Pope Francis in Iraq, Dalai Lama Receives COVID Vaccination, Catholic Bishops: Avoid Johnson & Johnson COVID Vaccine, Who is a Jew? COVID Vaccine Mandatory for 2021 Hajj, Methodist Split Moving Forward
Pope Francis in Iraq
In the Ancient Iraqi City of Ur, which Christians, Muslims and Jews revere as the birthplace of Abraham, Pope Francis met with interfaith leaders and denounced extremism as a betrayal of religion. He praised recovery efforts after the defeat of ISIS and singled out young Muslim volunteers of Mosul who helped repair churches. The Pope decried the deaths of Yazidi men and Yazidi women, girls and children who were kidnapped and sold as slaves. Pope Francis also broke new ground when he met with Shia Muslim cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.
Dalai Lama Receives COVID Vaccination
Catholic Bishops: Avoid Johnson & Johnson COVID Vaccine
On March 2, Officials of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement on the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine recently approved for use in the United States: “The Johnson & Johnson vaccine … was developed, tested and is produced with abortion-derived cell lines raising additional moral concerns. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has judged that ‘when ethically irreproachable Covid-19 vaccines are not available … it is morally acceptable to receive Covid-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process.’ However, if one can choose among equally safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, the vaccine with the least connection to abortion-derived cell lines should be chosen. Therefore, if one has the ability to choose a vaccine, Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccines should be chosen over Johnson & Johnson’s.”
Who is a Jew?
COVID Vaccine Mandatory for 2021 Hajj
Methodist Split Moving Forward
The United Methodist Church has been planning to divide over the issue of homosexuality, and drafted a “Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace Through Separation.” The meeting to ratify the plan was delayed by the pandemic, but some details have emerged. Traditionalists committed to leaving the church have chosen “Global Methodist Church” as the name for the denomination they plan to launch. The work toward a new denomination is guided by a transitional leadership council, which includes some retired United Methodist bishops.