emblem of the Papacy: Triple tiara and keys Français : emblème pontifical Italiano: emblema del Papato Português: Emblema papal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
VATICAN CITY – Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina was elected pope Wednesday, becoming the first pontiff from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium.
He chose the name Francis, associating himself with the humble 13th-century Italian preacher who lived a life of poverty.
Francis shyly waved to the crowd of more than 100,000 people who packed a rain-soaked St. Peter’s Square for the announcement, marveling that the cardinals needed to look to “the end of the earth” to find a bishop of Rome.
In choosing a 76-year-old pope, the cardinals clearly decided that they didn’t need a vigorous, young pope who would reign for decades but rather a seasoned, popular and humble pastor who would draw followers to the faith and help rebuild a church stained by scandal.
The number of Americans who say they have no particular religion has grown rapidly in the last five years, a trend that researchers say has significant implications for coming elections and American culture more broadly.
A report released today by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life found that 20 percent of Americans say they do not belong to any religion or are atheist or agnostic, the highest percentage ever recorded in Pew polls and about 5 percent more than those who said they had no religious affiliation five years ago.
Researchers attribute the growth in the ranks of the religiously unaffiliated – or “nones” as they are sometimes called – to changing patterns of religious participation and belief among younger generations and a “softening” of commitment to religion among some older Americans. People who rarely or never attend church are also more likely to say they are not affiliated with any religion than in the past.
A third of adults under 30 say they have no religion, a much higher percentage than is found among older generations or was measured among young people in past decades.
After Robert H. Schuller retired in 2006, his son (Robert A.) tried to follow in his famous father’s footsteps as Senior Pastor. However, in 2008 Robert A. Schuller was removed as Senior Pastor by his father. Robert H. then made his daughter Sheila Interim Senior Pastor in 2009. Sheila became the permanent Senior Pastor in 2010. Three months after her elevation to permanent Senior Pastor the church filed for bankruptcy. During this transition period the church lost thousands of members and millions of dollars in revenue, causing layoffs, salary cuts and finally bankruptcy.
Chapman University had offered to buy the 40-acre complex and allow the congregants to continue worshipping in the cathedral. However, selling to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange will guarantee that the Crystal Cathedral will continue to be used as a house of worship. The diocese has plans to make the Crystal Cathedral the center for the Catholic community in Orange County.
In three years, the congregation at the Crystal Cathedral will need to move. There are some who fear the move will be too much for the remaining congregation. There is also concern that the Hour of Power television program viewers might disappear if the show is no longer broadcast from the Crystal Cathedral. 70% of the revenue for the Crystal Cathedral comes from Hour of Power viewers.
At one time, the Crystal Cathedral had 10,000 local members. Coincidentally, there are 10,000 panes of glass that make up the famous church, which was dedicated in 1980.
Mayor Nutter announced the construction of a new Mormon Temple at 1701 Vine Street in Philadelphia this afternoon. The temple will be about a block north of the Cathedral of Saints Peter & Paul, on the other side of the Vine Street Expressway. The site is currently a parking lot. The temple will feature two 200-feet tall spires and be approximately 40,000 – 50,000 square feet.
The temple will be the church’s third high-rise temple and the first Mormon Temple in Pennsylvania. There are about 48,000 Mormons in Pennsylvania.
The church expects 400,000 annual visitors to the center-city temple which the city feels is significant. City officials are pleased the new temple will be built in Philadelphia, and not a suburb.