Pope begs forgiveness for 'scandals' hitting Rome, Vatican
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis is asking forgiveness for recent scandals that have hit Rome and the Vatican.
The pope didn't cite specific examples in his off-the-cuff request for pardon at the start of his Wednesday general audience.
But the past week has seen its fair share of problems: On the eve of Francis' big meeting on the family, a Vatican monsignor came out as gay. Then Rome's mayor resigned amid scandal and criticism by the church. And recently, a leaked letter revealed grave concerns by a dozen cardinals about the way Francis' synod was being run.
Francis said: "Before beginning the catechesis I want in the name of the church to ask forgiveness for the scandals which recently have hit Rome and the Vatican. I ask forgiveness."
Israeli clerics and ex-president pray for end to violence
TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Former Israeli President Shimon Peres has brought Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders together in Tel Aviv to jointly appeal for peace amid surging violence between Israelis and Palestinians.
Earlier Tuesday, a pair of stabbing and shooting attacks in Jerusalem killed three Israelis. Some eight Israelis and 27 Palestinians have been killed in a month of Israeli-Palestinian unrest.
The religious leaders embraced before they made a united call for peace. Peres said they came together "to pray to the Lord to stop the bloodshed."
Peres, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, ended a seven-year term as president last year, but he remains a respected figure who often comments on events in Israel.
In Haiti capital, gunmen kill US missionary in her car
HENDERSON, Tenn. (AP) — Colleagues say an American missionary who has been working in Haiti for two decades has been fatally shot by gunmen in the country's capital as she was behind the wheel of her car.
The Estes Church of Christ, based in Henderson, Tennessee, identified the slain missionary as Roberta Edwards. She ran the small Sonlight Children's Home in Port-au-Prince.
The church says Edwards' car was intentionally blocked Saturday by armed men who fired into the vehicle and killed her. They say the gunmen fled and the motive is not known. A Haitian National Police spokesman says the attackers also kidnapped a 4-year-old child from Edwards' car. It was not immediately clear if the child was one of the roughly 20 youngsters who received foster care at the children's home.
New Mexico town of Belen in fight to keep Nativity scene
BELEN, N.M. (AP) — The little New Mexico town of Belen — Spanish for Bethlehem — is fighting to keep a year-round Nativity scene on city property.
Belen Mayor Jerah Cordova (JEH'-rah CORH'-doh-vah) told The Associated Press the city will resist pressure from a Wisconsin-based group to remove a piece of art on the birth of Jesus. Cordova says the city would even sell the property to keep the Nativity scene up.
Freedom From Religion Foundation co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor says Belen is violating the U.S. Constitution by having the religious art on city property. She says if Belen puts the property up for sale, her foundation may bid on it and would replace the art with a monument to nonbelievers.
Cordova said those who oppose the Nativity scene are "outsiders" who don't understand the history and culture of New Mexico — a former Spanish territory with deep Hispanic and spiritual Catholic ties.
Church gives pizza driver $1,000 tip from collection plate
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio church congregation ordered a pizza during a service, then tipped the driver more than $1,000 that had been collected for the offering.
The driver brought the $5.99 pizza to Sycamore Creek Church in Pickerington in suburban Columbus on Oct. 4. The Rev. Steve Markle brought her onstage and asked her the biggest tip she'd ever received. She said about $10.
That's when Markle told her the teaching at the church had been about generosity so the congregation had taken up an offering for the driver. She burst into tears.
The Columbus Dispatch reports that the congregation was wrapping up a sermon series on "I was Broke. Now I'm Not."
The church draws about 500 to 600 people each week.