, Wash., Feb 16, 2017–A Washington state florist must pay fines and legal costs for conscientiously objecting to serving a same-sex wedding, as the state’s supreme court upheld a lower court’s decision on Thursday. “It’s wrong for the state to force any citizen to support a particular view about marriage or anything else against their will. Freedom of speech and religion aren’t subject to the whim of a majority; they are constitutional guarantees,” Kristin Waggoner, senior counsel with the group Alliance Defending Freedom who argued the case before the Washington Supreme Court, stated Feb. 16. “This case is about crushing dissent. In a free America, people with differing beliefs must have room to coexist,” she added. In 2013, Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Wash., declined to serve the same-sex wedding of a long-time customer who had requested her service, citing her Christian religious beliefs that marriage is between one man and one woman. After hearing of the incident, the office of the state attorney general wrote her that she was violating the state’s law by discriminating on basis of “sexual orientation,” and asked her to stop declining such weddings. Stutzman refused out of conscience. The American Civil Liberties Union and the state of Washington eventually sued her and a lower court ruled against her, ordering her to pay a fine and legal costs. She appealed her...

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This female nuclear physicist just created a fertility app

ZURICH, Switzerland, Feb 16, 2017–Meet Elina Berglund: a nuclear physicist who will be known as the woman who developed the first natural cycle fertility app to have been internationally certified as an effective means of avoiding pregnancy. While the Catholic Church teaches that the use of contraception is immoral, because it separates procreation from the sexual act, it does approve of fertility mapping methods like natural family planning. Though Berglund’s app was developed to be used as a contraceptive, it can be used as a form of natural family planning. Natural family planning methods, such as the Billings Method or Creighton Model, help women and families achieve pregnancy – or prevent pregnancy, if there is a just reason to avoid it – by tracking natural cycles, which is similar to the concept behind the Berglund’s app. “It feels incredibly exciting that there is now an approved alternative to conventional pregnancy prevention methods, and that it’s possible to replace medication with technology,” Berglund told Business Insider. The app, called Natural Cycles, was founded in Switzerland by Elina Berglund and her husband Raoul Scherwizl. They created the app as a way to go “beyond contraception,” and to “get to know your body and unique cycles,” according to their website. “At Natural Cycles, we are all about combining scientific research and mobile tech to empower every woman worldwide with knowledge about her...

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Church official speaks on India’s medical degree scam

BHOPAL, Feb 17, 2017–A church official in Madhya Pradesh has welcomed the Indian Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the disqualification of 634 medical professionals after an investigation found they had bribed their way into medical schools. The Supreme Court’s Feb. 13 decision came after a lower court judged that some students had gained access to medical school by illegal means, replacing more meritorious students. But some innocent students have been caught up in the mass revocation of qualifications. “It is a very good verdict. The court has punished the doctors who managed to get admitted through fraud. But authorities also should punish those running the fraud,” said Archbishop Leo Cornelio of Bhopal. The Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board canceled medical school admissions between 2008-2012 after the scandal came to light in 2013. Investigating officials arrested some 2,000 people, including high ranking officials, in connection with it by 2015. However, no politician has been punished yet. The Supreme Court’s decision affects some 1,000 people, including some 400 currently taking five-year courses at different medical schools in the state, Bhaskar Lakshakar, chair of the examination board, told local media. Billed as the biggest education scam in the country, the federal Central Bureau of Investigation began to investigate after more than 50 people associated with it died in mysterious circumstances after news of the scam broke. Archbishop Cornelio, who is based in...

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