Five men in Pakistan have been sentenced to death for burning a Christian couple alive back in November 2014. The couple was attacked by a mob of 600 people and then thrown into a kiln after burning a few pages of the Qur’an.
The wife, Shama Bibi, was three months pregnant at the time and apparently had a father who had used verses from the Qur’an to perform black magic. This is reportedly why she burned some of the pages and threw them into the garbage outside of her home.
Shama Bibi and her husband Shahzad Masih originally went to the kiln’s owner to resolve the matter. The man assured them nothing would happen but forced the couple to work as bonded laborers because of an outstanding debt they held with him. Only two days later, the mob came and threw Shama Bibi and Shahzad Masih in the kiln.
The event created enough national outrage to move the case to the anti-terrorism court where 50 people were charged for, “the use or threat of action …to coerce and intimidate or overawe the Government or the public …or create a sense of fear or insecurity in society.”
Christianity Today quoted Riaz Anjum from the Voice Society saying, “Although several of the suspects were acquitted after statements by Shahzad’s brothers, still five have received the punishment of death, which is an extraordinary step by the court.” Discuss
Brazil and soccer fans across the world are mourning the loss of 71 people following a tragic plane crash in Colombia late Monday night.
The plane was carrying 21 journalists, as well as members of the Brazilian soccer team, Chapecoense. The team was headed to Copa Sudamericana finals. Investigators are examining the black box recovered from the plane to investigate the cause of the crash.
Six people survived.
A remembrance ceremony in the victims' honor is happening at the Atanasio Girardot Stadium in Medellin, Colombia, where the soccer team planned to play Colombia's Atletico Nacional team which would have been the biggest game in the team's history to date.
"The dream is over," Plinio David de Nes Filho, chairman of the club's board, told Brazil's TV Globo. "Yesterday morning I was saying goodbye to them. They told me they were going in search of the dream, to make this dream a reality."
The lack of fire damage in the crash is leading authorities to think the issue may have been fuel shortage. A seven-person delegation of legal experts and doctors are being sent to the scene as the investigation continues. Discuss
When it comes to the pro-life movement, few groups have been as active than Roman Catholics. And that makes today's news all the more interesting.
Pope Francis has officially given Catholic priests the indefinite power to forgive women who receive abortions. Historically, the responsibility of absolving the sin of abortion belonged to Catholic bishops, but Francis granted all priests this specific right last December for the "Year of Mercy," which ended on Sunday. Today the Pope addressed the continuation of the abortion pardon in an apostolic letter and explained that while abortion is still a grave sin to the Catholic church mercy will be extended to those who repent.
"I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life," the Pope's letter states.
"In the same way, however, I can and must state that there is no sin that God's mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father."
"May every priest, therefore, be a guide, support, and comfort to penitents on this journey of special reconciliation.
"I henceforth grant to all priests, in virtue of their ministry, the faculty to absolve those who have committed the sin of procured abortion." Discuss
So far, lines of people in cities like Miami and Chicago, and your friends and family can be next. Go to Pizza to the Polls and report a long line (including the address) and pizza could be on the way.
Whether you donate, report a line in need or both, giving pizza tonight is certainly the American thing to do. Discuss
On his way back from the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, Pope Francis responded to a journalist's question about the Roman Catholic Church's stance on banning women from the priesthood.
The writer asked him, “Is it realistic to think that there might be women priests in the next few decades?” and the pope responded by mentioning Pope John Paul II's letter in 1994 that outlawed women being ordained.
The pontiff said: “On the ordination of women in the Catholic church, the last word is clear. … It was given by St. John Paul II and this remains.”
The Roman Catholic Church doesn't allow women to be ordained as priests, arguing that none of the 12 disciples were women, so they also shouldn't be priests.
This is not a pivot for Francis. He's previously talked about not allowing the ordination, only this time he essentially said that the ban should last forever.
Earlier this year, Francis seemed to be considering allowing women to be ordained as deacons when he asked for an analysis of the role women deacons played. Discuss
A megachurch pastor in China's Shanghai region has been released after seven years in prison for protesting against the demolition of a house church.
On September 13, 2009, local government officials in Lenfi, broke into Christian churches and businesses in the area, beating approximately 100 believers. Days later, the government dispatched bulldozers to destroy multiple buildings and other church property.
Pastor Yang Rongli and her husband, Wang Xiaoguang were arrested shortly following these events for protesting the demolition of a house church. Two months later, they were convicted for organizing a prayer rally on September 14. They were presented in court under charges for “gathering a mob to disturb public order.”
A report from China Aid, a watchdog group that reports on Christian persecution in China, confirms that Pastor Rongli has been released and bears signs of brutality endured while held captive. She shows signs of malnutrition and has suffered from two kidney stones, diabetes, and a heart problem in jail.
Due to continued government restrictions against her, Yang is not able to provide interviews or speak to the media at this time. Discuss