Expand

Latest

In a statement posted on the Mars Hill website, megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll said that he is taking a six-week leave of absence while the elders of the church review a series of allegations against him.

Storm clouds seem to be whirling around me more than ever in recent months and I have given much thought and sought much counsel as to why that is and what to do about it. The current climate is not healthy for me or for this church … There is a well-documented list of past actions and decisions I have admitted were wrong, sought forgiveness, and apologized for to those I hurt or offended.

Driscoll is effectively stepping down as pastor of the 15-campus, 15,000-attending church based in Washington—at least for the next month and a half. In recent months, Driscoll has come under fire following allegations of plagiarism in his books, using marketing money to essentially inflate book sales, bullying staff and former members and making vulgar online posts under a false name. Though many of the allegations had been previously addressed, in the last few weeks, public outcry grew. Along with criticism from the online community, the Lifeway Christian retail chain announced that it would no longer be selling his books, and the Acts 29 Network of church planters (which Driscoll helped found) removed Mars Hill and Driscoll, saying “the nature of the accusations against Mark, most of which have been confirmed by him, make it untenable and unhelpful to keep Mark and Mars Hill in our network” ... Discuss

In a recent interview with reporters while traveling from South Korea, Pope Francis revealed that he believes he only has "two or three years" left, and would even consider retiring early. The 77-year-old leader of the Catholic church said,

I see it as the generosity of the people of God. I try to think of my sins, my mistakes, not to become proud. Because I know it will last only a short time. Two or three years and then I'll be off to the Father's house.

Pope Francis said that though the idea “does not appeal to some theologians," he would consider retirement if he began to feel like he couldn’t handle his responsibilities as pope, like his predecessor. Pope Francis said that “"Benedict XVI opened a door,” and even admitted that he is currently being treated for nerve problems ... Discuss

In a conversation with reporters, Pope Francis said that the U.N.—and not a single country—should be involved in the decision to take action against ISIS, but protecting Christians and religious minorities in Iraq was essential.

In these cases, where there is an unjust aggression I can only say that it is legitimate to stop the unjust aggressor. I underscore the verb 'to stop'. I am not saying 'bomb' or 'make war', but stop him (the aggressor). The means by which he can be stopped must be evaluated. Stopping the unjust aggressor is legitimate

Pope Francis said that a senior church official has been sent to Iraq to distribute charity funds and minister to refugees who have been displaced by ISIS. The brutal Islamic group has forced thousands to flee their homes and have been targeting Christians and other religious groups who do not adhere to their radical ideology. The pope also revealed that he sent a letter to the U.N. Secretary-General, reiterating how important it is that ISIS be stopped ... Discuss

An interview with Pope Francis conducted by the founder of the Italian La Repubblica newspaper is making some serious waves. During a conversation with editor Eugenio Scalfari, the Pope reportedly said his advisors have told him that about 2 percent of Catholic Clergy are pedophiles, adding, "Among the 2% who are pedophiles are priests, bishops and cardinals. Others, more numerous, know but keep quiet. They punish without giving the reason. I find this state of affairs intolerable."

The Vatican, however, has taken issue with the article, noting that Scalfari doesn’t record interviews, and instead reconstructs them from memory afterward. Church officials say the three-page interview isn’t Pope Francis’ exact words and specifically disputes that he said that that cardinals were among the 2 percent of clergy that are pedophiles. Pope Francis was also quoted as saying that the crimes were “a leprosy in our house,” and vowed continued action against it. The headline for the piece read, "Pope says: Like Jesus, I shall use a stick against pedophile priests" ... Discuss

For the first time ever, victims of sexual abuse perpetrated by Catholic priest were invited to the Vatican to meet with the pope. In addition to asking for forgiveness directly for the “sins and grave crimes of clerical sexual abuse committed against you,” Pope Francis also acknowledged that the church leadership structure, which has been widely criticized for how they handled abuse cases, was also in the wrong. “I beg your forgiveness, too, for the sins of omission on the part of church leaders who did not respond adequately to reports of abuse made.” Though some have praised Pope Francis’ willingness to meet with victims, the outreach director of the Survivor Network of those Abused by Priest (SNAP), told The Daily Beast that if the Vatican does not punish the abusive priests and do more to prevent abuse (along with their list of demands), than they aren’t going far enough. “If it’s not preventing abuse, it’s probably meaningless or almost meaningless" ... Discuss

While driving through a rural Italian village, Pope Francis shocked locals standing on the side of the road, by stopping his motorcade to meet a young disabled woman. The family of the woman—who was connected to a breathing machine on a stretcher—had placed signs near the highway, reading, “Please Pope stop here to see an angel who has been waiting for you. Please come and bless little Roberta." Pope Francis kissed the woman on the forehead, before shaking hands and greeting her friends and family who were their waiting with her. As the Catholic News Agency notes, a friend of Roberta’s, who witnessed the Pope’s interaction with the woman, posted on Facebook, “It was very emotional to see how Pope Francis greeted Roberta … there are gestures in life that are worth more than speeches, much more than you would think … Pope Francis is unique” ... Discuss