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Look out It Takes a Church, Duck Dynasty, Preachers of L.A., Snake Salvation and Thicker Than Water—there’s a new church-based reality show coming to cable. Oxygen has greenlit a series called Fix My Choir, which will feature gospel music artists Michelle Williams (of Destiny’s Child) and Deitrick Haddon (of Preachers of L.A. fame), traveling to various churches and community groups to “help them find perfect harmony both within their music—and their members” (according to The Hollywood Reporter). The network also told the outlet earlier this year that in light of the ratings success of Preachers of L.A., they would soon be launching spin-offs in New York, Atlanta, Dallas and Detroit, presumably showcasing the lavish lifestyles of even more controversial megachurch pastors in major cities around the country ... Discuss

 

While speaking to the organization, the International Catholic Child Bureau, Pope Francis asked for forgiveness for the child abuse scandal at the hands of priest that has rocked the church and devastated victims around the world. He was quoted on Vatican Radio saying,

I feel compelled to personally take on all the evil which some priests—quite a few in number, obviously not compared to the number of all the priests—to personally ask for forgiveness for the damage they have done for having sexually abused children. The church is aware of this damage, it is personal, moral damage carried out by men of the church, and we will not take one step backward with regards to how we will deal with this problem, and the sanctions that must be imposed. On the contrary, we have to be even stronger. Because you cannot interfere with children.

Though they are some of the most strong words used by the Pope when addressing the priest abuse, some groups say that without more action, the apology is not enough. The group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) has told CNN and The Daily Beast that they believe that the Vatican—and a commission started by Pope Francis to address the abuse—could be doing more to prevent on-going abuse, improve transparency and punish those responsible ... Discuss

 

Pope Francis continued to break with typical papal protocol this weekend, shocking a congregation in St. Basilica by confessing his sins to a priest in front of the church. After concluding his sermon—which dealt with the sinfulness of man and importance of confession—Pope Francis surprised those in attendance by walking to a confessional booth and kneeling in front of the ordinary priest. According to the AP, “Francis, solemn-faced, then rose and started hearing confessions himself” ... Discuss

 

For the first time since Pope Francis has been the leader of the Catholic Church, he is meeting with President Obama. The president was invited to the Vatican to discuss a variety of issues with the pope today, and though Obama has expressed admiration for Pope Francis, there’s speculation that the meeting may become touchy at times.

Officials from both sides have said that the conversation will be focused on topics of shared values and priorities, but prior to the visit, Vatican Radio—which, according to USA Today “is considered an official organ of communication for the church“— released a story addressing U.S. policy issues at odds with Vatican teaching. It said that the meeting "will take place in the content of a complex phase of the administration's relations of the Church of the United States, marked, in particular, by controversy on the implementation of health care reform having to do with the rules on mandatory health care coverage of sterilization, contraception, and abortion; and on other issues at the center of the public debate in the United States, such as the legalization of homosexual marriages” ... Discuss