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Sinead O'Connor converts to Islam, changes name

Irish singer Sinead O’Connor announced she has converted to Islam and has changed her name, the BBC reported.

>> Read more trending news 

The artist, best known for her 1990 hit version of the Prince song “Nothing Compares 2 U,” announced on Twitter that she had changed her name to Shuhada'.

She converted to Catholicism last year and changed her name to Magda Davitt, Metro reported.

“This is to announce that I am proud to have become a Muslim,” she wrote on Twitter. “This is the natural conclusion of any intelligent theologian’s journey. All scripture study leads to Islam. Which makes all other scriptures redundant. I will be given (another) new name. It will be Shuhada.”

Irish Imam Shaykh Dr Umar al-Qadri posted a video on Twitter of the singer giving the Islamic declaration of faith.

Jesus painting survives fire that destroyed 150-year-old church

A historic Massachusetts church went up in flames Tuesday night. 

>> Watch the news report here

The First Baptist Church in Wakefield suffered an apparent lightning strike during the severe weather moving across Massachusetts. 

>> On Boston25News.com: Massive fire destroys historic Wakefield church

Crews began dismantling the remnants of the historic landmark in the rain Wednesday morning. 

The 150-year-old building will now be torn down completely. 

Just one painting hanging in the front entrance of the church was left behind, nearly untouched. 

>> Read more trending news 

It has just a few little drips on it, but otherwise, the painting depicting Jesus Christ survived the inferno Tuesday night and now resides inside a parishioner's house. 

Although there is no official cause yet, several residents say they did see the steeple hit by lightning, and that set off a fire that grew to seven alarms. 

WFXT spoke with the pastor who was about to settle in to watch the Red Sox when a parishioner called and told him what happened. 

>> See video from the scene here

"I was down about a mile away and I just saw this fireball in the sky. It just went up like a tinderbox. It's a building built in 1870 and and it's balloon-style so once the fire starts you know the whole building just went up quickly," said the church's pastor, the Rev. Doctor Norm Bendroth.

It is not coming down quickly, but the old church is coming down – much to the sadness of parishioners and residents of Wakefield. 

The big priority Wednesday morning was the remains of the steeple, which partially collapsed onto the church. 

North Dakota man accused of stripping, getting into holy water fountain

A North Dakota man was arrested after authorities said he stripped naked and performed a lewd act after climbing into a holy water fountain, KFYR reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Zachary Burdick, 21, was charged with ingestion of methamphetamine, criminal mischief and indecent exposure, the television station reported.

Mandan Police Department spokeswoman Lori Flaten said Burdick had been asked to leave the Spirit of Life Roman Catholic Church because he was walking around the church grounds with the Book of Mormon trying to bless people, KFYR reported.

When returned, Burdick stripped and entered the holy water fountain, the television station reported. Burdick then left the water and walked down the aisle of the church performing a lewd act, police said.

Church officials said they will have to drain the fountain and bless it again, KFYR reported. 

Bring Your Bible to School Day: Students encouraged to bring Bible to classes Thursday

Students across the country may have an additional book in their backpacks as they head to class Thursday. 

Oct. 4 is the fifth year of Bring Your Bible to School Day, where students are encouraged to bring the religious tome to class with them.

Some users on social media have posted on their accounts that the Bring Your Bible to School Day was started by President Donald Trump. But that, according to Snopes, is incorrect.

>> Read more trending news 

According to Snopes, the movement was starting in 2014 by Focus on the Family. Focus on the Family is a Christian conservative group, or as it calls itself, a ministry, that says it helps couples build healthy marriages and teaching children about God and how He fits into the family structure.

Focus on the Family provides students and their parents a guide on how to take part in Bring Your Bible to School Day and what the students’ rights are when it comes to free speech and religion.  

Students are also encouraged to use the hashtag #BringYourBible on their social media accounts.

Pope won’t ‘say a single word’ about call for him to resign

Pope Francis told reporters Sunday that he “will not say a single word” about a retired Vatican diplomat’s call for him to resign for his handling of sexual abuse allegations against a cardinal in June 2013, CNN reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, a former Vatican ambassador to the United States, said there was a “conspiracy of silence not so dissimilar from the one that prevails in the Mafia,” The Irish Times reported.

Vigano said he told the pontiff about allegations of sexual abuse against Cardinal Theodore McCarrick in 2013, adding that Francis took no action, CNN reported.

Vigano’s call for the pope’s resignation came during the second day of Francis’ visit to Ireland.

In an 11-page document, Vigano claimed the pope knew that McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, “was a corrupt man, (but) he covered for him to the bitter end.”

The pope accepted McCarrick’s resignation last month after new claims that the cardinal sexually abused an 11-year-old altar boy and seminary students, the Times reported. The pope also ordered McCarrick, 88, to conduct “a life of prayer and penance” until a church trial could be held. 

McCarrick claims he is innocent of the charges, the newspaper reported.

The pope said Vigano’s statement speaks for itself, CNN reported.

>> 300 predator priests, 1,000 children identified in case

"I read the statement this morning, and I must tell you sincerely ... read the statement carefully and make your own judgment," Francis said.

Vigano’s actions come in the wake of the pope dealing with revelations from a Pennsylvania grand jury report that detailed sexual abuse over seven decades.

The grand jury report found that more than 1,000 minors had been sexually abused by more than 300 Catholic priests.

Pope Francis condemns sexual abuse in letter to Catholics

Pope Francis has written a letter to Catholics condemning sexual abuse by priests.

>> On WPXI.com: Report names 300 alleged ‘predator priests’

>> Read more trending news 

“Looking back to the past, no effort to beg pardon and to seek to repair the harm done will ever be sufficient,” said the letter, which the Vatican released Monday. “Looking ahead to the future, no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated.”

>> On WPXI.com: Report: Ring of 'predatory priests' shared, photographed victims

He added: “We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them.”

>> Read the full letter here

The letter came less than a week after a grand jury report identified more than 300 priests accused of abuse in six dioceses in Pennsylvania. According to WPXI, a ring of predatory priests with the Pittsburgh Diocese allegedly shared information on victims and exchanged the victims among themselves, as well as made child pornography on Diocesan property.

>> On WPXI.com: Cardinal Wuerl moves monthly meeting with council of priests

In his letter, Pope Francis said Catholics must “acknowledge and condemn, with sorrow and shame, the atrocities perpetrated by consecrated persons, clerics, and all those entrusted with the mission of watching over and caring for those most vulnerable.”

He wrote: “Let us beg forgiveness for our own sins and the sins of others. An awareness of sin helps us to acknowledge the errors, the crimes and the wounds caused in the past and allows us, in the present, to be more open and committed along a journey of renewed conversion.”

Read more here.

Pope Francis criticizes Trump administration for migrant family separations

Pope Francis criticized the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border in an interview published Wednesday by Reuters.

>> Read more trending news

“It’s not easy, but populism is not the answer,” he said.

The pope told Reuters that he agreed with statements made last week by Catholic bishops in America who called the family separation policy “immoral.” 

>> Clergy group brings church charges of child abuse, immorality against Jeff Sessions over zero-tolerance policy

“While protecting our borders is important, we can and must do better as a government, and as a society, to find other ways to ensure that safety,” Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said in a statement released at the conference’s spring assembly. “Separating babies from their mothers is not the answers and is immoral.”

Francis told Reuters that he is “on the side of the bishops’ conference.”

>> Recording of crying immigrant children separated from parents at border sparks outrage

“I believe that you cannot reject people who arrive,” he said, speaking about the migrant crisis that has sent hundreds of thousands of people into Europe. “You have to receive them, help them, look after them, accompany them and then see where to put them, but throughout Europe.”

He said that populists have been “creating psychosis” around the issue of immigration.

“Populism does not resolve things,” he said. “What resolves things is acceptance, study, prudence.”

>> Immigration: Babies and children held in 'tender age' shelters according to report

The Trump administration in April directed prosecutors to pursue cases against all people suspected of crossing the border illegally as part of a “zero tolerance” immigration enforcement policy. Parents have been separated from their children as they face prosecution.

Nearly 2,000 children were separated from their families over a six-week period in April and May, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed that Democrats are to blame for laws that mandate the family separations, however, no law requiring the separations exists.

GQ magazine calls Bible 'foolish,' lists it among books 'you don't have to read'

The Bible’s been around for centuries, but GQ magazine is like, eh? What’s so great about it? 

>> Rev. Billy Graham chose John 14:6 to be placed on his grave marker

The Good Book makes the mag’s list of “21 Books You Don’t Have to Read.” While allowing “there are some good parts,” the post calls the Bible “repetitive, self-contradictory, sententious, foolish and even at times ill-intentioned.”

Instead, GQ suggests, how about “The Notebook" by Agota Kristof? It’s billed as “a marvelous tale of two brothers who have to get along when things get rough.”

>> Read more trending news 

The Bible finds itself in the company of works by J.D. Salinger, Mark Twain and Ernest Hemingway on the list of books that GQ is just not that into. “Catcher in the Rye” is dinged as being “without any literary merit whatsoever.” “Huckleberry Finn” is tedious, meandering and hamfisted, GQ says. Hemingway’s sentences? Too short. Even Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” makes the roster of books to skip.

Here’s the entire list, which includes contributions by various writers.

Photos: Pope Francis leads Easter Mass at the Vatican

Tens of thousands of faithful entered St. Peter’s Square to participate in Easter Sunday Mass celebrated by Pope Francis on April 1, 2018.

WATCH: Pope Francis delivers Easter message after Mass at the Vatican

Pope Francis delivered his annual Easter message Sunday after leading Mass at St. Peter's Square in Vatican City.

>> Watch the Mass here

>> PHOTOS: Pope Francis leads Easter Mass at the Vatican

In his “Urbi et Orbi” (“to the city and the world”) message, the pope asked for prayers for Syria; the Holy Land, Yemen and the Middle East; Africa; North and South Korea; Ukraine; and Venezuela.

>> Click here to watch

>> What is Easter Monday and how is it celebrated?

The pope also prayed for children who “grow up without hope, lacking education and health care” and elderly people “who are cast off by a selfish culture,” according to Catholic news site Crux.

>> Read more trending news 

See more at the Vatican's website here.

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