Pope Francis calls for peace on the anniversary of the War in Ukraine, Southern Baptists oust Saddleback Church over women pastors, and Iranian clerics say harsh crackdowns were a mistake.
On this week's AP religion roundup, Pope Francis calls for peace on the anniversary of the war in Ukraine. Southern Baptist cut ties with saddleback church over women pastors, and Iranian clerics say harsh crackdowns were a mistake. The bells of saint Michael's church chimed at midnight in Ukraine's capital city to mark the beginning of the war one year ago. Pope Francis marked the anniversary of the war this week by appealing for a ceasefire and warning that Russia will never achieve true victory built on rubble. The Southern Baptist convention has disfellowshipped its second largest church for having a woman pastor. Saddleback is the renowned California mega church founded by pastor Rick Warren. The vote by the SBC's executive committee culminates growing tension between the nation's largest Protestant denomination, which officially opposes women as pastors and a congregation that has been one of the biggest church growth success stories of modern times. In 2021, Warren ordained three women has pastors, which began prompting discussions within the denomination to consider expelling the mega church. The executive committee also voted to oust 5 other congregations for over the issue of women as pastors and one over the issue of sexual abuse. Some Iranians and the sacred city of comb, a center of Shiite Muslim shrines and scholarship are quietly calling on the country's ruling clerics to reconsider how they deal with unrest. Clerics like Abu zar saw have desire on, say, the harsh crackdown was a mistake. He and others say the authority should soften their approach to demonstrators, and women's demands on being able to choose whether to wear an Islamic head covering. However, these critics from within still back the government and a wide gulf remains between them and the protesters who have called for an uprising this month, Iran marked the 44th anniversary of the country's 1979 Islamic revolution. I'm Walter ratliff