Pope Francis is being hailed around the world -- and criticized by some in the U.S. -- for his pivotal role in brokering the historic breakthrough in relations between Washington and Havana, a role attributed to his background as the first Latin American pope and to the special position he occupies.
The Church of England announced on Wednesday that Libby Lane, a parish priest from Hale, a small village outside Manchester, would become its first woman bishop, ending centuries of all-male leadership in this country's established church.
The announcement from Downing Street, the prime minister's official residence in London, came just a month after changes to canon law making it possible for women to assume the role of suffragan and diocesan bishops.
"I want to thank His Holiness Pope Francis, whose moral example shows us we should work for the world as it should be instead of accepting it as it is."
Negotiators from nearly 200 countries struck a deal early Sunday morning in Lima, Peru, marking the first time that nations, large and small, developed and developing, agreed that each will make pledges aimed at cutting global greenhouse gas emissions.
The agreement, known as the Lima Accord, concluded two days after the scheduled end of the two-week (Dec. 1-12) negotiations, held among delegates representing 196 countries at the United Nations’ annual climate change conference, formally known as the 20th Conference of the Parties.
"Both candidates said that whatever their status is after the elections, either as the winner or as the loser, they will both welcome the Holy Father."
The government of Sierra Leone banned public Christmas and New Year's celebrations because they may exacerbate efforts to eradicate the Ebola virus.
President Ernest Bai Koroma said that despite immense help from the international community, the number of people infected with the virus continues to rise.
Ebola infections in Sierra Leone recently surpassed those of Liberia and Guinea.
While abuse in the church was "sickening" and "shameful," the great majority of cases occurred in non-institutional settings, wrote Archbishop Anthony Fisher.
"Obedience and closed environments also seem to have had a role in the prevalence of abuse within some religious orders and dioceses."
Faith and Justice: "It wasn't all Muslims against all Christians in the country. ... This is not, in fact, a religious war."
While Vatican officials are busy working with other religious groups in formulating a collective message on nuclear disarmament, no-nukes activists are looking for ways to influence the actions of their faith leaders.
Vatican officials traveled to Vienna for the third international conference to examine the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons Dec. 8-9 and delivered a message from Pope Francis calling for nations with nuclear arsenals to find a way to rid themselves, and the world, of these kinds of arms.