15 Stories

Where Was Jesus Baptized? UNESCO Weighs In

Debate continues as UN group picks Jordan side over West Bank locale

(Newser) - Addressing a long-simmering debate about whether Jesus Christ was baptized on the eastern or western side of the Jordan River, UNESCO has made its final decision, and the winner is … Jordan, not the West Bank in Israel, the AP reports. Despite a lack of strong archaeological evidence, the UN... More »

Pope Francis: Sure, I'd Baptize Martians

He says church can't close its doors to anyone, or any being

(Newser) - If our travelers to Mars encounter any little green men, Pope Francis says the Catholic Church would be happy to make a few converts. In an unusual message about the inclusiveness of Catholicism, Francis went to other-worldly extremes to make his point, reports the Christian Post :
  • "If, for example,
... More »

Man Swept Out to Sea During Beach Baptism

Benito Flores is still missing

(Newser) - A California man is still missing after he was swept out to sea while assisting with a beach baptism yesterday morning. Benito Flores, 43, was helping the pastor, his cousin, baptize a man at the Rancho Guadalupe Dunes Preserve near Santa Maria. "A big wave came and took Benito,... More »

Casey Anthony to Be Baptized

She plans 'a new beginning,' wants to see Caylee someday

(Newser) - Casey Anthony has apparently found God. The acquitted onetime-murder-suspect is starting a "new chapter in her life," says a source, "a new beginning." And that involves embracing religion: The 26-year-old "has planned to get baptized sometime this month," the insider tells Radar . "Casey... More »

Mormons Also Baptized Daniel Pearl

Posthumous baptisms continue to cause uproar

(Newser) - The Mormon Church is already under fire for posthumously baptizing Anne Frank and the parents of Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal , and now it turns out the church did the same thing to Daniel Pearl. The Wall Street Journal reporter, who was killed in Pakistan soon after 9/11, was baptized last year... More »

Mormons Baptize Anne Frank

Member of church conducts ritual in Dominican Republic

(Newser) - The Mormon Church last weekend appears to have once again baptized Anne Frank, defying an agreement with Jewish leaders to refrain from posthumously baptizing Jews in general and Holocaust figures in particular. Former Mormon Church member Helen Radkey discovered the baptism on a Mormons-only database used to chart genealogy and... More »

Mormons Baptized Parents of Nazi-Hunter Wiesenthal

Simon Wiesenthal Center appalled, Mormons apologize

(Newser) - In a ritual that doesn't sit well with many, Mormons last month baptized the deceased parents of Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal. Now they're sorry. Asher and Rosa Rapp Wiesenthal were baptized in proxy ceremonies by church members in Arizona and Utah, reports the BBC . "We are outraged that... More »

Russia Warns Against Ice Baptisms

Video of child being forced into ice hole sparks outrage

(Newser) - Chucking unwilling children into holes in the Siberian ice isn't the great idea some Orthodox believers appear to think it is, Russian authorities warn. The trend for "ice baptisms"—usually carried out during the Russian Orthodox festival of Epiphany in January—has been in the spotlight since video... More »

Jesus' Baptism Site Ringed With Mines

Advocacy groups worried about expected onslaught of pilgrims

(Newser) - Christianity's third most holy site, the place where John is said to have baptized Jesus, is set to be opened to the public in the near future—but at the present moment, it's surrounded by thousands of land mines. Israel says the site, which is expected to attract millions of... More »

Botched Baptism Drowns Baby

Priest may face charges over 6-month-old's death

(Newser) - A priest who accidentally drowned a baby boy as he baptized him in Moldova may face manslaughter charges. Witnesses said the priest failed to cover the 6-week-old's mouth and nose as he immersed him in water, the Daily Mail reports. The baby suffered breathing difficulties afterward and died 20 minutes... More »

Holy Hell: Churches Squeezed by Economy

(Newser) - The hallelujahs are strained in US churches these days as donations plunge at the same time demand for aid is skyrocketing, reports the Wall Street Journal. Congregations across the nation are slashing budgets and even laying off staff, including pastors. Churches and synagogues usually weather downturns well, but not this... More »

Anglican Church Offers Two-in-One Wedding-Baptism

(Newser) - With more than two in five British children born out of wedlock, the Anglican Church is introducing a new liturgical twofer—a combination wedding and baptism. The so-called "hatch and match" service is designed to encourage marriage, and senior bishops insist that the Church is not changing its teachings.... More »

John Paul II's Attacker Wants Vatican Baptism

Man who shot pontiff seeks ceremony after prison release

(Newser) - The man who shot Pope John Paul II gets out of prison in January—and when he does, he wants to be baptized at the Vatican, his lawyer says. Over the years, Mehmet Ali Agca has claimed to be the Messiah or Jesus Christ, fueling speculation about his mental health... More »

Georgian Church Leader Sparks a Baby Boom

(Newser) - A little divine intervention has apparently helped a city in the nation of Georgia give its population a boost. Two years ago, faced with a stagnant birth rate, the head of Georgia’s Orthodox Church pledged to personally baptize any child born to parents with more than two other kids.... More »

Prominent Italian Muslim Baptized by Pope

Convert Takes Big Step at Vatican During Easter Vigil

(Newser) - Italy's best-known commentator on Islam converted to Catholicism yesterday at the Vatican, during Easter vigil, and was baptized by the Pope himself, the AP reports. Though Magdi Allam was born a Muslim, he said he "never" practiced his native religion, and made his name criticizing Islamic fanaticism, receiving death... More »

15 Stories