Pope Francis acknowledged his growing opposition within the conservative right-wing of the U.S. Catholic Church and said in off-hand remarks aboard the papal plane Wednesday it is "an honor if the Americans attack me."
Pope Francis heads this week to the southern African nations of Mozambique, Madagascar and Mauritius, visiting some of the world's poorest countries in a region hard hit by some of his biggest concerns: conflict, corruption and climate change. The Sept. 4-10 trip is Francis' second pilgrimage to sub-Saharan Africa, which the Catholic Church is looking to as its future given that Africa is one of the few places on Earth where Catholic communities and priestly vocations are growing.
The repatriation of hundreds of Rohingya Muslims appeared unlikely to proceed as planned Thursday after those who were eligible told the U.N. refugee agency and the Bangladesh government they didn't want to return to Myanmar unless their citizenship and safety were ensured. "We have not found anybody yet who has agreed to go back, but all our preparations are in place," said Khaled Hossain, a senior official with the Refugee, Relief and Rehabilitation commissioner's office.
When Donald Trump assumed the presidency, conservative religious leaders drew up "wish lists' of steps they hoped he'd take to oppose abortion and rein in the LGBTQ-rights movement. With a flurry of recent actions, Trump's administration is now winning their praise for aggressively fulfilling many of their goals. Mat Staver, president of the legal advocacy organization Liberty Counsel, said Trump has fulfilled about 90% of the goals on a list that Staver and other conservative leaders compiled.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has issued a warning to members that coffee is prohibited no matter how fancy the name, that vaping is banned despite the alluring flavors and that marijuana is outlawed unless prescribed by "competent" doctors.
Prosecutors and lawyers for the man charged with killing 11 worshippers at a Pittsburgh synagogue last year have agreed to a 120-day extension in the case. The sides met briefly in federal court in Pittsburgh on Monday to review the status of Robert Bowers' prosecution. The defendant wasn't in court.
Founded by Catholic missionaries, El Paso, largely Hispanic city, has 75 Catholic churches, including many that are pillars of their communities. Their fundraising bazaars known as kerméses are treasured events that draw hundreds of people with homemade food, music and games. In this time of tribulation, many of El Paso's people turn to religious traditions for comfort and strength.